Monday, 30 September 2013

SMILE - Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day?

My thanks goes to, and the video is in connect with the new app, Love Book, where 10% of the profits go to the charity, Save The Children.

But thought you guys might want to hear the voice-porn.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

GoodRead - Infinityglass

I was actually planning to read this in November (come back next Tuesday to see my weird plans for the next 2 months) but I changed my mind. The lovely Emma from Book Angel Booktopia (who is probably a bigger fan of the series than me!) asked that, in the near future, she could borrow my copy of Infinityglass. And because it's Emma (who is brilliant/thoughtful/kind and one of my favourite book bloggers), I said of course. So, because of this, I decided to read it. Plus, this had been calling from the depths of my To Read pile for a while so, actually, Emma did me a favor. Thanks, Emma!

So, Infinityglass. Because of the events that happened in both Hourglass and Timepiece, time is now in flux. And it's fracturing. People from other times can slip through into the present, rips are getting bigger. If this isn't fixed, the world is in danger. And, because of this, the only solution is finding the legendary Infinityglass, an object that can fix this. Expect it's not an object. It's a person.

Dune, the only guy at Hourglass who knows enough information about the Infinityglass, is sent to New Orleans to find the Infinityglass. Expect he meets the headstrong Hailey...

Before I go any further, I wanna talk about the covers in the series. They are beautiful, aren't they? And Infinityglass's is probably my fave out of the three but, at the same time, is the most freaky.

Ok, now I have that out of the way, let's talk about this, the third and final in the series and, because of this, let me get the cons out of the way. I only have two and one isn't a con, if that makes any sense. The first con is more a worry for you guys. I fear that some of you guys will read this and go "Oh, dual-narrative" and will see the similarities in the voices of Dune and Hailey. I never truly saw that, but I worry that some of you guys will.

My second con is length. Out of the series, so far, this is the tiniest! My copy is less than 300 pages. Maybe it's the fact I don't want to leave this world but I could have so easily had another 25 or so pages. There were some revelations that I wished we explored more [not saying anything - spoilers!], but like I said, I think it's because I'm not ready to say goodbye.

Ok, pros. Myra's writing. I love this woman's writing style. Her writing made me read the pages faster and I easily stayed up late on more than one occasion, going "One more chapter won't hurt". And no matter how confusing the plot got, Myra made sure it still made sense. And if you did lose the plot for a few pages, you were reading because of the characters and their relationships (oh, Dune & Hailey relationship was so sweet and so different to Emerson & Michael's in Hourglass [which was kickass] and Kaleb & Lily's in Timepiece [which was hot]). And the snarky humour/one-liners! This series has humour and that's always a bonus.

I still find it baffling that this series hasn't got a UK publisher, seeing as the UK is the home of Doctor Who and this series would be perfect for you Doctor Who fans! And with Fox getting the rights for the movie (now I think of it, I can really see this fitting a TV format better [can you imagine the hot actors this series could have?]), I haven't really said goodbye to this world, just yet. But I hope Myra returns and writes something (even a novella - I would happily take that!). But, if not, I want to read what Myra writes next. Like, as soon as possible.

Maybe I should reread Hourglass again, just to pass the time...

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

GoodRead - Last Groom Standing

Oh yes. Yes, I went there. I read... a Mills and Boon novel! Are you all shocked?! Are you all going "Wait! Are you feeling well?" at your computer screen and baffled over how/why one became into my hands as... well... I am not the type to read this type of novel. And you are all right. This isn't my normal read. But I won it randomly on Goodreads and, seeing as I joked that I would read one of these one day, I decided to dive in!

So, this is the last book in the Wedding Season quartet and, with all the drama of her past and watching all her friends getting married, Marnie decides to do something reckless. She sleeps with Dylan Brookes, a man who makes the wedding tux sexy. And is sexier without it. And Dylan always doing the sensible thing, a night with Marnie is as far from sensible as he could get. But in the cold light of day, where does this leave them?

This isn't my cup of tea. I am going to admit that right out. I like reading YA and when I read stories that have romantic feels to them, there is always something that is my main focus: fantasy, action, thriller. So this is pure romance and, so, because of that, I always feel indifferent to it. But that's a me thing. I admit this. I am not a romance reader.

So, why did I read it? Because I wanted to read something new. Something outside of my comfort zone. I feel that, sometimes, we readers pigeonhole ourselves with what we read. You know what I mean? "I only read the classics", "I prefer reading crime", "I read exclusively YA". We do this to ourselves without realising and, sometimes, we need to brave and try new things. We do this with new authors, why not new genres? So, I decide to try and read something new.

It was a fast read. If I had more time on my hands, I would have read this within one day. And this is what Mills and Boon are good at. Romance that you can read quickly, easier and have a happy feeling at the end. And as this is the last book in the Wedding Season, this is for those who have read the series as there is a lot of names and back story.

But this wasn't for me. But at least I tried.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

#re3 - Glass Houses

Another day, another #re3. And today, I am starting my first book in my Morganville Challenge, Glass Houses. I first read this last year (review's here if you wanna read it) but here is my reread of it, so... here we go!

I reread Glass Houses as I won the near-complete Morganville Vampires series and I decided it would be fun to try and read the series. But this would mean rereading Glass Houses. I was planning to read it at the end, but decided to read it first.

I liked it, but I didn't love it. I didn't like how the issue of bullying was tackled and, I think at the time, I had my fill of vampires so I liked it less than I think I would have been.

I much prefer reading Glass Houses this time round than when I read it last year. I'm not sure why, but I think I'm ready to read vampires again so reading Glass Houses is a nice step back into the fanged world. It felt more gripping to read it this time round.

The last 50 or so pages were fast-paced. I lost sleep reading those pages. And the last chapter! That last chapter!

I still get Shane and Michael mixed up. Hopefully, reading The Dead Girls' Dance will help me get them straight in my head.

Yes, I will. After reading that last chapter (that last page! I remembered this ending halfway through this book, but I forgot how tense it was when I reread it!), I'm pretty certain I will be reading Dead Girls' Dance sooner than I thought.

Monday, 23 September 2013

SMILE - When You Read A Book As A Child...

I read this line on tumblr and fell in love with it (because it is very true!). My thanks to the tumblr of theashleyclements (tht's right, the actor who played Lizzie Bennett in Lizzie Bennett Diaries.)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

#re3 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Hello again! My second #re3 of 2013 (yes, you can laugh as I decided to start this so late in the year). And today, I am going to chat about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. So, let's get busy and answer the #re3 questions!

I always wanted to reread Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but when I decided to reread Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (#re3 chat of Order of the Phoenix is here), I knew I was going to read this. Plus, when I decided to reread Order of the Phoenix, I bought the white signature edition (just because) and with it under the "Buy One, Get One Half Price", I knew I had to buy Prisoner of Azkaban.

This is my favourite Harry Potter book. I loved how this introduced to Lupin and Sirius, two characters that I love, and introduced to, what I still think is one of the creepiest/frightening creatures in children's literature, Dementors.

I loved rereading this. I still love this book as much as I did before, but I did noticed that, after reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that JK's writing style has changed and grown, saying her growing more confident in, not only her writing style, but showing her grown-up and dark the series is becoming. This is the last book where it has a "childish" feel to it.

And Crookshanks - I LOVE this cat! It's snarky, even more so for a cat!

I was cheering the moment Hermione slapped Draco. Need I say more?

I kinda want to read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I'm not 100% sure why I want to reread (because am listening to the Harry Potter ReadALong podcast, Alohomora) or because I was thinking of writing a blogpost about the "Circle Theory" and wonder why Goblet of Fire is a standalone in this theory. But I think it's because I wanna reread the first chapter - The Riddle House - as that's one of my fave chapter within the Harry Potter series. And, because of the new JK Rowling movie news (read the news on her website here or BBC News) , I am going to reread Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them before the year is out.

(PS - if you are a fan of Remus Lupin, his backstory was revealed on Pottermore. However, I listened to the special edition of the podcast, Alohomora. If you want to listen to the episode, click here.)

Friday, 13 September 2013


I feel like I'm not giving you guys much love with contests of late. So, here I am, doing a small giveaway with thanks with HarperCollins.

5 lucky winners will win the paperback edition of Cathy Kelly's The Honey Queen!

And for those of you who haven't heard of The Honey Queen, here is a quick synopsis taken from the press release and GoodReads:

To discover the sweetest things in life, you sometimes have to lose your way…

It’s easy to fall in love with the beautiful town of Redstone – the locals wave and chat to each other, the shops and cafes are full of cheerful hustle and bustle. And amidst all this activity, two women believe they are getting on just fine.

Francesca’s boundless energy help her to take everything in her stride, including a husband who has lost his job and the unwelcome arrival of the menopause, which has kicked in – full throttle.

Peggy, on the other hand, has always been a restless spirit. But now, focused and approaching thirty, she has opened her own knitting shop on the town’s high street. It’s a dream come true, but she still feels adrift.

When Australian-raised Lillie finally makes it back home to Ireland, she is drawn right into the heart of Redstone’s busy, close-knit community. But what she thought would be an ending is actually just a beginning – all is not quite as it seems in the picturesque town.

Soon, Lillie’s hard-earned wisdom will be called into play as she helps new friends navigate unchartered territory…

Has this wet your appetite? If it has and you want a chance to win 1 of the 5 copies I'm giving away, all you have to do is fill in the form below!

The competition ends on Friday 20th September at 7pm and winners will be selected by This is a UK-only contest (sorry you International guys, but I have plans for you in the next few months) I will email the winners for their address so HarperCollins can send your winning copy!


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Morganville Challenge

So, if you visit the blog every so often, you may have noticed that there's a new tab on the top of the blog that, for the past month, has just been ???. I should have just said it when I decided this, but I was a little unsure on if I could do this challenge. But am going to try!

Due to me winning a competition to win the near-complete series, I am going to try and read the whole Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine! And for those wonder why I'm a little unsure of myself, here is why:

Fifteen books! FIFTEEN! I know some of you guys who have been with the series since the beginning or halfway through so you're probably going "That's not a big deal". But I have never read a series this long before. And some of these books are THICK! 

But then I won a competition (thanks Devil's Library!) of books 1-14 (with Fall of Night being signed by the author! And a signed copy of Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan) and I thought "I think I wanna try and read these. Even if I get half way through and stop, let's see what Morganville is about!"

So, from September 2013 to the end of 2015 (so am giving myself over 2 years!), am going to try and read all 15 books. By the time you're all reading this, I should be reading/have just finished rereading the first book in the series, Glass Houses (which is technically a reread [#re3] as I read Glass Houses back in June 2012). 

And I haven't got the whole series (books 5 & 6 [Lord of Misrule & Carpe Corpus] are on their way to me and book 15 [Daylighters] isn't out yet so it won't always be one-after-another but I should read them if/when the mood takes me. 

So if you wanna join me on this mad quest, COME! Though no spoilers! But come, it'll be fun (hopefully!). But 15 books in 2 years... WISH ME LUCK!!! 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

GoodRead - More Than This

I had been drooling over book blogging pals of mine who had read this book throughout the course of last month. So when I got a surprise parcel from Walker Books and it was this book, I get quite excited. And by quite excited, I mean jumping up and down in my kitchen. And this is my first Patrick Ness novel so double excited!

The book opens with the line "Here is the boy, drowning." And the boy dies, smashing his head against a rock. Only to wake up. He's alive. Naked, thirsty, but alive. How is that possible? And where is he? It looks like the suburban English town he once lived in, expect the weeds are overgrown, everything covered in dust and, from the looks of it, he's alone... 

Right, where on earth did I start with this review? I ask this as I am still recovering from the book so you have to bear with me on this. 

This isn't an easy read. Nor is this a fast read. You have to sit and invest time and energy into this book. And because of this, your emotions will go all over the place. Patrick knows how to twist our emotions and he knows how to makes us go "Wait! Wait one cotton-picking minute!" as More Than This is like a giant game of Jenga. Just when you think you have the book straight in your head, Patrick moves a block and we go "Oh, that makes sense" or "Wait, what?!". Events in the book might divide your opinions. 

This book also contains scenes that are quite dark (one chapter I found completely chilling!) but there is something hopeful about the book. 

This book isn't your typical YA read. It's demands your attention and will make you think, long after you have finished the book. And because this book is a thinking book, I am still trying to figure out my thought and feels over this book! 

But I haven't read a book that has made me think in AGES and sometimes, you need a book in which you can read and think about, even when you have finished the books days/weeks/months ago. And if you're the mood for one of those books, I would say this is the book you need. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

GoodRead - WayLand

This book came as a complete surprise. Jasmine from David Fickling Books/Random House emailed me one day and asked if I would be interested in reading Wayland. This book is very much outside my normal reading. Some people will read this as poetry and others as a retelling of a Viking legend. But I said yes because of Philip Pullman. He called this tale "enthralling" and as I was thinking of rereading one of Philip's novels, I said yes and read this book with a mic of excitement and wariness.

Based on a little-known legend, this tells the tale of Wayland, a blacksmith whose skills have made him know across the land. But also onto the ears of a greedy king who take Wayland into slavery. In an attempt to return to his swan-bride, Wayland must rely on his skills, courage and hope to survive.

You need to read this out loud. I feel like that I need to make this clear. It is written in verse and, while reading in your head is alright, reading it out loud helps a lot to get the heartbeat (as I call it) of the story and Tony's writing. Because of reading it out loud, you fall under he story's spell.

And as for John Lawrence's illustrations, they fit the story perfectly. It has the feel of hand-carved block press and this fits with the story as it gives a feel of the time when this story takes place.

And for those of you thinking "This sounds a bit like a Disney tale", it isn't. There is a few moment of violence and one grown-up moment so... yeah... moving on!

But I really enjoyed reading this. And if you are a fan of proses and/or Viking tales, I think you all love this!

Monday, 9 September 2013

SMILE - Behold!

I googled Gilmore Girls gif, saw this and knew I had to show you guys this! I hope you love it!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

GoodRead - Being A Boy

As you guys are probably aware, I am not a non-fiction fan. I find it a bit jarring for my taste so when I do read non-fiction, it is VERY rare. But when I was chatting to the lovely Cait about Maureen Johnson, I asked about James Dawson's next horror novel that Hot Key are publishing next year. And, before I knew it, Cait asked if I wanted James's first non-fiction book, Being A Boy, I went "Why not?"

Being a Boy is a book about growing up. About puberty, dating and sex. It, as another author (Kim Curran) described it, fills the void between sex education in schools and online porn. But in a warts-and-all kinda way. It doesn't (pardon the pun) sex-up sex.

Now, as someone who had survived puberty, I think this would have been good to have when I was going up. It would have answered those questions I had. Do I have to be in a relationship as a teen? If I'm not ready to have sex, is that ok or does that make me a freak? Is my body meant to be doing that?

While James writes with his humour, he always writes with brutal honesty and this is needed. Though some of the illustrations (some, not all) by Spike Gerrell felt a tad childish for my liking, I think the two balanced each other. It was serious and talking about a serious subject matter, but it had humour (because... do you honestly think male teens would read this if it was just serious?), it helped make this short book feel useful and helpful.

My only worry with this book is how exactly teen boys are going to read it? It's not going to be seen as "cool" if you read this in public (and some teens care far too much about image - not all, but some). I can imagine that bookshops and library will put this under either "Non-Fiction", "Health" or (cringes a little) "Mind, Body and Soul" and when was the last time you saw a teen boy go ANYWAY near these genres? And if this book was given in class during sex education, I find it hard to believe that most boys in the class would read it. They would see it as homework or a punishment.

It might not be every boy's cup of tea but if one teen reads this and feels less alone in the world, then this book has done its job, right?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Story Behind Neo-Babel by Natasha Ngan

To celebrate the release of The Elites, the author Natasha Ngan is chatting to us about the city of Neo-Babel and, if this wets your appetite, there is a competition on Goodreads that closes soon so GO ENTER! Now, I will hand over to Natasha...

‘Once, our great city was just the seed of an idea,’ Tanaka began, his voice magnified by the small microphone strapped to the collar of his tunic. ‘A seed born from the riots that spread through the three great continents – the Mainland, Afrika and the Red Nations. A seed that was planted in the late twenty-fifth century, when what was left of the Global Council agreed upon the build of a city in the deserted lands of the former Eastern Europe. They dreamt of a place where civilisation could continue and flourish, where the disastrous effects of the sea-level rises, economic collapse and cultural dilution could be forgotten. A fresh start made.’ He raised his arms, his voice growing louder. ‘A city where history could be outrun, and in time, overcome. A city of hope, of sustainability, of unity. A city, dear citizens, named Neo-Babel!’

Cultures and worlds and the climate of our own earth has always fascinated me. I guess it was this, along with my love of worldbuilding and sci-fi and fantasy stories, that led me to write a book set in the future (multiple books now - my second one, The Memory Keepers, is set in a futuristic London!). When the idea for The Elites first came to me, I was studying Geography at university. That first flash of inspiration for the book was more to do with human genes than anything geographical, but as I envisioned this fascinating place in the future where people are streamed at birth according to their DNA, I started to wonder how this city came to be, and why it is the way it is.

As the extract at the beginning of this post shows, Neo-Babel was a city engineered by a global government in response to the disintegration of the world's most powerful civilisations. I don't really think that the events that led up to the creation of Neo-Babel will happen on such a scale (especially in the near future), but from what I was learning in my degree and my own research, I based the city's background on elements from current events and what I thought could be a possibility for our future.  

Creating Neo-Babel's backstory was so much fun! Although I had the idea for The Elites in my second year or university, I didn't properly begin writing it until February last year (2012). When I began the first draft, I made this big Word document full of information about the city and everything leading up to its creation. The Word doc grew and grew as I progressed through the first draft and found things I wanted to add or change. I wanted everything to be scientifically and socially correct. It was all very geeky! But it really helped me bring the world to life in my mind and make sure everything about the city had a valid explanation behind it. You could quiz me on where the city gets its energy from, or how they made all the waterways, or even where they get their meat and veg from when there isn't any farmland in the city (hah! Bet you want to know the answer to that now!) and I'd be able to tell you.

The sad thing is though, as a writer you can never include all the things you want to in a book. The plot and characters always come first - especially with YA and children's novels. And also with standalones. Think of all the amazing ideas J. K. Rowling had for the world of Harry Potter that we'd never have known about it if had just been a single book! Since all the worldbuilding I did for The Elites couldn't all fit in the book, I tried to create a believable, textured history and really make the readers feel as though Neo-Babel could be real by adding brief references to events of the past. For example, the Reds (ethnic Chinese) making the planes come down actually comes from a fun day's research about eletromagnetic pulses, and the materials I mention in the book like plastiglass are from lots of material science articles. 

Despite all of this research, the one thing I didn't know about Neo-Babel long into writing was actually it's name! I was just using 'City' as I wrote at first. It's weird, as names are usually the first thing to come to me - I find it so difficult to write a setting or character without having found the right name for them. But with Neo-Babel it took a lot longer. Since the city was purposely created, I knew it would have a name that was meaningful and not based on an existing place, but nothing I tried really worked. Then my dad reminded me about the biblical Tower of Babel - a place where a united humanity comprising of multiple ethnicities and cultures came for shelter and safety following the Great Flood - and its story fit perfectly with my city's. I added the Neo because it's just a cool way of saying new!  

Well I hope that's given you a bit of an insight into the story behind Neo-Babel! And if you're a writer too and would like a few tips on worldbuilding, I did a post here that you might find useful :)

Monday, 2 September 2013

SMILE - I Love...

I blame Pinterest for this one. Just... yeah... So, if you are on Pinterest, you can follow all my boards or just follow my Smile board. Either way, come. I would LOVE see you on there and I can have a snoop at your boards/pins!