March Wrap Up/April TBR

Friday 31 March 2017

I went into March without a TBR, so what exactly did I end up reading?

TBR Feature #47

Wednesday 29 March 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, 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.

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

Logan: A Bittersweet Goodbye

Monday 27 March 2017

5 stars
There is no other way to describe Logan than bittersweet. It's heart-wrenching and brutal, yet still manages to remain funny and have moments of levity. It's the end of an era but it's also the beginning of a new one.

Bullet Journaling for Mental Health

Friday 24 March 2017

I've been bullet journaling since August 2016. I've been battling my mental health for a lot longer.

TBR Feature #46

Wednesday 22 March 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, 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.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich

Monday 20 March 2017

The Creeper Man
Dawn Kurtagich
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller, Young Adult
Published: July 14th 2016
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 stars

When Silla and her little sister, Nori, escape London and their abusive father, Aunt Cath's country house feels like a safe haven. Leaving the smog and fear behind, the girls have the love and freedom they never had in their violent home. But slowly, ever so slowly, things begin to unravel.

Aunt Cath locks herself in the attic and spends day and night pacing; every day the surrounding forest inches slowly towards the house; a mysterious boy appears from the enclosing wood offering friendship, and Nori claims that a man watches them from the dark forest. A man with no eyes who creeps ever closer.

Dawn Kurtagich definitely knows what she’s doing when it comes to creepy, psychologically disturbing, thought provoking stories.

Much like with The Dead House, I was hooked from the beginning, drawn right into the story thinking ‘what’s all this about?’ Nothing is clear, yet nothing is confusing, either. There’s the perfect balance of not knowing what on earth is going on and receiving the answers you so desperately crave.

The story of Silla, Nori, and their Aunt Cath (whom they have gone to live with) is not a straightforward one by any means. There are twists and turns all over the place, and uncertainty is the tone throughout. Why does Aunt Cath live in the middle of the forest? Why does she seem so startled by the girls? What will happen to them all out there?

There’s more to The Creeper Man than meets the eye, as well. The prologue is weird enough on its own, but when it becomes apparent that it will be playing a larger part in the story, you can’t help but stop and put the book down. Just what has this family got embroiled in? Why is the past so important and closely entwined with the present? Mystery after mystery are handed to us, but Kurtagich weaves them all together so well we hardly realise we’re getting more questions before new answers.

Silla and Nori also had an interesting dynamic – alongside their interesting personalities that made me question how reliable and trustworthy there were. Nori had the blissful ignorance and blind trust that only children can possess. Silla, the cynicism and scepticism befitting of a teenager – and one who’s been through hell, at that. It was immediately clear that Silla cared immensely for Nori and that Nori in turn relied heavily on her sister, to the point where it almost felt as if they were mother and daughter rather than siblings. A blessing for Nori, when Aunt Cath seems to become unstable, staying hidden in the attic, but a curse for Silla as she has to become the adult in the situation.

The legend of the Creeper Man himself was very intriguing. Not to mention extremely creepy – he doesn’t have eyes, for goodness sake! The way things were explained to us gradually and slowly and in a way that you never knew if you could truly believe (as it’s clear from early on the family doesn’t have the greatest mental strength or stability) only added to the atmosphere and built up the suspense. The reveal was made all the more thrilling after we learnt of Silla’s and Nori’s past.

Definitely not for the fainthearted, The Creeper Man is a wild ride from start finish. It will leave you hanging off every word, yet too afraid to read once it gets dark outside.

My Dream Bookish Panels

Friday 17 March 2017

Recently, the team at Eventbrite - a company that helps people find events and even plan and register their own - came up with a challenge for bookworms to come up with my dream author or character panel. Of course, being an avid reader, I jumped right on board with the project and came up with three panels that I would love to see made real.

TBR Feature #45

Wednesday 15 March 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, 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.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Catalyst by Helena Coggan

Monday 13 March 2017

The Catalyst
Helena Coggan
Genre(s): Dystopia, Fantasy, Young Adult
Published: February 19th 2015
Pages: 448
Rating: 1 star

Rose Elmsworth has a secret. For eighteen years, the world has been divided into the magically Gifted and the non-magical Ashkind, but Rose's identity is far more dangerous. At fifteen, she has earned herself a place alongside her father in the Department, a brutal law-enforcement organisation run by the Gifted to control the Ashkind. But now an old enemy is threatening to start a catastrophic war, and Rose faces a challenging test of her loyalties. How much does she really know about her father's past? How far is the Department willing to go to keep the peace? And, if the time comes, will Rose choose to protect her secret, or the people she loves?

The Catalyst
has a complex world and magic system, there’s no denying that. It took me a while to get my head around the Gifted, Leeched, and Ashkind and where they stood in society. And that was before I moved on to trying to understand the War and the Angels and the Department…

It’s extremely impressive that Coggan was published at such a young age – don’t get me wrong – but I feel as if her age is also extremely apparent throughout her novel. I found this mostly in the writing style which needed fine tuning. Some sentences brought me straight back to my Year Six and Seven writing – not something an author should be aiming for. Some sentences were stilted and some were so long I had to re-read them a few times. Others were missing commas (or rather, I thought they were; I’m a habitual comma splicer so maybe don’t listen to me) and some words just seemed… out of place. I’m all for expanding your vocabulary, but some of the ‘big’ words just felt off next to everything else.

A lot of the characterisations felt one-sided and childish; the main character was the typical snarky, less than perfect teen who is much wiser than all the adults, and the adults just didn’t feel like adults. Rose and David felt more like hero and sidekick than father and daughter. And David wasn’t the hero. The younger characters, especially Tabitha, all felt far too clever and knowledgeable in comparison to the older ones who came across as very childish.

The plot jumped from place to place and nothing ever really seemed to be fully explained, and even when things were explained I still didn’t fully understand anything. The prologue managed to pull you in, but once you were part of the story you were left thinking ‘now what?’ It was as if Coggan thought she’d provided all the necessary information, but then realised it wasn’t enough and scrambled to explain things more fully. All in all, it felt all over the place. Explain as you go, don’t delegate every other chapter to world building.

I wanted to like this; it seemed mysterious and set itself up to be an interesting young adult fantasy. Its biggest downfall was that it was so bloody boring. This isn’t a long book but my god did it feel like one. Each page was a chore to read and I had to force myself to push through in order to complete it. Curse my inability to leave a book unfinished.

Don’t subject yourself to the same torture – give this one a miss.

Marking Quotes

Friday 10 March 2017

Whenever I browse Instagram, Twitter, or booktube I see nothing but those tiny sticky notes poking out from the edges of books. What are they marking? I ask myself. More often than not, they're used as a way to remember specific quotes and scenes. My question for everyone who partakes in this is: 

TBR Feature #44

Wednesday 8 March 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, 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.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

Monday 6 March 2017

From a Buick 8
Stephen King
Genre(s): Adult, Horror, Science-Fiction
Published: September 24th 2002
Pages: 467
Rating: 3.5 stars

Come close, children, and see the living crocodile. A vintage '54 Buick Roadmaster. At least, that's what it looks like...

There is a secret hidden in Shed B in the state police barracks in Statler, Pennsylvania. A secret that has drawn troopers for twenty years - terrified yet irresistibly tempted to look at its chrome fenders, silver grille and exotic exhaust system.

Young Ned Wilcox has started coming by the barracks: mowing the lawn, washing the windows, shovelling snow; it's a boy's way of holding on to his father - recently killed in a strange road accident by another Buick.

And one day Ned peers through the windows of Shed B and discovers the family secret. Like his father, Ned wants answers. He deserves answers. And the secret begins to stir...

From a Buick 8
didn’t immediately capture my attention, which was a shame because I wanted to really enjoy it, it being a King novel and all. Thankfully, things did pick up and I became more interested, but only after I’d made it about half way through.

The premise is unique, I’ll give it that. Not totally interesting to me as I’m not a fan of cars and don’t know much about them, but I do know a little about horror books and what I like in them. The idea that this ‘car’ was acting as a portal between two different worlds was something I’d never come across before in my reading. And certainly not in the way King goes about it: with plenty of gruesome grossness.

While I wasn’t totally hooked by the subject matter to start with (it grew on me, don’t get me wrong) I was pulled in by the writing. There’s something about the way King writes that makes me carry on reading even when I’m not sure that I really want to. He knows the perfect recipe for creating suspense and cuts his chapters off in just the right places, making you say ‘oh my god, what?!” Once you got into the meat of the story, it became a compelling read.

The multiple points of view and jumps backwards and forwards in time worked very well as a way to tell the story of the Buick, and I enjoyed how it really did feel like a group story was unfolding before me. I was as invested as Ned by the end of things.

Overall, I liked this more than I originally anticipated. Not the best King book I’ve read, but certainly not the worst, either.

The Cubit Quest Blog Tour

Friday 3 March 2017

The Cubit Quest
Trevor Leck
Genre(s): Fantasy, Middle Grade Young Adult
Published: March 2nd 2017
Pages: 299
Rating: 3 stars

Twelve-year-old Charlie Watkins could have inherited his dad’s massive intellect. 
He got his massive feet instead. 

Perhaps if Charlie had that intellect he might have been able to figure out why so many men in suits were suddenly following him or where his dad hid the Cubit - a mythical object that men have sworn to protect and even more have died trying to possess - before his so-called accident. 

If starting yet another new school wasn’t bad enough, Charlie meets Mr Leopold, a disfigured, mind-reading lunatic and discovers that he alone must find the Cubit if he is to save his dad. The Brotherhood, however, have other ideas. Led by the ruthless Draganovic, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. With the help of Mr Leopold and fellow new boy Elvis, Charlie sets out on The Cubit Quest. 

Hunting for the Cubit, playing football, lessons with the dreaded Funeral Face and unsuccessfully avoiding school bully Grimshaw by day, Charlie finds his nights no less complicated. Stalked in his dreams, he’s soon immersed in a world of power struggles, battling dragons and duels to the death. With the Brotherhood hot on his heels and as the bullets begin to fly, there are no guarantees that Charlie, or anyone else, will make it to the end in one piece.

TBR Feature #43

Wednesday 1 March 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, 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.

Windhaven by George R.R. Martin

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