Tuesday 31 December 2013

2013 - In Review

Well, dear readers, 2013 is nearly over. This year's Father Time will soon be handing over the reins to next year's Father Time. And 2013 has been a weird year for me.

Not personnel. This year for my private life has been interesting and fun and, at time, the cause of many headaches!

But for my bloggy life - it has been mad!

Not only did I do this blog and do all the awesome things such as Book Blogger Events, author signings and general book lushing (that goes on quite a lot in my book world. Ask the Person I'm With. He now gives me a time limit in visiting Waterstones [other book shops are available] and I have to be more strict about how many books/eBooks I have so I need to be more strict on my book culling - let's say my local charity shops HATE me now!).

But I have been very lucky to do things that, if it wasn't for the blog or me screaming on Twitter about my love for books, I wouldn't have had the chance to do.

I beta-read a novel MONTHS before it got published. I have NO IDEA how that happened by the lovely A.E. Rought thought it would be a smart idea to ask me to read/edit her baby that turned into Tainted. Of course I said yes and I attacked it with a red pen! Not sure if she trusts me now with edits but yes, I beta-read a book! And I think I'm in the acknowledgements (but I can't be sure because I can't buy myself a copy ANYWHERE!!!)

And I did guest blog post and vlogs! I've always tried to do guest blogs but I don't like using the camera on myself so the fact I am braving the internet WITH MY FACE and THAT VOICE is a big deal. I hope I can do some more of those in the future! I have to thank Stevie from Sable Caught for allowing me to record a joint video of us chatting about Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express (and more grateful that it has NEVER SEEN THE LIGHT OF DAY! I bet I was awful in it!). And thanks to Bookish Brits for having me on not once but twice!

And then I did some really awesome (aka "HOW ON EARTH IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME!?") things. Thanks to Walker Books, I went to the Press Screening of Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Then, madly, I went on the set of upcoming movie Vampire Academy and interviewed the author, producers & actors for the site Fangirlish.com (my report should be up sometime in January/February of 2014 - and SURPRISE, by the way! Was keeping this a secret but I WANNA TELL YOU GUYS! I WANTED TO TELL YOU GUYS FOR SOOOOOOO LOOOOONNNNGGG!!!) and I was reporting for Fangirlish on the red carpet of the world premiere of Catching Fire (my report is here, by the way!)! I was within TOUCHING DISTANCE of Jen, Josh and that is one very surreal thought! So, my thanks to Jeremy for suggesting me and to Erin for saying "Let's give the mad Brit a try".

And then, because of Catching Fire, I was invited onto the podcast, Mystical Lit Lounge and chatted about the event (my episode is here). Now, I love the podcast so to be invited was exciting and an honor. And I had such fun doing it (and I might have to gatecrash/beg to go back. Even if it's to say hello to Shannon, who sadly wasn't there!). So, to Kim who asked if I could do it and then chatting to me about all things Catching Fire and then all things books, thank you!

So, this year has been very unexpected!

And I wanted to thank everyone. To all the blogs, all the authors, all the publishers, all the podcasts, everyone I interviewed/scared. Thank you! You all are awesome and thank you!

To all you readers who read my blog, follow my Twitter, the blog's Facebook page, Pinterest or the Goodreads, thank you for coming on this mad journey and, hopefully, enjoying the ride!

And to all my real life family, friends, and my Other Half, thank you for allowing me to do all this stuff, even though you think I am mad to do them! Thank you for being wonderful, brave and just being there in my life. I have no idea where I would be without you all! I love you.

So, now with that all out of the way, I want to wish and hope you all have a wonderful 2014. So, raise your glass/mugs/chocolate, laptop, iPod/iPhone, the nearest pet you can lay your hands on and let's welcome to New Year in style.

We've all done that? Ok, now, play your favorite song, play it loud and DANCE LIKE NO ONE'S WATCHING!!!

(what? you thought I wasn't going to put a gif in this post? Don't you know me AT ALL?!) xP

Monday 23 December 2013

SMILE - Christmas is The Only Time...

Random Google from Sarah Millican is my thanks here so that was easy! And this, my dear friends, is the last SMILE post of the year of 2013! We had fun, didn't we?

SMILE will be back on the blog next year or, if you're fancy and are on Pinterest, come follow the SMILE board at pinterest.com/pewterwolf/smile/ (or follow all my boards, if you fancy it) and you might get a sneak peek of a future SMILE post!

Sunday 22 December 2013

Xmas Songs

Earlier in the month, I asked you guys for your fave Christmas songs. I annoyed you on Twitter and hopefully for a good few song choices.

Only THREE people replied to my request. THREE! So, if these aren't your fave Christmas songs or your isn't on here, you only had yourselves to blame...

Anyway, the three requests are...

WHAM's Last Christmas
Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas
Lindsey Stirling's Celtic Carol!

Saturday 21 December 2013

Books And Their Theme Songs - Volume 21

WE'RE HERE!!! HAPPY 21ST POST FOR BOOKS AND THEIR THEME SONGS POSTS! *throws internet confetti at everyone*

Now, we have out of the way, let's get down to the music! So, below is my reading theme songs for the past 2 months and if you come back sometime late Christmas Eve, they will a special post about the top 5 Christmas songs (as voted for by YOU!). So... let's get cracking!

"All I Want For Christmas" by Mariah Carey and "Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop" by Landon Pigg

PAWN by Aimee Carter
"Elastic Heart" by Sia (Ft. The Weeknd & Diplo)

"Cats Wearing Hats" by ParryGripp

Friday 20 December 2013

GoodRead - Dangerous Dream

Here it is! My last review of 2013! Technically, I wanted my last review of this year to be Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. But then I was reminded that this was coming out and I read it so quickly I thought I might as well review this and save all the hopefully awesome reads that I should be attacking over Christmas in the New Year.

So, Dangerous Dream. This is a prequel novella for the new spinoff series based in the world of the Casters. That's right, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl are back totogether. So they are not only writing their own series but this new series - the Dangerous Creatures series - the first book should be out sometime in May, if I got my info right.

So, set after Beautiful Redemption (if you haven't read the Beautiful Creatures series, SPOILERS AHOY!), the story is told from three points of view. Ethan has the first part (BEFORE), Link has the second (AFTER) and then Ridley has the third, final and longest part (AFTERMATH). And through these three parts, we see a summer. A summer where Link tells Ridley that he loves her. And we see Ridley reaction to this and see her do something, that us readers know that sooner or later, she is going to regret...

This is very much a "set-up" story. This new series is going to follow Link and Ridley in New York City and this sets up how/why they both go there. And, from the looks of it, Dangerous Creatures might be told from Ridley's point of view (this is from the sneaky peek of Dangerous Creatures - and we all know that she is one of those!) so that's going to be interesting to read about her - as a character says in Dangerous Dreams, "she's her own worst enemy, yet her own best friend".

I did like it, but I didn't love it because of this reason. While I think this is a good thing for the new series (read my next paragraph), I wanted more. More details, more information, just more...

I haven't read Beautiful Chaos or Beautiful Redemption (I will try and read them next year. I will try, no promises), but I sense this new series will have the same effect on the fans as when Cassandra Clare announced that she was writing books 4, 5 & 6 of the Mortal Instruments series. Some fans were VERY excited. Some fans were VERY unhappy. And some fans didn't honestly care and trusted the author with this decision. And I think this will be the same with Dangerous Creatures, which is why I feel that what Margaret and Kami did (writing this eNovella) was a smart move. If you are unsure if you want to read this new series or not, READ THIS FIRST then you can sit down afterwards and make up your own mind.

As I still need to read Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption, I don't know if I will go to this new series just yet, but I do find Link and Ridley's relationship interesting to read (I mean, come on. HOW are these two very different people in this intense/hot relationship?) and I like that Ridley is so complex and yet doesn't give two hoots about how the world sees her (and I love how Emmy Rossum played her in the movie), BUT we shall wait and see if this new series is going to be just as big as the Beautiful Creatures series...

Wednesday 18 December 2013

GoodRead - Under The Paw

I have been following the twitter accounts Why My Cat Is Sad (@MySadCat) and Why My Cat is Smug (@MySmugCat) for quite awhile so I knew I wanted to read one of the books written by the man in charge of the twitter, Tom Cox, for a while. So when the first and second books, Under the Paw and Talk To The Tail, was made £1.59 each, I knew I would buy them both.

On the surface, Tom Cox looks like a normal guy. Expect for one thing. He's a cat person. In a big way. So when he meets his soon-to-be wife, he gives up his life as a journalist for NME, moves to Norfolk and, within a matter of years, finds himself owning several cats. Well, at one point, seven. Including The Bear, a cat that is "painfully sensitive" but could very easily be an evil genius...

If you know me or follow the blog/Twitter (@PewterWolf13, by the way), I am a bit of a cat person myself so seeing this, it was a no brainer that I was going to read it. A no-brainer. And I thought I was going to enjoy it SO MUCH! I mean, what's not to love about cats?

However (yes, there's a however), for a short book (it's around 250-odd pages), it felt like a drag to read. Sometimes, I whizzed through it but, most times, it DRAGGED! Maybe it's because I have owned cats in the past so when Tom chatted about something, I would have gone "Oh, my old cat use to do that".

I think my problem with this is that I expected it to be much funnier than it was. I had a high expectations.

But I did like it. But I don't think I will rush quickly to read the next read.

Friday 13 December 2013

GoodRead - The Moth In The Mirror

With the second book in the Splintered, Unhinged, coming out in a few weeks times, A G Howard has released a short novella to get us ready and to hint at what's to come... 

Morpheus has a rival for Alyssa's affections: Jeb. So, to figure him out, Morpheus decides to know his enemy better and uses Jeb's memories of his time in Wonderland. What he finds might surprise Morpheus...

Now, when I was reading Splintered, I never trusted Morpheus and, with this, I fear that I won't trust him in Unhinged, because by the end of the story, you get his gameplan of what he might do in book two. But it was interesting to see both the "bad boy" and the "good guy" (Morpheus and Jeb respectively) and it was interesting to see scenes and interactions that was hinted at in Splintered that wasn't shown as Alyssa wasn't there to see them, but on her quest to save Wonderland...

My only regret with this novella is that I wished it was a little longer. It felt like we only skimmed the scenes rather than go in depth. 

Now I have read this, I can not wait to read Unhinged

Wednesday 11 December 2013

GoodRead - Witch Finder

Another day, another NetGalley read! I am going to try and read some of my NetGalley this month so I have some control over my NetGalley requests (and my twitchy "request" finger!). And with me deciding that I want to have my last review of the year sometime within the week of the 16th December (so no worrying over reviews during Christmas/New Year weeks).

So, Witch Finder. In London 1880, Luke is trying to join Malleus Maleficorum, brotherhood that are bound to hunt and kill witches. To join, Luke must pick a random name from the Book of Witches and kill them. Failure means his own death. When Luke chooses the name of Rosa Greenwood, he doesn't realise it would be more difficult than he first thought... 

And as for Rosa, life as a witch isn't as simple. Her mother and brother see her as property, a means to gather money and a position of employment, rather than a young woman and one of her brother's friends is looking at her, ready to take her as a wife. But if he does ask her for marry, what will Rosa do? 

If I am completely honest with you, I am in two minds over this read. 

It was an easy read and sets things nicely up for the series that is to come. I enjoyed reading about Rosa and her situation. 

However, I do have issues. Like I said, this is the first book in a series, so it suffered from "First Book Syndrome". Where a lot of things had to be set up. So, when you get to the end, some things are neatly tied up and yet, others aren't. And for me, the story lines that were left dangling, I didn't care as much about as much as I should. 

My second little issue was I wanted more description. There were times I wished there was more information. This is set in London 1880, so there were things that needed more description. But at times, it felt a bit slack. But I can forgive this as I was enjoying the story so that's why this isn't as big an issue as it could have been. 

The final issue I had was the main character, Luke. It took me ages before I warmed to him, whereas with Rosa, I liked her from within a few pages. I didn't really care for him, or his back story. I think, with him, I felt like I had read him before... 

So, this book was a mix of good and bad. I would consider reading the sequel (this is the first book in a series, remember?). And I do have the first book in the author's other Witch series (the A Witch in Winter trilogy) so I am going to read more from this author, but maybe this book came at the wrong time (I'm still recovering from the whole Allegiant affair)...

Monday 9 December 2013

SMILE - It's So Shiny!

Another thank you to Pinterest! And if you're on Pinterest and want to see more random Smile-related pins, you can follow the SMILE board!

Friday 6 December 2013

GoodRead - Pawn

You will have to forgive me if my review on Pawn isn' up to my normal standards. I read this back at the start of October (thank you NetGalley) and the UK publishers, Mira Ink, asked if I could have it close to the UK publication date (January 2014) rather than the US release date (November 2013) so I decided to pop here - best of both worlds! And because I am writing this a few weeks after reading this, you will have to forgive me if I forget details so... yeah...

In this, the first book in the Blackcoat Rebellion series, we are thrown into a dystopian USA where, at the age of seventeen, you take a test and this defines your grade in life. For Kitty Doe, she gets the grade of III and she's plans to escape the life of misery that is thrown upon her. So when she gets the chance to become a VII, the highest grade you can become - the same as the Hart family, who rule the USA, Kitty takes it, not realising what would happen to her next.

Because of her eyes are the same as the Prime Minister's niece, Lila Hart, Kitty becomes Masked - surgically altered to looking like Lila who, unknown to the general public, died in mysterious circumstance. Now, looking like Lila, the Hart family want Kitty to stop a rebellion. A rebellion that Lila was a figurehead for. A rebellion that Kitty believes in.

But as a pawn in this twisted game of politics and family loyalty, Kitty must step carefully for her life isn't the only life on the line...

I really enjoyed reading this. This was one of the easiest dystopian novels I read in a while that I instantly sank into and read late into the night. It was very addictive. There were elements of The Selection by Kiera Cass to it (but Aimee Carter actually writes these elements MUCH BETTER than Kiera Cass) and there was something about it that remembered me of Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, but I can't put my finger on what, though.

And this novel had twists! It's a very twisty novel. In the first, say, 50-60% of the book, you are understanding the world Kitty lives in and the world she is suddenly thrust into. But then, just when you begin to understand it, Aimee then pulls the rug from under her readers with the amount of twists. With every twists, you go "Whoa! I did not see that coming!" and she only gives you a few chapters to recover before the next twist is revealed.

I need to know what happens next. I need the sequel because of that ending. That last reveal...

So, dear readers, if you are a fan of The Selection and you want some darker or you're a fan of Under the Never Sky, may I suggest this read...

Wednesday 4 December 2013

GoodRead - Night of Cake And Puppets

When the news of this novella was announced, I was excited. So excited, I spent ten minutes trying to find then preorder it on Amazon.co.uk. Sorry, but I am a huge fan of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. It was only after I preordered it that I actually read what the synopsis was about. All I saw when I saw the first time round was the title, the cover and the names Zuzana and Mik. That's it. Then I read it fully and went "This is gonna be good!"

In the novella, we go on Zuzana and Mik's first date. With a small handful of magic from her best friend, Karou, and a plan - a treasure map, actually. And the treasure is her. But will "violin boy" follow the map? And what will he find on the way...?

I forgot how much I LOVE this world! The world of Daughter of Smoke and Bone is such a wonderful world and reading Zuzana and Mik finally meeting up was wonderful. I LOVED reading this as it was sweet and fun and it makes me very excited over Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

And now we have to wait till April for Dreams of Gods and Monsters... SO FAR AWAY! So, if you are a fan of the series and you haven't read this, you need to read this. Like now.

Monday 2 December 2013

SMILE - Today, I am A Owl!

Not sure how I came across this (I think I was Googling an image for my other half and our weirdness) so, thanks Google!