Friday, 29 June 2012

15 Years of Harry Potter

Bit late to say this but, this Tuesday just gone (26th June), Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone had its 15th Birthday (and I celebrated it being at Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter - pure fluke but an awesome one at that!). But to celebrate this, UK publisher Bloomsbury is looking for the Biggest Harry Potter Fan in the UK and Ireland!

In a letter that must be no more than 50 words (quite strict on that!), entrances must write why they LOVE Harry Potter. But, saying that, Bloomsbury is looking for creative so you can  draw, doodle or illustrate. BE CREATIVE ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR HARRY POTTER!

Then, with your letter, you then post it in a special postbox that will be found in your local bookshop or library (or you can go to the website - http://harrypotter.bloomsbury.com/harrypottercompetition - and find your nearest. You can also go to the site and download the form, though this isn't compulsory). And that's it. You've entered.

Now, the prizes. The winner and 14 runner-ups will win a special edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It will be leather-bound, signed, dedicated and numbered 15th Anniversary of the book.

But the winner gets something extra special. The winner will win a family holiday to go to THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER at Universal Studios Resort in Florida!

I am entering this myself (If I didn't, what kind of fan would I be?), so the competition was opened on Tuesday 26th June and will close on Tuesday 31st July (Harry's and JK Rowling's birthdays, if memory serves me right...) and, of course, the winner and all the runner-ups will be revealed on Saturday 1st September...

To everyone who has entered or who is going to enter, I will you all the best of luck!

Books And Their Theme Songs - Volume 12

Another two months have gone past and more books have attacked the blog. And with the books, there has been music! I do hope you like the music and what book each have attached themselves too (some are easy reasons why. Others are... well... they have no reasons). I hope you enjoy them!

A CONFUSION OF PRINCES by Garth Nix
"Titanium" by David Guetta ft. Sia
INSURGENT by Veronica Roth
"Minds Without Fear" by Imogen Heap and The Dewarists & "Breath of Life" by Florence & The Machine


HEART-SHAPED BRUISE by Tanya Byrne
"For You" by Angus and Julia Stone



THE MATCH IN THE TANK by Edward Hogan
"Too Close" by Alex Clare



WITCH EYES by Scott Tracey
"Think About It" by Melanie C & "Lies" by Marina And The Diamonds





PRETTY GUARDIAN SAILOR MOON by Naoko Takeuchi 
(Guest Review for Portrait Of A Woman)
"Heart Skip A Beat" by Lenka

GLASS HOUSES by Rachel Caine
"Shut Eye" by Stealing Sheep


THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter
"Alice (Disney Remix)" by POGO



WHISPER OF SOULS by Michelle Zink
"Riverside" by Agnes Obel

Thursday, 28 June 2012

GoodRead - Whisper of Souls

When I found out that Michelle Zink had written ebook Novellas, I got excited (like Emma from Book Angel Booktopia). And when it was revealed that these three novellas were linked to her Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy, I was intrigued. I've only read the first book in the trilogy, and I do have copies of the rest of the trilogy and Michelle's newest novel, A Temptation of Angels, which I plan to read over the summer or fear Emma's wrath...

But with these novellas, all being released over a three week strength (by the time you read this, Amazon should hopefully have this and the second eNovella, Mistress Of Souls, out but Amazon has been a bit slow on releasing these) so it will keep you Prophecy of the Sisters fans happy till the final book, Circle of Fire, comes out in paperback.

In this, a prequel to the series, follows Lia's and Alice's mother, Adelaide. A human portal to the otherworlds, Adelaide is slowly losing her grip. With the souls and their leader, Samael, grow more restless, wanting to come through to cause chaos and wreck havoc. And if Adelaide gives in to her urges, her two daughters will suffer the same curse...

I love eNovellas where you spend money (£1.99) and you get what you've paid for. I have a huge issue when you spend money of an eNovella or short story and, within a few clicks, you've finished (as you guys are probably aware). With Whisper of Souls, it was a good meaty eNovella, that I stretched out over 2 days.

Maybe I over-hyped this in my head, but oh, how I slipped back into this world. I fell in love with this story. I just loved this story. Maybe it was because I slowly fell in love with Prophecy of the Sisters (though I haven't read book 2 or 3). But I loved this prequel of sorts, explaining what happened to Alice and Lia's mother.

I loved this, and I can't wait to read the second eNovella in the series, Mistress of Souls.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

GoodRead - The Goddess Hunt

Last week, I reviewed The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter and called it a candy floss read. So, after reading this, I jumped head first into this ebook novella, The Goddess Hunt, which takes place in the middle of Goddess Test and Goddess Interrupted.

A trip to Greece sounds the perfect way to past the time for Kate while she's away from the Underworld and Henry. Expect she finds herself in the middle of a feud that has lasted for millennia. Castor and Pollux has been running away from Zeus and Hades's wrath. And the last person they should trust is Kate, the new Queen of the Underworld. But she wants to help them. But will she succeed?

Before I go any further, I want to talk about the cover. When I first saw this on Amazon, I was kinda scared of it. Doesn't she look a bit like a zombie? This isn't the model's fault as this is the same model used on both The Goddess Test and Goddess Interrupted covers, and if you look at the pictures used in the Goddess Interrupted trailer (see below), there are other pictures that they could have used. Unless they are using one of them for the cover for the third book in the series...

This is a fast read. I read it within a few hours. And this is very much a filler story between book one and book two. With fans of the first book, we read some chapters from Henry's point of view, which is very useful for me as I didn't really relate to him while reading book 1. So, while I still don't get why Kate is in love with him (I mean, seriously?! Am I the only one who thinks that Kate is suffering from Stockholm syndrome?), I felt like I understood him better and could relate to him a bit more.

But I got the feeling that this was written after book 2 as, at the end of Goddess Hunt, there was a tiny extract of Goddess Interrupted, and it wasn't mentioned. All that was mentioned was "You got us lost that one time...". And I sense that Castor and Pollux won't be referenced in the books again.

But I did like this. And I attacked the UK publishers, Mira Ink, on when the third book in the series (and the next ebook novella, The Goddess Legacy) will be out. And they told me that the third book will be out in April 2013. 2013?! That might be hard as this could be most people's replacement for their Twilight Saga addiction...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

GoodRead - Elemental


I randomly came across this on Book Probe (hi Braiden) while trying to find his review of Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. Though I’m pretty sure I have seen the first book in the trilogy, Storm, on Goodreads through other book bloggers wanting to read it. But it was reading Braiden’s review of Storm and he mentioning that there was a prequel, Elemental, did I decide to treat myself to both these on my kindle.

Emily Morgan keeps her powers of being an air Elemental a secret. She knows what happens to people who flaunt their powers. As she works on a summer job, she gets in connect with Michael Merrick, an earth Elemental. He could level cities and cause earthquakes if he wasn’t careful. Which makes him sexy. And extremely dangerous.

But they get drawn to each other. And Emily’s family don’t just want Michael to stay away from Emily. They want him dead.

Now this is a prequel that’s set 5 years before the events of Storm takes place, so it was really a taster – a teaser – of what this series is about. And I really liked it. It was a fast read and, though I read it over two days, when you think how much time I spent on it, it was only really an hour. Maybe even less than that.

This is a set up story where we get to feel out what it’s like to be an Elemental. I’m pretty sure Storm will tackle this further (and yeah, I have it on my kindle so I know what I’ll be doing next time the UK gets a thunderstorm!). I do like this story and I can’t wait to find time to read Storm!

Not much of a review, I know! Will try harder next time...

Friday, 22 June 2012

FrostFire Blog Tour

I have news for you! I'm taking part in the FrostFire Blog Tour! Frostfire written by Zoe Marriott is going to be one of THOSE books that most book bloggers are going to get excited over after the awesomeness of her previous novel, Shadows On The Moon. I am ashamed to say I haven't read Shadows (I told a few bloggers this and the looks I got from them was... well... they weren't kind...) but I do fully intent to read both these books soon. 


So why am I telling you I'm taking part in this tour when, normally, I slip them in on the sign of the blog? Well, today, all the bloggers taking part are revealing what FrostFire's book trailer looks like... Just to wet your book lust... Enjoy! 


Thursday, 21 June 2012

GoodRead - The Goddess Test

When the lovely peeps at Mira Ink asked a while ago if I wanted to read the second book in the Goddess Test series, I was excited. But I had to admit to them that I hadn’t read the first book in the series, The Goddess Test. So, very kindly, they gave both books and told me to read them when I can as they had seen pictures on Twitter of my To Read pile...

Fast forward several months later and, while I am reading a heavily intense novel, I grabbed the Goddess Test, needing something extremely light and fluffy to break the tension...

Kate Winter’s mother is dying. Her dying wish is to return to her home town, Eden, and Kate is willing to do anything for her mother. So when she comes to Eden, she sees something impossible happen. She saw a young man, Henry, bring a dead girl back to life. Claiming to the be the Greek god, Hades, Henry offers Kate a deal. He’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests...

If she succeeds, she will become a goddess, immortality and become Henry’s wife. If she fails... her mother will die, and that frightens Kate more than she thought possible...

Now, before I go any further, I want to stress something really important. I like myths. I do, and I’m pretty sure most of us here know most Greek myths. Now, I want to say this: if you are expecting Aimee Carter to stick to the myths, then you are in for a nasty shock. She modified each myth to set the story which she is writing. If you’re expecting a heavily-laced book filled with Greek myths, then you better put it down and walk away. You have to accept that this book is a YA romance and... well... is a bit of a candy floss read.

I say this in the best way. Fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga and Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series will love this series. It’s one of those books they (and I) sat down with and lose you, making this book become addictive reading. It’s one of those summer books you can read on the beach. It’s perfect for this time of year!

Of course, there were a few things I had problems with. The main problem I had was Henry. He’s not your typical love interest – seeing as he is God of the Underworld – but he felt flat at times. No real emotion at times you expected them. But, you are writing a God so I will let it slide for now...

But I really liked this book. Perfect summer reading that will distract you from the sport. Will attack the sequel, Goddess Interrupted, soon me thinks...

Monday, 18 June 2012

Thursday, 14 June 2012

GoodRead - Glass Houses


This was one of the first ebooks I got when I was given my Kindle. It was on a sale and I was curious of it. And then, just when I had half-forgotten about it, Jo from Once Upon A Bookcase started her Morganville Vampires Reading Challenge (don’t know about it? Click here to read more about it). This reminded me that I had Glass Houses.

So, when I was doing my Kindle Month, I had three choices (Glass Houses, Poison Study and Intrinsical). I threw it out there on Twitter (pick 1, 2 or 3) and, randomly, Glass Houses was picked.

In the small town of Morganville in Texas, Claire Danvers just started college. And it looks like it could be murder. Not only has she found herself on the wrong side of the meanest girl in town, Claire finds herself inside a secret. A secret so big, it engulfs the town and everyone in it. Expect for Claire...

Now, this isn’t your typical vampire story (did I reveal the secret? Oops!). Well, it wasn’t a typical vampire read for me, and maybe it’s because of this, it didn’t sit well with me. I’m not 100% certain if its the writing style that bother, how she tackled bullying (which is a huge issue I have with the story, FYI) or how Rachel wrote the story, but there was something about this that I couldn’t warm to.

With most of the vampire novels I have read in the past few years (Twilight, Blue Bloods & Sookie Stackhouse to name a few), they twist the vampire myth to make the mythology their own. However, with Glass Houses, this seemed to be very close to the mythology. Vampires don’t really like going out in the daytime, they have fangs and they have a hierarchy. But there are some times that weren’t answers (if they hate sunlight, why are they in the middle of Texas? [I believe that was answered in a later book]) and I think that (and the character development) is the key to why this series is so popular.

Now, I want to talk quickly about the bullying that was featured in here. As you know, I am quite edgy when it comes to certain subjects. Bullying isn’t one of them. When I read Hollow Pike by James Dawson, I felt that he tackled the issue of bullying with a great amount of sensitive, yet was unflinching over what this does. This book wasn’t anything like that. Within the first chapter, Claire is pushed down the stairs and, halfway through the book, someone tried to throw battery acid on Claire’s back. This wasn’t bullying. This was worse. The character lived in fear that Monica was going to kill her and, to me, it felt like this wasn’t tackled and, when it was, it was brushed aside with a “Oh, Monica’s a vampire so she can do what she likes so you have to put up with it or shut up”, and that upset me. People get bullied and to have that reaction was horrifying!
But, saying that though, I found the last 20% of the book gripping. And for that cliffhanger ending – if you fell for the story, you will be itching to get your hands on book two, Dead Girls' Dance, as you won’t see it coming....

As for me... it’s not my cup of tea. But I won’t say no to reading book two in the series (I did want to jump to book 11, Last Breath, but I have been told by two bloggers (Jo & Braiden) told me that you have to read the series through due to the game-changing nature of the series and the character development). I’m in no rush to read Dead Girls’ Dance so when I do get round to it, I expect something awesome and shocking to happen or I might leave the series alone...

Saturday, 9 June 2012

RIFT's UK Cover! (& Some Michelle Zink News)

As you guys know, I FREAKING love Andrea Cremer's Witches War (aka Nightshade trilogy)! So, when Andrea revealed that she was writing two prequels, Rift and Shine, you could guess how EXCITED I was. And now, I just spotted that Atom (the UK publisher) slipped the UK cover to Rift without telling anyone! And here is it:


I love it! I simply love it. I imagine this cover to be SUPER shiny and I can not wait to get my hands on this book when it comes out at the start of August! And, Atom revealed info about this book:

Ember has always known that she owed her life to a mysterious order of Knights who saved her as a baby. The same order of Knights who called her best friend to service, leaving her behind to play the dutiful daughter. 


But shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Alistair returns. Although he seems altered - shadowed and brooding - Ember places her trust in him, knowing that he's her one chance to escape. 


Little does she know what danger lies ahead. For this is a tumultuous time, and Ember will soon be caught up in an age-old struggle between darkness and light. Neither she, nor her heart, can possibly survive unscathed.


PS - as a small note, Atom also revealed that they will be publishing 3 short e-novellas, written by Michelle Zink and they are spin-off linked to her trilogy, Prophecy of the Sisters. These three will be released in the coming weeks. And here are the covers for these three:

Friday, 8 June 2012

Book 4 of The Body Finder is called...

As you guys know, I am a HUGE fan of Kimberly Derting's Body Finder series. So, would you believe it that Kimberly has revealed the title to the fourth book in the series. It is:

  DEAD SILENCE

What do you guys thinks? I love it! It's creepy and dark and instantly reminded me of the second title in the series, Desires of the Dead

Also, she has seen the US cover to the book and she describled it on her blog as "it’s my favorite of the series. By far!  So fitting for this book—I can’t wait to share it with all of you!"

So, guys, what do you think the title hints to...? 

Cover Reveals for FINALE & THE ARCHIVED!

A little later than everyone else (am slow! I know!), but have you guys seen the covers for the final book in Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush saga, Finale? If you haven't, here is it:


Oh, I could SO easily pick at this cover (like I did with Silence) and figure out what it means. But I won't. The cover is, as always, very pretty and I can't wait to read how Becca wraps up the saga (yep, am fan of Becca's writing. Has no one noticed?)! Although, if I have to pick ONE thing, has no one noticed that Patch doesn't have wings... a clue, maybe? 

Also, the cover has been revealed for Victoria Schwab's The Archived. If you have been with me for a while, you know that I simply loved reading Victoria's debut novel, The Near Witch so I am very intrigued on her next novel. So, might as well show you cover:


It's a very different cover from The Near Witch, but I like that it's different. But with both these books, they can't come so enough! I have to wait till October for Finale and early next year for The Archived

Thursday, 7 June 2012

GoodRead - Witch Eyes

I have no idea how I came across this book. It was either Emma from Book Angel Booktopia or Vivienne from Serendipity Review. I read the synopsis on their blog and instantly bought it on my kindle. Then it took... er... several months to actually get round to reading it.

So, the story. Braden is a witch with the power to see the world as it truly is with his witch eyes. To see explosions of colours, of memories, and of spells. But with his witch eyes, he must pay a high price. When he sees a vision that puts his uncle in danger, Braden runs away to Belle Dam to protect him. Only to find himself in the middle of feud between two warring witch dynasties. But as the two heads of the families, Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe, are try desperately to use Braden's powers, Braden decides that he won't be pawn in their war.

But Belle Dam has secrets, lies and not everyone's motives are as clear cut as their first seem. Braden better watch his step...

I have a crush on the lead, Braden. I do! I want him to be my Fictional Boyfriend/Husband (so to all my blogger pals, BACK OFF!). He was just a character I instant connected with and rooted on. And when you fall in love with the lead of a novel as fast as I did (within the first few chapters), you know you're going to love the book. And to get that feeling is very rare for me...

As I stated in a earlier paragraph, not everything is a clear cut as their first seem. So, when you read this, you must keep that in mind as, often, the rug will be pulled out from under you. So, you have to hold on to your hats.

Now, this book isn't perfect. Let me say this now before I go "Oh, Braden! He's a dream-boat!". First, the love interest, Trey. I have real trouble trying to figure him out and to understand why Braden has fallen for him. He kept changing. One moment, he was a nice guy. The next, he was a mindless soldier. It was impossible for me to warm to him. The second was the twists. There were several, but two were revealed in the synopsis. WHY?! Why did the publisher do that?!

I wish I read Witch Eyes sooner. And I can't wait till October for the sequel, Demon Eyes (have you seen the cover?!) is released. Not sure how I can cope till then, but there's a prequel, Homecoming, that I plan to read in the coming months...

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Grave Mercy Blog Tour - Poison: The Assassin's Art


When I was asked to read Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, I jumped at the chance. It sounded so outside my comfort zone and yet complete inside it too (my review will be coming in the next few weeks). So, when I was asked if I wanted to take part in the tour, I jumped at the chance yet again (thanks Eve for letting me take part)! 


Before we let the author, Robin LaFevers, take over my blog, must say that if you are interested in the book, there is an sneaky peek online (which you can go via here), you can join the UK Facebook Group, and there's a trailer for the book (that's at the bottom of the post!). Also, if you're following the tour, tomorrow is at So Many Books, So Little Time, so go there!


So, on the penultimate leg of her UK blog tour, author Robin LaFevers takes about poisons. So, take it away, Robin...!

Poison: The Assassin’s Art


“We will teach you to make poisons.” Sister Serafina’s voice is as gentle as the lulling waves. “Poisons that grip the gut and force a man’s life to dribble from him into a slop pail. Poisons to stop the heart or squeeze the humors from the body. Bloodwort to congeal the blood so it can no longer move through the veins. We will show you subtle poisons that take days to fell a man, and those that kill within seconds. And that is just to start.”


Ismae spends a large part of her time at the convent of Saint Mortain with the poisons mistress in her workshop. Too much time, perhaps, as she ends up missing other important lessons in order to keep up with the convent’s demand. However, other than Sister Serafina, Ismae is the only one who has the special skills needed to work with such toxins. Many of the plants and other ingredients used in the poisons were so toxic that merely touching them or breathing in their fumes at the wrong time could prove fatal to the other girls at the convent.        
Poisons were a standby of the medieval assassin’s toolkit. They were cheap, easy to find, and even easier to use. Hemlock, nightshade, belladonna, monkshood, thorn apple, lily of the valley, rosary pea, hensbane, hellebore, foxglove, mandrake, opium, cantharides (extracted from dried beetles), mushrooms (including death cap, avenging angel, deadly webcap). Even the mold that formed on damp rye was poisonous and was called Saint Anthony’s Fire.            
Depending on the ingredients used, some poisons provide a peaceful death, others a much more painful one, with paralysis of the heart, convulsions, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, and the drying up of all bodily fluids. 
True master poisoners weren’t content with a simple plant extract or decoction. They often created compounds or went for a multilayered approach to creating the perfect poison. For example, Sister Serafina, like other medieval poisoners, kept her own beehive. Her bees collected pollen almost exclusively from the toxic rhododendron and laurel plants, which in turn tainted the honey. Thus, even the sweeteners used in the convent’s poison were deadly.
But at the convent of Saint Mortain, Death’s handmaidens sometimes preferred an even subtler approach. In those cases they might serve their victim a quail who had fed on hemlock while alive, or a rabbit who dined on belladonna. The meat would often contain enough toxic effects of those plants to kill a person.
Ingesting poison wasn’t the only method employed by poisoners. Depending on what sort of access they had to their victim and how far away they wanted to be when the poison took effect, there were other ways to administer the deadly substance. Some poison had merely to come into contact with the skin. Historically, gloves, gowns, hunting horns, have all been used to transmit poison to a victim. For these sorts of applications, the convent used a formulation they called Arduina’s Snare.
Other substances were so toxic that simply breathing them brought death. Pomanders were often used by the noble classes to protect their delicate noses from the inescapable medieval stench found in cities. Consequently, pomanders also became a reliable method for delivering inhaled poisons. Ismae herself uses a carefully crafted candle that contains a poison called Night Whispers. Once lit, the fumes from that candle can kill in minutes.
Of course, the convent (or assassins) wasn’t the only source of poisons. Many, many noble and wealthy families in the Middle Ages had their own poisoner on staff. One simply never knew when there was a pesky political rival or fractious neighbor that needed to be got rid of.
This poisoner not only was responsible for having poisons at the ready for the family’s use, but was expected to be able to prepare a number of effective antidotes as well. Some popular antidotes were waving gemstones, such as emeralds or rubies, over one’s plate or cup to nullify the poison. Drinking from a unicorn’s horn was believed to neutralize all poison. (Narwhal tusks were often mistaken for unicorn’s horns back then and were even more expensive than the rubies or emeralds.) Bezoars stones were also renowned for their poison-neutralizing properties. These “stones” were found in the stomachs of goats. Or, without a goat, a deer’s, antelope’s, or gazelle’s. The stone was actually an indigestible object that had found its way into the animal’s stomach and had accumulated layers of secreted stomach chemicals to form a “stone” around the foreign object, much like a pearl forms around a grain of sand in an oyster. A popular practice of the time was to place a bezoars stone in your cup to neutralize any poison that might find its way there. (Can we all say, Ewwww!)
The very wealthy would also employ poison tasters who would sample any dishes or drinks for them. If they tasted nothing suspicious - and did not show any ill effects - then the food was considered safe to eat. The problem was, many medieval foods were so heavily spiced that poison was hard to detect until it was too late. Nor would a poison taster be of much use if the poison was absorbed through the skin or lungs. For those who couldn’t afford any of the above, the best recommendation was to drink large quantities of milk. Or engage in vomiting and purging.
Oddly enough, it is these last remedies that come the closest to modern science.

Monday, 4 June 2012

SMILE - Disney Sing-A-Long Anyone?

I discovered this randomly on Youtube and, well, I fell in love with them. ENJOY!

And she does an AMAZING cover of Adele's songs! Here you go, FYI!

 Thanks to HannahTraska from YouTube. These must have taken you AGES to make!!!