Sunday, 24 August 2014

GoodRead - As Red As Blood

I really wanted to write a blog post about last night's Doctor Who and my thoughts and reaction on it. Like I said before and will probably say again, this blog is going through a bit of a change - a slow change - but I want it to be more fun and less stress-panicky on me.

But after binging on this week's Neighbours (no idea why!) and seeing family, I have time this weekend to read. To read and not feel guilty!

And I have just finished this book and I really want to talk to you about it. Remember, I am fresh out of it so... yeah...

As Red As Blood follows Lumikki Andersson, a girl who is familiar with secrets that she has made it a rule to never get involved into other people's affairs. Until she walks into her school's darkroom to find blood strained money hanging to dry. She leaves, trying to think of her next step, only to return to find the money gone...

Her rule put to the test, Lumikki slowly finds herself in the heart of Finland's criminal underworld. And soon, she no longer is someone hiding in the shadow - someone you could easily miss. She's a target, she knows too much...


This book is surprisingly short - only 236 pages - and yet it is a very intense read. I thought I would read it within a few days, and yet I was still reading it within a week, going "Where on earth is this going?" and "This is a first in a series?" and "This is a translation!"

Yes, this is a translation and it is so refreshing to read a translation book as I think, in YA, we have a heck of a lot of books set in the US from US authors and it's about time we read from all over the world!

It is dark and moves at a fast pace, with moments I found myself on the edge of my seat going "No!" and it's a gritty crime. YA is slowly getting more crime and thrillers but this might be one of the darkest/tensest I have read in a while.

With it being a translation, there was one or two times I did go "That translation doesn't flow right" but you can forgive it. That is one of my main issues. That and the times we were looking into Lumikki's history and you never knew if it was happening now or if we were looking back in time for a page or two...

But saying that, if you are a crime nut and want to read something dark, this is the book for you. I know I have read reviews that have called Lumikki the next Lisbeth Salander and this series is going to be the YA version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo/The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson and, as someone who hasn't read the books (only the Swedish films of the first two films - and even then, it was watching through my fingertips), I couldn't possibly say. But If you are a fan of Lisbeth Salander, you might want to check out Lumikki Andersson. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

GoodRead - Swamp Bones

As you might be aware of you have been following my blog for quite a while, I am a bit of a Kathy Reichs fan. So, when I saw this pop up on NetGalley, I knew I had to get my kindle on it! 

Set in the Florida's Everglades, all Dr Temperance Brennan wanted was a holiday. A break from the chaos that is her life. But, sadly for her, she stumbles into a case. The bones of a foot, found inside the stomach of a python... Now, evidence shows that the python didn't kill the victim 

I really enjoyed reading this. It was fun and fast and very Tempe. It's been a while since I read Kathy Reichs (last year - I know, feels like ages!) and it feels like ages where we focused on the case and on Tempe's humour. The previous cases have focus not only on these two elements but on Ryan (her ex boyfriend), Katy (her daughter) or her ex-husband, Pete. And it was a bit refreshing to read solely on the case and the return of some of the technical jargon (well... on pythons, that is. Pythons are a big thing in this eNovella). 

Comparing this to Bones In Her Pocket, Kathy's first eNovella, I much prefer this story better. Now sure why, though as they are kinda the same vibe. 

But fans of Tempe will love this latest adventure with Tempe, although someone might want to tell Tempe to say in the morgue as going out  to do police business, alone, will get her killed one of these days...!

(PS - sneaky peek of Tempe's next book, Bones Never Lie, [that title always makes me this of the Sharika song, Hips Don't Lie. Is Kathy Reichs a secret Sharkia fan?] is in this and I am quite excited to read it. Either this or the two copies of Kathy Reichs I nabbed from a charity shop - Bones Are Forever [a secret James Bond fan?] and Fatale Voyage [one I won't be reading on a plane, I sense...])

Monday, 18 August 2014

SMILE - Mary Poppins is a Time Lord!


OMFG!!!

I know this is a tumblr thing, but I saw this on Pinterest. Either way, thank you tumblr and Pinterest!

And remember, I am on Pinterest and I have a SMILE board on there too! And a Fandom board too! And due to the fact I have no idea which board I put this one, if you want to visit my SMILE board, please go to http://www.pinterest.com/pewterwolf/smile/, or if you want to go to my fandom board, please go to http://www.pinterest.com/pewterwolf/fandom-unite/!

Visit both, visit one, visit neither! Just wanna share the love!

Friday, 15 August 2014

When Is It Time To Stop?

This isn't a review - well, not really. But a question I have over reading this, but with reasons why I stopped reading the book in question (as I want to be more honest to you guys and myself. Make this blog more open and fun!).

Over the past few days, I have been reading Cross My Heart by James Patterson - a book I got from NetGalley. And while it was light and fluffy crime read - ok, crime lite.

However, I've had real problems with it. I felt like I have read this before - with every James Patterson novel, it lacks substance. However, a few things happened last night that made me go "Do I really want to continue this?". The first was that a character - ok, the bad guy - did one or two things I just couldn't stomach. It made me feel uncomfortable - I get this is a crime and this is the baddie, and in most cases, I am fine with putting a line between fact and fiction. But this time - no. I couldn't do it.

The second was a lot of things were thrown at me. We have this killer, a murder of a celebrity with a possible sex addiction and drug addiction found in a "massage palour" and a missing child. Not to mention a missing family member from the Cross family. TOO MUCH!

The third was that I wasn't feeling it. I wasn't enjoying it.

And I was only 30% in.

Now, I know some of you guys have rules about reading stories, like if you're not feeling a book within the first 100 pages, you stop. Or if you are under half way.

But that's with a real book. What if you are reading an eBook? Do the same rules apply?

I had this problem last year. I was reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas and, around the 18-20% mark, I just wasn't liking it. I found it hard work and I didn't know whether to continue. But I did keep going and I found myself finishing it and liking it. Not a great deal, but I do have the sequel (impulse buy. No idea why bar that).

And yet, it felt weird giving up on Throne of Glass and Cross My Heart when, a few years back, I openly chatted to you guys about me deciding to stop reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver. This was a hardback and while I struggled with it, I accepted that I wasn't enjoying the book and stopped reading it.

Life is too short to read crap books. So why is that ok but with eBooks, it feels different somehow?

So, readers, what do you do when you're reading a book or eBook that you aren't feeling? Do you stop? Do you keep going? When is it ok to stop and go "I gave you a fair try and it's not going to work..."?

Leave a comment, tweet or facebook me and let me know as I am very curious over this topic...

SMILE - Motivational Turtle Duckling



My thanks, as always of late, is Pinterest. You should know the drill by now. If not, here it goes. If you want to see more SMILE post, you can go to the SMILE board on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/pewterwolf/smile/!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Rob Lloyd Jones Talks Black Terror!

As you know guys know, one of my fave reads last year was Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones. And I am very excited about the second Wild Boy adventure, Wild Boy and the Black Terror. I don't have my copy yet *wails unhappily* (but seriously, I am planning to go hunting for this book as I NEED to know what happens next in this world!), I am thrilled beyond words that the author, Rob Lloyd Jones, agreed to answer some questions about Wild Boy and the Black Terror while in the midst of writing, house moving and generally being human.

So, without futher ado (apart from me thanking Rob - THANK YOU!!!), I shall hand you over to the Q&A!

What inspired Wild Boy?
Wild Boy really began in the pages of Seventy Years a Showman - the memoir of a 19th century circus owner called Lord George Sanger. I loved Sanger’s descriptions of travelling fairs, and of the freaks shows. I imagined one of the performers – a boy covered in hair – watching the crowds and dreaming of being ‘normal’. I realised that he would learn to read their lives from tiny details about their faces and clothes...He would be a detective.

When writing Wild Boy, how much research did you have to do?
I got addicted to research - newspaper reports, and writings of journalists such as Charles Dickens or Henry Mayhew, who described their city in incredible detail. I lived in London, so walked around a lot and hung out in the story’s locations. I even acted out some of the scenes, to make sense of the events – but only when no one was watching.

What was the journey from coming up with the idea of Wild Boy to publication like for you?
It was one big effort to stay confident. I convinced myself that the book would get published – I had to or I’d never have finished the draft. Going into it thinking ‘Will anyone want to read this?’ is too negative. Instead I told myself that everyone wanted to. That helped me get it written, and settled my nerves as I waited to find out if any publishers really did like it.

What is your "typical" writing day?
I wish there was a typical writing day. I envy people with a set routine. I’d love my life to happen around writing, but really it’s the other way round. I just fit it in whenever I can – on the train to work (I have a long commute to my job as a children’s book editor), a early morning if I feel awake. But the story and characters are always there, in my mind, demanding attention.

Wild Boy has elements of murder mysteries novels (such as Poirot and Sherlock Holmes). Are you fan of crime/mystery stories as a whole or do you like elements within them?
I love some detective books – especially Sherlock Holmes stories, which are tight, clever and packed with great characters. But others, especially those from the 1920s and 30s, are all about the puzzle, and not the characters. The puzzle is important of course – the mystery that must be solved – but I wanted to write a story that began with a character, and then worked outwards.
          
Were you surprised by readers reactions to Wild Boy?
I am, always. I said I was confident it would get published, but that was just a way to silence my inner critic. When it actually did get published, and then people liked it and it won awards, I was gobsmacked and delighted and grateful. It charged me up again to write the next story.

Were they any characters that surprised you while writing the sequel, Wild Boy and the Black Terror?
Clarissa, Wild Boy’s foul-mouthed acrobat best friend, always surprises me. Black Terror turned out to be her story as much as Wild Boy’s. I didn’t realize at first how angry she was about the dark things that happened in the first book. That rage became a big part of the story.

I, personally, think Wild Boy would be great as a family drama on TV, radio or film. Do you think the story would translate well onto either of these medias or would you prefer the book to remain a book?
Thanks for saying that. There’s a Wild Boy film in the works, which is very exciting. I’ve read the screenplay, and love it. I think the production company – Warp Films – is getting a director attached at the moment. Fingers crossed…

[Edit: this BETTER happen!]

Ok, without spoiling us (OK, me. Without spoiling me!), what can you tell us about Wild Boy's second adventure, Wild Boy and the Black Terror?
Black Terror picks up Wild Boy and Clarissa’s story a few months after the first book, as they use their skills – freak show detective and circus acrobat – to solve a new case. Someone is poisoning members of London’s high society, a supposed demon that makes you see your darkest memories before you die. Wild Boy and Clarissa’s hunt for the killer forces them to confront their own dark pasts and their worst fears. Whereas the first story was set in London’s seamy underworld, Black Terror takes place among the city’s palaces and grand townhouses, where even darker things lurk. 

One final question: are you planning any more adventures with Wild Boy?
I don’t think that Wild Boy and Clarissa’s story is finished, so hopefully! My next book for Walker though will be an adventure tale, partly set in the 19th century and party today, and packed with adventure, tombs and giant snakes. I love giant snakes. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Book Blogger UKYA Awards Nominations!!!

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Hey Guys!
Today I am proud to announce that the Book Blogger UKYA Award Nominations are open!

Use the form below to nominate the books and authors that you love!
You can nominate up to three books and authors per category - choose wisely!

Nominations will stay open until 24th August. (That's two weeks!)
Then the shortlist will be sorted and voting will begin on the 1st September.

Good luck to all the lovely books and authors!


Saturday, 9 August 2014

GoodRead - Clariel

I am probably breaking a ton of secret book blogger rules - aka Da Rules (yes, let's throw a random Fairly Oddparents reference at you. Anyone remember that show?) - but I was very lucky to win a very special hardback ARC of Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen. And I finished it VERY LATE last night! So, I wanted to talk to you guys about it.

And keep it as spoiler-free as possible! But I want to talk about it. I want to talk about it now, even though this isn't out till October.

Set around 600 years before the events of Sabriel (the first book in the Old Kingdom series - and you should really read Sabriel), Clariel has been forced to moved by her parents to the Old Kingdom's capital, Belisaera. She missed her old life in her small town of Estwael, the forest surrounding it and her possible future of living off the forest and joining the Borderers. Instead, she's trapped in a city with high walls, with people using her to serve their ends.

When a Free Magic creature is discovered loose in the city, Clariel might have a chance to prove herself and escape. But events spiral quickly out of control and soon, Clariel finds herself desperate for help. But help comes out a price. With everyone using her to further their own ends, Clariel must be careful who to trust...

Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker...?

Now, because this book isn't out for another two months, am choosing my words very carefully, but I adore this world. And Garth Nix is great with world building and adding new ideas into this world. Clariel is set 600 years prior to the events of the other three books (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen) so we see Belisaera before. And it's very different, which took a while for me to get use to. I'm not sure why as I knew this was a prequel, but I wasn't ready for changing it in my head...

Another thing I really like about Garth Nix is how he writes female leads. We start with them at one point but they change and grow. Sabriel was a strong character at the start of Sabriel but she becomes an even stronger character. She grows from being a teenager into a woman. Lirael is the same. Over the course of Lirael and Abhorsen, Lirael grows into a strong female lead, even though she was quite meek at the start of Lirael. Clariel might annoy some of you guys but she does have character growth - but for the better or for the worse... Well, you'll have to read to find out...

Without trying to spoilers, some of you guys might not like Clariel because of two reasons. The first is Clariel, for a while, is a hard character to like at the start of the book. Like I said, she does grow as a character, but you have to get over that hurdle.

The second is the world itself and if you're a new reader to Garth Nix's Old Kingdom. If this is your first Old Kingdom book, you might struggle with the understanding of the world. Understanding of the Great Charter, Charter Magic, Free Magic and a few other things. My advice would be if you REALLY want to read this, read the trilogy or, just read Sabriel. Sabriel is great book to understanding this world as, when first published, Sabriel was meant to be a standalone novel but, a few years later, Garth Nix had an idea that turned into Lirael and Abhorsen.

So, if you are a fan of the series (and, like me, have been waiting 12 years for it!), this is a must! If you're new to the series, read Sabriel first! And now, off I go to wait for the next book in the series (a sequel that take place after Abhorsen and the short story/World Book Day 2005 novella, The Creature In The Case [or Nicholas Sayre and the Creature In The Case from the short story collection; Across The Wall]). Will it be another 12 years? I hope not as Hot Key Books have got the UK publishing rights so soon... SOON, or I will go over to the Free Magic side...

Oh, before I go, while trying to google a nice pic of Mr Nix, I found this pic of a fan having a tattoo of the Charter Marks on her back, and it ROCKS! Take a look!!!