Posted in general posts, other bookish posts

February 2019: Reading Wrap Up!

Wow. Didn’t February just fly by? I feel like the first few days of February dragged, and then hitting the second week in, the days went past like nobody’s business and now I’m sitting here and it’s the 3rd of March! I seriously cannot believe we are already in the third month of the year.

Anyways – this is my reading wrap up for February, and it’s a short one! I didn’t read a lot in February – not full books anyways – between returning to uni and doing assignments and getting back in to that routine I found myself not reading much of what I wanted to.

  1. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein  – Kiersten White (Feb 2nd – 14th, 1/5 stars)

I picked up The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein because it was my book groups – A Book Nirvana on Goodreads – readalong for the month. I had this on my shelf since it’s release date, so I was looking forward to reading it and comparing it to the original Frankenstein. I thought it would be interesting to see the story through a woman’s point of view, and to an outsider of the creation, but ultimately I was awfully disappointed. The pace was slow and uninspiring, the characters were dull and felt like they could belong in a pantomime (hello Victor), and ultimately White just very much insulted Shelley’s Frankenstein.  I just don’t think the way she approached ‘criticising’ Shelley’s work was done in the right way, especially not when she could barely write in half of the depth that the original had. It was a cheap knock off. Sorry, Kiersten White.

2. The Sorrows of Young Werther – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Feb 16th – 17th, 2/5 stars)

I read this for one of my classes at university. It wasn’t a god awful book, I just found the epistolary form quite draining. It felt more intense than your normal first person narrator. I just didn’t find this an interesting novel, but appreciated some of it’s literary merit.

3. The Lonely Londoners – Sam Selvon (Feb 20th, 3/5 stars)

I also read this for another one of my university classes, and quite enjoyed reading this. Except for the section that had no grammar for an entirety of about 10 pages. That just gave me a headache. But this was a decent book. It was interesting to see the perspective of the people from the Windrush generation and their experiences living in London & it’s take on colonisation etc. A very thoughtful book.

That’s all I read in February! 3 books. I started and ultimately did not finish many more (for uni) and read a bunch of random chapters and excerpts from other books as wider reading, but I can’t remember them all – and I like to keep this list to books I’ve finished. Let’s hope March is a better reading month for me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in other bookish posts

Reading Wrap Up – June 2018.

Hi all! I managed to read quite a few books in June of 2018! Here’s the list of what I read:

  1. Asking For It – Louise O’Neill

I read this novel with my Goodreads book group, A Book Nirvana. I did enjoy this read, and how it highlighted the problems with rape culture and showed the impacts it can have both on the victim, family, and friends. I think it did well on making the reader question and debate their own prejudices and opinions. The reason why this wasn’t a five star was because I found sometimes it was too-narrowed. This is understandable as it was told from one strict point of view, but I still think the book would have benefitted from fleshing out the story. For what it did though, three stars. Sometimes the writing and pacing slacked.

2. By Your Side – Kasie West

Once again, I read this for my Goodreads book group, A Book Nirvana, summer’s reading challenge. I did enjoy this book but found the characters to lack depth and any real purpose, and for the plot to be a mess. For more of my thoughts you can find my review by clicking here.

3. The Room mate, the Soul Mate, The Play Mate – Kendall Ryan

These are three individual books, but I listed them all together as they are part of a ‘Roommates’ series. These are some New Adult books, and I enjoyed them. I think on average I gave them all a two stars. While they were enjoyable there wasn’t that much to them. Just a quick, popcorn read, which I’ve now ultimately forgotten most of their plot lines. Books for when you’re bored, can’t be bothered to read something ‘more serious’, and just want some entertainment.

4. Nyxia – Scott Reintgen

Another book read for my groups Summer Reading Challenge, and I really enjoyed this one. I’m usually not the biggest fan of sci-fi, but this was very light on that aspect while still giving it a sci-fi feel. So if you’re not a big fan like I am, I find this a very accessible book in the genre. I did write a review on goodreads that you can find here. However, the review will be available sometime here on my blog. I gave this a high end three stars, and can’t wait for the sequel.

5. Warcross – Marie Lu

Another book read for the reading challenge, and I LOVED this one. I’ve always been a big fan of Marie Lu’s, so I had many expectations going in to this one. Previous to reading this I felt in a bit of a reading slump, not really enthralled with the idea of picking up a book and slugging through it in the hopes that it’ll be enjoyable. But this one! It reminded me why and what it is I love about reading. Look, I don’t deny the fact that this book isn’t perfect. You could call it cheesey and predictable and cliché, but I don’t care. It was brilliantly entertaining, I loved the characters, and really was a dose of medicine that made me feel better. My review for this will be up on my blog sometime but for now you can find it here on Goodreads.

6. Royally Bad – Nora Flite

I gave this book one star. This was another new adult book, and it was just . . .  meh. I found it very problematic with the way she was forcibly locked away so she couldn’t leave, and how she did it because she loved the boy (I think they’d only known each other a few days) and didn’t want to get him in trouble. The ending tried to pull a ‘wow, look at this shock factor’ but it just didn’t hit right. I think one star was generous for this.

7.  A Bad Boy Stole My Bra – Lauren Price (click the title to go to my review)

Funny, cute, and a quick read. This was previously a Wattpad novel, and one of the better ones I’ve seen come from the site. Thanks NetGalley for sending me this! In the end I gave it 3 stars.

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K Rowling

I did it guys. I finally finished reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. YAY! This one had me gently sobbing during The Battle of Hogwarts. Anyways, I was a bit disappointed in this book because a lot of it didn’t seem to make sense (or maybe I’m just thick). There seemed to be a lot of plot holes and contradicting the previous laws of magic it had set up in the previous books? In the end I gave this a 3.

9. All Played Out – Cora Carmack (Rusk University, #3)

Another new adult book, and I enjoyed it. I have the whole entire series. They’re just purely ridiculous but they make me grin and entertain me. 3 stars.

10. The Score – Elle Kennedy (Off-Campus, #3)

This one made me laugh so much!! Another new adult series, and I really enjoy this one!! Once again, purely ridiculous but I can’t help but love them. 3 stars.

 

That’s it! That’s all I read in the month of June. It was a very good reading month for me, thanks to all those addictive and trashtastic New Adult novels. How many books did you all read in the month of June and which one was your favourite?

 

Posted in book reviews

The Humans – Matt Haig

After an ‘incident’ one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he’s a dog.

Who is he really? And what could make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ?

THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

I REPEAT, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about this novel, I really enjoyed some aspects but found it to be tiresome and lacking in other areas. This review will possibly contain spoilers so read with caution!

The Humans started off slowly – it took me a while to get in to the flow of the narrative style and to jump on board with our character. This book is told through the point of view of the ‘alien’ and he is essentially recounting his time on Earth in format of a book to the population of his home planet. Frequently questions are posed towards the reader (in this case the ‘alien’ species). What this does is take us – the actual reader – and places us in a different position: we, to this being, are the alien. And it makes us consider our position on Earth and the things we do that are the normal for us that to someone else from another planet would seem weird. For example: wearing clothes.

While this could be funny seeing him question and come to terms with humanity (such as realising spitting at people isn’t acceptable, going around to everyone and talking about achieving the ultimate orgasm) I eventually began to tire of it. Chapter after chapter begun to feel the same. You could take most of the chapters contents out and you still wouldn’t miss much of the story. I find that to be a problem, I feel like near on every chapter should mean something, not just a filler. I think this is because usually the type of books I read are quite action packed and work towards uncovering mystery or working to defeat a villain, and with this, while there was an objective, it wasn’t the main focus. Often the story just breached out in to discovering and unwinding humanity that I was wondering if we were ever going to get anywhere (i.e him getting in to trouble for not meeting his objective, etc).

This brings me to my main problem:

This book was very philosophical and romanticising in it’s prose. It seemed to try to take on a whimsical element, and sure, considering the origins of the character and the subject matter this seems like it could make sense. HOWEVER, I felt that it got too much, especially in terms of mental health. In the acknowledgements the author mentions his hard time with his mental health and how this book was the product of him working through that. Knowing that, you can see this reflected in the book. We basically have all these different versions of Andrew fighting against himself, we have the character, Gulliver, the son, dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts. We have other characters from a mental hospital.

Gulliver, the son, tries to commit suicide by jumping off of a roof. He is miraculously saved by the healing powers, and since that moment it was hardly brought up again. It was dismissed, almost. No consideration of how this boy has serious mental health issues and needs professional help. I understand this wasn’t the main focus of the book, but I think if you’re going to use this as part of the plot line you treat it with care. It’s not “all of a sudden since being miraculously saved his problems disappeared”. Dealing with mental health takes work. It can’t just be magically “cured”

Also the scenes in the mental hospital I found difficult to swallow. To me it felt as if the character was like “lol maybe we’re all just crazy, it’s fine, it’s just because humans can’t understand themselves” and I just found that really insulting???? For someone who has mental health issues and who works on overcoming them I was like sureeeeee. To me it just seemed to then romanticise mental health as something cute and quirky – one person sprouts about Star Wars, someone else’s mental health basically makes their whole character – and I just didn’t like it.

So for me I found it to be too flowery and not raw enough. Yes, it’s not the focus of the book but if you want to explore this side of humanity you have to do it with a certain care. Such as the whole conversation on people being violent, the book seems to excuse violence as “well they’re not all bad all the time” “they fight the urges” “there’s more to humanity than that” like ok?? I get this is an alien but ugh.

So yeah – I just didn’t like the representation of certain elements.

What I did like about this book was that it was sometimes funny, it brought up interesting debates in to history and humanity: the problem is that not all of it managed to hit.

 

THREE STARS

Posted in book reviews

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2) – Becky Albertalli

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

I REPEAT, THIS REVIEW CONTAINTS SPOILERS.

I am so disappointed in this.

I found Leah instantly unlikable. I found her to be petty and incredibly mean, especially towards Abby. I hated how she didn’t like Abby because Abby was pretty, and how she was incredibly salty towards everyone else because they happened to have a bit more money than her. But you know, I got it. I tried to understand Leah, like yes it must be upsetting for her to be not as fortunate and to feel as if she was missing out, but I wanted this to develop throughout the book?

Did it? Heck no. Leah continued to be whiny and mean throughout the whole book, part from a few glimpsing moments, and ultimately I did not like her. What I think really put the nail in the coffin was when Abby came out as bisexual to Leah, she described herself as a ‘little bit bi’. This was a tremendous moment for her. She’d come out to her cousins or whatever, but she had only recently started figuring this part of her sexuality out, and Leah verbally attacked her. She said to Abby that it wasn’t possible to be a ‘little’ bit bi, she should just come out and say she is bisexual, because if not it sounds like she’s ashamed. I mean, excuse me Leah? You’ve, essentially, been hiding the fact that you’re bisexual from everyone and yet you’re accusing Abby of being ashamed? Like no one is forcing you to define your sexuality to them so stop telling Abby how it is she has to define hers. A few pages later Leah mentions that “gender is a social construct” and I’m like ?? Leah if you’re on board with that how do you not understand the sexuality is fluid?? And it is possible to be a little bit bi?? Like Abby might have a strong preference for men, but likes some women too? Like don’t be a dick Leah.

Once again, this could’ve been good, if Leah developed past this point. Sure she apologises to Abby (who basically acted like nothing freaking happened, she just takes all of Leah’s shit) but we never really see her grow past this. That’s what’s annoying. We never really see Leah grow. She’s just constantly bitchy and horrible when something isn’t done the way she wants. THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE BOOK. It got tiring.

Also I could hardly remember most of these characters from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and this book didn’t really do much in reestablishing them. It was like so this is that person and this at that person, and eventually my memory was jogged, but I definitely feel like if I were reading this without reading Simon, I wouldn’t care about half those characters. It’s just the memory (although not a lot of it) of those characters from Simon that had me invested.

And wtf?? Like she ruined Nick’s character?? I don’t remember him being so . . . idk, pathetic?? Constantly getting drunk and moping and just being a complete wet wipe of a character. ugh. NOPE.

THE FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS?? ALL SO CATTY?? I can’t. Like just making fun of Taylor? Being horrible to Abby? I just couldn’t deal.

The ending…what cheese. Skipped time, went to some lovey dovey email that made everything seem perfect. Like the message seemed to hint that Leah had gone through some character development?? but like???? what do I care or know since we didn’t actually see it through this 300 and whatever freaking pages? SO FRUSTRATING.

And then yeah, everyone else who was tossed to the side for the point of the MC’s romance conveniently all got paired off with each other because apparently everyone has to be in a relationship…

Can someone give me a map to the plot?? thanks. I’m a bit lost.

Yep. So disappointed with this.

ONE STAR

Posted in book reviews

Batman: Nightwalker – Marie Lu (DC Icons, #2)

The highly anticipated coming-of-age story for the world’s greatest super hero: BATMAN by the # 1 New York Timesbestselling author Marie Lu.

Returning home from his lavish eighteenth birthday party, Bruce Wayne stops a criminal’s getaway – disobeying the police and crashing his car during the chase.

Sentenced to community service in Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, he encounters some of the the city’s most dangerous and mentally disturbed criminals. Among these, Bruce meets the intriguing Madeleine who has ties to the Nightwalker gang that is terrorizing Gotham City.

She’s a mystery Bruce has to unravel but can he trust her? The Nightwalkers target the rich, and Bruce’s name is next on their list.

description

Okay . . . I couldn’t resist using that gif, I mean, how could I??

I really liked this book (the first one this year, breaking my streak of 1 stars). As stated before reading, I’m not really much of a fan of Batman. However, this book !! I LOVE YOU BRUCE YOU ADORABLE CREATURE.

I do. I love him. These DC Icons series are all about setting up these characters on their heroes journey/seeing them become the hero, and I love watching Bruce do this!! I was cheering for him, not being able to wait, excited for what he was going to become. Usually when I see Batman (specifically the Ben Affleck version) I just roll my eyes and continue on (not you Christian Bale. You were alright). But yep, this is the Batman I’m stanning.

I really liked Madeleine too. She was awesome. As was Dianne. S0 was everyone else, to be fair.

Anyways, I just thought that was a really great introductory novel into Bruce Wayne/Batman. It was nicely plotted and paced, intense, and had developed characters. It was kept short at 288 pages and I’m absolutely fine with that. Quality over quantity – I think a few novels could learn that lesson.

I think sometimes though this book was trying to be really smart, but really you could see what direction it was going in, because it was obvious. Just wanted to shout at Bruce to hurry up and figure it out for himself. With that said, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book, but rather added to the suspenseful nature of the book as you wait to see Bruce figure it all out.

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FOUR STARS.
Posted in book reviews

A Semi-Definite List of Worst Nightmares – Krystal Sutherland

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.

Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love.

 

Thank you to Netgalley & the publisher for this in exchange for an honest opinion!

I was considering putting a quotation at the beginning of this review but I highlighted so, so, so much while reading this novel that I wouldn’t know what one to pick. I love Krystal Sutherland’s writing style. Her dialogue is witty and painfully honest. The characters feel honest and it’s easy to connect – for example, Esther’s casual inner commentary like “well, this isn’t going to go great,” just felt so honest, and real. I don’t really know how to explain – but it gave Esther such a strong voice. Sometimes it almost read like reading a recap of an event from a friend.

Once again, much like with Our Chemical Hearts, I like the way mental health is discussed. It isn’t romanticised at all, but rather shown to be a real and painful thing that effects everyone in different ways, but all of it horrible. It shows that you shouldn’t be afraid to speak about it but this novel deals with the fears of coming out with it.

I do think sometimes though it felt a bit dismissive – it was constant questioning of “do they have mental health issues? Is this a magic realist world? Should I be concerned she believes in this stuff?”

So yeah. I don’t think the line between it was always clear. Turns out, this does have some paranormal elements?? I think?? Like I said – I’m still not really sure and I’m not sure how to feel about that. I’m one of those people with books like these that I want it to be defined – is this actually elements of the paranormal or just straight contemporary with a “wacky” character?

That’s also what’s great about this – the book kind of makes fun of itself. Several times Esther is called out because of how she is a “special snowflake” and she admits she wants to be one. While this is only a small dig at itself, because in the end it becomes to have a much greater relevance and heavier meaning towards plot/character development towards the end of the novel.

“You being scared of cornfields and alines doesn’t make you some special snowflake.
Everyone’s fear sounds the same in their head.”

“How dare you, I am a special snowflake.”

Everything did tie in nicely. I don’t feel like anything was added as a “filler” and that in the end everything made sense. You could see the links connecting things together.

On the other hand, I think more of these “links” should have been explored further. I.e the absentee parents and domestic abuse. Yes, this was semi-resolved towards the end and the realisation that “parents are human too” I feel like it should’ve had more to it.

There’s a lot of interesting discussions in this novel. There’s the obvious ones about mental health and how it can take over your life, and how people just want to fix it for you, but it’s not always that easy etc. But it also takes on interesting discussions about fear and what it means to live.

“It’s like a broken bone, you know? You can’t keep walking on it and expect it to heal.”

“Is this the surreptitious Esther Solar acknowledging the existence of mental illness and not just behaving like I’m cursed?”

That’s also what I love about this: the views uttered by the characters on mental health and how to deal aren’t always perfect. They can say harmful things and their outlook can sometimes be negative and wrong, but the great thing about this is the character development. These then negative opinions have been challenged / developed and I think that’s a beautiful thing. It’s showing that even if you’ve got it wrong before you have the chance to listen and to learn and to grow. The novel does this without ever feeling preachy.

Overall, I really liked it and I’m a definite fan of Krystal Sutherland.

Posted in book reviews

Frozen Tides – Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms, #4)

Plans are laid and the players are determined…but nothing can prepare these unlikely warriors for what the elemental gods of Mytica have in store.

Cleo: Reeling after a shocking realization about Magnus, the golden princess must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a queen.

Magnus is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he has what it takes to rule his people.

Jonas: The defeated rebel leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to become a pawn in the dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

Lucia: Heartbroken and blind with fury, the betrayed sorceress allies with the awoken fire god, who also seeks revenge.

In Mytica’s darkest hour, four crystal orbs will determine who will die…and who will live in glory forever.

 

Some sought revenge against their enemies with the edge of a sword. Her plan for vengeance began with the edge of a smile.

 

Oh my god?? I actually really, really, really liked this one?? Like don’t get me wrong – it’s still trashy. I’m still in shock that Jonas has some how managed to stay alive. He makes some of the most stupidest choices ever. He has such luck – but those around him? Yeah, not so much.

I can’t really put how I like this series. It’s so bad BUT so good. But the writing is improving, the characterisation and the plot has improved and I’m just left like ????

It’s very addictive and I haven’t been able to stop reading. I will be moving on to Crystal Storm immediately, where a massive book hangover will probably follow.

Just

AHHHH.

That’s me. That’s my feelings.

Also I really adore Fenix. He’s so sassy. And I’m beginning to really love Magnus. Jonas is stupid but I appreciate him too. Lucia was SOOO annoying in this one but she improved towards the end.

Is it just me that thinks the ages are stupid though? I always forget that Cleo is 16 and everyone else is a similar age.

But anyways,

ON I GO TO CRYSTAL STORM. WOOO.

Posted in book reviews

The Hawkweed Prophecy – Irena Brignull

The babies were born as the clock struck twelve. A bat fell from the air mid-flight. A silver salmon floated dead to the surface of the river. Snails withered in their shells, moths turned to dust on the night breeze and an owl ate its young. The spell had been cast.

Poppy Hooper has managed to deceive her father into believing that there is nothing mysterious or unnatural about her. He ignores the cats that find her wherever she goes, the spiders that weave beautiful lacy patterns for her, even her eyes – one blue, one green with an extra black dot orbiting the pupil.

Ember Hawkweed is a pitiful excuse for a witch. When the other girls in her coven brew vile potions, Ember makes soap and perfume. Fair and pretty, Ember is more like a chaff than a witch. One of the Hawkweeds will be queen of the witches – but everyone knows it won’t be Ember.

When the two girls meet, Poppy discovers her powers, and finds out the truth. Bound by their unlikely friendship and the boy they both love, the girls try and find their place in the world. But the time of the prophecy draws nearer – and the witches won’t give up the throne without a fight.

The Hawkweed Prophecy, to quite simply put it, was a mess. What started off a strong and intriguing dark fantasy quickly faded away to nothing but a badly written fantasy/romance. This book had the potential to be a great fantasy with great female characters, as it started off so.

Where to begin? First I must talk about the structure and how this novel switches between perspectives suddenly. There’s no prior warning. Nothing. One minute you’re reading something from one persons point of view; and then someone elses the next! This heavy juxtaposition between the perspectives was dreadful – it was confusing and I often got lost on whose point of view I was in and why. Honestly – the meaning was lost. I read the same scene over and over again from many different point of views. I wouldn’t mind if it served a purpose, but it did not, and instead it felt long winded and dragged out.

OH THE LOVE TRIANGLE / INSTA LOVE. Poppy literally meets Leo, and then the next day she’s invited him into her house alone. When he leaves, she brings his mug up to her lips and places her mouth where his just was.

I just ? ? ? no.

Oh and Ember. As soon as she meets him she’s instantly in love and of course Poppy then thinks it was her destiny to bring these two people together. Sure. Ember has never seen a man before, Leo’s the first, so? It’s not like she had much to compare him with? Not to mention that Sorrel, in her own twisted way, has an infatuation with him.

And Leo . . . well boy can’t make up his mind, can he? One minute he’s making out with Ember and then running to Poppy saying how he’s desperately in love with her and how she’s his true love. . . and then he’s making out with Ember again. HE. CAN’T. MAKE. UP. HIS. MIND.

To me it’s like the author can’t actually decide what she wants. It’s just a mess – one minute it’s going in a solid and clear direction, and then any development or characterisation that’s been made is out of the window. It’s like every time the author sat down she changed her mind but didn’t want to backspace what she had written. UGH.

Oh and the female characters. Petty? Check. Stupid? Check. Stereotyped? Check. I mean of course we have to have a mean girl. Of course we have to have the whole “special snowflake” thing. And Ember . . . I just. The author promotes her prettiness as what was it . . . being fair haired and pale? Don’t hold me exactly to that – the characters were so boring and bland they all began to blend together as one.

WHAT WAS THE PLOT? No, seriously. I’m asking you. It started off strong with a classic-switchero, and of course, THE PROPHECY. But was soon taken over by the mindless “romance” scenes and Poppy and Ember continually moaning about how they don’t fit in, while Raven is just being a weirdo and an abuser to her daughter.

Side note: I really loved Ember’s and Poppy’s friendship to begin with. I think it started off too quickly – but I liked the companionship and comfort they found in each other and the dell. But that soon faded away to nothing but petty jealousies and hate. Sometimes the touch of sisterhood would come back but then the moment was robbed by thoughts of Leo.

Anyways – back to the lack of plot. Yeah. It kept disappearing. I think if this book had focused more on that then it would have been better. I did like how we saw Poppy actually practice, and it wasn’t just on a whim of “hey! look how good I am at this thing I’ve never learnt before!” but still. It wasn’t great.

Oh and the PARENTS. I mean they were all shitty. Especially Poppy’s father. He blamed Poppy for something, that wasn’t her fault, making her feel guilty and worthless all because he didn’t want to out himself and his secret. So he used his daughter to get what he wanted and basically punished her for the thing he knew he shouldn’t have. Make sense?? I am trying not to spoil too much.

ANYWAYS – much like the plot, I am going off track. But yeah. Moments where the plot was put back in I was like WOO we’re getting somewhere only to be robbed of it like two pages later. I’m not happy about this.

The writing was okay, even if the writing structure was not.

OH! ALSO. THIS WITCHCRAFT. It’d be nice to actually understand how the spells work? Like one minute they have to chant and then spells happen? Other times, like in the duel, they just hold out their hands and blast? Then they talk about only some can shape shift BUT THEN WE GET TONS THAT CAN SHAPESHIFT? Other times we have to use ingredients for spells?? HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK? TELL ME. MAKE ME UNDERSTAND. I just don’t think the system was properly explained and there was NO excuse for that. While Poppy was inexperienced, and Leo had nothing to do with the witch world, the rest of the narrators did. So there’s no reason why this could have been clearer.

Oh. The world-building. For starters, I was confused with what time period we are in. Secondly, and maybe I wasn’t reading clear enough, but where is this set? America? Some made up town? WHERE? How come no ones accidentally walked into this hidden forest place that’s just outside town that looks like it came from the 1400’s? Does magic protect it? WHAAAT? TELL ME.

I am silently screaming in frustration.

Oh and the ending. Throwing out these plot twists of HAHA, but it was obvious?? Like ?? It’s not like it was subtly hinted at so if you didn’t come out and give that explanation for it it would be a pile of shit?? I’m just surprised the characters didn’t figure it out sooner. SO. OBVIOUS.

But yeah. I think that’s it. Maybe. That’s all my important points – if I were to nitpick further I could possibly run out of characters.

So overall, I liked the idea. It had a strong start and sometimes was strong in plot, but for the most of it it wasn’t. Rather it favoured a dodgy love triangle, poor characterisation, and lost sight of the point of the whole novel. I doubt I’ll be continuing on with this series, but I am a curious person . . . so I’ll probably read the second one. . .

Posted in book reviews

If My Moon Was Your Sun – Andreas Steinhofel, Nele Palmtag

Did you hear the story about Max, the boy who kidnapped his grandfather from a nursing home ? You didn’t see it on the news? Well, let me tell you about it.

Max lives in a small town, much smaller than yours. His grandpa is losing his memory, but still remembers quite a bit. You can imagine how they hurried, Max and his grandpa, followed by old Miss Schneider, who insisted on coming along. Why were they in a hurry? Because everyone was after them. Max had skipped school to rescue his grandpa, and they were just starting out on what promised to be one of the best days of their entire lives.

A touching story about dementia and the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, with full-color illustrations and a read-along CD audiobook featuring twelve classical pieces for children by Georges Bizet and Sergei Prokofiev.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review!

I don’t usually read children’s books, unless me nephew, Roman, 2, comes up to me and demands for me to read them. Usually I get a page or two before he runs off and picks out another one. That’s about all.

But tomorrow my other nephew, Joshua, 6, is going to sign up to receive his first library card. Josh likes to read – the other day I sat while he read Aladdin at me. And that got me thinking about all these books out there, waiting and ready for him to discover. I’ve been a reader all my life, and all I can do is hope and gently encourage him for having that same passion.

If My Moon Was Your Sunis written in such beautiful prose. It may be a children’s book but it was deeply thoughtful and beautifully written. It’s not too over the top; it’s simple, easy to read and understand, while at the same time encouraging intelligence of the reader and for them to think. For young children, whose minds are open to so much information, it’s important to treat them like they’re smart and they’re not stupid. This book does exactly that; it engages in a conversation.

You closed your eyes, you breathed deeply in and out, and in no time at all you felt rooted and alive.

This book tells the tale of a young boy, Max, breaking his Grandfather out of the Nursing Home. This is written with the view of a scared boy whose afraid of losing his best friend, his protector, his Grandfather. It’s from a boy who wants adventure. It’s about loving.

“That someday I’ll ask, do you remember? and you won’t remember anymore.
And that someday . . . someday you will forget how much you love me.”

“Max. Don’t be afraid. You don’t need to be afraid of anything, my boy.”

So this small book is beautiful, and I love the message of loving and comfort it sends through via the relationship of Max and his Grandfather. I don’t think I got the best reading experience that I could have as I didn’t listen to the audio BUT having said that, the book was still amazing without it. Also, I can’t forget to mention the illustrations that were simply BEAUTIFUL. They were done with just enough detail and childlike manner that they suited the atmosphere and the theme of the book PERFECTLY.

Posted in other bookish posts

Books I’ve read so far this year!

Here we are, six months into the year already. How the time flies! I thought, seeming as we’re half way through 2017, that I’d pause and take a moment to reflect on all of the books that I have read so far this year. At the beginning of the year I set my reading goal to 52 books, working out as one a week, and I have currently read 38 out of those 52 books. Some of them have been extremely short so they hardly count – but it’s all a bit of fun anyways! Without further ado, here’s all the books that I have read this year.

  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This is my first time ever reading the Harry Potter series. It’s quite fitting to be reflecting on that today since today (26th of June) we are celebrating the release of the first Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone. I wasn’t even born then, but here I am, twenty years later, reading and loving the series for the first time ever. I gave this one 4 Stars.

2.  All I Want is You

It is safe to say that I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the Prisoner of Azkaban. In fact, this book had everything I hated. It was sexist, portrayed male and female characters in a negative light, had stupid characters (even though they’re meant to be so smart – honestly, they tell you hundreds of times how smart they are) and followed cliches in the most boring way possible. I wrote a whole ranting review on this on Goodreads, which you can see here. Unsurprisingly, I gave this 1 star. Even that was generous.

3. Holding Up The Universe

(Mild SPOILERS written below)

Oh, another disappointing book. This is one of those books that has the potential to be great and make a positive contribution to accurate representation on diverse issues . . . but fails. BADLY. The ending just doesn’t make sense. Without saying too much that is spoiler-y, but by basically ‘curing’ a character, for me at least, it takes away from the authenticity of the experience. For readers who live with those sort of diseases and illnesses it can be upsetting – they don’t get magically cured by falling in love, and this romanticising of being fat, or having these issues, and then curing them is harmful. This book had the opportunity to tell a hard truth but to show characters learning to overcome these hardships and live through them. But no – it’s showing that the only way for these characters to be happy is taking away their illness. Once again, these real life issues that effect people are used to form a romance, and then are thrown away so everyone gets their happily-ever-after. Wouldn’t it be nice to life in such an idealist world? So while the book did have some good messages, I think they were ultimately drowned out at the miracle ending. 2 stars from me. The prose wasn’t shitty, but that doesn’t completely save the book from it’s shortcomings.

4. Until Friday Night

Really quite liked this. It was quick to get through, and dealt with some very hard issues. While I do think some of them could’ve been handled better, it was nothing like the shit-show ways I’ve seen it been dealt with in other books. 3 stars!

5. The Diabolic

I buddy read this with one of my Goodreads friends, and since then our friendship has blossomed. So thank you Diabolic, for forming friendships! Other than that – I really enjoyed this one. There was lots of stabbing, plot twists, and lots and lots of scheming. So much so I didn’t even know if I could trust myself while reading this. Despite my enjoyment of this, I did have some issues: I DIDN’T KNOW WHO TO TRUST. And while most of the time that was cool, sometimes it left me really confused. Seriously. SO MUCH CONFUSION. So that ruined the story for me a bit – since it just wasn’t clear about what actually happened. Despite that, it always kept me on my toes and I loved buddy reading it, so 4 stars!

6. The Last Beginning

What a great conclusion to this duology. LOVED IT. 4 stars, and you can read more of my thoughts and feelings here in my Goodreads review.

7. Wayfarer

Once again, another great conclusion to a duology! Love the female characters in this one, Etta and Sophia are badasses. I’d totally want them on my side. Love other new characters that are introduced in this world, and I have my fingers crossed that they will have their own spin-off. A girl can dream! 4 stars, and for more of my thoughts and feelings you can read my Goodreads review.

8. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Another buddy read (with the same person I read The Diabolic with). I am SO glad she convinced me to read this, because this was GREAT. I’ve always been tentative to start off in this world, firstly because they’re middle grade, and secondly because there’s just so dang many of them! But they’re so easy to read, they’re funny, great plots, great friendship, and as a Greek mythology lover I’ve loved seeing the different interpretations of that/how the Gods have been characterised (both in this, but throughout the whole series). I gave this 3 stars. Mainly because while this one was great, the others in the series were better, and deserved a much higher marking.

9. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

Just as fun as the first. 4 stars!

10. Carve the Mark

This one was difficult for me to rate. I did enjoy it. I thought the idea of it all was good, but that doesn’t take away from all it’s problems. And there was a lot. First, the crappy writing style with the lack of world-building and the info-dumping. Secondly, the incorrect depictions of illnesses. I’m not going to go into it full, but if you want to read a longer explanation of this, once again head over to my Goodreads review. The word Sojourn can stay away from me. 2 stars.

11. A Conjuring of Light

Once again a buddy read with the same person who I read the Diabolic and the Percy Jackson books with. And I LOVED IT. I love this world, and I loved this trilogy. The ending broke my heart because some of the characters !! deserved !! so !! much !! better!! But at the same time it was good that they didn’t all get their happy ever-afters, and it was good that some people died, because in this hyper-realistic world that makes it more realistic and heart-wrenching. I still have some questions though, but not too many that I’m swearing at her from omitting them from me. . . okay, maybe I am a bit, but I’m trying not to think about it. 5 stars, because I LOVED it! Lila is my favourite and I LOVE her, Kell is brilliant and I love him, Rhy is fantastic and I also love him, Alucard is great and I also also love him, Holland NEEDS A HUG AND I LOVE HIM.

12. Percy Jacksons and the Titans Curse

Brilliant. These books are so enjoyable. It’s hard for me because when I go to criticise about how I’d love for characters to be more developed, I have to remember the target audience. It’s middle grade, and while the books do age more as the characters grow, I have to bare in mind that this writing style is because of the demographic. Plus, it’s so dang enjoyable that it has to be 5 stars.

13.  Caraval

WHAT. A. RIDE. This was GREAT. SERIOUSLY. This was so fun and I read it all in one-sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. It was so twist-y (sometimes obviously so) and that ending!! SEQUEL PLEASE. I think more of my thoughts and feelings on this are better explained by my status updates, which I made while reading the book. You can read them all here (you can laugh at me if you want, I can take it). 5 flipping stars!

14. Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth

Once again, awesome. The books are getting bigger and bigger now, and at first I was a little off-put because I loved how short they were and how it never felt like there were ‘filler chapters’ but it WORKED. Much more to love! 4 stars.

15. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian

I LOVE IT. So much went down! WHAT A CONCLUSION THOUGH! I think this one could be my favourite – it was non-stop and thrilling. 5 stars of course!

16. The Lost Hero

It was good, but I can’t say it was my favourite. A nice beginning to a new series, even though I felt Percy’s absence, but the new characters are great. Once again, an ending that has me like !! really. So glad I didn’t have to wait long to read the sequel. 3 stars.

17. The Queen of the Tearling

Once again back on the disappointing books train. The worldbuilding in this was poor. The storyline was a mess. The characterisations terrible. This book tried to execute so many things at once that nothing was developed. No reasonable explanations behind anything, and the history of this world was a mess. Didn’t like it at all. Very boring. It didn’t really start to get it’s shit together until the last 20 pages. For more of my thoughts read my Goodreads review here. 1 star!

18. The Wrath and the Dawn

This one was good, but I was expecting so much more from the hype that was surrounding it. I liked it, but I did have a lot of ?? ReEeEaAlLlyYy moments? Like? What makes you so special that he’d give up doing what he’s done to 100’s of other girls and families because of what? You told him a story? Bitch please. . .  nah. Doesn’t sit with me. But still, despite that, it wasn’t completely crap and had a nice writing style. 3 stars.

19. The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Not a big fan of Gaimans’ writing style. I guess I feel like he just tried too hard to be whacky and out there that it just feels forced to me sometimes. But this wasn’t terrible though. It was interesting. I liked the structure that it was told in, but I did get a bit confused about the setting and what was going on. 2 stars.

20. The Son of Neptune

So much better than The Lost Hero. We’re reunited with some old favourites, and while I thought the abundance of POV’s would get tiresome it never was. I enjoyed having the multiple perspectives, and it increased the tension as we waited for other characters to figure out what the other characters knew, and to reunite. Yep. Loved it. 5 stars.

21. Beautiful Broken Things

Loved how mental illness and friendships were represented in this book. This book is realistic. It shows that people aren’t always perfect, that friendships are bitchy and can be filled with hate and jealousy, but they can be worked through. It shows that what you think is best for someone might not always be right. There is a true discussion going on in this about mental health, and I love it. People are calling other people out and it’s great. Once again I wrote a review which you can read here. Another 5 stars from me.

22. The Hate U Give

If you read any book this year, it should be this one. This book reflects the harsh reality of the racism and prejudice that still sadly exists in today’s society. Truly moving, heartbreaking. . . pure brilliance. While there are some issues I have with the writing style, I can completely ignore them because this book sets out with the pure purpose of opening your mind, with asking you to question and to challenge yourself, and it does that. It is heartbreaking. 5 stars.

23. The Mark of Athena

So out of the Heroes of Olympus series, this one is my favourite. Pretty much everyone of the main characters makes an appearance and it’s great. Obviously 5 stars.

24. Royally Screwed

I feel like I should’t admit to liking this. . . but I did. Okay. It wasn’t greatly written by any means. But it was just so out there. I just really did enjoy reading it, even though I know if I had to be critical about it then my rating would be slashed in half. . . but I’m not going to do that. NOPE. I’m still going to keep it at a 4 stars.

25. Under the Lights

Light and entertaining. This is so trashy, but sooo good. The characters are way too over dramatic most of the time, and I’m just like *rolls eyes* but it’s fun. Nothing remarkable, but a good distraction. 3 stars.

26. Night Owls

A school friend recommended this to me ages before I picked this up to read. When I finally did read it, I sent her a bunch of messages just filled with !!! and apologies for not listening to her sooner. This was so cute and adorable, and I read it in a sitting. 4 stars!

27. Three Dark Crowns

My review lays out all of my thoughts and feelings on this one. There was quite a bit of hype around this one, and I was tentative, because I had already DNF’ed books by this author before. So when it came to the hype I was like eh because of how that worked out for me last time. But still, I have it a chance . . . and came away disappointed. It wasn’t terrible, but it really could’ve been so much better. It felt like it draaaaaagggeeeed. 2 stars.

28. Glitches

This was GREAT. The Lunar Chronicles was one of my favourites, so I loved this short little story that took place before the first novel. We were seeing the events that have been mentioned in other novels, and that, for me at least, really added on that layer of story. Because reading this, and knowing how everything unfolds from there, adds that extra layer of tension I guess, since you’re in the known and these characters are not. It’s like !!! But yeah, it’s nice exploring more of these characters backstories and being reunited with characters that have died, or ones we’ve never met. 4 stars.

29. Existence

Honestly I can’t even really remember what this story was about. I remember a boy being a ghost and creeping into this girls room because he was there to “protect her”? And he played with her emotions, pretty much abusing them? Yeah – I hate to be so blunt but it was terrible. It felt like some sort of fan-fiction. 1 star.

30. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

This was a re-read and I still LOVED IT. Sam Cortland, you’ll always have my heart. Obviously 5 stars. (And yes, while re-reading this I might have cried a couple of times, and what??)

31. The Egg

This was so short, so strange, not even a novel. It was what – 3 pages? But heck, I really liked those 3 pages. Very interesting. 3 stars.

32. The Guard

Considering the fact that I was never really a lover of the Selection the first time, and that it has been a couple years since I’ve read it and can barely remember anything, I still enjoyed this. It was interesting to go back into that world and see things from another perspective. Still . . . I didn’t really like it. For die-hard fans, they probably would have loved it, but for me I was just indifferent. This is a short story, so yes, it makes no real impact or difference if you’ve read it or not, but I still struggle to see the point of this. Once again, if I remembered more of the series or was a big fan I’d probably think differently. Since I’m not, 2 stars.

33. The Kiss of Deception

Get out of here. I guessed it all straight away! HAHA. I quite enjoyed this one actually, and for more thoughts and feelings, you’ve guessed it, here’s my Goodreads review. 3.5 stars!

34. A Court of Wings and Ruin

*screams into the distance* OKAY. OKAY. I’M STILL ALIVE. AHHHHHHHHH. THAT ENDING THOUGH!! AH!!! AND I LOVED SEEING MORE OF MY NIGHT COURT BABIES AND AHHH! I am still unable to talk about this book comprehensively. YOU’LL NEVER GET THOUGHTS OUT OF ME THAT MAKE SENSE REGARDING THIS BOOK BECAUSE I AM TOO BUSY FANGLRING. (although I must say I still think ACOMAF is my favourite out of this trilogy!) 4 STARS.

35. Song of the Current

Won this in a goodreads giveaway and I’ve never been happier. A book that promises pirates and actually gives them? YAAAS? Do I also hear kick-ass and awesome female characters? YAAAS? A love story that’s not instant romance and doesn’t feature the “pure heroine” and the “bad boy of corruption” and a book that discusses the importances of consent and doesn’t shame women? YAAAS. So yep. I loved it.  A definite 4 stars! More on that in my review.

36. Spellslinger

Ever since I saw this beautiful cover (I’m shallow) I’ve been looking forward to this. So when it hit bookdepository at a low price could I resist?? NO! And it was great. I was expecting it to be more like A Gathering of Shadows which yes, is by a complete different author, but the concept seemed the same. It wasn’t though – and what is in this book is much  . . . different. And I liked it. It didn’t completely blow me away but it was great and a fun read. I wrote a review here. 3 stars.

37. Paper Hearts

Cute and fun. Nothing remarkable that blows you away, and sometimes the cliches get too much and the characters annoying, but it wasn’t completely dreadful. It was just a light teen fiction read. A low 3 stars.

38. Lord of Shadows

Once again a buddy read with the girl whom I read the Diabolic, Percy Jackson and A Conjuring of Light with, and my fellow moderator on my Goodreads group A Book Nirvana. I LOVED THIS. With each and every novel you can see Cassandra Clare’s writing improve. I loved seeing old characters once again returning in this, with seperate plot lines, as it keeps the whole world open and in-depth. I wrote a review here, which also links to my friends review which is GREAT. I gave this one a whooping 4 stars.

 

And there it is. All the books I’ve read this year (not including re-reads). I’m really happy with most of the books I’ve read this year, and I’m hoping that the latter half of this year continues to give me great books that I’ll love.

So what books have you read this year? Any that I have? Have you hated any books you’ve read this year? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!