Friday, 1 November 2019

Planned Reads for November.

I'm definitely going through a bit of a reading slump right now. I'm going to try and set myself some smaller goals to give myself a little less pressure.

I've had so many people recommend 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho that I feel like the time has come to actually read it? It sounds like an awesome read and I've never tried any of Coelho's work before.

'The Love Interest' by Cale Dietrich sounds like a lot of fun! The concept of two boys fighting to date the same girl and falling for each other pokes fun at a lot of common tropes in YA romance.  Also, throw in some spy-action and you might be onto a winning formula!

I read and adored 'Vengeance Road' such a long time ago, that I'm upset that I haven't started 'Retribution Rails' yet! That cover is absolutely stunning and I know that the story will definitely be up my street!

Thursday, 31 October 2019

October Wrap-Up.

I was definitely happy to be reading some spookier reads this month! It's one of my favourite genres! I managed four reads, three of which were on my original list.

  1. 'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King. It was good to finally read through something written by King that I really liked! The tension and atmosphere were expertly built, and the concept for this novel was truly horrifying. The quick ending let this one down a little though. 4/5 Stars.
  2. 'Fence [Vol. 3]' by C.S. Pacat & Johanna The Mad. What more is there to say about this series that hasn't already been said? I'm hooked! It's 100% my guilty pleasure and I'm eagerly awaiting the next volume! 5/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Phantom Of The Opera' by Gaston Leroux. Having loved the musical and the film for the longest time, I felt it was finally time to read the classic book. It was a little melodramatic at points, but I really enjoyed the style and reliving the tale. 3.5/5 Stars.
  4. 'Wakenhyrst' by Michelle Paver. I've read a ghost story by this talented lady before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This read had some of my favourite elements of horror - old houses, a historical setting, intrigue, and captivating characters. 4/5 Stars.

This month I read three books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total twenty seven.

- Pet Semetary
- Fence [Vol.3]
- The Phantom Of The Opera

This month I read one book for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total eleven.

- Wakenhyrst

This month I read one book for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total five.

- Fence [Vol. 3]

This month I read two books for the Diversity Reading Challenge, making my yearly total twenty seven.

- Fence [Vol. 3]
- The Phantom Of The Opera
*Mini Challenge: Physical/ Sensory/ Cognitive/ Intellectual/ Developmental Disabilities*

Book Review: Wakenhyrst; Michelle Paver.

The last book I read by Michelle Paver was her ghost story, 'Thin Air' and I really enjoyed it! I was super excited to receive this NetGalley copy of her latest book, 'Wakenhyrst' and read it for Halloween!

SOURCE: NetGalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Wakenhyrst
AUTHOR: Michelle Paver
PAGES: 368
GENRE: Horror, Historical, Gothic, Mystery

RATING: 4/5 Stars

In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father.

When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened.

Maud's battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen – and the even more nightmarish demons of her father's past.

What I Liked:
  • The setting was so spooky and atmospheric, which is the first part of getting any horror right. I loved the creepy old house that backed onto an even creepier marsh, and watching the wild forces of nature from the fens collide with 'civilised' society was very interesting.
  • I also loved the pacing of this book. Paver switched between Maud's account and the diary entries of her father, whose slow descent into madness was fascinating.
What I Disliked:
  • I have to say it took me a while to get into the actual plot. There's an epistolary-style back and forth surrounding Maud as an elderly woman before we get into the main story and it didn't immediately grab me.
Overall Conclusion:
The first few chapters of this book were confusing and a little hard to progress through, but once I got to the meat of the story I was totally hooked and see how they played a part in building up the mystery. I definitely want to read more of Paver's work in the future, I've loved it so far!

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Book Review: The Phantom Of The Opera; Gaston Leroux.

Having fallen in love with the musical from a very early age, and seen the film a number of times, I couldn't wait to read the classic novel that inspired them both any longer!

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Phantom Of The Opera
AUTHOR: Gaston Leroux
PUBLISHER: HarperPress
PAGES: 305
GENRE: Horror, Classic, Romance

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Living secretly beneath the Paris Opera House, 'The Phantom of the Opera', Erik has haunted those who work there with his demands and shrouded the opera house in fear with the legend of his disfigured face. When Christine joins the company, a young woman with a beautiful voice, Erik is instantly smitten and secretly teaches her to become a great singer. 

He soon develops an obsessive love for his beautiful protege, even though she has fallen for her childhood friend, resulting in her disappearance during a performance and sparking a tragic and terrifying chain of events.

What I Liked:
  • The way that the story was presented was quite cool - as if Leroux was investigating and uncovering the mysterious disappearances and tales surrounding the Palais Garnier, and presenting his findings as a story. I wasn't expecting that, and it was a pleasant surprise.
  • I liked the large amount of context given around Erik too. He felt a little less enigmatic but it also meant that I recognised and understood his life and motivations a bit more. It was nice to see a bit of a nod to some of the key motifs in recent adaptations of this story - the lasso, the monkey, etc.
What I Disliked:
  • The story was originally written as a serial and this became evident in the way that very small, unimportant moments became very melodramatic and drawn out. Especially during dialogue.
Overall Conclusion:
It was really cool to read this and I felt a bit bad leaving it for so long considering how much I love this story in other media. It's certainly a classic for a reason - written well enough with an interesting story and layout, and certainly plenty of suspense and drama. Some plot points took a while to get through, which was a shame. But overall I liked it!

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Book Review: Fence [Vol. 3]; C.S. Pacat & Johanna The Mad.

I couldn't resist delving into Vol. 3 of this awesome series, it has been so much fun so far!

SOURCE: Web-Comic
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Fence [Vol. 3]
AUTHOR: C.S. Pacat & Johanna The Mad
SERIES: Fence (#9 - #12)
PAGES: 112
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Scrappy fencer Nicholas Cox comes to the end of his path to prove himself worthy of a father he never knew in the face of surly upperclassmen, nearly impossible odds, and the talent of his rival, sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.

Sparks fly white-hot on the pitch as Nicholas and Seiji finally face off once again in the halls of King’s Row. It’s a match that will change King’s Row (and both of them!) forever, and set the stage as the team journeys to face their bitter rivals and prove themselves once and for all. 

The third volume of the breakneck series from writer C.S. Pacat (The Captive Prince) and fan-favorite artist Johanna the Mad comes at you as fast as a parry and hits as hard as a strike.

What I Liked:
  • If ever a series is my guilty pleasure this is it. The art is superb, the characters a ton of fun, and the story enough to keep me invested. I love the school setting too and it was a lot of fun watching the competition, friendships and tensions develop more.
What I Disliked:
  • The fact that I now have to wait for more content? Because there is NO MORE OF THIS SERIES currently out?!
Overall Conclusion:
My previous reviews for Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 pretty much cover everything I love about this series! The characters, for me, are really what keeps this story alive and I'm loving the subtle nuances in their behaviours and attitudes as the plot progresses. I did think that having two subs was a bit of a cop-out but I'm really not that mad about it. I hope that more of this wholesome content exists soon.