Friday, 26 December 2014

November and December Book Haul

Over the last month and a half or so, I have ended up with a few new books, due to both my birthday and Christmas being in December.  Here's a picture of them.

1)  Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth
2)  The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
3)  The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson
4)  Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
5)  Literary Listography by Lisa Nola
6)  The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
7)  A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Christmas Gift Guide Tag + The Christmas Carol Tag

I have two tags today, so beware, it's going to be a long post!  I'm finally getting into the Christmas spirit, and what better way to celebrate?

Thank you to Jennie over at A Bookworm Called Jennie for tagging me in this one!

The tag was created by Crazy For YA and these are the guidelines:
1)  Pick at least one book/series for each category
2)  Spread some holiday cheer by tagging at least 3 bloggers
3)  Add your link to the original post

Here are the books I would give to the people in the following categories:

The YA Contemporary Lover


The Fantasy Lover

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Soundtrack Saturday - Cruel Beauty

Soundtrack Saturday is a book meme created by the lovely Erin over at The Hardcover Lover, where you pick songs that match a book you've read.  Today I'm matching songs to Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.  There's spoilers if you don't want to know what this book is about, it's nothing that you wouldn't know if you have read the synopsis, this is just a warning in case you plan to read the book with no idea of what is going to happen.
* I've linked all the songs to their lyrics, not a clip of the song.

A Song That Fits the Beginning
For this, I've picked You Should've Killed Me When You Had the Chance by A Day to Remember due to lyrics such as "So I say goodbye to a town that has ears and eyes I can hear you whispering as I walk by," because at the beginning, Nyx is essentially leaving a town, and her family, who have been talking about her her entire life, and the plans for her future.
"The only thing that's going to bother me is that you'll all call yourselves my friends" fits with her family, as she doesn't believe that they truly care about her, and are only using her as a means to an end.
"I walked into your house this morning, I brought the gun from our end table" sort of fits as she is to live with Ignifex and kill him right under his nose.

(I realise this is a bit of a stretch and I'm taking the lyrics very literally and a little out of context).

A Song That Fits A Character
I chose Riot by Three Days Grace as a song that fits Nyx, the main character, as a lot of the emotions mentioned in this song are things that Nyx feels throughout the novel.  For example: "empty", "let down", "angry" and "walked on".

A Song That Fits A Relationship
I chose another Three Days Grace song for this category: I Hate Everything About You.  "I hate everything about you, why do I love you?" pretty much sums up the relationship between Nyx and Ignifex, from both their perspectives.

A Song That Fits the Ending
Beauty and the Beast (Tale as Old as Time) from the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack is the song I've picked for this because, 1) I couldn't pass up an opportunity to include a song from the soundtrack and 2) I think it actually fits pretty well with the ending.  The phrase "tale as old as time" itself has some pretty significant connections to the ending, I believe since (highlight for spoilers):[ all the little myths/stories from throughout the book seem to end up being true/relevant, even though they are tales that they've been telling for as long as they can remember].  "Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly" fits well with the relationship side and ["Finding you can change, learning you were wrong" fits with the main characters at the end too].  And I don't think I could find a better phrase to sum up the overall ending of this book than "bittersweet and strange".

So that's my Soundtrack Saturday for today!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Mini Reviews ft. Please Ignore Vera Dietz, Made For You and The Raven Boys


Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King
This was the most unexpected book I have read this year.  I picked it up fully expecting to get halfway through and then put it down.  However, I was somehow hooked from the first page, and it's now one of my favourite books ever.  It's one of those special stories that you feel in your heart, and they are very rare to come by.
Moving on from my emotional raving...
The writing is entertaining as well as the actual structure of the novel - it alternates between chapters of the current time, and chapters depicting times in Vera's past, with a few random chapters thrown in from her Dad and the pagoda.  That's right, the pagoda.  I couldn't help feeling sorry for the main character Vera, whilst cheering her on as she grew and made big decisions throughout the story.  I definitely related to her on some level - I think everyone has had the experience of losing a friend for some reason or another.
Even though I really disliked what Charlie did and how he turned out, I couldn't help but love him and feel just as sorry for him as Vera - not to mention her poor father.
I loved figuring out what was going on by the little clues Vera's tales from the past revealed, and becoming ready along with her to face the truth.
The whole story was real and raw (if a little unbelievable) and the magical realism elements really added to the reading experience.  I may be finished reading this book, but I will remember it for a long time to come.

Made For You by Melissa Marr
I had some pretty high expectations for this book, but they fell flat.  I was expecting an exciting thriller, but it was a little more on the romantic and paranormal side, for me.  I didn't hate the book (obviously as I gave it 3 stars), I just didn't feel that it was anything special.  If you enjoyed The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, however, I would highly recommend this.
My biggest problem was probably that I didn't really connect to any of the characters, and I can't relate to that small-town vibe.  I didn't mind the best friend, Grace, but other than that, no one really stood out to me.  The parents also really got on my nerves.  I'm not sure if this actually happens in real life, but I can't understand how a child can have such a different personality/intellectual ability to their parents.  The main character, Eva, just seemed so much smarter than her mother in different ways and it was unrealistic to me.
Similar to this, I couldn't reconcile the point of view of the killer with how he was portrayed by the other perspectives.  I couldn't relate the thoughts in his head to his actions - it didn't make sense to me.  He was super creepy though, I will give him that.
I did enjoy the romantic and slight paranormal aspects (highlight for spoilers)[I liked how the visions were never really explained, they were just there].  While Eva wasn't an annoying character, some of her concerns seemed a little out of place [eg. facial scarring] considering there was someone out there looking for her.
The end of the novel was what I had wished the entire thing had been - suspenseful and exciting.  So, again, my expectations affected my enjoyment of the book.
Not Quite Thrilling

Slow Start, but a Brilliant Finish

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I've been hearing some amazing things about The Raven Boys for over a year now, and I finally decided to pick it up.  Honestly, the first half of the book started to drag for me.  This could be due to the fact that I was reading it very slowly (but then again, maybe I was reading it very slowly because it was starting to bore me?).  I was definitely intrigued and curious - and I understand that everything had to be explained - but I felt like not much really started to happen until the 200-page mark.  After that point though, wow.  I loved every second of the second half of the novel.
I also adored the characters.  They were all so different and the way they were written gave a sense of who they were on both the inside and outside, even if their perspective wasn't shown.  I can't even pick a favourite character because I loved all The Raven Boys (and felt so bad for each of them) and Blue and the other women of 300 Fox Way.  Although, okay, I have a soft spot for Gansey - just like everyone else!
I really enjoyed the creepiness of Cabeswater and all the mystery surrounding ley lines and Glendower.  It was exciting finding things out and being a part of the magic.
So overall, I liked this book, it was just a shame about the first part.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Top 10 New-To-Me Authors of 2014

Today's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is new-to-me authors of 2014.  I have to say that I don't really have too many, and even some of the ones I'm going to list, I have only read one book from (but I just know they're great).  So, here are my Top 5 favourite, new-to-me authors of this year.

1.  Laini Taylor

Have I talked about these books enough this year?  Laini Taylor's writing grabbed me and never let go.  I know she is definitely a new favourite author (and one I regret not reading sooner).

2.  Holly Black

I read The Spiderwick Chronicles this year and adored them.  The dark atmosphere created by Holly Black has me interested in trying out one all of her young adult novels.

3.  Leigh Bardugo

This was a book that I knew I was going to love from the first page.  The reason I haven't continued with the series:  I'm waiting until next year so I have a good enough excuse to reread this one.

4.  Rosamund Hodge

I absolutely fell in love with this book when I read it last month.  I am seriously anticipating Crimson Bound so much I can't even deal with it.  I have to get my hands on Gilded Ashes soon.

5.  A. S. King

Another author I read just last month.  I've been wanting to get around to A. S. King for a while, since one of my favourite booktubers (Ariel Bisset) is a huge fan.  I wasn't expecting to love Please Ignore Vera Dietz as much as I did, and now I am thoroughly excited to read more of her work.

I know my list is short this week, but I didn't want to add authors to the post just to make up numbers.  I'll see you soon with another post!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

I was recently contacted by a member of Book Publicity Services about a novel called Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading.  After reading the synopsis, I realised it was something I was actually really excited about reading, now that I'd heard about it.  It's a young adult mystery / adventure book, and the synopsis reminded my of my Trixie Belden days.  I've been provided with an e-copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review, and you can expect to see that up on the blog in the next month.  In the meantime, here's the synopsis and a small excerpt!

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold
Goodreads | Amazon
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

There are currently four books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4). Each book can be read as a standalone. 

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

Friday, 5 December 2014

Sisterhood of the World Blogger's Award - Q&A

I was tagged by the lovely Veronika @ Reading is Dreaming With Open Eyes to do the Sisterhood of the World Blogger's Award, but as I've already done this tag, I've decided to respond to it as a Q&A.

These are Veronika's questions, and my answers:

1. Do you prefer hardbacks, paperbacks, ebooks or audiobooks? 
I love hardbacks but practicality calls for paperbacks - they're cheaper and lighter to carry around.

2. What is the book that would make a great movie in your opinion? (Choose one that hasn't been filmed yet.)
I'd have to say Legend by Marie Lu.  That whole trilogy would be awesome as movies, I believe.

3. You are having a horrible day. What book can lighten your mood?
Something funny, I guess.  Like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, any of the Clarice Bean books by Lauren Child, Harry Potter... maybe Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor or Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck.  I have a lot of comfort books.

4. Who are your favorite musicians? 
If this is purely intended for those who play instruments, I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint.  Carter Burwell maybe?

5. Do you like Christmas themed books? Favorite one? (I'm dying to get some recommendations.)
I honestly think I am yet to read a Christmas themed book.  I'm about to read the collection My True Love Gave to Me, so that's exciting.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

November Wrap Up and December TBR + Updates

Here's what went down in November:

1.  These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (review; 3 stars)
2.  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (reread; 5 stars)
3.  The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (reread; 5 stars)
4.  Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (5 stars)
5.  Four by Veronica Roth (5 stars)
6.  Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King (5 stars)
7.  Made For You by Melissa Marr (3 stars)
8.  Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (DNF)
9.  The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (5 stars)

Sunday, 16 November 2014


So, it's been a week since my last post and I had several posts planned for the last week.  What I found though, was that I didn't like anything I'd written.  I like my ideas, but my execution was very poor.  I didn't feel excited about anything I wanted to post, because I knew that I could do it better.  I'm also currently fairly unhappy with my blog layout and design.  This has led to a long stream of procrastinating on writing new posts, and now I am behind.

Because of this, I have decided to take a further two weeks off of blogging.  I think this will help refresh me, and will give me time to come up with new ideas and to refine the ones I already have.  I realise three weeks is a pretty long time, and I would probably have just made it two, but I am going away for a week soon without internet.

Other updates:
-  The Retribution of Mara Dyer has still not arrived which is making me increasingly frustrated considering I preordered it and the longer it takes the more chance there is that I am going to see a spoiler.
-  I am officially finished high school as of last Tuesday, when I had my final exam, so I am free!  (Another reason why this blogging rut is so frustrating - I seriously have all the time in the world right now).

I apologise that I am going to be inactive in terms of posting for the next little while, but I hope that you can understand my reasons, and hopefully I will be better at blogging when I return!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Gif Tag

I've been tagged!  Noelia over at A Day in Bookland has kindly tagged me for the Gif Tag, in which you respond to different books with, you guessed it, gifs.  So, a huge thank you to Noelia, and here goes:

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This was a sad one.  Brilliant, but sad.  I loved it.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

I am hiding my face because I have not yet read it.  I plan to.  Soon.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

Historical fiction?  Sounds good.  973 page classic?  Not so much.
I don't think I could handle this one at this point in time.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Too Many Expectations

First and foremost, this is a love story.  It is also a survival tale and it is sci-fi, but it is a love story before either of those things.  This is not what I was expecting going into the book, and perhaps that is why I didn’t like it as much as I was expecting.

The novel follows Lilac and Tarver, members from different societal classes, and their attempts to survive on a seemingly abandoned planet after their space ship is destroyed.  It is nicely written, and the character development is the strongest part of the book.

My main issue was how slow it was.  I was not fully captivated by the story until the last hundred or so pages - when most of the action happened, and a certain event (spoiler:[Lilac’s death]) occurred.  If I’d known before picking this up that the majority of the story is just Lilac and Tarver wandering around a planet, I don’t think I would have minded as much (or perhaps I wouldn’t have picked it up in the first place).  Sometimes I felt as though the book was never going to end - not a good feeling.

So much of the story was just the characters narrating about their thoughts and feelings, and whilst I don’t have too much tolerance for that at the best of times, it also became repetitive.  Before the last third of the novel, this included a lot of whining from both characters too, making it even worse.  They did have their good moments though (and some funny ones), and I appreciated the development that the characters went through and how the changes weren’t instantaneous - they happened steadily over the course of the novel.  Lilac and Tarver became less annoying and a lot less whiny (well, in relation to their situation), which suited me.  I experienced a bit of frustration at times, though.  I wanted to scream “JUST EXPLAIN!” on more than one occasion.

I enjoyed the mystery element to the novel.  There were snippets of an interrogation between Tarver and someone else before each chapter that tied in with the events, which added a feeling of suspense and was probably the sole reason I kept reading after page 100.  My interest was piqued every time I got to one of these snippets, and it was like a little refresher for my boredom; something to stimulate theory-building.  And I had tonnes of theories.  None of them ended up being anywhere near correct, but then again, I don’t think you could guess the ending.

Speaking Typing of the ending: it was very science-y and a little hard to understand what was going on, yet it was the fastest paced part of the book.  I wish there had been more explanation as to [what had happened in the past to these aliens-things] but I can understand that this wouldn't be an issue for some people.

I felt that the ending for the characters was suitable except I also wanted more information on this!  [What happens in the future to them?  Do they really get left alone by Lilac's father?  Is Lilac's threat even valid anymore since the planet was destroyed after all?]  I'm kind of hoping it will be explained further somehow in the next books - though I believe this is an uncommon opinion, and most people think that it was wrapped up nicely.

So, I guess I liked this book, just not as much as I was hoping to.  I would recommend it if you are a fan of the 'star-crossed lovers' theme, or if you like survival stories.  As long as you don't mind the slow pacing.

Have you read These Broken Stars?  Are you planning to?  Let me know your thoughts below!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Top Ten Books I Would Like to Reread

This week's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is books that you would like to reread.  Most of my reading in my younger years was made up of rereading.  I hardly ever tried new books, because I had plenty that I already owned and loved.  Which, looking back, seems kind of strange.  Now that I have aged a little (and er... discovered Goodreads) I'm overwhelmed with the sheer amount of books out there that I am interested in and I hardly ever reread books anymore.  Anyway, the below list is ten books that I am planning to reread sometime in the future!

1.  The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The final book in this trilogy finally comes out TODAY!  I'm so excited that I'm rereading the first two books whilst waiting for my preorder to ship to me.

2.  Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I read this earlier in the year, and purposefully didn't pick up Siege and Storm immediately.  This is mostly because I have heard some not-so-good things about the next two books in the trilogy, so I want to forget what happened in Shadow and Bone and then reread it without it being tainted by possibly bad knowledge of the future.  If that makes any sense at all.

3.  Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Are you sick of me talking about this trilogy yet?  I'm planning to reread the first two books in the trilogy so that I can read the last book with fresh memories of the previous happenings.

4.  Harry Potter (the entire series) by J.K. Rowling
This doesn't need explaining.  There is never a bad time to reread Harry.  Side note, for some reason I find the synopsis on Goodreads for this version funny:
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy - until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason: HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!

5.  The Princess and the Captain by Anne-Laure Bondoux (translated by Anthea Bell)
I discovered this book at a cheap book store when I was in Year 7 - so, around 6 years ago.  It was a book that I was not expecting to enjoy, but it pulled me in and took me on a stunning journey.  I feel like this book is relatively undiscovered (it has 1, 341 ratings on Goodreads) and depending on your whereabouts, you can get it super cheap.  It's a fantasy/adventure book and I have reread it so many times, but I will always go back to it (no matter how much it breaks my heart).

6.  Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Another book you're probably sick of me discussing!  I enjoyed this book when I read it this year, but it was slow to start because it took a while for me to understand what was going on (I discovered the glossary at the back of the book when I finished).  I really loved the second half of this book though, so I feel that if I come back to it, I will love the whole thing even more.

7.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Okay... so I talk about the same books a lot.  Anyway, I have so much love for this trilogy (really; it makes me happy just thinking about it) and can definitely see myself rereading it in the future.

8.  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Can't get enough Will Herondale - or Charlotte, Henry, Tessa, Jem, Sophie, Magnus... any of the characters really.  This is an amazing trilogy which will stay with me forever.

9.  Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
This book.  It is a part of my soul.

10.  Trixie Belden books by Kathryn Kenny
This mystery series has approximately 39 books.  I own and have read up to book 34.  I adored these stories when I was younger (as did my mum and her sisters), and it would be amazing if I somehow found the time to revisit all of them (and even find the books I never read somewhere).

That's my Top Ten Tuesday for today!  Be sure to share your top ten with me!
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