Thursday 28 March 2013

GoodRead - The Prince

Truth time: I asked for a copy of The Selection by Kiera Cass when the book came out in the UK from the publisher. I did ask for it. But then all the bad press around it happened (let's not get into that, shall we?) and so, I never read it. I gave it away and thought nothing of it.

But now we have the eNovella, The Prince, and I couldn't help but wonder... Did I react too harshly? Should I have read it despite of all the bad press around it at the time? I mean, if you look at it now, the news seems to be on the CW trying to make a series out of it. So, when I saw this on Amazon for 99p, I thought "What have I got to lose?"

In this prequel, we follow Prince Maxon as the build-up to the thirty-five girls - his Selection - brings. But before he met America and the other girls, there was one girl in his life already. And you have to wonder: if he was allowed to live his own life, could he have been in love?

This is very much for Selection fans. If you're a fan of the series, go and read this as this gives an insight to the character that is Prince Maxon. Although I know that in The Selection, Maxon came across as strong and confident. But here, we're inside his head and we see his worries and doubts.

The writing was ok. I liked it and it went smoothly. But for a series that has been branded as "The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor", it felt a tad light and fluffy for me. I was expecting it to be edgy, but this has a beach read feel to it. Not that I'm complaining, sometimes we need a beach read.

I liked it, but I'm not certain if I would go read The Selection or not. Maybe if/when the TV series happens, then I might reconsider... On the fence, I'm afraid, but fans will love it!  

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Wild Boy Blog Tour - Not Another Story Set Of Victorian London?!

Hello! Today is the third stop on the Wild Boy blog tour and I am super excited to take part of this tour. My review should be up either yesterday or tomorrow (I still need to decide so by the time you read it, you shall know what am planning!). So, today, Robert Lloyd Jones, author of Wild Boy, takes over and chats about why he wrote Wild Boy in Victorian London. So, I must thank Rob for writing this and allowing me to put it up on the blog, and thank you Hannah from Walker Books for offering me a copy to read and asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour. So, now I got all the thank yous out of the way, let me hand it over to Rob...!

Not Another Story Set In Victorian London?!

            Hello, and thanks for having me on The Pewter Wolf.
            First off – an apology. Yes, I’ve written another story set in Victorian London. I know I know, far better writers than me have been there already – Joan Aiken’s wonderfully creepy Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Philip Pullman’s gripping Sally Lockhart thrillers…Oh, and some bloke called Dickens.
            But I didn’t have a choice. My hero – Wild Boy – is a performer on a freak show, covered in hair since birth, and those grim ‘monster museums’ didn’t really exist after the 1860s (or, at least, not so openly). I wanted Wild Boy’s story to end at the biggest, rowdiest fair of them all – Bartholemew’s Fair in the heart of London. So that was where my story had to go. Only, I realised, I’d bloomin’ well better have something new to say.
            As I read about Wild Boy’s time (the 1840s), I grew to understand why the Victorian world has excited so many authors’ imaginations. I think, partly, it’s because it feels close. We share the Victorian’s houses, parks and hospitals. Yet, at the same time, it’s a foreign place. I recognise some of their buildings, but not all of them. I know some that landmark, but those signs and vehicles are strange to me. It feels like a fantasy reality – a world I want to explore.
            Victorian London was also a very unpleasant place, and there’s nothing writers love more than very unpleasant places. How can you not want to write about a city where public entertainment included bare-knuckle boxing, animal baiting, and hangings? And the reek and the roar of it all! The clop of hooves, the rattle of iron-rimmed wheels. The curses from drivers and the cracks from their whips. The stink of animal dung and the stench from the industries along the riverfront – the breweries, tanneries, knackers’ yards and bladder blowers. And, of course, from the Thames itself, that giant sewer, toxic with waste from a million homes.
           Another odd thing about children’s writers is that, while we love our characters dearly, we try to make their lives as tough as possible. And few places were tougher for children than London in the early nineteenth century. Boys and girls as young as five worked in factories. Others lived by their wits on the streets, eking out livings as crossing sweepers, rat catchers, or pure collectors (who collected dog and pigeon poo to sell to tanners).
            These were desperately hard lives.
            But all of this was normal. 
            What fascinated me was this: What if someone was not normal? What if this person was born different – a freak covered in hair, forced to perform on a travelling show? How much harder would his life be and how much tougher would that make him?
            But let’s make it even worse. What if this boy was framed for murder, on the run, hunted for a reward on his head? Only then was I sure that I had a new story to tell in this creepily familiar place. But I couldn’t leave him there helpless. So I gave him a tool, another thing that’s not normal about him. You see, Wild Boy is not just a freak. He is also the greatest detective of his time.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

GoodReads - Demon Eyes

As you guys are probably aware if you have been following my blog for a while, I have a tiny crush on the lead in this series. But I'm not going to talk much about that - I shouldn't, really. Oh well... let's try without going all gushy over a possible fictional husband material.

Demon Eyes is the second book in the series, about a war on two witch families and Braden is caught in the middle of it. And while the war is on a tenderhook ceasefire, Braden is trying to get to grips over the events of the last book. Braden thought he destroyed a powerful demon. So why does Braden keep seeing him? Why does he keep seeing visions of him? Why is he hearing a cold winter voice inside his head? And when girls begin to disappear, Braden realise that the war between the two families is going to get suddenly worse, and only him and his powerful Witch Eyes can stop it from happening... but his Witch Eyes are dangerous. And he could be used as a weapon if he isn't careful...

Now, where to begin? I like this series. A lot. So my views on this is going to be a tad biased, but it is very much a continuation. You need to have read the first book, Witch Eyes, before you can read this as there's no real "This is what happened before". You have to no catch up. You're thrown into the story.

It's very magic driven. There was a lot of twist on magic, the feud and its history, and you have to be on the ball while reading this. It's going away from the normal world and the romantic element of the first story (which was fine with me as Trey, Braden's love interest, never gripped me and I got quite angry with him...), so if you were a fan of these sides of the story, you might feel a bit underwhelmed by it. But I like that it went away from it, though by the end, I was wondering if it was going too far away from it and was focusing solely on magic...

And character development with characters. That was good. Braden and Trey's character development was very good. We saw Braden go very dark and Trey no longer, to me, felt like a mindless robot-soldier. He asked questions and didn't always believe what his mother told him. This is a HUGE step as this was one of the flaws I had with Trey - he never questioned ANYTHING! And in Demon Eyes, he did! At last!

The plot - right, this is where I'm going to get a little unstuck. While the plot was good and we had magic and twists and moments where Scott Tracey pulled the rug from under you, there were times that I felt like this book was written to set up book 3, Phantom Eyes. Questions were asked, but answers... no where to be seen.

But saying that, I really enjoy this series and so, bring Phantom Eyes on! Only have to wait till next year. I can wait till then... though that ending... Not sure if I can get over that twist just yet. And I want answers! I need answers!

Monday 25 March 2013

SMILE - This Is How I React When People Discover I Blog...


Sorry, I had to blog these images! These images were taken from a youTube series, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries (a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice). Click here if you want to watch the episode where the above gifs are from. Or click here if you want to watch the first episode (do it! It's worth it!). 

Oh, my thanks is taken from CassJayTuck tumblr for the gifs! THANKS! 

PS - this better be released as a DVD or I will never forget the creators of this. And one of them was Hank Green, of VlogBrother fame... 

Thursday 21 March 2013

GoodRead - Wild Boy

When Hannah from Walker Books asked if I wanted to read this, it took me a few minutes of reading what the story was about before I emailed her back, saying yes and waited for the perfect time to read it. That came a few weeks ago and now, I feel like I can talk about it because of the Wild Boy blog tour.

Set in Victorian London, in a travelling freak show, there is a boy completely covered in hair. Wild Boy. But while people see him as a freak, he watches them and develops a knack for observation and detection that is almost Sherlock Holmes-like. And then a murder happens and the fingers begin to point to him, Wild Boy has to go on the run. With red-haired acrobat Clarissa Everett, the pair must put their differences aside and join forces to find the real murder. But with a price on their heads, it might be harder than they think... Roll up, roll up, the circus is in town...

I'm going to admit something very quickly: this is a tad younger than my normal reads. It's not as meaty, as dark or as sinister as most of my reads.

But I loved it. I completely fell under Wild Boy's charm and would always find myself smiling within a few pages of reading. It was one of those stories that sucked me in, even though it was "light" compare to my other reads. I just loved the characters, the story, the mystery, the twists...

Now, I've read some reviews and most seem to get who the mysterious hooded figure aka the killer was. I didn't. I honestly thought it was someone completely different so when it was revealed in an almost Agatha Christie style, I read the line again. And again. And then went "WHAT?!" on Twitter.

I know I should be negative, but I can't. This was a great read and I want/need a sequel. There better be a sequel, Rob. Because I don't want to let Wild Boy go yet...

PS - when I finished Wild Boy, all I thought was this line from Doctor Who. It just fits the story so perfectly!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

GoodRead - Soulless

I went away for a week earlier this month. And as I knew I wanted to read from my Kindle, I went to Twitter and asked them to choose my next read. Which was fine... until I got a tie between Soulless by Gail Carriger and Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey. So, after slight panicking, Twitter saved me and picked Soulless (though I am reading Demon Eyes now) so I read this while I was away from real life. 

In a steampunk Victorian London, Alexi Tarabotti has a lot to deal with. Not only does she have to deal with the social etiquette of being a spinster and being half Italian, she's also soulless. And then a vampire tried to attack her. All she did was defend herself, but now she has a dead vampire on her hands and Lord Maccon (loud, Scottish, sexy, and, oh yes, an Alpha werewolf) has to investigate this and investigate unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing on behalf of Queen Victoria. With Alexi always seem to be caught in the middle of this weird mess and the strange heat between her and Lord Maccon, the next few days are going to be interesting. But first, tea and treacle tart.

This was a fun read! I completely adored it! It was the perfect read for a holiday - it was sexy, fun, fluffy. It just worked. It might take a few pages (or, as I read this on my kindle, a few clicks) in for some readers to get the formal language as most of the characters were always full name. 

But, I completely enjoyed it. I got halfway through the eBook, knowing I was going to read the rest of this series and Gail's YA series, Finishing School. Yep, that's how much I enjoyed reading this. It was steampunk that didn't take itself seriously compared to other steampunks I have read (and would I really lass this as steampunk? I know some of you would, but am on the fence on how to class this). 

Anyway, I loved it! And I have already bought the sequel, Changeless, on my Kindle and a few weeks ago, Atom sent me a copy of Gail's first YA series, Etiquette and Espionage (why, thank you Atom!) so, yeah, I might get a bit obsessed with this author in the coming year. Sorry in advance, loyal readers. 

Tiny sidenote, but will trying to Google image a image of the author and the book cover, Google threw up an image of the actor Jamie Dornan (aka the Huntsman from Once Upon A Time). Is he fan's choice for Lord Maccon? Anyway, will show you the pic as... well... because this is my blog and I can! 

Monday 18 March 2013

Who Fanies A Signed Copy of "Heart Shaped Bruise" by Tanya Byrne?

As some of you are aware (if you follow me on Twitter [if you wanna follow me, click here!]), I went to an event where the super lovely Tanya Byrne and the lovely Frankie from Headline chat about writing and publishing. Which is nice and super helpful (must stop using the word super in this post - nah! Will be fine!) as I wanted some advice about editing (but I didn't have to ask in the end as Tanya offered advice and am going to try and use one of her tips when I get my writing gear on!).

So, apart from tips ad chatting about writing, Tanya read the first chapter of her debut, Heart-Shaped Bruise, and (for the first time ever) she read out the first chapter of her second novel, Follow Me Down. And, oh, I am excited! It sounds just as dark and twisted as Heart-Shaped Bruise.

So, before I go any further, thank you Tanya for coming, thank you Frankie and Sam from Headline for coming down and surviving us mad book people and thank you Georgia at Just Imagine (love that shop and I promise I will read The Knife of Never Letting Go soon! I PROMISE!), but why am I writing this post if I'm not going to reveal ANYTHING (expect that the first chapter of Follow Me Down is just as dark as Heart-Shaped Bruise)? Well, I managed to nab myself a signed copy of Heart-Shaped Bruise and because I want you guys to love this book and get excited for the next, I am GIVING IT AWAY!

That's right. Giving it away. And here are the pics to prove it...

Now, to win this lovely signed book, all you have to do is fill in the form below. And that's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. The contest will close at 6pm this Friday and this is a UK only contest (I am poor and can't ship aboard!) The winner will be randomly chosen by and I will email the winner that evening. So, good luck everyone. In the words of The Hunger Games, may the odd ever be in your favour.

SMILE - My Cheeks Are Killing Me!

Oh, how I miss Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (speaks a lot about my teen years, I fear... Oh well!). My thanks to Pinterest

Thursday 14 March 2013

GoodRead - Heist Society

After the hussle I got on Twitter about this series (due to a CassJayTuck video - link here!) and me reading the free eNovella of Double Crossed (I reviewed this last week - click here if if you want to read my reactions), I got a VERY cheap second hand copy (am meant to be saving money so second hand shops/eshops, I love you) and sped through it within 5 days.

Kat Bishop is a thief. Well, was a thief. She's quitting the family business. Or tries to. Her father has been framed for stealing five paintings that he didn't steal and the man whose paintings their are wants them back. And he isn't afraid to blackmail Kat into doing it. And with a deadline. So, Kat has fourteen days to find the paintings and return them, which means she has to go back into the world she tried so hard to escape from in the first place.

I'm surprised over this book for some reason. I know from reading Double Crossed that this wasn't going to be a heavy read but I really like how Ally Carter writes. Ally writes using simple yet effective language and, because of this, you felt in on the con and, though Kat, Hale (her... I'm not sure what to call Hale? Her right hand man? Her could-be boyfriend?) and everyone in this book are theives and are "the bad guys", you route for them. You want her to pull this off!

There is something light and fluffy about the book. It's very much a beach read, but I can see why this author is very popular with fans with this series and her Gallagher Girls series. And it makes sense that Warner Bros have bought the movie rights to this book with Drew Barrymore producing and directing (press release here). I can see this as a movie, if it's done right.

I do have one issue though, and it is because this is a beach-like read. Because of this, there were times that the book felt flat. Maybe this is because the book is more 9-12 age range than all the YA I normally read. But sometimes, you need to read something fun, and fun this was.

I did enjoy this fun and pacey read and I might read the sequels to this, Uncommon Criminals and Perfect Scoundrels (though I would rather jump into Perfect Scoundrels as that appeals to me a lot more than Uncommon Criminals). I can see girls reading this and wanting to be a Kat Bishop.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

GoodRead - Beautiful Creatures: The Manga

You must be wondering if I'm alright or not. I mean, within a few weeks, I have read the movie companion, seen the movie and, now, read the manga for a book that I liked, but didn't love (I still much prefer Beautiful Darkness more than Beautiful Creatures and I still have every intention to read both Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption by the end of this year). But I won this via Twitter when Penguin Books did their #TwitterChat with both authors, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I asked the question if they were times they disagreed over any events that happened in the series and how they overcame them. I'm not sure if the question was answered, but I won a copy. So, thank you Twitter!

In this manga, it tells the basic story of Beautiful Creatures. In the town Gatlin, Ethan Wate is desperate to escape. But when Lena Duchannes enters his life, Ethan discovers that the sleepy town of Gatlin isn't as sleepy as he first thought. Soon, Ethan and Lena's love for each other is tested...

Out of this and the movie, the manga is the most loyal. And this surprised me. I honestly thought the manga was going to be a cheap and fast way for the publisher to plug in the hype going around the series due to the movie. Also, there's a feeling that, if a book/series is popular in YA at the moment, then there HAS to be a graphic novel/manga to go with it (milk the cash cow dry, publishers!) .And it didn't feel like that. It felt like the artist who adapted the novel into this - Cassandra Jean - is a fan of the books (I could be wrong) and took from the novel what was important and put them in the manga. I mean, there was so many things that I read in the manga that I honestly forgot was in the book (Link getting a tattoo of Ridley, for example). This helped refresh my memory of this book and, being honest with you, I liked this. I honestly enjoyed reading this. I think I might have enjoyed this more than the novel (please don't hurt me!)

The art. I have to talk about the art. It's a manga, I have to talk about the art. And I really liked the art. It just fitted with the world of Gatlin. I know some of you guys won't and that because of the the style. It's very sketchy. It's not neat or polished. It's as if Ethan drew this in a sketch book. So, because of this style, some characters' faces seem flat and you have moments where there's writing to show the mood or an action (ie AWKWARD, BAM, SLAM and GASP). But this, in my opinion, seem to fit and work.

I would really like the rest of the series to be done as manga, but I sense this will depend on how the movie does (and from what I've heard, the box office is doing ok, but not enough to warrant a sequel...), but if you're a fan of the series or of manga, you might want to give this a peek.

Friday 8 March 2013

No Blackhart Way!

I've had a week away. I've been on holiday with my family. And it was lovely. Much needed. Though my memory was shot as Nina from Indigo/Orion Books found out (sorry Nina). And when I was away, I asked Twitter to hold the news till I get back. Just hold off on the news.

So, guess what happened on Tuesday? News broke. BUT GOOD NEWS so I don't mind the scare attack. So, the news.

Book blogger, Liz (from the now-closed My Favourite Books) has got a book deal. Not just a one book deal, a three book deal!

Tor has bought the Commonwealth rights (barring the USA and Canada) the trilogy, which is a urban fantasy   set in our world, but where fairy tales exist, and only one family - the Blackharts - can see the fae interlopers. And fight them.

I am so thrilled for Liz. I have met her a few times and what she knows about YA and fantasy books is second to none so am looking forward to the first book in the trilogy, The Blackhart Legacy, which should be out sometime next year.

For more info, click here or here.

Thursday 7 March 2013

GoodRead - The Fault In Our Stars

This might come as a shock to some of you, but I haven't read this yet. I've had it since last year when the book was released in the US (thank you international shipping/Internet), and decided to wait till the hype that surrounded this book calm down a little. But, it never did. You see, Penguin in the UK bought the rights to this book and a few others of John Green, a movie is being made by the excutive producer who bought us the Twilight Saga and the TV hit, Revenge. And then the book got released in the UK and Shailene Woodley has signed up to play Hazel in the movie and... yeah, it hasn't calm down.

So, when one random day on Twitter, three bloggers (myself, Luna from Luna's Little Library and Chrissi from Chrissi Reads) decided that on a chosen day, they would all start reading The Fault In Our Stars. And we did... 

So, the story. Hazel is a typical sixteen year old. Expect she isn't. She has a rare form of cancer that will kill her, but she's on  drug that is a medical miracle. It's shrunk the tumour, but she's still terminal. Because of this, her mother fears that Hazel is getting depression and so, takes her to a Support Group. It's there, she meets Augustus Waters, and her life takes a surprising turn. 

Ok, I want to make something perfectly clear. Well, two things. First, I do not normally go for these type of books. I HATE books that feature illness. It's just one of my things. If I don't know about it when I start reading it, I'll cope, but if I know from the word go, then it's a problem. 

The second is that this isn't a cancer book. It isn't. This, to me, is a growing up story. This is about a girl who grows up. Yes, there is a love story element to it and yes, there is cancer, but the story is about her. Not her cancer. Hazel is a girl who happens to have cancer. Not a cancer sufferer who's called Hazel. I hope that makes some sense. 

Now, the book itself. My reactions. Right, I have read and watched reviews of this book. Reviews where people have cried or have announced that this is the best book they have read. I have seen them. I am aware of them. I am not one of them. 

To me, this book was ok. It was a good read. But it wasn't great. 

I'm not sure why I feel like this. I read this over a course of three days (which is super fast for me) so you can say this book was unputdownable. But, this book didn't move me. It didn't grip me till the third and final day when I read for the entire evening. I think I read about 180 pages in that sitting. And yes, stuff happened that made me go "Oh no" and "This page will set people off", but that's a problem in itself. This book has to be read in a sitting. One sitting to get the emotional impact. But most people don't read books in one day. Most people take their time and if this is how the book is meant to be read, then the emotional impact was wasted on me. 

One of the issues I had was the way Hazel and Augustus spoke. Pals of mine have explain why they spoke the way they did (John Green explained in a conference, but damn if I can find the link!). But the way they spoke. I had such issues! I kept going "You're teenagers. Teenagers don't talk like this! They don't talk like they're in their fifties!" I found it jarring. And then random lines come up and I just get thrown out of the story. One such line was in the first chapter - "His every syllable flirted". This line threw me and had me ranting and raving for a while. If Augustus's "every syllable flirted", if he said the word Supercalifraliticespialldocious, Hazel would be a puddle on the floor? (oh yes, this was my rant. You can ask my family and other half on this...) 

So... yeah. Sorry guys. I know some of you lot will LOVE this book and will cry while reading it, but, to me, it was ok. Not great like the hype has lead us to believe, but just ok. 

Tuesday 5 March 2013

GoodRead - Double Crossed

I feel I have to admit something to you lovely people who, for the most part, have read or have heard of Ally Carter. *whispers* I have never really heard of her before I watched a vlog review of Perfect Scoundrels (the third book in the Heist Society series). DON'T SHOUT AT ME, BOOK BLOGGERS/READERS OF THE WORLD! I have been aware of Ally Carter. Just not well enough. I mean, I always thought her Gallagher Girls series was about vampires, not spies. I have no idea why. I always just thought it was.

Anyway, let's get back on track with Double Crossed. After watching the video, I found out that Ally Carter had written a free novella that crossed both her series. Trying to hunt it down as a bit of a challenge but then I found it via Amazon (I tried to find it on the official UK site, but it was really hard to find it) and then I read it over the course of three days.

When a society gala, spy-in-training Macey and master thief Hale are forced to join forces when masked men with guns turn the gala into a hostile situation...

It was a fun, fast read. And it's free! The perfect taster for Ally's writing and for the characters of both series. This was light and fluffy - a beach read. And with all the books I read, a beach read is sometimes a good time. And with this, there's a sample of the first few chapters of Heist Society and I'd Tell You That I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You and, if I'm going to be honest, I much prefer Heist Society. There's something about thieves that seem to appeal to me (what that says about me, I dread to think!) but yes, I really enjoyed this. I wish it was a bit longer, but I have Heist Society in my To Read Pile so I'm quite looking forward to entering this world... Will probably be reading in the next few weeks so expect a review coming soon...

Monday 4 March 2013

SMILE - I Did A Bad Thing...

I said I would upload a Smile relating to The Big Bang Theory! And here it is! My thanks to CassJayTuck tumblr!

Saturday 2 March 2013

Eowyn Ivey News!

I have news from one of my fave authors of last year, Eowyn Ivey. Headline's new imprint, Tinder Press, have announced a few days ago that they are going to be publishing Eowyn's second novel. 

Before I go any further, I must use this gif: 

I am so happy over this news. I don't need to know anything about Eowyn's new book. I don't care. I simply adore Eowyn's writing and I will read it no matter what. 

But, I have read what the book is about (thank you Twitter and and I am pumped. So, her second novel is going to be called Shadows on the Wolverine and, according to the Bookseller, tells "...the story of an adventurer who travels deep into the unexplored Alaskan terrority to discover that native legends are real and have come to life. The story unfolds through diaries, newspaper clippings, letters and apocrypha..." and this book was "...inspired by an actual 1885 military expedition."

There is no publication date for this book in the UK/US but I can wait. I just want to say I am so happy that we are getting more Eowyn and her quietly beautiful writing!