Thursday 31 July 2014

SMILE - Thursday Special

*laughs happily* OK! WHY NOT!!!

Thank you Pinterest! Now, the boring stuff. If you want to follow my SMILE board on Pinterest, go to! Or, if you want to see some random fandom stuff on my Pinterest, go to

Monday 28 July 2014

SMILE - I'm Not Crazy

PINTEREST AGAIN! Sorry, I will go to Tumblr soon and find a funny gif! I PROMISE!!!

But if you fancy seeing my SMILE board on Pinterest, please check out!

And if you're on Pinterest yourself, you can follow the board or you can send me funny pins! You never know... I might put it on the blog as a SMILE post...

Thursday 24 July 2014

GoodRead - The Silkworm

I finished this yesterday, dear readers, so I'm still feeling raw over what I have read (if you wish to call this weird state that I'm in as "raw" - will explain further down). But yes, after around three weeks of reading this, I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED THE SILKWORM BY ROBERT GALBRAITH!!!

The second book in the Cormonran Strike series, The Silkworm takes place several months after The Cuckoo's Calling. Strike has made a name for himself after the Lula Landry affair. So when the wife of author, Owen Quine, comes to him, asking to help her find him and bring him home, Strike decides to take the job - it's not like money is a issue now.

But Strike begins to dig and realises that something very wrong has happened to Quine and his wife hasn't the foggest clue. The novelist has written a manuscript, filled with poisonous pen-portraits of everyone he knows - his agent, his former best friend, his publisher, even his wife and daughter. If the manuscript ever got published, it would ruin lives.

To Strike's horror, he finds Quine - dead. Brutally and savagely murdered. It quickly becomes a race against time to save the innocent as this killer is ruthless and is unlike any Strike has encountered.

I like my attitude to how I got this book. I wasn't going to preorder this after my reactions to The Cuckoo's Calling (my review to that is here) and yet, as soon as the news was announced, I preordered it without thinking. Then I changed from preorder from Amazon to Waterstones because of the whole Amazon vs Hachette in the USA drama and then, I read this slowly, trying to take my time and enjoy it.

That was the plan, as I wondered if the reason why I disliked The Cuckoo's Calling was because I was forcing myself to like it as it was JK Rowling.

But here, I took my time and... well... I'm torn over it. In some ways, this book is much better than Cuckoo, but at the same time, I struggled with it.

As you guys know, I do like a good murder mystery book. I like crime. And I felt myself enjoying the start of this with great ease. I think I slipped into this book much easier than I had done with Cuckoo. I'm not 100% sure why this is the case. Maybe it was my outlook. But yes, that and I enjoy the sense of foreboding I had and when we got to the reveal of Quine's body, we were left in no doubt that it was murder (if you remembered in my review of Cuckoo's Calling, I wondered if it was murder or if I hoped it was murder...).

I also quite liked Strike and Robin's relationship and the tiny amount of insight we got into their private lives. I wish I could have had more scenes with Robin and her fiancee, Matthew (who I have always disliked but here, I hated!) as I felt this was interesting - how can there be a balance between work and love? And with Strike, it was nice to see him having friends and him trying to get over his ex and the fact she's now getting married (and the fact that Charlotte, the ex, was playing mind games with Strike and was refusing to let him moved on).

Also, the characters within the publishing industry. You can't help but wonder if Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) had met people like this...

However... I still had the same issues as Cuckoo. There was a lot of people and, after a while, I got confused over who was who/what they had done/where they were. Usually, I can keep it all straight in my head, but I did get confused.

I also, had problems with the pacing. Again. It felt very slow for my tastes. I like things to have a fast pace, something that will keep me on the edge of my seat. But Silkworm took its time. In some places, this pacing was a good thing. In others... not so much for me.

I think the reason why I have problems with The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm is because I can't get a handle on Robert Galbraith's writing. Note that I didn't say JK's writing, but Robert's writing. JK Rowling took a while to make Robert's voice come through so it doesn't sound like her. While I can very easily read and love JK Rowling's voice, I can't seem to get a grip on Robert's voice. Once I do, I know I will enjoy myself but his voice seems a tad - not sure if this is the right word to use but is the only word I can think of - dense.

Again, middle of road on this series. I think I will try the next book and if I can't gel with it, might have to leave this series alone. But again, will try and read it at a more leisurely pace as I think this helped me a little bit...

(PS - the song choices. The first is the main book's theme song while the other two fit certain themes/moments perfectly...)

The Child: An Audible Drama (NEWS!)

Ok, I know I normally don't do news-type articles prompting things. But this came along and this sounds right up my street so I thought I would share it with you.

Audible UK have done their first EVER multi-cast audio dramatisation!

That's right. Audible have decided to branch out into making audiobooks/dramatisations and this is their first from Audible Studio London. The Child is written by Sebastian Fitzek and this story hasn't been published in the UK yet so if you're a fan of Sebastian's writing, this is your first chance to hear his latest tale before the book is released.

Plus, you have a star cast. Rupert Penry-Jones, Emilia Fox, Andy Serkis and Stephen Marcus are leading the charge.

And the story is pretty messed up. Perfect for me. In the outskirts of Berlin, Robert Stern (Rupert Penry-Jones) waits for her old-flame and nurse Carina (Emilia Fox) as she has a new client who needs his defence attorney skills. What he doesn't expect is a ten year old Simon, a boy who claims that 15 years ago, he murdered someone with an ax. Stern doesn't believe the boy - till Simon leads him and Carina to the body.

Things take a disturbing turn as more bodies begin to surface. The Police - led by police officer Engler (Andy Serkis) - start chasing Stern, thinking he is the murderer. With Carina and Stern on the run, and only with a terminally ill child's memories leading them, both will see the underside of Berlin and discover things are far more gruesome than they could have possibly imagined...

Doesn't it sound nuts? PERFECT for me! I can not wait to get my teeth into this! Because of this, I shall be reviewing this dramatisation within the next few weeks (hopefully!). And hopefully before the general release of 7th August 2014 (hopefully - fingers crossed). If this sounds like your type of listen, you can go preorder it by clicking here...

But to wet your appitite, here is the youTube trailer and some teaser postcards...

Tuesday 22 July 2014

GoodRead - Goodnight Darth Vader

I forgot I asked to review this, if truth be told, dear readers. I asked Tina at Abrams and Chronicles for this a while ago, but completely forgot I asked so I was very surprised when a mystery parcel was on my doorstep containing this! I read it very quickly after I ripped it out of the envelope and then read it, more slowly and carefully, a few days later... 

It's nighttime in the Star Wars universe, and it's time for Darth Vader to put his twins, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia to bed. But the children want a bedtime story... 

It is a very cute story. A story I think most parents or family members who have done babysitting duties would get and smile over. 

For some reason, I always thought this had the similar feel to Go The F*** To Sleep by Adam Mansbach. I'm not sure why I thought this, but both have a tongue-in-cheek feel that parents will love and "get". And Star Wars fans will be delighted with this. Fans old and new, I think, will like this new twist on the franchise. 

And I know someone who would love this so will give this to them in the next few days... 

Monday 21 July 2014

SMILE - Charlie's Angel Gets An Upgrade


My thanks to Pinterest (I'm sensing a pattern with my SMILE posts of late...). If you want to visit my SMILE board on Pinterest (visit, follow, whatever!), go to!

Sunday 20 July 2014

GoodRead - Mr Mercedes

I love how, with Friday's "I'm taking the pressure away" post went online, I literally finished this audiobook that took me OVER A MONTH (or it felt like that), which Midas PR kindly allowed me to review for So, thank you Audible and Midas!

In this, Stephen King's first "crime/thriller" novel (really?), retired cop Bill Hodges receives a letter from a man claiming to be the Mercedes Killer. A man who stole a Mercedes-Benz and, early one morning, ploughed into a gathering line that waited for a job fair (thanks to the joy of the recent recession), killing eight, including a young mother and her baby. The Mercedes Killer (aka Mr Mercedes) taunts Hodges, saying he won't be catch because he has no intention of doing it again.

Which Hodges knows is a complete lie. Hell-bent to catch the guy, Hodges has to go back over this case and begins to question if he investigated the case as non-biased as he was meant to...

On the other side of town, Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother, works two jobs, once had a younger brother and is a whizz on computers. He is also Mr Mercedes, and he's plotting his next act. One that could destroy the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of lives.

Ok, why did I want to listen to this story? Well, it's Stephen King and I have never read a Stephen King novel. And as some of you guys class him as (pun alert!) the King of Modern Horror, I have always been curious to read him (and yet a complete scaredy-cat - horror freaks me out!). Plus, this is hat some of you guys have called his first "crime/thriller" novel and I am a sucker for crime novels so this one was perfect for me.

Or so I thought.

Before I go into a full-blown rant, let me talk about the positives. This is a pretty solid read. There is a lot of character building and King takes his time with his characters. He wants you to feel for them, to grow to like them. That way, when sometime shocking begins to be plotted or happens to them, you are thrown for six. And the last two hours of the audiobook were gripping. Edge of your seat stuff there.

HOWEVER, there are problems with this audiobook! HUGE PROBLEMS!!! Which I think I can sum up into four points.

First, the narrator. Will Patton - I have SERIOUS issues with this guy. It took me a VERY long time to warm to his voice and for most of the audiobook, the reason for this was that he sounded BORED reading the book to us. Sorry, but if the narrator sounds bored then the listener of the audiobook is going to be just as bored, if not more so. If not bored, then angry. I had times (more than once over the 14 hours and 21 minutes) where I would think/rant "I'm sorry, Mr Will Patton, are we keeping you? I mean, you must have been paid to read this and you sound like you don't give a rat's **** over pretending to enjoy this story!"

The second is length. I get why the book was so long, I do, but there were sentences, paragraphs, even whole chapters that weren't needed. So why are they there? For example, the very first chapter where we are first introduced to Hodges. We met him and he discover that, because he is retired, he watches (and moans about) a lot of Midday TV and considers commiting suicide with his father's old gun. And that's it. That is basically it. The paragraphs where Hodges moans about midday TV shows and then crime shows (Bones, CSI, NCIS, etc) are important to the story how exactly? And with Hodges considering killing himself with his father's gun - it is mentioned so many times through the story (as Mr Mercedes mentions this in his letter to Hodges the following chapter) that it didn't feel like this chapter was needed. Important information from this chapter could have been inserted within chapter 3 or 4 and it wouldn't have upset the story.

The third is language. Ok, this is a weird one but bear with me here, dear readers. I am not a prude when it comes to language, so I get why curse words and swear words are used. With one character, he swears quite a bit and I get why Stephen King made him do that. I do. However, when you use swear words in every other sentence, it begins to get annoying REAL fast. And because of this, I couldn't help but wonder why Stephen King, a man claimed to be the King of Modern Horror, would use such lazy language? And if a reader begins to think that, they are not paying attention to the story and therefore, they are not enjoying the story...

The fourth (and final point) is more a me thing. As I said earlier on, I read crime and thriller books. Not other, but I do binge on the genre when I can. And with this, most of the time, I felt like I have read it before. It's a crime book yet I could sense I knew what was going to happen next. Most of the time, I was right. It didn't grab me as a crime novel and there were times, because I sensed what was going to happen next, I stopped the audiobook and left it for several days, feeling no need to come back to it...

So, yeah, I wasn't exactly thrilled with this book. I'm sorry. I know most of you guys really enjoy this book, but it didn't grab me in the same way. I do want to try another Stephen King novel but... yeah...

Friday 18 July 2014

Time's A-Changing!

Well, it's all go in the UKYA blogsphere in the past few days, with the awesomeness that was YALC! I couldn't go (real life is a pain in the neck sometimes. Hence this being my reaction when I was reading all the tweets/Facebook updates/blog posts about the event....)

But onto different things. This blog, to be exact. I have been thinking about this over the past few days and, maybe this is the best way to write the blog from now on. Some of you guys will be like this for the rest of the post so, sorry in advance... 

If you following my blog for a while, you know I have a weird system in my head on how I use the blog. I try my hardest to write one book review a week as I am quite a fast reader when I want to be. I also try and do a SMILE post every Monday and I do a music-themed post once every two months. 

And this because I could very easy keep up to speed with it. I use to read fast and I like having something on the blog. But, in the past few months (ok, maybe longer than that), I finding myself under some kind of pressure to get something - ANYTHING, really - on the blog. And it isn't from the book publishers who are pressuring me (and, in some case, most other book bloggers). It's myself. I am pressuring myself to get the blogs up. I am the one thinking I need to read a book quickly so I can write the review and post it. 

Since March (when I moved out of the family home), my normal reading time has been in a state of flux and it hasn't settled. And because I have plans to read long books - VERY LONG books (the book I am currently reading - The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith is 455 pages long, Clariel by Garth Nix is 469 pages, Shadows of the Moon by Zoe Marriott is 461, Cress by Marissa Meyer is 550 , Shadow of Night and The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness is 636 and 580 respectively and one of the eBooks I have on my kindle, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is 881 pages long. BEASTS! ALL OF THEM!!!) 

If I kept the pressure of reading books and writing a review once a week, I will either close the blog down within a few months or I would never leave the flat and have a social life. Something has to give. 

So, I have come up with this idea. I am going to keep reviewing books, but I am going to be more leisurely about my reviews and reading. If a book takes me two weeks to read, it'll take me two weeks. If that means I don't post a review on the book for two weeks, so be it. If I read two books in a week, then I write two reviews and post them within a few days of reading the books. 

I am taking the pressure away. I AM BREAKING A BLOGGER'S SECRET IN TELLING YOU! I can imagine bloggers all over the world reacting in horror like this...

Also, I was thinking of writing a few posts that isn't book-related. I've been thinking of a few posts that I want to write but it's going to take some time to write. A mix of information digging and being just lazy! So, I am...

But yes, my blog is changing. It's still going to be the same blog. Still have Smile posts (for the time being - I have been wondering about the future of my Smile posts. Maybe I shall talk to you about this in the future), still have the music posts and still have book reviews. But it's going to be more relaxed. I hope you guys like the change and if there is any problems or ideas for what I can do in the near future, please leave a comment here, on the Facebook fan page or send me a tweet! I would love to hear your ideas! 

Now, before I leave you, I shall leave you with this... 

Wednesday 16 July 2014

GoodRead - Inside Divergent Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity

Ok, I am trying something new here. I am putting together two short-ish reviews on two books I got from two lovely publishers (thank you HarperCollins and Quirk). The main reason for this is because I'm not certain I could write "real" reviews on them so am hoping this mini review mashup will do the trick!

The two books in question are Inside Divergent: The Initiate's World and How To Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity.

Inside Divergent: The Initiate's World is a small book that brushes over Veronica's Roth's dystopian Chicago. With photos from the movie, the book explains the five Factors, a few characters within the story and explains the steps the initiates take from the aptitude test to Choosing Day and beyond.

Ok, let me state this now. If you have read Divergent or the whole trilogy, you do not need this book. This book gives you information that you have already read from the trilogy. So, you don't need it. Borrow it from your local library if you can as you will want to see the photos used (my fave is on page 42 and 43, solely because of the woman's facial expression. Thank you nameless extra!)

However, if you haven't read the trilogy, then this book will help you get a better understanding of the movie. It doesn't matter if you wish to read this before you watch the movie or if you read this afterward your viewing, this helps give information that was either hinted at within the film or will help you get a better grip of why the film is the way it is.

A nice book with great photos, but more a must read for those curious over the movie than the people who have read the trilogy.

And now, How To Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity. This book is giving you tips, advice and ideas on how to make your cat the next viral hit on the Internet and how you can become rich beyond your wildest dreams.

I have to admit this now, I was reading this and I was on the edge of a reading slump (I hate it when that happens!), but I really liked how this book has its tongue firmly in its cheek over all cat videos online. It was a fun read, coming from a place of "Hey, you're reading this because you love cats. So do I! Let's read about cats and plot world - ok, internet domination together!"

I love the photos in this book (one of this book's real advantages), but there was times I did feel like skimming it. Maybe it was because I did feel like I was going to enter a reading slump. Not sure why.

But this is a short, coffee-table book (Never thought I would be typing that) that you would give to that mad cat friend of yours or a great little stock-filler for Christmas (yes, I said Christmas. In July! OH DEAR HEAVENS, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!)

Monday 14 July 2014

SMILE - Furious Dancing!

My thanks goes to Liz de Jager, author of Banished, for this image via her Pinterest!

Just so you're aware, I have a SMILE board on Pinterest, so if you're curious to see it, go to!

Wednesday 9 July 2014

GoodRead - Night School: Resistance

If you have been following my blog for a while, you might have noticed my feelings toward the Night School series has changed from "I like it, but not enough" to "Are you kidding me?! You expect me to wait HOW LONG!?". So I have been prowling around for a copy of Resistance (as I am now calling it - saves typing) and I found a copy. But why did I go into a tiny state over not finding a copy for a while? Well... I'll tell you later, but I was told on Twitter and I got VERY excited.

Resistance is the fourth and penulimate book in this series (to my knowledge) and after the events of Fracture, Allie is on the run, in hiding. She was hiding with Rachel at Sylvain's French villa and has been moved every few weeks. For once, Allie thinks she's safe. Until Nathaniel's guards find her and start shooting at her.

Realising there is nowhere will be safe, the trio return to Cimmeria Academy. And that's not the same school that Allie was forced to flee. Only a handful of students are left attending the school, tensions are running high, the mole is still not discovered and with every day that passes, Nathaniel is getting one step close to take total control.

Desperate to do something, Allie agrees to Lucinda's late night plan. But in agreeing to this, has Allie put her life and those of her friends's on the line? And with the situation with her feelings towards Carter and Sylvain coming to a head, Allie needs to have her head in the game. Because the winner will take it all if there is one wrong move...

Ok, I think I stated that Fracture was my fave of the series (and this is still true) but CJ must have read the blog post (my Fracture review is here or snooping in my Review Listings tab) because SHE GAVE US ANSWERS! ANSWERS AT LAST! We discovered who the mole was (I kinda guessed, but it was still a shock to the system on who it was and the shortlist of who it could have been...) and Allie finally realises who she's in love with (yes, we don't have to wait till the final pages of book 5 for Allie to realise what most of the fandom was been rooting for!)...

And security - my pet issue with this series was addressed! THE CHARACTERS SPOKE ABOUT THE LACK OF IT IN THE PAST FEW BOOKS! I am very happy when this happened - and it happened on more than one occasion.

Anyway, I got that all out of my system, let me really talk about Resistance. The best way to desrcible my reaction to this book is like this: part of the time, I wanted to hug this book and the rest... well... I wanted to strangled. I like this book and this series - I do, dear reader - but there are times when I get very frustated with it (and I think CJ does this to us on purpose because this world is filled with lies, liars and double-crossing. She likes to unnerve us, I think).

This is a very different book to Fracture. Fracture was a personal book - Allie had to piece herself back together again after the events of book two (Legacy). But in Resistance, Allie was fighting back. She wanted to help, even though she had no idea where to start. She wanted to help Lucinda and Isabelle without thinking about it, but when it comes to matters of the heart...

Typical teenager moments ahead.

And while we had answers, it was nice that CJ tackled issues we all faced. Matters of the heart, coping with grief and friendship struggles. Because of these, CJ places some interesting questions forward: why did Rachel really join Night School, even though it stands against everything she stands for? And why is Nicole suddenly become close buddies with her? (I have a theory - and if it is what I think it is, I will be VERY intrigued on how CJ handles it... ).

What CJ Daugherty does great (like I have said in every review for her books) is that she knows how to write slow burning thrillers. You always have a sense of uneasy with the Night School series and it takes its time revealing information to you. No info dumping the reader, and when she does, CJ does it quite subtly.

I do have a few issues (don't I with EVERY book in existence!?). The first is, of course, security. Yes, I know I said this was address but there is a few times where I was going "You are kidding me?! Why... WHERE THE **** IS THE SECURITY GUARDS?!". There was one moment where I got so angry with this, I had to put the book down for a moment and make a tea before I could continue (and it was a good part as well!).

My second issue is a stupid thing. It's a me thing. While reading this, I keep noticing the use of one swear word quite a lot (it's not what you think!) and, for some reason, I found it quite grating. I don't consider myself a prude but would that word really be used in that situation? Again, this is me thing. This is nothing to do with the author.

My third issue and, again, this is a me thing - but there were times I guessed or I knew what was going to happen next. I think it's because I read quite a lot of thriller-type reads so I am probably always reading going "Ok, tis is what's going to happen next..."

It is going to be very interesting to see how CJ ties all of this us... And I shall be waiting...

Monday 7 July 2014

Wednesday 2 July 2014

GoodRead - Darkness Hidden

Just before I go any further, I have to state two things. One, the first book in Zoe Marriott's Name of the Blade trilogy, The Night Itself, was one of my favorite reads of last year. So, very high expectations for this book. And second, when Victoria at Walker Books sent me this, I squealed and started reading this that night.

No pressure, then.

After the terrifying ending of The Night Itself, Mio, Jack and Shiobu bet all the odds and defeated Nekomata. But Mio is still compelled to protect the katana, her family's ancestral sword. And now the katana's voice is in her head, trying to turn her into its puppet.

And when things can't get worse, a plague is sweeping through London and there's something very wrong with Jack's sister, Rachel...

With all this pressure piling on Mio, she soon begins to wonder a horrible truth: she might not be able to save all the people she love. A sacrifice might have to be made... But will she go through with it?

I adore The Night Itself and Darkness Within lived up to every expectation I had. It was gripping, fast paced and had so many twists in it, I never felt bored when reading this. So much so, I kept tweeting the author going "It can't get worse than this, can it?".

I just fell into this world almost as quickly as I did when I read The Night Itself.

This is Zoe's most personal book (she says so in the acknowledgements) and you can feel how much this book means to her.

But yes, this book! THIS BOOK! THIS SERIES!!! I adore this trilogy and I need to read the third and final book, Frail Mortal Heart, when it comes out next year. I NEED to know how this trilogy is going to end (That and read Shadows on the Moon)! If you haven't read this trilogy, you really should.