Thursday, 31 July 2014

SMILE - Thursday Special

*laughs happily* OK! WHY NOT!!!

Thank you Pinterest! Now, the boring stuff. If you want to follow my SMILE board on Pinterest, go to! Or, if you want to see some random fandom stuff on my Pinterest, go to

Monday, 28 July 2014

SMILE - I'm Not Crazy

PINTEREST AGAIN! Sorry, I will go to Tumblr soon and find a funny gif! I PROMISE!!!

But if you fancy seeing my SMILE board on Pinterest, please check out!

And if you're on Pinterest yourself, you can follow the board or you can send me funny pins! You never know... I might put it on the blog as a SMILE post...

Thursday, 24 July 2014

GoodRead - The Silkworm

I finished this yesterday, dear readers, so I'm still feeling raw over what I have read (if you wish to call this weird state that I'm in as "raw" - will explain further down). But yes, after around three weeks of reading this, I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED THE SILKWORM BY ROBERT GALBRAITH!!!

The second book in the Cormonran Strike series, The Silkworm takes place several months after The Cuckoo's Calling. Strike has made a name for himself after the Lula Landry affair. So when the wife of author, Owen Quine, comes to him, asking to help her find him and bring him home, Strike decides to take the job - it's not like money is a issue now.

But Strike begins to dig and realises that something very wrong has happened to Quine and his wife hasn't the foggest clue. The novelist has written a manuscript, filled with poisonous pen-portraits of everyone he knows - his agent, his former best friend, his publisher, even his wife and daughter. If the manuscript ever got published, it would ruin lives.

To Strike's horror, he finds Quine - dead. Brutally and savagely murdered. It quickly becomes a race against time to save the innocent as this killer is ruthless and is unlike any Strike has encountered.

I like my attitude to how I got this book. I wasn't going to preorder this after my reactions to The Cuckoo's Calling (my review to that is here) and yet, as soon as the news was announced, I preordered it without thinking. Then I changed from preorder from Amazon to Waterstones because of the whole Amazon vs Hachette in the USA drama and then, I read this slowly, trying to take my time and enjoy it.

That was the plan, as I wondered if the reason why I disliked The Cuckoo's Calling was because I was forcing myself to like it as it was JK Rowling.

But here, I took my time and... well... I'm torn over it. In some ways, this book is much better than Cuckoo, but at the same time, I struggled with it.

As you guys know, I do like a good murder mystery book. I like crime. And I felt myself enjoying the start of this with great ease. I think I slipped into this book much easier than I had done with Cuckoo. I'm not 100% sure why this is the case. Maybe it was my outlook. But yes, that and I enjoy the sense of foreboding I had and when we got to the reveal of Quine's body, we were left in no doubt that it was murder (if you remembered in my review of Cuckoo's Calling, I wondered if it was murder or if I hoped it was murder...).

I also quite liked Strike and Robin's relationship and the tiny amount of insight we got into their private lives. I wish I could have had more scenes with Robin and her fiancee, Matthew (who I have always disliked but here, I hated!) as I felt this was interesting - how can there be a balance between work and love? And with Strike, it was nice to see him having friends and him trying to get over his ex and the fact she's now getting married (and the fact that Charlotte, the ex, was playing mind games with Strike and was refusing to let him moved on).

Also, the characters within the publishing industry. You can't help but wonder if Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) had met people like this...

However... I still had the same issues as Cuckoo. There was a lot of people and, after a while, I got confused over who was who/what they had done/where they were. Usually, I can keep it all straight in my head, but I did get confused.

I also, had problems with the pacing. Again. It felt very slow for my tastes. I like things to have a fast pace, something that will keep me on the edge of my seat. But Silkworm took its time. In some places, this pacing was a good thing. In others... not so much for me.

I think the reason why I have problems with The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm is because I can't get a handle on Robert Galbraith's writing. Note that I didn't say JK's writing, but Robert's writing. JK Rowling took a while to make Robert's voice come through so it doesn't sound like her. While I can very easily read and love JK Rowling's voice, I can't seem to get a grip on Robert's voice. Once I do, I know I will enjoy myself but his voice seems a tad - not sure if this is the right word to use but is the only word I can think of - dense.

Again, middle of road on this series. I think I will try the next book and if I can't gel with it, might have to leave this series alone. But again, will try and read it at a more leisurely pace as I think this helped me a little bit...

(PS - the song choices. The first is the main book's theme song while the other two fit certain themes/moments perfectly...)

The Child: An Audible Drama (NEWS!)

Ok, I know I normally don't do news-type articles prompting things. But this came along and this sounds right up my street so I thought I would share it with you.

Audible UK have done their first EVER multi-cast audio dramatisation!

That's right. Audible have decided to branch out into making audiobooks/dramatisations and this is their first from Audible Studio London. The Child is written by Sebastian Fitzek and this story hasn't been published in the UK yet so if you're a fan of Sebastian's writing, this is your first chance to hear his latest tale before the book is released.

Plus, you have a star cast. Rupert Penry-Jones, Emilia Fox, Andy Serkis and Stephen Marcus are leading the charge.

And the story is pretty messed up. Perfect for me. In the outskirts of Berlin, Robert Stern (Rupert Penry-Jones) waits for her old-flame and nurse Carina (Emilia Fox) as she has a new client who needs his defence attorney skills. What he doesn't expect is a ten year old Simon, a boy who claims that 15 years ago, he murdered someone with an ax. Stern doesn't believe the boy - till Simon leads him and Carina to the body.

Things take a disturbing turn as more bodies begin to surface. The Police - led by police officer Engler (Andy Serkis) - start chasing Stern, thinking he is the murderer. With Carina and Stern on the run, and only with a terminally ill child's memories leading them, both will see the underside of Berlin and discover things are far more gruesome than they could have possibly imagined...

Doesn't it sound nuts? PERFECT for me! I can not wait to get my teeth into this! Because of this, I shall be reviewing this dramatisation within the next few weeks (hopefully!). And hopefully before the general release of 7th August 2014 (hopefully - fingers crossed). If this sounds like your type of listen, you can go preorder it by clicking here...

But to wet your appitite, here is the youTube trailer and some teaser postcards...

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

GoodRead - Goodnight Darth Vader

I forgot I asked to review this, if truth be told, dear readers. I asked Tina at Abrams and Chronicles for this a while ago, but completely forgot I asked so I was very surprised when a mystery parcel was on my doorstep containing this! I read it very quickly after I ripped it out of the envelope and then read it, more slowly and carefully, a few days later... 

It's nighttime in the Star Wars universe, and it's time for Darth Vader to put his twins, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia to bed. But the children want a bedtime story... 

It is a very cute story. A story I think most parents or family members who have done babysitting duties would get and smile over. 

For some reason, I always thought this had the similar feel to Go The F*** To Sleep by Adam Mansbach. I'm not sure why I thought this, but both have a tongue-in-cheek feel that parents will love and "get". And Star Wars fans will be delighted with this. Fans old and new, I think, will like this new twist on the franchise. 

And I know someone who would love this so will give this to them in the next few days... 

Monday, 21 July 2014

SMILE - Charlie's Angel Gets An Upgrade


My thanks to Pinterest (I'm sensing a pattern with my SMILE posts of late...). If you want to visit my SMILE board on Pinterest (visit, follow, whatever!), go to!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

GoodRead - Mr Mercedes

I love how, with Friday's "I'm taking the pressure away" post went online, I literally finished this audiobook that took me OVER A MONTH (or it felt like that), which Midas PR kindly allowed me to review for So, thank you Audible and Midas!

In this, Stephen King's first "crime/thriller" novel (really?), retired cop Bill Hodges receives a letter from a man claiming to be the Mercedes Killer. A man who stole a Mercedes-Benz and, early one morning, ploughed into a gathering line that waited for a job fair (thanks to the joy of the recent recession), killing eight, including a young mother and her baby. The Mercedes Killer (aka Mr Mercedes) taunts Hodges, saying he won't be catch because he has no intention of doing it again.

Which Hodges knows is a complete lie. Hell-bent to catch the guy, Hodges has to go back over this case and begins to question if he investigated the case as non-biased as he was meant to...

On the other side of town, Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother, works two jobs, once had a younger brother and is a whizz on computers. He is also Mr Mercedes, and he's plotting his next act. One that could destroy the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of lives.

Ok, why did I want to listen to this story? Well, it's Stephen King and I have never read a Stephen King novel. And as some of you guys class him as (pun alert!) the King of Modern Horror, I have always been curious to read him (and yet a complete scaredy-cat - horror freaks me out!). Plus, this is hat some of you guys have called his first "crime/thriller" novel and I am a sucker for crime novels so this one was perfect for me.

Or so I thought.

Before I go into a full-blown rant, let me talk about the positives. This is a pretty solid read. There is a lot of character building and King takes his time with his characters. He wants you to feel for them, to grow to like them. That way, when sometime shocking begins to be plotted or happens to them, you are thrown for six. And the last two hours of the audiobook were gripping. Edge of your seat stuff there.

HOWEVER, there are problems with this audiobook! HUGE PROBLEMS!!! Which I think I can sum up into four points.

First, the narrator. Will Patton - I have SERIOUS issues with this guy. It took me a VERY long time to warm to his voice and for most of the audiobook, the reason for this was that he sounded BORED reading the book to us. Sorry, but if the narrator sounds bored then the listener of the audiobook is going to be just as bored, if not more so. If not bored, then angry. I had times (more than once over the 14 hours and 21 minutes) where I would think/rant "I'm sorry, Mr Will Patton, are we keeping you? I mean, you must have been paid to read this and you sound like you don't give a rat's **** over pretending to enjoy this story!"

The second is length. I get why the book was so long, I do, but there were sentences, paragraphs, even whole chapters that weren't needed. So why are they there? For example, the very first chapter where we are first introduced to Hodges. We met him and he discover that, because he is retired, he watches (and moans about) a lot of Midday TV and considers commiting suicide with his father's old gun. And that's it. That is basically it. The paragraphs where Hodges moans about midday TV shows and then crime shows (Bones, CSI, NCIS, etc) are important to the story how exactly? And with Hodges considering killing himself with his father's gun - it is mentioned so many times through the story (as Mr Mercedes mentions this in his letter to Hodges the following chapter) that it didn't feel like this chapter was needed. Important information from this chapter could have been inserted within chapter 3 or 4 and it wouldn't have upset the story.

The third is language. Ok, this is a weird one but bear with me here, dear readers. I am not a prude when it comes to language, so I get why curse words and swear words are used. With one character, he swears quite a bit and I get why Stephen King made him do that. I do. However, when you use swear words in every other sentence, it begins to get annoying REAL fast. And because of this, I couldn't help but wonder why Stephen King, a man claimed to be the King of Modern Horror, would use such lazy language? And if a reader begins to think that, they are not paying attention to the story and therefore, they are not enjoying the story...

The fourth (and final point) is more a me thing. As I said earlier on, I read crime and thriller books. Not other, but I do binge on the genre when I can. And with this, most of the time, I felt like I have read it before. It's a crime book yet I could sense I knew what was going to happen next. Most of the time, I was right. It didn't grab me as a crime novel and there were times, because I sensed what was going to happen next, I stopped the audiobook and left it for several days, feeling no need to come back to it...

So, yeah, I wasn't exactly thrilled with this book. I'm sorry. I know most of you guys really enjoy this book, but it didn't grab me in the same way. I do want to try another Stephen King novel but... yeah...

Friday, 18 July 2014

Time's A-Changing!

Well, it's all go in the UKYA blogsphere in the past few days, with the awesomeness that was YALC! I couldn't go (real life is a pain in the neck sometimes. Hence this being my reaction when I was reading all the tweets/Facebook updates/blog posts about the event....)

But onto different things. This blog, to be exact. I have been thinking about this over the past few days and, maybe this is the best way to write the blog from now on. Some of you guys will be like this for the rest of the post so, sorry in advance... 

If you following my blog for a while, you know I have a weird system in my head on how I use the blog. I try my hardest to write one book review a week as I am quite a fast reader when I want to be. I also try and do a SMILE post every Monday and I do a music-themed post once every two months. 

And this because I could very easy keep up to speed with it. I use to read fast and I like having something on the blog. But, in the past few months (ok, maybe longer than that), I finding myself under some kind of pressure to get something - ANYTHING, really - on the blog. And it isn't from the book publishers who are pressuring me (and, in some case, most other book bloggers). It's myself. I am pressuring myself to get the blogs up. I am the one thinking I need to read a book quickly so I can write the review and post it. 

Since March (when I moved out of the family home), my normal reading time has been in a state of flux and it hasn't settled. And because I have plans to read long books - VERY LONG books (the book I am currently reading - The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith is 455 pages long, Clariel by Garth Nix is 469 pages, Shadows of the Moon by Zoe Marriott is 461, Cress by Marissa Meyer is 550 , Shadow of Night and The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness is 636 and 580 respectively and one of the eBooks I have on my kindle, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is 881 pages long. BEASTS! ALL OF THEM!!!) 

If I kept the pressure of reading books and writing a review once a week, I will either close the blog down within a few months or I would never leave the flat and have a social life. Something has to give. 

So, I have come up with this idea. I am going to keep reviewing books, but I am going to be more leisurely about my reviews and reading. If a book takes me two weeks to read, it'll take me two weeks. If that means I don't post a review on the book for two weeks, so be it. If I read two books in a week, then I write two reviews and post them within a few days of reading the books. 

I am taking the pressure away. I AM BREAKING A BLOGGER'S SECRET IN TELLING YOU! I can imagine bloggers all over the world reacting in horror like this...

Also, I was thinking of writing a few posts that isn't book-related. I've been thinking of a few posts that I want to write but it's going to take some time to write. A mix of information digging and being just lazy! So, I am...

But yes, my blog is changing. It's still going to be the same blog. Still have Smile posts (for the time being - I have been wondering about the future of my Smile posts. Maybe I shall talk to you about this in the future), still have the music posts and still have book reviews. But it's going to be more relaxed. I hope you guys like the change and if there is any problems or ideas for what I can do in the near future, please leave a comment here, on the Facebook fan page or send me a tweet! I would love to hear your ideas! 

Now, before I leave you, I shall leave you with this...