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!