Monday 31 August 2015

Patrick Ness Chats The Rest of Us Just Live Here

I am so THRILLED to welcome Patrick Ness here to chat about his latest novel, The Rest of Us Just Live Here. And what's more, the lovely people at Walker Books asked if I had any questions to ask for Patrick. Sadly, I couldn't go and meet Patrick face-to-face (stupid real life job), but again, the lovely Walker peeps recorded the video, edited it and sent it over!

I must thank Patrick for taking time out to answer these questions, Paul at Walker for YALC (he knows why...) but I have to give a big thank you to Sean at Walker for not only recording the interview but also for editing it as I know sod all about editing (I will learn! AM GOING TO BLOODY LEARN!), even though he was super busy. You are a star!!!

Oh, before you click play on the video, I must warn you that I asked 3 questions and 2 are quite spoilery (whereas the third is a noun). So, only watch this once you have read The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Ok? Ok.

Now, over to you, Patrick!

And because I only asked a few questions, maybe I show you guys these videos that demand more answers from Patrick (plus, I love these guys).

Friday 28 August 2015

4 Weeks of Summer - Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book - The Mowgli Stories

I don't know why, but lately, I seem to be having a bit of bad luck when it comes to audiobooks. I'm not sure why. I have a blogpost about this coming up in the next 7 days or so - keep eyes peeled for that.

So, when Felicity from Midas PR asked if I wanted to listen to this, an full cast dramatisation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book - The Mowgli Stories, I decided just to go for it. With the stars involved in this - Bill Bailey, Richard E Grant, Celia Imrie, Colin Salmon, Martin Shaw, Bernald Cribbin and Meera Syal to name by a few. Plus, this was created to raise funds for the Zoological Society of London to raise awareness that animals that inspired The Jungle Book are under threat from extinction.

When the wolves discover a tiny man-cub, they take him in to save him from the man hating tiger, Shere Khan. As the man-cub, Mowgli, grows and is taught by Baloo, the bear, and hunts with Bagheera, the panther, he learns the ways of the jungle. But Shere Khan is cunning and will buy his time...

I have to admit this, I thoroughly enjoyed myself listening to this. I had my doubts when I started listening (it took me a while to get use the Martin Shaw and Richard E Grant doing the voices of Shere Khan and Kaa), but once I found my stride, I sped through this. It only took me three days to listen to it from start to finish. And there were a few times I relistened to sections, just because...

The production was this was very good and though, while there were times the background effects and the noise of the large group of man felt odd to me, it wasn't that much of a distraction from the story. If anything, it helped to show that Mowgli has grown up in the jungle and knows little about the world of man.

What I found surprising was how different this was to Disney's The Jungle Book. While we had the same characters, the story was completely different and the character's interaction was completely different as well. In Disney's Jungle Book, Kaa was, up to a point, an villain and helped (up to a point) Shere Khan. And yet, in this version, Kaa had no interaction with Shere Khan. He taught Mowgli in the same way Bagheera and Baloo did. It was a very interesting learning curve.

But I think people will like this version of The Jungle Book. I can't wait to see what's next for Audible London...

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Press Release - Jungle Book

I have a press release for you guys - you can blame Felicity from Midas PR for me posting this. But, Audible is releasing their fourth original programme - and it is a retelling of The Jungle Book!

It has a wonderful cast to this (see below) and for a limited time, it's free! FREE!!! Plus, with it being free, Audible is donating 25p of each download to the ZSL to raise awareness for endangered species that are the inspiration behind this story!

You can download it now and my review of this will be up on Friday. But now, off to show the press release!

Bill Bailey, Richard E Grant, Colin Salmon and Celia Imrie join host of talent in new audio adaptation of The Jungle Book to donate 25p per free download of new all-star audio adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book- The Mowgli Stories to ZSL

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 00:00 26 August has produced a new full-cast dramatisation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book – The Mowgli Stories, in association with charity partner the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book - The Mowgli Stories is out on 26 August and available for free 25p from every download goes to help ZSL build a future for wildlife. 

The magical story-telling and unforgettable characters in Bev Doyle and Richard Kurti’s audio adaptation of this children’s classic have been brought to life by many well-known voices from British film, TV, radio and comedy, including Bill Bailey as Baloo, Richard E Grant as Kaa and Martin Shaw as Shere Khan.

The partnership between and ZSL will help highlight the plight of many of the animals who featured in The Jungle Book and are under threat in the wild, such as the Bengal tiger (Shere Khan). The creation of India’s tiger reserves in the 1970s helped to stabilise numbers, but poaching to meet a growing demand from Asia in recent years has once again put the Bengal tiger at risk. The sloth bear (represented by Baloo), which could once be found throughout India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, is now threatened by hunting and habitat loss. Sloth bear numbers continue to decline and it is now listed as vulnerable by IUCN.

Sandra Crewe, Head of Corporate Partnerships for international conservation charity, the Zoological Society of London said: “It’s a sad fact that many of the animals that inspired the characters of The Jungle Book are today battling against unprecedented threats in the wild, with some, like the tiger and elephant, facing the terrifying prospect of extinction. We are delighted to be the official charity partner of Audible’s production of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book – The Mowgli Stories. This fantastic new adaptation is an opportunity to raise awareness of this issue and raise funds to support our worldwide conservation of wildlife and their habitats.” head Tracey Markham said: “We are committed to producing new exciting audio content for our listeners and this adaptation is really something special. We are working with some of the most talented writers and actors around to make brilliant new audio entertainment. The charity partnership with ZSL is the first of its kind for us and we are really excited to be working with them to support wildlife conservation around the world.”

The cast of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book – The Mowgli Stories includes:
·         Bill Bailey (Black Books, Stand-Up Comic) as Baloo
·         Richard E Grant (Withnail & I, Downton Abbey) as Kaa
·         Colin Salmon (James Bond, 24: Live Another Day) as Bagheera
·         Sacha Dhawan (History Boys, Last Tango in Halifax) as Mowgli
·         Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) as Mother Wolf
·         Meera Syal (Broadchurch, Goodness Gracious Me) as Chil
·         Ralph Ineson (The Kingsman, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows) as Father Wolf
·         Martin Shaw (Inspector George Gently, Judge John Deed) as Shere Khan
·         Tim McInnerny (Blackadder, Notting Hill) as Kipling
·         Bernard Cribbins (The Wombles, Jackanory) as White Cobra
·         Russell Tovey (History Boys, Being Human) as Banderlog 1

Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book – The Mowgli Stories can be downloaded and enjoyed on a wide range of devices including Kindle Keyboard, Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire, the Audible apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8, PC, Mac or an MP3 player. The production provides three hours of listening entertainment and it is most suitable for children aged 8 and over, as well as adults of all ages.

It is the fourth production from the original programming team of Previous productions include The Child and AMOK, two full-cast adaptations of best-selling novels by Sebastian Fitzek, and Six Degrees of Assassination, an original thriller by Meadowlands and Silent Witness writer Matt J Arlidge.

4 Weeks of Summer - Monster

I got a copy of this book back in March at the UKYA Blogger Awards. I know, it's been a while, but compared to some other books I have on my TBR pile, this hasn't been in my TBR pile for long.

After rereading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and not ready to reread Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix just yet as part of my Harry Potter 2015 Reread Challenge, I looked through some of my books and, unsure what to read next, made my other half pick my next read out of handful of books, based on the first sentence and, when down the last 3, read the last line and chose this.

Nash thinks fighting to become Head Girl at boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle of her life. But that was before her brother vanishes. That's before she's left trapped in the school with some other students - a mix of misfits. That's before the snow storms hit, leaving them trapped. That was before the only adult looking after them vanishes without a trace. That's before fear of The Beast of Bathory begins to grip them...

Something dark is outside the school, wanting to come in. Or is the thing the girls fear already within the walls of the school...

Ok, am going to be honest with you. I am very torn over it. I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped, but there are good points to this book.

Let's deal with the good points first. When we were first told about this book, it was sold using the tapeline "Malory Towers meets I Know What You Did Last Summer". And this does work. If you are a fan of Lois Duncan's I Know What You Did Last Summer or James Dawson's Cruel Summer, this would work for you. It has a gentle hints of boarding school drama and mythology but as the story moves forward, it slowly turns darker and tense. And I really liked the writing style. The writing is one of the weird reasons I read this story.

However, I have problems that I am wondering if am about to fall into a reading slump and wondering if I am being harsh with this. But... ok... here's the thing... it never grabbed me. I liked the writing, yes, but there are other factions to making a story work. I don't know why, but I thought this was very slow - if you're going to say the Marton goes missing on the back, it should happen quite quickly, right? Nope. It happens around the halfway point. And when there were plot twists, it felt like there was no clues to lead us to this point. Or, if there was, it was so subtle, you missed it (and if this is the case, CJ works this brilliantly).

I think my main problem is that I never cared. I never cared that this characters were in danger, nor did I feel that these characters were in mortal peril. I never cared for any of the characters so I never worried about them. I need to care for characters in whatever situation they find themselves in, whether it's a love situation, a family situation or a life-or-death situation.

While I think some of you guys will like it and find it the perfect Winter chiller, it just wasn't for me, I'm afraid.

Monday 24 August 2015

Harry Potter #re3 2015 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This book has been a long time coming. I started reading this at the end of June and only just finished it a few weeks ago. I didn't want this to be my main read. I have too many other books that I need to read and review for the blog (oh, if only I could stay home and get paid for reading books and writing my blog. That would be the best job ever. That and actually becoming an author rather than wishing for it.).

But here I am. Finally, talking about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!

Am going to say this here, but this was the book I was the most excited to read within this year long challenge. I'm not sure why, but it's the book I am the most determined to get to. Now, that I have read it, it's now Half Blood Prince. I think it's because out of all the Potter books, Goblet is the one I really like and, strangely, not the biggest fan of.

But oh, how that changed. I ADORED reading this. This is the book where things turned and I became excited. It might now be my fave book in the series now (I know! In this year long challenge, this might have overtaken Prisoner of Azkaban as fave book!!!).

This book is dark. I know that all the books are dark (I feel that Chamber of Secrets is very dark!) but this book could be the darkest in the series for most readers. We start with a murder of Frank Bryce (The Riddle House chapter is my favourite opening chapter in the series!), then we go to light chapters - the Quidditch World Cup, friends, fun times. Then the book turns. Death Eaters, Dark Marks, Triwizard Tournament, the Goblet of Fire spitting out Harry's name, Ron and Harry's friendship nearly in ruins, fame's bad side coming out, dragons, mermaids, S.P.E.W - it spins into the dark side very quickly.

It's this growing sense that the worse is yet to come. It's unlike the other books because we know from the very first chapter that Voldemort is at the heart and we know he and Harry are going to meet, so we're watching this unfold before our eyes, either fearing the worse or going "Maybe we got it wrong..."

And then, it happens. And I sped through those chapters. I think I read these chapters the first time in a state of horror, but now, I relish them.

One of the most interesting things for me as someone rereading the series is seeing little hints of what's the come. JK Rowling does an excellent job of lying the groundwork for the next book or a later book in the series. In one chapter (The Pensieve), we are told about the Department of Mysteries and Bella Lestrange. Both important to Order of the Phoenix. At the end of The Unexpected Task, Harry asks if Lavender will go to the Yule Ball with Ron (and guess what happens in Half Blood Prince...). Same with what Dumbledore said to Snape in The Parting of the Way, "You know what I must ask you to do. If you are ready... if you are prepared..."

SNAPE WAS DUMBLEDORE'S MAN! This line confirms it.

Speaking of Snape, reading this book made me dislike Snape more than I did before. There was a line in this book which made me question Snape as a character. In The Weighing of the Wands, Draco and Harry shoot spells at each other. The spells hit Goyle and Hermione. Snape comes along and tell Goyle to go to the hospital wing, but when Harry and Ron tell Snape what Draco's spell did to Hermione, Snape looks at Hermione and says "I see no difference."

This line made me suddenly wonder if Snape is sexist. Which makes me think about his character throughout the series and towards his relationship with Lily. I feel I might be looking into this further once I have read the entire series.

But there are things in this books that I forgot and it was wonderful to go "Look! The film got it wrong!". Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are both mixed-sexed schools, and there is a moment where some of the girls of Beauxbatons are wearing headscarves - whether because it was cold (which seems more likely) or because of religious reasons. Also, I was reading Karkaroff as someone (via a podcast?) hinted that Karkaroff could be gay. It is possible, but as he is a former Death Eater (and JK has never said), we can guess...

Rereading this is also interesting due to "Ring Theory". People say Goblet of Fire stands on its own - which is very true. But I think it is also very linked to Philosopher's Stone and Deathly Hallows. This is the start and the end, tied together. Voldemort loses his power due to innocence at the start Philosopher's Stone, Voldemort's return to power at the lost of an innocent in Goblet of Fire and then his true downfall in Deathly Hallows. This book is important to the series and is hugely important to the Ring Theory.

Also, can we talk about Cedric? I never warmed to Cedric's character, and people question why Harry's grief comes so late. Well, let's look at this at the chain of events. Cedric is murdered, Harry is bound and gagged, his blood is taken and Voldemort returns to his body. Then the Death Eaters come and Voldemort talks (aka emotionally tells off his Death Eaters) about what happened to him in the past few years. Voldemort and Harry duel and echoes of Voldemort's past victims come out of his wand, and help Harry escape with Cedric's body. They return to Hogwarts, everyone is shocked over Cedric's murder and Moody takes Harry away. Then we discover Moody is the one who put Harry's name in the Goblet. Dumbledore attacks Moody and we discover Moody isn't Moody but a Death Eater in disguise and we hear the whole horrid plan. Harry talks to Dumbledore about what happened it he graveyard, before Dumbledore takes Harry to Hospital Wing and makes him drink a sleep potion. Harry sleeps for a short while then wakes up to hear Dumbledore and the Minister of Magic argue over Voldemort's return. Fudge (the Minister of Magic) doesn't believe it and, basically, calls Harry a liar. Harry is then told to drink rest of sleeping potion - and that's the end of the chapter. The next chapter starts several weeks later.

But this whole series of events happens in a very short space of time - two hours, maybe. There is no time for Harry to process what had happen because events outside his control took over. That is why Order of the Phoenix starts the way it starts. That's Harry getting to grips with what happened to him. And he was doing this on his own.

We, as the readers, have time to recover from our shock. Harry never has that. (And that's why watching Cedric's father in the Goblet of Fire movie is so heartbreaking. That scene, in my opinion, is the only thing that film got right!)

And Wormtail. Ok, this isn't a big thing compared to Cedric, but rereading this made me see something I have always missed. When Voldemort gives Wormtail his silver hand, Voldemort says "Let your loyalty never waver again." And look what happens to Wormtail in Deathly Hallows. His loyalty wavered. So, of course, the silver hand reacted, killing Wormtail. Because the hand was never Wormtail's, it was Voldemort's. Just wanted to put that out there.

But rereading this was wonderful. I forgot why I read this book so often in the year after it's publication. But yes, LOVED IT (even though this is the book JK said she would rewrite if she was ever asked). BRING ON, ORDER OF THE PHOENIX!!!

Friday 21 August 2015

Winterkill's New Covers!

I am quite excited to be one of the bloggers to reveal the new covers for the Winterkill trilogy, written by Kate A. Boorman (published by Faber and Faber). I must thank Hannah for including me in this reveal as I still HAVEN'T ready Winterkill as of yet. I am planning to read this in the winter months. It just screams "Read me with snow and hot chocolate!".

Anyway, let me reveal the new covers for the first 2 books in the trilogy, Winterkill and Darkthaw!

Like I said, these books scream winter, right? Both look cold and creepy and I just can't believe I haven't started this series yet as everyone I know who has started this trilogy is raving about it!

Also, Hannah at Faber has given us a sneaky peek over the third and final cover in the trilogy, Heartfire. Now, this is a sneak peek so this isn't finished. A lot can change from now till the book's release so treat this cover with caution.

I have to admit, these covers are divine! The designer and illustrator, Will Steele and Helen Crawford-White, did a wonderful job! Am really excited to read the book and find out whether the covers match the insides of the books. 

But what do you think? Do you like? Do you hate? Leave a comment down below, as I would love to know what you guys thinks! 

Wednesday 19 August 2015

4 Weeks of Summer - The Secret Fire

If, like me, you mourned over the end of CJ Daugherty's Night School series (which ended earlier this summer), the news of this new two book series must have caught your attention. And I was very VERY lucky to get an ARC earlier this month and read it very quickly (am writing this on Tuesday 11th August as part of my 4 Weeks of Summer).

And what is more exciting is that CJ co-wrote this with French author, Carina Rozenfeld. An author I have never heard of, seeing as I am a quite dumb Brit and I don't believe Carina is published in the UK. To my knowledge, this is a the first time that two authors wrote a book together who don't speak the same native language - very intriguing.

Taylor is a girl from England. Sacha is the boy from Paris. They have nothing in common nor do they know each other. Until Taylor's French teacher and Sacha's English teacher force them together for online tutoring. But there's more to it than that. Both Taylor's and Sacha's fates are entwined by a curse. A curse that must be lifted before Sacha's next birthday - which is in around eight weeks time.

But first, they have to meet...

Ok, I am going to say this now. I really liked the Night School series. But this is better.

I sense that the legion of Night School fans are marching to my house with pitchforks and lit torches. But hear me out.

I like slow burning thrillers. Night School slowly burned with foreshadowing and twists. The Secret Fire, on the other hand, grabs you by the neck and you have to run with it. There is no time to foreshadowing in this book. And because of this pacing (because of the short timeframe of the curse and the fact this is a duology), you find yourself speeding through the pages. I read a few pages on and off for a few days, before I sat down and read this book for a few hours. I found, within three hours, I had read nearly three quarters of the book. This is rare that I speed through a book, so the fact I did is always a good thing.

I like the fact that we have an English author and a French author writing this series together. While the story is in English, there is a feel that both CJ and Carina know what they are doing and what they are talking about.

If I had to pick one fault, it's the fact I wish we go some more background on some characters, which I sense is going to be quite important in the next book. For example, while I'm not the biggest fan of Louisa, but we got (what I felt was) very little info on her and I think she's going to be huge in book 2.

But I had such a fun addictive time reading this. Can't wait for book 2!

Monday 17 August 2015

4 Weeks of Summer - Bones on Ice

As your guys are probably aware, I am a bit of a fan of Kathy Reichs. So, of course, when I discovered this novella, I wanted to read it. I wanted something to fly through before I returned to my Harry Potter 2015 Reading Challenge and then, after that, attack the ARCs that needed my undivided attention (which is gonna fail. I know that now).

The daughter of a powerful and wealthy family has been missed on Mount Everest for the past three years. Until the earthquake happened, no one could get to the body and bring her in to confirm it is the daughter.

And the family wants only one person to identify the body: Tempe Brennan.

Though reluctant to take the case, Tempe soon discovers that there's something wrong with the body. What if it wasn't an accident, like everything thinks?

For some unknown reason, this novella seemed meaty compared to Kathy's previous. Maybe it's me - it has been a while since I have read Bones In Her Pocket and Swamp Bones. But this novella was very interesting. Yes, it does follow the same pattern as Kathy Reichs's previous works (this could be seen as a bad thing for some people - Tempe takes a case, get too involved and, because of this, puts herself in mortal danger), but I found the whole story of someone being frozen fascinating.

Like I said, some people might not like the pattern of the story as it follows Kathy's writing pattern. But I like this pattern. What I found a tad annoying was the ending. It felt rushed for some reason.

I did like this and I think other Kathy Reichs fans will like it, as it has a sample chapter of her latest novel, Speaking in Bones. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but this might be a good place to start with you want to try Kathy Reichs out.

Thursday 13 August 2015

4 Weeks of Summer - The Lost and the Found

This was last month's Bookish Brits Book Club Book of the Month (you might have seen my review clips on the channel), but here I am, writing it up to the best of my abilities, so bear with me while I get all my thoughts and feels into this post.

Faith's whole life has been dominated by her older sister, Laurel's, disappearance. Faith was four and Laurel was six, and Faith has known no difference. The media storm around her family and herself as she grew up, saw her parents split up and trying to deal with so called friends.

Thirteen years ago, Laurel was snatched. And now... now, she has come back.

The happy ever after everyone hoped for and wanted. But what happens next? And why is Faith suddenly feeling isolated and paranoid?

Now, I have read all bar one of Cat Clarke's books and I have really enjoyed reading them. I love Cat's writing style, where she makes you sped through the book while writing from a character who you might not be so thrilled to spend time with. And this book is no different to her others. Fast pace and you will speed through the pages. I read this with 5 days (four, technically as I had a day off playing with Bagheera and spending time with my other half!) so the pacing is good and strong.

However - yes, there is a however. And it's a big however from me. As someone who reads quite a bit of crime thrillers (and watches a heck of a lot of crime TV dramas), I felt that this book was very predictable. I knew where the story was going to go almost from the word go. And it annoyed me that I guessed correctly where the story was going. It made me like the book less.

But saying that though, the last few pages redeemed the book for me. It became, in a sense, the most important part of the book, the last 3 or so pages.

While it might have been my fave Cat Clarke, it was a fast addictive read.

Monday 10 August 2015

Music to Murder: The Black Cairn Point Playlist

I am thrilled to welcome Claire McFall to the blog today. Claire has published two books - Ferryman and Bombmaker - and her latest, Black Cairn Point, has just come out! To celebrate this release, Claire has written this lovely post about the music she listened to while writing Black Cairn Point.

I want to thank Claire for taking time out for writing this post and thank you for introducing new music to me. I'm always on the hunt for new music. Anyway, now, am handing it over to Claire!

I don’t know what it is about music, but it seems to be hard-wired straight into our emotional core. Without the soundtrack I reckon I could get all the way through Titanic without crying, but as it is, every single time Rose goes down in the boat and she’s looking up at Jack, knowing she’ll never see him again… and the strings cut in and BAM.  I’m greetin’. [greetin’ (Scots): wailing like a big pansy).  And then there’s that bit in Star Trek (the first film of the new series) where Spock tells the stuffy old fogies at the Vulcan Science Academy to “live long and prosper” (i.e eff off) and then the funky riff starts – I tried to find the exact song but apparently JJ Abrams made it specially for the movie – and it just makes the moment so AWESOME. 
OK, so there’s no music in books, but authors use music to get them in the right mood… and hopefully that emotion gets woven into the descriptions and the dialogue. At least, that’s the idea. So here’s my “soundtrack” for Black Cairn Point.

Itchycoo Park by The Small Faces
I had no idea that’s what this song was called – I thought it was called It’s all too Beautiful but Google tells me I’m wrong. This is the song that Heather and her friends are listening to on their road trip down to Black Cairn Point. Initially the lyrics of the song started off chapter too… but then my publisher told me how much song lyric rights cost (and that I’d have to pay them) and, yeah, they got dropped. But it’s a cool song. It’s catchy and easy to sing along too. And it’s one of those songs that everyone can belt out the chorus to but as soon as the verse starts, suddenly there’s a lot of mumbling along with the tune. It’s a proper oldie (1967!!!) but it’s good.

I’m Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance
This is one of my FAVOURITE songs anyway. I listened to it a lot when I was writing the Dr Petersen sessions in the book. He’s the psychologist who’s responsible for locking Heather up and she has to pretend to be all sane and calm and not psycho when inside she’s screaming and she wants to pound his stupid head off the shiny mahogany desk. Not that I’ve ever had that feeling or anything…

Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer
I’ve never really thought of myself as a romance writer, and Black Cairn Point is a horror, but, as my agent pointed out, I always manage to work a little bit of smoochiness in there somewhere.  But the little romance between Heather and Dougie is a shy thing.  I think it’s because I was shy and timid at school and the thought of brazenly flirting with a guy I liked…. Gah! I’d have to find a place to hide and then die.  Kiss Me is a really sweet little love song and it just seemed to fit the mood of Heather’s feelings for Dougie. 

By the way, the book really is a horror-thriller.  I promise.  

All Alone by Fun.
This is a sad song.  It’s about (I think) the singer’s mum dying and him feeling abandoned and, well, alone.  Unable to cope without her strength to lean on. I listened to it a lot towards the end of the book, when people are a) missing b) going loco AND c) getting sick… and Heather’s pretty much the only one left standing.  The one who’s left to make all the decisions.  It’s a cool song – on a cool album.  If you’ve never listened to the Some Nights album I’d recommend giving it a go.

Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing by Chris Isaak
This song goes with the ending… but I’m saying no more. You’ll have to read it for yourself!

So there you have it.  It’s kind of an eclectic mix… but these are the songs that helped me get in the “zone” for Black Cairn Point.  I’m ALWAYS on the hunt for new music, so if there are songs that you think go well with the book, I’d love to hear about them! And thank-you thank-you to the fabulous Pewter Wolf for having me on his blog and tasking me with such an awesome topic.

It’s been emotional ;)

Claire xxx

Saturday 8 August 2015

4 Weeks of Summer - Sabriel (#re3)

You can blame Chouett and SableCaught for this reread. We were chatting about Sabriel on Twitter a few months ago (SableCaught and I have read this series, Chouett hasn't) and we decided to read Sabriel throughout the course of July.

But I sped read as this is me, of course. This was me reading Rebecca, which I reviewed earlier in the week.

I know I really liked this book - it was my Waiting for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix book and I have very fond memories over this book (I read this so many times when I was at college).

I thought I know this book pretty well. It's one of my favourite books.

But what I found interesting about this reread was that I spotted two things.

The first is chapter seventeen. I always seem to forget about the village of Nestowe. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it's not am exciting chapter compared to the rest of the book, but I always forget this moment. It's always quite an important because it reveals several quite important pieces of information.

The second is that this book, while being YA, is much more grown-up. There are mentions of menstruation, circumcised penis and other topics that readers would miss because of the magic involved in this world. You miss it, unless you are reading carefully.

It's always nice to reread a fave book. I think we all need to do this once in a while.

Friday 7 August 2015

Rebel of the Sands - COVER REVEAL!

I am quite excited in being involved in this cover reveal. Faber is so excited over this book - this is gonna be their big book of next year! And after reading the first few chapters, I can't wait to read this!

So... are you ready to see the cover? Well... here it is!

Doesn't it look pretty? There's something evocative about the cover, and I have heard rumours that the gold will be foiled so the book will have that extra factor.

Also, the people at Faber have revealed a Gif to begin the hype of the book. But yes, I am very excited over this book and I can't wait to get my hands on this book next year!

Thursday 6 August 2015

Brent Bailey Chats Snarky Knightley

Surprise! I have a guest post for you guys! And am a tad shocked this is happening, but am thrilled to welcome Brent Bailey to the blog.

Now, for those of you who aren't aware of him, Brent is an actor on TV and short films, but most of you guys should know him as Alex Knightley from the hit web series, Emma Approved (, which completed its run of August last year. Not catch the show? The first two episodes of Emma Approved at at the bottom of the post!

Not sure how I got Brent to agree on my blog, but a big thank you for Brent for taking time out of his busy life to answer these questions! Before I throw us all into the Q&A, if you want to follow Brent of Twitter, you can check him out at And now, with that out of the way, onto the Q&A!

Brent, thank you so much for answering some questions for my blog. As most people will know you from Emma Approved, could you explain about the series and your character, Alex Knightley, for those who aren’t aware of the show?
Emma Approved is a modern day adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma.”  The story is about Emma, (Joanna Sotomura) a matchmaker who has gone into business with her lifelong snarky friend, Alex Knightly.  Emma runs the matchmaking side and Alex runs the business side.   The story takes you on a journey through the difficulties of running a business as well as the complexity of love.  It’ll make you laugh and cry and then want to watch it all over again.  

Could you tell us how you got the role of Alex Knightley?
I had actually read for The Lizzie Bennett Diaries a couple of times, so Jenni Powell and Bernie Su (producer and executive producer) were aware that I existed. They were just trying to figure out what role I was best for.  When Knightley came around I went in and read, and it definitely felt right.  There was so much of my personality I was able to bring into the role, and I just felt really comfortable with the character.  The rest is history! 

Because Emma is such a well-loved story, did you feel any pressure on portray Knightley loyally, but make him your own character, different from other interpretation? 
Honestly I didn’t even think about it.  Emma has been redone so many times now that I didn’t feel there was a single iconic person that played it best.  Each adaptation has been different which has given the actors playing the roles some freedom to bring their own interpretation to it.  I just went in, had fun, and hoped that the fans of the show would enjoy what we were making. 

Were you surprised by how popular the show became? 
Since LBD was so successful I expected us to have a pretty decent amount of people tune in.  Bernie had called me when he was offering me the role and let me know what to expect.  So it did seem like we were prepared for what was to come.  The only thing I didn’t know was that the fans were going to be so amazing.  I am very grateful for those that have stuck with my career and me since the show has ended.  There are good things to come, I promise. ☺ 

What was it like to have your character and, to a point, yourself compared to the male “heartthrob” of another very popular web series, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, of William Darcy, played by Daniel Vincent Gordh?
Flattering! Daniel is such a great guy and he did a fantastic job with Darcy.  So to be compared to him in any aspect is a compliment.  We’ve actually joked many times about doing a show together and having our characters be brothers.  Maybe one day! 

After you wrapped Emma Approved, you did two episodes of another web series, Classic Alice? What was it like jumping from one popular web series into another? Did you feel any pressure?
Classic Alice actually just felt like a bunch of friends getting together and having fun. It was such a quick and easy day on set for the Emma crew, and we all had a blast.  Our roles were really just fun additions to the show, so I didn’t feel any real pressure.  Cameos are great because you come in, get to make a bunch of new friends and then get to head on to the next job! 

Why do you think web series as a whole (such as Emma Approved as well as Lizzie Bennett Diaries, New Adventures of Peter and Wendy and Night School: The Web Series) are so popular? 
They had built-in fan bases. The books have been around for so long, and the stories have been told many times.  So instead of starting from scratch and having to introduce new characters and new storylines, you are rebuilding ones that have already been done.  They do the same thing with TV and Film, which is why you see reboots, remakes, etc.  The key is to make sure that when you are re-creating something, you do it well!  Bernie is great at that! So when you have a concept that already has mass appeal, and then you create a new version of it and do it well, it’s a recipe for success. 

You have acted on TV and short films. What was it like to go from working on a “traditional” medium to a “new” medium of a web series?
The biggest difference between TV and Web is the budget.  On TV shows you have a trailer, large crews, expensive equipment, fancy locations, etc.  With web it’s usually a bunch of awesome people getting around making something special without a lot of money.  I enjoy both, but my goal is to continue to transition further into TV and Film.  That being said, if a good web series comes along and my schedule allows it, I’d be interested for sure. 

Speaking on acting on TV, you have done acting jobs for Hart of Dixie, Palo Alto and Rizzoli and Isles. What was it like working on these hugely popular shows? 
It was a blast.  I had so much fun on all of those shows, and every time I am on set it’s a new experience.  My favorite part is to check Tumblr later to see how many gif’s got created of me trying to introduce Jaime King to my “mama.”

(Edit from Pewter Wolf: I can show you the gifs Brent means... I couldn't possibly... 

*tries to look innocent* Sorry, Brent, but I HAD TO! Anyway, moving along...)

As a fan of Rizzoli and Isles, I have to ask what it was like acting opposite Lorraine Bracco and Bruce McGill, who play Angela Rizzoli and Detective Vince Korsak respectively? 
Lorraine was incredible. She is so talented and makes it look so easy!  I really hope I get to work with her again on something else!  Bruce is also extremely talented and had lots of good tips and advice for us.  Both of them made the workday so easy and so wonderful.  

One last question: what are you currently working on, if you can tell us? If not, what was your last acting role and what information can you share?

I actually can’t say specifically what I have coming up yet!  It is really exciting though and will be my biggest big budget movie role yet!  I think I’ll be able to talk about it more in September, but what I can say is that it’s going to be a great movie and it’s got some huge actors in it that I really respect and can’t wait to work with!  Other than that I have a few more commercials that will be coming out soon, and hope to snag a few more TV credits before I leave in September to film the movie! 

Wednesday 5 August 2015

4 Weeks of Summer - Rebecca

When I asked if I wanted to be involved in this Daphne du Maurier blog tour, to celebrate the release of Rebecca, Frenchman's Creek and Jamaica Inn in the YA edition, I jumped at the chance. I've been curious to read Daphne du Maurier as she's one of those authors I've always been intrigued over. So when Poppy from Little, Brown sent me a copy of Rebecca, I was a mix of excited and a bit fearful. Nearly everyone I know who has read this seems to love this book.

Our unnamed narrator meets and falls in love with widower, Maxim de Winters. But when they marry and return to his Cornish home, Manderley, a change comes over him, and our narrator is filled with an uneasy dread. In this isolated house, she realises that she is friendless, barely knows the man she has married and, wherever she goes in that house, she is faced with the ghost of his first wife, Rebecca. And how is she met to compete with a phantom?

I must admit this from the off: this isn't my typical type of book. I realised this very early on and powered on, willing to try something new and different. Sometimes, this is a good thing to do.

This book is going to spilt you guys. You are going to either really like this tale or are going to hate it.

I can see people really like this book because of the pacing and writing, the tension that slowly builds and the psychologic elements that creep on our unnamed heroines and her doubts/fears that she is never going to meet up to Rebecca's standards (mainly through the actions of people around her, such as Maxim and Mrs Danvers). This is one of the original psychologic thrillers that I have read that tackles jealously, obsession, self doubt and self worth.

However, all those points can have the opposite effect on some of you. You might find it very slow in pacing and it lacks substance. It could been seen as quite a frustrating read.

For me, I did find it frustrating. I really enjoyed the writing and the style, but there were several moments I did want to throw the book across the room as I wanted the book to get to the story. But this was written in a different time, where setting up the mood and tone was more important than the story.

I'm glad I did read this, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. But it might be yours, so if you want to try it out, go for it.

Sunday 2 August 2015

4 Weeks Of Summer - The Princess Diaries

So, here we are. The first review as part of my 4 Weeks of Summer. And what a place to start than a summery read of The Princess Diaries.

Mia is a typical 14 year old girl living in New York. Well, so she thought. Until her father drops one huge bombshell upon her: she is a princess. Heir to the throne of the small country of Genovia. A Princess? Her? How did that happen? Not only does she have to handle this news, have her slightly bonkers grandmere teaching her princess lessons, a bodyguard that follows her everywhere, she has to also handle her her friends, her school work, the idea of her Mom dating her Algebra teacher... 

Ok, I know this has been out for a while. I know it has a huge fan following. But with news that there is an adult sequel and a middle-grade series that had been published in the past few months has got me curious. So, when I saw this on NetGalley, I couldn't resist. 

This is a fun summer read. I can very easily see why people love this series as it was a huge amount of fun. It's a fun, fast read that you could read on the beach. Mia's humour and her reaction to her life's sudden turnaround was a typical teen reaction: quite over the top. And because of this, I sniggered as sped through the book. 

However, while I enjoyed reading this, this book is a bit sugary sweet for my tastes. But I had expected this. What I found quite surprising was how different this book was to the Disney film. I know the film was inspired by this series and, later in the book series, the book pokes fun at the film with Mia hating what Disney did to her life. 

But I can see why people like this book. And it is perfect for readers aged 8 to 12, maybe even early teens, wanting a fun, fluffy summer read. Plus, it is the start of a ten book series so, this could be a series that could create a reader. 

I am intrigued to read more of Meg Cabot. Maybe I should read the second book in this series... But this was the perfect summer read and the perfect start to these 4 Weeks of Summer! 

Saturday 1 August 2015

4 Weeks of Summer

AM BACK!!! Did you miss me while I was taking July off?

No? Oh... well... Ok...

Anyway, I am back from my lovely break away from the blog and I am ready to go again! And because I have been reading throughout my month off, I am going to push two months of book reviews into one month.

AKA my 4 Weeks of Summer.

Basically, by the time we get to the end of the month or the start of September, I should be back to my normal way of reviewing, which is me reviewing books within 48 hours of finishing the books. So you get a instant reaction to the book.

So, for the next 4 weeks, you guys should get quite a few reviews (if all goes to plan). If not... well.... at least I tried to have a quiet weekend to curl up and read while having a hyper kitten and this weird British summer we're having...

Ok, so, let's enjoy the summer, the wonderful books that we have to read or that we have read and LOOK AT MY AWESOME NEW HAT!!!