Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Recent Reads!!

Apparently I fell into a bit of a blogging hiatus this month, most likely the result of a seemingly endless amount of University work, essay deadlines and a lot of  procrastination which really did nothing to help the situation!

Despite university work and deadlines, I managed to read a couple of books over the last two months!

Books Read:
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas - 5/5 
I read most of this on the train and I found myself looking forward to train journeys with an unusual amount of enthusiasm (enthusiasm for this book) Heir of Fire did not disappoint. Maas expands Celeana's story further into the depths of Wendlyn, introduces a cast of interesting new characters - Manon the leader of the Iron Teeth witch clan in particular, and once again shows another side of Celaena - this time focusing on her Fae heritage. The character development is stepped up from Crown of Midnight and things get even more intense for all the characters!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 5/5
I reread this for University and although I still love this book, my opinion has changed quite a bit, probably because I was reading quite analytically and because this is my second time reading it, I probably have a better understanding of the book overall. I loved Jane as the protagonist - she is small and plain and does not need to be bold and heroic to be seen as strong. (ultimate strong female character) My opinion changed a bit on Rochester though. The first time I read Jane Eyre, I apparently, did not seem to notice all the creepy and deceptive things Rochester does, but this time they became very apparent and very creepy. I can understand why he behaves this way, but I just found him so creepy this time!

Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - 4/5
Books about books and bookshops are my idea of a perfect autumn read. This book has convinced me that the only career path I shall take, is one which involves a secret book cult. A SECRET BOOK CULT, do I need to say more? This was quite a short read in comparison to the other books I've been reading, however, it was fast paced and there was an abundance of bookish enthusiasm. Sloan also managed to marry the old (books) with the new (internet) and as an enthusiast of both the internet and of books, I found this really engaging and fun!

Ho, ho ho, it's December and I'm currently reading Adam Bede by George Eliot, I've acquired quite a few new books these past few months and I'm looking forwards to reading lots over Christmas and to catching up with my goodreads challenge!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Top Ten Character Driven Novels!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Join the fun! 

After pondering for far too long over the definition and meaning of 'character driven' novels, I finally decided that character driven novels are essentially just novels focusing on really interesting and well developed characters? I'm not sure all of these actually fall under 'character driven' novels but here are some of my favourite books with good characters!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I can't write a post about characters and not include this one. Jane Eyre is such a finely crafted character that I have no words. As with a lot of classics, Jane is intricately crafted, we follow her from childhood and see her character develop and bosom. She's so much more than just the one dimensional governess with a crush on her employer, that she could have been.

Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer - The Shock of the Fall is such an interesting novel, exploring one character's experiences and struggles with mental health (schizophrenia) Filer is also a mental health nurse which gives this novel a real sense of authenticity.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - Margaret Hale is one of my favourite literary characters. She is such a strong and admirable character and is just queen. (I'm sure someone in the novel does in fact call her queen, or something along those lines?)

Life of Pi by Yann Martell - I remember being in Waterstones and randomly reading the blurb of Life of Pi. I was instantly drawn in and was not disappointed. This book follows Pi, stranded on a lifeboat with only animals for company. This book deals quite heavily with faith and that's something Pi has a lot of. The ending is so unexpected and really thought provoking too.

One Day by David Nicholls - One Day follows the lives of two characters, every year on the same day for a number of years. Both characters feel so real as they develop and change over the years and by the end of the book you feel as if you're leaving behind two friends!

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki - All the characters in this book are so well crafted and interesting with their own quirks and back stories, even the secondary characters are very well characterised. Ruth and Nao, the two protagonists are so different, yet both such interesting and intriguing characters. All the feels.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - Books like The Bell Jar have really opened my mind about how mental health is just as important as physical health, and the internal struggles experienced by Ester seem so authentic, especially considering some elements of the novel are quite reflective of Plath's life.

Vicious by V.E Schwab -  The characters in Vicious are so interesting, dark and twisted. They are very flawed and easy to dislike but definitely not dull.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men was one of the first classics I remember reading and feeling so drawn in by the characters and found myself actually caring about them and their relationships. (and the rabbits)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - This book though, all the feels for all the characters. They are so well crafted and I got so attached.

What do you guys think of these books? What are your favourite character driven novels?  

Thursday, 2 October 2014

September Reads!

Hello y'all! This post should more appropriately be called my September Read, rather than reads, plural,  as I only managed to read one book this month! I was in a bit of a reading slump at the beginning of the month and University reading has gradually been taking up all of my reading time! I'm trying to organise my time more effectively so I can do all the things I love (read, play skyrim, eat food, sleep) as well as study for University.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - 5/5 stars 
North and South was the only book I read this month, and despite the disappointing feat of only reading one book, I'm glad that it was this one. North and South is a classic, written in 1855 and follows Margaret Hale, as she moves from the south of England to the north, and how this move impacts on her life, those around her and changes her views and opinions. The novel is set during the Industrial Revolution at the time when the north was particularity industrial, with an abundance of factories and the emerging middle class, which I found so interesting to read. One of my favourite things about classics is the way it's possible to learn about the cultural and historical climate of a particular time period and this is definitely a novel that really portrays how things were changing so drastically in the 19th century. Gaskell explores problems with industrial capitalisation and relationships in society between workers and factory owners from a nineteenth century perspective which is really riveting to read. North and South is such a well crafted novel and a wonderful combination of Literature and History!

After finishing North and South, I started Emma by Jane Austen, and I've gotten about 100 pages in, however I'm not the biggest Jane Austen fan, so I've taken a break from that book and returned to my reading slump. I'm really excited about reading Heir of Fire so I'm thinking I will start it as soon as possible to hopefully get back into the reading rhythm, yay!

What did you guys read this month!? 

Be friends with me! 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish! Join the fun! 

I've just started back at University so I'm probably not going to be able to read as much as I have over the summer, sadness ensues. But here are the books I really want to read this Autumn and I will try my darn hardest to get through them all!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I read Jane Eyre for the first time two years ago and absolutely loved it! In fact I was really really obsessed with it and I just cannot express how much I love this book and all the characters. Nineteenth Century literature is one of my favourite periods and I am so excited to reread this, especially as it is part of my University course!

Bleak House by Charles Dickens
I really like Classics at the moment, so I figured this Autumn would be a good time to start my first Dickens. It's a bit long (my edition is over 1000 pages) which is quite daunting but at the same time quite intriguing as the book sounds pretty interesting and something I would enjoy! (nineteenth century literature *drools*)

Adam Bede by George Eliot
And another classic I really want to read! I always feel disposed to reading all the classics in the Autumn months! Adam Bede was actually written by Mary Ann Evans under the pen-name George Eliot!

The Young Elites  by Marie Lu
I haven't read any Marie Lu before but this book is released in October and it sounds so interesting and awesome and I've read some amazing reviews about it! I'm really tempted to pre-order and read it as soon as it comes out! It sounds so dark and mysteriousness and Renaissance (and I do love everything renaissance) Also the pinterest board for this book may or may not have increased my excitement!

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
I love the Throne of Glass series so much but I have yet to read Heir of Fire! At the moment I have so much University reading to do that I haven't had the time to sit down and just devour this book yet. Soon though because the anticipation is killing me. Soon.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling
I've had The Casual Vacancy on my shelf for a good couple of months now but I've never felt in the mood to read it. However this Autumn I am determined to read it, despite the mixed reviews everyone seems to give it. I've been getting pumped to read this book for a while and I really want to give it a go soon!

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Another book I've had on my shelf for a good couple of months. I've heard nothing but good reviews about this book and series but it's so long and daunting! The cover looks cold and snowy so I'll hopefully get around to reading this when the weather matches! 

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I recently purchased this book because, like many book lovers, I am sucker for books about books, and especially books about bookshops (aka the most magical and amazing places in the world) Bookshops always seem so perfect for the autumn seasons and so this book seems to me, to be a perfect autumn read!

Battle Royale by  Koushun Takami
After reading A Tale for the Time Being, I've become more interested in Japanese culture and writing. Therefore, I decided it was time to pick up Battle Royale. I've known about this book for quite some time and it sounds so gruesome and dark and super interesting! Notable mentions to that cover, wow! 

Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
Finally a book fantasy book about Assassins. I love a good fantasy book and I love all thing to do with assassins, this Way of Shadows was added to my Autumn to be read list! I've read some great reviews of this series and I'm so excited to read it!

What books are you guys going to read this autumn!?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Crown Of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas - Book Review

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: 15th August 2013
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

"A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached. It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul 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.

This is the second book in the series, and contains some spoilers for the first book in the series, Throne of Glass

In a nutshell: SO much character development, awesome assassin action that was missing in the first book, betrayal, treachery, secrets and revelations galore.

I have had this review in progress for about a month, and for the vast majority of that month, it only contained the words ‘SO GOOD’ (capitals necessary) Needless to say, I loved this book, but writing about it was such a struggle. Why? Because I cannot express how amazing it is. Crown of Midnight is an enormous improvement on Throne of Glass, every character, every plot point, every element of the series improves so completely. While I didn’t dislike Throne of Glass, there were definitely parts which left more to be desired and Crown of Midnight rectifies every questionable part of Throne of Glass, dare I say it… perfectly.

Once again, Maas rolls out strong, well developed characters and this time, an even stronger plot line, with all the assassin action that Throne of Glass was lacking. There first half of the book follows a similar vein to Throne of Glass in a more calm and relaxed fashion, more focused on character relationships, but in the second half, the plot and the action really get under way. There’s mystery, devastation, betrayal and a whole load of secrets, action and magic.

The character development is outstanding. Dorian in particular grows so much as a character. In Throne of Glass, he came across as a frivolous, one dimensional character, who seemed to have little purpose other than being a love interest, however he completely turns around in Crown of Midnight, to the point where he became one of my favourite characters.

He becomes more likeable, develops a personality away from Celaena, and embarks on his own personal journey after uncovering a life changing revelation. It is clear these revelations are important to the overall storyline of the series but not much is revealed in this book! a clever move from Maas as this really builds up the anticipation for Heir of Fire!

Lastly, my favourite improvement to Dorian is that he becomes a much more admirable character. He finally gains the courage to vocalise his objections to his father’s imperialistic plans, something that in Throne of Glass he was quite reluctant to do and gets seems to get more involved in the more political side of life, as you would expect from a Prince. Dorian's reluctance really irritated me in Throne of Glass and I was so happy to see him grow as a character!

As for Chaol and Celaena, their relationship becomes more explosive in more way than one! In fact, explosive is a good word to describe some of the events and character reactions throughout the book. Celaena maintains her role as one of my favourite female characters and another, previously unseen, more savage side of her comes through as she struggles with her loyalties. Maas expands on both character’s backgrounds and back stories as well the general world building. Although the world building isn't the most expansive, it’s enough and adequately depicts the world in a way that is easy to envisage.

A real twist is thrown in at the end, and it changes everything. It forced me to re-evaluate everything that’s happened over the course of the series and the anticipation for Heir of Fire is high! Overall, Maas crafts a sublime instalment in the Throne of Glass series, complete with awesome assassin action and insanely amazing character development. 

(P.S Chaolaena forever)

Be friends with me! 

Friday, 5 September 2014

August Reads!

Hi friends! Overall in the month of August, I managed to read three books, which was quite good considering I read the mammoth that is Game of Thrones this month, although I do seem to have fallen into a bit of a reading slump recently, not fun! Onto the books!

A Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin - 5/5
I watched the first season prior to reading this and managed to love this book despite knowing everything that happens - if that's not a good book then I don't know what is! In case you don't know, Game of Thrones is the first fantasy book in the Song of Ice and Fire series and follows a variety of characters across the fictional world of Westeros. The world created by Martin is extensive and well developed, political with a hint of supernatural evil and it was nice to read about a range of characters of different ages, status and backgrounds.There's so much treachery and political turmoil and I have a feeling everything is going to get some much more intense in the next book!
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R Carey - 5/5
This has quickly become one of my favourite books, it's everything you could want in a zombie novel. The novel is post apocalyptic and follows a group of characters surviving in a zombie wasteland - with a twist. It's thrilling, enigmatic, and action packed but at the same time, explores the complexities of humanity, compassion, and mortality through a cast of well-developed characters. I really enjoyed how the characters perspectives and motives are explored through the third person narration and gives an insight into their backgrounds and the impact this has on their decisions throughout the novel. It's a refreshing and unique read and successful combines both zombie action with a poignant and thought provoking story.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams - 4/5
This is the second book in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. After reading the first book in the series I read this one! It's quite similar to the first book in the series, in that the plot is very loose and random, as are the characters and the events which take place. I found the pacing of this book quite slow towards the beginning but it picked up at the second half of the book. Also I found that this book focused more on Beeblebrox and Ford and characters such as Trillian were ignored quite a bit, she wasn't mentioned much and was just in the background, occasionally talking with Arthur. I thought her character could have been developed or just included more. Overally, I enjoyed reading this and I'm quite intrigued to find out what goes on next!

If you guys have read these books, what are your thoughts? What books did you guys read this month!?

Be friends with me! 

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R Carey - Book Review

Title: The Girl with All the Gifts
Author: M.R Carey
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: 6th June 2014
Genre: Horror/Post Apocalyptic
Rating: ★★★★★


Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

This review is quite vague as I wanted to avoid spoilers and those turn of events which make the book so much more exciting when you're not aware of them before reading! 

In a nutshell: A refreshingly unique twist on the classic zombie, thrilling yet poignant tale, intense relationships, strong characterisation, and zombie action.

The Girl with All the Gifts encompasses everything you could want in a zombie novel.

It’s post-apocalyptic, thrilling, enigmatic, and action packed but at the same time, explores the complexities of humanity, compassion, and mortality through a cast of well-developed characters. The Girl with All the Gifts has easily become one of my favourite novels, as Carey manages to writes a novel which is thrilling and packed with refreshing zombie action, yet manages to be poignant and moving at the same time.

The characters are very well developed and the relationships between most characters are intense in different ways. Each character develops wonderfully and although they seemingly start out quite archetypal, (the military guy, the civilian, the scientist, etc.) they develop their own unique personalities and become so real and believable throughout the course of the novel. 

The use of third person narration, with each chapter being told from the perspective of a different character really works well, allowing an insight into each character’s motivations, back stories and flaws, which have an overall impact on their decisions throughout the novel and give them a lot of dimension. 
The character dynamics and intense relationships, centering around ten year old Melanie, and unique twist on the classic idea of zombies really makes this novel so compelling and unique.

The story is a classic tale of survival in a post-apocalyptic world and the zombie twist really keeps it interesting and prevents this novel from falling into the predictable post-apocalyptic category, rather, it’s exciting, interesting and thrilling! The zombie infection is described with such detail that it is both terrifyingly and fascinatingly believable. The Cordyceps fungus (which is real and actually effects ants and other insects!) is such an interesting way for a zombie apocalypse to start. Before reading this novel, I was familiar with Cordyceps however Carey explains it straightforwardly and even references a real documentary by David Attenborough which I happen to have watched before and it was nice to see it referenced! (Would recommend a watch!)

The action in the novel is not so much that it overpowered the story, and it’s not a story based solely on violence and action, rather it’s a blend of awesome zombie action combined with a gripping story of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. I found some parts towards the beginning of the novel a little slow but once the story gets going, it really gets going. I don’t want to spoil anything but notable mentions to the ending!

On a slightly side note, I found that this novel quite similar to the PlayStation 3 game, ‘The Last of Us.’ Both explore intense parent-child relationships, both use the Cordyceps fungus as the cause of the zombie outbreak and both take place about twenty years after the initial outbreak, dealing with humanity coping in a post-apocalyptic world. Essentially, they are both emotionally charged, action packed zombie stories and if you enjoy one, I think you will really enjoy the other!

Overall, Carey crafts a gripping post-apocalyptic tale of survival in a zombie wasteland with a twist, which is uniquely thrilling yet poignant and dreary yet hopeful. In short, it’s thought provoking and moving with a superb dose of zombie action and I wholeheartedly recommend this book!

Be friends with me! 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is top ten books I really want to read but don't own!
There are so many books I want to read haven't gotten around (or the money!) to buy yet! Here are a few that I really want to read! 

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Heir of Fire is the third book in the Throne of Glass series and is released on 11th September in the UK. I am so excited for this book, I read the first two books in the series last month and loved them so much. The characters in this series are amazing and the plot has just become so much more exciting, I cannot wait for this installment!

The Assassin's Blade Novellas by Sarah J. Maas
The Assassin's Blade is a collection of novellas following Celaena Sardothian before the events of Throne of Glass. I love the Throne of Glass series and this book is will just feed and amplify my love for this series! Also, the covers for this series are so pretty and amazing!

The Storied Life of A.J Frikry by Gabrielle Zevin 
Books about books are my weakness, I want to read them all! This one sounds to interesting but I've only seen it available in hardcover and hardcovers are usually quite expensive. Ah, the inner turmoil of really wanting a book but also being money conscious!

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (any Murakami novel really)
I've heard lots of good things about Murakami and I'm really eager to read one of his books! The release of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage has re-ignited my wish to read a Murakami novel. I hope to purchase and read either 1Q84 or Norwegian Wood very soon!

The Queen of The Damned by Anne Rice
This is the third book in the Vampire Chronicles series, following Interview With The Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. This series is such an interesting take on Vampires and each book reveals more intriguing information and background about each character. I love this series and I want to read this book sometime this autumn/winter, this may or may not have something to do with the snow on the cover...

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Another book about books. This sounds mysterious and bookish book and super intriguing but for some reason the price of this book on every book website is around eight pounds and I'm not sure why?

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I've wanted to read this classic for quite some time but have never gotten around to it! After seeing some good reviews I'm quite intrigued by this book once again, although I'm not too sure what it is actually about! Sometimes it's good to go into a book with no idea what you're about to read!

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Another classic I've wanted to read for quite some time now. I watched the film last year and I loved the story and the historical aspects so I figured I would love the book too!
J by Howard Jacobson
J is just one of the books I want to read from the 2014 Man Booker Prize long list. It has been compared to 1984 by George Orwell, having similar dystopian elements which is very appealing as I loved 1984. J sounds very intriguing and having read a couple of good reviews, I really want to read it!

A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin 
I read Game of Thrones and enjoyed it a lot, so naturally I really want to read the next book in the sequel! I watched the first season of the TV show but I've been avoiding the second season so I can read the books first! A Clash of Kings is a very apt title and I can imagine a lot of fighting and political maneuvering goes on in this book!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish  and after seeing these posts everywhere I decided that this Tuesday I would join in with the Top Ten Tuesday fun, yay!

I know I want to read all the books I currently own, so these are books I've come close to buying but have some doubts and inner conflicts over whether I want to read them or not!

Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want To Read 

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion 
As an avid fan of zombies, I'm usually super excited to read any book with zombies in, however, although Warm Bodies has a a unique take on zombies (zombie/human romance I think?) I'm just not sure it's something I will enjoy-  it sounds odd, zombies and romance don't seem as if they will mix well together, but at the same time I'm quite intrigued by the concept. Books with romance as the central theme admittedly aren't my favourite , but there are zombies so I might like it?

Feed by Mira Grant 
Again, as a fan of zombies, my expectations are quite high and I'm mighty scared of being disappointed by this book. It's set post zombie apocalypse and follows two bloggers trying to uncover the secrets behind it. It sounds like a fun, thrilling and fast paced zombie book but I'm scared of being let down! I don't want to give bad ratings to zombie books!

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Sticking with the theme of zombie books I haven't read yet, Something Strange and Deadly is a steampunk zombie novel and seems like it has a strong female protagonist and interesting plot - someone is controlling hordes of the living dead, the same someone who has taken the protagonist's brother hostage. It sounds so interesting but at the same time, I don't think I'm a massive fan of the romances in young adult books and I'm sure there will be one in this book but I'm not sure how much I will like it? (please no insta love)

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey 
I've seen a lot about this book and a lot of mixed reviews, I've heard about a flimsy romance/love triangle which, again, usually just gets on my nerves and completely ruin a book for me. I'm hesitant to pick this book up, but the alien and apocalyptic elements are telling me it might be rad? Also, there's a film, based on the book in the making so that isquite encouraging! 

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This book gets a 4.18 average rating on goodreads (so it must be good!?) and sounds really intriguing but once again, as with a lot of highly rated young adult books, I'm scared of being in that one percent that unfortunately ends up disliking the book. Also, there are six books in the series and that's quite daunting! I'm reading quite a few series and don't want to start another just yet!

Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers
After reading the Throne of Glass series, I have been searching for other books with a strong female assassins as the protagonist and stumbled upon Grave Mercy on goodreads. It's about assassin nuns, yes, assassin nuns- need I say more? But once again, mixed reviews ignite that internal conflict on whether I want to read this book or not.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
I have to admit I'm not entirely sure what this book is about, but I've so many recommendations of this book that I kind of want to read it, but at the same time, I'm sure I've read this synopsis and it didn't seem that interesting, particularly as I can't really remember anything about it? I'm quite fussy when it comes to writing style and the way a book is written, so when I heard that the writing style is very colloquial and incorporates a lot of slang I naturally doubted whether I want to pick this book up.

The Diary of Young Girl by Anne Frank
Although I recognise the historical importance of Anne Frank's diary, I'm not sure why but I always  feel slightly weird reading works, especially diaries and personal letters that have been published posthumously. It almost feels as if it's an invasion of privacy and this keeps me quite hesitant about picking up this book of my own accord. Maybe one day I will finally be able to dispel these uncertainties.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon 
 I've heard lots of good things about this book, and for that reason my expectations are quite high and I'm scared of having them crushed. It sounds mysterious and interesting but some reviews have said it's quite boring, I don't want to be disappointed so I'm not sure whether I want to buy this or not.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR. Tolkien
I've been meaning to read this for the past three summers but never got around to it. I want to read it but the size is a little scary and I've just not felt in the mood for such a large book. I'm slightly scared of getting confused with all the names and hopefully one summer I will finally feel in the mood to read this. (hopefully!)

That's all of them! Have you guys read any of these? If so, what did you think, would you recommend them!?

What books are you not sure you want to read!?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Throne Of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas - Book Review

Title: Throne Of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: 2nd August 2012
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★

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?

In a nutshell: A female assassin with lots of sass, a tournament and duel, mysterious evil mutilating and killing competitors, unexpected bonds, friendship and romance! 

From a book focusing on an assassin, one might expect a story filled with assassinations and assassin action; however this is not what Throne of Glass delivers. There are no actual assassinations and little action until the latter half of the book, so if you’re expecting a wealth of violence and action, you may be a little disappointed. Rather, Throne of Glass offers the story of a typical eighteen year old girl, who just so happens to be an assassin.

Between training and solving magical mysteries, Celaena manages to spend a generous amount of time fawning over extravagant dresses and her appearance, to the point where she even asks herself, 'How had she gone from the most feared prisoner in Endovier to this sappy mess?' However, I found the inclusion of such femininity quite refreshing; Celaena is both physical strong and a more than capable assassin whilst retaining her femininity and emotions, breaking the mold of strong female characters being either one or the other. Celaena is strong, confident and determined to win her freedom, her perseverance is both inspiring and compelling. Although at time she is terribly vain and arrogant, I found this quite excusable as she is the most notorious assassin in Adarlan and with a wealth of sassy quotes such as 'My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name's Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I'd still beat you, no matter what you call me' it is hard to dislike her.

Alongside encapsulating a uniquely strong female protagonist, Maas writing is enjoyable and easy to read. The descriptive passages are neither lacking nor too heavy, allowing the reader to easily imagine the world. The world building is not extravagant but it is just enough to complement the story and Maas throws in some pretty interesting and captivating scenery - glass castle, wow!

Third person narration works well in Throne of Glass, allowing an insight into the motivations and mind-set of not only Celaena, but a whole cast of characters - who may have been misunderstood by Celaena had the book been written using first person narrative. This makes Throne of Glass fun to read, and while the plot is a little slow and somewhat predictable (what are the chances of the protagonist failing the tournament?) unexpected mysteries, relationships and strong character dynamics keeps the book both captivating and entertaining.

On the topic of character dynamics, the supporting characters are interesting and well layered; Chaola and Nehemia stand out particularly. Chaol is Captain of the Guard, stoic and guarded, he keeps his emotions buried deep down; his true feelings are only implied through gestures and hinted at through subtleties. His relationship with Celaena develops from one of cold disregard to warmth as he gradually begins treat her with more acceptance and respect, despite her assassin status; he even manages to smile in her presence! The contrast between Celaena’s and Chaol’s differing personalities is very entertaining, amusing, and definitely one of the highlights of the novel! Chaol undergoes a slightly foreseeable but nonetheless interesting character development which makes him a joy to read about and I highly anticipate discovering more of backstory in the next book!

Additionally, the inclusion of Nehemia, depicted as both a person of colour and female friend to Celaena who has a greater purpose in the story other than simply being another female friend to gossip and discuss boys with, is both commendable and refreshing! Unfortunately, Prince Dorian lets the side down; although nice, his character comes across as quite dull. His only major flaw is his failure to stand up to his father - he begrudgingly carries out his father’s orders but never makes any significant objections, which was irritating. Dorian comes across as quite entitled and despite his inner turmoil he disappointingly fails to make any major changes. Here’s to hoping he shows some development in the next book.

On a similar note, I found the romance sections of the novel quite boring.  A love triangle is implied and I found the relationship which does develop to be quite awkward and flat. The relationship seems to be built on lust and mutual good looks, which makes it hard to believe that one specific character (avoiding spoilers) could harbor such strong feelings - only supported by the flimsy notion that ‘she's not like all the other girls, she reads books and knows about mythology’ (cue the eye roll) The romance might be to some reader’s tastes but in my opinion, there just seemed to be a lack of chemistry and substance to the relationship.  

Overall, if you can get over the lack of assassin action and a bit of a bland romance, Throne of Glass offers a fun read with a well-rounded female heroine and interesting cast of supporting characters. Although Throne of Glass has some minor flaws, Maas’s sets the foundations for a series with lots of potential and upcoming action; I would definitely recommend a read!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

July Reads!

Hello friends and fellow earth dwellers, welcome to my post about the books I read in the month of July!

I read a total of five books, all of which I enjoyed and rated over three stars - so overall I would say July has been a happy and successful month of reading, yay!

The books:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - 3.5/5
The Night Circus is a fantasy novel, centering around a magical circus which opens at dusk and closes at dawn, and follows the lives of two competing magic users and those around them. Overall, I had mixed feelings about this book, the characters and plot were complex, interesting and very unique, however I wasn't keen on the writing style. I think this was mainly due to personal preference as this book was very well written, but I could not get used to the present tense writing which unfortunately brought this book down to a 3.5/5 stars. Aside from the writing style, I would recommend a read if only for the characters, the story line and the circus itself (I wish it was real) and is a good fun read.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki - 4.5/5
A Tale of the Time Being really is a unique book. The story follows two characters, Ruth and Nao. Ruth - a writer, living on a small island off of Canada, finds a diary belonging to Nao - a schoolgirl living in Japan, washed upon the shore in a hello kitty lunchbox. This was a delight to read, the characters contrasted each other wonderfully and the narrative is interesting, switching from Nao's diary to Ruth's reactions and reflection on Nao's story and the impact it has on her life. I found that towards the end of the book things got a little confusing, but the epilogue wraps the story up perfectly! This book encompasses a range of emotions, both humour and sadness and in short, just makes you feel all the feels. I loved this book and would 100% recommend it!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - 4/5
Throne of Glass is the first in a young adult fantasy series. The main protagonist, Celaena Sardothien is a 19 year old Assassin taken from her life sentence at the salt mines to participate in a competition for the position of Royal Assassin which will ultimately win back her freedom. Celaena is an outstandingly strong female character - she is both physically strong and the most notorious assassin in the land, all the while retaining her femininity and emotions, really dismantling the notion of females being either one of the other. The plot and supporting characters are fun and interesting, although the romance is a little sub par and at times there is less action than one might expect from a book focusing on an assassin. Overall, this book was a fun read with a great female protagonist and a good foundation for the series.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas - 5/5
The Throne of Glass series only gets better in Crown of Midnight. This book follows Celaena as the newly appointed Royal Assassin and her struggles with where her loyalties lie. Everything gets so much better in this second book - there's a lot more action, more character development, the plot gets intense, and revelations and mysteries are abound. More information is revealed about the world, mythology, and magic (or lack of) and Celaena maintains her position as a strong female protagonist. The romance is a little cheesy but much more realistic and authentic than in the previous novel and a real twist is thrown in at the end of the novel which changes everything. I love this series and the anticipation for Heir of Fire is very, very high.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 4/5
I like to think of myself as quite a funny person so naturally I figured a book know for it's comedic value would be a good match for me - I was not wrong. Hitchhikers is book one in a trilogy of five parts, and follows the earth dweller Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect (who turns out to be an alien) on their travels across the universe and the different individuals (or aliens) they meet on their travels. The writing and dialogue is witty and humorous which is fun to read and was definitely my favorite element of the book. The narrative is fast paced and the plot is quite random and insane because so many odd occurrences happen throughout, but at times I found things a little weird and confusing. However this book was nicely wrapped up, setting Arthur and his comrades up for their next adventure at the Resturaunt at the end of the universe and I'm excited to read more of Arthur's adventures through the galaxy!

That's all for now, stick around or follow my blog for full length reviews on some of these books and other fun posts, coming very soon!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Reading Habits Tag!

Hi Y'all!

I have to admit, nobody actually tagged me to do this, but once I stumbled upon this tag the avid reader in me knew I had to tag myself! I've been on a bit of a reading roll recently (aka I have a slight book addiction) so this tag is perfect for right now!

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
I usually read on my bed. but occasionally from 12-3am, I will sit in the living room and host my own late night reading club (very exclusive, invitation only) of which I am not only the founder, but the one and only member.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Bookmark, usually. My default bookmark is a metal '50 books to read before you die' bookmark I bought from W.H Smiths a couple of years ago and it has definitely stood the test of time, I remember using it during secondary school! I use that bookmark for my main book but if I'm reading more than one I usually just use a piece of paper of whatever I can find! Recently though I have been using the free bookmarks from Book Depository, they're super cool and designed by customers!

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?
I can just stop reading but I don't like it. If I'm going to stop reading I usually try to stop at the end of a chapter or somewhere with a prominent break so I don't forget where I am and have to re-read for context.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?
Sometimes I have a cup of coffee while I read but most of the time I forget about it and it goes cold! Is it possible to eat and read a book at the same time? How do you hold them both??

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
Never TV, it's way too distracting, I can't concentrate unless I'm reading in silence. Although, if I'm on the train and it's particularly noisy I sometimes listen to instrumental or music from Skyrim to drown it out, but never anything with words, that's just confuses me.

6. One book at a time or several at once?
One book at a time. I've tried read multiple books at once but I always end up reading them one at a time. It gets confusing dipping into each book and sometimes get worlds and characters mixed up!

7. Reading at home or everywhere?
At home or on the train are the only places I read.

8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?
Silently in my head. Although if I'm studying or trying to remember something, I find it helps to read things out loud so I usually end up whispering rather creepily to myself.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
No! Occasionally my eyes wander to the opposite page but I always feel as if I'm going to miss something important if I skip pages. The only exception to this is if the book is exceptionally and soul crushingly boring -cough-cough-GulliversTravels-cough-cough-

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I prefer to keep my spines like new, but sadly accidents do happen.

11. Do you write in your books?
I only write in books if they are for study purposes and I have no intention of reading them for fun.

12. What are you currently reading?
A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It's about a woman living in Canada who stumbles upon the diary of a teenage girl from Japan. I'm about three quarters of the way through, I like it so far, it's a little bit sad but also kind of funny.

And that's the end of the tag! It's weird how everyone likes to read in different ways and have differing habits! Feel free to do this tag or comment below on your most peculiar reading habits! I tag anyone reading this!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Welcome to my blog!

Hi y'all!

For quite some time this blog has been sitting around empty and unused, waiting patiently as I procrastinated this first post, however today is the day - it's finally happening! Have some cake to celebrate my first blog post and prepare yourself for a whirlwind of postage and all round awesomeness!

Expect to see a variety of posts infused with awesomeness and hilarity, including all things to do with books, games, and tv, a sprinkle of cute things, a dash of beauty and a dose of zombie related content. Essentially, expect to see a mixture of posts about all the random things I love! (and also the things I take a brief liking towards!)

To conclude this post, I invite you to join me on my blogging adventure as I kick procrastination's butt and figure this whole blogging thing out!

Here is some cake, please enjoy!