April Wrap Up & May TBR

Thursday, 30 April 2015 0 comments

So I thought I would start a little segment on my blog that I know is very popular around the book blogging community and that is to discuss what I read in the previous month and what I intend, or hope to read in the following month. So here goes nothing, this is my April Wrap Up and my TBR for the month of May!

So last month I told you guys that April for me was going to be hectic-ish? I had my trip away to Disneyland Paris which seems like forever ago now, and then I had my birthday. Add that together with work I expected to have and I planned for a very busy month but I was quite pleased with my reading this month - although it didn't seem like a lot at the time I don't think I've done too badly! I also said I was going to attempt something called 'ARC April' in which I would solely dedicate my time to reading all of the ARC's I have to read, but yeah as you can imagine that didn't go to plan. One of the books I read this month just really but me in a reading slump so my motivation to read all of the review books just dwindled. However fear not because I have my reading motivation back! I read a grand total of 7 books in April, the same amount as March! That brings my total book count to 26 books for 2015, meaning I'm just over 50% of the way through done my reading challenge of the year. I think I'm going to smash that if I continue to read as I am currently! So let's see what I read this month and my opinions on them!

1. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories (3/5 stars)
This was a lovely collection of short stories by Tim Burton. I'm a huge fan of all of his movies and I love the usual way his characters are drawn - so when you get short stories with the same gritty and raw artwork that is to be expected from Tim Burton it was just a lovely reading experience. Expect dark, creepy and at times entertaining tales straight out of the brilliant mind of Burton himself. These are exactly what I expected them to be. A good read for fans of Tim Burton but nothing overly exceptional. I loved some stories while I detested others.

2. The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones by Anna Mainwaring (4/5 stars)
Oh I loved this book. It was a quirky and uplifting contemporary that I managed to fly through on a three hour train journey down to London. I literally could not put the book down. Each element of this book was decorated to perfection. The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones was light hearted, quick and thrilling read with humour that will make any reader laugh out loud. Anna Mainwaring tackles a sensitive subject that teenagers of the age will understand and appreciate! Thank you to Anna for sending this my way! You can read my full review of this book here.

3. A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install (4/5 stars)
I thoroughly loved this book, the characters were well developed, the adventurous plot was sound. I want a Tang. My only criticism is that I felt some of the stops on Ben and Tang's journey could have been a bit longer, each destination seemed to feel a bit repetitive. Overall, a fantastic read. I was so glad to receive this book for review from Ben at Penguin Random House and to be part of the blog tour that went with it. If you want to see more of my thoughts click here for my review, and to read the guest post that Deborah wrote for my blog, click here.


4. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (2/5 stars/DNF) 
Ah this book. I had really high hopes for this book as well. Unfortunately this was the book that put me in my reading slump. The beginning of the book was brilliant, the setting was well developed and the plot had me gripped - this was going to be a whole new take on the vampire genre, or so I thought. The plot was slow and didn't really have me that enthralled. The moment they got to the Coldtown I expected the pace to pick up but it didn't, it just kept dwindling around. I guessed some of the plot twists before they arrived and frankly I wasn't excited to continue with this book at all, I actually tried to pick it up several times. I am really disappointed that I couldn't bring myself to finish this book because I loved The Darkest Part of the Forest - hopefully I'll try this again in the future and enjoy it a lot more. You can read my full review of this book here.

5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (4/5 stars)
So this was the second time I've read Eleanor & Park and it was definitely better the second time around. I was reminded of the romance and how realistic it felt to life. However the one thing I didn't like about this book the first time around was the ending. I've discussed this with many friends and I always just came to the conclusion that the ending was predictable and anticlimactic in my opinion. Has my opinion on the ending changed? Slightly. I still hate the fact that in a whole year that she only responded once and that it's the final line of the book, but I enjoyed how open it was left. You can read my full review of this book here.


6. The Catalyst by Helena Coggan (3/5 stars)
For a fifteen year old author I have to say this book blew my mind. The writing was exquisite and way beyond anything I expected. Some of the language and expression was extremely detailed and I really enjoyed it. Plot wise it fell slightly flat, the beginning was just a tad confusing (so much going on at once) but once the plot kicked off it really started to shape an enjoyable dystopian/fantasy novel. It was a unique idea that I thought worked well, I just saw so much potential with it that I would have liked to see. It was all going so well until the end. Mmm that ending for me just wasn't overly sufficient - I would have liked to have seen a lot more to it. I was excited at the concept of spying on the enemy but there were just too many parties in play. I think I would have enjoyed this so much more if it was just one force against the other, but when you have a triad of people it's just difficult to try and understand. A shame really. You can read my full review of this book here.

7. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (4/5 stars)
Okay where to begin with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this novel although some of the set up to the romance slightly annoyed me. I didn't really enjoy Finch's character in the first quarter of the book perhaps because I thought he was being exceedingly over personal. For somebody he didn't know he felt quite happy to pressurise Violet's character to revealing her past when quite clearly it was obvious she was struggling. Looking past that I adored the romance once it kicked off and I really liked the road trip kind of plot in the background - about how they had to visit each place and leave their mark. It was unique and I enjoyed it. I got really invested in these characters and then my heart broke with the ending. I was sat in a staff room at school surrounding by my teaching colleagues when I choked at the end and started to take some very deep breaths. Holy hell no wonder it's compared to John Green - Jennifer Niven you are ruthless. I hope to have a review of this book up very soon so keep an eye out!

So those were all 7 of the books I read in April, but what do I plan on reading in May? Well besides a few birthdays I can't see anything major taking place (besides working) that would take up the majority of my time! This means that hopefully I will manage to get lots of reading done! With a few books coming out in June that I have to get to for review, I also want to try manage my ARC's more effectively. I actually have a blog post all about it, so check that out here. However, this is my ambitious TBR for the month of May...
  • Mind Games by Teri Terry
  • Remix by Non Pratt
  • Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Best Kept Secret by Wendi Nunnery
  • The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Will I stray from my listed TBR? Probably. Do I care? Not really. If I can manage to get what needs to be reviewed done and then still have enough time to actually enjoy my reading then who cares?

Let me know in the comments below what books you read this month and one book you're looking forward to reading next month!

Waiting on Wednesday # 7: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 0 comments

Waiting on Wednesday is an original weekly feature created at Breaking the Spine. The idea is that each week you make a post that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating. You can find out more about this feature here.

This week I am deciding to spotlight:

WINTER BY MARISSA MEYER
When Princess Winter was thirteen, the rumor around the Lunar court was that her glamour would soon be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. In a fit of jealousy, Levana disfigured Winter. Four years later, Winter has sworn off the use of her glamour altogether. Despite her scars, Winter’s natural beauty, her grace, and her gentleness are winning admiration from the Lunar people that no amount of mind-control could achieve.

Winter despises her stepmother, but has never dreamed of standing up to her. That is, until she realizes that she may be the only one with the power to confront the queen. 

Can Cinder, Prince Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Princess Winter, and the palace guard Jacin find their happily ever afters?



After all of the build up of the previous four books in the Lunar Chronicles series I am so desperate for the final instalment! It feels like an age that we've been waiting for this book so I am so glad it's concluding at the end of this year. Saying that, I am in no way happy that this series is coming to an end because frankly I love it so much. It's the perfect adaptations of fairy tales whilst still having a great deal of originality to the plot! If you haven't check out the Lunar Chronicles then you seriously need to!

So what is your Waiting on Wednesday pick this week? 

Let me know in the comments below, or over on any of my social media platforms. I'd love to read what your picks are!

If I were CEO of Micronsystems by Deborah Install

Hello everybody! Today I have a very special post for you because its my stop on the blog tour for 'A Robot in the Garden' by Deborah Install. Deborah has very kindly provided me with a guest post to share with you guys, so without further ado I'll pass you over!

"If I were CEO of Micronsystems…"

Early in the novel Ben finds a lead to where Tang comes from, which he thinks is a Californian company called Micronsystems. So it got me thinking: if I were CEO, into which projects would I be ploughing our resources?

An obvious answer is defence and security systems, for which there is already a precedent in real life. To be able to send AI in to protect humans to minimize loss of life seems like a noble cause when put like that, but it does have the knock-on effect of potentially taking jobs from humans. Also, if we’re involving sentient robots, is that any more fair that sending humans in?

So as CEO perhaps we would look at caring occupations instead. Caring for relatives unable to look after themselves takes a huge emotional and financial toll, so might it be nice to be able to send in a kind, friendly robot to offer some support and respite? I think so.

On a fun note, I think I’d have a gaming division, too. As a gamer myself this is dear to my heart, and I quite like the idea of having a robot gaming buddy to play against. It needn’t be restricted to video games either. What do you do when you fancy a game of chess but you’re the only one you know who likes it? Robot gaming buddy.

I have put in ‘Cyberdrivers’ into ARITG, and I also think this might be a runner for my fictitious AI corporation. Rather than develop driverless cars, perhaps a driver with the capacity to understand the car, the road conditions and the potential for human error around it might be a very helpful addition to modern life.

The novel also has a little incident with a robot washing machine, which I thought at the time I could definitely find a use for and stand by this now. The machine in question is contracted to go from motel to motel offering a washing service to guests, so is a sort of mobile launderette. I definitely think there’s a market for this.

So if you were CEO of Micronsystems what would you create?

What a wonderful post, and such a thought provoking question! It's definitely a tricky one with all of the possibilities to consider! If I were CEO I think I would agree with Deborah and look in the direction of personal care, possibly even taking it a step further and looking into the medical benefits that Artificial Intelligence could provide? Am I the only person thinking that if I was CEO I'd pretty much order for an army of Baymax? I hope not! A Tang would be cute too though! Feel free to answer Deborah's question in the comments below or over on any of our social medias! 

Also, to add my own spin on this blog tour, if you scroll down to the bottom of this post you can watch a video on how to make your very own Tang! (Well, a paper robot.) I had too, it's a teacher's prerogative to provide lots of arts and craft activities! I hope you enjoy making your own Tang's! Upload your pictures to Twitter and tag me and Deborah in them, I'm sure she'd love to see them!


Well thank you very much Deborah for stopping by today and providing that lovely article! Deborah's novel 'A Robot in the Garden' is available online and in stores now, so I highly suggest you run out and grab yourself a copy - it's witty, lighthearted and a great adventurous read! I'll leave a link to my review here, but in case you aren't yet convinced, here is a bit more information about Deborah herself and her wonderful novel 'A Robot in the Garden.' 

Keep up with all of the updates for the blog tour by following Deborah here (@DeborahInstall). Tomorrow's host is The Bookish Universe so look out for her post and hopefully I'll see you guys soon! 



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Deborah Install has been writing fiction since childhood, submitting her first book to a publisher at the age of eight. Though ‘Sammy the Squirrel’ never saw the light of day the love of writing persisted, leading to a number of jobs, including web journalism at university and her most recent role as copywriter at a design and marketing agency. This role morphed into maternity leave, which turned out to be more closely associated with writing than expected. Deborah’s debut novel – A Robot in the Garden – came about whilst caring for her new baby.
Deborah has turned her hand to a peculiar range of hobbies, including martial arts, lead singing in a band, sewing, following rugby and directing and acting in an am-dram company. These days, when not writing or being with family, her time is spent in the pursuit of books, films and games (dice, board and video). She lives in Birmingham with her husband, toddler and affectionate but imperious cat.


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What would you do if you found a robot in your back garden? For 34-year-old Ben Chambers the answer is obvious: find out where it came from and return it home, even if it means losing his wife in the process. Determined to achieve something for once in his life, Ben embarks on a journey that takes him and the robot to the far side of the globe...and back again. 
Along the way he begins to change, subtly at first, and then in ways that only become clear on his return to the house he’s always lived in. Funny, touching, charming, and with things to say about, well, being a man and being sentient, A Robot In The Garden is a gem of a first novel, perfect for Book Clubs; perfect for anyone, male or female, who has ever found it difficult to connect with the world.


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How to make a Tang! (A Paper Robot)


Top Ten Tuesday # 7: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Would Translate Well On Screen

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 0 comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list that you have to answer. You can find out more about this feature here.

This week's feature is: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who: ________________ To fill in the blank I thought I would choose characters who I believe would translate really well on the big screen, be this cinema or tv. I'm going to give you the character name, why I think they would translate well and the book the originate from.....So without further ado, here are my top ten characters I feel would translate well on screen!

1. Theodore Finch from All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - Finch is a complex character because among his dark and complicated history, he's quite an assertive and humourous guy. I mean sometimes I found him a bit overbearing but I truly think that some of his wit and charm could be portrayed really well on screen.

2. Peeves from the Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling - Now this is probably one that most people agree with, but when the Harry Potter movies were released they were missing a vital character that added that little bit more mischief to the story. Peeves! Now I'm not necessarily talking Fred and George mischief, I'm talking full on messing about with everyone and making their lives hell mischief!

3. Cress from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - Cress is a sweet and innocent girl with a very distinguished history. Trapped inside a satellite in space for most of her life, she has that naive charm about her. Except for the fact she's a master hacker. I mean come on, you can't get much cooler than that. I would have loved to have seen how this is portrayed on the big screen, showing her innocence but behind it lies all of the secrets of the world - Cress knows them all!

4. Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I think this one is slightly self explanatory, but who wouldn't want to see Cath on the big screen? She's a fictional representation of half of the population on Tumblr! Wouldn't it be nice to watch a movie or a tv show and actually see yourself on screen and be like 'wow she gets me.' I think it would be a nice change and would be interesting to see some of her witty dialogue and humorous scenes! Emergency Dance Party everyone!  

5. Rhy from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab - Ah I love Rhy's character. He's so cheeky and ever so slightly flirtatious. Well quite bit actually. I think Rhy would be a perfect person to portray on the big screen because I think the actor could have so much fun with him! A charming and yet devious little man who will melt the hearts of fangirls everywhere.

6. Sadie Kane from The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan - Now after the shabby job that the movie industry did with the Percy Jackson books, I would like to see perhaps a movie/tv version of The Kane Chronicles, and more importantly Sadie. Sadie is the kick ass and hilarious sister of Carter Kane and some her dialogue is absolutely priceless. Although I didn't enjoy The Kane Chronicles as much as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Heroes of Olympus series, Sadie definitely got me through them alongside Rick Riordan's enchanting writing.

7. Tang from A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install - Now I can't go on about Tang enough, frankly I've mentioned him a thousand times in my review and on Twitter and I utterly fanboy over him every time. He's such an adorable little robot who is impeccably stubborn! He literally reminds me of a 4 year old child who can't get their own way and I think this would be hilarious to see on the big screen although I think this book would be better represented as a TV show.

8. Noah from I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - I was going to cheat slightly with this one because I think if you're going to include Noah in a translation to screen then you have to include Jude but I think Noah's story is that ever so slightly more touching and would appeal to viewers on the big screen. If they did it right then they could show the complexity behind his character and it would work really well.

9. Tori Spring from Solitaire by Alice Osman - Tori hates everything and is the literal representation of an angsty teenager. Now although when I see them in the street I become a tad judgemental and think 'my goodness please just stop', I think her moodiness reminds me a lot of Daria and that show is hilarious - hence why I think Tori would be such a good adaptation character.

10. Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - Queen Levana is one of my favourite villains because of her sheer complexity. If you've read Fairest then you'll understand how she gets to be where she is, but with such a ruthless and sadistic personality she's extremely unique and I think would be a great person to try and replicate on the big screen!


Thanks for reading my list! Feel free to share your thoughts on these quotes in the comments below, or over on any of my social media platforms. If you feel like doing this then feel free to do your Top Ten Tuesday post and link me it, I'd love to read what you come up with!

Book Review # 36: The Catalyst by Helena Coggan

Monday, 27 April 2015 0 comments
Please note that before you read this review that I am reviewing this publication for Hodder & Stoughton. I received an advanced readers copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. In no way is my opinion influenced by the fact that I received this free of charge. Now on with the review!


Product details:
Title: The Catalyst
Author: Helena Coggan
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Hardback
Length: 448 pages
Published: February 19th 2015
Rating: ☆☆☆
Source: 
Review Copy from Publisher
Purchase: Book Depository / Waterstones
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?

Ooh this was a very mixed feelings kind of book! Before I even go into the review I just need to acknowledge that this author is 15. She was 13 when she finished the first draft of The Catalyst and while in the review I am not going to be comparing her work to her age, I just find this to be overly impressive. At 13 I was probably still riding around on my scooter and skateboard, not writing a 400+ page novel. It's extremely impressive to say the least. So The Catalyst is an interesting mix of dystopian and fantasy genres, something that I have to admit I was curious about. Individually those genres work really well, but together? I hadn't really seen it done before, but the way the story was developed from the original concept seemed to blend nicely, but what did I think of it overall?

In this book we're introduced to a world where after a science experiment gone haywire, angels punished mankind and descended upon them - merging with the souls of man and giving certain people gifts. Eighteen years later after the war (of course there had to be a war) mankind is governed by the department. Society is split up into groups of ability, the Gifted who have magic and the Ashkind who have had magic removed. You also have others such as the Angels, the Hybrids and the Demons. For me it was nice to see the vast array of society but I didn't feel that they were developed enough to warrant all of the focus. It made it quite difficult to follow at times. It was a unique idea that I thought worked well, I just saw so much potential with it and unfortunately it lacked in this quality.

So we follow the main character Rose and her very complicated journey. The plot is difficult because it flits around quite a bit through different perspectives. Rose and her father work for the Department and it's all centred around a murder and who committed it. The plot kicks off from there as Rose finds herself in line with the murderer, joining the department to unveil terrorist plans and all while trying to keep her secret - the fact that she is a hybrid. Hybrids from how they were described kind of reminded me of werewolves -they change every few weeks or if they're threatened. However I feel like I would have liked a bit more background to the hybrids and the same with the demons, because the entire of the way through the story we're told that Rose and her father are keeping this big secret but we never really find out just how bad they are or even why they are dangerous until near the end of the novel, when in fact we needed the information earlier on in the story for it to make complete sense. I don't want to talk about the plot in too much depth because in reality it's quite difficult to try and describe. There is a lot going on in this book, so much so that sometimes I did feel a bit lost. Some of the story arc's that were taking place in the background seemed a bit un-necessary and I found the ending completely insufficient. Don't get me wrong, I was excited at the concept of spying on the enemy but there were just too many parties in play and when it came to the 'final battle scenes' I didn't really have an idea what was happening. It just felt a tad rushed. I think I would have enjoyed this so much more if it was just one force against the other, but when you have a triad of people it's just difficult to try and understand. A shame really.

So plot wise it did fall slightly flat but it was the writing of this novel that really impressed me. The style in which it was written was elegant, exquisite and really well developed. There were a few moments in which I questioned some of the regularity of the writing - especially in a character's tone of voice. A lot of the beginning of the novel consisted of the word 'bastard' but then it seemed to trail off. I didn't overly mind this however because I felt that it's constant use in the beginning was slightly unnecessary and felt at times it was just used as a filler instead of some of the other elegant word choices that Helena Coggan is clearly capable of using as she demonstrates this multiple times as the novel progresses. I think I would have just liked a bit of consistency on this front.

In terms of the characters I felt that the main protagonist Rose was extremely well developed, as I mentioned earlier I would have liked to have seen more on the controlling of the hybrid side of her but this was a mediocre change. She was a well constructed character, having the perfect balance between being sassy, feisty and having that softer more reclined side. David was equally as balanced in his character but unfortunately I couldn't feel much of an emotional connection to him. He was well structured but he fell kind of flat in the depth department. However I think my favourite character had to be Loren, his character was extremely well fleshed out and his backstory actually seemed believable. This is often something I find difficult to praise in fantasy novels because it's usually the element that is missing, but Coggan hit the nail on the head with his character, I felt the correct amount of angst and love for him as the story developed. On the other hand I have to say that some of Rose's friends felt completely unnecessary to me. They just seemed to 'be there' and didn't really add any uniqueness to the plot. I think it would have worked out just as well if perhaps some of those characters weren't there. I'm looking at you Nate!

Overall this was a very complicated novel to try and get in to but once I had succumbed to what it had to offer, that was it. I was trapped. I loved the uniqueness of the world and the idea behind what the angels brought - I would have liked to have seen perhaps a bit more on the development of some of the other groups. I felt we knew the Department and the Regency well but not the Gospel enough for them to play a vital role in the end of the story. I award The Catalyst a 3 out of 5 star rating and I will be intrigued to see what Helena Coggan writes next because I will quite likely be picking that up and delving once again into her enchanting writing.

How I Do Manage Review Copies?

Sunday, 26 April 2015 0 comments
Okay, this is going to be a bit of a different post for me because usually I'm all about the book reviews and the weekly features but I thought I'd step outside of my comfort zone slightly and open up discussions on topics I find interesting. 


My first topic for open discussion is titled 'How I Do Manage Review Copies?' Now I need to admit straight up that I don't have a concrete way of managing review copies, frankly I'm currently behind in my opinion. I have 6 books on NetGalley that have been sitting on my virtual shelf for ages and I have 4 physical copies of books to get through. Now a lot of you are probably sitting there like 'Pfft Daniel that's nothing, wait until you have 30 review copies sitting on your shelf' but for me, 10 review copies is quite a lot, especially when you think that publishers are going out of their way to choose your blog out of many for review.  


I always feel kind of guilty when it comes to review copies because I feel that I have to get to the book before it's release date, but as most of you will know that just not always possible. So here are some tips that I've come up with about how I think review copies should be managed - hopefully I can apply some of these to myself!

1 - THINK BEFORE YOU ACT

Before requesting books for review it might be a good idea to take a minute to think about how many you currently have. If you have 1 or 2 books for review, then feel free to request another - those books won't take too long to read, but if like me you already have 10+ on your shelves, should you be really dedicating yourself to another book when so many others are already waiting for you to read them? Food for thought.

2 - TIMESCALE

This kind of links to the first one in regards to thinking before you request a review copy but have you got the time spare to read these? By accepting books for review you are agreeing to review that book within a timescale (some publishers will make these clear to you, but others won't delegate on a time frame as long as you don't leave it for years and years) so you need to think, can you afford to fit another book in? Will it clash with another? Remember to include your social/work life as well. For a lot of book bloggers this is just a hobby they do on the sidelines, even if you are aiming to work in the publishing industry! 

3 - PACE YOURSELF

This one is kind of self explanatory but when you gather up books for review, you're not always going to be sure if you like them. The books on your shelf you kind of have a good indication that you're going to enjoy them because otherwise, why did you buy them? Just because you have 10+ review books to read it doesn't necessarily mean you should sit down and read them all at once. Pace yourself. Read 1 or 2 a month, maybe even 3 if you can fit it in but don't forget about your own TBR. If your review books aren't exciting you and are putting you in a reading slump then choose a book on your shelf you're actually excited to read. Reading is all about the pleasure, you don't want to turn yourself of reading by getting stressed over review books.

4 - STRESSHEADS

This piece is more advice on what not to become. As I mentioned earlier, I can often find myself feeling quite guilty over the fact that I haven't read and reviewed a book yet and I've had that book siting there for months. Don't stress about it! There is this wonderful thing called life that everyone has, and sometimes it gets in the way of things you have to do. Publishers understand this, and unless they've set a date for when the book needs to be out, then you needn't' fret. Try to get the review out as close to the date as you can. If they have stressed the date you need to have it up by and if life gets in the way then email them - they are people too, and I'm sure they will understand and not bite your head off about it. If you explain your issue and say you'll have the review up as soon as you can then I'm sure that will be fine. There's no point getting yourself stressed over a book. 

5 - STAY POSITIVE

This kind of links to everything I've been saying and is pretty much just relevant to life in general but stay positive. If book reviewing is getting you down or life is getting in the way, then take a break and do something else for a while - something that you enjoy. For example; I've been playing Xbox games solidly for the past 24 hours instead of participating in a readathon, purely because I just wasn't feeling it. 


So there we go! 5 tips for how to manage review copies. I know they're probably extremely obvious and might not be helpful to some, but hey I tried! If you have any top tips for me or anyone else, feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts. I'd love to hear them! 

Falling Behind on Friday #5: Paper Towns by John Green

Friday, 24 April 2015 0 comments

Falling Behind on Friday is an original weekly feature created at Moirae the Fates. The idea is that each week you pick a book that you are ashamed to admit has been on your TBR pile for a longtime and showcase it to your audience. You can find out more about this feature here.

This week I am falling behind on:


PAPER TOWNS BY JOHN GREEN



Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. 


After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance . . . and they are for him. But as he gets deeper into the mystery – culminating in another awesome road trip across America – he becomes less sure of who and what he is looking for and the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...

Masterfully written by John Green, this is a thoughtful, insightful and hilarious coming-of-age story.


Why am I falling behind?
I think that Paper Towns was just one of those books that I picked up after I had read The Fault in Our Stars and then shelved because I wasn't emotionally prepared for another heart-renching roller coaster that does not certainly only go up my friend! So naturally as it got shelved and other books released, dust gathered and then I just lost the urge to read it. However, with the movie coming out in a few months I feel obliged to read it before I go and see the film - well that and I'm having a real craving for summer/road trip books at the minute and I think that this could cure that fix. Perhaps it will be the next book I pick up! Who am I kidding, probably not. Have you seen my review pile?

What books are you falling behind on this Friday?

Let me know in the comments below, or over on any of my social media platforms. I'd love to read which books you guys are falling behind on.

Book Review # 35: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Wednesday, 22 April 2015 0 comments
Product details:
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Hardcover
Length: 336 
pages

Published: 2012
Rating: ☆

Source: Purchased

Two misfits.One extraordinary love.
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises....

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

So this will be my second time reading Eleanor & Park and I did so because I needed something lighthearted and fluffy to get me out of the reading slump caused by The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Clearly that suggests that I love this book. However, when in discussion on Twitter with George (@TheGeorgeLester - go and check him out, he's awesome), I aired my feelings about the ending of this novel and how I loved everything about the plot until the end. I've discussed this with many friends and I always just came to the conclusion that the ending was predictable and anticlimactic in my opinion. However, under George's recommendation of re-reading it, I decided to give it a second shot to see if my opinions had changed. Im delighted to say that George was right, as usual and that my opinion on the ending has changed ever so slightly. I still have a few issues but they're minor, but we'll get into those later. For now I'm going to treat this review as if it's a new read to me. So, what did I think of Eleanor & Park?

Now part of me wants to say that this is your typical teenage love story. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love and they live happily ever after. This is not necessarily the case with Eleanor & Park. We do follow some of the popular tropes associated with a YA contemporary romance but there are special features in this story that really make it stand out from the crowd. Perhaps it's Rainbow Rowell's lyrical writing style, or the way she builds up her characters, but everything just seemed to gel really well together. It's difficult to talk about the plot mainly without just giving you a synopsis because realistically this is a very character driven novel, and while it does take place over a whole school year, you feel that you don't actually spend that much time concentrating on the plot. 

I loved that while the main focus of the story was the development of this pair's adorable relationship, there was also the issues highlighted in the background that they were different, they were outsiders and I loved how Rainbow Rowell not only focused on that individuality aspect, but that she developed it with confidence and ease. What made this book wholly realistic for me was that nobody was completely perfect in this book - each character had their own imperfection and I loved that. 

Now the bit I need to discuss primarily is the ending to this book, because as I mentioned earlier when I first read this back in 2012, I really disliked how Rainbow chose to end it. Was it just my feelings over E&P's heartbreak ending? Perhaps, but I think it was also that although I found it predictable and anticlimactic, I think Eleanor could have handled the situation better. Now don't get me wrong, before you all come at me with pitchforks. I'm not referring to her running away necessarily because she did need to be out of that scenario, but there never seemed to be much concern for her other siblings, or her mother. After all she was leaving them with the jerk of a stepfather - so was it a selfish act and could it have been handled differently? Perhaps. In reflection I see that the impact this could have had was perhaps eased by the fact that Eleanor's family had handled themselves before when she was kicked out of the house all those years ago. 

So as I said before this is a very character driven novel and a lot of the choices that are made are centered around different characters. For example; the ending is the major plot twist at the end that is centred around the actions of one character, Eleanor's step father. Taking a look then at our main protagonists Eleanor and Park. Eleanor's character is very stubborn in her persona. She has fought for where she is and she lives in a situation she cannot change. Within her character is a grounded individual who's past hasn't allowed her to indulge in her pleasures, she's always had others to think about and look after, so when someone offer's her a chance at happiness it's clear to see why she's hesitant. Park on the other hand has the opportunities to live as ordinary a life as he can get, but chooses to be individual. Why follow the traits of the crowd when you can be who you want to be. A lot of this instinct comes from how he was treat during his childhood. Park grew up with a father who forced him to do taekwondo since he was small and constantly ridicules his attempts at driving. Park quite often questions whether his father actually loves him as he doesn't fit in with his sporty brother - something I'm such all siblings can relate with at some point in their life. Your life and family may be perfect but can you seriously admit theres never been one moment in your life where you've felt inadequate or compared to your peers/siblings? 

Parents in this novel are so important, just as they are an integral part of a teenagers life. A lot of your choices growing up would have been either decided for you, or were influenced by your parents. In this novel both Eleanor and Park's parents were developed as their own main characters as they played just as an important role as our two leads did. It was also nice to see that they were written extremely realistically - Eleanor's mother showing how fragile and scared she was around a very controlling and abusive husband. This is something I really admired in this novel - the focus on domestic violence in families. It was brutal and raw but it got the message out. Park's parents were equally as complex, and it was nice to see the engagement with their son as he developed who he wanted to be - it was honest to see that at first there was confusion over his lifestyle choices but then showed acceptance and support. I don't really think you can get more realistic than that in the modern age. 

Overall I think it's very clear to see that this is a novel with extremely powerful messages about domestic abuse, child abuse, racism, bullying and body image and that it tackles them with relevant support. Previously when reviewing Eleanor & Park I only gave this book a 3 stars, but after re-reading it and noticing that especially with the ending, that earlier signs indicate just how important Rainbow Rowell's decision was to conclude the novel in that way. In reflection I think this novel spoke more to me the second time around, so I urge you to reconsider it if like me you were questioning it's motives. Also, I just want to briefly comment on the use of non-sexual intimacy because I wasn't sure exactly where to slot it in, but it's an important comment to make. The relationship was refreshing and showed the intimacy for what it really was, without the need for the sexual connotations that have plagued a lot of YA contemporaries as of late. Anyway, this book was adorable, end of. I give Eleanor & Park a 4 out of 5 stars on my classification scale!

Book Review #34: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Product details:
Publisher: Indigo
Format: Paperback
Length: 419 pages
Published: 2013
Rating: ☆
☆/DNF
Source: Purchased

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

Ah this is a tricky book for me to try and review because as much as I don't want to admit this, I couldn't finish this book. I got to page 221 and I just had to give in, I wasn't enjoying the book, it was getting me down and putting me in a right reading slump. It would literally sit on my bedside table for days and every time I looked at it I found something else to do, just to avoid picking it back up. So why did I feel this way about it? Surely after loving Holly Black's The Darkest Part of the Forest I should have scooped this up with no problems, and everyone seems to love this novel just that little bit more. I just couldn't - there was no enjoyment in me reading it what so ever. So without further ado and without completely slating this book, what did I think of it?

Plot wise I thought this book was quite unstructured - and by this I don't necessarily mean that everything was all over the place, no what I mean is more that I saw each element of the story to branch off by itself without ever really completing it. For example; I thought the beginning of the novel was absolutely brilliant. The setup was clean (metaphorically) and structured and it really gripped me as a reader, I was extremely intrigued at the premise of waking up after a party to find all of your friends are dead, killed by vampires who plague the world. It immediately had me sitting there going 'woah, now that is an introduction!' It really resonated with me that Holly Black was kicking off with such a dramatic and memorable opening, especially as that was a feature I commented about after finishing The Darkest Part of the Forest - that the beginning could have done with a bit more of a wow factor. From then the story seemed to be progressing at a decent enough pace for me to stay focused, and when the siblings Midnight and Winter showed up I thought they added a decent element to the story and I was excited to see what was going to happen when they got to the Coldtown. That's where it started to go seriously downhill. I don't think I even managed to get 50 pages further from when they entered the Coldtown to where I put the book down. The elements became predictable and the backstories of characters I didn't care about started to take over the chapters, and it was definitely not something I was intrigued to read about. It was just a disappointment that the last half or so wasn't as good as the first, especially as it caused me to give up on this book. I even gave this book multiple chances to get back into it, but it just wasn't gripping or exciting enough for me to warrant to continue. The least I was expecting from the ending was some sort of society blending , but I guess with mad blood driven vampires you can't expect a very happy ending. Due to the fact that I never even got to the ending I resolved to looking up the rest of the plot on Wikipedia of all sites and the remaining plot from where I left off did not excite me in the slightest or give me any urge to want to continue.


In terms of characters and my attachments to them, there were non. Literally I did not care about any of the characters. Tana was enjoyable at the beginning and she was alright as a main protagonist, but I just couldn't connect to any of her decisions. All of her decision making processes seemed to be different and very unstructured in reasoning. Aiden I had no sympathy for what so ever. Tana described him as a jack-ass character and that's all I could see him as - no romantic potential what so ever. Gavriel's character was extremely flat, no depth at all besides the endless backstories that frankly I skipped quite often. I don't know what it was about him but I felt that the story could quite easily have been told if he wasn't a part of it.  I would have much preferred it if it was just a road trip to Coldtown with Tana and Aiden, with the few people they meet along the way in the search of a cure or the possibility of living harmoniously. 

So overall it is a real shame that I was disappointed by this book because I had such high hopes of it. Unfortunately this book left me in a real reading slump and it took me Eleanor & Park to try and lift me out of it. Will this book stop me from continuing with any of Holly Black's work? No. I still thoroughly enjoyed The Darkest Part of the Forest and I loved The Iron Trial co written by herself and Cassandra Clare. I guess this will just be a book that I don't ever come back to and just sits on my shelf, or it'll be one I'll try to re-read sometime in the distant future because in reality, it was a different take on the vampire genre. For what I read of it, I give The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black a 2 out of 5 stars on my classification scale, hopefully someone else will find it more enjoyable than I did.

Waiting on Wednesday #6: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E.Schwab


Waiting on Wednesday is an original weekly feature created at Breaking the Spine. The idea is that each week you make a post that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating. You can find out more about this feature here.

This week I am deciding to spotlight:


A GATHERING OF SHADOWS BY V.E.SCHWAB

Publication date: February 23rd 2016

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.


Ahh I just had to choose this book, especially with the title, cover and the blurb being revealed yesterday. You can read the full article and see both the US and UK covers here. The first book in the series left me in a puddle of feels and left me eagerly anticipating more from this world and the characters and Victoria's writing is just so beautiful. I could not put ADSOM down so when AGOS is released in February, you bet I'm going to jump on it and devour it in a single sitting!

So what is your Waiting on Wednesday pick this week?

Let me know in the comments below, or over on any of my social media platforms. I'd love to read what your picks are!

Top Ten Tuesday #6: Top Ten All Time Favorite Authors

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 0 comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list that you have to answer. You can find out more about this feature here.

This week's feature is: Top Ten All Time Favourite Authors! Only ten?! Yes I agree that is completely mean, but even though we have been allowed to categorise this by genre or even do our top twenty, I really want to see if I can try and cut down my list to just the designated ten! So without further ado, here are my top ten all time favourite authors! These will be in no particular order...



1. Rick Riordan

2. J.K.Rowling

3. Victoria Schwab

4. Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket)

5. Carlos Ruiz Zafon

6. Veronica Roth

7. Sarah J Maas

8. John Green
        
9. Marie Lu

10. Marissa Meyer


Thanks for reading my list! Feel free to share your thoughts on these authors in the comments below, or over on any of my social media platforms.

If you feel like doing this then feel free to do your Top Ten Tuesday post and link me it, I'd love to read what you come up with!

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