Wednesday, 30 November 2011

GoodRead - Summons

This was free on Kindle. That's the only reason I read this. And I think this came onto my radar as I saw Sarah from Feeling Fictional add it to her To Read pile on Goodreads.

Eliza is sixteen and gets herself into a situation she can't stop (won't go into it now). So, remembering her mother's tales, she calls on the Goblin King to save her...

I don't really want to say more than that as this is very much a prequel to the real book, The Goblin King. And this was a ok read. It did feel like a warm-up to the main story and it lay down the fountains to the book as this is a prequel (in a sense) to a trilogy (The Goblin King, Kiss of the Goblin Prince & For the Love of a Goblin Warrior) although this is a prequel to The Goblin King as it shows how Eliza and the Goblin King, Roan, first met when she was sixteen while The Goblin King is set when Eliza is twenty-five and on the verge of getting married...

There are faults and I have read them on other people's reviews ("The guy on the cover looks NOTHING like Roan", "Why did Eliza react the way she did in that situation? She was in her own house!" or "How did Eliza know that her summons would work?", etc) but this is a fast read. Not sure if I will read The Goblin King but I will keep my eyes peeled, just in case...

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

GoodRead - Supernaturally

I think I made a tiny mistake when I got this. I got this on my kindle a few months ago so I think I got this from the US publisher, HarperTeen, and not the UK publisher, HarperCollins. Sorry about that. But it's so hard to tell when you're buying on the Kindle (unless you are super careful, which I'm not) if you're getting the right version. Oh well, I made a mistake and I only realised it. DON'T HATE ME, HARPERCOLLINS UK!!!

In the second book to the Paranormalcy trilogy, Evie has left the International Paranormal Containment Agency to have a normal life, to wait for the weekends where she can spend them with her shapeshifter boyfriend, Lend, and go to school, have her own locker and try to survive gym.

Expect real life is... well, normal. And boring. So when Raquel appears in her life again and asks if Evie would considering returning to the IPCA as a freelance agent, she's tempted. But as she slowly revisits her former life, she notices that something is wrong... But are the fey really behind it?

I read this very quickly. Within 5 days (though I didn't read it on one of these five days so, technically, I read it within 4). And, because I read this so quickly, I might have missed clues and humour which I know must have been there but I missed. But I still felt the book's flirtiness and hints of humour. It was there! But there weren't as many moments where I snickered compared to when I read Paranormalcy.

I don't want to say this book suffered from Second Book Syndrome, but some people who loved Paranormalcy might think it has. There were moments where you could "Really?" on certain situations. But once you get your head round the situation that Evie finds herself in, it made sense. It did with me as Kiersten White hits the ground running with why Evie considers and accepts the position at IPCA so it made sense to me.

But it was the humour and the mystery that made me enjoy this story. We met a new character, Jack, who injects a huge amount of humour into the story and once the story kicks it up a gear, it felt like the fast read.

While it didn't have the same "wow" factor that Paranormalcy had, this is a nice fast read and I will intrigued to see how Evie and Lend's story ends in Endlessly (and I still don't get you Reth shippers out there... I just don't see it!)



Friday, 25 November 2011

Atom Books Bloggers Event

On Wendesday just gone, I went to Atom Books HQ for a Book Bloggers event. I have special place in my heart for Atom as, this time last year, they invited to me to my first EVER book bloggers event! And here I was again, a year later!

But, before that, I met up with Laura from SisterSpooky, Leanne from District YA & Clover for Fluttering Butterflies for a quick coffee in Starbucks. It was nice to chat up with Laura and Leanne since I last met them at Cassandra Clare event and it was lovely to finally meet Clover (though I fear Laura, Leanne and I scared her. SORRY!!!)

And then we walked inside and met so many other bloggers! All who are lovely and awesome and the names I know and have forgotten (I am that kinda person! Sorry everyone!) But hello Stacey, Carly, Joanna, Rhys, Bella, Vivienne, Lynsey & Matt and everyone else I forgot!

So, after we mingled, chatted and stole food and drinks, the lovely ladies of Atom (is it wrong I want to call them the A Team?) told us about the exciting new books they have planned for next year! This includes chatting about books such as 172 Hours on The Moon, Under a Never Sky, The Book of Blood And Shadow (which I have read [review coming soon...] and I kept called The Book of Smoke and Bone [thanks Laini Taylor!] and other very exciting books while having authors C.J. Daugherty & Sara Manning chatting about their novels, Night School and ADorkAble.

So, after swooning over books (mine was Night School [though I forgot it was coming out so soon!], Under A Never Sky and, much to my surprise, 172 Hours On The Moon [sounds completely chilling! Perfect as I want scary reads!]), we went out and chatted some more. Randomly chatted to Sara about knitting (most of it went over my head but she's lovely!) and discovered that the term ADorkAble is being used in a US TV show called The New Girl (Sue them, Sara! SUE!!!) and Laura, Leanna and I might have scared C.J. Daugherty about being a debut novelist, the hyper round the book in the USA and how Twitter/GoodReads are wonderful (and she didn't seem scared of us...).

It was a fun yet random book evening where chat turned to Breaking Dawn movie, Laura (without me knowing) asking when the next Tom Clempson book is out (2013), why we saw no news of Andrea Cremer Bloodrose (Because it was time new authors shine) and backing Lynsey as we went "PLEASE buy the UK rights to Hourglass by Myra McEntire!" (They looked at it but heard radio silence. Will double check for us!).

So, I want to thank Atom again for inviting me. You guys rock!

Actually, seeing as Atom were so lovely in invited me, I managed to get some books (with their permission. NEVER STEAL, KIDS!)that I want to give away to you. So, I am doing a random competition where there will be 3 WINNERS, each winning one book each. The books are BREAKING DAWN by Stephenie Meyer, MONSTER HIGH 3: WHERE THERE'S A WOLF, THERE'S A WAY by Lisi Harrison and TRAPPED by Michael Northrop! Will randomly choose who gets what book (via Random.org) as I want this to be truly a surprise for all the winners! If you fancy entering a winning a book, fill in the form below!



Good luck and thank you, again, to Atom for inviting me! :)

LoveFood - River Cottage

Friday's LoveFood comes from a friend of mine, Jess. She's a total foodie - even more than me! She was very kind to take part in this (as I know how busy she is!) and for that, I thank her! If you want to check out her blog (tad outdated, but still... and rumour has it a new blog is on the way...) go to http://fromthetipofmytongue.blogspot.com/. Here, Jess chats about River Cottage and simple vegetarian recipes that she hopes you will like...

So, this is my contribution to Andy's Love Food Blog week. Andy asked me to write an entry as he knows I am a massive food fan! My main obsession is River Cottage and the whole growing your own and eating off your own land kinda thing. For the last five years I have been collecting the books, watching the series and growing my own food and experimenting with my own home grown veg. I even went to the trouble of going to Jimmy's Food Festival last year and queuing as early as I can to run to the River Cottage tent to get my signed book.... yes LOSER, I know! But I just can't get enough of it!

My top three RC books to get inspiration from is the 'River Cottage Everyday', 'River Cottage Veg Everyday' and the 'River Cottage Family Cookbook'. My boyfriend and I even tried to go veggie during the current series of River Cottage Veg Everyday that is on Channel 4 at the moment, it lasted 2 weeks. It is just so difficult to find the time to cook the meals from the recipes out of the book, although some are easy, it just takes much longer than cooking a hunk of meat or fish. As a veterinary nurse, I spend a good 45 hours or more at work and with two puppies of my own, it is just physically impossible to spend that much time in the kitchen in the evenings, if I did I wouldn't have dinner until 9/10pm! Although the good thing that came out of it is that we eat a lot less meat at home and try to make at least 3 veggie meals a week.

So on that note, here are three simple vegetarian recipes (that can be converted into meat feasts) I have created, that have been tried and tested with the approval of others:

Baked Camembert Fondue with crudités (and steak)
Ingredients
 Camembert (must be the ones in the wooden boxes)
 1 whole garlic clove
 Carrots
 Celery
 Broccoli
 and any other vegetables you wish to dip in the fondue
 Steak (optional)
 bread (optional)

Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c
2. Take the Camembert out of any plastic packaging and if the box has gaps in it put tin foil at the bottom of the box and put the Camembert back in.
3. Use a knife and score in the middle of the Camembert and stick the whole clove of garlic in, then put the lid of the box back on and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese goes all ooey and gooey.
4. Steam any of the vegetables that need it e.g. broccoli. And cut the other vegetables into finger size pieces.
5. (optional) cook the steak to how you like it, slice into thin slices.
6. Serve with any breads etc.

Garden Omelette with goats cheese
This recipe works best in the spring/summer when everything is at its best in the garden. Alternatively use any thing ripe and fresh preferably from a farm shop or green grocers (it tastes much fresher and has more flavour)
Ingredients
 whatever you have in the garden that is ripe
 eggs (2 per person)
 pinch smoked paprika
 30 ml milk or 1 Tbs cream
 soft goats cheese
 salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. Beat the eggs with the milk/cream and smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
2. In a frying pan on low-med heat, gently fry all your veg, until soft
3. put the egg in, and gently heat. Making sure its not too hot otherwise the bottom will burn and the top will be raw.
4. Once the omelette looks like the bottom is solid, crumble some goats cheese on top and place under a hot grill.
5. Serve with any garden flowers (such as pansy's, nasturtium, marigold petals etc.) and a piece of toasted bread or a side salad.

In the omelette I made in the photo. I used garlic, tomatoes, chillies and topped it off with edible pansy's and salad I had in the garden.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

LoveFood - Thanksgiving With Emma

As part of my LoveFood week, Emma from the awesome Book Angel Booktopia wanted to take part over the "Dream Thanksgiving Dinner". And seeing as today is Thanksgiving in the USa, we both thought today would be perfect!

So, TAKE IT AWAY EMMA!






Having lived in Philadelphia for a year I love the idea of Thanksgiving, just being taking the time to express gratitude for certain things and people that have had an impact on my life, what better way than to have a dinner party with terrific people and wonderful food. Check out my fantasy Dinner Party Guest List at Serendipity Reviews today.





As my guest
list would fill a hall I decided the best way to go with Thanksgiving dinner is
a Thanksgiving Themed Buffet, so we can all stand about, mingle and book chat - YAY.



I am addicted to watching ahref="http://www.foodnetwork.com/">The Food Network and scour the recipe ideas online from there. So that is where I went to look for ideas for the Thanksgiving Buffet. And I will admit that I got completely distracted by all the lovely recipes on there.






Obviously there would be a golden roasted turkey and glistening glazed ham. 







Photobucket








Roasted Butter Herb Turkey           Roast
Ham with Apple Glaze





And not forgetting the vegetarians:





Photobucket 

I haven’t actually come across Tofurkey anywhere else but in the US. I just like the name of it – such a fun word to say Tofurkey, lol. But I am sure if this isn’t up to the discerning tastes of vegetarian guests then they will be wowed by the selection of salad and side dishes. My stomach is growling as I am writing this post and my mouth is drooling.
Goes to search for food.

Remembers why I no longer eat the school dinners. Back to dream about
deliciousness [ : D ]





Salads:


Spinach Salad with Cranberries and Pecans


Macaroni and Mozzarella Salad


Caramelized Butternut Squash


Green Beans with Garlic Chips


Mashed Potato Salad   


Lemony Coleslaw




Breads:


Stuffing Bites


Baked Hush Puppies (because I just love the name)


Southern Cornbread


Parkerhouse Rolls




Photobucket





And for the Desserts:


Mini Pecan Pumpkin Pies  


Caramel Apple Bars


Pecan Dreams (again cos what a fantastic name for food)

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes




And I am sure that the lovely Laura aka SisterSpooky could be persuaded to bring along some of the gorgeous chocolates she makes in her day job.




Photobucket 



For the recipes go here








I am hoping to have a little Thanksgiving for my girls this year to show how much I appreciate them. I think they will want the desserts and possibly the bread but not the salad lol. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

LoveFood - Kids with Multiple Allergies

As part of LoveFood week, the lovely Laura Clempson from Cupcakes for Clara (@cupcakes4clara) talk about food allergies that affect her children and give helpful advice and a recipe that sounds delicious! I want to thank Laura for taking part and telling us her story.

*

I have two kids. They each have three allergies. Dairy, soya, and eggs.

We discovered their allergies when they were each about eight weeks old (they are three, and one now), and it was a tough job to get the doctors to even believe us. It started with colic, then screaming, tummy aches, projectile vomiting, and then nappies full of blood. We knew something wasn’t right, but the doctors kept insisting it was a virus. Numerous tests later, and a couple of nights in hospital, I suggested it could be a dairy allergy. It was agreed that it might be, and as I was breastfeeding the answer was for me to cut all dairy from my diet. And I mean all – even traces. And you know what, within a few days their symptoms disappeared. The soya and egg allergies appeared after that, but once I cut them out we had our happy contented babies back.

So, I (the only one in the family with no allergies) went dairy, soya, egg, and nut free for two years – one year whilst feeding each baby. I struggled to find anything safe to eat at first, but we soon found our way, and it became second nature. We learnt that…

- Oat milk is great in tea, as long as you add a bit of sugar. Rice milk not so much.
- Bananas make the perfect substitute for eggs in cake. As long as you like bananas! If not apple or apricot puree work too.
- Soya is in EVERYTHING. That is a tough one to avoid, especially eating out. Ask places if they use rapeseed oil instead – a lot do.
- You should never believe people when they say food is ‘allergy free’. I once had a friend insist that the meal was dairy free, and when I enquired what was in it she said ‘cheese – but that’s not dairy is it?’
- Going without chocolate is so tough but…

Through trial and error we have come up with a fantastic dairy, soya, and egg free chocolate cake recipe. And the kids LOVE it – I think it makes them feel a bit more normal. Want to hear it?

12 chocolate cupcakes:
200g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
200g sunflower spread
2 level teaspoons of baking powder
200g fruit puree
2 tablespoons 100% cocoa powder

Mix until nice & fluffy. Divide into 12 cake cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 150ºC. Voila!


We found How To Cook for Food Allergies by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne super helpful, and is a must for anyone with allergies. Happy baking!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

LoveFood - All Things Sweet!

Day 2 of this week's LoveFood and here we have Laura aka SisterSpooky (this is her blog! Ta-Dah!). She was so kind and did a YouTube video where she chatted about food and all this sweet!



Thank you Laura! So very kind of you!

Monday, 21 November 2011

LoveFood - The Smile Edition

Let's start LoveFood week with something that will, hopefully, make you smile and never look at Masterchef in the same way, EVER AGAIN!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

I'VE BEEN QUOTED! *faints with shock*

I discovered in the past few days that I have been quoted! MY WORDS ABOUT BOOKS I HAVE REVIEWED ON THIS VERY BLOG HAVE BEEN USED IN A BOOK AND AN AUTHOR'S WEBSITE!

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! *faints with delight and shock*

And here are the two books in question:



Now, this is HUGE FOR ME! STUPIDLY BIG! I adore both Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson and the first two books in the Tiger's Saga by Colleen Houck (will read the third soon! [Thanks Bella from Cheezy Feet Books for giving me her copy! She knows how I LOVE this series!]) so the fact that Sarah put my reaction on her website and Hodder put my words on the "Praise" page of Tiger's Voyage is a WONDERFUL honour! Just wonderful! I am thrilled and honoured. And I wanted to show you my excitement/shock/disbelief/honoured-ness to you all!


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Are Fairy Tales Next Year's Big Thing?

I have been thinking this for a while now, but I was wondering if fairy tales will be next year's trend in the world of YA fiction? I know that dystopia novels have become popular this years (thanks to the huge success of The Hunger Games) and I do believe that this will continue over the course of 2012, but I am wondering if retellings of fairy tales will be fighting it out for a place in our bookshelves (as well as in our DVD collections and on our TVs).

Apart from the novels by Jackson Pearce (the hugely successful Sisters Red and Sweetly) and the movies Red Riding Hood (directed by Catherine Hardwicke and starring Amanda Seyfield) and Beastly (from the novel by Alex Flinn and starring Alex Pettyfer & Vanessa Hudgens) which most people feels was less than desired, 2012 seem to be the year that we're getting retold fairy tales more in our faces...

Both Universal Studios and Relativity Media are going head-to-head in their retelling of Snow White. While Relativity Media's Mirror Mirror seems to take a the whimsical and comedic look at the fairy tale, Universal's Snow White And The Huntsman goes down a dark, almost Lord of the Rings (and this movie is rumoured to be a start of a trilogy...) And we are still awaiting news about Disney's live action story of Maleficent, the evil queen from Sleeping Beauty and the mysterious The Order Of The Seven, Disney's reboot of Snow White set in China in the 19th century (no news on whether this film will be live action, animated or CGI)...




Not only is the battle being fought at the cinemas, but TV is also a battleground. Two of the biggest US TV networks are using "fairy tales in the real world" ideas. ABC has Once Upon A Time, a fantasy drama, while NBC has Grimm, a cop show that has characters inspired from the Grimm Fairy Tales. Both of these shows are rumoured to be coming to the UK, but no news on which channel has picked them up [EDIT: Grimm is rumoured to be going to the channel Watch. Once Upon A Time still hasn't been confirmed, though I suspect either Channel 4 or Channel 5.]




Now, do I think this will be the big thing for next year? I'm not sure. I will be intrigued to see if this has staying power. When vampires was the big thing, it lasted for several years as did magic (thank you Harry Potter and Twilight) and while we seem to be in the grip of dystopia, it will be very interesting to see fairy tales spark the imagination for both children and adults...

Friday, 18 November 2011

Books And Their Theme Songs (Volume 9)

It's November, which means one thing: another "Books And Their Theme Songs post! And this is the ninth! Am shocked I have the patience with this to have kept going this far. But, I do like doing these blog post as I get excited over the song choices I chose for each book and see if my view of the song has stayed the same or has change.

Enough of the talk. Let's listen to the music!

MIDWINTERBLOOD by Marcus Sedgwick
"Heart On Fire" by Scars On 45


SILENCE by Becca Fitzpatrick
"Beautiful Disaster" by Kelly Clarkson


THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab
"Cumulus" by Imogen Heap and "What The Water Gave Me" by Florence + The Machine



HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire
"Replaced" by Kate McGill & cover of "Replaced" by Ben Munson (WithLove44)



THE DEAD WAYS by Christopher Edge
"Circle Of Fire" by Kenneth Zink (inspired by Michelle Zink's trilogy)


CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare
"For You" by Angus and Julia Stone


THORN IN MY SIDE by Karin Slaughter
"You Love Me" and "Don't Be A Girl About It" by Kelly Clarkson



LOVE STRUCK by Melissa Marr
"By Chance" by Sophie Ellis Bextor

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Press Release - STRANGE CHEMISTRY

Press Release
17th November 2011 ~ For Immediate Release
Angry Robot announces new YA imprint, Strange Chemistry


Angry Robot, the award-winning publisher of SF, F and WTF are pleased to announce their newest venture – a sister imprint, Strange Chemistry, which will publish Young Adult genre fiction.

The imprint will launch in September 2012, with five titles appearing before the end of that year, before settling down to one book each month. Strange Chemistry will follow AR’s strategy of co-publishing its books simultaneously in the US and UK, in both eBook and paperback formats. Subject matter will include fantasy, science fiction, supernatural and horror, and as with Angry Robot the lines between those genres are likely to be very blurry at times.

Running the imprint will be Amanda Rutter, until recently best known as the tireless blogger behind genre review site, Floor-to-Ceiling Books. She takes up her position in Angry Robot’s headquarters in Nottingham on December 12th.

Angry Robot’s managing director Marc Gascoigne said: “The key to any truly successful genre imprint is the personality of its editors. In Amanda we’ve found the perfect mix of editing skills and wild, wild enthusiasm for the subject. Her first signings are already making us jump up and down in excitement. We’re beyond delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Amanda Rutter commented, “Angry Robot have quickly become one of the most exciting and challenging genre publishers around, and I have so much admiration for the types of novels that the guys are bringing to the world of speculative fiction. I’m absolutely thrilled that I have the opportunity to join the team, and create a list full of Young Adult novels that share the same sharpness and passion as those in the AR list.”

:::
More information can be found at strangechemistrybooks.com and
angryrobotbooks.com. You can meet Amanda at floor-to-ceilingbooks.
blogspot.com
.

Angry Robot is a new genre publisher, bringing readers the best in new SF, F and
WTF?! All titles are released as paperbacks and in all major eBook formats. Distribution is through Random House (North America) and GBS (UK). Angry Robot is part of the Osprey Group.


(I am so excited about this news. Amanda is a real blogger [while I'm faking] and she has an excellent taste in books and I can't wait for her to reveal the first wave of books she has under her carefully eye of Strange Chemistry. GOOD LUCK AMANDA!)

GoodRead - Love Struck

Now, I known of Melissa Marr for a while now. I have been told to read her Wickedly Lovely series. I actually won a copy of Wickedly Lovely &, before that, I bought the old UK hardback copy of Ink Exchange, so the start of this five book series is in my To Read pile. It's just a case of FINDING TIME!!! So, when I was having my Kindle-binge, I rediscovered that this was on my Kindle and, wanting to see if the Wickedly Lovely series was one I should investigate further, I selected this and read.

Love Struck is a one-off short story about Alana, who knows about the mysterious selchies, sea-fey who leave their seal-like pelts behind when they walk on land, passing for humans. But when she meets not only one but two at a beach party, she has no idea how complicated her life is going to be...

Now, this is a different read for me as I have never heard of selchies! I heard of something similar, but this felt like I was discovering something completely new. And the story between Alana and Murrin was slow and sweet. It didn't feel like other paranormal tween stories where the human and the supernatural being fall INSTANTLY in love. They didn't. It took them several weeks for them to find that they have feelings for each other and the events to unfold...

The only thing that bothered me is that the story was only 62%. The rest was the first chapters of Wickedly Lovely and Ink Exchange. I know I'm being picky and, of course, this is a VERY CLEVER marketing tool for people who haven't read (or heard) of Wickedly Lovely (like myself), but surely people who have heard and read Wickedly Lovely would read this. Maybe I wish that the story was a few percent longer...

But this is a nice, fun read and, for 99p, it's a good read! And, one day, I will make time to read Wickedly Lovely...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

GoodRead - Skulduggery Pleasant Short Stories

In my Kindle reading blitz, I discovered these on my Kindle. These are two short stories that you can get both of these FREE from HarperCollins and Amazon and these short stories take place between the main Skulduggery Pleasant novels.

The Lost Art Of World Domination is the first short story within the Skulduggery Pleasant series that takes place a few months after the first novel where our hero, Skulduggery, is chained to a wall while Scaramouch Van Dreg is planning on world domination...

Gold, Babies And The Brothers Muldoon takes place several months after the second novel, Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire. In this, Skullduggery's partner, 13 year old Valkyrie Cain has to make a delicate deal with a trio of ugly, hairy goblins for the lives of three babies. But these goblins don't intent to keep their side of the deal...

Now, I have to honest, I did read the first few books within this series but stop between the third or fourth books (The Faceless Ones and Dark Days). The reason why, though I loved the darkness of the series, I began to feel that the humour was being used less and less and that's why I got into the series in the first place. Though I have chatted to Rhys from Thirst4Fiction about this (and he told me that Dark Days has the jokes back while the darkness of the story is still there - his review of Dark Days is here!),
I am still hesitant over returning into this world. So, rediscovering these was a real treat.

In my opinion, both stories show the best qualities of a Skulduggery Pleasant novel. With The Lost Art Of World Domination showed the humour of the series while Gold, Babies And The Brothers Muldoon showed the action. While I read Gold, Babies And The Brothers Muldoon and thought it was ok, I found The Lost Art Of World Domination chuckle-worth. I felt I had rediscovered the Skulduggery Pleasant that I first fell in love with.

Though I still not 100% certain if I will return to the series (I hope so, but it might take some time), I at least will be open to reading more books in this series or return to the first book in the series. I know that there is a short story released for World Book Day 2012 - The End Of The World - in March next year and I hope to read that when it comes out and it will let me rediscover the joys of the skeletal Private Eye...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

GoodRead - Thorn In My Side

After reading a lot of novels recently, I wanted to do a bit of reading on my Kindle. It's being feeling a bit unloved. So, I decided to put the books that publishers and friends have given me on hold (I WILL GET ROUND TO THEM! I PROMISE!) and attack my Kindle for a few days. The first I read was Thorn In My Side by Karen Slaughter.

This short story tells the story of conjoined twins Kirk and Wayne. One night, Kirk picks up a random girl in a bar, while Wayne has to pretend he's not there. Expect dark deeds happen in the car park that night...

Now, in theory, this should be an interesting story. The idea of what would happen if a brother did a terrible thing while his conjoined twin tried to stop him and whether the law would convict one brother for the sin of another would have made interesting and gripping reading. Instead, out of the 68% that was the story, the second chapter (there was three in total) was the most interesting. It was very much an three act - crime, aftermath, consequence. And for the price of this short story - £1.83 - while Karen's other short story, The Unmarkable Heart was 47p, a tiny part of me thought I kinda got rip-off.

It has faults, but it wasn't awful either. I just feel that, unless you're a true crime or a Karin Slaughter fan, you might want to wait till this becomes free or cheaper than it is now...

(And now for music choices... I read this while I was listening to Kelly Clarkson's new album [which is AMAZING! I need to see her live! Anyone know if she's coming to the UK?] hence my choices! ENJOY!)



Monday, 14 November 2011

Thursday, 10 November 2011

GoodRead - Sarah Millican's Support Group (Audiobook)

While my PIW (the Person I'm With - Last time I'm going to tell you this) and I were away for an anniversary to Alton Towers (I know. HOW ROCK AND ROLL OF US!) last month, we listened to this on the way back.

Sarah Millican's Support Group was a BBC Radio 4 series (this was series 1 - no idea if/when series 2 will be released as an audiobook or if BBC Radio 4 has commissioned a third series) where Sarah and two "experts", sexist taxi-driver Terry & snooty counsellor Marion who "did an Open University degree... and got a B" helped with fictional situations (such as dating outside your social class, a young man caught in the middle of his current and first love and a 50 year old grandmother rediscovering life, much to her daughter's horror among other situations) and having audience involvement, which allow Sarah to improvise.

I do love Sarah Millican so I found this stupidly funny. But I do know that she's not everyone's cup of tea in comedy. If you're not sure, YouTube her doing stand-up for the BBC show, Live At The Apollo and see if she appeals to you...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

GoodRead - Clockwork Angel

I have to admit I had this book since it came out last year. But, due to the fact I was ill then real life and other books got in the way so this kept going down and down in the To Be Read pile.

And then, Mundie Moms turned round to me after a short twitter chat and said "We're starting a Read-A-Long for Clockwork Angel", I decide to try and take part. So, I owe Mundie Moms a big THANK YOU to them for them to help me FINALLY get round to reading Clockwork Angel.

In this, the first book in the prequel trilogy for the Mortal Instruments, Tessa Gray arrives to Victorian London. But instead of her being meeting her brother, Nate. Instead, she is taken and held hostage by the Dark Sisters. When she is rescued by Will, Tessa finds herself slowly entering the world of Shadowhunters and Downworld, where demons, fairies and vampires are common. The deeper Tessa enters this new and dangerous world, Tessa finds herself in the middle of two friends and finding that is she more connected to this new world than she first thought...

Now, this is a strange book to me. I really liked the Mortal Instruments series (well, first three books, seeing as this new trilogy in the Mortal Instruments I haven't started yet!) so entering this world again was always an exciting idea, but going back to Victorian London was interesting. I'm not a great lover of historical fiction so reading this was going to be an odd read for me, but after the first few chapters, it felt like I had re-entering a wonderful world again, and I quite enjoyed this new side of the Shadowhunter world.

I did worry for quite some time about reading this (and I still have this fear with City of Fallen Angels [which is the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series]) as I thought these books will ruin the magic of the first three books, but I shouldn't have worried.

While Clockwork Angel was a bit slow to start as this was Tessa discovering this world (and we knew it!), it picked up the pace and laid down the fountains for the rest of the trilogy, while explaining little titbits that were hinted in City of Bones, City of Ashes & City of Glass. It was, also, great not to have a "He's your brother!" twist (which caused many a reader to throw City of Bones across the room)! We have a love triangle. A REAL love triangle. And what an interesting triangle - quiet, thoughtful Jem and impulsive, hot-tempered Will. I fear I know where this might be going, but I live in hope! SURPRISE ME!

After all the twists that came out at the end of Clockwork Angel, I am itching to read the sequel, Clockwork Prince!



Monday, 7 November 2011

Sunday, 6 November 2011

ENDLESSLY Cover Reveal

Late Thursday night/Friday morning, Kiersten White revealed the US cover for the third and final book in the PARANORMALCY trilogy, Endlessly on her blog.



LOOK AT ALL THE PURPLE! Aren't it beautiful? And from how the UK covers of the trilogy look, we will get this in the UK too! Yeah!

But what do you think? Do you like the purple or not?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

THE WOOD QUEEN Cover Reveal

On Thursday, Karen Mahoney revealed the UK cover for the second book in her Iron Witch trilogy, The Wood Queen (and after the error I made yesterday, I double-checked and this is correct. This was put on the author's blog). And here it is:



So, what do you think? It is breath-taking, in my opinion. And when you put it or compare it to the UK cover of The Iron Witch, it looks stunning. Am quite excited to see it for real next February!

But what do you guys think of this cover???

Friday, 4 November 2011

FATED Cover Reveal

Another day, another cover reveal. And this time, it comes from one of my fave authors of this year, Sarah Alderson. I LOVED Hunting Lila and the news that Sarah is writing this new series, Fated, while writing the Hunting Lila series has got me VERY excited.

And earlier this week, Sarah revealed the UK cover for Fated!



Very different from Hunting Lila, but looks dark. But yeah, can't wait to read this.

EDIT! I made a mistake and both the author and UK publisher got in contact with me and gave me the correct info (the covers were the draft and the actual UK cover, not the UK & US. This is what happened when you TRUST GOOGLE & GOODREADS)! So, if you so this earlier today, IGNORE AND TRUST THE ABOVE INFORMATION!!! Sorry for the confusion & thank you Sarah Addison & Catherine from Simon & Schuster for correcting me!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

TIMEPIECE Cover Reveal

After a leak that happened last week (and the cover wasn't meant to be revealed till March 2012!!!), Myra McEntire has revealed the cover for the second book in her Hourglass series, TIMEPIECE! Now, as Myra explained on her blog (which is here, FYI), this is the cover for the ADVANCE READER COPY so there will still need to be finalized.

So, after waiting to see if it's ok to put online, here is the cover of TIMEPIECE:



What do you guys think? I quite like it. It's on the same vibe as Hourglass but there's something more about it! I love the blue of it!

But what do you guys think of this cover? Reactions?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Cassandra Clare Event

Last Wednesday, I randomly (and at the very last minute) went to Foyles in London for a Cassandra Clare book signing. And, luckily, Laura from Sister Spooky (an excited picture of her below!) had a spare ticket so I went to the event with her & Leanne from District YA. There were also, other random bloggers at the event – Lynsey from Narratively Speaking, Sarah from Feeling Fictional, Kirsty from Overflowing Library & Casey from Dark Readers but most of us were fans and getting quite excited (and while we were in line, we had random conversations of Vampire Diaries [which I don't watch!] and other weirdness that I have forgotten!). And then, as we entered the room, we were given a mask (which, if you were lucky to get a colour dot on the inside, you would win a special surprise. I didn't so we move along...)

So, in the room we went and we had the event where Sarah Rees Brennan hosted the event, where she asked questions to Cassandra Clare. It was a mix of questions from the audience and from "the cauldron". Which range from some that the movie ("What scene in the upcoming movie that you are most excited about? "Magnus's party!"), information about The Dark Artifices (I forgot about this! Here is some info), writing (Would you write an adult novel? [someone said, loudly, "An adult Magnus's story would do for me!" - I love that person!] and Cassandra replies "If the right idea comes along"), to asking about South Carolina (don't ask!) to spoilers which I won't share as this does touch on both Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices (and seeing as I haven't read City of Fallen Angels, am NOT going there!).

After that fun (and it was fun so thank you to Cassandra and Sarah for chatting fun-ness!), everyone went into line to get their books signed. And we all had quite a few copies of Cassandra's and Sarah's books (one day, I WILL read Demon Lexicon! I WILL!!!). The line was longer so the lovely people for Foyles offered sweets to us (which was cool as they had the shop name in it!) which made us all happy and hyper again. And then, we got out books signed by Cassie (I had six copies and felt terribly guilty! HER POOR HAND!!!).

It was a fun and random day which ended with several bloggers going to the pub and chatted madly about books and other hyper things. So, I have to thank the people of Foyles, Walker Books, Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Laura & Leanna and everyone else who made the event cool! THANK YOU!

Now, here are the trailers for Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel & Clockwork Prince...



PS - Just remembered. I have a review of Clockwork Angel, the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy that will be out next Tuesday on this blog (and I owe Mundie Moms a huge THANK YOU!)

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS Cover Reveal

Am so slow! Sorry, but I only just saw this a few days ago so... yeah...



Yes! The US cover of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS has been revealed and, as most of you know, the author John Green is signing EVERY BOOK in the first print run (preordered mine. BRING ON JANUARY!)



So, what do you guys think? I know that there's a split in NerdFighteria over this cover and I am not going to help much with my opinion. So, here goes. I am in the middle. I like the colours - the blue is striking and I love how simple it is! But, it's kinda too simple. I think this is because so many people did mock-up (at John Green's request) of what The Fault In Our Stars cover was going to be that this has kinda come out of nowhere. And some of the fan covers were awesome!

Also, for quite some time, I thought this was actually going to be cover and John asked us to create cover designs, just to mess with our heads.



But what do you think of the real cover for Fault in Our Stars? I would really like to know. And DFTBA!

PS - on the VlogBrothers youTube channel, John read the first chapter of The Fault of Our Stars. If, like me, don't want to hear it, DON'T CLICK PLAY! If you do, GO FOR IT!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

GoodRead - The Dead Ways

I gonna tell you something: I'm not a big fan of zombies. Seriously, zombies kinda freak me out. I don't like zombie films and TV shows, videogames scare me and when people ask why I don't like zombies, my answer is usually "Well, they're dead! There's nothing really exciting about that." So, when Non from Catnip asked if I wanted to read this, I was in two minds for quite some time over it. But after having a on-off chats with the author, Christopher Edge, on Twitter, I decide to attempt to read it.

The UK government have a plan to benefit future generation of pollution and stop congestion on the UK busiest motorways. The Greening of the Roads scheme is the removal of these roads and replaced by fast-speed train. But since the project started, stranger things have begin to happen. Mist and ghostly apparitions appear out of the nowhere and effect only the motorway.

So, when Scott Williams, son of Alex Williams, civil servant to the Department of Transport, is nearly kidnapped and, six months later, discovered his father dead, he knows something is terrible wrong. And when Detective Inspector Jason Dyer is assigned to the case, both slowly discover that there's a conspiracy going on. But what on earth is the Dead Ways? And how is that connected to the Greening of the Roads scheme?

The Dead Ways is a fast read because it is so short compared to other books I read (and I was reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare at the same time) as this was under 200 pages long. And it was fast-paced and, seeing as I do like crime thrillers, this suits me to the ground as, most of the story, there was a dark thriller edge to the story so when things did begin to happen, it was a creepy moments in the story (let's not talk about what happened at the Royal Alexandra Hospital's Mortuary as that one scene really creeped me out and I would LOVE to see on TV - Oh yes, I think this would be a brilliant BBC One family show on Saturdays at the Doctor Who & Merlin timeslot!) and they fit the story.

There was one or two things that bothered me about The Dead Ways. The first is that, there were times that I felt that the story lacked substance. And there was times that I put the book down, I had to make myself pick the book up (but as I was reading Clockwork Angel at the same time [part of a Read-A-Long I'm taking part in], this could be the reason).

But The Dead Ways is an interesting supernatural thriller and I will be intrigued on what will happen next in this trilogy. And I might not be able to look at flowers on the side of the roads in the same way again... Thanks, Christopher.



(As I was reading Clockwork Angel at the same time, thinking of what song fitted this book was quite hard. But I heard this after I finished the novel[thanks Michelle Zink!] and it seems to fit the tone. The creepiness of it all! I hope you all enjoy!)