Thursday, 22 June 2017

Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare


City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Image result for city of bonesAuthor: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
First published: 2007
Edition: Paperback; advertises release of the movie
Pages: 442

Blurb:    Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn towards a group of sexy demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City – and the dangers of forbidden love.

History of my copy: One of my friends recommended the series to me years ago, probably around 2010-2011. I eventually picked up my copy just before the film was released back in 2013 and immediately became hooked. I am in love with the Shadowhunter world and Clare’s books!

This is actually a review of a re-read... I have no idea how many times I’ve read this book now, and I still love it! Especially when you pick up on links to Clare’s other Shadowhunter novels.

Plot: The first instalment of The Mortal Instruments introduces us to seemingly mundane Clary Fray and her best friend Simon. It turns out though that things aren’t quite as ordinary as it seems when Clary discovers she is actually a Shadowhunter, just like Jace, Alec and Isabelle who she meets. Thrown into a world of demons and Downworlders, Clary must find out who she is and where she belongs, whilst also trying to save her mother.
City of Bones fantastically introduces us to the Shadow world and the key characters, whilst also setting the scene for the next 5 books and the imminent war. Touches of romance and family dilemmas add to the plot, making it fast paced and real page turner. Once you’re hooked on this one, you’ll be hooked on all of Clare’s other books too!

Setting: City of Bones takes place almost entirely in New York, mainly in the New York institute, a building that mundanes see as a ruined church. For the majority of the time, Clare’s setting is gloriously detailed, from the vampire haven of Hotel DuMort to the eerie City of Bones. The one thing I have always had trouble picturing, however, is parts of the institute, especially as the TV show, Shadowhunters, portrayed it so differently to the few bits I had set out.

Characters: It’s really hard on a re-read to judge characters on what you know from that specific book, rather than everything else that you learn later. For example, I remember not being a huge fan of Alec when I started the series, but come the end he is one of my favourites. The same goes for Luke.
               Without a doubt, though, my favourite character is the one and only Magnus Bane. Again, although I didn’t love him in the first book, I never disliked him, but my appreciation for him has just grown continually. He’s such a magnificent character and person and every time he appears in any of Clare’s books, I just get super excited.
               Jace is another character I wasn’t too sure on. Sure, super-hot and cool and a great Shadowhunter, but he always came across as too full of himself and his story seemed a bit too tragic, but again, I learned to adore him.
               Clary is a fantastic lead character, and Clare has her priorities sorted perfectly. I feel like she was perhaps too trusting of the Shadowhunters initially, but I guess they do save her life enough times. And Simon! Even from the first book, I love Simon endlessly. He is witty and brave and sticks out like a sore thumb, but in a way that just makes me love him more.

To read or not to read: Must read. In case you haven’t already figured this out, I would recommend City of Bones and, subsequently, all of Cassandra Clare’s books to absolutely everyone. I adore them. They are brilliantly written and have lots of little links between the books which makes them even more fun to read. Whilst not her strongest book, City of Bones is a phenomenal debut novel and really set the scene for high expectations from Clare.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Ship It Or Rip It Part 5

Welcome to the fifth installment of this. As always, I'd love to hear some feedback from you.

I've since added Call, Tamara and Aaron from the Magisterium series to the list of characters included. Let me know of your favourites that you would like to see!

Jace (The Mortal Instruments) and Newt (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)

Nope. Could not see this happening at all. Jace is way too badass and moody to deal with my precious darling Newt. Newt cares too much about animals to have time for Jace's adventures. And besides, I could see Newt wanting to help save demons rather than slay them...

Verdict: Rip it.

Merlin (Arthurian legend) and Chase (Raised by Wolves)

Oh wow, this is actually worse than Jace and Newt! Merlin the magnificient sorceror and Chase, the moody werewolf. Definitely would never happen. I actually can't even vaguelly imagine it. 

Verdict: Rip it.

Luna (Harry Potter) and Aaron (Magisterium)

You know what? I actually can imagine this. Aaron is such a lovely, funny, sweet guy and Luna is so pretty and individual, it would just work so well. Luna wouldn't care about Aaron's fame and importance and would just love him for his bravery.

Verdict: Ship it.

Sam (Gone series) and Tamara (Magisterium)

Yes yes yes! The hero from the FAYZ and the heroine from the Magisterium?? Perfect match! Gosh, I ship Sam with anyone other than Astrid to be honest. Definitely down for this pair, they would get along so well!

Verdict: Ship it.

Drake (Gone series) and Aspen (The Selection)

So even though I hate both of these characters with a passion, I still don't think they would be good for each other. Drake is just pure evil. He doesn't belong with even the worst person ever. Aspen is just a whiny pining bloke who needs to grow a pair.. I think Drake would actually kill him rather than be with him.

Verdict: Rip it.

Read parts 123 and 4.


Thanks for reading! I've loved doing these posts and the fantastic ships that come out of it. Are you enjoying them? If so, comment your views below and any characters you would love to see included next time!

Also, as a personal update, I have now finished uni for the year so over the next few months I shall be catching up on the review posts I need to do, and hopefully sharing some other things too!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Book Review: The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Bronze Key – Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Scholastic Press
First published: 2016
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 249

Blurb:    Magic can save you.
               Magic can kill you.
Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world.
               But now the chaos is fighting back.
Call, Tamara and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer…and risk their own lives in the process.
As Call, Tamara and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm – unless it is stopped in time.

History of my copy: I’ve been a fan of the Magisterium series since the very start and so I received The Bronze Key as a Christmas present last year.

As per the previous books in the series, The Bronze Key was quite short and so it only took me 4 days to read. Whilst I feel like the books could be longer, I do find it refreshing to only read a smaller book from time to time. It does, however, make the time between installments seem even longer!

Plot: The third installment in the series definitely picks up the urgency and threatening nature, with someone trying to assassinate Call. Things start to take an even darker turn as the spy, who has the Alkahest, succeeds in killing Aaron, for which Call is blamed. Ending up in the mage prison, we are left with a cliff-hanger as Call’s true mother is revealed…
         The plot was hard hitting and dark, especially for a kids book, as the intensity starts to build up. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Setting: Just like the majority of the rest of the series, this book takes place in the caverns of the magical school, the Magisterium. Even though it’s the third installment now, I still get wowed by some of the gorgeous descriptions of the vast caves and narrow tunnels that Call and his friends both live and study in. When we find ourselves leaving the stone confinements, the descriptions are just as vivid.

Characters: Call is starting to make a really interesting main character, an intriguing mix between Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and his own unique self. I think Black and Clare have done well at capturing Call’s age and the difficulties he is facing, whilst keeping the character likable and humorous. I’m also starting to warm to Tamara.
               Whilst none of the characters still are hugely memorable, I think they are starting to find their niche in the literature world and are becoming a little more iconic.

To read or not to read: Read. This series has a huge amount of potential and whilst it isn’t the best books going, they’re easy to read, funny and have a great plot. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Book Review: Legendary by L.H. Nicole

Legendary – L.H. Nicole

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: L.H. Nicole
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
First published: February 2014
Edition: eBook
Pages: 286

Blurb:    (Taken from Goodreads)
Aliana Fagan spent her childhood travelling the world, dreaming of legendary heroes and mythical lands. But after the sudden death of her parents, she hides behind the safety of her camera and her art until a vivid recurring dream compels her to dig into her father’s research about Avalon and Camelot. When she is hurled into a magical realm by forces she thought were only the stuff of fairy tales, she finds herself thrown into an adventure she could never have imagined. Nearly everything she thought she knew about Arthurian legend was wrong.
The independent eighteen-year-old is shocked to find that the people of Avalon think that she is the Destined One, the only person who can summon King Arthur back to life from his hidden chamber. Most surprising of all is that it’s up to her to lead the Knights of the Round Table on an epic quest – an adventure that will transport them across the seven magic realms to reclaim all that has been lost so they can defeat the evil Mordred for good. But first, she must bring the ancient warriors into her world and reunite the with their lost brothers. Chaperoning the legendary knights-with-a-chivalry-complex as they navigate the modern world is a constant challenge, and she certainly never thought she’d be caught between her intense feelings for the noble Sir Galahad and her growing friendship with the King.
To fulfil the prophecy, Aliana will have to discover the meaning of friendship, bravery, loyalty, true love, and forgiveness. But can she do it all in time to save the realms from Mordred’s impending Armageddon?

History of my copy: I received a free copy of Legendary through YA Bound Books in exchange for an honest review.

I jumped on the opportunity to read this book as soon as I got the offer. A modern girl having to save Camelot? Sounded exactly like my kind of book! (If you didn’t know, I’m rather obsessed with Arthurian legend. You can blame the fact that I live near Tintagel, Arthur’s supposed birthplace, for my adoration of anything related to the myth.) I was, unfortunately, rather disappointed.

Plot: The plot basically involved Aliana somehow ending up in this mystical land where she meets a dragon who convinces her to save Sir Galahad, who then gets her to save King Arthur. And that’s as far as I read because I couldn’t take anymore. I guess the plot had potential, but Nicole just really didn’t know what to do with it.

Setting: The setting was the only part of this book, besides the potential idea, that was even vaguely alright. It wasn’t a massively descriptive world building, but it was certainly sufficient to get across the places in which Aliana found herself. It wasn’t, however, amazing enough to carry the rest of the book’s downfalls.

Characters: I think the characters were what really ruined this book for me. I was going to criticise this whole book for the ‘absent parent’ thing that seems to be a recurrent theme in YA books (convenient ‘sudden death’ so the story can take place, ugh) but then when typing out the blurb, I realised that Aliana was 18. Sorry, what? She was petty, pathetic, a complete idiot… how on earth is she 18? I was more mature as a 12 year old! She spent literally the entire time going ‘oh how hot is Galahad? Oh Arthur is gorgeous! How shall I ever choose?” Girl, these are grown men from hundreds of years ago and you’re about to save the kingdom, stop being a little girl. Ugh, she was annoying and had no regard for the safety of others, nearly getting them killed numerous times because she’s smarter than a clever dragon. She also blushed every time the spoke or even looked at her? You’re a grown woman? You should not ‘swoon’ every time a bloke glances your way.
               Then there’s the dragon that was so unnecessary? Not sure what he added to the story. Stuck out like a sore thumb.
               And Galahad and Arthur (and no doubt the rest if I had ever got that far) had no characteristics beyond being good looking. Great. Real good heroes. Definitely going to defeat Mordred with a swish of their pretty locks. Ugh.

To read or not to read: Really don’t read. I mean, even if this is your kind of book, I’d be honestly surprised if you could make it to the end. It had the premise of a fantastic plot, but had totally ridiculous characters and a writing style that just really didn’t work well. Not a single part of it was actually enjoyable to me.


Ship It Or Rip It Part 4

Here is the fourth part of Ship It Or Rip It. I hope you're enjoying these installments. Let me know if there is anything else you would like to see on my blog.

Eddie Gallagher (These Shallow Graves) and Clary (The Mortal Instruments)

Oh gosh yes, definitely shipping this! Eddie loves girls thatare strong-willed and independent and who better than the fiery heroine of The Mortal Instruments! I could also see Clary falling for Eddie's charm and with, just as she did with Jace.

Verdict: Ship it.

Devon (Raised By Wolves) and Hermione (Harry Potter)

I am actually super torn about this one. On one hand, I can see Devon's jokes and sense of humour being on par with Ron's, but I also can't see that being enough. Even ignoring the fact that Hermione is made for Ron and only Ron, I just really can't see these two hitting it off. Friends, yeah definitely. But romantically? No way

Verdict: Rip it.

Harry Potter (Harry Potter) and Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)

Woah not in a million years. Harry doesn't want someone who's so OTT as Thorne, and let's face it, Harry is not Thorne's typical gorgeous girl. They might be able to get on as friends (although I'm not entirely convinced) but definitely not as lovers. And besides, I ship them with their own respective partners way too hard anyway.

Verdict: Rip it.

Jacob (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and Marlee (The Selection)

I actually see these 2 working and it's kind of cute! Jacob is such a lovely guy and would definitely shower Marlee with the most amazing pastries ever, and Marlee is such a kind-hearted girl who would adore everything Jacob would do for her.

Verdict: Ship it.

Lake (Rasied by Wolves) and Wolf (The Lunar Chronicles)

Ohmygosh yes! Even though I'm not a particular fan of Wolf and I adore Lake, I can actually see this pair 100% working, even outside of their wolfish characteristics. Lake is such a sassy badass, just like Scarlet, and so I can see her being just fiery enough to keep Wolf happy and on his toes. Wolf is a complete hero, just as Lake adores. I want this to happen!

Verdict: Ship it.


Read parts 12 and 3


Thanks for reading! I've loved doing these posts and the fantastic ships that come out of it. Are you enjoying them? If so, comment your views below and any characters you would love to see included next time!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks: Advance Proof by Emily Barr

The One Memory Of Flora Banks: Advance Proof – Emily Barr

*Warning – may contain spoilers*



Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Penguin Books
First published: 2016
Edition: Advance proof; small paperback
Pages: 41

Blurb:    Darling,
You are Flora Banks. You are 17 years old. When you were ten, a tumour grew in your brain, and surgeons took it out. Part of your memory went with it.
When you are confused, you look at your hand, where you write your notes. These are the clues you leave to remind yourself of what is going on.
You remember us, and your best friend Paige, and other people you knew before you were ten. New people you forget.
You’ll never live anywhere but here, because this is the only place in which you’re safe. You will always live with us, and we will always look after you and you will be fine.
We will always make sure you have everything you need.
Love, mum xxx

Can I trust mum?

History of my copy: This little book came in the amazing November box for Illumicrate. I’ve been wanting a subscription box for a while, but couldn’t justify ~£30 a month. However, at £29.99 every three months (as it’s quarterly) with free postage, I decided to give it a go. November was my first box and it was worth every penny!

Plot: This little edition covers the event where Flora, the protagonist, kisses Paige’s (her best friend) sort of boyfriend, Drake. I say sort of boyfriend, because they kind of broke up because he’s moving away. It then covers the subsequent falling out, leaving us with Flora’s parent’s going away and Flora having no-one to look after her. Which makes no sense to me. You’d think that the parents of a girl who has a serious memory problem would make better arrangements for her, but apparently not.

Setting: So one thing that gives me the potential to fall in love with this book is the fact that it’s set in my home county, Cornwall! With such a beautiful setting, which isn’t really touched on in the excerpt, I hope Barr doesn’t use it as much as she can. However, I also hope it isn’t too cliché – Cornwall is not just beaches and seaside towns!

Characters: Of course an excerpt isn’t a lot to go on, but no character stands out at the moment. Flora is childish and repetitive, although I understand that that is because of her condition. Drake is a bit of a douche. Paige overreacts entirely. Flora’s parents appear to be incompetent imbeciles. But maybe that will change.

To read or not to read: Read. Okay, I know my review kinda just suggests that it is an awful book, but a part of me is hooked. In fact, I’ve actually bought the full copy and am kind of looking forward to reading it! Maybe it’s just because it’s so different to anything else I’ve read; maybe it’s because I do want to know what happens to Flora. I guess time will tell if the book itself is worth it.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

World Book Day 2017

I can't believe it's World Book Day already!! This year has just flown by.

As you can tell by both my blog and goodreads account, I've been reading less this year, which is a real shame. This is mainly down to university. A lot of my time is going to studying medicine and, when I'm not studying or working, I'm just too exhausted to read most of the time.

On top of this, I'm also really behind on my book reviews so I'm working my hardest to catch up with them! You may have also noticed that I've stopped partaking in book tours too. This, again, is due to my lack of free time. However, I have a long summer so I'm hoping to pick things back up again for those few months to thank you for sticking with me.

Now onto what I'm currently reading. As I've said before, I tend to have way too many books on the go at once, with one being my 'main' read. Currently, that main read is Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman and it is amazing!! I really wish I had the time to just sit and read it all in one go!

Yesterday I got my second Illumicrate box and it was so good! I really recommend subscribing to them, especially as they're quarterly rather than monthly, which I couldn't afford. It came with 1 book released in February, an ARC due to be released in April and a little sample of a soon to be released book.

What are you currently doing? And how are you celebrating world book day?

Friday, 17 February 2017

Ship It Or Rip It Part 3

Welcome to the third part of Ship It Or Rip It! Who shall get paired up today?

Kai (The Lunar Chronicles) and Caine (Gone)

100% nope. The Prince Charming of The Lunar Chronicles and the main enemy in the Gone series? That would never happen in a million years! 

Verdict: Rip it.

Tina (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and Annabeth (Percy Jackson)

Ignoring the fact that Newt and Tina are OTP, I could actually see her and Annabeth getting along really well. They're both intellectual, brave, always saving the day. I don't think there's anything to dislike!

Verdict: Ship it.

Simon (The Mortal Instruments) and Iko (The Lunar Chronicles)

Okay, first I laughed. But now, I totally see it. With Simon being a super sci-fi geek and Iko being an actual robot... That would so work! And their sense of humour combined would be fantastic!

Verdict: Ship it.

Lana (Gone) and Quinn (Gone)

Oh my god yes! I shipped these two so hard for the entire series okay. They're complete OTP and there is no way you can disagree with that!

Verdict: Ship it.

Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses) and Feyre (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

Hahaha. Random number generator is clearly having some fun here. OF COURSE I SHIP THEM. Have you read my review for A Court of Mist and Fury?? How can anyone not ship them, they're literally made for each other!

Verdict: Ship it.


Read part 1 & 2


Thanks for reading! Don't forget to comment your views on these ships, and list any characters you would like to see included below!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Book Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screnplay by J.K. Rowling

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay – J.K. Rowling

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown
First published: 2016
Edition: Beautiful hardback, and when you take the dust cover off there’s a cute little niffler on the front!

Pages: 293
Blurb:    J.K. Rowling invites you to explore a new era of the Wizarding World…
Explorer and Magizoologist Newt Scamander has just completed a round-the-globe trip in search of the most rare and unusual magical creatures. Arriving in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when Newt’s case is misplaced and some of his fantastic beasts escape into the city, it spells trouble for everyone…

History of my copy: I picked this up on release day at Waterstones, having previously pre-ordered it. It came with a little bag of goodies, including some Fantastic Beasts bookmarks, a mini poster and a cute little ‘accio’ badge.

As I’m sure you’re well aware, this is the screenplay to the fantastic (no pun intended) film of the same name, which was adapted from the Hogwarts book by Newt Scamander. I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the film 3 days early in 3D at my local cinema as one of the premieres. And it was amazing. The story was fantastic, the acting (especially Redmayne’s flawless performance of the flawed (/perfect to me) Newt) and it was everything I wanted from a return to the magical world.
I then got the book on release day and read that, using the non-fiction book of Scamander’s as a little reference guide to some of the creatures encountered. Rowling has since announced a re-release of Scamander’s book which will include the new creatures from the film that aren’t featured in the original and I look forward to reading it.

Setting: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes us across the pond to New York where we encounter the same wizarding world seen in Harry Potter, with a large number of pivotal differences. America is a world in which witches and no-maj (muggles) are completely segregated. Alongside this, there is a clear fear of magic which underlies the whole story.
               As a screenplay, the book itself is, of course, lacking in description of the setting beyond basic scene setting but when accompanied with the film, the whole thing is breathtakingly beautiful. 1920s America definitely had a stunning feel.
               We also begin to discover a little about Ilvermorny, America’s wizarding school, through a great little scene in which the Goldstein’s and Newt argue over which is best, leaving Jacob both awed and a little confused.
               But perhaps the most magical setting of all is the inside of Newt’s suitcase, which is home to a vast variety of habitats in which all his creatures can comfortably live and I think it’s clear that Newt too regards his suitcase world as home, as he appears only ever entirely at ease when surrounded by animals.

Plot: We follow Newt as he arrives in America with a suitcase full of his ‘fantastic beasts’ which just so happen to get accidently set free by our lovable no-maj Jacob. Tangled up with the Goldstein sisters, the majority of the story focuses on Newt rescuing his creatures from the Erumpent to the cute Niffler and the invisible Demiguise, leading to some hilarious moments.
Underlying this, we have the threat of Grindelwald looming over the magical world, which our favourite four unintentionally get involved in, setting the scene for the next two planned films. Whilst the plot twist regarding Grindelwald was rather predictable, it was executed wonderfully both in the script and on-screen.

Characters: Fantastic Beasts has a whole world of characters that are all so unique yet so interesting. From the magical Newt to Jacob the no-maj, the mysterious Graves to the vulnerable Credence and, of course, everyone’s favourite sisters Tina and Queenie who are both so similar yet so strikingly different, there is definitely a character for everyone. We even have a mention of the infamous Albus Dumbledore, whom Newt knows from his Hogwarts days.
Newt himself is an adorable character and definitely an all-time favourite and no, not just because he’s a Hufflepuff. He’s shy, but intelligent and his true character comes out when surrounded by his precious animals. Honestly, he’s so relatable. Plus you can see him open up to Tina and it’s such a beautiful budding romance!
That leads me on to the Goldstein sisters who I just can’t wait to find out more about! What’s the real story behind their parents? How come Queenie can read minds? How do they meet Newt again? What about Queenie and Jacob – that has to happen!
A character I haven’t mentioned yet is Credence who is the focal point of the story. How did he get tangled up with Graves in the first place? Why is his magic secret and oppressed? DID HE SURVIVE?

To read or not to read: Go read immediately. This is another Rowling masterpiece that everyone needs in their life. Whilst I recommend watching the film first, honestly the screenplay just adds to it all and Rowling has created such a fantastically woven plot as per usual.
I think the fact that this review is all over the place just emphasises how much I loved Fantastic Beasts. As I was writing it, all these small details came flooding back that helped link the whole story together and honestly, I’m really struggling to get my adoration for Fantastic Beasts and Newt Scamander down on paper. Just go read it right now and you’ll understand what I’m on about.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

2016 Reading Challenge

Now that we're well into the new year, I think it's about time I did a brief overview of all the wonderful books I read in 2016.

My Goodreads challenge was to read 25 books. Not only did I reach that, I nearly doubled it at a total of 48 books. I'm rather impressed by myself! This year I have upped my challenge a little to 35. I'm reading a lot less now due to medical school, but I hope to be able to reach my target.


All the books mentioned have reviews on this blog. The easiest way to find them is to follow the links on this page.


January


1. Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia; Christopher Paolini; 4*

2. The Lost Kodas; Myra King; 4*
3. Reasons to Stay Alive; Matt Haig; 5*
4. The Selection; Kiera Cass; 4*
5. Scarlet; Marissa Meyer; 5*

February


6. Red Queen; Victoria Aveyard; 4*

7. Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer; Rick Riordan; 5*
8. The Elite; Kiera Cass; 4*

March


9. Cress; Marissa Meyer; 5*

10. Me Before You; Jojo Moyes; 2*
11. Lady Midnight; Cassandra Clare; 5*
12. The One; Kiera Cass; 2*
13. Our Endless Numbered Days; Claire Fuller; 5*

April


14. Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth; Rick Riordan; 3*

15. The Poisoned Chalice; Simon Forward; 3*
16. The Paladin; J.M. Storin; 5*
17. Princess Adele's Dragon; Shirley McLain; 3* 

May


18. Crimes and Retributions; Shirley McLain; 4*

19. Winter; Marissa Meyer; 5*
20. Happily Ever After; Kiera Cass; 3*
21. These Shallow Graves; Jennifer Donnelly; 5*

June


22. A Court of Thorns and Roses; Sarah J. Maas; 4*

23. Stars Above: Marissa Meyer; 5*

July


24. Her Highland Rogue; Violetta Rand; 3*

25. Aftermath; Joe Reyes; 4*
26. Anomalies; Sadie Turner and Colette Freedman; 1*
27. Touched by the Moon; Lisa M. Airey; 4*
28. The Neverland Wars; Audrey Greathouse; 4*
29. Songs of Sovereign; J. D. Wright; 4*

August


30. Song of Sparrows; J. D. Wright; 4*

31. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; J.K. Rowling; 5*
32. The Duchess Quest; C.K. Brooke; 5*
33. Shadow; Michael Morpurgo; 4*
34. Rebel of the Sand; Alwyn Hamilton; 4*
35. Dispocalypse; Michael A. Rothman; 1*
36. Okehampton Castle; Alan Endacott; 3*
37. A Clearing in the Forest; Kim Love Stump; 3*
38. Glastonbury Abbey; John McIlwain; 2*

September


39. The Last Gatekeeper; Katy Haye; 3*

40. Red: The Untold Story; Angela M. Hudson; 5*
41. Rhodi's Light; Megan Linski; 3*
42. The Girl on the Train; Paula Hawkins; 4*
43. Rhodi Rising; Megan Linski; 3*

October


44. A Court of Mist and Fury; Sarah J. Maas; 5*

45. The Forgotten Fairytales; Angela Parkhurst; 2*

November


46. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; J.K. Rowling; 5*


December


47. The One Memory of Flora Banks Excerpt; Emily Barr; 3*

48. Legendary; L.H. Nicole; 1*


The overall ratings of the books I read came to 3 1*reads, 4 2* reads, 11 3* reads, 15 4* reads and 15 5* reads which is pretty good I think! It means I averaged out at 3.7*, which in hindsight does seem a little low, but I read some pretty good books over the year. 

What about you? How good were your 2016 books and did you meet your challenge?

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Book Review: The Forgotten Fairytales by Angela Parkhurst

The Forgotten Fairytales – Angela Parkhurst

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Angela Parkhurst
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
First published: 2014
Edition: ePub
Pages: 360
Blurb:    (Taken from goodreads)
               A psychotic, shoe obsessed Princess.
               A not-so-charming, alcoholic Prince.
               A hot Big Bad Wolf she absolutely cannot fall for – no matter how well he kisses.
               If seventeen-year-old Norah Hart had known she’d be attending a boarding school for the nut job reincarnations of fairy tale characters, she would have insisted on going to Moscow with her father. But getting out isn’t as easy as she thought. Especially once Norah realizes she, too, is a storybook character. An Unknown. The first one in one hundred years.
Soon Norah learns she can help others break free form the story binding them. But in doing so puts everyone’s Happily Ever After in jeopardy. Some princesses will do whatever it takes to protect their endings. Even if it means betraying the one closest to you.

History of my copy: I received a copy of The Forgotten Fairytales through YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

In all honesty, this is the kind of book I should adore. I am a huge fan of fairy-tale retellings, especially those with a twist. To me, it sounded like a high school version of the hit TV show Once Upon A Time, of which I am a huge fan of. Although The Forgotten Fairytales wasn’t a bad book, I think that my high expectations kind of ruined it for me when it turned out to not live up to them.

Plot: We follow Norah Hart and her sister as she enters boarding school whilst her dad moves to Moscow. However, this isn’t an ordinary school – it’s a school where all the students are an ‘alternative’ version of fairy-tale characters. It is also very cliquey where the princesses stick together, as do the heroes, villains, sidekicks, etc. It turns out that Cinderella, of all people, is evil and so Norah and her best friend turned boyfriend Wolf have to stop her whilst not getting killed.

Setting: One thing I did enjoy about The Forgotten Fairytales is the setting. The castle-turned school may feel a little Hogwarts-y, but it certainly suited the fairy-tale nature of the book. I do wish Pankhurst had given it a little more character and description though as it had the potential to be a fantastic setting.

Characters: Whilst the main characters of the book were all individual, none of them really connected with me. The protagonist, Norah, was sometimes a bit if a bad-ass, but became a complete wuss when it came to her sister. She just felt a little two-dimensional and flat, and had no outstanding personality.
               Wolf was another conundrum. Starting off as a broody, humorous person, he became all soft and sweet as soon as he and Norah became a thing. That just felt too fake. In fact, their whole relationship was just a little too cliché and fake if I’m honest.
               Then there is Cinderella because, of course, the innocent, kind, angel of a girl definitely is evil.. right? Pankhurst did explain it well and did it justice but it just felt a little too far gone. It felt very much ‘let’s take the kindest person and make them evil!’


To read or not to read: Not read. Whilst The Forgotten Fairytales was far from a terrible book, it just really didn’t live up to my expectation. It was such a brilliant idea but I think it fell a little flat, with perhaps too much effort going into making the characters ‘different’ from the traditional tales. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an alright book, but I wouldn’t go recommending it to anyone in a hurry.


Christmas Book Haul 2

It's that time of year again folks! I hope you have all had an amazing festive period whether you celebrate Christmas, any other holidays, or nothing at all. 

As per usual, it isn't really Christmas without family, gifts and, of course, books! I thought for this post I would do a quick update on the state of the books I got last Christmas (blog post can be found here) and then dive into the literary wonders I received this time round.


Last year's books:


Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia by Christopher Paolini

This was the first book I completed in 2016 and I gave it a 4* review.

Illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling

I'm still yet to finish this one, but the images are just beautiful!

Wars of the Roses: Bloodline by Conn Iggulden


Oops I haven't even started this one yet.


Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan


Ahh yes this one was so good! I gave it a 5* review.

The Company of the Dead by David Kowalksi


Don't think I've even started this one either.


The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan


I haven't even touched the first of this trilogy. Maybe this year?


The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare


I loved this one so much I actually finished it back in 2015, just after Christmas! It got a 4* review.

The Enchanted Forest Postcards by Joanna Basford


I've done a few of these now and I'm still super obsessed with how pretty they are. Check out my adult colouring page here.

And now onto this years books!!!

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Already read this one and I am so in love with it! It had a great twist and I'm heartbroken and I just need the next one like right now. Review shall be up soon.


Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare


I read this back when it came out and gave it a glorious 5* review which you can read here. This was the edition I really wanted because it's so beautiful and is stamped by Cassie, but it was sold out when I wanted to get it. You should've seen the look on my face when I found some in my local Waterstones just before Christmas! I practically ran across the store crying! So yes, I am very glad to finally add this to my collection.


Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare


In case you haven't noticed, I'm a pretty big Clare fan. I've wanted to read these short stories about Simon for a while now, but, as I did with The Bane Chronicles, I patiently waited until they were released as a full collection. Can't wait to get stuck in!


Wars of the Roses: Ravenspur by Conn Iggulden


Still haven't read Bloodline, but I needed this beautiful hard back edition to add to my collection.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer


I am a h.u.g.e. Meyer fan. The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series ever and I've been dying to get my hands on Heartless since its release. This edition is gorgeous and I can't wait to get started! Find my review for Stars Above here, including links to the 4 main books of The Lunar Chronicles.

Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan


As you can see above, I loved the first book in the Magnus Chase series and can't wait to get stuck into this one.

Illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Seriously, you can never read Harry Potter enough times. These illustrated editions are just a gorgeous collection to any Potter collection. They're almost too pretty to read!

Taylor Swift - This Is Our Song by Tyler Conroy

I have been a dedicated Swiftie for over a decade now so as soon as I saw this book, I knew I needed it. I'll probably get super jealous of all the fans when I read it (I still haven't seen her live - she always plays too far away for me to affordably go see) but I'll live with it because I just need more Swift in my life.


So there we have it! These are all the books I got for Christmas. Leave a comment with the ones you received!