Currently Reading

Currently reading: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Doctor Who: 12 Doctors 12 Stories Blog Tour - NOTHING O'CLOCK

It has been a MASSIVE 12 months for fans of all things Doctor Who, what with the 50th Anniversary special last year and Peter Capaldi's inaugural season as the titular character himself, and now it's getting even bigger! With the release of a new collection of short stories, which were published last year individually as ebooks leading up the the anniversary and in a bind up, but now with a new and exclusive story written by Holly Black to celebrate the twelfth (official) Doctor.

To celebrate the release of the 12 Doctors, 12 Stories box set, Puffin arranged this blog tour which has taken us right the way from the first Doctor and will take us through to the final stop on the tour tomorrow.

I am honoured to have been asked to be a part of this, as a fan of Doctor Who (although I still have to watch half of the most recent series - so little time!!) and the fact that it is a story based on my favourite Doctor, Matt Smith's incarnation, makes it all the more exciting!

First off a little quick fire round of questions the bloggers are being asked to answer...

1) Do you have a favourite Doctor?
Yes, I do! I think I just answered that a second ago. It was a real coincidence that I was asked to review the story based on Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor and I could not of been happier with that suggestion! I just loved how funny he was and mental he seemed, even more so than previous incarnations. 

2) Describe the Doctor in one word.
Mind-boggling.

3) If you had a TARDIS where would you go?
Speaking from a purely personal point of view I would go back to life as a teenager. Life was so much simpler back then. Oh how hindsight is a wonderful thing. Plus my grandparents were still alive and I miss them like mad so it would be nice to be able to go back and see them, if only for a little while.

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Nothing O'Clock by Neil Gaiman.

"Thousands of years ago, Time Lords built a Prison for the Kin. They made it utterly impregnable and unreachable. As long as Time Lords existed, the Kin would be trapped forever and the universe would be safe. They had planned for everything . . . everything, that is, other than the Time War and the fall of Gallifrey. Now the Kin are free again and there’s only one Time Lord left in the universe who can stop them!"

I have a bit of a funny relationship with Neil Gaiman. I cannot decide if I am madly in love with him and his work or if I don't like it at all. I sway from mindset to mindset every time I read a piece of his work. But luckily I loved Nothing O'Clock from start to finish! 

I have already said Matt Smith is my favourite Doctor, and the only problem I had was Amy Pond. I am not a massive fan of her as a companion.

The baddies in this little short story are the Kin and to start with they sounded like your plain old baddie, omnipresent and dare I say it, generic, but as the story develops and you get to see more of them they actually scare you. I was actually scared. They sound disgusting and what they are doing is insane! They are literally buying the world, piece by piece.

I have to say that I think this would of made an amazing episode and given that Gaiman has written for the show previously I cannot believe this idea has not been pitched. It is so clever and so well thought out that even in such a short space of time (50 pages or so) it feels like you know all you need to know and nothing has been missed out!

A must read and a short story that has now made me want to read them all! 

The new slip case edition is out now, and it feautures new and exclusive artwork. The above image is the cover for Nothing O'Clock and isn't it amazing? Each one is the Doctor's outfit! So cool! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this set at some point!



Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Zom-B Family by Darren Shan [Review]

NOTE: ZOM-B FAMILY IS THE NINTH BOOK IN THE ZOM-B SERIES BY DARREN SHAN. IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. IF YOU DO NOT WANT THIS SERIES SPOILING, OR IF YOU HAVE YET TO REACH BOOK NINE, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STOP READING NOW... I DO NOT WANT TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SPOILING THE STORY FOR YOU, ESPECIALLY ONCE YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! THANK YOU.

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Written by: Darren Shan.
Published by: Simon and Schuster.
Format: Hardback.
Published: 27th September 2014.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "The ninth terrifying installment from master of horror, Darren Shan. CAN ANYONE HURT YOU AS MUCH AS A LOVED ONE? WHEN DOES THE FIGHT BECOME TOO MUCH TO BEAR? HOW MUCH PAIN CAN ONE PERSON ENDURE? B Smith is discovering the true meaning of family ..."

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I literally do not know where to begin with this one. I truly don't. I even tweeted as much and Darren even quoted that on his Facebook page! I'm not even kidding. I am stumped. I don't really know how to tackle this one! It goes without saying that I cannot simply review this book without talking about things that have happened previously in the series. As it states at the beginning of this post, Zom-B Family is the ninth book in the twelve book saga, so we are now three quarters of the way through and so much has happened that it'll be hard to even begin to express my thoughts...

The book opens with the fallout of the treacherous act at the end of Clans, book eight. Rage has betrayed B and the Angels and has joined Dan Dan and his cronies. But even they are wary of him. He is a zombie after all, one scratch is all it would take to bring down the entire complex that has made itself at home in what used to be Battersea Power Station. B is screwed and she knows it. She is briefly reunited with her father, but even the end of the world cannot change his ways and he is as deep as he can get with the Ku Klux clan who see the zombie apocalypse as a way to clense the world racially and bring about their new world of purity, as they see it. B is disgusted and choses not to side with them, and rightfully so, but this puts her at the mercy of Dan Dan and he finally gets his hands on her, after taunting and threatening to destroy her over the past few books.

Now if you've read a Darren Shan book before, you know it gets a little gory every now and again... Well Family has gone above and beyond the level of gore previously seen in any of Shan's work. It's gory and in sections downright sickening. I could actually feel a lump in my throat as my gorge rose reading some of the scenes. I don't want to go into too much detail for fear of reawaking that feeling I had whilst reading, but Dan Dan finally gets to torture B  as he has been planning. But with B being a zombie, she does't feel pain or suffer like a human. To get a reaction, Dan Dan has to do things that a living, breathing human would never be able to withstand even for a short time. It is horrific and described in such detail that I had images burnt into my brain and I just could not get them to go away for a while. Even now nearly a week after finishing the book I am still struggling... I don't have to re-read the passages. I can remember...

But it isn't long before trouble really begins and B is forced to fight, her body riddled with holes, her guts held in only by some bandages and her ears cut off, to save her friend Vinyl. I really liked how this shows that those in power aren't changing at all. They have no regard for the lives of anyone but themselves. 

I also loved seeing Dan Dan finally, FINALLY, getting his comeuppance. I think he's one of the most disgusting, revolting and yet enticing characters Shan has ever made but seeing him go wasn't a sad moment at all. I like it when the bad guys bite the dust and whilst I felt the way Dan Dan demised was a little rushed and unexpected (I REALLY WANTED IT TO BE B!!!) it felt right and satisfying!

And then the clown returns. Mr. Dowling. Although he is perhaps the scariest character I think Shan has ever created, after he first turned up in Underground and City I actually had nightmares, I have really missed him over the last few book. He's always been sort of an omnipresence in the series. Mentioned here and there, spoken about at length by Dr Oystein but only appearing rarely, so getting to see him again was great. I feel he's going to be a lot more prominent from this point on until the end of the series. 

This book is honestly the darkest I think I've ever seen Shan and you know what? I loved it. It is a great addition to the series and the ending sets up the next book, Zom-B Bride, very well. I cannot wait to see what is going to happen next. I want to see where those babies are taking B and I really want to know what the connection is between them. It's creepy and it's something that has been hinted at all the way through the series, and with just three books left, I sense that things are about to start wrapping up and we are finally going to start getting some answers. I hope so! I cannot wait!


Monday, 8 September 2014

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas [Review]

Written by: Sarah J. Maas.
Published by: Bloomsbury.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 2nd August 2012.
Rating:


Official synopsis: "Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness. In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught. Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?"

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Man! What is it with me this year being late to the party! Yikes! First it was Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series which I started last month and now it's this... Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I really do not know what has taken me so long, why it has taken me the amount of time it has to actually pick the book up. I've had a copy of this for so long, both physically and on my Kindle as I knew whenever i eventually got around to reading it it would have to be on my Kindle because there wasn't a chance on earth that I'd risk damaging my beautiful finished copy, with it's perfect white spine and stunning cover which you can see above. I also had Crown of Midnight, which I got around publication and I already had Throne of Glass so I'd been sitting on it for a year. Yikes. That is terrible. I think part of my apprehension was the hype surrounding the book. I had heard so many things, so many people, blogger friends and non-bloggers alike, that it's epic, wonderfully written and so on. I was scared that a book with such a beautiful cover might have a flaw somewhere. As Beetee said, there is always a flaw in the system.

But when it comes to Throne of Glass I can throw my head back and howl with conviction that this book is flawless. It overshot my expectations big time! BIG TIME! I'd hoped it would be amazing but what unfolded before my eyes took my breath away and surprised me.

The world building is incredible. I loved the way that little tidbits were revealed as the story went along. It didn't feel like everything was being shown all in one go, like one massive information dump, and I really liked that. I think world building works far better that way, I find that I remember a lot more if its given in dribs and drabs rather than in one long section.

Celaena herself is an awesome character. She feels dangerous, unpredictable and untameable whilst at the same time there's this edge to her that you can tell some of it is just a front to protect herself. I liked this about her, and the fact that she is supposed to be the most dangerous assassin in all of Erilea was great, because everyone seems to be scared of her to start with even though she has been sent to the salt mines in Endovier for her crimes. We also meet Dorian, the Crown Prince of Adarlan, son of the King of Adarlan who is intent on taking over all of the kingdoms. Dorian himself is a bit more laid-back than his father. There's a cocky, arrogant and swaggy air about Dorian, himself. He's so sure of himself and isn't ashamed of his luck with the ladies. As well as Dorian we also meet Chaol, the King's guard, a fearful and authoritative figure who mistrusts Celaena and every step she takes. And rounding up our main cast, for now, is Princess Nehemia who becomes Celaena's best friend, Princess of Eyllwe and staying in the glass palace for the time being.

Maas' writing is so fluid and crisp that I quickly got into a rhythm and couldn't stop reading. Throne of Glass is an epic blend of fantastic writing and fantastical plot that is brilliantly executed and built up to keep the suspense going and the reader turning the pages at a hellish speed. You'll fall in love with the world, with the characters and with Maas' style itself! I cannot express just how much I which I had picked up these books sooner! It really was such an epic read!

I am currently reading the second book in the series, Crown of Midnight, and I didn't think it was possible for it to be even better than Throne of Glass, but so far I have been proved wrong! Look out for my review for that one soon!

I cannot wait to bet caught up with this series, although I'm dreading it too because then I have to wait like everyone else for the next book and I'm so impatient! Haha!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

#BePrepared for The Infinite Sea

The release of the second book in Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave is fast approaching and in little over a week, The Infinite Sea will be upon us and we finally get to see what happens next after the chilling and thrilling first instalment that has us all hooked and on the edge!

To celebrate the release of The Infinite Sea, Puffin are asking bloggers what exactly they would take with them in their backpack if there was an apocalypse on the horizon to help them survive, and without further ado, here is what I would pack in my alien invasion/apocalypse survival backpack...

Number 1) A camera and lots of batteries. I'd want to document what was going on so that if civilisation ever recovered it would never be forgotten and we'd tell tales about heroes as we do today with past horrors, like the World Wars.

Number 2) My favourite book, so that even if it was the only thing I could ever read again I would love it every time I read it regardless... Do not, however, ask me what my favourite book is right now, because I don't know. It changes everyday, so it'd be whatever it was on the day the apocalypse began...

Number 3) Deodorant. Aliens or no aliens, I still want to smell nice!

Number 4) My iPod. Music is so important and I want to listen to my favourite jams even if it is the end of the world! I'd dance my cares away!

Number 5) A weapon of some kind. I'd want some kind of protection, but I am such a wimp I would just pray that I never had to use it.

And finally, providing I can find a backpack big enough I would take... Number 6) a picture of  my family. They mean everything to me, and hopefully they would be with me, alive and well, but I'd want a photo of us all together anyway, just to make me smile and remind me of happy times.

So there you have it. That would be my survival backpack! I love this idea and it took me ages to think about what I would actually take with me! What would you guys take with you? Leave a comment below, I'm really intrigued!

Also, Puffin are asking us to share our favourite quote from the book, and mine is as follows...

"Aliens are stupid. 
I'm not talking about real aliens. The Others aren't stupid. The Others are so far ahead of us, it's like comparing the dumbest human to the smartest dog. No contest.
No, I'm talking about the aliens inside our own heads. 
The ones we made up, the ones we've been making up since we realised those glittering lights in the sky were suns like ours and probably had other plants like ours spinning around them. You know, the aliens we imagine, the kind of aliens we'd like to attack us, human aliens. You've seen them a million times. They swoop down from the sky in their flying saucers to level New York and Tokyo and London, to they march across the countryside in huge machines that look like mechanical spiders, ray guns blasting away, and always, always, humanity sets aside its differences and bands together to defeat the alien horde. David slays Goliath, and everybody (except Goliath) goes hope happy.
What crap."


I love that scene so much. It's from the beginning and I think it really helps to set the tone for the rest of the book and it's just such a good opening section. It goes on and it gets even better from there on in, so you'll just have to pick up a copy of The 5th Wave to see how it continues! Hurry, The Infinite Sea comes out on 16th September, so you don't have very long to get caught up! And remember, #BePrepared! 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

Written by: Michelle Paver.
Published by: Orion.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 2nd September 2004.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon: a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world. Only one boy can stop it—12 year old Torak, who has seen his father murdered by the bear. With his dying breath, Torak’s father tells his son of the burden that is his. He must lead the bear to the mountain of the World Spirit and beg that spirit’s help to overcome it. Torak is an unwilling hero. He is scared and trusts no one. His only companion is a wolf cub only three moons old, whom he seems to understand better than any human. Theirs is a terrifying quest in a world of wolves, tree spirits and Hidden People, a world in which trusting a friend means risking your life."

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I genuinely do not know where to start with this one. Not at all. First off, I cannot believe in my four years of blogging I haven't reviewed this series yet! I did like a summary thing about my love for the whole series when I first started but since then, nothing. I know they've been out for a while but these books mean a lot to me and I've always intended to review them all, one by one. And what better time to start than the tenth anniversary of the publication of the first book, Wolf Brother? It hardly seems real. Ten years! Ten years? No way! Get out of here! It can't be ten years already, can it? Answer... Yes it can, and it is. I still remember the day I first saw Michelle and heard her talking about this book. I remember she was on Blue Peter, and I was in awe. She was in a grass field, talking to the presenter, don't ask me who, I can't remember, with a wolf, a real live wolf, walking beside her. She was talking about a book she had written about a boy named Torak who can communicate with a wolf cub, and is the only one who can rid the Forest of a demon bear that is terrorising it. Well, that was me sold!

But enough about my past with this book. It's time to talk about the book itself... I decided that I should re-read the book, re-connect with it and re-learn it, before I reviewed it again. It has been a few years since I last read it and even the best of minds fail at some time and I really wanted to dive back into this wold again so desperately that the tenth anniversary feels like a good time to do that. so I picked up my old hardback and nestled down again, ready to be plummeted into the world of the Forest. Of hunter gathers, of clans, of animals and nature and magic and power and demon bears. 

And as soon as I started reading that first page, I fell instantaneously in love again. It was as if I had never left the leafy protection of a world that meant so much to the me of ten years ago when I fist read this book and as i continued to read this amazing series. Once again I was pulled into a world so real, so vivid and so well described that I could smell the damp bark, hear the soft crunch of leaves under my reindeer hide boots and almost taste the salty fat of a woodgrouse sizzling over a fire. Such is the magic of Michelle's writing. It's so captivating, so encapsulating, so rich.

And I loved meeting the characters just as much as I did the first time too. Torak is one of my favourite main characters of all time. And Renn, Fin-Kedinn, Saeunn, the whole gang. Especially Wolf!

And you know what, I had forgotten just how utterly chilling and terrifying some parts of the book are. The parts with the tokoroths, children possessed by demons, had me literally squirming as they did when I read them ten years ago. It was so good to relive these parts and I'm glad I had forgotten just how scary it was because I got to have those moments all over again. Shamefully there are bits that I had forgotten but that is the beauty of re-reading. It felt like I was experiencing it all over again and it was mesmerising and so so so much fun to delve back in to. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I want to read the whole series again, just to experience the magic all over again. I am glad to say that 22 year old Ryan loved Wolf Brother just as much as 12 year old Ryan did ten years ago. That's the true testament to a good story I believe. It transcends age. Yes, it was written primarily as a children's book, but ever since it was published it was well known that the book had massive crossover appeal and now as an adult, albeit a grossly immature one at that, I'm glad that that is the case. I had worried that it wouldn't stand the test of time and that my tastes might of changed over the years. I doubted that it would of because I adore her new series, Gods and Warriors, but the fear was there nonetheless. Thankfully it was unwarranted and left as soon as I opened the book.

If you're a fan of all things nature, magic and adventure, then I implore you to pick up Wolf Brother and indeed the rest of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. Whether it is for yourself, your children, your nephews and nieces, cousins, friends, neighbours, whatever. Do it. Pick them up. These little books have so much to answer for as far as I am concerned - they kept me sane in a period of my life when it was very hard to even want to stay sane, they showed me a light that I didn't know was possible and inspired me beyond belief. Michelle knows how much of a fan I am - lord knows I've written to her enough times over the years - but I just cannot stress how much I love these books and think they deserve to be huge. They've done well but Michelle deserves so much more recognition where this series is concerned. It's gold and beautiful and rich and oh so tantalising.

Thank you to Michelle for being so amazing and Orion Children's Books for publishing it in the first guys! Cannot wait to see you here for the 20th Anniversary!!





Sunday, 31 August 2014

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare [Review]

Written by: Cassandra Clare.
Published by: Walker Books.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 25th March 2008.
Rating: 


Official synopsis: "Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father. To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation."

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Boy oh boy, do I regret not reading this series sooner? I am a massive late comer to the series, only reading City of Bones last month, after the final book in the colossal six book series, City of Heavenly Fire came out, so I have A LOT of catching up to do! I plan to read a book a month so that I'll finish the series in December - the reason for this is I want to read other books too and feel like if I read them all in one go I'll gorge myself on everything Shadowhunter and give myself Mortal Instrument fatigue, and I don't want that to happen...

While I did find City of Ashes a little slow to start off with, once it got going I was pumped and had the pages turning so fast they were almost a blur. The thing about Clare's writing is that even when it's a particularly slow bit, it's still so enticing and it just captures you and pulls you in. 

The characters really grow in this book and begin to shine even more than they did in City of Bones. I do have to say though, that I am very very VERY undecided on Clary. Sometimes I like her and think she's a great characters, but then there are other moments where I just cannot stand her. I don't know what it is - I did like the new dynamic between her and Simon but at times it felt a little forced.

However, that said the main plot of the book was fantastic and I am now gagging for book three! I really am so excited to see how this originally planned trilogy will continue and then how it picks up again in City of Fallen Angels. Luckily i have it on my shelf! Thank the heavens! See you here in September for my review of City of Glass! I cannot wait!