Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hello Again!

Hello Again.

I haven't written a blog post in absolutely ages! But I'm back!

So in the last two months I have been swamped in school work. At the end of January and start of February I had my prelims, which are mocks. I did really well, I got great results and I'm very proud of myself. But because of these big scary prelims, I barely did anything in January except schoolwork and revision. Some days, the longest I read was around ten minutes before bed. And at the start of February, I had assignments and tests. Fun!

But now, I'm back. Ish. For the next three months I'm going to be scheduling all my posts. Like now. I have to do this because in about nine weeks I'll have my first exam and I have so much other school work to do before then that if I don't schedule, I'll never have any time to write posts.

Now, I'm not making any promises. If I run out of posts scheduled in advance half way through May, you'll have to wait. But by June, I should be fully back. Before then, I'm not sure how frequent I'll be posting. I'm hoping to have enough for one a week. I'm also doubting that there will be any reviews but I promise there will be other bookish posts, and maybe a couple of non-bookish posts.

I have lots of ideas for new features and I think one of those should be up on Wednesday. I am keeping my Wednesday posting day, as long as no other post clashes with that, because I like it. It's half way through the school week and it gives me time to write another post.

Oh and I'm not sure how often I'll check the comments on posts! Sorry! I forget and if school is mental then I doubt I will be near my computer bar when I'm using it to test myself. I might even be off Twitter for a couple of months! *shudders*

I think that's all I have to say for now, so I guess I'll see you on Wednesday!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

REVIEW || Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Book Title: Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Orion, February 12th, 2015
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Format: e-ARC, 320 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
Of course, Red Queen caught my attention right away, months ago, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the moment when I could finally get my hands on a copy and devour the book – now it’s all hands on deck for the second book, please! I don’t think it has come as a surprise that I enjoyed this book immensely. I had some reservations at first, as one tend to has with the amount of similar fantasy novels out there, because it seemed very similar to the premise of Red Rising by Pierce Brown, this wasn’t as intense as Red Rising which, in comparison, was disappointing.

I loved being in Mare’s head, I can’t pinpoint exactly why, in a way I kind of despised her but was able to relate to her in certain ways too. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, on one hand a lot of them were pretty likeable, and on the other hand the villains were just… villainous, in a way the had no substance, they were too rounded, as if you were just supposed to hate them, end of story.

Having said all that, it was hard to love Red Queen as much as I wanted to, it just wasn't original enough, and whilst Aveyard’s writing style was engaging and her descriptions more than adequate, there wasn’t any pizzazz -  nothing that made me go “holy fricking wow.” And yet, the plot of the book was well executed, the twists creeped up on me slowly but surely. The atmosphere Aveyard created was perfect, and she also kept a constant mood throughout the entire novel. Her descriptions created vivid scene’s and I have a soft spot for books about abilities, and the way the Aveyard introduced and ran with the Silver’s (and others) abilities was something I really liked reading about.

A negative point that loomed over most of the book was the whole dystopia trend of “I-must-help/start/cause-this-recolution-and-I’m-trying-to-take-down-the-government” I have never been overly fond of that, and this exact point was mentioned by the character herself, more than once! Let’s just say it didn’t earn the book any favors…

Despite this being a bit of a rollercoaster and me swinging back between "I really like this" and "this is actually kind of crap in some respects, should I like it?" and I've settled firmly in the "I liked this, but there's room for improvements" aisle - it was more than I was hoping for, and it definitely hasn't disappointed BUT there's just a lack of something, some unfilled potential. 

Of course, it sounds rather harsh, I'm not saying that this is a terrible book at all - as I mentioned I really enjoyed it, there are just a few points that pulled it back from the edge of being amazing. If you liked Marie Lu’s The Young Elites then I definitely think this book is right up your alley! 

Rating = 3.5 Bookish Birds

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

REVIEW || The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Book Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
PublisherIndigo, February 5th, 2015
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Format: e-ARC, 331 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for. Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does… As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
I really enjoyed Holly Black’s latest novel, it was magical and enrapturing.

I will admit that at first I was really, really, skeptical – I’ve read a lot of faerie/fae/fey (there’s so many different versions!) books and consequently they’ve all kind of blended together, none of them really had any original elements to make them stand out, hence my skepticism when it came to The Darkest Part of the Forest but I was pleasantly surprised with this one; it was fun, dark, wild – everything a faerie book should be, and I’m glad I picked this up.

Whilst certain elements were familiar, Black gave it a fresh coating of paint – intertwining the real and the fantastical. I think a large example of how Holly managed to make everything in this book work so well was how I even loved the horned boy just as much as Ben and Hazel had, arguably even though he’s mentioned a lot he doesn’t really play a big part in present plot terms yet there he is, in all his glory.

Hazel has to be one of my favourite characters of recent times, how she ran about with her sword as a knight, I can totally relate to the nature of her character, more so she isn’t perfect, not at all, but (as is rare) I genuinely liked her. Something that made me grind my teeth was the romance, and I’m kind of annoyed and conflicted about this point because these type of romances are my guilty pleasures I can’t help but enjoy them, but I don’t want to like them – so that soured the reading experience just a little bit. Although I do like Jack as a character, he was sweet.

In terms of plot I loved it; whilst it did get a little predictable at times it was definitely original and kept me hooked throughout the entire book. Holly seemed to have a knack for making everything flow really well, especially when she introduced new elements into the book, and her descriptions were spot on – they set the scene and tone of the whole book really well.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book but I was slightly disappointed that it didn’t wow me; it had a certain lack of substance, and that’s the reason why I simply liked but didn’t manage to love Black’s latest novel. Having said that, it certainly is one of the better faerie novels I’ve read and I definitely recommend it! 
Rating = 3.5 Bookish Birds

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Monthly Wrap Up || JANUARY 2015

My hardback of Snow Like Ashes; and my Andrew Smith collection including my e-ARC of The Alex Crow!

This month was basically the month of writing all the reviews. I'm not even joking I mean the majority of posts I put up this month were reviews - and here's the thing, writing reviews de-stresses me. Or at least it has recently. So in case you were wondering why there was such a barrage of reviews this month then that's why; I've just been writing a lot of them! It was also the month of being cold and snuggling in hoodies. Oh, and new books.

Other important matters of state that should be mentioned include my new obsession with The 100; thanks to hearing two specific people talk about it (yes looking at you Judith and Amber) for ages I finally picked up The 100 - and guess what? I'm in looooove, I was skeptic at first of course but now I'm in too deep - Team Bellamy all the way, don't even get me started on Bellarke.

Some of the books I reviewed this month happen to be some of my most anticipated reads of this/last year, and some of them have become fast favourites, whilst others disappointed. You may have noticed that I've started using half stars this month, I never used to before but its becoming increasingly difficult fleeing satisfied with the rating I'm giving books when I review them but now that I'm using half stars I feel like its just a more accurate representation of what I thought of the book in question.

Winger by Andrew Smith -  3.5 stars

I feel inadequately uncreative but I had lots of fun working on reviews, so whatevaaaah.

Other posts:

Seriously though, can you believe January is already over?! I am now an entire year older (hint hint, my birthday was this month) and its already freaking February. Of course I'm among the majority still making the mistake of writing 2014, but that's all old hat. I don't think I can let this wrap up go by without mentioning two very important people who are just the best people on planet earth, okay, I honestly don't think I could live without them and you guyssss, I love you as much as Dean Winchester loves pie, Sammy and Cas - y'all know who you are. Now can we stow the emoshuns? Thank-you verily much. And a very happy new month to you.