Memo Pad: Books – May 2017

Woosh! It’s the end of another month. I know I say this every month but I can’t believe how quickly this year is going. It’s summer!

I started the month in a bit of a reading slump after my holiday. Having read so many books in such a short amount of time I was expecting it but thankfully I got over it rather quickly and by the end of the month I was speeding through books again. Thanks entirely to some amazing books that I just couldn’t put down. I read seven books this month which is massive for me especially seeing as I was expecting a slump but five of them were five stars. I guess I just picked the right books to help me through. I got an ARC of Godblind from netgalley which was exciting and I also picked up Starship’s Mage as it was the recommended book in the small bloggers book club I’m in (It’s The Monster Goddess Book Club and that’s the link to the Goodreads Group).

On to the reviews.

As always, the reviews are spoiler free and the links bring you to the Goodreads page for each book. The link to my Goodreads is at the bottom of the page as usual so if you want to add me or check out other books I like and reviewed, do click on it.

Read: 7          Bought: 7        Added to TBR: 18

MP MAY 2017


68427Elantris by Brandon Sanderson *****

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

I have to admit I only really wanted to read this because I wanted to give Sanderson another go having not really like the first mistborn book that much. It was a good book but wasn’t quite for me, but Sanderson is one of the biggest names in fantasy so I wanted to try something else. The blurb for Elantris hooked me and I decided to give it a go.

I really enjoyed it but I think something you should know about it is that it’s very political. I don’t mean real world politics and such but the whole book is a chess game between multiple opponents. They all try to plot three steps ahead and out manoeuver each other. It was very well done. I normally like a bit more action in my books, I guess my high rating is a pretty good indicator of how well Sanderson weaved it all together as I was never bored and I found all of the points of view interesting. If it had just a little more action it would have been five stars for me.

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We Were Liars by E Lockhart *****

We are the Liars.
We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.
We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?

My heart hurts. That’s literally all I could think of to write for a very long time after finishing this book. This book ruined me. I nearly cried and i simply don’t cry reading books. But this one left me reeling. I finished it and was still lying in bed hours later staring at the ceiling thinking about this.

I bought this in a deal, like most books I buy admittedly, because I’d heard of it and thought it would be quite a good book but I was not expecting this.

To start with it has a very good portrayal of how friends disappear when you get sick. I experienced that myself and it cut a little closer to the bone when reading so I know that was spot on. I was enjoying it and then that ending…. I don’t have anything coherent to say and I don’t think you should know anymore going in to it anyway. Read it, but make sure you have tissues with you and time to hurt afterwards.

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Starship’s Mage by Glynn Stewart *****

To travel across the stars you need a jump mage. Damien Montgomery has just graduated but he doesn’t have the connections other graduates does and so is desperate to find a ship to take him on before having to give up on his dream to be a jump mage. The Blue Jay is desperate for a jump mage after an accident with their previous one.

Mixing space opera and magic can be a bit dodgy so wasn’t sure what to expect but this was the recommended book in a book club I’m part of so I gave it a go and it blew me away. I loved it.

It’s written originally as novellas so there is lots of repeated info at the start of each section. Which I guess if you are forgetful then that’s helpful but as, for the majority of the book, there aren’t that many characters, I didn’t need it.

This felt like Harry potter in space. Not kids, because Damien is a young adult. Not at school, he’s already graduated. No one else on the ship has magic…. But it just felt in the same tone as harry potter to me. There was lots of exciting action, a relatable young character, a very loyal crew and someone growing and figuring out their magic along the way too. The way it was originally written helped that I think, as each section had a piece of action to build up to. I just really enjoyed it, I’ve read books that are better than this and given them four stars but for me this just felt like a five star, not because there wasn’t anything wrong or because it was the best writing ever but simply because I enjoyed it so much.

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Godblind by Anna Stephens *****

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.
Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.
Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?

I felt at times, and anyone who has read the book knows specifically what times, that it was gruesome for the sake of being gruesome. This is not a Scott Lynch type of fantasy, this is an Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence dark fantasy, and if you’re fans of those books then you will love this one. Expect it dark ….. All the way through.

I’m a little annoyed that dark fantasy books like this always seem to be set in a world that is sexist and homophobic. Yes there are main characters who defy those and prove them wrong, it isn’t the tone of the book itself, But I find it annoying that this is nearly always a thing.

The second half got better in my opinion. It drifted away from these problems and I did really enjoy reading it but in the end I felt like there wasn’t enough. I was there for Crys, I liked him from the first chapter he gets. I think he’s the one we’re being made to route for. There are lots of hints at where his story is going but by the end of the book his story hadn’t actually started yet. It just didn’t feel like a full book to me. I know its part of a series but to be a book needs a little rounding off and tying up of ends rather than just stopping.

All For The Game Trilogy by Nora Sakavic *****

( The Foxhole Court + The Raven King + The King’s Men) 

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.
Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.
But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

I’m going to do this whole trilogy as one review because I read it in six days. I saw the first book was on kindle deal for less than £1 so I bought it because I’d heard good things.

I started reading the first before bed. This was a big mistake. It’s not a particularly long book and it was the most difficult thing to put it down. The ONLY reason I did was because I’d lost so much sleep the days before already. Otherwise I totally would have finished it in one sitting, sleep Gods be damned. I picked it up as soon as I got up the next day and finished it…. And then bought the next two (also less than £1 each) and started reading number two straight away. I’m not sure how much more praise I can give it than that. I finished the first two books in 3 days and the next one in 3 days but only because, by this point, there were certain real life things I just couldn’t put on hold any longer. I put my life on hold for this series. Quote that! The characters are amazing, and complicated (so complicated), their relationships are constantly shifting and fighting with each other to see who’s in control at any given moment. I did have a little trouble at the beginning, when they all get introduced, trying to figure out who was who and what was going on but I think that’s how Neil felt in the middle of it all. There were so many conversations that I had to go back and reread just because they were so clever and harsh! These boys don’t pull their punches. As for the game itself, Exy is a made up sport that is supposedly a cross between Hockey and Lacross and, as someone who has absolutely no idea about either, I didn’t have a problem following along (There are some things I obviously didn’t understand like court positions and such but nothing that I NEEDED to understand) so don’t let the idea of this being a ‘sports’ book put you off. I loved the whole series and am sad that it’s over but so glad I picked them up and at £2.46 for the whole trilogy it was a massive bargain.


 

Phew, these posts are getting a little long. Too long? When I started these I was only reading 3 or 4 books a month but for some reason (and I am not complaining one bit!) I’m reading much more nowadays.

But over to you, have you read any of these or planning too? Have you read any other Sanderson books and what did you think? Have you read We Were Liars? Did it hurt you as much as me? No spoilers in the comments, please. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a sports story or a magic-on-a-spaceship story before either and it was a massive surprise how much I absolutely loved them, So if you have any book recommendations along those lines I would love to hear them.

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Serial Update

The other week I actually left the house. It was a very important, specific trip….To the Cereal Aisle of my local supermarket.WP_20170525_13_24_35_Pro

I’ve been here nearly two years but I have finally visited my local supermarket! Round of applause please.

I needed a new cereal seeing as one of the ones I normally have has suddenly lowered in quality. (It’s just not chocolate enough anymore). So Benny (my wheelchair) got loaded into my dad’s car and off we went. It was a lovely sunny day and luckily, I found a suitable replacement which is yummy. I also bought a variety pack even though I only wanted to try two of them. One if which was not nice so that didn’t go so well.

Speaking of food shopping, I’m going to fill you in on The Great Ice Cream Mishap

My parents came back from shopping the other week and said that they’d seen Hagen Daz Ice Cream at the store and asked me which one I wanted so that they could get it next time. I admit, I squealed a bit (I love me some hagen daz, it’s such a treat) I told them the Cookies and Cream flavour (Is there any other one, really?).

So off they went the next week and bought it. I planned my evening very carefully, looking forward to my ice cream for dessert and went out to eat it.

My mum took it out of the freezer ready to start scooping and from my perch on the sofa I saw the tub was blue. Blue? I though. Why would a Hagen Daz tub be blue. So I asked, dread filling me: “Why is it blue? Is it Hagen Daz?”

Mum, paused, looking at the tub in her hands “…. No.”

“It’s Ben and Jerry’s, isn’t it?” The answer to that was a yes. I really don’t like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and you’re all probably thinking, ice cream is ice cream but Ben and Jerry’s has a weird taste. I’ve been to the Ben and Jerry’s music festival in London where they give you as much free Ice cream as you want and I only managed one cone and one taster spoon because ICK. Needless to say I didn’t get any ice cream.

 

In other news, I posted the other day on twitter about just how many books are piling up on my kindle:

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The answer to that tweet is very simple: Not long at all! I think it was two days in the end. Ooops.

I’ve bought seven books this month (and a free ARC) and to be fair most of them were on deal for less than £1 but still that’s a lot and I already have too many books to read and not enough time to read them.

Books bought this month:

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

Starship’s Mage by Glynn Stewart

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper by Jackson Lear

The Foxhole Court (All For The Game #1) by Nora Sakavic

The Raven King (All For The Game #2) by Nora Sakavic

The King’s Men (All For The Game #3) by Nora Sakavic

I’ve also added quite a few books to my to read shelf on Goodreads this month too….18 to be precise.  I won’t add them here because that’s a rather long list but if you want to check it out you can click here and feel free to add me on Goodreads.

I’ll post the reviews for books I’ve actually read in May next week. But for now, have you read any of these? Do you have a book addiction, want to join me in bookworms anonymous? Anyone else hate Ben & Jerry’s? That one is probably just me. But I’m going to leave you all now and read some more books.

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Memo Pad: Holiday Books Edition

I read a lot on holiday. Which was awesome! Until I got back and realised I had to write five reviews in a week. Technically, and if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know this, I started reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue before I left. In fact I read half of it. So I read four and a half books not five but considering I thought I’d read at most four that’s still pretty good.mp he

So here’s my Memo Pad: Holiday Edition or the one where I tell you how much of a sucker I am for good characters.

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater *****

This series really confuses me. Barely anything happens but I love it? There’s absolutely no doubt that this is a character led series which is fine by me when the characters are all brilliant. They all get their chance at the front and none of them are there just as side characters. The relationships are all developing but I just kind of wished it moved a little faster. I didn’t love it as much as the first two books.

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The Captive Prince by CS Pacat *****

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave. Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country. For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

This is a bit of a weird book. I wasn’t really expecting much of a nuanced story but the relationships between the characters are all really complicated and subtle and I actually really liked that. It makes me want to read the next one because I want to learn more about them and that’s always a good thing.

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Willful Machines by Tim Floreen *****

In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public. Charlotte’s attacks have everyone on high alert—everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. And keeping Nico from finding out about his recent suicide attempt. And keeping himself from freaking out about all his secrets. But when the attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he’s Charlotte’s next target. Even worse, Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too.
As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive … and what makes life worth living.

I really liked this, at the same time a lot of it was very predictable and I almost felt like I’d read it before because it wasn’t very original. Whenever an AI is involved in a book there always seems to be a love story attached to ask the question of if they deserve to be alive. But I did really love the characters. I honestly don’t care about originality if your characters are amazing and both Lee and Nico are really likable. So I really liked this book. (Also does anyone else have certain names that make them predisposed to like a character? or am I just weird? Nico is one of mine.)

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab *****

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

So I saw a description of this that said:

Sin City + Romeo and Juliet – Romance + Monsters

And that is actually a really good description. Also a really enticing one, I mean I would have wanted to pick up this book if I had seen only that.

August spends pretty much this whole book making me want to give him a hug. And Kate is a badass with a soft core and I’m realising that this whole post is just me telling you how much I like the characters in the books. It’s probably starting to sound repetitive.

I also want to say that I absolutely love when a book has some kind of rhyme /song in it. Even if I haven’t read the book (I’m looking at you mortal instruments) I love when they are there. I’m not sure why. It’s irrational the amount that I love them. This review is a mess but its a brilliant YA book and you should read it.

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The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare by M.G Buehrlen *****

So. This is a good book. I wanted to start by saying that before I explain my very biased rating. Because I am aware enough to know it’s kind of unfair but I’m not changing it. There is a betrayal in this book. And I feel betrayed. Its as simple as that. The end of the first book promised me something and I never got it. I don’t like when that happens. I was expecting a certain kind of sequel and this wasn’t it. It was good but it wasn’t the book I was expecting.

 


DNF at 25%

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages. So I’m really not sure what happened here. I don’t think this is a bad book but I found myself skimming so I stopped. Maybe it starts slowly. I’m hopeful that I will eventually give this another shot.

 


So some of these reviews weren’t exactly great but writing five reviews in a week is hard, okay?

What have you been reading? Have you read any of these? Do you blast through books on holiday or do you not read at all? I normally end up in a reading slump when I come back from blitzing books on holiday which ends up evening out my reading anyway. And yes, I am in a slump right now, as expected.

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Memo Pad: Book Reviews April (#1)

This is a bit of a weird Memo Pad. I read a lot of books this month (and last month because technically I read Matilda at the end of last month) and if I put all of the reviews in one post then this will be ridiculously long. Also, and more importantly, I went on holiday this month and only got back on the 28th which means I haven’t had time to put my reviews for the books I’ve read while away on holiday in this post. So, all that means is that, only the reviews of books I read before leaving are in this post plus a separate list of the books I’ve managed to read on holiday with my rating of them. I’m going to do another post with their actual reviews next week some time.

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Read: 4 + 5                                     Bought: 2        DNF:1

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Matilda by Roald Dahl *****

Hmm, I’m actually not sure why I’ve given this a two star. I’m trying to think of something I liked about it but honestly the only thing I can think of is: I loved the musical….

Now, before people jump on me, I NEVER get on with ‘classics’. I think it’s the writing style. I just don’t enjoy reading it, it feels a bit too distant for me. I found it very interesting how, coming from watching the film and musical first, I have good memories of Matilda as a main character but reading this, and I’m certain it’s because of the writing style, she came across to me like a really nasty little child. I think if we were in her head and felt her pain, rather than having the story narrated to us, I would have felt for her more and her actions would have felt more justified and vindicated. I guess this is why they say show don’t tell. I had absolutely no affinity with her.

I also felt that there is, especially in the first part of a book, the suggestion that people who read are somehow better and superior than those who don’t. Whether because they can’t or because they chose not to which I don’t agree with.

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The Jewel by Amy Ewing *****

Violet Lasting is no longer a human being. Tomorrow she becomes Lot 197, auctioned to the highest royal bidder in the Jewel of the Lone City. Tomorrow she becomes the Surrogate of the House of the Lake, her sole purpose to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess. Imprisoned in the opulent cage of the palace, Violet learns the brutal ways of the Jewel, where the royal women compete to secure their bloodline and the surrogates are treated as disposable commodities. Destined to carry the child of a woman she despises, Violet enters a living death of captivity – until she sets eyes on Ash Lockwood, the royal Companion. Compelled towards each other by a reckless, clandestine passion, Violet and Ash dance like puppets in a deadly game of court politics, until they become each other’s jeopardy – and salvation.

An offer for this book arrived in my inbox from bookbub and it was actually exactly the kind of book that I felt like reading in that moment so I bought it. Now I don’t normally like reading dystopian books, the ones I’ve read start to feel rather generic after a time. Teenage girl gets given an opportunity that she’d rather not have and through this gets put in a new situation where her world grows that offers opportunities to change things. That’s one way of describing this book but its also possible to take that and use it for at least a dozen other popular dystopians. (hunger games, wool, 100, divergent, the selection, the testing…)

And this one was VERY generic but I was expecting that, I just wanted a fun, exciting three star read to devour on a crappy day but whoa was there a dose of massive instalove of the worst kind shoe-horned into this book.

I also want to point out that the world building wasn’t necessarily done very well. I mean the world is based around concentric circles, the centre one being the richest. The middle ring is the factory sector and we’re told that the smoke is so thick it darkens the sky…. But then we are into the farming sector and that smog… Disappears? Yeah, world building there is a bit dodge.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir *****

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice. For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands of Scholars, all in the name of power. When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death. But once Laia and Elias meet, they find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire.

This was a good book. I enjoyed it a lot…. I honestly don’t have anything else to say about it though? I’m not sure why. It was a solidly built world and interesting plot. There was an absolutely heartbreaking moment in it that seriously brought the tears out but weirdly I came away from this feeling pretty indifferent. There wasn’t anything particular about it? It was just another book that filled some time. Four stars means I definitely enjoyed reading it but I just think it was pretty forgettable once I’d finished it. I think it was the characters, I’m a very character based reader and I didn’t think either of the main characters had anything that was particularly unique about them, I mean, I don’t want a special snowflake character but there wasn’t anything to make them stand out in my mind from the hundreds of other books I’ve read.

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The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta *****

In the City of Brea, thieves and sorceresses do not mix.
When Curtis Vance—professional thief—stumbles into a sorceress’s trap, he’d prefer to kill her than help her. Now bound to the insane sorceress, his only escape (and chance to turn a profit) is to find the long forgotten Dragon Eye gem. Little does Vance know, the Dragon Eye holds more than the key to Vance’s freedom. The Eye could awaken a devastating power—a worldkiller bent on destruction, and Vance is all that stands in its way.

3.5 stars rounded up for the interesting back story.
I like thieves. A lot. So when I saw someone mention this book on a blog I immediately went to look it up and found it sitting prettily on netgalley just waiting for me to click it. I wasn’t planning on reading any books from netgalley this month because of my holiday but I couldn’t resist.
The thief in this book is a fella by the name of Curtis Vance who gets suckered into a job against his will and involved in things much deeper than he had planned. Cue myths, magic, dragons and a certain sorceress mixing things up.
I found Vance’s backstory refreshingly different, rather than tragic events happening to him as a child, as is so common in this genre, he was the one that caused horrible things to happen. I haven’t seen that before and it made this book stand out to me. That said, I felt like there was something missing in the telling that stopped me from loving Vance. I didn’t quite get to know him enough for him to be a lovable rogue and the plot was a little bit too easily solved in the end. I also didn’t think the romance angle made that much sense, there wasn’t enough shown between them to warrant what happened. But then I don’t like romance much so maybe others won’t feel the same


Holiday Reads:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater  *****

The Captive Prince by CS Pacat  *****

Wilful Machines by Tim Floreen   *****

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab *****

The Untimely Deaths of Alex by Wayfarer by MG Buehrlen *****


DNF:

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke 


Books Bought:

I want to say I was very good this month and only bought two books but I mean really that’s only becuase I went on a book buying spree at the end of last month so didn’t need to. But anyway, here are the two I bought, both were on offer for 99p.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing & We were Liars by E. Lockhart.

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Top 10 Things that make me want to read a book

Top Ten Tuesdays are a book meme held over on The Broke and The Bookish. They pick the weeks topic and everyone can do their lists and link up and see what other people have picked.

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This weeks topic is: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

And I mean that’s a pretty brilliant topic for me because I definitely have my favourite tropes and if you tell me a book with any of them in I will automatically look them up. I am there. So without further ado. Here’s the top ten things that will make me pick up a book:


 

A Clever Protagonist

I want them one step ahead (at least), and even when everything goes wrong I want them to find a different path and still end up in front. They need an ace up their sleeve. Think Kaz Breker or Locke Lamore. Give me a guy with a plan and let me watch then out manoeuvre the world (even better if the world under-estimates them). ALL of my favourite books have a clever/cunning main character.

 

A morally grey character or situation –

Things are never black and white, okay? That just doesn’t happen. Give me a character who isn’t in to saving the world and being the shining light and is kind of just doing their own thing when they get forced into the situation and I will like them a thousand times more. Or, DO give me a shining light, brilliantly, golden child and put them in a situation where they realise they were wrong and they don’t know what wrong and right is anymore and….I will love them a thousand times more? I said that already. Point is, it’s just so much more interesting to be grey.

 

Sarcasm/banter –

Hello, it’s funny and if you can make your characters pull it off and have the dialog run smoothly and naturally then you sir are an awesome writer and I love those moments where I’m just sitting here grinning like an idiot and whispering oooh, burn to myself as I read and probably reread passages.

 

A thief….

I don’t know what it says about me that all my favourite characters are thieves. If a book is a about a thief there is a 100% chance I will look it up. I would like to say that I like the fact that you don’t have to be big and strong to be the brave protagonist in a story but honestly, I just have a soft spot for thieves.

 

A crew / A found family…

By that I mean friends. Give me the best friendships you could ever imagine. Give me bonds that have nothing to do with romance that are unbreakable and the thought of them breaking physically hurts the characters. Give me brothers and sisters who mean everything to each other. Give me a lost little broken thing finding a home and I will be hugging them until…. I’ll just keep hugging them.

 

Interesting magic system –

Self explanatory? Don’t just tell me it’s magic and have that solve everything either. I want to understand the limits.

 

The promise of NO love story –

Also self explanatory. If I see in a review that there was no romance then I’m more likely to give the book a second look. I’m not actually against romance as a sub plot but we seem to be drowning in instalove and love triangles lately and I mean really, is it impossible to have a male and female character and have them NOT have feelings for each other? If it’s done well then okay but it doesn’t HAVE to happen. I kind of hate the inevitability of it all.

 

Real Mythological Gods who play favourites –

Gods that are on or off page influencing events or even better a specific person. (I never liked the Percy Jackson books and I don’t know why). They don’t have to be real world myths like ancient Greece/Egypt, they can be fictional too. Some of my favourite books include this (The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron, A Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet). I need more of this in my life so definitely let me know if you have and recommendations that come to mind.

 

Shape shifting dragons?

I mean, I haven’t really read any of these apart from Seraphina, but that would seriously be a tag line that would get me to at least read the blurb of any book. I want more shape shifting dragons in my life. Please give me recs and if they happen to fit any of the other above tropes then even better.

 

And finally, I would also like to say that if there is only one main character then I am much more likely to read it if its a male character. I don’t know why. (internalized sexism? The fact that female led books always end up with romance? That I just don’t identify with the characters as much? Who knows) That’s just what I’ve always preferred reading. That’s not to say I don’t read female lead books because I definitely do, it’s just a lot easier to sell me a male led book. All my favourite books have got male leads in unless they are multiple POV.

 


Phew, that was fun. If reading this list makes you think of ANY books that fit some of these then please do let me know in the comments.  And what about you? Any of these things you love reading about? Do you hate any of them?

Also, give me recs, all the recs!!

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Winter Favourites

Or that post where I rather embarrassingly tell you all that I have a playlist on Spotify purely for those times that I want to pretend to be a Formula 1 driver.

 ,,,

I never really do wrap up posts about everything. I have the memo pad for my monthly books and I have update posts for my crafts but I thought I might try out a seasonal wrap up for all those things that slip through the cracks and never get their own posts.

So here’s my winter wrap up where I attempt to tell you all about my favourite books, films music and happenings in life all in one post. Winter in the northern hemisphere is December, January, February. Or, October to March because lets be real, I live in England and winter lasts at least that long so I will be focusing on my favourites from only those months (it wouldn’t be much of a winter favourites if I didn’t). This doesn’t mean things released in those months just things I’ve been enjoying in them.

Starting with:

BOOKS:

But you already do book posts I hear you say, well I am going to be keeping this section short.

Best books of my winter:

Sea (The Huntress) by Sarah Driver, Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo, 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by MG Buehrlen, A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Links go to the goodreads pages for each book

 

MUSIC:

I don’t mention music on this blog and it’s such a big part of my life that I definitely should. I am ALWAYS listening to music. I have about eighty playlists on Spotify for different moods, and while I don’t listen to music while I’m writing, I do listen to music while I’m planning which means I have playlists for my stories too (such as a Slytherin playlist). I have a playlist called Fight Me (for those times when you want to pretend to be a badass fighting all your imaginary enemies) and also a playlist for those times that you want to pretend to be a Formula 1 driver….. Anyone else? No. Just me then? (it’s called Monaco and it’s awesome!)

But anyway, I had a point here somewhere….

Oh yes, so I thought I would share with you some of the songs I’ve been listening to pretty much non-stop, on repeat and dancing around to this winter. (if they were vinyls the threads would have been worn down by now. Thank god for digital music).

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Riot by Jon Waltz

(with lyrics like: “I’m gonna burn this rubber, I’m gonna burn this gasoline” can you guess which playlist this went on?)

Rockabye by Clean Bandit ft, Sean Paul and Anne-Marie

Sing by Pentatonix

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All Night by The Vamps

(With lyrics like “I’ve been up all night – No sleep” it’s the perfect theme song for me)

Boys and Girls by Will.I.Am

 

FILMS:

I don’t watch movies that much, I won’t even bother to do a tv section because I’m woeful at keeping up with tv. I barely manage to watch one episode a week of a favourite show. But I have watched a couple of great movies this winter.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: This was excellent. I was a little aprehensive of the lead as I’d only ever seen her in romcoms but everything was brilliant and it was laugh out loud funny at points too,

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: I actually just couldn’t get over the music. I am back in the world. It was very good, but a lot of running around and a bit nostalgic but well I am nostalgic so I didn’t really mind. I loved the niffler.

The Finest Hour: I really enjoyed this film, it’s about a lifeboat station and a sailor who has to go out in a storm to try to save the crew of a large ship. It stars Chris Pine and Casey Affleck and it is a very good drama to curl up with.

 

LIFE:

I’m really thankful that the weather is starting to get warmer. I freaking HATE winter. But, regardless of the weather, there have been some good times. November saw me take part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I won. That’s 50,ooo words written in one month. I never thought that was something I would ever manage and I’ve wanted to take part for years .It was also when I started writing my own original story. At the time of writing this post I now only have four chapter left of it to write (out of 21), which is so mega exciting for me.

Craft wise, I’ve started my very first quilt which is also something that I’ve pretty much always wanted to do. It seems this winter was a time for diving into projects and by some miracle they are going well. So far anyway!

 


So how about you? What songs have you been listening to on repeat lately? Any films you think I should be watching? What have been your favorites this winter? And what do you think of my seasonal wrap ups, good idea or no?

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Memo Pad: Books March 2017

I’m marching on (pun!) with my reading this month and managing to keep up to quite an amazing pace for me. Another 5 books read, this was helped greatly by receiving some brilliant books for review (opinions are always my own honest thoughts) and I was doing really well in the not buying books stakes but then….well, I’ll get to that later.

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Read: 5                Bought: 0 (+7)

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Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb *****

Ship of Magic begins an epic tale of pirates, sentient ships, magic, sea serpents, slave revolts, dashing heroes and bloody battles. On the northernmost point of the Cursed Shores lies Bingtown, a bustling hub of exotic trade and home to a proud merchant nobility famed for its extraordinary vessels. Only Bingtown liveships can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain Wild River and plunder the riches found upstream, but such vessels are made from the most precious commodity in the world – a material with the ability to become sentient – and so are extremely rare. The fortunes of one of Bingtown’s oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.

Very simply, this book was just too long. I don’t mean books shouldn’t be this length, I’ve read some amazing, long books, just that there needs to be a reason that it’s this long. First off the ending wasn’t really an ending, it wasn’t a climax or resolution and the book could have been ended anywhere without making it that long but more than that the reason this book is so long is because each of the characters seem to go off down memory lane a lot. They have internal monologues pondering things that are just not relevant enough to include, some backstory and exploration of character is good but not when it adds a couple of hundred pages to a long book .

I DID enjoy reading this, it’s a very vivid world and characters all had distinct voices and were from different backgrounds and you always wanted to know what happened next. The characters are not perfect, they are flawed and they got MORE flawed as the book went in rather than better. Personally there’s only so many bad decisions for a character to make and things going wrong for them until I stop being invested. If the book had ended sooner maybe I would have still cared about the characters.

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Raining Embers by Jessica Dall *****

Palmer Tash always follows the path of least resistance. He has an unusual disability involving his hearing. But in theocratic Latysia, being different isn’t a good thing, so he conceals his problem. Brier Chastain’s malady is even more debilitating, and she often must take to her bed for long periods. Her days are spent in meaningless pursuits as she awaits an arranged marriage. When Palmer and Brier are kidnapped on the same night, they meet and discover that their so-called disabilities are actually budding powers. They are the incarnations of Order and Chaos. With their country on the brink of war, the two must step into their predestined roles and learn to take control of their own destinies.

This is exactly what I was expecting it to be. A fun, fast, exciting adventure. Exactly what I wanted it to be after reading a long book. Something to note: the blurb makes their disabilities sound like a large part of the plot but they aren’t, in fact, they disappear completely within the first few chapters.

I also thought that the magic was a bit unexplained towards the end. As if the author was just adding whatever sounded exciting with no reasoning. And there’s no doubt this is exciting, I finished it in two sittings, but it would have been nice to have the magic elements a little bit more explained.

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The Enemy Within by Scott Burn *****

Seventeen-year-old Max has always felt like an outsider. When the agonizing apocalyptic visions begin, he decides suicide is his only escape. He soon finds himself in an institution under the guidance of a therapist who sees something exceptional in him. Just as he begins to leave the hallucinations behind, Max discovers the visions weren’t just in his head. There are three others who have shared those same thoughts and they’ve been searching for Max. Like him, they are something more than human. Each of them possesses certain abilities, which they’re going to need when a covert military group begins hunting them down. As the danger escalates, Max doesn’t know which side to trust. But in the end, his choice will decide the fate of both species.

This is a short but exciting page turner of a novel, it’s a fast paced adventure following a teenager called Max as he gets admitted to a mental hospital after struggling to deal with his visions of an apocalypse. It’s a very quick read at only 160 pages and unfortunately I think this meant that I couldn’t quite connect with the characters as much as I’d want to meaning they came across as a little 2d at times. It would have been great if more time could have been spent on them. I think this is natural for a book of this length though and the plot is enough to keep you interested and racing to the finish.

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Recruits by Locke Thomas *****

For a decade now, seventeen-year-old twins Sean and Dillon Kirrell have been drawn to a mysterious alternate world they’ve translated into hand-drawn images covering their bedroom walls. It’s a world they’ve only seen in their dreams until now–when a stranger recruits them to train for a mind-bending mission of survival.

I could tell from the first couple of pages that I was going to enjoy this book. Something about the way the author writes is just so enjoyable to read. I’d mark this down as science fantasy, it’s set on multiple different worlds so has a very sciencey futuristic feel at times but is also set a lot on regular, modern day earth too. The two main characters, Dillon and Sean, turn out to be gifted individuals called transitors, and they develop… Magic powers basically. So that’s the fantasy part. The twins both have very different personalities and they love each other dearly, but they are brothers and they fight and argue just as much as they should. The only thing I would say is that I found them being seventeen slightly unbelievable. I read books where kids do ridiculously awesome things all the time so it wasn’t necessarily that, I think more the way they interacted with the “adults” was what jarred me a bit. The end section of this book definitely ramped up the tension and stakes and I raced through it. Overall this is a fast paced, exciting and easy to read science fantasy with brilliant world building.

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Inherit the Flame (Scorched Continent #3) by Megan O’Keefe *****

I’m not going to add a blurb here because this is the third book in a series and it has spoilers in it.

I was so excited to read this book  but at the same time sad because this is the last book in the scorched continent trilogy. There’s always a bit of anxiety for me  when it comes to reading the last book in a series that I’ve absolutely loved. You are always hoping that it will do the series justice and end well. I’m sad that it is over but this is the ending that the series deserved. 

The brilliant characters, witty banter and high stakes were all there and I am so glad this was up to the standard of the previous two books. All of the characters come back for one final adventure, everything in their series so far cumulates in one very big problem for Detan and the crew to solve. 

I would say that there were certain parts that I don’t think were intertwined as well as they could have been and, especially at the start, I felt like Detan was a little bit TOO lost for me. But then I always like my characters to hsve an ace up their sleeve. It was still a very enjoyable read and I think anyone who likes reading heist/conmen books like The Gentleman Bastards or Six of Crows should give this series a read. It’s a bit lighter and more fun but still in the same vein with plenty of action, cleverness and heartbreaking moments. 

 


Books bought:

I was doing really well and didn’t buy ANY books, that was helped greatly by the fact that I received three of the books I read this month free for review. But then….I mean, I’m going on holiday next month so I started planning what I wanted to buy for my holiday and I bought them too. Now, I’ll only actually manage at most four books on holiday but I wanted choices…. I ended up buying another seven books. Whoops.

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A Neilson, The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare by MG Buehrlen, Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Raven Boys #3) by Maggie Stiefvater, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, Willful Machines by Tim Floreen, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and The Captive Prince by CS Pacat.

Phew, that’s quite a lot of books. All I need to do now is not read them until my holiday…

But let’s chat. Have you read any of these books, the ones I’ve just bought or the ones I read this month? What did you think? Which ones would you recommend I read first? What was your favourite book that YOU read this month?

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