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The Bookish Owl – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

The book we’re covering in this post is The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley!

First off: I am not sure what I expected going into this book, but I can safely say that it wasn’t that I got. This book is weird, in a way that shouldn’t work, but somehow does.

The start of the book is a little rough to get through, as the protagonist we follow is painfully ordinary and boring, but once things start blowing up (literally) it gets so much better. There’s a lot of things that will have you scratching your head, especially as the genre seems to be a mash-up of historical, steampunk and science fiction. But the main characters, Thaniel and Mori, are adorable – and utterly dysfunctional – and it makes you want to see what happens even when you’re confused.

I can honestly say I didn’t see the ending coming.

Oh, and the octopus on the cover now makes sense to me. I half-feared C’thulu would make an appearance when I started reading…


The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
by Natasha Pulley

1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.


The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

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The Bookish Owl – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Today we’re closing off the Hunger Games saga with Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

I have a lot of mixed feeling about this book. It was either a brilliant commentary on the nature of tyrannical regimes and revolutions… or simply the most pointless ending to a trilogy ever.

Either way, I cried. A lot.

Spoilers ahead.

This book got shockingly personal for me, so I’m just going to give you a little backstory: My older brother died in a traffic accident when I was 10, him 14. At that time, my family had a cat named Chaos, who loved my brother and didn’t want anything to do with the rest of us. Chaos kept up this attitude for some time after my brother’s death, but eventually she would let me pet her as long as I was sitting in my brother’s old room.

So this is why I managed to keep it together pretty well through Prim’s death, and even through Katniss subsequent grief… and then absolutely lost it at the scene where Katniss bonds with Prim’s cat over their loss. My brother died 17 years ago, and I don’t usually get emotional about it anymore, but this apparently hit a nerve. Plus, Chaos lived a long life and I grew to love that cat as well, and it was a blow when she died 2 years ago.

Sorry this got so personal! But I really felt you needed to know the details to understand why I bawled my eyes out, not over a character’s tragic death, but over a scene with a grumpy cat.

But back to my mixed feelings on this ending: Katniss’s entire character arc, which ignites an entire revolution,  is kicked off by her desire to save her little sister’s life. So killing off Primrose in the final book makes it all seem like it was pointless.

Which is why the ending could either be seen as terrible or genius. Because while it left me as a reader feeling unsatisfied, it makes a lot of sense to make the whole revolution story seem like it doesn’t matter. Because, unfortunately, that’s the case with most revolutions. They always cause a lot of blood to be spilled and atrocities to be committed, but things rarely ever get better. Most of the time – like hinted is also the case in the book – the people just replace one tyrant with another.

So yeah… Lot of feelings about this book. But do enjoy Artemis accidentally trying to copy the pose from the cover!


Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins

“My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.”

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Though she’s long been a part of the revolution, Katniss hasn’t known it. Now it seems that everyone has had a hand in the carefully laid plans but her.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay – no matter what the cost.


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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The Bookish Owl – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I’m still playing catch up with these, so here you have Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

This was a great follow-up to The Hunger Games. It was fast-paced and filled with conspiracies, which is right up my alley.

That’s all, really. I’ll keep my ranting commentary for when I get to my Mockingjay post… because what the f—.


Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins

SPARKS ARE IGNITING.
FLAMES ARE SPREADING.
AND THE CAPITAL WANTS REVENGE.

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest that she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. Katniss is about to be tested as never before.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

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The Bookish Owl – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

I know it’s been a while, but I’m back with new Bookish Owl posts, and today’s book is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins!

I’m so sorry for being absent lately and not keeping up with replying to comments or staying in touch with my blogger friends. It’s just been crazy lately (you might have noticed I recently published a new book), and it’s been all I could do just to remember to do basic things such as eating…

I hope you haven’t all given up on me!

But seeing as I’m 18 books behind, I better get on with the book stuff. As mentioned above, the featured book in this post is ‘The Hunger Games’. I first read this many years ago and while I remember liking it well enough, it didn’t really drive me to rush out to get the next book in the series, and in the end I never got around to it at all. However, after rereading it, I absolutely loved it!

I think the reason I didn’t really love it the first time around was because I found it a bit far-fetched. But now, after America got a reality star who have dick competitions with dictators as President, somehow I can TOTALLY imagine a government turning kids into celebrities before throwing them into an arena to kill each other.

It’s a slightly depressing reason for changing your mind about a book, isn’t it…?


The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

WINNING MEANS FAME AND FORTUNE.
LOSING MEANS CERTAIN DEATH.
THE HUNGER GAMES HAVE BEGUN. . . .

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and once girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.


The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

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Interview by Kevin Rau

Book Quill WritingI had the pleasure of talking to author Kevin Rau on Twitter not too long ago. He is the author of the H.E.R.O. books and asked me to do an interview for his blog. Normally, I find most author interviews to be dull and repetive, but I really enjoyed this one and thought I would share it with you to apologize for my absence lately!

The interview is the perfect mix of author questions, ebooks and superheroes! You can find the original one at Kevin’s blog and read his commentary!

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When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I have always loved writing, and I have written short stories ever since I could craft sentences properly together! As a young kid, I used to write stories in Danish, but as soon as I started learning English in school, I quickly grew to love the language. I would write horror short stories as my written assignments and I still stumble across some of them when I go through my old backup files. It’s a wonder my English teacher didn’t force me into therapy! Some of those things should not have been written by an 11-year old girl…

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably “powerful.”)

Oh, I love this question! As a big fan of superhero movies, there are so many things I would love to do… It’s hard to pick just one! I think I would like to be able to go through walls like Shadowcat from X-Men… Then I didn’t have to crawl over all the garbage in my room!

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

As I said, I love superhero movies, so that’s a really tough question… My favorite universe is the X-Men one, and there’s just so many great characters! If I have to choose, I think it’s a tie between Rogue and X-23… Nothing like a tough girl with a tough story!

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

Music, movies, comics, books… There’s a ton of inspiration, you just have to look for it! I carry a notebook with me at all times, and I have experienced inspiration striking in the middle of a movie at the cinema. It’s very hard to write down notes in complete darkness!

And I wish I knew what motivates me… It would make it a lot easier to seek it out. Most of all, I think it’s my mind’s hatred of standing still. I have to keep it active, otherwise I get restless. This is also why I never get any sleep. Ideas always wait until I’m in my bed, and they won’t leave me alone before I get up and write them down.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

My first book, Resounding Echo, was actually just an attempt to start writing again, after many years break. I asked a friend for an idea to something I could write about and he said: “What about something that begins in a monastery?”

That’s all I had, and still it became a full-length book. I just started writing, with no idea where I was going. I do write ideas to plots and characters down as they come and somewhere along the way, I’m able to make something resembling an outline out of them, but I’m not one to really plan ahead. I write to keep my head from exploding, so I just plan as I go!

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I tried the schedule thing, 500 words a day and all that. It doesn’t work for me. At all.

Somehow, every time I sit down with the intent to write, I’m completely empty for inspiration and motivation. On the other hand, all the times when I don’t have the time to write (or when I should be doing something else…) I get inspired out of nowhere. Large part of my books are written during classes where I’m supposed to listen to some teacher going on about Hemingway(or was it Scottfitzgerald?)

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

Definitely fantasy. Both reading and writing, though I mostly keep to writing high fantasy, while I will read anything within the genre as long as it doesn’t involve High Schools(I can’t take another one of those books… I’m sorry, I just can’t.)

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Except from not going insane? I think it’s immersing myself in a story and getting to know my characters. Before, it would all be in my head and it would never be properly explored, but writing it down forces me to evolve the ideas and actually create something.

Is there any part of writing that you don’t enjoy?

The feeling that you’re never going to finish a book while you have writer’s block! It’s a horrible feeling!

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

I could write a book(Haha…) about the oddness that’s me! Let’s just leave it at the fact that I have a wooden dragon figure called Oswald and that I dream of beating up Edward from Twilight with a bat…

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I used to have 5 different projects at once, but lately I have been more committed to one work. I think the world of my current book series has become too dear to me, and it prevents me from wanting to work on different stories while working on those books.

Have you ever wondered why evil people want to take over the world. Why not take under it?

Maybe they have more airplanes than they have shovels?

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

E-readers are still a mostly unknown thing in the little state of Denmark, but more and more bookstores are beginning to sell ebooks even here. Ebooks are definitely becoming more and more common, but I’m not one of those that believe paper books are dying out. But then again, I’m one of the few persons who still don’t want iPhone even when people throw it at me, because I like my phone to be a PHONE. But the rest of the world loves them, and I think more and more will switch to reading e-books, when they own a Smartphone or a tablet anyway.  

What are your current projects?

The second book in my epic fantasy series, Silent Sound. It has been at a stand-still for a long time, because of lacking motivation, but now I’m too busy to write and the motivation is suddenly everywhere! Typical…

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Don’t let it ruin your love of writing! It’s all too easy to be caught up in formatting, editing, marketing and book sales, and it will destroy what made you love writing in the first place if you let it. Do it, but don’t let it become your world.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

I can be found just about anywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest, DeviantART, YouTube, you name it. But I can’t even keep track of those, so come visit my website to avoid all the confusion! You can find it here: http://michellelouring.blog.com/

My books can be found at almost any online book retailer as well, but most notably on Amazon and Smashwords!