Friday, 28 June 2013

Book And Their Theme Songs - Volume 18

Volume 18? How have I made it this far with the music and the books?! It just boogles the mind sometimes...

Anyway, you know the drill. When I read, I put music to them and then, at the end of every other month, I get them together and share the music with you guys. I do hope you find something new that you love and like my choices. And share me yours if you read the books I have. So, enjoy the music!

THE NIGHT ITSELF by Zoe Marriott
"Nothing Else To Say" by Imagine Dragons

DEAD SILENCE by Kimberly Derting
"Honeycomb Child" by Natalie Imbruglia and "Revolution In Me" by Siobhan Donaghy

SPIRIT by Brigid Kemmerer
"Forca", "Explode" and "Picture Perfect" by Nelly Furtado

"Young And Beautiful" by Lana Del Ray

THE ELITE by Kiera Cass
"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol

Thursday, 27 June 2013

GoodRead - Icons

I know some of you guys LOVE the world of Beautiful Creatures (Sorry. The Caster Chronicles) by Margaret Stohl and Kami Gracia. And now the series is done, both authors are writing their own series. The first book in Kami's new series, Unbreakable, will be out in October while Margaret hits the ground running with the first book in her series, Icons.

Everything changed after The Day. Everything changed when the Lords came from the heavens, where windows shattered and people dropped down dead, losing a war no one knew they were fighting. But a one year old Dol survived. Since then, she has gone in the countryside, away from the Icon's shadowy reach.

But when a teenage Dol and her friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, they begin to wonder. Why did they survive The Day? What makes them so special? And when the two of them meet Tima and, the Ambassador's son, Lucas, they reveal the four of them are bound together in ways none of them could possible imagined.

So, reactions. Honestly, I'm kinda on the fence with this. There were things I liked and things I didn't.

For a start, the things I like. This book isn't like Beautiful Creatures, which is a good thing. When I requested this on NetGalley (thank you NetGalley and UK publisher, Harper Collins/Voyager), one of my main fears was that this would be similar or exactly the same of Beautiful Creatures and, while I liked reading both Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness (I do have EVERY intention to read Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption), I did find reading them a trial. But Icons didn't feel like a trial to read. I found it interesting. I found the whole idea of The Day and the Icons fascinating. I found that the book asked questions and then, not answer them a smart move (why make it easy for our heroes in book 1?). I found the messages/emails at the end of each chapters making me ask more questions (and I enjoyed reading them and going "Well, what does that mean?" And the world-building in this book was something I enjoyed, even though it was confusing (remember, this is a first in a series). Another thing I liked were the secondary characters like Doc and Fortis as I found them interesting and have depth (I want a prequel/eNovella to these two characters). This is the same with characters I disliked like Colonel Catallus...

Which says a lot as this was one of my main issues with the book. The main four characters: Dol, Ro, Lucas and Tima. When these characters met and were together, they felt flat to me. There wasn't really much depth. On their own, each character had depth and were interesting. For a first few chapters, Dol and Ro were in the countryside and I liked them. I wanted to know more about them. This is the same with Tima when she and Dol were alone as I wanted to understand why she is so damaged. But the four of them together... they just didn't work. It didn't click for me.

I think the problem is the guys in this foursome/love-square: Lucas and Ro. I didn't felt warmth to them in the way I think I was meant to. Lucas, to me, is vanilla. There was nothing great about him, but there was nothing awful about him, either. He just didn't pop out as a character. Ro, on the other hand, I liked at the start of the book. But, halfway through, I found him and his attitude irritating. By the end of the book, I really disliked him. I found his anger and his rage (funnily enough) infuriating. He reminds me of someone who would be at a peaceful protest but who would start throwing patrol bombs and attacking the police. Not because of the reason for the peaceful protest in the first place but because he enjoyed the chaos and the anarchy of it all.

Dol, Tima, you can do so much better then these two. Seriously... what do you see in them?

The second issue I have was repetition. There were phrases and things that characters did and say that annoyed me. I remember reading two or three chapters very early on and the phrase (I can't remember off the top of my head but it was something like "I wanted to cry, scream, run out of the room and not look back") was used four or five times. Luckily, the repetition was used less and less as the book went on, but I found this annoying and it took me a while to forgive the book for this.

So, now I got that off my chest, we come to the big question: will I be reading book two in the series? Weirdly, I think so. Yes, there are cons that annoyed me and, yes, there were times I wanted to throw my kindle across the room, but I kinda wanna know where Margaret goes next. I do hope book 2 beefs up on the character development side, though. I need to want the four to win against the Lords. But I sense book 2 could be a gripping read. I shall wait in the corner, watching the skies...

Oh, for those of you thinking this is the next Beautiful Creatures, stop right there. It isn't. Go into this book with an open mind. That is all.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

GoodRead - The Runaway Queen

As you might be aware, after I read the first Bane Chronicles story, What Really Happened In Peru (if you haven't read and feel brave, here's the link for your pleasure), I was very disappointed. Disappointed and a tiny bit peeved. I made a decision after writing the review to stay away from the rest of the stories till either a story came up where the blurb grabs me (so wait for the Alec/Magnus stories) or wait till all the stories are released and read them in one go.

So when Sean from Walker Books asked if I fancied a code to get a copy of the second tale in the Bane Chronicles, I surprised even myself and went "Sure". I can only think of a few reasons why which are: Maureen Johnson (who co-wrote this story with Cassandra Clare), the story sounded kinda decent and SURELY the Runaway Queen can't be as bad as What Really Happened in Peru...

In the height of the French Revolution, Magnus is staying in Paris. When we join our hero, he is on his way to ride a hot air balloon (after he thought it was be great one wine-fuelled evening). But, due to weather conditions, it never happens. He returns home to find a handsome count (with black hair and blue eyes), asking Magnus for his help to rescue the French Royal Family...

Now, I went into this with very low expectations. After What Really Happened in Peru, I held very little hope with this story. And, to my surprise, I enjoyed this. There was a story! And it was a good story at that! It was enjoyable and fun sunny read (which was perfect as I was in the garden one sunny afternoon with a glass of Diet Coke).

I do wish the story was a bit longer and more indepth and I wish that this was published before What Really Happened in Peru (I fear that story lost several fans). But that's not Walker Books fault so I don't hold you to account, dear publisher.

Now, on some of the reviews I've read, I was interested over Magnus's attention. He agreed to the count's plea for help as, according to some reviews I read, Magnus was feeling... er... randy. That's right. To these reviews, Magnus had a crush on this guy. Which makes me want to know more about Magnus's psychology and he's need to be loved. Maybe this issue is tackled in the latter books of the Mortal Instruments series (books 4 to 6, which I am very wary of going near)...

So, I enjoyed this story more than the first installment of the Bane Chronicles. Maybe there is hope with this series. Or maybe I should stick with the stories that Cassandra writes alone or with Maureen Johnson and steer clear of Sarah Rees Brennan...

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

GoodRead - The First

I thought I would bring my Kindle Month a week early. And when I read this, I thought this would be a perfect start.

So, The First is the first prequel to the novel The Returned by Jason Mott (which should be out in September). And The Returned has already got a bit of hype around it. Brad Pitt's production company won a bidding war to turn it into a TV show and ABC has asked for a pilot (the show will be called Resurrection). So don't get confused over it with The Returned, Channel 4's french zombie thriller.

The First follows Emily. It's been a year since her fiancee Edmund died in a suddenly bus crash. It's been nearly a month since she's taken off her engagement ring. She's trying to move on. Expect one morning, Edmund walks into work like nothing happened...

This is very fast read. It took about half an hour to read the short story and then an extra 15 minutes to read the sample of The Returned. And it did seem to be a taster for the novel to come (and with the fact there is two more eNovellas to come: The Sparrow being released next Monday and The Choice being released on the first of August, which leads to the book's release in September) and, because of that, a tiny part of me thinks this is a very clever advertising campaign. And you can't fault the publishers for doing this, as it's a very smart/clever way to promote the book.

But my feelings on this: it is a short story. There was very little dialogue (which I love) and not much emotion (but this is a short story so what do I expect?). But here's the big question: will I read The Returned? Answer: I'm not sure. I have been rejected by the US publisher to read this on NetGalley (dare I ask the UK?) and while I am very intrigued over this novel, I might have to read The Sparrow and The Choice before I make my final decision.

Monday, 24 June 2013


Ooops! Meant to put this up at around two but I was mowing the lawn, so here I am, quickly writing this up. I am taking part in the cover reveal for The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond. So... here's the cover:

What do you think? I really like it. It has a Percy Jackson meets Cassandra Clare with a dash of Dan Brown. Plus, there are Egyptian Gods on the cover! I love ancient Egyptian mythology! And, at the moment, this is perfect read for me! 

And, for those who are curious, here is a quick blurb for the book:

Five years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke around the world.

This morning, Kyra Locke is late for school.
Seventeen-year-old Kyra lives in a transformed Washington, D.C., home to the embassies of divine pantheons and the mysterious Society of the Sun. But when rebellious Kyra encounters two trickster gods on her way back from school, one offering a threat and the other a warning, it turns out her life isn’t what it seems. She escapes with the aid of Osborne “Oz” Spencer, an intriguing Society field operative, only to discover that her scholar father has disappeared with a dangerous relic. The Society needs it, and they don’t care that she knows nothing about her father’s secrets.
Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the suspect help of scary gods, her estranged oracle mother, and, of course, Oz–whose first allegiance is to the Society. She has no choice if she’s going to recover the missing relic and save her father. And if she doesn’t? Well, that may just mean the end of the world as she knows it.
From the author of Blackwood comes a fresh, thrilling urban fantasy that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan.
What do you think? I'm really intrigued over this book. But will have to wait till September to see if the book reads as cool as the cover looks! So... what do you think? You like the cover? 

SMILE - Just Five More Minutes...

My thanks to the randomness that is the internet (and me seeing this on Disney's website)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

GoodRead - Etiquette & Espionage

I had this in my To Read pile for quite some time. And after reading Soulless, the first book in Gail Carriger's adult series, The Parasols Protectorate (review here for you), you would have thought I would have read this sooner. Well, yes and no. I have my reasons. First, I was never ready for it. Not sure why. But I wasn't sure if I wanted to get into another series. And second, surely I should finish the Parasol Protectorate series. I mean, I have the second book in the series, Changeless, on my kindle.

So why did I pick this up? Well, I had tried to read another book and I just couldn't warm to it. I got around 50 pages in and went, "Nope. Not in the right mindset for this." so put it down and, after picking a few books at random, I read the first chapter of this and just kept reading late into the night.

Set around 25 years prior to the Parasols Protectorate, this new series follows Sophronia who is forced, by her mother, to enroll in Madamoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But this finishing school isn't exactly what Sophronia's mother thinks it is. For this finishing school teaches these young ladies how to finish... well, everything. They learn to curtsy, dance and etiquette. But they also learn diversion, how to use a weapon and espionage. All in the politest way possible, of course.

But something is happening. Something Sophronia might be able to help. That is... if she figure out where exactly the "prototype" is...

This was fun! I like my fun reads at the moment (not sure why. Because Summer is here... kinda...) so this was nice fit for me. And it was steampunk, something I want to read more of, so it felt a perfect fit. And this story had a feel to it that reminded me of the first Harry Potter book, and that's rare! I enjoyed how the mystery of the prototype wasn't the main focal point of the story and I enjoyed slowly slipping into this new world that Sophronia had found herself in. Also, there are tiny nods to the Parasol Protectorate series which fans of Gail Carriger will spot and smile at.

But, this does feel like a first book in the series so there are things when you feel that Gail is setting things up for later books or she was writing this book to make us get use to the setting, characters and situations. And, while I enjoyed the day-to-day life at this school, I know some of you guys will read this and go "There's no plot!". This might be same with fans of the Parasol Protectorate.

But I really enjoyed it, and I will be waiting to see what happens next in the Finishing School series. Or maybe I should just read Changeless...

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

BlogLovin' & Facebook

I am trying, slowly, to make the blog more savvy and open to... well, everyone... so, today, I have taken a big step (well, for me, it is).

The blog now has it's own Facebook page and you guys can now follow the blog on Bloglovin!

Yeah, I know it will probably be me being a bit late to the party, but the Facebook page has only come about recently when I suddenly wondered if my private Facebook was becoming more the blog's and I decided that it needs it's own home!

And as for Bloglovin, I know most of you guys use that to follow your face blogs so I decide to jump on the bandwagon!

So, my dear readers, if you want to follow me on either Facebook or BlogLovin, just click on the words in questions and they SHOULD take you to the right place (fingers all crossed).

Also, I am on Twitter and on Pinterest so I am somewhere on the internet if you feel the blog isn't enough for you.

Now that's out of the way, here's a gif of a cat waging its tail...

Anyway, news blog post is over. Carry on like normal, people!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

GoodRead - The Elite

Am still on the May reviews (this will never end! Actually, this might be my last May review so YEAH!) and this is my second NetGalley review copy (so 2 down, 4 to go.. but with one that's not out till October... yeah, this shall be interesting!)

Anyway, The Elite. Thirty-five girls entered the Selection, a contest to win the hand and heart of Prince Maxon of Illea. Thirty-five have been cut down to six. One of the six is America Singer, and she's not 100% certain who has her heart. She has feelings for Maxon, who has strong feelings towards her. But her ex, Aspen, is now a guard at the palace and wants her back. But with the remaining girls becoming more determined to win Maxon's hand and the rebels becoming more active towards the Palace, America has to make a decision. But one act of shocking and devastating brutality will shock America and make her question everything...

Right... ok. Where should I start with this? As... well... I am torn over this book, like I was torn over The Selection.

Ok, let me try and be positive over this book. First, this is still a beach read. It is still a fast, candy floss read and if you got sucked into The Selection, you will probably read this and be very happy with this. And the fact that this book had themes and scenes in this book that are darker. And, to me, this was good. America is now beginning to see that something is very wrong with how Illea is now. While this is still a fast, beach read, Kiera is adding layers of darkness and unease, and this I hope will continue with the third and final book in the series, The One.

Now... in the first few chapters (I believe it was Chapter 5), I said there was a scene that reminded me of a scene in the first series of Grey's Anatomy. The scene is the famous "Pick me, choose me, love me". Now, if Meredith Grey had met America, I fear Meredith would have drop-kicked America into the next timezone for her being so whiny and almost in tears every other chapter.

And this is my main problem. America whined about the love triangle situation she finds herself, and spent most (if not all) of the book doing nothing to resolve it. Anyone think this is very Bella Swan from Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse (and as most of you know, Eclipse is my least favourite of the Twilight Saga for this reason)? What happened to the proactive girl who spoke her mind and, when she thought someone was going to force themselves on her, kick them in the privates? We only saw flashes of this girl (and I cheered when she appeared) but most of the time, she wasn't there.

And while I know this is a romance story (I get this), the other things that were happening were far more interesting. The Rebels, Merlee, the Italians, the King and his behavior. Suddenly, the sideplots were more interesting and compelling so when the sideplots hold my interest more than the main plot, I can't help but wonder why I'm reading this story.

And while I still have issues with this book (sexism, double standards, etc), which I can kinda see is there for a reason now (though I still really have issues with this), I am uncertain over if I want to read the third and final book in the series, The One. I want America to grow a backbone, fight for her beliefs and finally see the world around her and see beyond her love life and the dresses. Maybe figure out what the rebels want...

Overall, while I enjoyed reading The Selection, I wasn't exactly impressed with The Elite. I felt that I read this before. Sorry. But, if you read The Selection and want to read The Elite, go for it. Remember, this is only my opinion. If you want to read this and form your own, go! Pick this book up, read it, make up your own mind. My only request to you guys is, if you are going to read this, go into it with an open mindset.

Monday, 17 June 2013


Says nothing, but I completely get the reaction (and I don't even watch Supernatural). 

My thanks to Pinterest as I randomly discovered this and, yes, I am on Pinterest. If you want, you can check my page out here or if you just want to follow the SMILE board, just click here

Saturday, 15 June 2013

GoodRead - Splintered

I blame Emma from Book Angel Booktopia about this. She has been going on about this book to me via Twitter for quite some time. And seeing as she and I have very similar taste in books (and Emma has a good taste in books) and seeing as I love fairy tales retellings/reimaginings (as you all might know, I adore Once Upon A Time and Disney), I bought it and read it after my mad one-day read of The Selection by Kiera Cass.

Alyssa have been hearing flowers and insects talk for the past few years. She hides it as she doesn't want to become her mother: locked up in a mental institution. Madness runs through her family, and seeing as she's a descendant of Alice Liddell, the Alice that inspired Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, it looks like Alyssa is slowly going down that road. 

But what if Wonderland is real? What if Alyssa isn't going mad? What if...?

To break the curse of her family's insanity, Alyssa must find the rabbit hole and right all the wrongs that happened due to the originally Alice. But Wonderland isn't like the Wonderland we all know and everyone isn't who they seem to be. Not even Alyssa herself. 

I really liked this book. I have a thing for retellings/re-imaginings and I like them when the story goes dark and twisted. And Splintered is very much a dark and twisted retelling. There was a gothic, punky edge to it and I loved that side of it.

One of the things I liked about this book is that all the characters in here are broken and don't fit your stereotypical YA charcter. Even the main characters of Alyssa and her real-world crush, Jeb. Both of these characters have dark backstories - Alyssa with her mother and Jeb with his father. Even a small character like Taelor isn't perfect with the tiny hints of her backstory. You can't really pigeon-holed these characters into YA stereotypes and that was refreshing. 

And as for Morpheus - a character who we don't really met till chapter 9 and who really picks up the story (the first few chapters have a good pace but when he came it, it went up a gear) - he isn't the typical ... well, I'm not sure what to call him, exactly. He's a third point in the "possible" love triangle, but he didn't fit that label. He was one of those characters that I never trusted, but I adored reading him. Throughout the whole book, I could never figure him out. And every time I thought I did, he would surprise me by doing or saying something that would always put me on the back foot. But he's a character I am the most intrigued over and am so glad we are going to get a sequel to as I want to know more about him and understand him. 

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is that this book, not matter how warped and mad it got, still had a plot and had reasons. In one of the later chapters when the "endgame" (if you want to call it that) was revealed and explain, it made perfect sense. There was no "Wait! What?" over it. The clues were in the story and it made sense, no matter how weird the story got several chapters back. How A G Howard kept up, I have no idea. 

And now, faults. I will always find faults in book so SORRY BOOKS OF THE WORLD. The only real fault I have is how convenient certain things were explained. Like how Aylssa accepted that she has been friends with Morpheus for years through her dreams so quickly or the fact both she and Jeb knew what a confirmateur was (it's a device used by hat makers to help customize hats to fit specific head shapes). Sometimes, it worked but other times, it never sat well with me.

But saying that, I really liked this messed-up book. I would love to see someone try and turn this into a movie or a TV show. I could very easily imagined it (if it' a movie, I demand Tim Burton to be the director!). And now I have to sit and wait for the sequel, Unhinged, to come out early next year. And it better have loads of Morpheus scenes in it. Just saying. But, until then, I'm not sure I will look at plants and bugs in the same way again... Again, Emma, I blame you. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

GoodRead - The Selection

This book seems to have its fair share of positive and negative news. The author got into trouble of Twitter with her agent (let's not get into that), the CW wanted to the turn this in a TV show but failed TWICE on it, people saying this book was sexist and anti-feminist. But yet, it has its fans and people see this as a good dystopian novel. And while I love a good dystopia novel (have you not seen my To Read pile?!), I have been VERY wary on this one. So, when I saw it was super cheap one day on Amazon, I decide to risk it. What had I to lose? Just £1.50 and my time.

So, the story. America Singer has an opportunity most girls would kill for. She is one of the thirty-five girls selected to take part in The Selection, a contest to find Prince Maxon a wife and, one day, future queen. But she isn't. Only days before, her secret boyfriend dumped her and now she has to get over her heartbreak while trying, not to be Maxon's love, but his friend. But the other girls are determined to win the crown.

I am going to admit this: I tried to go into this open minded. I tried to not flake out when I saw something that  peeved me off. I wasn't going to be critical and, oh, believe me, I could have been SO critical. But, to my surprise, I liked this. I found it addictive. I read this in one day. One day. With me, this is rare. So there must have been something about it I liked. 

It is very much a beach read, in my eyes. A candy floss read. You read it, it's nice and fun, and it isn't taxing on your brain. It's not a heavy-dystopian novel (like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched or Under the Never Sky). It's very much a romantic story with a slice of dystopia and you know from the word go that this is going to the be a love-triangle story. And sometimes, you need a fun, fluffy read. 

But, as this is a review, I need to tell you the cons. I have to. And there are cons with this book and I am going to be chanelling Mary Berry from the Great British Bake Off on my first point: the writing at times was, at time, underbaked and suffered from a soggy bottom. And with that, I mean, there are things touched upon in the book that I wish Kiera went into more depth over or took more time explaining. For example, the rebels or the castes. Neither of these were explained and, if they were, it was very vague! 

There were, also, times where I did go "isn't that a bit sexist/anti-feminist?" and it bothered that for a good chuck of the book, this was all I could think about. And, staying with this, certain things bothered me in this book. At one point, an adviser told America that it's not wise to say no to the Prince and if he wants anything, you have to say yes. No matter what. Basically, this scene basically said that if he forces himself on you, if you have to let him. Or, in other wise, he can rape you. RAPE IS RAPE! THIS IS NOT OK! (luckily, there is a scene later on when Maxon tries to kiss America and, thinking he was going to force her into having sex with him, kicked him in the groin). Basically, things happened in this book or themes popped up that didn't sit well with me. 

Ok, let's touch on characters. I don't have issues with them, but there were things that really bugged me. Prince Maxon has lived a sheltered life so is kinda naive, I get that, but he seemed shocked over poverty and how people who are is the lowest castes live. You're going to be king of this country so how are you not aware of this? Aspen - I have no feeling for this character at all. None (sorry all you Aspen shippers out there), but I can't accept the whole "I dumped you, America, for your betterment" and "I regretted it as soon as I left but my pride..." lines. What did you expect would happen, Aspen? America would fall back into your arms and say she loved you? YOU BROKE HER HEART! And now you said that, America could be tried for treason if you two were found out! ARE YOU THAT THOUGHTLESS TO THE SITUATION YOU FORCED HER INTO?! And as for America... I like you, sweetie. I do. But when you jumped from one chapter, where you were a strong character who would speak your mind and don't care about what people think of you, to the next chapter where you were a crying mess who's backbone has gone on holiday, it was hard to not shout at my kindle, "Damnit woman, pull yourself together! Have some pride, for the love of God!" or throw it across the room!

One more tiny thing: with all the dystopian novels I read, it makes me question the world around me and go "This could happen if we're not careful". But with The Selection... not so much. Actually, I can't imagine it happening at all! 

But, with all the points I raised and have ranted/raved over, I am going to read the sequel, The Elite. I got it on NetGalley when I was playing around it with. I want to see if it goes where I hope it goes (highly doubtful), but I want to read something fun and addictive so I seem to have read and am going to read a lot of heavy reads. My advice to you all is if you are going to try and read The Selection, try and go into it with an open mind. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013


Of which, I took part in. Yes, I am cringing inside as I type this (but when Walker [aka Hannah and Sean] emailed me and other bloggers about this idea, I loved it and knew I had to be involved. I don't think I have seen any other publisher involve bloggers & vloggers in this way before!)

Anyway, here is the video. Watch (and laugh at our uncomfortableness!)

And for those of you wondering which blogs took part, here is the list for you!

GoodRead - How To Talk To Girls At Parties

I have been interested/excitement over Neil Gaiman's soon-to-be-released novel The Ocean At The End Of The Lane and I have talked to my brother-in-law's sister (who is a HUGE Neil Gaiman fan) and has said she will try and lend me two other of his novels (once I finish the Caster Chronicles - and I will finish it soon!). So, when the publisher, Headline, revealed that they were going to release a free short story with an sneaky peek of The Ocean At The End of the Lane, of course I preordered it. It was free, as well! An added bonus!

Some of you have probably read How To Talk To Girls At Parties as this was one of the short stories within one of Neil Gaiman's collection of short stories, Fragile Things. For those of you who don't, this short is about two friends who are going to a party, but go to the wrong party. There, the main character begins to notice something isn't quite right...

This was a fast read. I like my fast reads, but as this is a short story, I kinda got that. But, THIS STORY HAS NO ANSWERS! If you like it all neat and tied up in a bow, you are not going to get it here. The narrator gives us hints that we, the reader, see but for some unknown reason, he doesn't. 

I did like it and I am curious to read Fragile Things, but compare to Neil's other works, I feel a bit let down. Not much of a review - sorry, but thought you ought to know. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

GoodRead - Shadow And Bone

You may blame my beloved Other Half (aka the PIW) for this review. You see, sometime last year, Nina from Indigo/Orion Books (hi Nina) sent this to me after I mentioned on Twitter how many positive reviews on this there was. And then, like most books I have, it got stuck into my LARGE To Read Pile and never saw the light of day. And then, after finishing Spirit, I decide I would throw myself at the mercy of Twitter and make them decide my next read. Expect I told my other half and he went "I'll do it! Send me the picks and I'll chose!". So, picked 5 books and he picked this. Even though I didn't think he would pick this so yeah... he can still surprise me.

Oh, before I go into this review, this was originally published in the UK as The Gathering Dark (which is the copy I have) but due to the movie rights being bought by Dreamworks and David Heyman (yes, the producer of the Harry Potter movies), Indigo decide to change the title and the cover to what it is in the US - Shadow and Bone. So, if I slip and write A Gathering Dark, please forgive me. 

The Shadow Fold is slowly destroying the land of Ravka. An impenetrable darkness which has terrifying creatures. While trying to cross the land through the darkness, Alina does something no-one thought was possible. Something she didn't even know she could do. Which makes all the Grisha look at her with new hope, and the powerful Grisha of them all, the Darkling, thinks she could change the world forever. As she is taken away into a new life, she can't let her old life go. She can't let go of Mal... 

Now, my To Read pile seems to be lacking full-blown fantasy (you guys can have a look, if you fancy. Maybe I should take a pic and show you in the near future) so to have this lacking in there was a nice surprise to read. One of the reasons I have stayed away from this is because of the hype. Oh, the hype! That and everyone's reaction to this book. Everyone gushing and loving it and going "It's so Russian in feel!". I seem to be now making it a rule that if a book I want to read is OVER-HYPED, I am going to give it a few months for it to calm the heck down then read it. 

So, my feelings on the book. I'm kinda mixed on it. 

Ok, let's go with all the positives. I was really surprised on this book. I thought it would be full-blown action, magic and love. And it was much slower. It took it's time and I enjoyed the pacing of the book. And, because of this, the slow character building. I love me some character building. And because of this slow character building and, up to a point, world building, it was interesting to discover this new world as Alina finds herself in. And the humour. Oh, Alina has quick, snarky moments and it just works. No matter how dark and twisted it got, Alina could say something that you smile at. 

The relationship between her and Mal & the Darkling. Now that was one of those things that kept me reading. With both her suitors, you understood where she was coming from. But... I felt more one way than the other (less said, the better on this front).

I feel I have to go into the negatives now or I will start ranting in the positives. First of all, people saying "This book feels set in Russia". Really? Was it? If it was, I completely missed it. Maybe that was because for a good half of the book, I kept saying "geisha" for "Grisha" and I had to tweet the author how to pronounce it. But it never felt Russia-set to me. It never felt like something from Russian mythology.

Another thing that bothers me is... ok, let's talk reader to reader now. Have you ever read a book and, even though I really liked it, there's something about it - something you can't quite put your finger on - that makes you not love it? Well, I feel like that with this book. I liked it, but I didn't love it like everyone else on the Internet, and I don't know why. I get why most of you love this book and I am glad my other half told me to read this book, but... I don't know. There's something about it that stops me from loving this book. 

So, will I get the sequel? Maybe. But I won't be a huge rush for it. If I don't read it, then I won't read it. But I am intrigued over where the story will go next so I might go out and get the next installment, Siege and Storm... But as I'm sitting on the fence with this, my advice to you all is just go for it. Try this read and see if you like it. If you do, GREAT! If not, then at least you tried (even if you only read 50 pages). Just try it. You never know...

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

GoodRead - Spirit

This is my first review eCopy from NetGalley (that's right! I have FINALLY joined after how many long months from most of my book blogging chums?). And I have been very lucky. As a trial, I "requested" four books (two books that I am super excited over and the other two were me testing out the site) and I have been approved for all four! So... yeah... MORE NETGALLEY REVIEWS ON THE WAY! 

Anyway, Spirit! I have had the first book in the series, Storm, on my kindle since I read a review somewhere (it was either from Jo or Braiden. Or was it both of you?) and yet, I have never read it. But I have read the prequel eNovella Elemental and the eNovella that sandwiched between the second book in the series, Spark, and Spirit, Breathless. Which I'm not suppose to read as it hints at events in the previous books so SPOILERS! And this is the same with Spirit. I really should read Storm and Spark first. 

But this is me we're talking about so... yeah... MOVING ON! 

Hunter is kinda coping with a lot at the moment. His father and uncle are dead. He's a Fifth - an Elemental that could use spirit. His grandfather is always trying to start a fight. His mother is... well... she's there but not there. The Merrick brothers don't trust him as far as they can throw him. And there's Calla is a completely lunatic. Basically, because of his gift, he's learnt the hard way that there is a price to pay. And that's fine with him. He wants to be alone. 

And then Kate comes along. Hot, sexy, bold, funny Kate. The girl who seems to get under Hunter's skin. But Kate has her reasons... 

Something is going to happen. Hunter can feel it. But the question is: who should he trust? And what's the price for what he decides?

Er... where should I start? I know I jumped into the series halfway through but, wow! I loved it. It was unlikely anything I have read within the YA paranormal genre. We had strong lead characters, regardless of their gender (THANK YOU , BRIGID!) and the story was twisty and addictive. I kept going back for it and reading late into the night, even though I knew I had an early start (hence my sudden increase of coffee drinking!). And it was hot. You had hot moments within the book and Brigid, within a few lines, would change the situation from hot and steamy to action-packed. And because of this, it was tense. You never knew where you were. Was the tense moment over or was there more to come? 

And it was unpredictable. There was one moment in the book, which I never saw coming so when it happened, I was staring at my kindle going, "WHAT?! WHAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" and I sense that I will be itching for the next book in the series, Siege, to see the continuing fallout of that (even though Siege will be told from one of the Merrick brothers's point of view, Nick, rather than Hunter's)...

Addictive, sexy, unpredictable. Fans will love this! And now I sense I will be reading the whole series now and getting thoroughly addicted to those hot Elementals! Anyone fancy doing a time-sharing Fictional Boyfriend with one of these guys with me...? 

Monday, 10 June 2013

SMILE - Trouble When You Walked In

I'm pretty certain all us fans understand this. We do, don't we?

My thanks to CassJayTuck on YouTube! 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

GoodRead - Son of Sobek

REJOICE FANS OF PERCY JACKSON AND KANE CHRONICLES FANS! I know there's a few of you out there (and yes, I need to read these series. The Kane Chronicles is calling to me. I mean, EGYPTIAN GODS! I love Egyptian Gods - my fave was/is Osiris, God of the Afterlife, Underworld and of the Dead) so this eNovella makes these two worlds crash together.

Carter Kane is aware that something weird is happening. A rumour of a monster on Long Island. As he goes to investigate, not only does he meet the beast (and promptly get eaten by the beast), but he's saved by a boy called Percy. And... er... let's say they don't hit it off.

As I am a new fan to Rick Riordan, I really enjoyed this short story. I think some fans of these series will love this as this crossover has been wanted for... since the series existed (though I'm sure someone said there's a moment in the third and final book in the Kane Chronicles, The Serpent's Shadow, where there MIGHT have been a character or two from the Percy Jackson series...) but the characters ACTUALLY spoke to each other. And fought together... and at each other.

I think fans of the series will LOVE this (though it could be longer) and with hints that we haven't seen the last of these two characters meeting up... BRING IT ON! Now, I must actually read the Rick Riordan books I have on my Kindle...

Friday, 7 June 2013

GoodRead - The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs!

The lovely Hannah at Walker Books sent a few of us book bloggers the Walker Books Catalogue for the Summer months and as soon as I saw this (or did I hear two bloggers - @MattLibrarian & another I can't remember), I KNEW I had to read it.


A group of dino friends try and answer the those important questions: can you fly to the moon in a bubble of snort? Can you really have a conversion with a cloud? Are there such things as bogey monsters?

I'm not sure how to review this as... well... it's a "comic strip" book about dinosaurs! And there are bogeies, snot, poo, and sweet moments about friendship and parents.

I read this while in bed, in one sitting. And I was sniggering. It's a silly yet utterly charming comic strip book and I think some kids out there will be howling with laughter.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

GoodRead - Breathless

I am pretty certain some of you guys will have a go at me. "HOW CAN YOU READ THIS WITHOUT READING THE OTHER BOOKS/ENOVELLAS IN THE SERIES?!" Well... because this one grabbed me. I have Storm on my Kindle, awaiting my reading time, and I have read the prequel eNovella to that, Elemental (review here for your lovely people's pleasure). Plus, I have a habit to jumping, haven't I? You should know this about me. Plus, I don't think there's anything really spoilery in this eNovella so I thought I could risk it.

Nick Merrick is meant to be the level headed brother. All his brothers are Elementals - each can control one element - and with all of them being a little hot-headed, he has to be the peacemaker. Expect one night where his problems can no longer make him quiet. His girlfriend, Quinn, has gone from daring to reckless and Quinn's new dance partner, Adam, makes Nick face something he's being trying to hide and not think about for... well, for a very long time. 

I really enjoyed this eNovella. I did. I sped through it and really enjoyed reading about Nick who, according to some of you guys on Goodreads, see him as the most quiet and often outshone by his brothers. Plus, this gives us the perfect chance to actually hear him speak as the forth book in the series, Siege, will be following Nick's point of view. This eNovella might be hinting little clues to the next book in the series, Spirit (or there will be little titbits that the readers who have read the eNovella will see and get whereas those who haven't will miss). 

I wish it was longer. I know that sounds odd for someone who has only read the eNovellas by this author, but I could so easily spent more time with Nick, Quinn and Adam. Their stories were interesting and not very typical YA storylines. So, yeah, I might be jumping ahead in the series and read Siege when that comes out (might even join NetGalley to read it, if I am that desperate for it!). 

But, to those of you who are fans of the series, you might want to read this. And I promise that I will try and read Storm in the next few months. I WILL TRY! 

PS - about a month before the eNovella was released (I preordered this, DON'T JUDGE ME!), I tweeted that I think I found some songs that might fit the story ("Lie To Me" and "You, Now" by Greg Laswell). And, guess what? GREG LASWELL TWEETED ME BACK! I know that means nothing to some of you guys but I ADORE Greg's music! And here's the proof (and yes, I Favorited it even though he tweeted two words to me. I am that sad!) 

PPS - soon after reading and writing up this review, I joined NetGalley (a site where publishers can send e-versions of ARCs to reviews) and one of the first books I received was the third book in the Elementals series, Spirit. So, you're going to get a review on that soon...!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

GoodRead - Dead Silence

As you guys are probably aware if you have followed the blog in the past few months/years, I am a bit of a fan of the Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting. So, when the lovely Sam from Headline asked if there were people who wanted a copy and another blogger pal of mine (who is a fan of the series) Leanne from Daisy Chain Book Reviews popped me out and I was very kindly offered a copy of the fourth and possibly final book in the Body Finder series, Dead Silence.

Violet has a morbid gift. She can see echoes. It could be a smell, a sound, a sight. But she see them. And these echoes stay on the victim... and the murderer. But after the horrifying events of the previous book, The Last Echo (review here), Violet now has her own imprint. And she's forced/blackmailed to stay within the special investigative team, when all she wants is to ignore the horrors and lead a normal life with her boyfriend, Jay.

Expect, she stumbles onto a horrible murder scene. A family slaughtered, a daughter missing and a disturbing calling card from the murderer. Against her wishes, she's pulled into an investigation and soon, without even realising it, someone's life goes on the line. Someone very close to Violet. The question is: will they survive?

Now, after the shocking and tense The Last Echo, you expect Kimberly to shock us to our core with scenes of horror. And, actually, she doesn't. Kimberly turns the book series on its head. While we still have creepy factor and those chapters told from the killer's point of view (Kimberly writes these chapters still and she knows how to write her baddies!), Kimberly made this book the most personal to Violet. Violet is recovering from her ordeal of the Girlfriend Collector so she see her coping. And we see her discovering and reading her grandmother's journal who also had Violet's gift.

And this just works. We needed this. If Kimberly did another serial killer, I bet we would go "She's doing this AGAIN!" but this doesn't get that reaction. I read it and, while I wanted to know what happened to the family, I got caught up with Violet rediscovering her grandmother. That was what hooked me in this book. The personal journey Violet went on. From victim to someone who was going to rush into danger to save a life. That's the Violet we know and love!

Now, in the last review, I talked about the lack of Jay and the overuse of Rafe (I know some of you guys are Rafe shippers *eyes Emma from Book Angel Booktopia*). But Kimberly wrote a nice balance of both characters so she pleased all the Jay and Rafe fans. And yes, we have kissing. And a shirt-related scene with one of those characters (which is funny because last year, when Kimberly was in the UK [I can't find if I blogged it or not], she joked that she had written that scene then read a review on Goodreads, DEMANDING a shirtless Jay... but does this reviewer get her wish? That is the question...)

But yes, I really enjoyed this book and I really enjoyed this series. Now, seeing as I'm not sure if this is the last book in the series (is it? I kinda want one more. Please Kimberly!), this means I can tackle Kimberly's other series, The Pledge, and with news that she going to be writing a new series, The Taking (read her news here). But... yeah, I love this series and I want one more book. Please, Kimberly. Just one more...

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

GoodRead - The Night Itself

I have to let you guys into a secret. Earlier in the year (late March, early April), I (along with a few other very lucky book bloggers) received a very early and very exclusive ARC from Hannah from Walker Books. She asked, nicely but firmly, to keep this book a secret till we were given the OK to share. A month later, she said "Ok, share. But no reviews". And we did. And now, if you are reading this, she's given the OK to share our thoughts with you guys.

And that book was The Night Itself, the first book in Zoe Marriott's new trilogy, The Name of the Blade. And I read it within days of me receiving it. 

I know. I am THAT bad a person. 

So, the book. When Mio steals her late grandfather's katana - a priceless sword that is meant to be keep hidden at all times - all she was doing was livening up her fancy dress costume. Not unleash an ancient evil, determined to get it from her at all cost, onto modern day London! And now, not only has Mio started to be stalked from creatures from mythical Japanese myths, she somehow unleashed a mysterious warrior that wants to save her and keep her safe. But Mio has to figure it out. Figure out the katana's strange powers. But lives are on the line, and she seems to be only one worthy enough to save them... 

Am going to get straight to the point on this: I ADORE THIS BOOK! 

I just fell for it, hook line and sinker. I kinda guess I would but I didn't expect I would so quickly and get so addictive over it till I did. There was one point I took this book out to my local coffee shop with my other half (he had his iPad). I got so sucked into the chapter I was reading, I didn't hear him ask me the same question several times before he had to poke me in the arm. That was how absorbed I was in this book and I don't think I've had that feeling with a book for quite a while. To vanish from the world. 

As I read this back in April and several months have passed, I can't remember if I had any issues with this book, but OH! The Questions! I have questions which I hope will be answered in the next two books in the trilogy. And AT LAST, we see characters that the author didn't have to spell out the sexuality or skin ethnicity. She didn't have to use a sledgehammer and drum the point home! She treated her readers with respect and for that, Zoe, I thank you. 

I thought while read it back in April (and still do now) that if you are a fan of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments and/or Infernal Devices series, that you might want to check this book out. Just... trust me on this, ok?

PS - I'm sorry but whenever Mio thought of her katana as "Mine", I always imagined Gollum saying it in my head. Preciousssss.... 

Monday, 3 June 2013

So... Why Don't We Take Children's Books Seriously?

Earlier today, outgoing Children Laureate Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom) asked a question in the Telegraph: "Why don't we take Children's Literature seriously in the UK?" (for those of you who want to read the article, here's the link). So, after reading this earlier today and thinking it over, I wish I can say I know the answer. Why does German newspaper promote a two-page spread in newspapers, promoting a new kids book? Why is it when a journalist in the New York Times say that YA books were too dark, the internet exploded using the hashtag #YASaves, spearheaded by US author, Maureen Johnson? Why don't we, the United Kingdom, take children's literature seriously?

I think the answer comes from a quote British author, Philip Pullman, said in a BBC documentary "Harry Potter and Me", which was aired on UK TV in late 2001, which talked to JK Rowling about her life and Harry Potter (the quote is taken from Accio Quote!):

One mistake that adults used to make about children's books, is to think that children's books deal with trivial things. Little things that please little minds, and little concerns about little people. And, so, nothing could be further from the truth. Quite the contrary, it's been my observation that a lot of highly praised adult books, or highly successful adult books, in recent years have dealt with the trivial things. Such as "Does my bum look big in this?" or "Will my favorite football team win the cup?" and "Oh dear, my girlfriend's left me, whatever am I going to do?". Whereas the children's books have dealt with ultimate questions: "Where do we come from?," "What's the nature of being a human being?," "What must I do to be good?" These are profound questions, very deeply important questions. And they're being dealt with. Largely, not in the books that adults read, but in the books that children read.

And this is the problem, in my opinion. The attitude that children's books are little things to please little minds.

Book sales have decreased in the past years, baring ebooks and children's book (for the sack of this blogpost, I am including YA and New Adult into this bracket and the broadest sense). So why the industry has promoted eBooks and eReaders but not children's books?

Before I go any further, I am NOT saying the publishers are at fault here. I'm not. It is an attitude that we ALL have. This is what we need to change: people's attitude to children's literature and, in some people's cases, change their whole attitude to literature in general.

So how do we that? Simple answer: I have no idea. We can suggest ideas and theories till we are blue in the face, but we can't. I have ideas and theories, which I am going to talk quickly about, but I feel I have to say the following: to change an attitude isn't a quick fix. We can't click our fingers or wave a magic wand and BAM!, the attitude has changed. It won't happen over night. It will take time. It couldn't months, year, decades, a lifetime to change to attitude.

So, what ideas could I throw at you? If I'm honest, most of these are going to be crap, but I am going to said them so, at least, we can start the discussion about this and figure this out together.

1. Nurseries and Primary Schools: Before all you teachers out there get furious and march to my house, I love and respect you. And with everything you are currently doing plus what the Education Secretary is doing, the last thing you guys probably want is some blogger who thinks he knows better than you to say "you're not doing either". You are doing MORE than enough. I know your jobs are stressful and some/most of you are pushed to your limit, but to change an attitude, you have to start young. You have to show children that books are fun and exciting and that children's books are just as valuable as adult books. What if once a week, a class gets together for a readalong or a class has quiet time where the child reads quietly to themselves.

2. Parents Reading: I know parents are stressed and, sometimes, you have very little time to sit down with your child. But there are reports out there (which I can not find) that say doing this is not only good for the children but good for the parent? If you spend five or ten minutes with a child, reading out loud, this couldn't not only change the child's attitude but your own.

But both of these don't change the attitude we have now. That's the seed that changes it in years to come. What about now?

This leads me to this: THE MEDIA. That's right. The Media. And, to make it easier, am going to focus on four areas in Media: TV, Radio, Movies and Internet.

Ok, think of all the TV and Radio adaptions of books. All book adaptions for the television. Right, think of only the children adaptions. Now, tell me, apart from at Christmas and Easter, when have you watched an adaption based on children's book? Hardly never. And shows where someone is reading out loud is on preschool shows or channels are part of "The Bedtime Hour", which is meant to help children get ready for bed.

Also with TV and radio, how many shows are there about reading? Only a handful and, even then, the readers are reading/review adult novels. Not children, but only adult. Again, this is the same with book awards. Not just children book awards, but adult as well. How many of these are aired on British TV? How many of these are aired on mainstream channels? And at primetime viewing? if you can't think of any, this proves my point.

A few years ago, there was a surge of book groups forming because of TV hosts Richard Madeley and Judy  Finnigan. On their Channel 4 teatime show, they formed a book group. This became unexpectedly successful. The pair have continued their book club when they did a show on the channel Watch and afterwards when they joined forces with bookseller, WHSmiths. This is still happening. They even started, when they joined forced with WHSmiths, a children's book club. This got little to no publicity.

Movies are more fair. There has been a upsurge of adaptions lately taken from books, both from YA and adult. But, is it my imagination or don't they tell you it's based on a book in the trailer? It feels rare sometimes, when you watch a movie trailer, you see the words "BASED ON THE BESTSELLER NOVEL BY [INSERT AUTHOR'S NAME HERE]". It's happening more and more now, compared to a few years ago, but you still have to hunt round to discover if a movie is based on a book.

The Internet... my, you are wonderful. The internet has changed everything. You have reviews on bookseller's website, there are blogs dedicated to children's books and reviewing them, vlogs, podcasts and webcasts, Facebook and Twitter, websites dedicated to fandoms of book series like Harry Potter, Twilight and other book series out there. But, unless you are a fan of a book, you won't know of these. You have to go hunting for them.

So, you may say, what is needed is publicity to put it in the public eye? And that's true. Why can't a topical show such as This Morning or The One Show do a book club and, once a month, have a show dedicated to that month's book, regardless if the book is classed as children or adult? Why can't book awards events (like The Man Booker Prize, the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, the Blue Peter Book Awards, etc) be aired at primetime like Channel 4 airs the Turner Prize? Why doesn't BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4 have shows where children's books are talked about, reviewed and reading promoted? Why can't local radio stations have shows where local authors, publishers, reviewers (ranging from "real" reviewers to people who blog and vlog reviews) and the general public come and talk about books? Why can't a "Book Doctor" be on TV/radio/internet and answer questions from the public that range from "I read this author and love them. What are your recommendations?", "How can I get my teen to read?" to "Is there any good books for a 4 year old about spiders?"?

*takes a deep breath* And we come to the problem I have had: WHY? And HOW? WHY do we have this attitude towards children's books and HOW do we change it? And, if I am completely honest, I have no idea. It's not, like I said before, something we can change overnight. And it's not sometimes we can change on mass. On some level, the attitude we face is personal. But for us to face a attitude we have, sometimes we need a trigger. Sometime we need something for us to realise that we have this attitude/issue/problem/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, and face up to it. And with children's books, there seems to be no trigger at the present moment.

So, what can we do? Do we wait for something to happen? No, of course not. Go to your local library or nearest bookshop and LOOK at all the children's book (again, I use children in the broadest sense to include YA books and New Adult fiction). And, maybe, if we do this, if we stop and spend time with them, this will slowly cause a snowball effect which means children's books could get the same publicity as its adult counterpart. In some people's cause, you do this now. In others, they might need a TV show to say "We're going to be talking about this book..." to make people treat children's literature in the same way as adult literature.

My thoughts as I try to figure out a way to end this post: keep reading. Enjoy reading what you love reading and don't let anyone tell you differently.

SMILE - I Knew I Loved Belle For A Reason!


My thanks to Pinterest! How could I not after this pic?! 

Saturday, 1 June 2013


Well... as you asked so nicely (and RSM was only going to last for the month of May), I'M BACK! Did you miss me? I missed -

Oh... oh, ok. That's fine. I can handle that... Sort of... kinda. So, while I had my time out of the world of blogging, I have been reading so next months, I'm afraid, will be FILLED with book reviews. And as I written this back in April, I hope it will be a wide and mix of genres and age ranges (well, that's he plan as June will have a mix of books I have read from April, May and June so... BOOK REVIEWS GALORE!)

So, celebrate the month of nuts book reviews! I promise there will be something that you should/hopefully will LOVE! 

And the break actually did the world of good. I am attacking the blog with more fun and silliness with books so the happy blog is going to stay that. Happy. And silly. As happy and silly as this fine being:

And I promise that I will not leave you for so long. I might take a week/maybe two weeks break in October (I have a holiday booked) so get the sobs out of your system now (like this lovely woman is)...

...and I can now get back into the blogging groove. So, my dear blog-readers, shall we begin?