Top Ten Tuesday # 13: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Tuesday, 30 June 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 I've Read So Far In 2015. So far I've read a grand total of 39 books so far in 2015 and I have to admit I've read some pretty great ones. I've also read some ones that I really had high expectations for and unfortunately they crumbled and I really didn't enjoy them. However, focusing on the positives, in no particular order here are the top ten books that I have read in 2015 so far!


1. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
The Darkest Part of the Forest is a fantastic stand alone from an amazing author. Holly Black presents the reader with a concise mystic fairytale like story with superb atmosphere build up. Definitely one for a recommendation. II think the only few things that would have pushed this novel to be absolutely perfect would be that the beginning could have had a little more plot development - I mean don't get me wrong I loved Black's fantastic atmospheric build up but at times the novel just seemed to drag a little bit. I would have also liked a bit more depth to the elven prince's character, he seemed to have so much potential but at times just seemed a bit banal and obscure. I think I would have liked a bit more depth to the monster as well. Yes we got a back story but I think we could have had a little bit more in terms of solving her mystery. Other than that this was a brilliant read for anyone who is looking for that little something different.



2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Well first and foremost I would say that it was definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2015, so naturally I admit I did have quite high expectations of this book. When Victoria announced the initial book's conception and publication she gave away very few details, but what we were promised was: pirates, thieves, parallel London's and a whole lot of magic. Now tell me that premise alone doesn't grasp your attention? So does V.E.Schwab deliver with her promises? You bet she does! That and oh so much more! overall I absolutely adored A Darker Shade of Magic, it's definitely left me wanting more which means until then I will be stalking Victoria's twitter feed and spamming her with never-ending tweets about the sequel, yet untitled. But for now, ADSOM was a thrilling, adventurous read for those who do indeed dream of stranger worlds...



3. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Does it really live up to all of the hype? Well hype wise I would say definitely, it's a fantastic read and clearly one of my new favourites of the year. I have to say that I utterly adored this book. It was just what I was in the mood for and what it delivered was very impressive. If you are looking for that medieval fantasy type read then this is definitely one for you to pick up and check out. It's that perfect blend between a high fantasy and a dystopian set in a very archaic type of world. While I have to admit although for the plot point of Mare being a red blood with silver abilities, it was predictable and frankly on the blurb of the book, it didn't take anything away from the storyline. Saying that, although the plot of the story does follow Mare and her learning to understand and control her abilities, the plot actually focuses more on her fitting into the lifestyle of the silvers and learning how to become a princess. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't some Princess Diaries kind of 'becoming a princess', yes there is learning about the history of the lands and about the heritage of the royal family, it's also learning about how to stay alive and making sure nobody in the silver kingdom finds out that Mare is secretly a red blood. 



4. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This book received so much hype when it was released over in the USA so I was instantly worried about whether it would live up to all of the praise. That is one of the major things I worry about when it comes to over-hyped books, but luckily in this case I'll Give You the Sun matches up to every single word of that hype. It was phenomenal. Absolutely so. It is quite possibly the best contemporary novel I have ever read, and I've read a few. t is clear to see that I thoroughly enjoyed this book to the extent that I claimed it my favourite contemporary ever. It resonates so personally with each reader and the way Jandy Nelson makes the reader view the world through the twin's eyes is nothing short of spectacular. If you haven't read or added I'll Give You the Sun to your TBR pile yet, I highly suggest you do because it's popularity proceeds it and gratefully so.

5. Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I need to state first of all that I had no idea going into this book that it would become my current all time favourite contemporary - that takes a lot of guts for me to say because frankly I have read quite a few and a lot of them have consistently wrestled the next book for the position of favourite. When it arrived I was so excited and when I read it on the train, I read it in a single sitting without pausing for a drink. I think that sums up my thoughts on the book pretty well, but incase you hadn't already picked up on my lack of words on Goodreads besides 'ASDFGHJKL. here is so much I could say about this book in regards to the love of the characters, the realism of the plot ect. Overall this book was fantastic, it was emotionally gripping and tackles strong yet sensitive issues that face a large percentage of teenagers in the modern age. Becky Albertalli does an amazing job at creating a very pragmatic story in an unidealistic and yet familiar setting. The pace was timely and overall the novel was perfection.This is definitely a book that will make you crave more than just Oreos!

 
6. Remix by Non Pratt
This book was in my Top 5 most anticipated releases of the year, and when Non herself offered me the chance of obtaining a proof copy after a pretty epic GIF competition, I had to jump at the chance and I'm so glad that I did because frankly there aren't words to describe how amazing Remix was! It definitely lived up to my expectations - blew them away in fact! I have definitely been in the mood for summer books lately and this one was just a fantastic addition to the ones I've enjoyed recently. Remix was a complete blast to read, it was witty, to the point and quite frankly was an extremely fun book to be absorbed in. Non Pratt is a genius UKYA author who targets her audience well and gives them something that both she and they can be proud to be a part of. An intense read for those readers who just want to explore and experience a little bit of freedom.


7. Talon by Julie Kagawa  
A dragon book - something that I've always wanted to read but was never quite sure which book to explore to get into the genre. Realistically there are two main competitors in my mind and these were Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and the Talon Saga by Julie Kagawa. Both intruiged me but Talon won out my favours, except for a small detail that I was questioning. As this book involved The Order of St George I was questioning whether this was going to be slightly historical and sometimes that can turn my head away in books. Not always, but sometimes. Thankfully this was not the case. This book was a great introduction to what I can imagine is going to be a very successful and action packed series. Yes this book wasn't heavily packed with action scenes besides the ending, but I felt that a contemporary vibe introduction is exactly what the first book in this series required. The ending sets up the scene for book two, and I can tell you that as I am reading Rogue now, there is definitely more action for those readers who were clawing away for something more intense and suspenseful. Talon is just a fantastic read with all of the elements that a great book should have.



8. Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
This is the final book in my Throne of Glass re-readathon and I have to say I really enjoyed it! I'm debating with myself whether it meets all of the hype it receives. In my mind it's definitely the best book so far because it really opens up Celaena's world and allows you to get a glimpse into just what the King of Ardalan is up to in his advancements of his plans for domination. A really interesting twist in the story line - one that I'm hoping sets out the motion for the rest of the series! I eagerly await Queen of Shadows with great anticipation because where we got left in Heir of Fire just wasn't enough to quench my thirst for this series. I 100% need more of this world!



9. A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install
This is definitely a story of true friendship, love and the journey of self-discovery and I utterly adored it. The storyline was superb, the character's were solid and adorable and the writing was flawless. This is definitely a book that you should be looking out for if you want something adult but with the childlike adventure that we often strive for in adult aimed fiction. I have to be honest as well, I'm not a huge reader of adult fiction but this book might have just tempted me out of that bubble of adult fiction insecurity. A definite recommendation if you're looking for something new! It's fanTANGstic!


10.  Fairest by Marissa Meyer
I thought this was a wonderful instalment in the Lunar Chronicles series and I feel is a necessary read before going into Winter so that you can fully understand the relationships behind the new character's introduced in the final book as well as understanding Levana's motives behind everything. I was expecting possibly just a small glimpse into why Levana wanted to marry Prince Kai, but never did I expect to receive what we get in this novel. We see Levana right before she became queen, back after her parents died and Channery took the throne. We get an insight into her relationships with Princess Selene and Winter as well as seeing how she became the spiteful and demented Queen Levana we all see throughout the Lunar Chronicles.
Thanks for reading my list! Feel free to share your thoughts on my top ten books of 2015 so far 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!

How to be Bad with E Lockhart - UK TOUR

Friday, 26 June 2015 0 comments
Hey guys, I know this has been a long time coming but I thought I'd finally type up the notes that I took at the E Lockhart 'How to be Bad' UK Tour event that was held in Newcastle. It was arranged through Seven Stories (an amazing place that celebrates children's literature) and was held on Sunday 21st June (Father's Day in the UK) between 6pm- 8pm at the Starbucks attached to the Malmaison Hotel. So I'm just going to run through my thoughts on the event and let you guys know what E Lockhart decided to discuss with us! I hope you enjoy. Also before I forget, pretty much all of the photos included in this blog post were taken by the team from Seven Stories bookshop. I've borrowed them because I was an idiot and forgot to take photos of the event!

So the venue was lovely. It was a quaint little Starbucks which meant the atmosphere that was created by the event was really nice. It wasn't too overpacked either which meant that we could actually enjoy the event and not have to worry about anybody else that was around. The lovely team at Seven Stories had decked out one of the worktops in Emily's books and even had attached some posters that we were greatly encouraged to fill in. Before I hear you ask, yes they were linked to the books! There was an awesome poster for writing down famous lies such as 'Of course I read the entire book before entering the exam' to 'Oh no, sorry that was my last piece of gum.' I thought this was a really neat idea to have and when it was compiled with the other poster where we were encouraged to write down out road trip playlists it worked really well.

So when Emily arrived she greeted our small gathering and began to discuss about the reason she was there as well as promoting elements from her book 'How to be Bad' co-written by Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski. She went into great detail about how the book came to be and I tried my best to get all of the notes I could down. In the reimagined words of E Lockhart:
'How to be Bad came about during the days of MySpace when you could create groups and include as many people as you wanted. Very similar to Facebook now a days. Lauren (I believe?) had created a group for all of her author friends to join and Emily was one that was invited. One day Sarah (don't quote me) wrote a post about being interested in a collaboration or something to that effect and E responded with something like "anytime baby" and left it at that. Not too soon after E received a message from Lauren enquiring about this secret collaboration, half-heartedly furious that she had created the group in the first place and that she wanted in. After lengthy discussion with Lauren about doing it, they decided they'd actually get in contact with Sarah and enquire about whether she was serious, because they genuinely were.' 

E went on to explain how when she was younger she found a special connection with people in drama camps and felt that those were her people when she was growing up. Actually the idea for 'Dramarama' came from this experience, as well as the book 'The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks' after Emily had signed a publishing contract for a book about a drama camp and the other for a secret society before even having the slightest idea about the story. She ill advises the idea of taking the money before you even have the concept for either of the stories. Be confident in your ideas!

Emily also discussed her writing process, stating that she tries to get her stories to be built up from the idea of major changes and then links that to how the characters could adapt around it. Her advice to writers is that you don't always need to have such extreme experiences to be able to write about them. Not everything E writes about in her books has actually happened to her. Create your own experiences in your head, put them on paper and then match your natural instincts to them. That is the way she advises that experiences will seem realistic to the reader because you just need to envision how you would handle the situation.

Now we got the chance to ask some questions both in the question segment of the evening but also while E was signing our books. My questions were as follows, and here are E's responses:

Q: Did you have the events of the ending of We Were Liars planned out specifically or did you just know there was going to be an accident and then build it up from there?

A: All of the events at the end of We Were Liars were planned out specifically. I knew what the accident was and how it was going to occur but I didn't know Cadence's full story necessarily, I had to built it up slowly around that.

Q: If you could go on a road trip with any character from fiction who would you choose and where would you go?

A: (E mentioned something about somewhere in Canada - somewhere she hadn't been until recently. Sorry my memory is terrible!) I would take Scott Westerfeld's character Scan from his upcoming novel Zeroes. Scan has this amazing ability where a voice inside him says whatever you want to hear. The character has no control over the voice and it speaks it's mind a lot. It can land him in some very difficult situations but I think he would be a fun character to take on a road trip.

So there you go guys, there is a very brief round up of the E Lockhart 'How to be Bad' event in Newcastle. Next time I'll remember to take some actual photos and note down what the authors are saying on a pad as they're saying it so that I don't forget. I'll leave you with a lovely picture of myself and the wonderful E Lockhart!

Falling Behind on Friday # 11:Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld


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:


AFTERWORLDS BY SCOTT WESTERFELD

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

Why am I falling behind?
Ever since the idea behind Afterworlds was released into this world I knew I had to get my hands on it, so when it was eventually released in the UK I grabbed this book as quick as humanly possibly. Unfortunately the only reason it's still sitting on my shelf is purely down to the sheer size of the book. It's absolutely huge and although people have told me that because it's told in alternating chapters it doesn't feel as long, there is still something that is quite intimidating about the book. Hopefully I'll get to it eventually!

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.

Waiting on Wednesday # 12: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Wednesday, 24 June 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:


TRUTHWITCH BY SUSAN DENNARD

Publication date: January 5th 2016

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
Ever since I've seen people ranting on about how amazing this is and their eagerness to pick up an ARC at BEA I have been all over this book. I literally cannot wait to pick it up and read it! Also, Susan is best friends with Sarah J Maas and if her writing and world building is anything like Sarah's series then I know this is going to be a complete hit with me! January cannot come sooner!

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 # 12: My Ten Favorite Top Ten Topics We've Ever Done In The Past 5 Years

Tuesday, 23 June 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:My Ten Favorite Top Ten Topics We've Ever Done In The Past 5 Years. Now before I go into explain it I just want to put out an apology for the lack of content these past few weeks, especially with the weekly features. I've just been so busy with work and interviews that I've had to put off my blogging for the moment. Weekly features although quite simple do take a lot of time to write and I've really just not been in the right mindset to write them up. Anyway back to the feature! As I've not been doing these weekly features for that long (in fact I'm only up to number eleven) I can't say I've done an awful lot. However, looking down at the list on The Broke and the Bookish's site I can see all of the ones they've done in the past so I'm simply going to list the top ten of the ones that intrigue me! Here we go!

  1. Hilarious Book Titles
  2. Favourite Covers
  3. Books I can't believe I've never read
  4. Most unfortunate character names
  5. Books that I just HAD to buy but are still sitting on my bookshelf
  6. Dynamic Duos
  7. Jerks In Literature
  8. Underrated Books
  9. Top Ten Books That Would Make Great Book Club Picks
  10. Top Ten "Older" Books I Don't Want People To Forget

Thanks for reading my list! Feel free to share your thoughts on my favourite Top Ten Tuesday's 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 # 46: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Monday, 22 June 2015 2 comments
Please note that before you read this review that I am reviewing this publication for Random House Kids UK. 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.

Title: The Accident Season
AuthorMoïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Corgi 
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: July 2nd 2015
Pages: 288
Source
Review Copy from Publisher
Rating☆☆ (More a 2.5)
PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones


It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.


But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?




Ahh this novel was so difficult for me to rate because I enjoyed most of it but was just thrown of in confusion by other elements. The novel's central focus is set during this time known to the main character's family as 'the accident season.' When reading the blurb for this book, this was definitely an element that I found to be extremely intriguing! A whole season where accidents of an unknown origin happen to a seemingly ordinary family but don't happen to anyone else? Was it all psychological and in their heads or are they actually cursed? I was so eager to find out and while I did enjoy parts of this story, unfortunately I found myself to be a little disappointed with the turn of events that took place and just felt like I was craving that little bit extra from the story that sadly we didn't get. But enough of my moaning for now, what were my initial thoughts about the book? Well..



For me the novel started off really well. The premise intrigued me as I've already mentioned and the writing style had me hooked from the beginning. Fowley-Doyle's writing is very fluid and lyrical which makes for a really enjoyable read. All of her descriptions were very scenic and I had no problem picturing the places they were in and the people they met. The characters seemed to be liable enough and the plot actually seemed to be going somewhere. Although we were introduced to this idea of 'the accident season' we also got kind of a mystery subplot that dealt with who Elsie's character was and why she was in all of Cara's photographs. This was something that was introduced in the first few pages and progressed really well. The direction that the Elsie plot took was for me really intriguing and very interesting to read about, but I think my issue with it was that I figured out the reveal to who Elise was quite early on. Unfortunately that took away a little bit of the intrigue and mystery behind everything the rest of the story had to offer as I just wasn't as interested knowing I already knew the ending. What did save the plot ever so slightly was Elsie's involvement with 'the accident season' itself - it kind of answered the questions I had at the beginning of the novel about how it originated. 

However around the 60% of the way through this novel, the direction took a very different turn and in my opinion it started to spiral out of control. For me the relationships between the characters started to become very forced and felt slightly immature and I wasn't a fan at all at how they panned out. Their relationship with Alice just felt very unrealistic and quite upsetting to read about. The characters themselves (besides Alice) started to feel blunt and quite flat in comparison to the first half of the novel. Like they were introduced really well and their character development really started to progress but then after the half way mark it was if there wasn't much more too them so we weren't exposed to their full potential and for me this was a slight let down. Unfortunately I wasn't really feeling the relationship that was beginning to blossom in this novel. It was nice to see that the author was branching out by utilising a LGBT relationship in the novel (and I fully support that idea) but I just felt that it was ever so slightly undeveloped in this book. There wasn't much substance to it so it left me feeling kind of underwhelmed if I'm honest. Overall I thought that the ideas that were brought up were really neat and I did enjoy where it was going but the author just seemed to pile us with information after information and scenes that just spoil the enjoyment for me. There was so much hype built up for this halloween party in the haunted house and then even those scenes just let me down. It all felt very detached and disjointed from the first half of the book which was a shame.

Also this book explores an ending very similar to another book I've read recently and that being 'We Were Liars' by E Lockhart. The ending scenario is very similar in feeling with the tone of the story being so suspenseful and the twist being quite dramatic and out there. Saying this however, knowing there is a twist might unsettle some readers, making them eager for something that overall might not quite live up to their expectations. I was lucky enough to go into this book quite blind, without knowing anything and unfortunately as previously mentioned I found myself to be quite disappointed. On the other hand, the tone that Fowley-Doyle took with Alice's character really did move me and it was interesting to see how her character was handled in that scenario.

Overall, even though I've highlighted the flaws and disappointments I found in this book, I'd still read this book again. It's strange to describe but because the writing was so lyrical and fluid and the twist was quite suspenseful theres something about this book thats begging me to give it a re-read. Perhaps because it's because I really wanted to enjoy this book, I don't know. It could be because the praise it's given is so unique and credited that I want to learn why exactly the book got such high ratings - perhaps theres some undertones that I'm just not picking up on. Perhaps I'm just cynical. However don't listen to all of my grumbles because it could just be me and as I said there is a lot of praise for this book, and for what I can see it seems to worth it, but for me there was just something lacking in this book. Something that all of the description and suspense had built up to, later to just find myself upset and misunderstood with. I award The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle a 2 out of 5 star rating, although it definitely leans more towards the 3 so I'm going to give it a 2.5. 

Book Review # 45: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: September 11th 2014
Pages: 562
Source: Bought
Rating☆☆☆

PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones


She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.


Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.
I have been waiting to read this book for a very, very long time! I am so happy that I've finally finished it so that I can read Queen of Shadows as soon as it's released! This is the final book in my Throne of Glass re-readathon and I have to say I really enjoyed it! I'm debating with myself whether it meets all of the hype it receives. In my mind it's definitely the best book so far because it really opens up Celaena's world and allows you to get a glimpse into just what the King of Ardalan is up to in his advancements of his plans for domination. So without further ado, what did I think of this third volume in this epic high fantasy series?

When reading this book I found myself thinking that this book felt like a combination of the extension of a series and also the first book in the series. I've found myself thinking this due to the journey that Celaena goes through, and when comparing it to the series overall it shares some qualities with the very first book such as learning to control her powers and the large battle at the end of the book. I'm very glad that this book has that feeling to it because those were some of the qualities I really appreciated about the first book. When we're first introduced to Celaena's character we watch as she develops from the scrawny and ill-equipped girl straight out of the mines of Endovier to then training for the competition and then eventually having to fight Cain. As I've mentioned this novel doesn't seem to dissimilar. In terms of a downfall, really the only one that I could highlight was the pace of the novel. The first half did feel extremely slow in comparison to what we've come to expect from previous books in this series. Whether this felt this way because of the similarities to the introduction of a first novel, I don't know but I definitely preferred the second half of this book to the first. It just seemed to be a lot more action packed and the pace picked up really well. It definitely changed my perspective of the book because originally I was only going to give this book a three star rating. 

What I really enjoyed reading about this plot that was how intense some of the scenes were. This book really steps up it's game with it's writing. Some of the scenes were extremely detailed - not only with the surroundings (which were fresh, new and very visual) but also the descriptions of some of Celaena's emotions and actions. As Celaena comes to understand exactly who she is and embraces herself as Aelin, the reader can also see this development in the writing of her character. She still has the characteristics of a character that we know to love but she also brings a fresh new feel to her, and Maas seems to pull this off effortlessly! In terms of the plot, this book is very much split into three distinct storylines as we follow Celaena in Wendlyn, Chaol, Dorian and Aedion in Rifthold and Manon with the witch tribes training the Wyverns. In the beginning I thought this was going to be quite tricky to do as the characters were so far apart in terms of the distance, but Mass did an amazing job at making each of the POV's interesting enough so that whenever you left one off you didn't find yourself disappointed that you had to wait a few chapters to return to that particular story because you were flung back into the world of one of the other characters.

Linking very strongly to this we're also introduced to a fresh cast of characters to stand beside the ones we already adore. For me my favourite had to be Manon, and I know this is a popular opinion but Maas writes Manon as such a kickass female who literally won't take shit from anyone. We do get to see this type of character in Celaena but it's not as prominent as it's mixed more with raw emotion. Manon's justification is limited - this is not to say of course that she's heartless because at times in this story you do feel bad for her- especially when she's under the pressure of her grandmother to do well. I really enjoyed where Manon's characterisation and storyline was going and I'm really interested to see how her story begins to merge with Celaena/Aelin's as Maas has already hinted at that for Queen of Shadows. Another character I really enjoyed was Rowan - I thought he was a very complex character. Torn between his duty and his responsibilities to Aelin, it was really nice to see how developed he was becoming over the course of the book. Very similarly to Chaol I wasn't a fan of him in the beginning of the book but he definitely grew on me as the story progressed. He's even managing to compete with Dorian for shipping rights! 

Speaking of Dorian, oh my goodness the transformation he took in this book! In the previous instalment  Dorian was coming into his abilities and these took hold of him in terms of how anxious he was of people finding out. There was a beautiful little relationship in the novel as well between him and one of the healing apprentices which was so cute and I really did start to ship it (even though I'm a hardcore Celorian fan) but naturally Maas couldn't let us readers be happy so she had to sacrifice Dorian's chance at happiness. This event really set Dorian up for future books as the impact his explosion has at the end of the novel and the way his father now controls him with the collar - oh my goodness. Just too many emotions in those few chapters. It makes me eagerly await Queen of Shadows with everything I am. As for Aedion's character, he was very hit or miss for me. I'll be interested to see how his character plays out in the following instalment because with Aelin back in Rifthold. I did enjoy his sarcastic attitude though - it made for an interesting read when we weren't reading from Celaena/Manon's points of view.

So overall this was a fantastic instalment in this series, one that I feel was definitely necessary for readers to get an overview into Aelin's world and it's certainly set up the interesting story arc for the next book in this series. Although I did really enjoy it, I didn't see it as a perfect book - the pacing really threw it off for me so because of this reason I award Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas a 4 out of 5 star rating on my classification scale. I eagerly await Queen of Shadows with great anticipation because where we got left in Heir of Fire just wasn't enough to quench my thirst for this series. I 100% need more of this world! 

Book Review # 44: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

Sunday, 14 June 2015 0 comments
Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: August 15th 2013
Pages: 418
Source: Bought
Rating☆☆☆

PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.


Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.
So returning to my Throne of Glass series re-readathon as I call it, I picked up the second book in the series 'Crown of Midnight'. Now I remember this book being a lot more adventurous and action packed than the first book with a lot of character development and intense plot twists. This book was definitely better the second time around and there were so many little details that I had once forgotten. So, as the second instalment in the series, what did I think of it?

Well as I've already mentioned, I really enjoyed this book and it was much better than I remember when I re-read it. There were a few little gripes I had with the book such as plot predictability (quite similar to the first book) but once again I'm putting this down to the fact that this was a re-read, so I already knew the events that were coming. That being said I did notice quite a few obvious plots points that highly foreshadowed what was to happen later in the novel (such as the riddle in the tomb - I seriously have no idea how Celaena managed to bypass the obvious answer) but besides that there wasn't really anything else about the plot that I could fault. This instalment really allows for greater development into the overall plot of the series and really puts into perspective all of the directions that the novel could take to get to the eventual outcome. As a reader we're given a broader view on the King of Ardalan's motives and his ideas for the world. What this novel does a great job at is exploring all of these hints in a subtle manner throughout the novel - each is touched on and woven into the story while not deterring from Celaena's journey. This novel also provides us with some very dramatic and intense scenes - from Celaena chasing down her targets to the death of Princess Nehemia. This was such a shock to the system that I literally had to take a minute to catch my breath. I know it had to happen to set up the events of the story but she was so sweet and powerful and I was really looking forward to seeing how her character was to develop. Ah well.


Speaking of Celaena, this book was great at showing her development to the readers. She's no longer the girl from the Endovier mines competing for the role of Champion. In this book she has a sort of freedom element that allows her to go about her role in her own way. This comes across quite vividly in her faking of the murders of the King's intended targets. Although this was something that came across quite obvious as well as something that was revealed to the reader quite early on, it was nice to see Celaena's instinctive personality kicking in. We also get a lot of Celaena's character development to who she is as a person - and by that I don't mean her personality but the fact that she's actually fae, and non other than Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, heir to the Terrasan throne. It definitely sets up the next book by providing us with such a dramatic plot twist. I thought it was a really interesting take on the story and I'm interested to see where Celaena's journey goes on from there. Another character who we were introduced to having a dramatic twist in their tale was Dorian - so he has magic! That was not something that I saw coming and I think will play a really vital role in the upcoming books. Definitely an interesting turn of events! 

In this book we definitely get to see more of a choice in the romantic elements of this story. In the first book it seemed to be a clash of romantic interests between Chaol and Dorian but this book kind of set the record straight for who Celaena choses (or so we think.) Even with the very rocky section in the middle, Chaol seems to come out victorious over Dorian (who in the first book I wanted to take the lead, but in this book see him more of a best friend kind of character.) It will be interesting to see if this will stay with Celaena going of to Wendyln or whether she'll return with other ideas - that is if she comes back at all.

Overall I definitely enjoyed this book more than it's predecessor. It was more action packed, more intense, dramatic and allowed for a great deal of character development as well as development of the overall plot. There were lots of elements in this story that I can see Sarah is going to have to elaborate on in the upcoming books but I'm sure that being the genius that she is, that she will have no problem with that at all. I'm going to finally move on to Heir of Fire, the next book in the Throne of Glass series but for now I award Crown of Midnight a 4 out of 5 stars on my classification scale. A really interesting twist in the story line - one that I'm hoping sets out the motion for the rest of the series!

Falling Behind on Friday: # 10: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Friday, 12 June 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:

THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER 

Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can. 

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. 
There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. 
She's wrong.

Why am I falling behind?
I actually own the entirety of this series and I've tried to read the first book so many times but I can't physically bring myself around to completing it! I have no idea what it is about the book because everybody's comments seem to praise the book and it really does seem like something I would really enjoy. It's a bizarre one.

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.

Waiting on Wednesday #11: Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Wednesday, 10 June 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:


MAGNUS CHASE AND THE GODS OF ASGARD: THE SWORD OF SUMMER BY RICK RIORDAN

Publication date: October 6th 2015

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

So ever since I fell madly in love with Rick Riordan's writing, I've been waiting for him to produce a work of art based around Norse Mythology - something that Rick admits he's extremely passionate for and someday he wanted to write a novel about them. Here it is! It comes out in October and it's clear there's going to be some links to the already established world that are made very clear if you've read the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus series. I didn't enjoy the Kane Chronicles as much as the PJO/HOO series because I wasn't too invested in Egyptian mythology however Norse really intruiges me and I'm very exited to see Rick's take on it!

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 # 11: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Tuesday, 9 June 2015 3 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 Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2015! Now I run a feature called Waiting on Wednesday which discusses all of the books I'm excited for that are coming up, so this is going to be very similar to that. As I didn't manage to do this feature last week due to commitments outside of my blog, I thought I would really search hard to try and find some really exciting books that I am looking forward too. Some of these I've probably already mentioned in my Waiting on Wednesday feature but oh well. Without further ado, here is the list of the top ten books I am most anticipating for the rest of 2015:

  • 1. Winter by Marissa Meyer (November 10th)
  • 2. Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan (October 6th)
  • 3. Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld (September 29th)
  • 4. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas (September 1st)
  • 5. The Copper Gauntlet by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black (September 3rd)
  • 6. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (25th August)
  • 7. Carry on by Rainbow Rowell (October 6th)
  • 8. Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan (August 18th)
  • 9. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (October 20th)
  • 10. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (September 22nd)

Thanks for reading my list! Feel free to share your thoughts on my most anticipated books 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 # 43: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Monday, 8 June 2015 0 comments
Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: August 2nd 2012
Pages: 404
Source: Bought
Rating☆☆☆

PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?




So Throne of Glass was a re-read for me. I originally fell in love with the series because of their covers - they really stood out to me on the shelves. When Heir of Fire was released last year, I was lucky enough to go to a signing Sarah was doing in Newcastle and snagged a copy a few weeks before the release date. I was ecstatic so I read the first two books immediately but then never got around to the third book. This year I thought I would try it again as the release of book four: Queen of Shadows is coming up in September! The first time I read Throne of Glass I remember absolutely loving it - the plot was really intense and gripping and the characters were badass and rememberable, but besides that there were a few features that my mind had forgotten. Mainly side characters and details about certain objects ect. So what did I think? Well...

This book was an amazing refresher for my memory. I was instantly dragged back into the world that I loved the first time reading it. Even reading scenes where Celaena approaches the glass castle really stuck out in my mind. The most beautiful thing about this book besides the plot and the characters has to be the world building. Sarah's writing is extremely descriptive and vivid, so much so that if I closed my eyes I could picture exactly where everything was. The beauty of having such a fluid writing style means that as readers we can fully immerse ourselves in the world. The only downfall that Sarah's writing fell into in this book was the typical sentence found in Young Adult books of 'I let out the breath I didn't know I was holding.' Its the only downfall to this beautiful, beautiful writing.

As mentioned before, the plot was really gripping and intense. Even from the beginning when we're learning about Celaena in the mines, the suspense had me sitting on the edge of my seat dying to know why she was being released. The idea of a competition had me really intrigued because it sounded a lot like the premise of Divergent in the sense of having to learn to fight and then beat other champions. I also liked the idea that the champions were slowly getting killed off and there was a subplot that ran underneath the entire novel. It really added to the complexity of the book and made the novel more enjoyable to read because I was fully invested in the events that were happening. In my mind the only slight negative I could suggest in terms of the plot was that some of the events were ever so slightly predictable. It could be just because this was a re-read for me, but even so some of the clues that were given to the reader made the ending slightly obvious, and it was annoying to have to understand what was going on when quite often Celaena did not.


Speaking of Celaena lets discuss characters. Celaena was our main protagonist and she was kick ass, feisty, dynamic and at the same time quite delicate. She puts on this facade of being tough when after the events of her past, she's actually quite broken down on the inside. You can definitely see her development in this book as she grows to be the strong assassin we know her to be, and the trials she has to tackle on the way are a way of showing this. However because this is told from a third person perspective, Celaena isn't the only point of view we get to see from. We also get to hear from Dorian and Chaol, our two love interests in this novel. As frustrating as it was to see Celaena flit back and forth between them, it was nice to see that they each had their own individual qualities they could bring to the story. Dorian had his charm, wit and down to earth personality that matches well with Celaena whilst Chaol is more reluctant, reclined a tad blunt and yet he does grow on you as the novel progresses. We also gain an insight into Princess Nehemia whom I'm really coming to love. In the beginning she's introduced as she has been sent to the north by her father to learn the ways of the people. Her reasons behind going to the glass castle are a bit shady but Nehemia fiercely loves her country—and will do anything to ensure the safety and happiness of her people. I really enjoyed the friendship between her and Celaena and even when at times there was other suspected motives, I knew she was going to be an important character in Celaena's future.



So overall this novel was really enjoyable. The plot was dramatic and suspenseful enough to have me gripped and eagerly anticipating the sequel and the characters were bold and loveable. There were a few issues with plot predictability but these are minor and I put them mainly down to the fact that this is a re-read. If you haven't picked up Throne of Glass yet then I seriously suggest you go and do so. I award Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas a 4 out of 5 star rating on my classification scale. A great introduction to the world of this popular young adult fantasy series!

Top Ten Things To Know About Being a Published Author by Wendi Nunnery

Hello everybody! Today I have a very special post for you because its my stop on the blog tour for 'The Best Kept Secret' by Wendi Nunnery. Wendi has very kindly provided me with a guest post to share with you guys, so without further ado I'll pass you over!


"Top Ten Things To Know About Being a Published Author."

Thank you for having me today, Daniel! Its an honor to be on this tour and connect with so many awesome bloggers.

I thought Id keep this light and fun, so I want to share my Top Ten Things To Know About Being a Published Author. Im a big fan of lists, so thanks for humoring me.

Alright, lets do this, starting with #10.

10) Being a published author doesnt always mean financial security. Keep your day job.

I think Carrie Bradshaw ruined this for a lot of writers. I mean, the woman wore $500 designer heels and lived in a rather spacious apartment in New York City, but she was just a columnist at a small paper. Call me pessimistic, but there is no way she could have afforded that lifestyle if she were living in the real world. Unless your book was a New York Times bestseller, plan on keeping that 9-5. And please dont feel badly about it. Why? Because it means you get to be a writer and still pay your bills. I call that a win-win, people.

9) Youre almost 30 and you wrote a YA novel? That doesnt make you a dork.

Ive had more than a few people look at me sideways when I tell them I wrote a young adult novel. Its like they dont understand that I was once a young adult (Im only 29, so maybe I still am?) and I remember what its like. I remember feeling out of place and uncertain about the world around me. In fact, that still happens. Often. So why wouldnt I want to write about it? I dont have to be fifteen to write from a fifteen-year olds perspective. I just have to be a human.

8) Your coffee consumption will increase.

Blame it on heavily-filtered Instagram photos or just blame it on Starbucks. I dont blame anyone because I love coffee, but if you find out your book is getting published, get ready to fall in love with iced lattes. Theyre going to be your best friend when its editing time.

Speaking of which

7) Deadlines will frighten you at first, but eventually they will feel like gold stars.

My first content edit, where I had to go through all the big, heavy story changes, made me feel like I was in a game of emotional Tug-of-War. On one hand, I couldnt wait to see how much better the book would become. But on the other hand, I almost didnt know how to get started. And, in my opinion, getting started is the hardest part. Once I did, though, I found a nice pace and the changes came easily. Also? There is almost nothing better than reading these words: The book is done!

6) Not everything in your life will be about the book.

I think about The Best Kept Secret constantly, but Im a wife and mother, too, and my husband and I are very active in our community. We live close to our families and friends, we volunteer, and we love to go out and discover new places in our city. Ive worked hard to get where I am, but that doesnt mean everything else in my life stops because my book got published. In fact, some of my hardest work is just beginning.

5) Your hardest work is just beginning.

I know, I know. This one is a downer, right? Youve spent years writing and crafting an incredible story. You just found out your book is being published. Its time to celebrate! Yes, please do. But also remember that authors need to connect with their readers in more ways than one. And that means blogging, tweeting, emailing, instagramming, pinning, and every other -ing under the sun (well, not every other one). Its the age we live in. And its really kind of awesome that we, as authors, can get to know the people who read our books. So even though this part can be slow-going, its going to pay off eventually.

4) Your publisher might not care what you think.

I know, RIGHT?! What is this about?

Money. Its about money.

Fortunately for me, I got published by a small press and a couple of the staff are authors, too. They know how important this whole process is and, even better, they care about it on a personal level. I hope your publisher is the same way, but just know that they might not be. Its their loss.

3) You wouldnt mind a world where P.A. stood for published authorand you could use it as a title on your business card.

Im just saying

2) You will read and probably obsess over bad reviews. So, Beloved Reviewer, please dont be a troll.

The internet is a great place. And book reviews are pretty awesome, too. But Im going to request on the behalf of every author that you dont use your anonymity to write unkind things. If you dont like a book, just say so. Theres no need to be a jerk about it.

1) The world actually keeps spinning after you find out someone wants to publish your book.

I was sitting on my couch, wearing my pajamas, drinking coffee, and binge-watching Gilmore Girls when I got the email about my book. And after I stopped laugh-crying in the bedroom with my husband, I sat back down and kept watching my show. It was a little surreal how normal it all felt. But I guess thats what makes it fun, that an ordinary moment can suddenly become an extraordinary one.






Well thank you very much Wendi for stopping by and providing us with that wonderful guest post! You can find Wendi on Twitter (@ladynunnery) and you can find Wendi's lovely book on Amazon by clicking here. It's a journey of discovery. It touches on truths, the meaning of real friendship, the ignorance of struggle and the lesson that the best kept secrets are truly the ones that create an impact on us. To read more about this amazing novel, then you can read by full in-depth review here!

**************************************************************************************************************************


Wendi Nunnery is the author of The Best Kept Secret. She writes about the messiness of life, and sometimes uses colorful language. She's a sucker for historical romance novels, is also a big fan of Jesus, coffee, and Harry Potter. Wendi lives, loves, and mothers in Atlanta, Georgia.

**************************************************************************************************************************

In high school, everyone has secrets. Even well-brought-up Emma Fraser.

Emma’s sophomore year started out all wrong. First, her best friend Andy confessed to losing his virginity leaving Emma all alone in the V-Club. Then the rest of her friends got weird and suddenly Emma finds herself feeling like the people she knows best have become total strangers. And total strangers are becoming friends.

When Deegan Burke, a rich, gorgeous senior, asks Emma to be his date for the prom, Emma thinks her luck has begun to change. But rather than being able to bask in this newfound glory, her whole world starts to unravel. And when secrets that once seemed so innocent start to take a very dangerous turn, Emma discovers that true friends are friends no matter what…and some secrets aren’t worth keeping.

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