Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Choosing what books to buy is never easy when you have a never ending list. This is one of the reasons I love the idea of a book subscription service. Regardless of all the other book paraphernalia I love the idea of a book arriving they I may not previously have had on my radar.  Now as with all things reading related book likes and dislikes are so subjective that I am aware I will not always like what other choose.

I subscribed to Fairyloot back in February before my first single purchases box had even arrived. I have now received four boxes and have read 3 out of 4 of the books sent. For me they have ranged from as low as a 3 star and as high as 5 star reads which I think is a good range. The most recent arrival in May was Flame in the Mist. Due to the constant hints the book would be a retelling of Mulan I guessed what it was before it arrived. I don't mind this as it does help stop me buying a book I think could be in the Fairyloot. 


The book intrigued me but I am not sure I would have brought it had it not appeared in the Fairy Loot having reading nothing else by the author and not seeing it from the blurb as particularly fantasy driven.  Well I sure am glad it came in the Fairyloot. I loved it. I think the comparisons to a retelling of Mulan are a bit loose as it has more depth and is less about her wanting to fight and more about her wanting to find herself.  I can understand why they have be made. Equally it has elements of fantasy that took me greatly by surprise. 

Mariko is being delivered by her family into the hands of the emperor as a bride for his son. She is fully aware that her alliance means more power for her father. She is a useful possession of his father because she was born a girl. She and her consort are ambushed on their journey to her would be suitor and Mariko the lone survivor decides to infiltrate the clan responsible in order to disestablish them from within and have her revenge. Disguising herself as boy she endears herself to the Black Clan. No one is as they seem in the book and the fantasy elements become stronger as the story continues. 

I loved the effortlessly way in which Ahdieh writes, it flowed off the page and I was completely enamoured. The characters were all well developed and Mariko was a likeable main character and had a sense of self I appreciated. I could not put the book down and I am thrilled that is not a stand alone book.

The story effortless weaves itself off the page. A must read

Friday, 9 June 2017

Derailed - Reading Slump

So somehow my reading mojo slipped. I know I am not the only one who gets super into a lot of books and then one book derails the whole process and you find yourself struggling to get back into the habit of daily reading. 
I am never really without a book but I managed to pick the wrong one and I had a huge gap in my reading spree and it has meant that the hideous sentence 3 books behind schedule is appearing on my Goodreads. I am pretty sure I have mentioned before that I sometimes find the Goodreads goal a bit of a daunting one but it only really bothers me when I get behind. 

I had to pick myself up out of the slump and went for my tried and tested method. A good crime story found with a handy Kindle Daily deal. I also picked up I See You another crime story and my go to slump defeating author Diane Chamberlain. I finished the daily deal treat (The Girl Friend) really quickly and it was a good reminder of how much I love reading and the time out in gives me. I hate not reading and I genuinely think it puts me in a bit of a funk when I am not reading. I am now reading I See You and it is really clever and has me hooked which is just what I needed.  


Hopefully after that break I can reenter my bookstagramming and blogging ways as well as defeating that condescending Goodreads reminder! 


What are you ways of getting out of a reading slump?



Thursday, 20 April 2017

Little Surprises!

My little girl surprises me on a lot of occasions. She is confident and cheeky and I am loving getting more and more glimpses into the wonderful girl she is becoming. The other day we had the chance to go with friends to a farmers market and in her usual adorable way she managed to surprise me yet again.

We were just browsing the stalls and looking at some rather beautiful book page flowers and a lady noticed her cheeky little face and she said hello. She then asked my little girl a question that I honestly hadn’t expected her to answer. ‘What’s your favourite book?’ I am pretty sure most of us have been asked this on many occasions and ummed and ahed with answers. Despite my daughters preference for being read to or pretending to read to her toys I really hadn’t expected her to answer.

Yet without hesitation, she confidently said, ‘Gruffalo’s Child’. Honestly I think my heart about burst. We have been reading this (at her request) quite a lot and for her to not only remember but to answer in context that this was her current favourite book was such a joy.

I do hope she keeps her love of books!


Monday, 17 April 2017

March Wrap Up

As perusal I was ever so ambitious and as perusal I didn't quite reach the dizzying heights of books read I had aimed to. I managed 6 which I am pretty chuffed with considering I had only read 2 by the 17th March.I stared off strong reading two books in quick succession but a family wedding, an awesome trip to Disneyland Paris and the like slowed me down somewhat.



Heartless by Marissa Meryer

I enjoyed it but wanted it to be darker and more sinister then it was. I found it a bit fluffy and lacking in places it could have excelled. However, it was intriguing and I loved getting to be in Wonderland again.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I was gone. No word of lie I let this book drag me in and I read it in a day. I loved the writing style, the premise and the pace. Wonderfully written with a great storyline. Slight disappointed by the ending but at least I know she's writing a follow up.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E.Schwab

I stared reading this on the way to Disneyland and finished it on the way back (I did have a reading break whilst there) I loved this second instalment but found it didn't have as strong a story line as the first. I still think Schwab is a ridiculously talented author and she really does weave incredible fantasy.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schawb

Need to know kind of read. I daren't read anything after book two other than book three in case I missed something. I much preferred this final instalment to book two and although I was disappointed not to learn more about Kell and Lila's origins I liked the direction the story took. It was clever and pacey especially considering the size of the book.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Chucked this in for a bit of change. I have read a few John Greens and have found it is a bit of a marmite genre and author .Unfortunately Looking For Alaska had the same issues as Paper Towns I couldn't stand the female lead and therefore had zero empathy. Furthermore I felt a bit of this story was implausible and made for a bit of trippy read.

Perfect by Cecilia Ahern

Wow! I got an ARC of this and was chuffed as I loved the first instalment of the duology. I like the way Ahern seamlessly goes into YA fiction. I wrote a full review of this book earlier this month.

I was so close to 7 books this month but unfortunately Empress of a Thousand Skies snuck into April's reads. I haven't piled up April's planned reads to see if maybe I read better without the TBR threat!



Saturday, 15 April 2017

Fairy Loot Unboxing - February 2017

I think it is fair to say that I was so utterly over the moon excited to finally get a fairy loot box in February that I forgot to do a detailed unboxing of it on the blog and fell into my old habits of posting continual review posts…old habits die hard on all that.
So rather than ignore my first box (considering I already have my second and towards the end of April my first I am just going to accept that my posting is out of sink).
I took the plunge and got the box having deeply regretted not getting the January box (Caraval themed – weeps into book). The box arrived in really quick time literally the day after my shipping notification it materialised. I have said before but I chose FairyLoot as my book crate for two main reasons. 1) its young adult fantasy which is right up my street and 2) it shipping is a lovely figure of just over £3 instead of attempting to ship another from the US for crazy money. I am so glad I took the decision to get it. I have loved the excitement of wondering what the book might be, getting the bookish items and taking many nerdy shots of the constant for my Instagram account.

I loved the items that came in the box and now I have finished almost finished the library transformation I am loving displaying them. Now I had already seen and binged watch a load of youtube unboxings so I knew not to look at the back of the artwork card as I really didn’t want any spoilers. I really love the artwork in each box and will hopefully be finding a way of displaying these in the new library.





Kalusian Sunset Candle by Happy Piranha

The first item I pulled out was the deliciously smelling Kalusian Sunset candle. Now until I read the information I wasn’t quite sure what book reference this was but of course I now know it is from Empress of a Thousand Skies. I am a reluctant candle lighter but I am sure I will cave and light this one soon.

Celestial Gun Poweder Bath Bomb by Bathing Beauties.

This bath bomb smelt practically edible. I am a sucker for any bath bombs so this has already disappeared and was really lovely. This item was created exclusively for FairyLoot.

Baby Groot Funko Pop Keyring

The following item literally was one of my husband’s favourites and I had to do my utmost to stop him pinching it. I love this item as I am a big fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy and who doesn’t love baby Groot. This item definitely helped me feel the cost of the box was really reasonable.

I’ve not read Jay Kristoff’s Illumnaie series but this coaster is beautifully designed and I love the quote. Makes me intrigued to read this series. T. This has found a home on our living room sideboard – much needed as I am constantly leaving my cups of tea scattered over the house.

Space Girl Book Mark by Till and Dill

A really funky space girl bookmark that was a really beautiful design. I think it is safe to say no bookworm can have enough bookmarks.


Throne of Glass Print by Taratjah

It was with glee I found the print of Manon and Dorian. I was thrilled with this item as Manon is one of my favourite characters in the Throne of Glass series and it was nice to have recognised her straight away. I did see the Dorian side first and I was not sure who it was until I flipped the book over. I have framed this in a glass frame so I can keep changing over who I want to display. 


Rebel of the Sands Canvas Pouch by Alisse Courter

The next item was another one of my favourites in the form of this lovely canvas pouch with a great quote from The Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. I loved this book which definitely helps you to love the item. I haven’t quite decided if I am going to use it or display it on the new library shelves – tough choices!

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

The book for February I finished at the start of the month. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza. I had this on my list to read in March but did not quite finish in time. I really enjoyed trying to read something that I would never have picked up in the first place. I did find the story a little disjointed but overall it was a good read. One thing I can not rave enough about is the way FairyLoot package their books. I love the bag and it has become a useful little way of travelling my books to work etc without the risk of them getting damaged. I am pleased I will rack up a fair few of these with my next few boxes. 

There were the usual Fairyloot newsletter, the Q+A with the author and the letter and also a sample of a book called The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily BarrI am yet to use the exclusive discount code for the MyBookmark company but I actually will do as the designs are gorgeous and look amazing.






Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Library Transformation - 'That’s so much better than I expected!'

I have posted a few hints and mentions about my library transformation. It has taken me fair longer to finish then I care to admit and I am almost there. One bookcase to go and a bit of extra staging and it should be complete. I apologise for the lack of photos in the post, I thought about the blog after starting!

Now when we were finally fortunate enough to buy our house the big compromise for me was that we had a new build. This meant saying goodbye to my Jane Austen influenced fantasies of bricks and beams and old converted warehouses (much to my husbands relief). This has meant our house can be summed up in one word… Magnolia. Now do not get me wrong we are so blessed with this house and in hindsight a new build has been ideal for our little girl and I am completely in love with my house but I did want to start adding our personality to it this year.

Now I have dabbled in a bit of DIY on occasion with reasonable results. I went a bit chalk paint mad when we had our little girl and sourced and painted all the living room furniture within her first few months (naps were handy). I haven’t managed to get on with actually transforming any of the rooms and now she is a lot bigger I feel I am running out excuses as to why. My husband is not keen on change and so I gradually chipped away at this by suggesting how the library being redecorating and reorganised would benefit him – namely the ability to display various collections he has. A picture of Lego figures displayed on the walls finally converted him from a no to a yes - thanks Pinterest. 

The first step was the paint. I tried out a few testers and the minute my husband chose the grey he liked the most (they all look the same was said a few times) I went for it and began to paint. I will admit my approach to decorating is not the tidiest and apart from moving the books out of the room I left the furniture in place and worked around it all. I still have a few areas to touch up but on the whole the grey was a drastic improvement on the magnolia and a bonus was that my husband became a bit more trusting that I could achieve the project I had outlined. My mum and brother were less trusting and were constantly suggesting I wait for them to begin stage two – the wallpapering.



They almost convinced me but with the threat of having to wait even longer to finish the room –stuff was literally everywhere upstairs. I put caution to the wind and brought the wallpaper and with no plum line, no experience and no idea I wallpapered a feature wall in Brick effect paper (B&Q bargain). To my families great surprise as well as my own I did not wallpaper myself or my hair into the wall and to my own joy it was straight. There were a few fiddly bits but I managed to wallpaper the majority of the wall during my daughter's nap time (told you they were handy) and I am super grateful to youtubers out there who have made videos for people just like me to follow.


I wouldn’t let Kev see it until it was completed but his exact words were,‘that’s so much better than I expected’


The next stage was to transform the bookcases, a story of chalk paint, wax, splinters and a few trips on ebay...

Friday, 24 March 2017

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

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Life is not meant to be flawless

As I really enjoyed Flawed by Cecelia Ahern I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to read the sequel before its publication. I tried my luck requesting it on NetGalley and was thrilled when they said yes. For those of you who aren’t aware Cecelia Ahern has decided to venture out of her adult fiction world and try her writing skills at Young Adult dystopian. The first in this attempt was Flawed which was a fast paced and enjoyable read and I was hoping that Perfect would live up to my expectations.

As I enjoy Ahern’s writing style and I knew I would enjoy Perfect. It has the same pacey style to the writing that makes this a one sitting kind of read. Celestine North has been branded flawed, not only this but she has received the most brands in all history. All she did was use her compassion and logic to help an old Flawed man on a bus. Yet in Celestine’s corrupted society, this is illegal and this one act has transformed her life. Now on the run from the revenge possessed, Judge Creven Celestine must figure out who she is and what defines her, the brands or her choices. 
I really like Celestine, in the first book her logical way of looking at things was surprisingly helpful. She was as I put in my first review always slightly too trusting and I was pleased she seemed to be working on this in this concluding book. Due to the first person narrative, it moved along at a fast reading pace and you do just want to keep turning the pages. Unfortunately using the first person narrative when your heroine is on the run makes some of the other characters lose their identify, I would have loved a bit more character development especially on Celestine’s family and Carrick with his. The other downside of the first person narrative is that it feels like Celestine has all the light bulb moments. Yes, we know she is logical but sometimes it borders on psychic with the way she figures things out. 

Despite these issues, I was hooked. I love the way Ahern writes and she has managed to move seamlessly into a young adult style of writing. Many scenes are just as brutal as the first book. Reliving the branding scene from Flawed was just as difficult and rage inducing to go through again. Like before I stayed up way to late and I devoured the book desperately; the tension although sometimes a bit stuttering stayed high enough that I needed to know where she was taking the story. Ahern had me second-guessing myself most of the first half and my heart was in my mouth on several occasions. Naturally a strong moral runs through the story about loving people despite their flaws, learning from your mistakes and importantly loving yourself regardless of how the world defines you. Ahern really knows how to make me sob with shock and sadness as of yet I haven’t made it through one of her books without crying. 

For those who love The Declaration and Matched. 

Released on 7th April 2017! 


Friday, 3 March 2017

February Wrap Up

I always seem to set myself quite ambitious TBR lists. I think I generally do this so that I have plenty of options to choose from of what to read. I went for 7 books in February and managed 6 of my aimed for list. I was waylaid at the end by my head not being in the right place to read a Brandon Sanderson epic.

What I read and what I thought:

Replica by Lauren Oliver


I wish I could have got on better with the books arrangement. From advice on Instagram I read the two sides in tandem and I am so glad I did as I think I would have struggled to read one after the other as some parts spoil others. Personally start with chapter one of Gemma and then chapter one of Lyra and the story flows better.

As I Descended by Robin Talley


Now I'd be telling a massive lie if I said I picked up straight away that this was a retelling of Macbeth. It was not until chatting to my husband about the story once I had finished that I twigged. Truthfully I am not one for ghosts and occult stories so although a thoroughly engaging read it just made me a bit scared! (wuss I know)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


I put a larger review this one on the blog. I loved the premise behind the story and I really enjoyed it and think I will get a hold of the next two.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff


This got off to such a slow start for me and although Mia was engaging and clever I wanted more about her powers then we got. The first half was a tough read for me and it only really hooked me half way through. I would read the second as Kristoff definitely peaked my interest. The footnotes were a real distraction for me.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab


Now if you have read my full review you know I will wax lyrical about this story. Schwab just had me in the palm of her hands. I loved it and have already got the next two on my list to read next.

And I Darken by Kiersten White


Hmph. I didn't get it. I am a huge fan of Dracula and the sordid and gruesome character of Vlad the Impaler that inspired his fictional creation. Unfortunately Lada didn't feel the same. I wasn't convinced of her portrayal as Vlad it was not as macabre as I was expecting or as fantastical. I can confidently say I would be unlikely to read the next one as I just don't care for the characters at all.

I started to read The Way of the Kings for like the a millionth time. I just found that I wasn't in the frame of mind for Sanderson's sudden way of throwing you in at the deep in end with the world he has created. I know I will finish it eventually and no doubt be in awe of the whole world by the end but it did not manage to feature in my finished books of February!

I've been even more ambitious for March. This might be a tad foolish as we go away to Disneyland so might not have as much time as I expect to read. But all of them look to tantalizing to not feature on the list! If I actually manage to read 8 books in one month I'll be thrilled.



Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab


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Hype is not always a good thing. Sometimes it means you completely build up a book and it crushes you with not being what you thought it would be.

A Darker Shade of Magic was a book I had heard a great deal about. I have read a few of Victoria Schwab’s young adult books but was yet to venture into her adult fiction. Having got the first two in the series for Christmas I was excited and a tad nervous to read them. I so wanted to love them. I personally would say they could have been marketed as YA without to much of a problem just based on the first book.
Having just finished the first in the series, I can say confidently that I adored the first one. A Darker Shade of Magic engulfed me and I was completely enraptured. I had to keep slowing myself down as I did not want the story to end by devouring it one go. I was not worried about the writing, as both The Archived and This Savage Song have proved to me that Schwab is an exceptionally talented writer. I was just nervous that I was not going to get as gripped by this story as I had been led to believe.

Yet Kell and Lila had me hooked. They had me at the turning of a coat. The story is a wild ride of adventure, unique magic and four interconnected but distinctly different London’s. We journey with Kell as he toes a line between good dutiful prince and traitor to the throne. Unfortunately, his hobby catches up with him and his smuggling ways lead to an unravelling of the thin threads that keep these four London’s at bay. Both Kell and Lila are written in ways that made them fiery and interesting. They avoided that line where confidence boarders on selfish arrogance and both came across as decent and good (despite their criminal behaviours) at their core.  For me it quickened the pace of the story, as I liked both of them and wanted to see their fates. The unique brand of magic created in this series is evocative. It has a life of its own in a way that is dark and unnerving and one that I can imagine will be expanded on in the next instalments.

I am looking forward to more development of the other characters as we really only got to know Kell and Lila. I am desperate to know more of Kell’s mysterious history and see how the royal family are involved in this. Needless to say I am a fan and would recommend this to any fantasy enthusiast. A page-turner in the truest sense. My only criticism is that considering this is a trilogy I was surprised with how tied up everything seems at the end. I feel like I am being lulled into a false sense of security and that makes me all the more nervous to see what Schwab does in the next book.




Friday, 17 February 2017

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)

Never Flinch, Never Fear, Never Forget.

Before I left my last job I took some books with me. Now before anyone asks I have every intention of returning them and the reasons I took them are very honorable I promise. I had purchased a few different titles for the students before I left. I always aim to read a good selection of any of the books I order to check what section of the library they'd go in and to help with recommending them. I set myself a ridiculously ambitious pile to read through and I didn't quite manage to finish them before my last day. However, I did not want them to just go straight on the library shelves without being read especially as they did not hire someone new to replace me. One of these such books was Nevernight by Jay Kristoff.  Obviously with my love of fantasy I was bound to want to read this one anyway so it was a treat to be able to have the copy.  I am so glad I didn't just let this go out on the shelves as personally it is certainly not a young adult read.

With this all said now onto the review. The story is set in a place where the sun rarely sets and it is nevernight most of the time. This is where Mia, hellbent on revenge ives, but unlike most of the citizens she lives in the shadows, in fact she is one and the same. She has command over them, can cloak herself in them and is followed where ever she goes by the not-cat Mister Kindly.  Having witnessed her father's death and her mother and brothers incarceration Mia is to determined to punish those who took them from her. The only way is to go to the Red Church and learn to be a true killer.   

For me the fact it is rarely night actually plays little role in the story. I was more intrigued by Mia's abilities. Unfortunately I found the first half of the book painstakingly slow. I wanted more from the shadows that surrounded Mia. I got my wish in the second half that is for sure. I felt the pace increased and the book demanded to be read. If the high octane aspects of the second half could have appeared more in the first I don't think I would have been as glacial in my reading. Another thing that clearly caused me to slow was the footnotes. Now I must admit I am not one for lengthy lessons of worlds, rules and histories in a fantasy story. I like it when the writer can bring you into the world believably without having to give you a history lesson. However for me if you don't think it is relevant enough to put in the actual content then the footnote seems unnecessary in a fiction story. Personally even if some of them were funny on the whole I found the a hindrance not a help.  

I can see why this story has been so popular. Mia and her quest are engaging and enigmatic and the power she posses is bone-chillingly lethal. Getting to see that power more in the second half is truly nail biting stuff. I didn't feel a great connection to other characters but on many occasions I was caught out by completely unexpected twists the story took. I think I am still a bit confused by the final chapter and that has left me wondering what will happen in the next installments 


Weird and wonderful - I imagine fans of Neil Gaiman will love

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Miss Peregfrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)

My dad is just as much as an avid reader as myself, infact I defintely get my reading habits from him. Like me a good fantasy is generally his genre of choice so when he recommended Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children I knew it would be one I should read. The idea that Ransom Riggs used real photographs to fuel his creative writing drive really fascinated me as an aspiring author. I enjoyed seeing the photos dotted throughout the story. On the plus being a brilliant Dad who knows his daughters gift loving ways he gave me his copy as well. So armed with a copy I added the book to my February TBR. Now I have previously stated that I generally use my mood to determine if I should read a book well I went for a pretty lazy way to choose the order I would read them in – I’ve gone by size (My librarian shame is strong at admitting this).

Miss Peregrine’s was the smaller of some of the hefty tombs on my TBR (Stormlight Archive for one). So it won the role of my third read of the month and I will admit I am pleased it did.The story is a unique mystery set in two time periods and shrouded in intrigue. A devastating event takes Jacob on a journey to discover more about his beloved but unusual grandfather's life. Journeying to the far reaches of Wales to seek out Miss Peregrine and the home his grandfather escaped to during the second world war.  What Jacob finds opens his eyes to the truth in his grandfathers peculiar stories. 

I loved reading this book, it was written from Jacob's point of view and I found the first person narrative really well paced and I liked Jacob the more for his clever dialogue and musings about situations. I was not surprised this book had appealed to my dad too. The creation of the 'peculiars' was effortless and believable. I was thrilled when I found out there were more books in the series, even more so when I discovered my dad owned them - winning!

A clever plot with lovely imagery


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Collector of Books - Fairy Loot

I am a serial collector. Not just books, stuff of all kinds. Some would describe it better as hoarding but personally I can see the method to my madness (says the girl with over 100 packs of playing cards).  

I have recently brought a one off Fairy Loot box that should arrive at the end of February. I am ridiculously excited for it. I decided that I would 'treat' myself as the theme sounds amazing and plus it's my birthday in February AND I just got my first proper pay slip from my new job. Needless to say I had to have it. The trouble is I can see it already spiralling. Fairy Loot have just announced their March box. If you haven't yet seen you can find the announcement here

Myths & Monsters! Literally it sounds perfect for me and plus it becomes available to order right on my birthday (surely that is sign). I have not even received my first box and already I am planning the second! I knew this would appeal to my bookworm/magpie tendencies.

I have really wanted to get a book subscription for some time. I have seen amazing unboxings of a variety such as OwlCrate, LitJoyCrate, Once Upon a Book Club etc. Yet the thing that appeals to me most about Fairy Loot is not only is it a YA Fantasy box but it is also based in the UK! As some of you know the shipping to get a book box over from America is literally the same as the cost of the box itself and I can not justify it (no matter how hard I try). 

Thankfully through the wonderful bookstagramming community I have discovered Fairy Loot and am excited to unbox it later in the month when it arrives. I must confess I have signed up to the waiting list to know as soon as the March box becomes available. Personally I think this could be the start of another beautiful collection (I doubt my bank balance or husband will agree but such is the life of a bookworm).

Have you had a book subscription you loved?


Saturday, 4 February 2017

This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab

Image result for this savage song

There's no such thing as safe

Wow!

It was a while ago that I read this book but even now I still can not believe how good it was. I had been in quite the reading slump of 3 star books and it was getting a tad disheartening reviewing them. It was not that they were bad books they just weren't books for me. I am all for people trying to read books that are out of their comfort zones and I was trying to this a lot more and it was not always paying off.

This Savage Song could not be more up my street if it was written just for me. Fantasy in all the right places and one of the cleverest premises I have read for while. I loved the characters of Kate and August - not to mention the fact the book successfully avoided the YA craze of insta-love (huge bonus points here).

In Verity monsters are real. Not only are they real but it is human acts of evil that create them. Three different types of monster exist and it depends where you live to how safe you are and how safe you feel. Kate lives on the side ruled by her father and August on the side governed by his. There worlds collide and they must work through their differences to work together to fix the corruption.

All the emotions. Honestly I think I could wax lyrical about this book for days - the writing is sensational. I have wanted to read a book by Victoria Schwab for a while and for some reason just had not gotten around to it. Now I feel I will devour everything she has written. Her style of writing for me was effortless. Easy to read and to follow which I think is incredibly important in fantasy fiction. I found both characters really beguiling and although Kate had that annoying feisty devil may care female lead role I found August made up for that in being an interesting male lead.  A classic 'just one more chapter' book and a great read for someone who likes a good suspense thriller - cliffhangers all around please!

I have no idea what to expect from the sequel and I am both nervous and looking forward to it.

Go on just one more chapter




Friday, 27 January 2017

Readers Block!

As a bookworm through and through I sometimes find narrowing down what to read next a mind field of indecision. I am the worst for choosing a book and then questioning if it was the correct one. Coupled with this I am notorious for starting a book and changing my mind almost within the first few pages.

I guess I am a mood reader – I have to be in the right frame of mind for the right story. Trouble is that a books genre can be so misleading and they do not really indicate what sort of journey the story will take you on.

Another thing I am guilty of is I am also a bit of a competitive reader – only with myself but still it is a bit ridiculous. Who knows if the goodreads reading challenge is half my issue? Since having had a baby I have never managed to reach the dizzying heights of the 75 I read in 2013 and I have slowly been working my way back up in numbers. This causes me the age-old issue of stalling. If a book I start is a bit of a struggle, do I give up and get cracking with the next or power through and accept I will not read as many books that month. I have gone for 60 as my goal this year an I am on track but I do not want to fall behind and in truth I know I want to beat this target. 

I am in this situation with my current choice – The Archived by Victoria Schwab. Now do not get me wrong I am intrigued but I am not gripped and I am not finding myself reading it regularly enough and I have most definitely stalled. I know I should keep going but I just want that book nerd high of being totally absorbed by a book that I stay up far too late reading into the night. One of my reading goals for the year was to not give up so easily so I will be powering through this time but I do wish choosing a book was much easier!


How do you choose what to read next from your TBR list?


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that should be films

As with many things in my life I am not always the most consistent. I am sure I have made hundreds of aims to pay more attention to this blog. I think in truth over the fast few months if not years is I have struggled to decide what this blog was going to focus on. It stared as a place for me to write about my life with a strong slant towards the bookish. However, over the majority of the last few posts the dominant feature has been book reviews. This has become surprisingly monotonous for me as well as for any readers - I imagine. Although I love reading and reviewing  I was struggling to post as it was getting a tad dull for me. Not to mention I've found it particularly hard when I had not enjoyed one book after another and my posts then looked like one long commentary on books I do not really rate.

So with this in mind I am returning to the fray with one of my favourite book memes run by The Broke and the Bookish. I am talking about Top Ten Tuesday (of course). This weeks theme is a freebie which seems nice and apt. So it is up to me to come up with a list of a top ten that I want to feature. So with that in mind moving on to my theme for this week:

Top 10 books I want to be made into films. I know I know scandalous. Yes a lot of film adaptations of books are just awful (A series of Unfortunate Events springs to mind as does Eragon). However, I have read some truly amazing books that I think would look spectacular adapted onto screen. So without further ado here it is:

Top 10 Books I’d Love to See on Screen:


 Daughters of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

For those of you who have read this stomping good fantasy epic you know what I mean to say to see this visually on screen would be jaw-dropping. Cinematically it would need a whopping budget to really include the diverse and visual characters in all their glory.  I think that a lead actress would need to be someone a little quirky to play Karou. According to IMDB the screenrights have been owned by Universal since 2012 so I wonder if we will see this soon. If you haven't already read this amazing series - do it now!

Mistborn Saga by Brandon Sanderson

Again if you have delved into any of the world created by Sanderson in the Mistborn series yon can understand why this would look so good on screen. To actually get to see the world of allomancy and feruchemy being used in the mistborn saga would be phenomenal.  The pushing and pulling not to mention the dramatics of coinshots would be so much fun to watch. Add in the amazing story that has your heart hammering away it make some amazing films! As we know from the lovely Brandon Sanderson the rights for this movie were acquired but they lapsed in 2014 so they are up for grabs (come on movie developers).

       The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Evidently, this list should have been titled great fantasy stories I want to see as films. Now I know Patrick Rothfuss has not yet finished this amazing epic but it would already make a sensational set of films. There are barely any words to describe how brilliant the two books in this series (& novella) are.  Even if Patrick is taking his time with the final instalment it is so going to be worth it as he writes show stopping books. The soundtrack could be awesome for this film and with quick sleight of hand it would be one you had to follow but it would be visually incredibly. Now the movies rights have been purchased by Lionsgate along with other rights so that is exciting. Now just to sit tight for the third book.

      The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

In an effort not to be totally biased I am going to mention a book that is not fantasy.  The House at Riverton is just a wonderful book. It keeps you guessing as with many Kate Morton books. It is comforting, thought provoking and would make a very Gosford Park feel type of film (a favourite of mine). I can not find any info to suggest this is in motion to be made into a film but it would be fabulous.

 

Age of Five by Trudy Canavan

Clearly I am addicted to fantasy sagas but this spellbinding series is one not to be missed. The     characters are so cleverly written with amazing scenery that I could make a spectacular set of films. I have a soft spot for most of the books by Canavan but Auraya is by far one of the best female leads that Canavan has written and I would love to watch her character portrayed on screen. 

 

 The Doomspell by Cliff McNish 

     I could not ignore this childhood memory of a book. I love this series so much. It is so wonderfully written and I can happily read it again and again. I have often wondered if this was going to be created into a good children's movie as it has in my opinion that makings of a brilliant blockbuster. The sister and brother leads of Rachel and Eric would steal the show and Dragwena the many jawed witch would be hideous to see. As a film it would be incredibly colourful and would probably need a far about of CGI (as with most fantasy films). I can not find any information that suggest someone has seen the awesome potential of this set of books. 


 The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain (another non fantasy)

     Diane Chamberlain writes some of the most emotionally wrecking books I have ever read. They gripped you from page one and stay with you long after you have finished them. The Midwife's Confession was the first of her brilliant novels I read. The suspense is palatable as you read and get to to know more of the characters. Noelle is the midwife in question and she harbours a secret so dark that it will tear her life apart as well as the lives of those around her. To be quite frank I think every book she’s written would adapt on screen brilliantly. 

       The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I can’t even begin to explain how good this would be as a movie. It would have to be filmed as eerie and hauntingly as Frances wrote it but it would be cinematically incredible. The Tree alone would be a work of art. Now I haven’t yet picked up the Chris Riddell illustrated version of this and I think if I did I would change my mind. Once I see a story with Riddell illustrations I can not imagine the characters any other way hence why non of the Deepwoods appear in this list – I would hate to see Twig look any other way than Chris drew him. 

      Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (for anyone counting that makes 3)

      Sephy and Callum would be fantastic to watch develop on screen. This would be a proper tear-jerker full of the heart-wrenching moments as well as action backed. This series is so excellent written (what else would you expect from Malorie). Still incredibly relevant to day the racial tensions and volatile terrorist situation would make this a high octane film. Apparently this is going to be a BBC drama so this should be amazing.J

Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith


    Apparently this is another series that is going to be a BBC Drama. I am beyond excited by this as it would probably make a better TV series as it would be easier to build up the tension and mood of the story. I have seen a picture of Tom Burke tipped to star as Cormoran and I think he looks exceptionally well cast. If you haven't read this series do not be put off by the fact they are by truthfully by J.K.Rowling. I adore Harry Potter and was worried these books would be strange to read but had I not know they were by her I would never have guessed. They are brilliant works of fiction and demonstrate just how talented Rowling is at weaving a dramatic and thrilling tale. 


*A little note I chose not to include books that were already films but needed remaking such as Eragon.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Image result for six of crows and crooked kingdom


When you can't beat the odds, change the game


So I am a tad late to the game reading this Leigh Bardugo offering. I was unsure whether to read it as I have yet to finish the Grisha trilogy and thought I might be lost returning to the world again. If anything reading these two has prompted me to read the rest of the original trilogy, in fact I will probably start them again. This was definitely a case of better late than never, I thoroughly enjoyed both installments of this well written, evocative and moving fantasy saga.Initially using a free audio books credit I attempted to listen to Six of Crows. Unfortunately, I disliked the way the story was read, each chapter was a different narrator and although this is the case in the written version it meant that for example when Kaz was voiced he sounded different in each chapter and I was struggling to connect.

Then my very wonderful mum purchased both of the series for me as a celebratory gift for getting my new job. A fitting farewell to the world of school libraries, not that this will be my last Young Adult read that would be absurd.

Six of Crows is sensationally written, as many of you who have read my previous reviews will know I struggle with books that flit from perspective to perspective. I find it frustrating as I often do not feel connected to the characters as much and find myself desperate for a particular characters arc to continue. However, Bardugo did a wonderful job of interlinking the chapters to a point where not only did I feel I was understanding and bonding with the characters but I was also not just waiting for a certain characters chapter. Having said that Inej was by far my favourite. Each chapter weaves eloquently into the other so the story does not lose momentum and although there are numerous twists and turns, like the Ketterdam streets, the way Bardugo writes brings you along for the ride.

In Six of Crows we meet Kaz Brekker and his unlikely team of misfits from the Dregs. They are given an impossible job that if they manage to pull off it will change all their lives. It is a thrilling story that just so happens to be set in a world of power, magic and Grisha. It has all the aspects you want from a good fast paced story. I found the story gritty with an edge to it you do not often find in YA fiction. It was much more adult than what I remember from the Shadow and Bone series. The characters all seemed a lot older then they actually were probably because they had been through such hardships whilst in Ketterdam.

The first book had me on the edge of my seat, reading at a feverish pace. The sequel did little to disappoint. Crooked Kingdom was again written in a way that had me gripped. Although it flit from character to character in each chapter they were again well connected. I felt that Bardugo tried to get a little too much into this book. Some of the rather large plot lines left from Six of Crows were tied up much faster than I had expected. The story itself felt like it was made up of a lot of different plots. It had so many facets that I was struggling to keep up with what was happening next. This was most pronounced in the second half of the story. However despite this I still found the story thrilling and un-put-downable. Bardugo wrote some truly moving scenes so coupled with all that heart-stopping tension I still manage to shed a few tears. I would love to know if Bardugo is going to use these characters again as I’d love to read more of their adventures.


Enthralling and thrilling

Friday, 6 January 2017

The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone





This debut novel was recommended to me by several fellow fantasy readers and I thought it would be right up my street. After reading a few stories outside of the fantasy world I wanted to sink back in to the comfort of fantasy worlds.

The way I read this book really affected my opinion. I am not normally one to read more than one book at a time. In fact I hate doing this. I find it distracting and I don't get the most from each book. However, I am listening to an audio book in my car and thought that I would manage to do both - I was wrong. I am hooked on the audio book and each time I picked up The Dream Snatcher I found myself not connecting with the story.

Imagined well and with spunky and witty characters it has all the elements of a great debut. Although I did not read this as fast as I would have expected each time I delved into the world (tearing myself away from sitting in the car listening to one more chapter) I enjoyed what I read and found for a debut novel that it is expertly written.

Moll is an enigmatic lead female, she's full of wit and great one liners. Moll is thrust into an unexpected fight with the Shadow-masks where she will discover more about her family, her heritage and the recurring nightmare she's been having for years. Along the way she learns to trust people she never thought possible and learns of a quest that only she can complete.

I think I will attempt to read the sequel so as to give Abi Elphinstone a fair chance. I will wait until I finally finish my audio book though I think! For me this is a younger readers book. Although dark in places the vocabulary and writing style works for a younger audience.


I want to give it more and it might be one I need to revisit.