All about Books
This is the page where I will be discussing what I'm reading, reviewing those books and be open to suggestions to keep adding to my To Be Read pile. Honestly, I'm never going to get through that thing anyway, so the more the merrier.
My next book review in my end of year round-up is Dreamfall. I've been a fan of Amy Plum's books since her Die For Me trilogy (which I'm re-reading in 2018 because it's about time I did so), though her books can sometimes be hard to access in the UK for some reason. I was therefore excited to get this one for Christmas.
Author: Amy Plum
Part of a trilogy: No, book 1 in the Dreamfall duology
Original publication date: 2nd May 2017
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Read December 2017)
Well that was exhilarating! The first thing you should know about me, if you don't already, is that I'm a coward when it comes to horror. I hardly ever watch horror films and tend to avoid the genre all together. But I really wanted to read this one.
The second is that I have mild insomnia, so the concept of this book immediately intrigued me and can understand people signing up to an almost new experiment for a cure to theirs when they're desperate.
Also, fair warning for those of you like me who are terrified of clowns- well...there are clowns.
I have to say that I was surprised to find I enjoyed learning about the science in this and it was rather interesting- even if it did go straight over my head at times. Not that I dislike science, but I'd expected to have no idea at all of what the brain/sleep specialists would be talking about. It wasn't quite so bad.
This book is a multi-POV from three characters and handled well. The book was actually shorter than I'd thought and despite being in my least-read genre, I got through it pretty quickly. The cover in real life on the hardback is also great to look at- but I always think that! :)
I enjoyed the concept of the Void in between the nightmares, which gave the characters- and myself- some respite, and how each nightmare was as different and detailed as the characters themselves. The error in the trial mentioned in the blurb meant that the trial room in real life was also connected to the Void/nightmares, which made things interesting too- and that's all I'm going to say on that.
There were also a few plot twists which I didn't expect. Just when I thought I was figuring things out, actually, no, I wasn't. This continues right up until the end and now I can't wait to read Neverwake and find out how this all ends.
What did you think if you've read Dreamfall? What do you think of horror in general? :) I'll be back tomorrow with my final book review of the year! (How is 2017 almost at an end??) As always, all the best and happy reading.
In a round-up of my final few books of the year, I'm starting with 'A Promise of Fire' by Amanda Bouchet. Here we go.
Title: A Promise of Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Part of a trilogy: Yes, book 1 in the Kingmaker Chronicles trilogy
Original publication date: 2nd August 2016
My Rating: 3-3.5 out of 5 stars (Read December 2017)
Somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars. Minor spoilers to follow.
Ok, let's start with the positives. I adore the cover- and the other covers too. They're so pretty and each one is different in a nice way. We all know I fall for good covers all the time... :)
So much Greek mythology. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of Greek myth overall, but introduce darling Cerberus into anything and I'll be there. I loved the way the relationships between the Greek gods and characters were played out, and it made it new and interesting. I really liked the friendship/family dynamics going on with Cat and the others in the circus too, especially since she's in hiding and hasn't had much of that.
The magic was fun and felt fresh, and the world as a whole felt quite well fleshed out, though a map might have helped too.
I also really loved Griffin's family. His sisters were really sweet and I liked that they weren't your typical royals in this world, which made them far more relatable and likeable. Flynn, Kato and Carver were fun and like big brothers to Cat in many ways. I wish one of them had been her love interest instead.
I'm also looking forward to finding out how the plot will develop and how Cat's secrets will be revealed. I would like to see more of the dragons and Cerberus in the next book. More battles, ect.
Now the negatives- my biggest problem with this book was Griffin, but I'll get to him.
I liked Cat as the main character most of the time, though some of her reactions and only getting her thoughts were a little frustrating at times. She couldn't make her mind up for a lot of the book about Griffin, amongst other things.
The romance at times definitely took over while the plot took a break and went walkabout, which was also annoying. The sex scenes weren't as explicit as other NA books I've read, yet when having to deal with Griffin's attitude right before, they didn't have the right effect. I kind of skim read some of them and wished the plot would reappear, because it's actually really strong.
Warning: What follows will involve ranting.
Griffin is one of the most arrogant, possessive, pretentious, irritating characters I've ever had the misfortune of spending time reading about. In his family he's the Beta, and thereby one of the important people in it. He's also conquered places for them and many people are, generally, scared of him.
All of this apparently then gives him leave to be horrible to everyone else.
The attraction Griffin and Cat feel for each other is later explained away to be the work of some of the gods...um, no, sorry, but that's a crap excuse for them to be together when the man acts as Griffin does. He almost always disregards Cat's thoughts on different subjects, and even when she gets annoyed at him for it, he still acts like he's right.
Oh, and the best part? Griffin is immediately jealous of anyone who is male and jokes with her, makes sure she's ok, or even looks in her direction for more than two seconds. This includes his closest friends Flynn and Kato- and Carver. Carver, who is his freaking brother!!
No. No, I'm not ok with that in the slightest. I wanted to whack him with the book or something to get some sense into his skull. I'm sick of reading about the possessive guy whose behaviour is made out to be attractive. It's really not.
Overall, I had been looking forward to reading this for a good few months and was a little disappointed. But I will continue with the next book. At some point.
What are your thoughts on this book and trilogy if you've read it?
As always, all the best and happy reading. :)
Hi. Today's book review will be Solitaire, the first book published by English author Alice Oseman- also author of Radio Silence, which I adore.
But before we start, a note of trigger warnings- Self harm, eating disorders, some suicidal thoughts.
Author: Alice Oseman
Part of a trilogy: No, it’s a standalone
Original publication date: 31st July 2014
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Read December 2017)
As I read Radio Silence first, the bar had kind of already been set high, even though Solitaire was published first. I think the writing and plot shows in these areas, and things were developed and improved more for Radio Silence. However, overall, I did enjoy this one too. Reading this book also (finally!) fully got me out of the half-reading slump I've been experiencing ever since NaNoWriMo.
The main characters were well written and relatable to the late teenage years. It brought back my first year of college and all of the chaos that went with it- for anyone who doesn't know, in England, people usually go through two years of college and then go to university if they want. For the record, I did four years of college at three different colleges- and then went to uni too! I know, this is almost literal proof that I'm crazy. :D
I also loved all of the references to British culture in TV shows/films/shops ect, and I think I caught most of them. :) The friendships and relationships were all realistic, including the realisation that the people you were once friends with in school don't always stay that way. This hit me hard as a friend of mine was like a sister to me and now we're barely in contact, seven years later. Likewise, some of my oldest friends are not often in contact now, though we do touch base every now and then. But, I suppose, life moves on, and things can't always stay the same.
(That...got really deep...Ahem)
I really enjoyed the ending, and towards the end, I almost cried as well. I enjoyed the mystery behind Solitaire and what was going to happen next. Again, I found myself doing the 'just one more chapter' thing and read 3/4 of the book today. :)
However, I did feel some of the plotting and characterisation could have been improved in little ways. I felt a few of the chapters ended too abruptly and therefore, it felt rushed in some places. I also was a bit confused in some places about what was happening in relevance to the overall story, but not sure if that was just me.
After writing this review, I've decided on 4 stars, because I did enjoy it as a whole. Though I prefer Radio Silence, I will probably read Solitaire again at some point, and am looking forward to more books by Alice Oseman in the future. :)
Have yo read Solitaire or Radio Silence? What are your thoughts? As always, all the best and happy reading. :)
The second book review today is for my re-read for Prince of Shadows:
Title: Prince of Shadows
Author: Rachel Caine
Part of a trilogy: No, it’s a standalone
Original publication date: 4th February 2014
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Read December 2017- Re-read)
I'm still giving this 5 stars. Now Romeo and Juliet is probably my favourite Shakespeare play- or one of them- and has a special place with me for being the one where I actually could understand what was going on for myself, when school never cared about actually helping us understand some of the others we studied.
Minor spoilers to follow.
Prince of Shadows is a great re-telling. Here, Benvolio Montague, Romeo's cousin, is Verona's most known thief, yet he hides his identity so well that only his cousin and Mercutio, know and support him. He is of course, most fond of stealing from House Capulet- and there one night, he finds Rosaline. (Yes, the same Rosaline whom Romeo is 'in love' with at the start of the original play) I love that we get to actually see a fully realised version of her, and that she is actually elevated to main character status in this book. Benvolio's family is also extended further, since he's a main character.
After this first meeting, the book follows the events of the play, though spreads them out over the cause of a good few weeks, rather than a few days. Another aspect is that most of the love in the book is the work of a curse- including Romeo and Juliet's. I won't say who or what or why, but the reasons behind it are also a tragedy. There is still the violence as well and the feud is very clear for all involved. The language of Shakespeare's time is still there in most ways where the text of the play is concerned, but some of it has been amended slightly to convey the meaning for modern audiences, though the setting of Verona is still how it would have been at the time.
Overall, I loved reading this the second time around as much as the first- and snuck in another viewing of the 1996 R&J film as well, because why not? :D
But Prince of Shadows is a really good re-telling of the other characters and how events affected them when they were left behind to carry on living and honour their dead from the feud. It's a definite recommendation for fans of Shakespeare and the original play, and really, even if not.
Happy reading and all the best. :)
Today I have the first of two book reviews.
This one lent to me by a friend.
Title: The Paper Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Part of a trilogy: Yes, book 1 in The Paper Magician trilogy
Original publication date: 1st September 2014
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Read December 2017)
It was much shorter than I expected, but there was still enough time to get to know the characters and various descriptions, though these felt a bit long in places. I really liked the magical aspects and that the dog was made out of paper. There are not enough animals/pets in YA, or any books really, and having a paper dog was a really good idea.
I thought Ceony's learning curve progressed naturally enough and the journey she went on to help her tutor was well planned out and an interesting concept. At first, I wasn't sure about the possibility of any relationship happening, given the age gap, but I think that it could work out. In real life, I know people with a bit of an age gap in their relationships/marriages and they're happy.
I'm looking forward to continuing with the series.
Thanks and happy reading. :)
Hi. Today's book review is the first (of many, I hope) book that I fully read in December, now the weather is turning chilly and winter is almost here. Southern Hemisphere peeps, I'm jealous.
And now onto the review. As always, I've kept this spoiler-free.
Title: Daughter of the Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Part of a trilogy: No, it’s a standalone
Original publication date: 7th September 2017
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Read December 2017)
Well, wow. I don't know quite what to think. I have so many emotions right now. This was so good! A possible 4.5 stars, but I'll leave it as four now, with that possibility later once I've calmed down from that ending and actually processed it all.
So I finally caved under some of the hype I found on Goodreads, because I had (have) so many other books to read when I bought this, but purple's also my favourite colour, so it wasn't too hard to resist. :) I really enjoyed the world building of the festival and felt like it could go on for so long, there was much packed into Gomorrah. And outside of it- everything just real and as though people could really live there.
All of the characters, however much they appeared in the book, felt so real and I loved that. Even Sorina's illusions who weren't supposed to be real just felt like one massive family. I was fond of all of them...I mean, I shouldn't have been, knowing now what I know, but I was. Let's explore the emotions I had more.
(By the way, I'm writing this review less than an hour after finishing the book, just so you know.)
While I loved a lot of characters, I also disliked or hated some. I laughed and nearly cried. Even though I cry a lot at films since what's happening is right in front of me, I'm slightly more resistant with books, not least because I don't like crying in public. It takes a really good book to make me cry and almost crying is still an achievement. Also glad the book covered my face towards the end, because I'm sure my parents would have asked me what was wrong- I know my emotions were probably clearing showing on my face because I imagine I was doing a lot of internal shouting at those points.
Speaking of...I'm genuinely shook. As in the blurb, one of Sorina's illusions gets murdered and in the quest to find out who did it, everyone becomes a suspect. It was fun but left me feeling like I was spinning a bit as I kept changing my mind. I say everyone was a suspect, but...well, I didn't guess right. Because what really happened never even crossed my mind once. Hence why I reacted so strongly at the end.
But anyway. This was so good and I'm really glad I read it. I even managed to read it in a respectable amount of time after its release since it's still 2017. (I still have a book from January this year which won't be read until I have no idea when in 2018. Or maybe never at this rate!)
Ahem. But after Daughter of the Burning City, I'm so much more excited than I already was to read Ace of Shades next year. :)
Have you read this book yet? What did you think? All the best, everyone, and happy reading. :)
Hi! Today I'll be reviewing the second Holly Black book I've read this year- and, well, ever. I think it's safe to say she has become an author for me to watch out for in the future and I've already waited too long to read her books. Let's get started. :)
Also, a disclaimer: Minor spoilers to come, though a few are also in the blurb.
Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Part of a trilogy: No, it’s a standalone
Original publication date: 3rd September 2013
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Read November-December 2017)
This was a case of having seen it for a long time in a local bookshop and not really knowing a lot about it. I bought it and then began reading it the same day due to a really long bus journey thanks to traffic. The death quotes at the beginning of each chapter were...is interesting the right word?? Well, anyway, they were.
Over the years, I've read quite a few books on vampires and have a slight love/hate relationship with them, though I think the majority is leaning to the good side. Once I'd read far enough to realise that this book is, in fact, about vampires, I decided that Holly Black would write a good story about them. While I've only previously read The Darkest Part of the Forest by her, I trust her to write well about the Fae, whom I by far prefer and read lots about. So I figured vampires would be safe in her hands.
This is not a book that shies away from the death and blood and gruesome-ness, but also manages to inject some glamour into their lives. Everyone knows vampires exist and many people want to be them. Tana is the main character, who wakes up at a party to find all but two other people dead- though one is clearly a vampire himself. She decides the best thing to do would be to take all three of them to the nearest Coldtown- the city-like place where all vampires or infected humans are closed off from the outside world to stop vampirism becoming a world-wide thing.
By the way- for a third of the book, my brain was automatically pronouncing her name Tanya, but of course it's not. Oops. :) Almost all of these characters have slightly unusual but really interesting names. Anyway, my other favourite character was Gavriel. He's the aforementioned vampire and is...well...rather insane at times. But I still really liked him and wanted to protect him.
I enjoyed how these characters all had both simple and complex relationships with each other and, once Tana had reached the Coldtown, that the people she'd left behind reacted normally and were worried for her, ect. The details inside the Coldtown were well done and made it seem so real. There were a few things early on in the book which confused me a bit, but things made sense in the end.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a bit of a slow burn for a while early on, and I changed my star rating a few times, but overall it's worth reading. I did end up enjoying it more than I thought and give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
I'm also looking forward to reading more by this author in the future- starting with her new series on the Fae next year! I've heard nothing but good things from people on Goodreads who have read ARC's and am excited for it.
That's it for today. Have you read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and what did you think? Any other of Holly Black's books?
As always, all the best and happy reading.
This series is the series that just keeps on giving- and more, as the 4th book comes out this month in the UK!! :D It's been described as a mix of Doctor Who and Sherlock with libraries. It doesn't get old and I love every minute. What is better than books about books??
Title: The Burning Page
Author: Genevieve Cogman
Part of a trilogy: No, book 3 in The Invisible Library series
Original publication date: 15th December 2016
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Read November 2017)
There were places to go, people to see, questions to ask. Books to read.
In The Burning Page, we find gates back to the Library are being destroyed and see Alberich come back to haunt Irene and generally cause trouble. (Not spoilers, this is all in the blurb.) After the events of the first book, it's clear he means business this time. Note- I wouldn't like to meet him, so Irene is really, really brave for standing up to him twice now.
Kai is still Kai and I love him. For one, he's...what he is and that's extra bonus points in my book. (If you want to know, go read the series. :) You're welcome!) We find Vale in a bad place after some things that happened in the second book and while I felt sorry for him, I also just wanted someone to shake him at times.
Zayanna and Lord Silver were as amusing as ever- though I wish we could have had more of Silver in this one. But that's just me being greedy and generally loving all things Fae.
I felt The Burning Page had a different feel to it than the first two- more of a grown-up, action-packed feel. That is in no way a bad thing, but perhaps it's due to the threat of the existence of the Library and various worlds being destroyed.
Also, I seem to have previously missed Irene's real age. When in the Library, people don't age and for some reason, I had her pegged as mid-twenties, when she's actually in her thirties. Maybe because she doesn't look it due to the non-ageing thing? A tad confusing, but hey. If there was place with books I could stay and not age, I'd stay there too. :)
Once again, there are lots of twists and turns and nothing is ever as simple of getting from A to B smoothly. After all, where would be the fun in that? Highly looking forward to book 4, The Lost Plot.
If you've read this series so far, what do you think of the books? If not, I highly recommend if you're a fan of any or all of the above at the top of this review. All the best and happy reading.
Hi, I'm an animal lover and have a degree. You can usually find me either reading or writing. Failing that, I might have actually ventured into the outside world...