Thursday 31 August 2017

Children's Book Circle Summer Party 2017

Before I go any further, I want to say thank you to everyone at the Children's Book Circle's Summer Party. Thank you for inviting me and thank you for looking after me when, out of nowhere, I got blogger shy and wanted to hide in the corner with a glass of wine and my laptop! 

Ok, back to normal. Now, last week, I was very kindly invited to the Children's Book Circle's Summer Party. The Children's Book Circle ( for those curious) is a non-profit organisation run by a committee of volunteers who work in publishing (editors, publishers, agents, etc) and they try to set up events (panels, Meet and Critiques, etc). Go to their website - they can explain better than I can. 

Anyway (!), I was invited to go and I said yes without a moment's thought. I love going to publishing events and I spend so long panicking about trains and work, that going and meeting people who love books is great. So, once I left work that day, I changed and ran for the train to London (nearly missing it, FYI!) and got to Kings Cross. Once snooping in the Harry Potter shop (very busy and I kick myself for now not being a Niffler key ring!) and getting a quick hot chocolate from Pret (which I somehow got free - which everyone is now telling me Pret employees can do and, maybe, the guy was flirting with me. PEOPLE - my gaydar DOESN'T EXIST!!! If you're going to flirt with me, TELL ME IN ADVANCE!), I slipped in. 

And got Book Blogger Shy. 

I like meeting people. I do. But I panicked when I saw people who know publishing inside and out and, most of them I don't know (and they don't know me) so when they asked "Who do you work for?", they thought I worked for a publisher! I should have lied and answered "Regina Falange. We're a small indie publisher. You're probably never heard of us, but we read books, eat cake and hug cats. Is that Nick Jonas?!". Instead, I answered "am a book blogger" and await the cries of "NO, HE'S NOT! HE LIES!" (You would think, after seven years, I wouldn't still feel like a fraud when it comes to this book blogging and book events.). Plus, I only knew a tiny handful of people so became a sloth and never left their side for a good hour and a half (sorry about that!) 

Plus, some people dressed up! I wore a T-shirt covered with book covers (there were two/three times where people would look at my chest and go "Is that Harry Potter? Watchmen? What the hell is that with the tentacles?") but they went all out! There was Beetle Boy, a Handmaid from Handmaid's Tale, Mildred Hubble from The Worst Witch, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, a few Dalmatians from 101 Dalmatians, two Wallys from Where's Wally and others. I do have to give a special shout out to the three ladies who came as the burglars and the ladybird from What The Ladybird Heard. I think I shouted at them in delight once I figured out who they were - I have read that book to my nephews so many times! 

After finding my feet (and more wine - wine is a must at book events), chatted to some publishers, trying to get information about upcoming books that I MUST GET MY HANDS ON. But, alas, the wine has made me forget all but one book (and I only remembered that as I went "Oh! I know several book bloggers who would LOVE that!"). But I did chat to some lovely people about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hamilton coming to the UK and they were shocked that I plan to go into the show without hearing any music and they going "You MUST see Wicked!" (these are my kind of people) I had to leave to catch my train... well... I missed it, but I caught another and got my Other Half to pick me up. 

So, again, thank you to everyone there for making me feel welcome and sorry if I didn't talk to you or was too shy too. NEXT TIME, I WILL! And thank you Children's Book Circle for inviting me. 

OH! I remember something! The Children's Book Circle is planning something at the end of November. It's a lecture about libraries and a small award ceremony. I think I can grab a link for you guys. Hopefully, they will send out a Press Release so will shout at you once I know more. If I am free and can go, I will try. If not, YOU ALL HAVE FUN WITHOUT ME. Or Facebook Live it! I can watch it via Facebook if I must! 

Wednesday 30 August 2017

eBook Review - Songs About Us

I have been waiting for quite a while to read the sequel to Songs About A Girl (review for when I read it last year is here!), so when I get my hands on a eProof/NetGalley edition, I had to wait a few weeks to clear my reading out (BOOKS EVERYWHERE!).

It's two months after the events of Songs About A Girl and Charlie is trying to get normal back into her life. She's rebuilding a relationship with her father, try and hang out with her best friend and worry about GCSEs.

But soon, she is taken back into the world of Fire&Lights, the hottest boyband on the planet. But things are different between the four now. Aiden is in a relationship, but is uncomfortable with it. Yuki is drinking and no one can understand why. And tension between Gabriel and Olly are running at an all-time high and they are close to coming to blows with each other.

When you're as successful as Fire&Lights, there is two ways you can go: up or down. And either way, they're going to take Charlie and everyone around them with them. Whether they want to or not...

Am going to say it: out of the two, I think I prefer Songs About A Girl over Songs About Us. But Songs About Us is still a really good read.

It's a sugary, fun summer read. You can whizz through it and not come up for air for a while. You get sucked in. Plus, with some of the elements Chris tackled (LGBT+, mental health, etc), it was good to see it and go "YES!" over it. It's nice to have these characters and have them and their problems fleshed out.

But, at the same time, I didn't fly through this book as quickly as I did with Songs About A Girl. Some of the darker elements added to this annoyed me and slowed my reading down. Like I said, some elements I was for and most/all, I completely got why the book was taking us in that direction. But there were one or two elements/chapters/moments, where I would have to put my kindle down and leave it for a while, but I was getting frustrated over the characters and their reaction.

An example is one character. In the previous book, he was one of my faves because he was fun. I liked reading him. But, in this book, he changed. Of course, I got why at the end of the book, but there were several strong moments while reading, I was getting hugely annoyed over this character and the way their behaved.

While there were moments I got frustrated with the book, I did enjoy it. Maybe not as much as Songs About A Girl, but I am very much going to continue with this series when Songs About A Boy come out next year. Plus, with Songs About Us ending on that cliffhanger, I will be very intrigued how Chris is going to explain everything...

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Book Review - The Color of Pixar

As you guys know, I am a sucker for Disney books so when I was asked if I wanted to read/review this, I jumped at it.

With this coffee-table book, each page is a still from all of Pixar's feature films, including the recent Cars 3 and the upcoming Coco. Instead of being organised by film, they are organised by colour, starting with white and lilic and continuing through blue, green, yellow, red onto black.

Now, I like art-movie books, and this is the same. It's visually stunning, seeing how much time and detail each frame takes. It's very much a book for art lovers.

But, it lacks something. I can't put my finger on it. It's missing something that would have made reading this better. Maybe a bit of detail here and there. But because it's missing a bit of magic, it feels lacking.

Like I said, visually stunning, but it feels very style over substance.

Monday 28 August 2017

30 Minute Writing Sprint - Week 4

So, here we are again! Another weekly 30 minute writing sprint when I should be writing a guest blog post or some reviews. But it's a bank holiday and I want to be lazy and have fun. So, here we are.

Now, I had this idea for the past few days, story wise, so not sure how this will turn out. Plus, a little tight for time at the moment so changing this to a 17 minute writing sprint. Yes, it's a Bank Holiday in the UK but, like I said earlier, I was a lazy, sleep on the sofa kinda day!

Anyway, I hope this story idea comes out ok. I might annoy a podcast and go "If you need an idea for prologue for your next series..." Ok, stop watches at the ready! 17 minutes! See you on the other side!

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Down The TBR Rabbit Hole

I found this randomly at the weekend on a book blog I have never read before and I loved the idea so much, I had to "borrow" it. The blog I saw this on was A Cascade of Books and the original idea came from another book blog I have never read called Lost In A Story.

And I call myself a book blogger and I fail at keeping up with the young, cool, hip, new book bloggers. I am basically this gif:

Getting away from the point! Anyway, this blog meme idea is basically go to your Goodreads TBR shelf, put it in ascending order (so oldest titles first), take the first 5/10/whatever number you fancy, read the synopsis and decide whether you want to keep them or let it go?

Oh, come on! How could I not put this here?! 

Now, I checked my list and, out of the five am going to talk about, four live on my kindle and one is a physical book. So this is going to be interesting/terrifying for my kindle. Let's get this over and done with...

Tuesday 22 August 2017

NetGalley Declined - The Revenge

Why do I keep writing these types of posts, I hear you ask. I mean, I've done them a few times before - once in 2015, second in 2016 and a third earlier this year - so why is it back again? This should be a yearly thing.

Well, I have a lot of eProofs/NetGalleys on my kindle (a few days ago, my NetGalley TBR folder [which I made recently on my kindle so I can keep up] went over 60 - insert nervous laughter here). But, I get a weird thrill when a publisher rejects me on NetGalley. It can be for a number of research - haven't got high enough score, not exactly the book blogger they want to read this, the genre of this story isn't a genre I read, etc.

But I like writing these as they show you guys several things.
- One: there are other books out there that I don't read. Go forth and discover them!
- Two: I am trying to read more widely and push myself out of my comfort zone.
- Three: And, finally, just because I am a book blogger , it doesn't mean I get every story I want to read from the publishers.

I'm going to show you all my declined NetGalleys - that would take too long - but I want to show you a tiny handful, explain why I requested it and thoughts and reactions to them now... So, let's get started!

(Little Brown/Sphere - Goodreads Link)
For most of this year, I have been on the lookout for thrillers that have an edge to them. Something that makes them standout. I have been ready for a thriller that has so many twists and "OMG!" moments. And this looks like perfectly creepy and twisty. I have seen it in shops recently and I am still tempted to go out and read this. And with winter just round the corner (we're on the home straight of leaving this ghastly season known as summer!), this might be one I have to look into...

CRAZY HOUSE by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet
(Random House/Cornerstone - Goodreads Link)
I have no idea why I requested this. I really don't. Whenever I read or attempt to read James Patterson, I end up getting hugely annoyed. He pulls the same tricks over and over and over again and it always feel like he never brings anything new to the table for me. But the idea for this intrigued me, hence why I requested it. But, you know what, dear reader? Am kinda relieved that I was declined on this one. James Patterson just doesn't work for me any more and I need to make my peace with that and move on...

(Bloomsbury/Circus - Goodreads Link
Does the cover look lovely? This is the main reason why I requested this - the cover. Plus, it had a vibe of Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus (a book I read years ago and I really want to reread in the next 12 months, hopefully), which was a small bonus. And with one of the selling points being a young man's reflection comes out of a mirror and starts living his life both intrigues and terrifies me. I have fears of my reflection coming out of the mirror. And while I was a little disappointed over being declined for this, I have seen other people's reviews to this book and I sense I had a bit of a lucky escape... It's not awful, but it wouldn't live up the the Night Circus, which I had put on it.

ALL THAT SHE CAN SEE by Carrie Hope Fletcher
(Little Brown/Sphere - Goodreads Link)
I do watch Carrie's videos on YouTube and I wanted to read her latest because I'm curious. It seems to be a thing recently that publishers are publishing YouTube stars books and they feel a bit of a cash-in. But with Carrie, it felt like she's hugely passionate about writing and books. Because of this, I was curious to read this. It might not be my cup of tea (the blurb does seem a little sugary-sweet for my taste), but I do want to try new things. Plus, this book reminded mea book I read many, many years ago called The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, which had the same gentle magic sprinkled in.

CIRCE by Madeline Miller
(Bloomsbury - Goodreads Link
I know! I KNOW! I still haven't read The Song of Achilles yet. I KNOW! And still, I went ahead and requested this. Because I got so excited to see this when I saw it on NetGalley, I requested without thinking. I have EVERY plan to read Sonf of Achilles. I will. And, hopefully, this was going to kick-start it for me. I was declined, which is probably for the best, which means now I have to find/make time to read Song of Achilles before Circe comes out next year. I WILL DO IT ... I hope...

Sunday 20 August 2017

30 Minute Writing Sprint - Week 3

Ok, I know this is week 4. But last week I got a little busy so I forgot. Whoops! BUT, I did write a short story and submitted it to Shift, where they asked for something Halloween-themed. It's the first time I've submitted something in a very, very, very long time so am quite scared of their reaction and their feedback, if they do that. So ARGH to that!

Anyway, the week's 30 Minute Writing Sprint. I decided, for a reason I'm not 100% certain on, to ask Twitter what I should attempt to write. So, you voted for this. This is all on you!

Friday 18 August 2017

The Potion Diaries Contest!

SURPRISE!!! Another Contest for you guys!

Thanks again to the lovely Hannah at Simon & Schuster UK, I have a entire trilogy of Potion Diaries to give away!

That includes The Potion Diaries, Royal Tour and the latest book in the series, Going Viral.

For those of us who don't know the series, the first book starts with the Princess of Nova accidentally poisoning herself. Not with poison but a love potion meant for her crush. Now, she's in love with her own reflection.

Enter Samantha Kemi, a girl whose family was once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom. Was - past tense. With a nationwide hunt to find the cure and competitors travelling far and wide to find rare ingredients, can Sam really compete to save her family and the princess? And how close is Same willing to get with Zain Aster, former classmate and now enemy?

And oh, just to make things a little more complex, the quest is all over social media. And the news. No biggie... right?

So, my lovelies, if you want to get into this series, all you have to do is fill in the form below!

Boring info time now: This is a UK only contest and you had till 5pm on Tuesday 22nd August! The winner will be picked at random via and will be emailed sometime that evening to get contact information (aka how the publisher can send your winnings!).

All that is left to say is good luck!

Thursday 17 August 2017

DNFing (For Now) Rubyfruit Jungle

As you guys are probably aware, I wanted to read an LGBTQIA+ book last month. I had big plans for this, but Invasion of the Tearling threw those plans and my plans for this month kinda out of the window.

But I wanted to read a LGBT+ book before I got attacking my Advance Reader Copies and eProofs (my kindle is getting a little angry at me that I haven't read it in MONTHS!!!). And the lovely people at Penguin Platform sent me two books to promote their #PrideBookClub - Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Rubyfruit Jungle. Now, I knew nothing about Rubyfruit Jungle so decided to go into that.

And I stopped after a few chapters. I didn't click with the voice of the main character and... well...  after everything that I have been reading lately (the word am going to use is "heavy") and all the news and awfulness in the world (I fear for humanity and am terrified for future generations), I decided very quickly to put it down and read something fun, silly and a beach/candy-floss read.

And this is ok. It's ok to go "You know what? I'm not in the right frame of mind for this. I still want to read this so, am going to put this on hold and read other things before I come back." And I am planning to go back to this before the year's out. Or I will try.

But this is on hold, for now. Now, to read fun stories and listen to music full blast while I do so!

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Book Review - Two Nights

As you guys know, I am a bit of a fan of Kathy Reichs. And it's been a while since I read a good thriller lately, so when I heard that her latest was a standalone, I got excited and a little nervous. So, I requested madly on NetGalley and started trying to power-read it once I finished Invasion of the Tearling when I knew I was going to an event where Kathy Reichs was at (want to read my write-up? TA-DAH!!!).

Well, I finished this last week (just before my blog break, FYI) and I've had time to thing about my thoughts and feels on this. But before I go head-first, let's talk about that this is about.

Sunday Night is a woman with scars - both physical and psychological - and a woman who is running from her past, burying secrets and trying to build a life as far removed from her childhood as possible.

But someone comes to her for a job, needing a private investigator, Sunnie feels like she has to take it. A girl is missing and Sunnie is drawn to this child. And the child vanished mere moments after a bomb went off outside a Jewish school, killing her mother and brother. Is the girl dead, snatched or has something more terrifying and disturbing happened?

As Sunnie hunts down the truth, her past begins to blur with her present and soon, one has wonder how connected Sunnie and this child is...

Ok, now it's time to talk about this. If I am honest, it's not the best Kathy Reichs I've read, but it's solid. It's fast-paced, full of action, drama and the twists kept me on my toes. All very Kathy Reichs.  I can see this working as a mini TV drama (three episodes, maybe, to keep the plot and action tight) and I can see this being the start of a new series (which I would be on board with).

However - yes, there is a however. Like I said, this isn't my fave Kathy Reichs. There are things that people won't warm to. For a start, Sunday Night isn't Temperance Brennan. People are going to compare - I did for a first few pages. This is natural. But, unlike Tempe who is warm and relatable, Sunnie is cold and very prickly. It takes time to warm to her as a character. I liked characters like this but I know some of you won't - plus, with Sunnie not apologising for her coldness, some of you won't like her at all.

While I liked the pacing and the twists, there's something about the story that doesn't right with me. I like the ideas and theories Kathy throws at us - cults, home-grown terrorism, zealots, etc - but there were times I did feel a little overwhelmed. It's as if Kathy was throwing a lot of ideas at the wall and seeing what would stick. It felt messy at times.

Though there were moments that I felt disjoined from the book, I did like it. Maybe not as much compared to other Kathy Reichs's novels but it's refreshing to see an author try and write new characters and ideas outside their series. And I do think Two Nights would make a good TV adaption and is a good solid start to a series, if Kathy wants to return to Sunday Night and her complex backstory. If for nothing else, I want to spend more time with Sunday's brother, August...

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Sneak Peek Into My NetGalley TBR

I sense this is going to be a running thing on the blog, but as some of you know, my NetGalley TBR folder on my kindle is getting out of hand! I have over 50 at the moment and I might need to do a cull.

For those of you that don't know what I mean by NetGalley, NetGalley is a website publishers use to give away ebook versions of advance reader copies of upcoming novels for librarians, booksellers, bloggers/vloggers and other people.

After resisting for a long time, I got an account and... well, it's far too easy to request an eProof and to be accept (publishers, you can decline me if you want. I get thrilled when I get a "We're decline your very kind offer"). I do culls if my tastes change but some books I've requested have been on my kindle since 2015/2016 and I feel like I should admit to my guilt of a slow reader and the fact I request these and I will read them or might read them one day.

I won't show you my most recent request as I have plans on a few. Maybe in a few weeks/month. Definitely am going to do this again before the year is out so, let me show you some of the oldest and the oddest choices (as I like to choose random stories on NetGalley to push myself in reading new genres/authors/etc)...

Sunday 13 August 2017

They Both Die At The End Contest

I don't normally write blog posts at the weekend. I try and make weekends be blog free (posting, I mean. Writing blog posts is mostly at weekends), but today, I'm hosting a contest!

I am, via the lovely Hannah at Simon and Schuster UK, giving away three advance reader copies of THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera to give away. Oh, and they're signed as well. Just an extra magical touch.

Now, if you haven't heard of this, THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END follows Mateo and Rufus. Both get the dreaded call from Death-Cast, sadly informing them that today is their last day alive. Alone and isolated, the two boys reach out via an app and, together, they spend their last day on earth together... Living their lives to the full... Neither expecting that this would include falling in love...

Does that sound wonderfully heartbreaking?

If you want to win one of three signed advance reader copy, all you have to do is fill in the form below! This is a UK only contest (sorry international readers. I am planning a contest for you guys in the coming months!) and you had till 5pm on Thursday 17th August! The winners will be picked at random via and will be emailed sometime that evening to get contact information (aka how the publisher can send your winning book!).

All that is left to say is good luck!

Friday 11 August 2017

Kindle Samplers - The Third Visit

After the lovely kickstart back with the lovely Lucy and Tom of Freshers book fame, I thought a nice way to get back into the groove of blogging would be another look at the Kindle Samplers I have downloaded on my iPhone. As you guys know, I download a lot of eBook Samplers on the Kindle app on my iPhone. I do it all the time for a number of reasons and I read/delete them off my phone at a fast pace. So, I felt it's time to show some titles to you. Not all, but a few.

ERAGON by Christopher Paolini
Ok, I read this YEARS AND YEARS ago. I read it on the train to one of my first real jobs. And it was a chunky book (for me at the time. Not now, though, I think). Anyway, I randomly thought of it a few weeks ago and went "I wonder if I would like it if I read it now. I mean, I can't remember a thing about it expect for the cover and the fact this book series has dragons on it". So, downloaded sampler and the cover is pretty! So pretty! Not attempted to read the sampler yet - not had time but soon...

MASKERADE and HOGFATHER by Terry Pratchett
Two for the price of one! I always mean to read more Discworld books. I have have read a few (not many), but these are the two I always been going "I really should try and read these". Plus, have you not seen the new cloth-isa bound hardback editions? These look wonderful! And would go so well with my copy of Reaper Man...

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
Do I really need to explain why this is on here, as everyone thinks this book is wonderful are in complete shock that I haven't read it? Do I really have to?

THE THIEF by Ruth Rendell
As someone who enjoys reading crime and thrillers, it comes as a surprise to some people that I haven't read a lot from the big crime authors such as PD James or Agatha Christie. Ruth Rendell is one of those crime authors that I've always been meaning to read, but I'm a little scared off reading her, because she is such a big deal! The Thief seems like a good place to start as it's a novella, part of the Quick Reads range that was published a few years back. The plan is to try this novella out and, if I like her writing, to go towards some of her other writing such as The Water's Lovely, From Doon With Death and the upcoming release of her short stories, A Spot of Folly.

WANT TO PLAY? by P.J. Tracy
This only appeared on my iPhone Kindle app a few weeks ago after a quick chat with Stephen (aka @MyBookishLife). We were chatting about crime/thrillers and he mentioned this title. I went "I think I read that a while ago, but can't remember". So, downloaded it to refresh my memory. I know this is now a big series now (seven or eight books) so intrigued to see if I have read this and if I can remember anything from this story... If not, NEW STORY TO DISCOVER!

And finally, this. I know NOTHING about this book. NOTHING! I know people are excited about this book on Twitter and someone told me that this is a Little Mermaid retelling/reimagining with LGBT themes. HOW I DIDN'T BUY THIS AS SOON AS I WAS TOLD, I HAVE NO IDEA! But I think I totally love this once I find time to read the sampler....

Thursday 10 August 2017

Freshers Stop Here!

Am back from my mini blog break! DID YOU MISS ME? Rude.

Anyway, am back and, to kickstart, I would love to welcome Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen onto the Pewter Wolf. Lucy and Tom are co-authors of several books, such as Lobsters and Never Evers. And their latest has just come out!

Freshers follows Phoebe and Luke as they start uni. Phoebe can't wait! And with Luke, her secret crush there, it's going to be exciting. But Luke is still reeling over his break-up with his ex. When their worlds do crash together, they have to navigate new friends, parties, social media crisis. But with all this going on around them, will they find themselves and each other?

Now, as today is my stop on the tour, I wanted to do something a little different and talk music, mainly music that Lucy and Tom listened to while at uni themselves. Plus, to give it an extra twist, am adding a song choice of my own that reminds me of my college days (I was a bit of a wuss not going to uni! Let's not get into that can of worms.)

Before I show off their music choices, I want to thank Lucy and Tom for allowing us to snoop into their uni days and their music and Nina for asking if I wanted to be involved in the tour! Now, let's go back in time thorough the timey-wimey thing known as music!