Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March Wrap-Up.

So I'm a quarter of the way through the year now and I am really pleased with the way this month has gone! I actually managed to read every single one of my planned reads! I'm so pleased with myself right now and I honestly feel like the two Readathons and TBR Pile challenge really helped! I'll start by listing the seven books I got through this month! Just a quick note that every single one of these books will count towards the 'Control Your TBR Pile' Challenge that I took part in!




  1. 'White Cat'; Holly Black. This was a pretty good start to the month's reading. The plot felt really original and I loved the constant twists and turns to keep me interested. The magic/power system was pretty cool and well put together too! I also felt that these were some of the best written characters from Holly Black I have seen so far. The beginning completely threw me off and I felt a bit lost to begin with, which wasn't helped by Black's fast-paced writing. I did enjoy this book though. 3.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'The Walled City'; Ryan Graudin. This was a great story! I was expecting a Dystopian thriller and was actually completely taken aback because it's based on a real place! Graudin really knew his stuff too, the world-building was so good! The plot totally had me on the edge of my seat too and built a really good sense of impending doom. 4/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Enchanted'; Rene Denfeld. I had been looking forward to reading this book for what seemed like forever, so I was happy to not be disappointed Denfeld's writing style was really nicely penned and totally captivated me. The magical realism in this book blended really well with the horrible truth of the situation. Being a book about violence, sexual abuse and mental illness I thought that Denfeld handled the more sensitive themes beautifully. 4/5 Stars.
  4. 'Dracula'; Bram Stoker. I can't believe that I haven't read this book before now! It was so good, I really enjoyed it! The visual imagery in this book is stunning, Stoker is really good with atmosphere throughout the story. There's a lot of symbolism too which  I absolutely love. The plot was really good too. Stoker did have a way of taking ages to get to the point however which could get a little frustrating if you're not used to this style of writing. 4.5/5 Stars.
  5. 'The Sunken'; S.C Green. This was my first ever experience of a Steampunk novel and I loved it! It was an alternative version of History, set in Victorian times with the inclusion of religious sects that worship Art, Engineering and Design and fantastical creatures that you definitely wouldn't normally find in the 1800s. I'm so excited for Book 2! 5/5 Stars.
  6. 'Cress'; Marissa Meyer. It's no secret that I adore this series. 'Cinder' and 'Scarlet' are two of the best books I have read and this third installment did not disappoint. The plot, the characters, the world-building, everything was just fantastic. I don't need to ramble on about how much I'm excited for the last book in the series, 'Winter'!
  7. 'The Iron Trial'; Holly Black & Cassandra Clare. This was my second 'dual author' story and it was a considerably better experience than the first. The writing flowed really well considering there were two authors writing it, I couldn't tell who wrote what at all. I liked the plot and some of the characters but I just felt there wasn't enough detail for me to be totally convinced. 3/5 Stars.
This month I have read four physical books:

- 'White Cat'
- 'The Enchanted'
- 'Dracula'
- 'Cress'


This month I have read three Netgalley/Edelweiss reads:

- 'The Walled City'
- 'The Sunken'
- 'The Iron Trial'

As this I am a quarter of the way through the year, I also really ought to update you all on my progress these last few months for my other challenges:

I have amassed 18 Points for the Prequel/Sequel Challenge:

- 'Dreams Of Gods & Monsters' +12 (Jan)
- 'Rogue Wave' +2 (Feb)
- 'A Storm Of Swords: Steel & Snow' +2 (Feb)
- 'Cress' +2 (March)





I have read three entries for the Book To Movie Challenge:

- Howl's Moving Castle (Jan)
- A Storm Of Swords: Steel & Snow (Feb)
- Dracula (March)






And here is how I did with my Bookish Bingo card!

Forgotten Fridays Pick: Howl's Moving Castle; Diana Wynne Jones. REVIEW.
Start A Series: The Sunken; S.C. Green. REVIEW.
2015 Debut: Rogue Wave; Jennifer Donnelly. REVIEW.
Magical Realism: The Enchanted; Rene Denfeld. REVIEW.
Fairy Tale Retelling: Cress; Marissa Meyer. REVIEW.
Middle Grade: The Iron Trial; Holly Black & Cassandra Clare. REVIEW.
White Cover: The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales. REVIEW.
LGBTQIA: Will Grayson, Will Grayson; John Green & David Levithan. REVIEW.
Epistolary: Dracula; Bram Stoker. REVIEW.
Mystery Or Thriller: The Moment Collector; Jodi Lynn Anderson. REVIEW.
Freebie: All The Birds, Singing; Evie Wyld. REVIEW.
Over 400 Pages: A Storm Of Swords: Steel & Snow; George R.R. Martin. REVIEW.
Mental Illness: The Shock Of The Fall; Nathan Filer. REVIEW.
Romance: The Girl Who Chased The Moon; Sarah Addison Allen. REVIEW.
2014 Release You Missed: Dreams Of Gods & Monsters; Laini Taylor. REVIEW.
Based On Mythology: A Song For Ella Grey; David Almond. REVIEW.
Male POV: The Walled City; Ryan Graudin. REVIEW.
Super Powers: White Cat; Holly Black. REVIEW.

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books I Recently Added To My TBR List'.


This is a really interesting list that is going to be easy to find answers for (I hope) because I am always adding books to my TBR List! Hopefully others will have the same books on their TBR too, and I can't wait to see which books everyone is excited to read!

1) 'The Mermaid's Sister'; Carrie Anne Noble.

I saw this book on Amazon while searching for something else and instantly had to get it! It looks so good! Everyone knows I love a good fairy tale, and this blurb tells me the book has the makings of a good one. The book was actually published this year and I have no idea why I haven't seen it around until now, but it does have a pretty cover too!



2) 'Six Of Crows'; Leigh Bardugo.

I actually saw this book and wanted to read it quite a while back, but it wasn't until recently that I actually added it to my TBR. Now that I know a lot more about it, I'm glad that I waited. t honestly looks like it will be very different from what I expected, but still a really good read. I've read the first book of Bardugo's 'The Grisha' series and really liked it, so I should probably wait until I finish that. Nevertheless, I'm excited about this one!


3) 'The Death House'; Sarah Pinborough.

This book went through a phase of constantly appearing on my Goodreads Advert bar. The cover and title instantly got my attention and upon having a look, decided it might be worth a read! I've seen Sarah Pinborough's name dotted about the Blogosphere and a lot of her readers seem to think her books are rather good. Also I've just noticed she's written a Fairy Tale series too, so now she's a must read!


4) 'The Children's Book'; A.S. Byatt.

I remember vaguely hearing Byatt's name once or twice, but it was actually a recent trip to the five-floor Waterstones at Piccadilly that spurred this addition to my TBR. My eye is always caught when an author has a really long line of books on the shelf, so I picked up this one because it had an intriguing title. The cover, may I add, was beautifully rendered and instantly grabbed my attention but the synopsis really caught my eye. Historical fiction will always be a well-read genre of mine,especially if it's written well. This could be a favourite new author in the making!

5) 'Frostfire'; Amanda Hocking.

Have you all noted how a lot of these seem to be cover based? I am definitely one of those people who judges books by their covers, aren't I? Oops! Still look at this one, it's gorgeous! But pushing that aside, apparently this one is about Trolls! the last time I read a book on them was when I read Danielle L. Jensen's 'Stolen Songbird' and I really enjoyed that. It would be nice to see what another author's take on this creature is!

6) 'All The Bright Places'; Jennifer Niven.

I have seen this book everywhere. Goodreads wants me to read it. Bloggers want me to read it. Amazon wants me to read it. Seriously, I mean everywhere. I've read that it's going to be a made into a movie, and considering it only came out in January I'm pretty impressed. I've also read that it's reminiscent of 'The Fault In Our Stars', a book that I adored! It sounds like it reflects on some really interesting themes and I can't wait to get round to it at some point.

7) 'The Buried Giant'; Kazuo Ishiguro.

I keep seeing this book whenever I walk into WH Smiths or Waterstones neatly displayed at the front of the shop in a 'LOOK AT ME!' fashion. It actually looks really cool and having read the synopsis, totally looks like my kind of book. I've already mentioned I love Historical Fiction, especially when it doesn't necessarily focus on famous lives or stories. This one is classed as Historical Fiction, but also contains Fantastical elements that are sure to keep me reading!


8) 'Of Metal & Wishes'; Sarah Fine.

This book came out last year, but I didn't really see much of it around until later on in the year. That is until I was looking for some good stories containing ghosts and found this. It sounds a little like a loose re-telling of 'The Phantom Of The Opera' (definitely a film and musical that I have adored) and I like the setting too. I've read good and bad reviews on this one but I'm intrigued to see how it goes!


9) 'The Wrath & The Dawn'; Renee Ahdieh.

I haven't seen this book floating around the internet all that much and actually stumbled upon it by accident (though I can't remember how now). It looks really good though! It is a tale of true love based on 'One Thousand And One Nights' and I love the plot concept so much! I'm really intrigued to see where the story will go. Those who have managed to snag an ARC have given it really good reviews so I'm excited!


10) 'The Palace Of Curiosities'; Rosie Garland.

This book really only came to my attention very recently, and only because it appeared on a Goodreads 'Readers Enjoyed...' list! I've always like text based covers and this one grabbed my attention enough to read the synopsis and be excited about it. There's a real 'circus' feel for this one and it would seem Magical Realism is heavily involved. My experiences with that genre have been mixed, but I have often been told I would enjoy Angela Carter's work, and this book is described as perfect for Angela Carter fans!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Last Week's Shenanigans (23rd March - 29th March)...

Monday turned out to be quite the lazy day for me again I'm afraid! I was so tired after work that I was glad for the rest though! This week marked the beginning of a very fun Readathon for me though so I managed to get a lot of Blog bits done! I then worked from Tuesday to Friday, but had Saturday off as holiday! Hooray! It was quite fortunate actually as it meant I had quite the productive week reading-wise. Also my flat mate and I have heavily started watching 'Once Upon A Time'. We are over halfway through Season 1 (we pretty much marathoned the first half on Sunday...no regrets).

I Read:

Memes:

Life Of A Blogger: Dreams (The Sleeping Kind)

I Posted:

Fantasy Favourites Readathon Wrap-Up Post!


This Readathon has been SO much fun to do and I've really enjoyed being part of it. I have a final summary to display, as well as some questions that I've been asked to answer. Here we go!

Final Summary:

Total Pages Read: 853
Total Time Spent Reading: 670 Minutes (11 Hours, 10 Minutes)
Number Of Books Completed: 2


1) What was your page reading goal? Did you reach it?

Actually yes, I did. I wanted to read these two books for this Readathon making my page reading goal 853 I guess, which I achieved!

2) What books did you read?

I managed 'Cress' by Marissa Meyer and 'The Iron Trial' by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare.

3) What book was your most/least favourite?

'Cress' was easily my favourite, though I thought 'The Iron Trial' was okay.

4) What challenge did you find the hardest?

Probably the Dating Profiles one, I wasn't massively far into 'Cress' and I wanted to do it justice. I become a real perfectionist when it comes to character work and it takes me ages!

5) What challenge was the most fun to do?

Either casting for the movie version or the Soundtrack/Playlist Challenge. I'm a huge film and music lover!

6) Did you make any new blogging friends?

I certainly had a few new commenters with some interesting opinions and ideas that I enjoyed talking to!

7) What was your biggest reading distraction? How did you get over it?

Uhh life? I work 5 days a week and spend the rest of the time eating, doing chores or sleeping. I mostly just had to work round these things and make time.

8) What was your reading schedule? Mornings or evenings? Weekdays or weekends?

Definitely weekends because during the week I work! Also sometimes I work early shifts and sometimes late, so I can't really choose between mornings and evenings. In short: no schedule whatsoever.

9) Are you and Tyrion still friends?

Of course we are! We are totally book buddies!

10) Would you do this again?

Absolutely!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Book Review: The Iron Trial; Holly Black & Cassandra Clare.

Hooray, my second book read for the Fantasy Favourites Readathon! I was a bit worried about this one because I had heard a few negative reviews and a lot of people compared it to Harry Potter (not in a good way). However in the end my experience wasn't that bad.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Iron Trial
AUTHOR: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
SERIES: Magisterium (#1)
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 304
GENRE: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure

RATING: 3/5 Stars

Blurb:
Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.


The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come...

What I Liked:
  • The writing style of this book I really liked. I've read a lot of Holly Black's stuff, and enjoyed it but always felt her pacing was a little too fast for  me to get my head around. With this book (perhaps partly because she wrote this book with Cassandra Clare, an author I have never read), the pacing felt perfect. The words flowed nicely and I didn't find myself constantly re-reading parts to understand what was going on.
  • There were some elements of the plot that I really liked. The magic system was quite cool and I really liked the prologue to the story. It intrigued me and made me want to keep reading more of the story. I also felt that while the plot didn't feel completely original, it had parts that stood out as not being a 'Harry Potter rip-off'. E.g. The trio of Magicians that the story follows were nothing like Harry, Ron and Hermione in their personalities, the magical creatures were completely different, the Magisterium was absolutely nothing like Hogwarts, etc.
What I Disliked:
  • I guess the main reason that I gave it three stars was that although I felt it was a good enough story, it never really blew me away. Sure the start was very intriguing, but then I felt rather distant from the rest of the story. I never got a sense that it was building to anything, and though there was a surprise twist at the end, I didn't really like it.
  • The characters were for the most part good. I liked their personalities and they were memorable. But at times they felt a little one-dimensional. This was especially prevalent in the side characters and a lot of the Professors, and I really wanted to see more of them. I felt this same lack of detail in the world-building too unfortunately.
Overall Conclusion:
I did enjoy 'The Iron Trial' to an extent. I thought there was a really good plot concept, the introduction was intriguing, the pacing was good and there was an ounce of originality in there. Enough for it not to be obviously copying anyone else. The problem was, I feel like I've read more well-rounded stories. I wanted more detail in everything and it just fell a bit flat. Also, the ending was a bit disappointing.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Fantasy Favourites Readathon Day 6: Difficult, Deep Dilemmas!


Okay so the very fist Dilemma I had was when I started writing this post and actually spelt it 'Dilemna', the way I always have, and got auto-corrected. At first I thought it was a USA vs. UK thing, but having Googled it, I have discovered my whole life has been a lie and have changed it. This is totally irrelevant to the post but I needed to get that off my chest. Anyway moving on, I would just like to let you know that I didn't miss Day 5! There just happened to be no post needed for Day 5 so now I'm onto Day 6, and this looks like it will be so much fun! Based on the three key series that the Fantasy Favourites Readathon is focusing on (Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles, Lux), Olivia's Catastrophe and Bookshelf Reflections have come up with a set of deep, philosophical questions to get those taking part thinking!

I'll start with the questions relating to 'The Lunar Chronicles' as I've just finished 'Cress', then I think I'll do the 'Harry Potter' ones too for fun!

The Lunar Chronicles:

1) Should you compensate your own happiness for the good of the people?

Wow, well this is a tough one to start with! I guess because I'm not in a position of responsibility, nor am I a leader of 'the people'. I can't think of any kind of situation where I would have to give up my happiness. However, if such a thing occurred I would like to think that I would put the people first. I don't I could be a tyrant who put my own selfish needs first, though completely sacrificing my happiness would be very difficult.

2) Should you try to run away from your problems or face them?

Facing them is always the best decision, but requires a lot of courage if the problems are big. Running away only tends to make things worse though, and in turn probably causes very high stress levels. A person is much better off dealing with the consequences of a problem head on rather than letting it eat them alive by running from it.

3) If someone close to you falls ill, and there is only one cure, should you give it to them? Or should you wait until the cure is replicated, risking their life.

Oh wow, what a deep question. Of course the best thing to do is probably to replicate the cure and potentially risk their life to save millions more. But if the decision were down to me I feel like I might actually be selfish. I love my partner, family and friends so much and of course I would do whatever it takes to save them.

4) In a relationship, does status matter?

Of course not!

5) Is world peace worth compensating independence?

I can't believe for a second that the only way for us to achieve world peace is to become mindless zombies with no individuality to us. So no, it's not.

6) Does your race/family history affect who you are.

In a sense it does. It has no bearing on your personality as such, but it has a bearing on how you are perceived by everyone. Friends, family, loved ones. They all have expectations and thoughts on the way you are based upon years of heritage, ethnicity and history. Of course it isn't the only thing that makes a person but it's a foundation to build upon.

7) If you had a super power, should you use it?

Unless the superpower was dangerous or could potentially go wrong in some way then I would definitely use it! For good, of course.

8) Is love worth risking everything for?

Perhaps this is because I'm currently watching 'Once Upon A Time' and feeling a bit soppy, but yes. Absolutely.

9) Is lying to someone for their own safety acceptable?

I guess in some circumstances, but it is so annoying when I read books or watch films and people do that. I always think that it would be so much easier if they just communicated!

10) Should marriage depend solely on love or other factors?

I changed the question slightly so it made more sense. Love would obviously be the highest factor. But I think a lot of other things like family, culture, religion and ethical/moral opinions would contribute.

Harry Potter Series:

1) What house do you think you'd be in? What house would you be in if you could?

According to Pottermore I am in Hufflepuff. At first I was a little disappointed being branded as 'all the rest' but actually reading about the Hufflepuff common Room was so much fun. I know so little about the house! As well as that I don't think I'm very brave or cunning, and while I'm not stupid, I'm not the cleverest. I would love to be in Ravenclaw though!

2) You stand in front of the Mirror of Erised, which shows your greatest desire. What do you see?

I see myself and my lovely boyfriend Mat very happy with a loving family and friends surrounding us. Oh and I'm a successfully published writer too. With a lifetime's supply of tea and chocolate to keep me company? And a whole menagerie of pets? This is getting too far.

3) What's the first thing you would do in an invisibility cloak?

Definitely some kind of mischievous prank on someone!

4) “The Stone will transform any metal into pure gold. It also produces the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal.” What would you do with the Philosopher’s Stone?

I'd probably use it to produce gold because I would hate to be more immortal!

5) You’ve made enough Polyjuice Potion to turn into another person for an entire day. Who would you be and why? (For funsies, the person may be dead, alive, fictional, or real.)

Oh now this is difficult. I would love to be William Shakespeare for a day because it would be cool to see what Elizabethan England was like. Or maybe a celebrity from this day and age? 

6) A Boggart turns into what they think is your biggest fear. What would your Boggart turn into? A Boggart turns into what they think is your biggest fear. What would your Boggart turn into?

Well I'm pretty scared of drowning and answering the phone but I don't think the Boggart would take those forms. The thing I am most scared of is spiders! The Boggart would probably do a Ron Weasley on me, but worse!

7) What would your Animagus be?

I would love to turn into a Fox! It would be a great animal, cunning and graceful and gorgeous but able to look after itself!

8) You just got access to a Pensieve and have all your memories and thoughts to access. What memory would you like to revisit?

I would love to revisit some of my earlier memories, maybe with my Gran before she became ill with Alzheimers. Other than that, I would love to see some of the memories where I went to my Nan and Grandad's house with my sister for a couple of weeks every Summer because they were a fantastic part of my childhood, or the early years of my relationship with Mat so that I can reminisce happily.

9) The Harry Potter universe deals with a lot of prejudice – prejudice against werewolves, inferiority of house elves, arresting and murdering Muggleborns. Hermione started S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) when she was 14 years old. What would your action plan against prejudice be (or are you fine with the way things are)?

I am not fine with the way things are, but I think the best thing to do is to be the most accepting you can be as a person. Treat it like it's normal to be that way (after all, it should be). 

10) Here’s an age-old question for you: good or evil? E.g. Would you join Voldemort because you revel in his power, or because you’re afraid of it? Would you stand down and fight Death Eaters, or hide and wait until it’s over? Please note that both sides have cookies, so that’s no valid reason to join the Dark Side.

Good, definitely good! I'm quite a cowardly person but I think with such a threat and my entire future at stake I would join the battle and fight against the Death Eaters. Especially if I had magic on my side!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Book Review: Cress; Marissa Meyer.

I did it! I read all three of these books and now I'm all caught up and waiting for the fourth just like everybody else! Phew! It was quite a long read too, but I managed to steam through it at quite the speed because it was that good. Okay, here we go.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Cress
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
SERIES: The Lunar Chronicles (#3)
PUBLISHER: Puffin
PAGES: 550
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Retelling

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Blurb:
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 


When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

What I Liked:
  • As with the previous books, this is the easiest section in the world to fill out. The plot, to begin with, is just as captivating as within it's predecessors. I was hooked from start to finish, and at times almost had a full on tantrum because life got in the way of me just sitting down and reading this in one sitting (though that is what I ended up doing with the last 300 pages or so). There were so many twists and turns that kept me interested, and I loved the multiple viewpoints in this one too. Meyer's writing is so good that it actually had me physically and verbally reacting to every plot point, and I am not the kind of person to do that on a regular basis.
  • The world-building continues to be very impressive in this third installment. As well as revisiting New Beijing, Meyer took the adventure to a couple of new places: Africa (which was one of my favourite segments of the book) and Lunar (finally!!!). I was very impressed with the way that technology was incorporated, and how the fairy-tales tie in with the actual plot-line.
  • We get to see some more character development in this book, as well as some new characters. To start with, the segments with Thorne and Cress were by far my favourite parts of the book. I felt like Thorne was a pretty shallow character in Scarlet (though definitely likeable) but Meyer took this story in a direction that I didn't expect and I loved reading a little bit of vulnerability in him. Meyer also adds a little bit of padding to some other minor characters, like Erland, Torin and Sybil Mara. It made for very interesting reading. The titular character Cress was very impressive, and I loved that she was so different from Cinder and Scarlet. In fact I think we could be soul-mates. Also, I'll be interested to see where Meyer takes Jacin and Winter, they're intriguing characters thus far!
What I Disliked:
  • I guess I did actually have a dislike in this book. After reading Scarlet, I said I really wanted to read some more interaction between Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf. Unfortunately, Meyer decided to split them up at the beginning of the book, so I didn't get my wish granted! Nevertheless, what she wrote in it's place was just too fantastic to ignore and I look forward to seeing them reunited again!
Overall Conclusion:
What an amazing series this is turning out to be. I'm so glad that this third book didn't disappoint me in any way! The characters, plot and world-building are all phenomenal and I can't complain about any of it. The book was a little longer than the others, but I was glad about this because Meyer used those pages well. I saw an absolute ton of character development, and now Cress and Thorne's relationship is my new favourite thing. I can't wait to see where it goes in 'Winter'. Please can November 10th come soon?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Fantasy Favourites Readathon Day 4: Dating Profiles!


The moment that I read that this was today's challenge, I couldn't wait to pick my three characters from 'Cress'. See if you can guess who they are!

1)
Nickname: Calling me 'Captain' will be fine.
Age: 20
Gender: I'm all man, baby!
Relationship Status: Single and willing.
Children: None, but a mini me would be fantastic.
Fitness/Body Type: Obviously I am at the peak of Physical Fitness. I have my military background to thank!
Education: Well I've learnt a few things over the course of my life but I wouldn't say school was necessarily the reason.
Income: Sporadic.
Occupation: Criminal mastermind. Duh.
Likes: Pretty young girls who can appreciate my dashing good looks, honourable nature and charming smile.
Dislikes: Technology.
Looking For: A shining light to guide me when all the world is dark...nah, just kidding. Just be gorgeous.

2)
Nickname: A lot of people call me 'The Cyborg' or 'The Fugitive'...
Age: 16
Gender: Mostly female, with a touch of android to mix things up a bit.
Relationship Status: Single. Love really isn't on the top of my priority list right now.
Children: Woah, definitely not yet!
Fitness/Body Type: Well I guess I'm pretty fit. 
Education: I'm not officially educated but I've picked up a few life tips here and there.
Income: It used to be pretty stable actually, I had my own business"
Occupation: Previously I was a mechanic. Now I guess...Princess?
Likes: Fixing things and my droid Iko.
Dislikes: Queen Levana springs to mind.
Looking For: A way to disrupt a certain upcoming wedding so that I can explain to a certain Prince exactly what is going on. Oh sorry, is that off topic?

3)
Nickname: Oh no one really has a nickname for me. At least not one that doesn't give it away...
Age: 16
Gender: Female
Relationship Status: Single...I don't really get out much.
Children: Oh I haven't really thought about it. Does Little Sister count?
Fitness/Body Type: Well I try to keep fit in my spare time!
Education: I didn't get to go to school, but I'm quite good with a computer!
Income: I don't get paid, I'm sort of a volunteer...kind of.
Occupation: Programmer and hacker for the queen.
Likes: Fantasizing over a certain young Captain, singing to opera songs, dreaming of a life on Earth, playing games with Little Sister.
Dislikes: Visits from my Mistress.
Looking For: A hero.

These are probably quite obvious but I'm really happy with how they turned out!

Life Of A Blogger: Dreams (The Sleeping Kind).


Dreams are an interesting one for me. I actually have quite a lot of them and they are normally very vivid, so much so that I have woken up thinking that they have happened before. Some of them have been so good that I haven't wanted to wake up, but some have had me wake up crying my eyes out. And don't even get me started on what happens if I watch a Horror movie before I go to bed. 

I don't sleep walk, though my parents have told me that they have had conversations with me in my sleep before, and in the past Mat has told me that I mumble things in my sleep. One of the strangest dream experiences I have had was that I was walking through the Desert, and as I did I began to have a really bad headache. When I woke up I was actually sat up on my bed banging my head against the wall. Nothing like that has ever really happened to me since. I also dream that I am falling a lot, and the 'impact of hitting the ground' wakes me up. Other times, it's a sudden yelling in my ear that wakes me up. I guess I'm one of those people who tries to fall too deeply into sleep far too often. 

I enjoy telling people about some of the strange dreams I've had, and a lot of them involve fictional characters (which is heaven if you are a book lover and avid movie watcher like me). I bought a Dream Dictionary once to see if I could make any sense of some of the weirder ones, but alas I was a little skeptical over the results. I am still interested in the theory behind it all though!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Fantasy Favourites Readathon Day 3: Casting List Challenge!


Yet another challenge that I know I'll enjoy, because I love casting things in my head! I'll be doing a cast list for the current book I'm reading, 'Cress'. I'm not massively far in though so I'll settle for casting the series as a whole.

Linh Cinder

So seeing as the first book is set in New Beijing, I'll be looking at a whole host of Chinese actors and actresses to play the characters who live there. Cinder had to be cast just right and I chose Fan Bingbing to play her! To me, Cinder is a very clever character and knows how to get out of a tight situation. I saw Fan Bingbing in 'Xmen: Days Of Future Past' and thought she would be really good for some of the action scenes, as well as being very pretty.

Prince Kai

Kai, the crown Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth had to be of the same origin for me. As well as that he had to be handsome and likeable. Harry Shum Jr. has been in 'Step Up 2' and 'Glee', in both of which he fulfilled those two traits. It would be interesting to see him play someone a little more serious however. Kai is the perfect role in which he gets to show a serious side, while also being kind, funny and trustworthy.


Scarlet Benoit

Scarlet would be such a fun role to play, and of course I had to get a gorgeous red head in to play her. My chosen lady is Karen Gillan because I adore her character in 'Doctor Who'. She certainly showed that she has attitude and is able to handle herself, but with a vulnerable side. Scarlet is stubborn too so I think the two were made for each other. This one took me absolutely ages to figure out, but I'm glad I got there in the end!


Wolf

I had to get someone who I knew could impress with some major muscles should they ever play this role, and Chris Hemsworth was the man for the job. I've seen him in a few things, namely 'Thor' (both of them), 'The Avengers' and 'Snow White & The Huntsman'. He particularly impressed me in that last one! I felt that the Huntsman's personality was quite similar to Wolf's!


Cress

I don't think there could be anyone more perfect for the role than Amanda Seyfried. She has just the right look. From what I've seen of Cress so far, she's a little bit naive and wide-eyed, yet a smart hacker and determined to see more of life. I've seen Amanda Seyfried in a variety of films: 'Les Miserables', 'Mamma Mia', 'Letters To Juliet', 'Red Riding Hood'. I think she has the right credentials to pull off such a multi-faceted personality.


Captain Thorne

So the first person that came to my head was Zachary Levi. When I watched him in 'Thor: The Dark World' as Fandral, I thought he was brilliant. Then when I read Scarlet, I thought 'Hey, this guy is just like Fandral!' Of course he was my go to guy for Captain Thorne. Both characters are hilarious, a little arrogant, a hit with the ladies and willing to be brave and honourable when the time comes.


Levana

It was never not going to be Charlize Theron. She was absolutely perfect as the Evil Queen in 'Snow White & The Huntsman' and I've loved her in other things I have seen her in, such as 'Prometheus' and 'The Italian Job' and I've noticed she's very good at playing villains, especially when the role requires adding a touch of humanity. She's absolutely beautiful too, which is a must for anyone playing this role!


Also:

Adri: Maggie Cheung
Pearl: Zhang Ziyi
Peony: Catherine Chan
Sybil: Marion Cotillard
Michelle Benoit: Vanessa Redgrave
Torin: Colin Firth
Doctor Ermond: Stellan Skarsgard

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Fantasy Favourites Readathon Day 2: The Playlist Challenge!


When I read books, I always imagine songs that I love that would accompany certain scenes or characters perfectly. That's why I'm so excited to get going with this challenge! 

1) Pick a character and match a song to them.

My chosen character is Cress herself (from my current read, 'Cress'), and the song I have picked is Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me To The Moon'. My reasons for this is because I really feel like Cress wants to be a part of something. She is stuck in the middle of space on a satellite, with no one but herself for company, having been shunned from Lunar (see the moon connection) society. Her fixation with Thorne as well makes me feel like this song would be ideal to play while she is daydreaming about him. She wants to see things and have company.

2) Pick a scene and match a song to it.

I always thought that Gabrielle Aplin's 'Home' was quite appropriate for The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay. I had no real reason other than the fact that I thought of it every time I read about Josh and Nastya meeting in his Garage. It's where they both go so they don't feel quite so alone and do things that they enjoy. It's the place where I feel they fully connect. I really love the song too!

3) Pick a book and match a song to it.

My chosen book is 'A Game Of Thrones' by George R.R. Martin, and the song I have picked is Seven Devils by Florence The Machine. Again, it's just a song that always brings this series to mind. Especially as it includes the line 'Seven Devils In Your House...' which is very apt considering that Houses are very important in Westeros and this song relates to the Seven Deadly Sins which are most prominent throughout the land. Every single character has flaws and that's what makes this such a great series!

4) Pick a song and describe a short scene that you would like to see happen in the book you are currently reading to that song or inspired by that song.

Well as I mentioned my current read is Cress by Marissa Meyer and I have chosen Young & Beautiful by Lana Del Rey. And the scene that I want to see in the book? A Cinder & Kai reunion of course! I picked this song because I feel like it could easily refer to Cinder's glamour and her android self. 

5) Remember Tyrion? What song would you force him to listen to for as long as you were chained together on repeat?

Definitely Broken Crown by Mumford & Sons. I feel like this song just relates so well to his situation within his own family and I would want to show him a song by a band that I really liked. I probably wouldn't put it on repeat though because I wouldn't want to annoy him.

6) What song would Tyrion make you listen to?

Probably The Rains Of Castamere. Just to remind me what happens when I step out of line or try to force him to listen to the same song repeatedly for hours on end.

7) What is yours and Tyrion's song?

For some reason Friends To The End from the Tom & Jerry Movie popped into my head. I have no idea why but I'll go with it because it's quirky!

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for Books From My Childhood/Teen Years That I Would Love To Revisit'.


I was absolutely certain that I had done this topic before, but after much searching, found that I hadn't! How bizarre! So now I'm finally getting round to it and I've found this a pretty fun topic to do. I'll split it into two sections: Childhood and Teenage Years.

Childhood Picks:

1) 'Matilda'; Roald Dahl.

I mean this really covers all of Roald Dahl's books, but I loved this one in particular and have done for a long time. I've mentioned it on so many lists now that you guys must have been expecting to see it! The impact that this book had on me (and the subsequent film/musical) fills me with such joy that I would be thrilled to read it again!



2) 'Midnight'; Jacqueline Wilson.

In the same way as 'Matilda' really means 'anything by Roald Dahl', I would be happy to revisit pretty much every Jacqueline Wilson book. She had such a huge bearing on my life and introduced me to a variety of different issues that I think it's important that children learn about at an early age. My second choice would probably be 'The Worry Website', a collection of short stories, but I chose this one because I remember really falling in love with the characters and the story.

3) 'Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone'; J.K. Rowling.

Oh come on. I think that a fair few people will be choosing this one! Harry Potter is such a well loved series and I remember it filled my childhood with joy. I actually used to pre-order and read every single book as it came out, and I didn't (and still don't) do that with many things. This book I chose because it is the first in the series, but I would definitely be up for reading the entire series again.

4) 'Mr Galliano's Circus'; Enid Blyton.

I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton books when I was a child! I absolutely devoured her 'Famous Five' series (cheers, Dad!) and really liked reading 'The Faraway Tree' too. But 'Mr Galliano's Circus' was definitely my favourite of them all. There was just something about the idea of a little boy and his family no longer needing to do normal, boring things and running away to join the circus that I loved. The characters were so interesting too!

5) 'The Snow Spider Trilogy'; Jenny Nimmo.

Other than Harry Potter, this was my only other memorable source of Fantasy from my younger years. I'm pretty sure it was a present and I remember someone making a joke about it hopefully curing my fear of spiders. Of course it didn't, but it was a beautiful read with a gorgeous cover! I remember a lot of people really enjoying Jenny Nimmo's 'Charlie Bone' series at that age too, though I never read it myself.



Teenage Years Picks:

1) 'Alanna: The First Adventure'; Tamora Pierce.

Tamora Pierce will always be my Fantasy idol. She was the lady that really got me into the idea of magic and adventure in a totally different world to my own and I read so many of her books that I lost count! All of her stories set in Tortall were my favourite, especially 'The Immortals' series because Daine was such a fun character. I chose this one however because not only does it make sense to read this one first chronologically, but because Alanna's story always interested me the most. It reminded me a lot of 'Mulan' and that alone puts it high on the list of favourite reads!

2) 'Eragon'; Christopher Paolini.

This was yet another Fantasy favourite from my teenage years, and I really ought to reread this book (as well as 'Eldest' & 'Brisingr') purely because I have yet to get round to 'Inheritance'. But when I was a bit younger, I waited in line for these books on their release date. They were just so good. Paolini did a really good job of building a completely new world and I loved the incorporation of other races (Dwarves, Elves, Urguls) and how each had their own culture and language. It had a great story-line too!

3) 'Noughts & Crosses'; Malorie Blackman.

Onto a less fantastical setting, this series was just fantastic. I read all four of the books in it and enjoyed each one! I loved the way Blackman takes the concept of race and completely turns it on it's head by imagining Black People have the power while White People are hated throughout society. This is quite a painful read so if you like happy endings, don't read it. 


4) 'Inkheart'; Cornelia Funke.

I really liked this story for a number of reasons. Firstly it was about books. Or rather, the ability to read characters from books into real life. I loved the implications of that, and how those characters proceeded to try and make a life for themselves in our world. How some embraced it while others hated it. I particularly loved watching the consequences it had on the world of the book too, it made things pretty deep and meaningful.


5) 'The Devil Wears Prada'; Lauren Weisberger.

This might seem a little out of the blue in terms of my picks so far, but I remember reading this while on holiday a long time ago and adoring it! I'm not normally one for Chick Lit but this book was just great, and the film is awesome too. I would absolutely love the chance to read it again, it has well thought out story-line, likeable characters and some lovely sub-plots to keep me gripped.