Monday, 22 September 2014

SMILE - What to Know My Secret?

I'm sorry! I AM SORRY! I know this is an old joke but this made me laugh! You have to love a bit of Snape's hair-flicking!

Thank you again Pinterest (you know the drill - I have a Smile board on Pinterest at so, if you're on Pinterest, please follow as that will be wonderful of you!)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

GoodRead - Day 21

I was thinking of keeping this review back a few days as I only finished this book yesterday and I wanted to keep the review of The 100 and its sequel, Day 21 some distance apart. But am going to post this now just to mess with BookBridgr and Goodreads.

It's day 21 for the 100 sent down to Earth. This day is important, for its when signs of radiation begin to make themselves present. But that isn't the 100's only problems. They thought they were the first humans to set foot on Earth for the first time in centuries.

They were wrong.

With fear of a new, unknown enemy, the 100 has to band together. Wells struggles to keep the 100 together and not turn on themselves. Bellamy is determined to save his sister who was snatched from this enemy. And when trying to help him, Clarke finds evidence that leads to a truth that the 100 aren't the first to be sent to Earth from space. And back on the space station, Glass is forced to make a decision between love and life.

Like I said in my review to The 100 (review here), if you are expecting the TV series (aired on the CW in the USA and on e4 in the UK), you are going to be very disappointed as, while the TV show is dark (with a stupidly high death count - which I adore! NO ONE IS SAFE ON THAT SHOW!), the book is very much romantic driven.

I had problems with this book. I think it's because I read Day 21 very quickly after reading The 100, which isn't something I normally do. But I found Day 21 a real struggle. There was one or two things I really wanted ti stop reading this book - Life's too short to read awful books. In the end, I decided to skip a chapter and skim read because I decided to read this with a bunch of bloggers on Twitter and I didn't want to let them down.

I can list the problems I have - Glass being on the space station and yet, being more worried about her love life than finding out information that might be useful to the reader. Clarke and Bellamy doing stuff without telling anyone what they're planning to do - THERE ARE MYSTERIOUS BAD GUYS KILLING AND YET, GO RUN INTO THE FOREST WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE! And you survive without any real consequences - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I could go on. I could. But I won't as I don't want to rant and rave. This book series, I feel, could have been more sci-fi or more into human survive - as the TV show does. It could have huge twists that shock the reader. But it's more love-driven and the book felt predictable and that's a huge problem with me. This book has so much potential and yet... it falls flat. It's unbaked and, in the words of Mary Berry from The Great British Bake Off, has a bit of a soggy bottom.

I MIGHT continue reading the series, but I think I might have to leave it and continue watching the TV show. I am really getting into it. I think we need to start a drinking game with the amount of death! THIS IS WHY I NEED THE DVD WHEN IT COMES OUT!

GoodRead - The 100

If you don't follow my Twitter feed (, you should be aware that I am currently enjoying The 100, a sci-fi TV show airing in the UK on e4 (we're on season 1) and season 2 will start being aired in USA on The CW sometime in October.

So when I was sent this a while ago, I was excited to read it. But then I didn't read it. It got pushed down my huge TBR pile. So, when the sequel, Day 21, was on BookBridgr, I requested it with a plan to read the two back-to-back. And with several other bloggers, we agreed to read them together and tweet our thoughts, reactions and feelings over it.

In The 100, the Earth is no longer safe. After a nuclear war, humanity lives in space stations, safe from the raditation. No one was planned to be sent back. Until now. 100 juvenile delinquents are being sent down to Earth to find out if it's safe to return. It could be a start of something great - or a suicide mission.

Liars. Thieves. Rebels. Heroes?

Before I go my further, I need to stress something here and now: if you are expecting the TV show, you are going to be disappointed. While the TV show is quite dark, the book is much more romantic driven. It reminds me a bit of The Selection by Kiera Cass (my review for that is here). It is a fun, candy floss read.

But there are problems with this book. Well, for me, there were problems. Like I said, this is very romantic and it's hard to picture the idea of a sci-fi book, where the main characters are sent to Earth and are forced to survive with little to no idea on how to survive, that these characters beginning to fall for each other.

Another problem that I had - and I think most of bloggers that joint read this series had the same problem - is how the story was told. The book had four characters telling the story - Clarke, Bellamy, Wells and Glass - and they changed point of view every chapter. And within most of these chapters, we had flashbacks. It's hard to get attached to a character when you have to switch different points of view and then you have to switch from what's happening to them now to what happened to them several months earlier.

But my main problem is, while I enjoyed reading this (and I read this quite quickly) is that it felt half-baked. It had an good premise but it just felt flat at times. It reminded me of the new Doctor Who episode, Deep Breath, where you have several hugely interesting ideas but the ideas didn't blend together and make a good outcome. I'm sorry but you have a dinosaur running round Victorian London and yet...

I did like this, but it was a candy floss read for me. I have read Day 21, the sequel, and I have plans to watch the rest of the series but, I think I prefer the TV show than this book.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Snow Child - New Cover and Extract!

As you should know, I am a huge fan of The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. I fell in love with this quietly beautiful book (I believe I actually used in my review in 2012 when this book was first published. If you want to read my review, check here!).

Anyway, I was on bookbridgr and I saw that they were doing a new cover and I had to get involved in showing it to you. So, here's the new cover!

Now, I love the original cover, but this is just as pretty! I love the eeriness of the footprints and the dash of red, but it still catches the magic of the story.

Also, bookbridgr has allowed me to show you guys an extract! I hope this wets your appetite (and I reread it and wailed "BOOK 2, EOWYN! I WANT YOUR NEXT BOOK NOW!!!)!

‘I am the little daughter of the Snow,’ she replied to everything, and she ran out into the yard into the snow.
      How she danced and ran about in the moonlight on the white frozen snow!
      The old people watched her and watched her. At last they went to bed; but more than once the old man got up in the night to make sure she was still there. And there she was, running about in the yard, chasing her shadow in the moonlight and throwing snowballs at the stars.
      In the morning she came in, laughing, to have breakfast with the old people. She showed them how to make porridge for her, and that was very simple. They had only to take a piece of ice and crush it up in a little wooden bowl. Then after breakfast she ran out in the road, to join the other children. And the old people watched her. Oh, proud they were,
         I can tell you, to see a little girl of their own out there playing in the road! They fairly longed for a sledge to come driving by, so that they could run out into the road and call to the little snow girl to be careful.
        And the little snow girl played in the snow with the other children. How she played! She could run faster than any of them.
       Her little red boots flashed as she ran about. Not one of the other children was a match for her at snowballing. And when the children began making a snow woman, a Baba Yaga, you would have thought the little daughter of the Snow would have died of laughing. She laughed and laughed, like ringing peals on little glass bells. But she helped in the making of the snow woman, only laughing all the time.
      When it was done, all the children threw snowballs at it, till it fell to pieces. And the little snow girl laughed and laughed, and was so quick she threw more snowballs than any of them.
      The old man and the old woman watched her, and were very proud.
      ‘She is all our own,’ said the old woman.

      ‘Our little white pigeon,’ said the old man.

Monday, 15 September 2014

SMILE - A Wild... Wait, What?

Like last week's Smile, no idea where I found this. A random Google search. So... thanks to whoever made this! You know who you are...!

Monday, 8 September 2014

GoodRead - The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains

Surprise! Yes, I know I said my next review on here will be my write up on The 100 and the sequel, Day 21, both by Kass Morgan but as I have made very little headway with Day 21, I decide to finish a book I was reading on and off for the past few weeks which I requested from BookBridgr (thank you BookBridgr), which is The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Eddie Campbell.

The story, set in the dark ages of Scotland, is of two men, strangers, who are travelling to a cave on the mysterious Misty Isle. Only one of the men knows the way as this cave is rumoured to have a cursed treasure within it. What unfolds on their journey involves greed, survival, revenge and tragedy. Though not in that order...

I am going to keep that brief as I want to leave it as vague as possible. No spoilers.

Now, my opinion on this book... it's very mixed. I'm not 100% certain where I stand with it.

It's not a novel or prose in the traditional sense, nor is it a graphic novel. It's a strange hybrid of the two, for the most part, works in the story's favor. The illustrations by Eddie Campbell are quite unique, ranging from comic strips, rushed illustrations and rushed "oil painting" style art to very detailed drawings (one of my fave drawings is a illustration of a deer. I shall pop it in the review somewhere so you can see it...).

The story, though... it didn't grab me the way I wanted it to. It felt, at times, quite flat. It didn't feel like a story written by Neil Gaiman. I admit I am not a huge fan of Neil Gaiman and I am slowly becoming aware of his writing (Doctor Who, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, MirrorMask [an awesome film, by the way - imagine Alice in Wonderland but on a serious drug trip!] and Neverwhere) but it didn't feel like him compared to what I have read.

I wonder if it's the hype that's around him at the moment and that is clouding my judgement?

Also, some of you guys will already be aware of this story as it was published in 2012 in a collection of stories called Stories: All New Tales and Neil himself read this at the Graphic festival at the Sydney Opera House several years back. At this event, Neil read the story out loud with Eddie revealing some illustartions behind the author (he drew the rest till quite recently) and the FourPlay String Quaret playing music to go alongside the story.

And I think that would have beena much more interesting reading experience. To not only read the story and stare at the illustation but to have the music to listen to (either a CD, a MP3 download or a website you could go and listen) to bring an extra dimension to the tale.

While this book might not have been my cup of tea, I am certain many fans of Neil Gaiman and Eddie Campbell will love reading this book.

SMILE - How I Feel At Work Most Days...

Not sure where I found this, but yes sums up my work life A LOT!!!

Friday, 5 September 2014

The Future of SMILE

Happy Friday everyone! Not a normal SMILE post because I want some input from you guys...

I have been doing SMILE posts for the past few years (that long?!) and it was for fun. Fun for myself and the idea of a tiny pick-me-up to you guys as Mondays are a bit of a drag! Yes, even if you have the perfect job you love, Mondays are a bit of a pain sometimes...

But recently - ok, for a while - I have been thinking of about the future of SMILE. Whether it would continue on the blog every Monday, changing it to once a fortnight or once a month, moving it over to Pinterest completely (I do have a Pinterest board, solely for SMILE - or whether I should call it time on it.

I know, the HORROR of it!

But as I am going through a bit of a change in my life (moving in with my other half, pretending to be a grown up, learning to "compromise" with said other half, etc), I kinda want the blog to reflect that. Change, grow and evolve. Ok, I made my blog sound like a Pokemon.

But I like SMILE. And I do want to keep it in one form or other. So, am asking you guys - what do you want happen to SMILE? Do you want it to go fortnight? Would you mind if I moved SMILE over to Pinterest? Or do you think it's a stupid blog thread and want it gone? Leave a comment below and I shall see what you guys suggest. 

But until then, I shall continue blogging and hoping you guys like it...!