Half-Yearly Report

My darling friend created this questionnaire to help us figure out all our book feelings from over the last six months and it is super fun! JOIN JOIN JOIN!

How many books have you read so far this year?

SRC half

What has been your favourite read?

In the Shadow of Blackbirds| Cat Winters

All the Bright Places| Jennifer Niven

Jasper Jones| Craig Silvey

Were you surprised by any books you read?

Red Rising | Pierce Brown

red rising

Did any books disappoint you?

Tomorrow, When the War Began | John Marsden

john marsden

What character did you connect to most?

Celaena Sardothien when reading The Assassin’s Blade – Calaena’s back story helped create a much more powerful character who I somehow love even more!

celaena

What are you excited to read before the end of the year?

Queen of Shadows | Sarah J Maas – can’t half tell which author I love…

queen

Have you read your most anticipated book of 2015 yet, and if so was it worth it?

Black Iris | Leah Raedar AND YES! Beyond epic

black iris

Have you discovered any new favourite authors or series?

Maria V Snyder

Jennifer Niven

Cat Winters

Stephanie Perkins

His Fair Assassin series

Darkest London series

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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 😀

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

 

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—his partner and closest friend—find 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.

 

 

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: 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 séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s 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

Seasonal Reading Challenge Winter 2015

Explanation:

Goodreads is heaven. It is a beautiful website and app that allows us delicious book readers to explore the Novelistic Universe. An exciting place to be in this Universe is the ‘Goodreads Groups’ as you are able to find people with similar interests or explore some unknown territories. I decided to do the latter. The “Seasonal Reading Challenge” is a contest between readers that is run every three months (aligning with the changing seasons) that asks you to read books that fit particular parameters – this will push you out of your comfort zone in the best of ways.

For example, there is a task which asks you to read a book with an identifiable musical instrument on the cover: too bad if you have a phobia of musical instruments that are in print. The more tasks you do the more points you gain. What is at stake? Your pride, sanity and your bank account. What can you gain? G. L. O. R. Y.

What has it got to do with me?

Everything. I have always found it difficult to find books to read, and was a fan of re-reading books because it was much easier than taking a chance. This just got deep. I started my first challenge three months ago and found it super exciting and it totally exacerbated my anal-retentive, control-freak, organisation-neediness feelings. So worth it!

Why am I talking about it?

Because you all need to be doing it! That simple. And I will be talking about it in the future – probably a lot. Deal with it.

Here is a little snapshot of what I will hopefully be doing over the next three months:

SRC Sample

 

Is it not the most brilliant thing you have ever seen? Don’t answer unless you are being kind.