Merry Christmas

Friday 25 December 2015

TBR Feature #2

Friday 18 December 2015

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every now and then, pick one of my unread books and discuss it: why I picked it up, when I'll get round to reading it, if I'm still interested in it at all etc.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Book Talk: Middle Book Syndrome

Friday 11 December 2015

In case you're unsure as to what exactly I mean when I say Middle Book Syndrome, I'll break it down for you.

Middle Book Syndrome (MBS) 

Districts of Panem Tag

Friday 4 December 2015

I saw this tag over at YA Bookaholic, and seeing as I'm a huge fan of The Hunger Games and I recently saw the second part of Mockingjay (which is amazing, might I add), I thought I'd give this tag a go.

Book Review: Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Friday 27 November 2015

Far From You
Tess Sharpe
Genre(s): Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Published: March 27th 2014
Pages: 343
Rating: 2.5 stars

Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That's how long recovering addict Sophie's been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.

Forced into rehab for an addiction she'd already beaten, Sophie's finally out and on the trail of the killer—but can she track them down before they come for her?

Far From You wastes no time with the before. It jumps straight into the after, combining present day and past to tell Sophie and Mina's story.

To start with, things were a bit confusing to me. I was intrigued, don't get me wrong, but the chapter headings - 'Now (June)' and '3 months ago (17 years old)' - held no significance for me and left me scratching my head. The change of font between then and now did help, but I couldn't help but find both places in time read very similarly. A clear distinction between the two, such as splitting the book into two halves, rather than alternating, would have been better, in my opinion.

I liked that Sophie wasn't the typically beautiful and perfect main character that tries to call themselves ugly or weird. She came across as normal - troubled and scarred, but very real. I didn't really connect that much with her or any of the other characters, but it was nice to see a more relateable main character in a young adult contemporary piece.

However, I could not empathise or even bring myself to care about Mina. She was a manic pixie dream girl, a la Alaska in Looking for Alaska, manipulating everyone and not feeling sorry for being a bitch (seriously, Sophie says as much yet still put her on this pedestal). That's just something I cannot get behind, and her personality and the way everyone was 'oh poor Mina boo hoo' did not sit well with me. Ugh.

The biggest downfall of this, which promised to be be so good, was that it was slow. And boring. Slow books, while exceptionally annoying, I can deal with. Boring books, not so much. The combination of the two just let me down. I was drawn in by the cover and the synopsis, but when I started to read I couldn't help but feel disappointed. Throughout, I was waiting for things to pick up, but they never really did. I got through the book pretty quickly, but the plot dragged and it took ages for the thriller aspect to actually start. There was a lot of reminiscing that didn't help further things, and I honestly could have done without it.

I'd also managed to guess the plot twist of Mina and Sophie being in a relationship very early. The fact that Sophie said 'I loved Mina' to her therapist at rehab, and how she described Trev's features as being similar to a familiar face that she'd already studied - or something to that effect, at least. It was quite obvious at several points, and wasn't the massive surprise it was no doubt meant to be.

Overall, this wasn't terrible. Not quite what I expected, but I didn't hate it at the end.

Recommendations: Horror

Friday 20 November 2015

Under my Skin by James Dawson
James Dawson was a fantastic discovery. Both of his horror novels are fantastic (Say Her Name would have made it onto this list if the cover had matched the others, but it didn't) and definitely worth picking up. Especially if you enjoy young adult horrors that don't have happy endings.

Horns by Joe Hill
Coming from none other than Stephen King's son, you expect this to be a good book. And it is. Dark and creepy yet still realistic, making it all the more chilling, Horns is a must read if you're a fan of anti-heroes. Probably give it a miss if you're afraid of snakes, though.

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Out of the three the most unique, in that it's told entirely through the form of diary extracts, interviews, and police files. A gripping read that leans more towards psychological thriller, with elements of mental health thrown in, that is still sufficiently creepy.

TBR Feature #1

Friday 13 November 2015

TBR Feature is an idea I've had for a while. Basically, every now and then, I'll pick one of my unread books and discuss it: why I picked it up, when I'll get round to reading it, if I'm still interested in it at all etc.

Feed by Mira Grant

Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Friday 6 November 2015

City of Heavenly Fire
Cassandra Clare
Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Published: May 28th 2014
Pages: 733
Rating: 1 star

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last instalment of the internationally bestselling The Mortal Instruments series.

Erchomai, Sebastian had said. I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat him - must they journey to another world to find the chance?

I am so glad that I am done with this series. So glad. The last three books were painful to read, and I’m definitely not alone when I say things should have stopped at City of Glass. Not that I enjoyed City of Ashes and City of Glass that much, but that’s beside the point. Things just went from bad to much, much worse with the second half of The Mortal Instruments.

If it wasn’t bad enough that I can’t stand either Jace or Clary, City of Heavenly Fire was filled with a whole cast of characters that I either a) couldn’t stand, b) didn’t like, or c) didn’t even know who they were or what relevance they played. I felt that a lot of this book was setting up for the next Shadowhunter series (excellent! I cannot wait! Keep milking that cow!) and that the majority of the Blackthorn and Carstairs parts could have been cut. They should have been included in the first installment of The Dark Artifices, not in the final The Mortal Instruments book.

My biggest problem is how everything – and I mean everything – is about Jace or Clary, or Jace and Clary. If they were likable characters I could be more lenient, but no. Jace is arrogant, selfish, reckless, moody, and manipulative to the point where it almost costs the girl he considers his sister her life. He and Clary cannot make good decisions to save their lives – literally! – and all they ever care about is each other. Great. Clary continues to lead Simon (who is totally still in love with her, fight me on it) on and doesn’t respect her mother, it’s all Jace and his golden hair. Excuse me while I gouge my eyes out so that I never have to read about them again.

Many of the POVs included bored me to tears, and a lot felt like they were just for filling extra pages. I didn’t need Jia Penhallow’s thoughts. I didn’t care about Maia and the werewolf pack. I didn’t feel bad about Emma Carstairs. I didn’t even care about some of the returning characters – Alec, Magnus, and Simon, to be exact. Clare spends far too long describing what people are wearing, how sunlight turns things to gold, and far too much detail went into every last god forsaken kiss Clary and Jace shared. It’s a wonder I didn’t throw up all over the page.

On top of all the usual offences committed in a TMI book, I found a lot of inaccuracies as well. In the prologue, there was reference to a ‘poisonous snake’. In the prologue, for christ’s sake. How am I meant to take a book seriously when there’s an error like that and I’m not even 30 pages in? Granted, if I hadn’t known the difference between poisonous and venomous, and didn’t have such an interest in animals, this may have slipped past me. But it didn’t, and I’m not letting Clare and her editors get away with it.

And on the topic of editors, were any even hired for City of Heavenly Fire? Or any of the TMI books? Explain to me why 40+ page chapters are necessary. Explain to me why we hear from up to 5 different characters a chapter, with the harshest transitions known to readers between. Explain how the excessive detail was ever considered to be okay and interesting by anyone other than the author. The entire series needs an extremely fine toothed comb taken to it, because I cannot even fully express how it makes me feel. 733 pages – on top of 5 other 300+ page books – is not necessary. At all. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: condensing is your best friend.

Overall, I didn’t like this. I wouldn’t recommend it, so don’t waste your time.

Book Talk: Auto-Buy Authors

Friday 30 October 2015

Most readers and book collectors all have them. Those authors you cannot overlook in the bookshop and find yourself drawn to no matter what. To put it plainly: 

we all have auto-buy authors.

Bang Up to the Elephant

Friday 23 October 2015

This post is bang up to the elephant (that's perfect to those of you who don't speak Victorian English)

Last month, my mum, nan, and I went up north and visited the Beamish living museum. It's a fantastic open air museum made up of villages, houses, and shops from the 1820s right up to the 1940s. We only got round the 1900s town (which is my favourite part anyway, as I the Victorian era is my all time favourite time period) while we were there, so a return visit - or three - is in order.

This time, I was actually happy with how the natural lighting turned out. I felt it was atmospheric and very fitting for the Victorian setting. I also wasn't really sure if flash photography was allowed, so I made my aperture as large as my camera allowed and rolled with it. These are some of my favourite shots from the day.

Book Review: The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

Friday 16 October 2015

The Masked Truth
Kelley Armstrong
Genre(s): Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult
Published: October 13th 2015
Pages: 432
Rating: 5 stars

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through the Atom review scheme. This in no way influenced my thoughts. 

Riley Vasquez, the girl who witnessed a double murder, has been sent to a therapy weekend to help her anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Or at least that was the idea… She’s barely introduced herself before all hell breaks loose.

Riley was an instantly intriguing character. The fencing daughter of a dead cop, she has a logical, no nonsense attitude. Well, she did until she experienced the trauma that turned her into a timid little mouse, a fact which she hates. I took a liking to her within a few pages, and from her introduction and the description of the incident I thought she was realistic and well rounded.

There was also quite a range within the supporting characters: Brienne, Max, Aaron, Maria, and all the others. I liked it as everyone had a sense of themselves and no one felt like a copy of someone else. Max and Riley made an excellent team as they evaded their captors, and both felt as if a lot of research had gone into creating them – especially when it came to their diagnoses. I especially enjoyed learning about Max’s past in his chapters, which were written in a totally different way to anything else I’ve read.

The mystery and uncertainty surrounding what actually happened in the warehouse was thrilling. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t see where any of the twists and turns were leading. As soon as you learnt one thing you were lead in the opposite direction.

Kelley Armstrong managed to weave a thrilling tale full of lies and deceit and unreliability, yet still give her characters the ending they deserved. A truly stunning read that everyone should pick up. 

The Sunshine Blog Award

Friday 9 October 2015

Thank you to Emily over at Paperback Princess for nominating me for this award! I won't be tagging anyone or writing my own questions, but if anyone else does this award I'd be interested to see your answers!

The Rules
Answer the 11 questions provided for you.
Nominate other bloggers.
Ask them 11 questions of your own.

Book Talk: Paperbacks vs Hardbacks

Friday 2 October 2015

It's no secret that I'm a paperback person. I own primarily paperbacks and I prefer to read them as well. Hardbacks are pretty, there's no denying that, but they're expensive. And far too heavy for my poor noodle arms.

Book Review: To Nowhere by C.E. Wilson

Friday 25 September 2015

To Nowhere
C.E. Wilson
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Published: July 5th 2015
Pages: 296
Rating: stars

A world no one would believe.

From the moment Lyris is treated to coffee by a beautiful stranger, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. In her enthusiasm to start at a new school with a new boyfriend, Lyris is almost able to look past his oddities.


The way he eyes up her striking red hair.

The way he loves that she’s seventeen. “The perfect age.”

And the way he’s gone from all but begging to show her a specific room in a specific house to making her swear never to even think about it again.

When Lyris doesn't take his strange warnings seriously, she finds that nothing could have prepared her for what lay behind that door.

Suddenly, Lyris finds herself in a world no one would believe. A world where she’s only a few inches tall and giants aren’t creatures from fairy tales. Where humans are no longer the dominant race, but pets auctioned off to the highest bidder. Lyris understands the true danger of such a place, but there seems to be one person on her side.

Her kind and surprised captor.

And while Brindt appears to be sweet and trustworthy, he also straddles the line between seeing her as an equal and a cute animal.

Lyris has to get home… before the one person can turn to becomes the one person who can’t let her go.

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

To Nowehere wastes no time in jumping into the romantic side of things. Personally, I wasn’t a fan, as it felt way too sudden for the main character to stumble into a guy she instantly fell in lust with. I also wasn’t a fan of the guy; he was arrogant and rude and I didn’t like the way he spoke to Lyris, almost commanding answers from her. However, I did like how things started up immediately with no waiting around. I was interested in the Shaw place as soon as it was mentioned, wanting to know what role it played in everything.

Wyatt was just the type of character that I cannot stand. He was cocky from the start and it continued throughout the rest of the story. From the first couple of chapters I had a feeling he’d be involved with something bad and I was right. He was one of those annoyingly cliché ‘bad boy’ types and the way he described Lyris in one scene – snooty, stuck up, immature, spoiled – was incredibly accurate for himself. My biggest issue with him was how he spoke to and treated Lyris. He treated her more like a child, coming across as not really caring for her or what she had to say and constantly making comments at her expense. To say it didn’t sit well with me would be an understatement.

And Lyris… I wanted to like her more because she seemed confident and sure of herself, but I couldn’t help but find her irritating and hopelessly naïve and clueless. Mostly because, to me, she came across as one of those characters that’s actually very attractive yet tries to make out they’re only average. You know, the ones with perfect hair and an odd eye colour and perfect skin that complain that no one likes them boo hoo. Yeah. I hate that.

As for the writing, I enjoyed it. It flowed nicely and was very easy to read, as well as quite fast to get through. I also got a great feel for Lyris’ voice; even though I didn’t particularly like her it was very clear that this was her story and her feelings. 

The introduction of the giants was good and left a lot to the imagination. I was especially intrigued by the language and what was being said to Lyris when she was taken, and then how she came to understand everything. The whole idea of writing about giants is something I’ve never come across in a book before, so I was definitely intrigued by the uniqueness.

I thought the world building was good, even if it did take quite a while for things to become established and then turn into the actual plot. But for such a short book what do you expect? Overall I did enjoy the story.

C.E. Wilson can be found at...

Top 5 Wednesday: Books About Mental Health

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

When I saw this week's topic I frantically opened up a new blog post to start drafting it because I knew it would take me a while. I love books about mental health and psychology. An odd thing to say, I know, but it's something that's close to my heart (or rather, my brain) and I love finding accurate portrayals in fiction. Needless to say, it was tricky to narrow it down to five.

Book Review: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Friday 11 September 2015

The Art of Being Normal
Lisa Williamson
Genre(s):  Contemporary, LGBT, Young Adult
Published: January 1st 2015
Pages: 368
Rating: 3.5 stars

Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. 

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan. 

When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…

The Art of Being Normal fooled me when I first saw it in Waterstones. For some reason - and I still don't know why - I thought it was non-fiction, kind of like a memoir or autobiography. I left it on the shelf and, when I remembered the title, looked it up online to see what it was about. 

The idea interested me; I'm all about diverse young adult literature and tackling 'taboo' and 'sensitive' subjects that many think are too 'serious' for teens, so this looked to be just my cup of tea. I felt the taboo nature come through, in how main character David struggled to tell his parents that he wanted to be a girl, even though they'd told him they support him. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I felt the anxiety coming from him, and felt bad that he felt the need to hide the things that made him comfortable. 

I'll admit, I'm not the most knowledgeable on the whole transgender/sexual part of things, and this book may have been a totally awful portrayal of the struggles and activities as those identifying that way. For me though, I find it quite insightful. I can't imagine the feeling of wanting to change my gender, or feeling wrong in my own body, so in a way this did open my eyes. That's always a good thing, I think. I enjoy taking new things away from the books that I read, and The Art of Being Normal certainly did that.

While I wasn't completely taken in by the plot - I felt like honestly there wasn't much of one - I was intrigued by the characters. I feel like this is a much more character driven novel anyway, so it didn't hamper my enjoyment too much. David and Leo I found to be very different, and very refreshing because of that. Their personalities almost came across as total opposites, and I liked that. It shows that, even if someone is going through the same thing as you and can relate, each case is highly individual and cannot easily be generalised. To me, this is an important message to send, as too often are people lumped together when experiencing similar things. Yes, person A has the same problem as person B. Just because A can do something that sends B into a panic attack, does not make their problem any less of what it is: a problem. But I digress.

Williamson has managed to piece together a good debut. I'd recommend it if you enjoy heavier reads that still manage to come across as light.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Things About Blogging

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

This week's topic is out favourite things about blogging, or booktubing for those taking part on YouTube rather than on a blog. It was quite easy for me to come up with my top five, but giving reasons was a bit more tricky so please excuse any ramblings.

The Grass is Greener

Friday 4 September 2015

I got the chance to test out my new lens the other day at Burghley sculpture gardens, and then again at Rufford Park. I still need to find an editing software I can afford (and also get along with) so that I can alter my images, as I'm not entirely happy with the natural lighting. Despite that, I want to share some of my favourite shots.

Top 5 Wednesday: Fictional Cities

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

This week's topic is our top five favourite fictional cities. I really had to scour my shelves in search of five, as the things that instantly came to mind were entire worlds or places that actually exist in real life. In the end though, I did manage to come up with some.

Book Review: So... I Met a Vampire by Paul McAvoy

Wednesday 26 August 2015

So... I Met a Vampire
Paul McAvoy
Genre(s):  Paranormal, Supernatural
Published: July 18th 2015
Pages: 180
Rating: 2.5 stars

On a foggy morning, thirteen year old Jessica wakes up in a strange forest, not knowing how she got there, but with a feeling she is being watched. Helped to a local police station, memories start to come back, about where she has been the last few days… She remembers a deal she had to make to stay alive… to obtain a small bottle of vampire’s blood. With the use of a magical phone, her journey takes her to the English Lake District, a lonely Scottish village and the bright lights of New York. She meets mysterious men who work for a secret government organisation and a vampire who seems willing to help, but is he and his teenage vampire friends to be trusted? On the run, she must reach a government hide out before her adversaries catch up with her and take her to a realm of darkness and blood…  

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

From the start, things looked interesting and promised to be good. The tone of the story was set early on, as was the scene. I instantly got a sense of foreboding and air of creepiness, with the narrator struggling to remember things and talking of drowning. However, I do think there was an overkill of ellipses in the initial setup. They’re good for creating suspense and uncertainty… when they’re used sparingly.

I’ll admit that I was surprised to discover that the narrator was female as she didn’t read as female at all to me. It wasn’t something I minded; in fact it was quite refreshing to read a character like that. She came across as quite smart and I liked the way she kept calm, despite what had happened to her.

The writing style was easy and pretty fast to read, with good variation in regards to sentence length and structure. Nothing was jarring or choppy, yet nothing dragged on and on either. I did, however, notice a few more poetic and metaphorical lines had been included every now and again, and these felt a bit off to me. It wasn’t that they were bad, they just didn’t fit the tone and overall style, in my opinion. 

The dialogue could be a bit more refine, and it was here that my biggest problem emerged. Adults didn’t read as adults; they came across as childish and trying too hard to be funny. There were also times when I found it difficult to follow conversations (but that may just have been me and nothing to do with the dialogue). Contractions needed to be used more often to make some sentences less formal and stilted, especially when the young narrator spoke.

I’m not entirely sure of the intended age range of this book, but to me it came across as children’s or young teen paranormal fiction. I don’t have a problem with that, but it was a bit of a surprise after the initial setup, as things did seem to take a bit of an odd turn, most notably when Jessie gets set her three tasks. 

Overall, this had its ups and its downs. There were moments I thought could have been better and moments that were action-packed. Some of the more action-packed scenes did feel a little out of place next to the more subdued parts, but in the end it wasn’t a bad read. That being said, I did prefer So... I Met a Demon.

Paul McAvoy and his work can be found at...
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Top 5 Wednesday: Series I Wish Had More Books

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

First of all, I'd like to apologise for missing last week. It was my grandad's birthday, and I had a lot of stuff going on, and I just never got round to posting. On one hand, I'm glad I took the day, but on the other I'm a little annoyed that I missed a post because I was doing so well. Second of all, I'd like to give you a heads up. College starts for me again in the first week of September and I'm taking four subjects that I am determined to study properly for. Posts may be few and far between because of that, but we'll see.

For now, let's get on with this week's topic: series I wish had more books.

Book Talk: Organisation

Friday 21 August 2015

I'm one of those people that likes their books displayed in a very specific way. Grouped by genre, alphabetical by author's last name within those genres. No double stacking, spines out, pushed right to the back of the shelf.

Book Review: The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë

Friday 14 August 2015

The Night is Darkening Round Me
Emily Brontë
Genre(s):  Classics, Poetry
Published: February 26th 2015
Pages: 64
Rating: stars

Some of Emily Brontë's most extraordinary poems. 

I think it is entirely safe and fair to say that I am not a fan of poetry. Especially not flowery verse that I have to search for a meaning in. I like prose. I love straightforward prose. I do not enjoy poems.

I'll hand it to Brontë, the rhythm and flow she managed to create throughout her poems was nice. I liked how things weren't choppy as I was reading them, and the rhyme schemes she chose always seemed to work.What I couldn't get on with, however, was the constant imagery and metaphors I had to figure out. When I read, I do so for enjoyment. Not because I want to work out a puzzle. It got to the point where I would read a poem, not understand what it was trying to say, then move on to the next one. Perhaps that is why I didn't enjoy this little collection.

I've never read any work by any of the Brontës, and if this is the standard of it, I don't think I'll delve any deeper into it. Just not my cup of tea.

Top 5 Wednesday: Required Reading

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

I won't lie, I struggled with this week's topic, and it turned into a bit of a cheat for me. Throughout school, I was never really required to read things. It was only GCSE English literature that required things, but I never liked any of them. So I bring you my top three required reading, which aren't my top three at all because I hated them all.

The Magic of Makeup

Friday 7 August 2015

A bit of an odd post coming from a book blogger but I felt like sharing it regardless.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Maps

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

This week, the topic is our favourite maps. As someone who's favourite genre is fantasy (and therefore owns a lot of fantasy books) I was spoilt for choice. There are so many amazing maps throughout the genre so it took me a lot of consulting my books to narrow down my top five. Some were chosen for the scale of the world, and some were chosen purely for how aesthetically pleasing I found them, regardless of how large or complex the world was. So without further ado, my top five maps are below. I'd like to apologise in advance for the pictures; I found that it's incredibly difficult to take decent pictures where nothing is left out of shot but it's close enough to show the details.

Book Review: Come Close by Sappho

Thursday 30 July 2015

Come Close
Genre(s):  Classics, Poetry
Published: February 26th 2015
Pages: 64
Rating: 2.5 stars

Lyrical, powerful poems about love, sexuality, sun-soaked Greece and the gods. 

I've never been a fan of poetry, so it's a wonder what possessed me to pick up this little black classic. 

I'm greatly interested in Greek myths, and my interest has started to inch towards the literature, only to come galloping back when I look at the work. This little collection of poems is a very easy introduction Sappho's work, with numerous poems from several different topics. Some, I found confusing, and some I didn't enjoy. However, I did find a few little gems in here that I could wrap my head around and really liked.

I wouldn't say it's converted me into loving poetry - at least not ancient poetry - because nine times out of ten I had a frown on my face as I tried to work out the meaning on things.

Maybe I'm just uncultured and not well-read, or maybe Sappho is just inaccessible. For 80p, though, I don't regret it. 

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Character Tropes

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

This week, the topic is our favourite character tropes. Again, I found this topic to be quite tricky, mainly due to the fact that I don't actively pay attention to tropes when I read, but I searched around and came up with my top five.

Unpopular Opinions Tag

Friday 24 July 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Side Characters Who Deserve Their Own Series

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

This week, the topic is our the side characters we think deserve their own book series. This was quite tricky, I thought, but I managed to find five characters. 

Book Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Friday 17 July 2015

Falling Kingdoms
Morgan Rhodes
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Young adult
Published: January 3rd 2013
Pages: 432
Rating: 2 stars

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.

Falling Kingdoms looked to be the start of an epic young adult high fantasy when I picked it up. Unfortunately, when I started reading it I realised that that may not be the case.

From the prologue, I didn't really enjoy the writing style, and I wasn't keen on the introduction of the magic system. I'm prefer my magic to be magic for everything, that people either have or don't - like the magic in Harry Potter - not elemental magic.

I also didn't care for any of the characters and found them to be all rather similar. No one particularly stuck out, and often got confused as to who was who and where was where. And not even in a good way, it was because their voices sounded the same and everyone came across as angry. Safe to say, it was rather boring. 

Things were also very predictable. The plot twists weren't twists at all, as I saw them coming from miles away and so wasn't surprised. They felt very basic and cliché, like fantasy basics. And aside from its twists, the plot in general was just... eh. Nothing special or notable, nothing out of the ordinary, just standard - and poorly executed - fantasy fare.

The length of the chapters also bugged me. They were fairly lengthy and not a lot tended to happen in them. There were large amounts of filler and unnecessary description. It was like reading a bad combination of Cassandra Clare and Tolkein's work. I like things to be to the point, and Falling Kingdoms did not come across that way to me.

I do feel that if you are totally new to fantasy - be that young adult or high fantasy - then this might work for you. However, I'd say not to go in expecting much, and that are a lot more, much better fantasy series out there.

Top 5 Wednesday: Anticipated Pre-Orders for the Rest of the Year

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Well, that was a long title. And as you can tell from said long title, I've decided to take part in Top 5 Wednesday, a weekly topic created by gingerreadslainey over on Youtube. There's a Goodreads group here, where you can sign up and take part each week.

This week, the topic is our anticipated pre-orders for the rest of 2015. Mine are as follows:

Lions, Tigers, and Bears

Friday 10 July 2015

Not book related this week, I'm afraid, but a collection of photographs I've taken within the last month or so. I can totally share those with you, right?

Book Review: The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin

Friday 3 July 2015

The Ice Dragon
George R.R. Martin
Genre(s): Dragons, Fantasy, Young adult
Published: December 1st 2014
Pages: 128
Rating: 5 stars

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember. 

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara's home. 

And only a winter child-and the ice dragon who loved her-could save her world from utter destruction.

Dragons, George R.R. Martin, and great illustrations? I was sold on this book before I ever picked it up. So sold, in fact, I never even checked the price of it before I decided I was going to buy it. I just had to have a copy in my hands.

Martin delivers, yet again, a fantastic story set in the richly detailed and immersive world of Westeros (a fact I did not know going in to this as I didn't read the blurb, but it makes it ten times as wonderful knowing it's set in the same world as Daenerys and Sansa and all my other favourites). As a fan of ASOIAF, I'll take anything I can get while waiting for the next book, and this was fantastic.

While I didn't really think it was connected to the main series, I liked that it was set in a familiar world as it made getting into it a lot easier, and I did feel like it gave a but more padding to the creation. If multiple stories can be spun from one idea, then it must be great. And the fact that this so heavily featured dragons - my favourite fantastical creatures, both in and out of Martin's world - made it that much more interesting to read.

The Ice Dragon is a good entry point to the world of Ice and Fire, even though there is no direct link between them, such as characters. It is an easy story to follow, made better by the stunning illustrations from Luis Royo, with depth to it that should be appreciated by all fantasy fans, young or old.

Book Talk: Reading and Writing

Friday 26 June 2015

(I've decided I want to try my hands at making graphic banners for my posts, such as the one above. Constructive criticism is much appreciated, but this is my very first attempt. I'm not very good at editing stuff and the spacing is off, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.)

Book Review: The Dolphins, the Whales, and the Gudgeon by Aesop

Friday 19 June 2015

The Dolphins, the Whales, and the Gudgeon
Genre(s): Classics, Short stories
Published: February 26th 2015
Pages: 64
Rating: 5 stars

Aesop's animal fables are some of the earliest stories ever told, thought to have been composed by a slave in Greek antiquity and giving glimpses of a world that is harsh, pitiless and yet also eerily familiar.

Not only are the Penguin Little Black Classics the perfect size to slip into your bag, and the perfect length to read on a bus journey or in free time at work or college, they are the perfect introduction to classics.

The range available is very impressive, and as someone with a growing interest in classic authors and literature, I found myself drawn to a number of titles. Aesop's fables ended up extremely high on my list, and I'm beyond glad I got my hands on a copy.

Going in to it, I expected one or two long fables. Upon reading it, I found that there were lots - I didn't count each one so I don't know exact numbers, but I'd safely say well over 40.

Each fable was set out nicely on it's own page, making it easy to read and clear to see when one ended and another began. A lot also had their morals or meanings printed at the bottom, which I felt was a very nice touch, as sometimes lessons aren't always abundantly clear.

Overall, I felt this was a very easy, gentle introduction to classics and Greek work. And for 80p, you really can't go wrong.
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