Seasonal Reading Challenge Update

As I mentioned in an earlier post I am taking part in the Seasonal Reading Challenge through the Goodreads website. Go here if you want to have a look-see ūüėÄ

I have completed another four tasks from the challenge and have updated it on the website. It has made me rather giddy.

  • The first task required me to read a book that has the genre “history” or “historical fiction” on its main page. I went with In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters.
  • The second task asked me to look at a specific book reviewing blog and read a book that had been reviewed on there. I went with In The Woods by Tana French.
  • The third task had me reading a book with “romance” as a genre on its main page. I chose Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
  • For the fourth task I had to complete two books. The first was any book of my choice: I chose the ridiculously long, but totally incredible, The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. The second gave me three options and I went with a book that had to have a book cover that had an outside winter landscape: I read A Family Affair by Mary Campisi.

After this my stats stand at:

  • 105 points
  • 8 tasks completed
  • 4047 pages read
  • 9 books read

There is only a month and a half left and I am keen to finish at least another 8 tasks. There are just way too many good books to read. The daily struggle

 

Advertisements

Book Review: In The Woods

Not to be mistaken by the glory that is Into The Woods…

BR_In The Woods 01

… but this lovely little little murder mystery instead:

BR_In The Woods 02

“As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox‚ÄĒhis partner and closest friend‚ÄĒfind themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.”

This book had some issues but was an overall good read. I legitimately read the majority of it in a seven-hour reading session. My brain hurt afterwards.

Let’s start with the story

I am going to forewarn you and tell you that this is the first in a series; I did not realise this until after I read it and was frustrated because *spoiler warning* the 1984 crime isn’t solved.

Anyhoo, I loved how it unfolded. At times it was tedious but only in the best of ways – it helped you feel the exact same frustration that Ryan and Maddox experienced during their investigation. I think it was a little misleading to say that there were similarities between the 1984 crime and the most recent one. I think French was trying too hard to make a connection so that it would affect Ryan¬†psychologically and emotionally more during the book.¬†I also guessed what would happen in the end as the hints dropped throughout the book were far from subtle. Don’t get me wrong, it did not ruin the reading experience for me one little bit – I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it happen.

Now the characters

This is Ryan boiled down to a rather inspiring quote from the book:

“What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this – two things: I crave truth. And I lie.”

Ryan is a bit of a douche: “emotionally crippled” would probably be a bit of an understatement. He likes explaining a lot of things in detail and sometimes this is helpful but sometimes it is irrelevant. GET IT TOGETHER MAN!

Maddox is BOSS. You want to be her because she is such a badass. The relationship/partnership between these two makes me ridiculously jealous as well. French has written the dialogue between these two very well; you can imagine that they spend the majority of their time together as they bounce off each other really naturally.

The evil-doers will give you the heebie jeebies (which I maintain is a real state of being). They range from psychotic to beyond pathetic, and straight on to depraved.

The rating

4 out of 5 delicious stars. I don’t know if I will continue with the series, but I will probably keep track of what happens in them as I really want to know what happened in the f***ing woods in 1984. It’s eating at me.

 

 

First Book Haul of 2015!

First thing you should know about me: I lack self control, especially when it comes to book stores. I float through the stores and pretend that my wallet is The Cave of Wonders from Aladdin – just a bottomless pit filled with all sorts of swag.

Recently I went to three different book shops over two days and ended up with eleven books, which wouldn’t be a big deal if I hadn’t just visited the library and borrowed another ten…yep. This is not a situation which I would consider “a problem”. I am quite happy to be cavorting amongst all the books. They are my babies.

Anyhoodle. The books which I hauled from shops.

From Good Ole Target I got these three beauties:

Joe Hill’s ‘Horns’ and Cecilia Ahern’s ‘Love, Rosie’ are being turned into movies that look amazing! I usually like to read a book before I see the movie because it adds so much more to the viewing experience. Also, it makes me feel superior to all those people who haven’t read the book. ‘A Thousand Pieces of You’ by Claudia Gray has been on my to-read pile for a while now after seeing in a BookTuber video. You really can’t go wrong with a book about alternate universes.

Then I went the greatest book store in all of Sydney –¬†Kinokuniya. I have to hold back the tears when I visit this place because it is just so beautiful and peaceful. I want to live inside their YA section. I couldn’t stop myself from picking up these:

I can not get enough of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books! Her characters and the universes she creates make me happy. Keep up the good work, young lass! I hadn’t heard of ‘Winger’ by Andrew Smith until a friend forced it into my hands. Not something I would usually go for, but I trust her book instincts.

And finally, Basement Books: where all your dreams come true. This is basically a discount outlet for books. Cheap books. Books on sale   *DIES*

This is where I lost my plot and any self respect I may have had.

I don’t want to go through all of these because I am fairly lazy, but it’s safe to say I have an amazing taste in books and these all look pretty exciting. Have some romance, some historical fiction, some fantasy! All that one really needs to live the Bookish Lifestyle.

Book Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J Maas

BR_Heir of Fire

*Post may contain spoilers* – you need to take my advice and just read the series; you would be doing yourselves a favour.

What the series is about:

This badass female character – Calaena Sardothien – is an 18-year old assassin who is “rescued” from a slave camp after a year of doing hard labour and being tortured. I say “rescued” as the son of the King who placed her there in the first place is the one who gets her out so that she can compete to become said King’s champion … the champion does all the King’s dirty work, and no, I don’t mean cleaning his stanky-arse pantaloons.

It’s hard to describe without giving too much away, but Maas masterfully unfolds this world of magic, mystery and action. She builds this character who is incredibly strong, yet broken; she knows she is flawed and has weaknesses but is given the tools to overcome¬†them. And she has a bitchin’ wardrobe. I can not adequately describe how much I love Calaena.

The men:

You can not have a YA story these days without some romance, and some swoon-worthy male characters. Maas does not disappoint. On one hand you have Prince Dorian who saved her from the mines and shares her love of reading – they have companionship. On the other hand you have Captain Westfall who is in charge of the King’s Guard and helps Calaena train so that she can regain the strength and will to win the competition.

GIF_Fans Self

This book:

*definite spoilers – avert thine eyes*

Firstly, you are going to need a third hand because HOT DAMN there is another man that enters the picture. His name is Rowan and you are going to love/hate him. Without going too deeply into the events of previous books, Calaena is sent away to learn more about a specific kind of magic and Rowan is the one that gets to decide when she can learn more. Rowan becomes a much needed friend to Calaena and you are going to love how their story unfolds.

I found myself getting very annoyed by Calaena during the the first half of this book – she is a deep, depressing spiral as she can’t stop blaming herself for the death’s of certain people. The guilt almost suffocates her. The more you read, the more you realise she needs to hit rock bottom so that she can then use that strength to become a better, stronger person.

When a book is in mid-series I am always concerned that the author will use it as a stepping stone for the last couple of books instead of making it a book in its own right. I thought this was happening at first: a lot of events were taking place that seemed very preparatory, but there are underlying events that take place which allow this one to stand on its own (PRAISE THE LORDE!)

What I really love about her series is that each book shows you a little more of the universe, so you aren’t flooded by all this information about a fantasy universe in the first book. You are slowly introduced to places and characters that have different levels of importance and it keeps you on your toes. You just never know what is going to happen.

Another beautifully-written book by Maas. I am so thankful that this is an author I started reading.

Rating: 5/5

Book Review: Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

image

Lisa Kleypas is one of my favourite romance authors. I usually read her historical romances but decided to give one of her modern books a go.

As usual, she writes characters that you fall in love just as hard as they fall in love with each other.

A great thing about Kleypas is that she writes characters who are flawed and makes sure that they learn and grow from the mistakes they make. In the case of ‘Devil’ we have Haven who is possibly in the worst marriage imaginable and Hardy who has caused problems with her family in the past and has some family demons of his own.

It’s safe to say that you can easily enjoy Kleypas’ books as the happy ending will come.

Gives me the happy feels. 3 / 5

Book Review: In The Shadow Of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

BR_Shadow Blackbirds

Third book of the year and it is a whopper.

“In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to s√©ances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she‚Äôs forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death.”

Just turn around and look, I told myself.

I squeezed my eyes shut and counted silently to three.

One.

Two.

Three.

I flipped myself over. Opened my eyes. And found a dead man next to my bed.

GIF_List of Feels

This book will wreck you. There is no easier way of putting it.

You start off thinking it is going to be an historical romance novel, then you think it will be a romance novel that hurts. Then it goes on to become a supernatural feast of awesome! Then it scares the bejeesus out of you (I legit had goosebumps). Then the pain.. Oh, the pain. And it ends up being a mystery novel! Like, WHAT THE FRACK!

Oh, and the sass!

“The road ahead may be rather upsetting for a sixteen-year-old girl. I’m afraid your delicate female eyes and ears will experience some ugliness.”
“Oh, you silly, naive men.” I shook my weary head and genuinely pitied their ignorance. “You’ve clearly never been a sixteen-year-old girl in the fall of 1918.”

You need to get on this book and escape into one of the saddest periods of time in history and experience this eclectic, heartbreaking story. And an oddly-named bird: Oberon. Please name your future children thus.

I apologise for any pain this may cause you.

1 000 000 / 5

Book Review: Unloched by Candice Lemon-Scott

BR_Unloched

This is a lovely little purchase I made at Australia’s first Book Expo (WHICH WAS AMAZEBALLS!)

“A mother‚Äôs dying wish sends twin sisters Lauren and Trina back to the place of their childhood vacations,¬†on the Gippsland Lakes, to restore and sell a dilapidated houseboat. Although the twins were almost inseparable¬†throughout childhood, a wild storm and the events that followed drove the girls apart in¬†their teenage¬†years.¬†Now, ten years later, Lauren and Trina are forced to face each other and themselves as they¬†the role¬†their mother played in their estrangement. As the houseboat is gradually stripped bare,¬†so are the lives of these women as the truth emerges.”

It’s less than 200 pages long but it somehow encapsulates a lot of emotion and imagery. It’s set in Australia and you can just feel the heat of the Summer. Or maybe I am just feeling it because it is¬†Summer and I can hardly breathe through the heat and humidity.

Your heart aches for Lauren who seems to be a shell of a human being, you are irritated by Trina for being a cowardly twit and you despise their mother for being a stubborn, abusive arse, yet you can still connect to all three characters.

Much love for this book. 4/5