Wednesday 30 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 30/04/2014: Early start...

I'd like to start this post by saying if you're planning to get up at six in the morning, don't go to bed at gone midnight. Good. Now that's out of the way, I started off my morning okay, really tired but in pretty good spirits. I got to Canterbury early and helped a friend of mine with a few bits and bobs and then made my way back home to spend the day there. I had planned to return to go and see a friend of mine's performance but I started feeling a bit weird and ended up staying home (for which I feel terrible). I suppose at least I got to be a bit productive/catch up on some sleep. I finished reading 'Days Of Blood And Starlight' too, a book which I really enjoyed a lot! Next up are 'Hereafter' and then 'Thereafter' by Terri Bruce, as I plan to start working my way through these Netgalley reads now!

Speaking of Netgalley, I got my first Auto-Approval (which completely shocked me) from Hatchette Children's Books, so thank you so much to them! That brightened my day up quite a bit! They also approved my request for 'The Moment Collector' by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Looking forward to making a start on all of these! I also splashed out on a few more Kindle reads from Amazon:
  • 'The City Of Bones' ('The Mortal Instruments' Series, Book 1) by Cassandra Clare.
  • 'The Iron King' ('The Iron Fey' Series, Book 1) by Julie Kagawa.
  • 'Clarity' (The 'Clarity' Series, Book 1) by Loretta Lost.
I've been eyeing these up for a while and 'Clarity' is currently free on Amazon UK if you're interested! I won't be in Uni tomorrow I don't think, I'm going to spend the day being really productive. Plenty of posts are to be done tomorrow as well so I've got my work cut out!

April Wrap-Up Post.

Once again, I leave another month a bit disappointed in myself! I think that Uni is having to take up quite a lot of my time at the moment, and once that is over, I will have much more time to get on with things! You'll see in tomorrow's 'Planned Reads' post that most of them will consist of urgent Netgalley reads, books I need to review and challenge entries. Of course if I can do more, that would be great! But let's get on to what I managed! I'll start with the books that are going into the 'Real Books Challenge' category (button above), and then I'll get onto my Kindle Reads as I actually have a couple this month! I suppose I didn't do terribly. I read my crossover book, 5/6 of the ones I really wanted to get through, 1/6 of the ones I wanted to try to read and even an unanticipated author request! Let's not mention the extra challenge I set myself...
  1. 'Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale'; Holly Black: This was the book that I actually started reading in March, but finished in April and so comes under this category. I really enjoyed this book, I'd been eyeing it up for a very long time and I'm certainly a fan of Holly Black now! I can't wait to read the second in the series, 'Valiant'. 4/5 stars.
  2. 'Demolition Queen - Champagne, Murder & Chaos'; Betsy Cook Speer: Now this was my very first author request and I got majorly excited when it happened so I accepted. I wouldn't normally pick this one up off the shelf and I thought it was a bit of a slow starter, but by the end I liked it more! If you're a fan of thrillers, this might be better suited to you! 2/5 stars.
  3. 'The Fault In Our Stars'; John Green: My sister Bev pestered and pestered for me to rearrange my entire reading list and bump this one up! I listened and am so glad I did. Such a heart-breakingly beautiful book that made me cry, like, a lot. Very sad but I have no regrets. Everybody needs to read this book, it delivers a pretty important message and I did a lot of reflecting afterwards. 5/5 stars.
  4. 'A Certain Slant Of Light'; Laura Whitcomb: I was blessed with reading some really good books this month! Another one that has been on the pile for a while, and I've finally put my foot down and read it. I've never read anything like it, there was such originality in the concept and it was done pretty well. There's a sequel which I would be interested to read to see where Whitcomb takes the story from this point. 4.5/5 stars.
  5. 'The Hunger Games'; Suzanne Collins: Well it was pretty obvious that having loved the films so much, I needed to read the book. I'm really glad I did, I worried my opinion would be tainted by my prior knowledge but I found that the book did a lot of things that I now see the film could not. 4/5 stars.
  6. 'Days Of Blood & Starlight'; Laini Taylor: I literally finished this one a few hours ago, and wow! I gave the first in the series four stars but this next installment I found even better than the first one! Characterisation was top notch and Taylor's imagination never fails to amaze me! 5/5 stars.
Kindle Reads
  1. 'The Invention Of Wings'; Sue Monk Kidd: I won this in a giveaway and I adored this book. Definitely one of my favourite reads of the month, it's a powerful novel that at times can shock with the injustices it contains. I loved the differing perspectives within the book and will not ever stop recommending it to people. 5/5 stars.
  2. 'The Poison Eaters'; Holly Black: A wonderful little selection of short stories written again by Holly Black. As I'd read Tithe, I really wanted to get to the short story set in it's universe. I loved it but I'm glad I got the chance to read all the other gems she had written too! I would love to see full-length novels made out of a couple of them, some really original concepts. 4/5 stars.
So I've broken out of the 6 books a month habit! I read 8 this time, yay! I don't feel quite so terrible now and I've read some really good ones. Here is a quick update on my current Bookish Bingo score! Every single one of my reads this month fit into a category!

A Romance: A Certain Slant Of Light, Laura Whitcomb.
Child Narrator: The Invention Of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd.
Has Been Made Into A Movie: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins.
Featuring Travel: Demolition Queen (Champagne, Murder & Chaos), Betsy Cook Speer.
Strong Parent-Child Relationships: The Fault In Our Stars, John Green.
1st In A Series: Tithe (A Modern Faerie Tale), Holly Black.
Starts with S, P, R, I, N or G. The Poison Eaters, Holly Black.
A YA Book: Days Of Blood & Starlight, Laini Taylor.

Book Review: Days Of Blood & Starlight; Laini Taylor

Goodness me, I took much longer than I wanted to getting through this one! But wow, I'm so glad I got into this one. It was such a great book! I wanted to finish it today before posting my April Round-Up, so that I could have a totally fresh start for May! I may as well enter this for the 'Key Words' challenge seeing as both 'Star' and 'Light' are in the title. I won this one in a Goodreads Giveaway, and I was so excited when I got it!

SOURCE: Goodreads Giveaway
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Days Of Blood & Starlight
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
SERIES: Daughter Of Smoke & Bone (#2)
PUBLISHER: Hodder Paperbacks
PAGES: 518
GENRE: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living - one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers' arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon's secret temple and dreamed of a world that was like a jewel-box without a jewel - a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.

What I Liked:
  • Where to start? I really liked the pacing of this book, I felt like Taylor was a lot more comfortable with her writing style in this book. It flowed well, wasn't too slow that I got bored but wasn't so quick that I felt confused or lost at any point. Just right! It was broken up nicely so I felt like I was making good progress despite the length of the book! The plot-line was great and filled with some great twists and turns which kept me on the edge of my seat!
  • The characters were beautifully written! So complex, deep every single one seemed to have a back-story and no-one faded into the background at all. I just loved reading each one, understanding their motives for their sometimes horrific actions. Taylor did a great job! My favourites were Zuzana and Mik. There isn't an awful lot of Karou/Akiva time in this installment (they spend most of the story apart) but Zuzana and Mik were more than worthy substitutes for the romantic in me! I  think in some aspects I even prefer them! At the same time, they didn't dominate the story and I liked that a lot! Another perfect example? I didn't really like Liraz and Hazael last book, but Taylor developed them so well and really sold them to me as good characters in this one! I won't spoil, but I will say my heart broke a little at the end. That is all.
  • Again I must applaud Taylor's imagination and attention to detail in her world building. She's got it all figured out and everything she described, I could see it in my mind's eye! This was one of my main loves from the other book, and she did it even better this time (which I didn't think was possible). 
What I Disliked:
  • Okay so in the last book I mentioned there wasn't enough Karou and Akiva development. I said I really wanted to see more from them in this one and I didn't get that, they spent a good majority of the book separated. At first I quite liked this development. There was a series of misunderstandings and a lot of understandable anger that lead to their separation and I felt that some time apart developed them more fully as individual character's in my mind. But I began to get a bit frustrated after a while. A lot of their problems could have been resolved if they (Karou in particular) could just stop being so secretive and stubborn. I think it was a necessary plot device but it began to grate a little. I really hope they completely come clean with each other in the beginning of the final book because otherwise I'm going to go mad!
Overall Conclusion:
Well I didn't quite get what I asked for after reading the first book, but this was such an amazing read that I couldn't not love it. Yes the lack of Karou/Akiva was frustrating but I still got my fill of romance with Zuzana and Mik (if anything happens to them I will not be happy...) and I was too busy focusing on the great story-line, characterisation, detail, and imagery to care. Thank you Laini Taylor for writing such an awesome series, I'm so glad I've got round to reading this one!

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 29/04/2014: I should be sleeping.

I am going to write a brief post tonight, I can hardly keep my eyes open. Work felt so exhausting today and I ache all over. Despite this, I had a good day! I spent this morning devising my Top Ten Tuesday post, I found this week's topic pretty hard though I somehow managed! I went into Uni this morning and saw another of my friend's performances. It was a really scary one, so it has put me on edge for the entire day and I keep thinking something is going to jump out on me! I did enjoy it though (does that sound strange?) I had to leave for work straight after and as I've mentioned, had an exhausting shift. so many customers! Still, it was nice to have a break from life and focus on some other jobs to do.

I'm quite excited this evening. I have been approved for 'Doll Bones' by Holly Black on Netgalley. I have loved reading Holly Black's books so much recently that when I saw it was a title, I had to at least try and get approved but I really didn't expect to! Eep! It looks like such a great read too, very creepy (I love scary stories) and I'm certainly looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this one! Talking of books, still making slow progress with Days Of Blood & Starlight (what can I say, I have very little time on my hands right now to read) but I'm really enjoying it. I have not read all the books that I said I would this month. I suppose I shouldn't have set such a high target, knowing I would be busy. May's reads are going to be Netgalley focused, I really don't want to attract negative feedback at all by being slow!

I have to be up so early tomorrow for Uni, so it's time to sleep. Hopefully I can stay awake long enough to be productive when I get there. 

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'If You Liked This, Read That'.

Well this week's topic has been interesting to say the least! I was really excited about it when I first heard what it would be. The general concept was to pick a TV Show, Movie, Game, Music, any sort of entertainment that ISN'T a book, and recommend some books based on those choices. It wasn't until last night/this morning that I realised just how stuck I was...Oops! But here is my attempt anyway, I can't wait to read some picks by other people!

If you liked 'Mulan', then read...

1) Alanna: The First Adventure; Tamora Pierce. Now a lot of people have probably watched Mulan or at least have some vague idea of what it is all about. A heroic girl, disguising herself as a boy in order to get into the Emperor's Army and fight for China in a war against the Huns. Tamora Pierce's 'Alanna: The First Adventure' also sees her dress up and disguise herself as a boy so that she may train to become a warrior rather than learn to be a lady. There are differences in motive (Mulan wants to save her Father, Alanna is just desperate to fight) but the concept itself is really similar and I think if you enjoy one, you'll like the other.

If you liked 'Django: Unchained' then read...

2) To Kill A Mockingbird; Harper Lee. Now most people will probably think of Django and instantly think 'Gun Toting Hero'. None of my choices involve a lot of action, not like you find in the film. But at the heart of the film is actually a deep and thought provoking message about racism and it's cruelties. So if you enjoyed that aspect of the film, then you need to read these choices. Start with this classic, 'To Kill A Mockingbird'! Both it and 'Django: Unchained' have justice, or rather the lack of it, at the centre of their stories. And it is immensely satisfying when the villains get what's coming to them.

3) The Invention Of Wings; Sue Monk-Kidd. Another story about racism. This one goes a lot deeper than 'Django' does on the subject, and will probably be very enjoyable for people who have seen 'Twelve Years A Slave' too. In essence it is about rebellion, from both black people forced to suffer cruelty, and white people forced by society to administer it. I found it a heart-warming tale about forbidden friendship and this in itself makes it an excellent read. Certainly one of the best I've read this year so far.

4) Noughts and Crosses; Malorie Blackman. This particular read does have a lot more action in it than my other two choices. It's set in a modern day setting, with a bit of role reversal thrown in for good measure, but if you enjoyed the action side of 'Django: Unchained', or even the romance, then you will like this one. It's a powerful novel too, so aimed not just at the people who like a fast-paced thrill, but the deep thinkers who want to think about how destructive racism can be (on both sides, despite the suggestion of a good vs. evil novel, there is plenty of blurred lines and complexity to the situation). It comes as a series of four books, this being the first. Read them all!

If you liked 'How To Train Your Dragon' then read...

5) Eragon; Christopher Paolini. Now this might not be the most complex one I've thought of, there's not a huge amount in common between the two apart from 'A boy who is nothing special meets Dragon, they become friends, everyone else is upset by this, then said boy becomes a hero'. Nevertheless, I thoroughly recommend Eragon to any Dragon lovers. It's a great tale about friendship, heroism, bravery, loyalty with great world-building and fantastical settings and creatures. Eragon's plot-line is certainly more complex and political, but I think the two films still have the same essence to them.

If you liked 'Pan's Labyrinth' then read...

6) Tithe; Holly Black. Now one of the main similarities here is that the two films involve a lot of fantastical creatures and a young girl hero who is not all that she seems. They both have to be wary of rules as they enter a new world in order to discover themselves and complete their various tasks. Perhaps their story-lines are a little dissimilar, but in both interpretations, all is not as it seems in the other world and not everything is to be trusted. I don't know, I just got a similar vibe from both stories, despite their differences.

7) Daughter Of Smoke & Bone; Laini Taylor. Now when I first read 'Daughter Of Smoke & Bone' and read about Brimstone, I instantly thought of Pan from Pan's Labyrinth. His very attitude. Do we trust him? Is what he does in aid of good, or is Karou nothing but a pawn in some sort of dark plot. Karou and Ofelia are similar in that they have mysterious pasts of which they know little about. They do the tasks they are set in the hope of discovering more, while attempting to live in the real world and deal with problems outside of the fantasy world that they also live in. You are never quite sure what is real or who is the enemy and I really love both of these stories for it.

If you liked 'Warm Bodies' then read...

8) Generation Dead; Daniel Waters. Essentially the two stories are almost too similar. 'Warm Bodies' is about a zombie boy who falls in love with a girl (their is a definite Romeo and Juliet theme in this one), and Generation Dead tells the story of a human girl and a zombie boy falling in love. I'm not a big fan of Zombie Books/Films that involve that kind of romance but I actually did enjoy both of these and when watching 'Warm Bodies' I instantly thought of this book that I read quite a long time ago. So if Zombies are your thing and you've enjoyed one of these, give the other a try!

If you liked 'Twilight', then read...

9) Finding Sky; Joss Stirling. I didn't enjoy Twilight very much when I read it, and if you know that, you're probably wondering why I've mentioned it on this list. Especially as I'm comparing it to books that I did enjoy. Crazy? No. When I read 'Finding Sky' I couldn't help but think of 'Twilight'. There were so many similarities, a family full of people that were a little different from the rest, a girl that steals the heart of one instantly (he acts like a total meanie at first, then suddenly he's head over heels) and enemies that put that girl in danger (I would say that these particular enemies put me more in mind of the Volturi than the Nomads. Still, Twilight related.) But I will recommend this read because Stirling does it so much better! Sky is independent, feisty, and likeable. Not clumsy, or dreary or totally clingy as I found Bella to be. I found the romance was written well, I liked most of the characters, the villains read well, it was how Twilight should have been done in my opinion. So if you enjoyed the 'Twilight' Movie, then you should definitely give this one a try!

10) The Host; Stephanie Meyer. Yes, another crazy move. Except it's not really. So what if I didn't enjoy Twilight, I did like 'The Host' which a lot of people will probably know was also written by Stephanie Meyer. I found it a much better read than her more popular series. They are similar, but I think that the romance and the characterisation was handled really well here! I went into it really thinking I was going to hate it, and came out raving and recommending it to many, many people. So if you enjoyed 'Twilight', then I really recommend you give this one a go because in my opinion it was a lot better than that series. Thank goodness!

Goodness me! That was tough! Perhaps if I'd planned a bit better I could have come up with some other ones, but this is the best I've got at short notice! Next week's topic is 'Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces Of Art'. Ooooh, I do like book covers! This will be a good one!

Monday 28 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 28/04/2014: Definitely feeling better!

I can confirm that the headache is gone. I repeat, the headache is gone. I can't believe how late we are in April, May is fast approaching! Time goes so quickly sometimes! I found it difficult to sleep last night, for some reason, so I was ultra tired this morning when I woke. I did feel a lot better though despite this. I spent most of the morning at home catching up on various pieces of Uni work that need doing. When I did go into Uni about midday, I found myself enjoying the train journey immensely because I got to read some more 'Days Of Blood & Starlight'! This book guys, this book! I enjoyed the first one so much, but I'm enjoying this one even more! I just really want to get through it and review it! I did receive my first Netgalley rejection today, but I was also approved for another title: 'Cuckoo Song' by Frances Hardinge.

I spent a lot of the afternoon/evening at Uni helping out with and watching my friend's Multimedia Performance, which was really good I might add! It was a really nice, relaxing afternoon actually. I talked to a few friends who I felt like I hadn't spoken to for ages and it made me feel a lot better about a lot of things. Yes I'm looking forward to when Uni finishes but I will certainly miss some parts of it. Tomorrow involves another trip to Uni (and work, which I am not looking forward to) but fingers crossed I can be extra productive! Oh and it's 'Top Ten Tuesday' day tomorrow so I need to think of a post for that too, I have a feeling I will find this week's topic exceptionally hard for some strange reason.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 27/04/2014: Headache from hell!

I'm going to be completely honest, my day wasn't wholly productive. I spent most of it with a pounding headache that would not leave me alone, despite the copious number of Painkillers I took. All I really wanted to do was curl up and sleep, so I didn't get round to doing my Weekly Wishlist until late afternoon! It prevented me from using the day to read as well, which upset me quite a lot. I really wanted to get through at least a good majority of 'Days Of Blood & Starlight', but I'm not very far through at all. Still, as evening came my headache mysteriously disappeared as quickly as it had come and I could relax and get on as I had previously planned. I read, blogged, caught up on Youtube videos, commented and generally got on with the tasks I would have loved to have spent the entire day doing. Ah well, at least I feel a bit less tired and ill now.

Tomorrow will be a long day at Uni for me, I have work to be getting on with followed by a show to watch (one of my friend's Multimedia performances). I'm very excited about it, and hopefully I can fit some more reading in around it. A short post today I know but there really isn't much to tell. Fingers crossed that headache doesn't creep back tomorrow!

Weekly Wishlist #10

I'm finally getting round to posting this! I'm struggling a bit because I have woken with a pounding headache which no painkiller in the world seems to cure. So I won't make this too long.

1) A New Camera. This Thursday just gone, you are probably aware that I went to go and see McBusted, and it was here that I realised I had a bit of a rubbish camera. Not terrible, just not great. Of course I haven't gone out and picked a new model or anything like that, I would just really like one that could take some decent pictures.

2) 'Sign Of The Throne'; Melissa Eskue Ousley. This book, like most that appear on the Weekly Wishlist, has been on the TBR pile for a while. I want to read it so badly! The cover art is amazing and the plot concept looks so interesting! It also has a sequel, 'The Rabbit And The Raven'. I really need to actually get my hands on all of these books on my Book Wishlist, it's getting far too long and I still feel no closer to reading them!

3) 'The Boy That Never Was'; Karen Perry. I'm a bit of a sucker for stories that look a bit creepy, and this one looks so good! Having read a bit about it, it looks like it will be an emotional read, with plenty of crying involved. I normally try to avoid unhappy endings like the plague, but I feel like I need to confront this irrational fear, as I'm probably missing out on a vast number of really great books! This one has been highly reviewed so I hope I can get hold of it soon.

4) A New Music Player. Much like my camera, my current MP3 player isn't overly outstanding. In fact, I much favour listening to music through my phone which not only drains battery but takes up stupid amounts of space. I really need to get out of this habit! I would really like to get myself a good one, with a long battery life and plenty of space to listen to all my favourite songs on!

5) 'Alias Hook'; Lisa Jensen. I realise that this Wishlist is a bit book dominated but I couldn't not include this one! I love Fairy Tales and their retellings, and this looks like it could be a great adaption of J.M.Barrie's 'Peter Pan'. Captain Hook has always been an intriguing character to me, I have high hopes for it! I've requested it off of Netgalley, so fingers crossed!

Saturday 26 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 26/04/2014: Five cups of tea in one day?!

The main event of the day, I would have to say, was finishing Holly Black's 'The Poison Eaters And Other Stories'. I thoroughly enjoyed it and all of this month's challenges are complete! Hooray! Currently I'm making my way through 'Days Of Blood & Starlight', and then 'Hereafter' by Terri Bruce is next on the list! At this point I feel like my Planned Reads for April has basically gone out of the window, but I really need to start on some of these NetGalley approvals because I really want to keep up with them! I have been ever so good and refrained from requesting too many. Hopefully I'll work out a good balance soon.

Other than reading and reviewing, I've been majorly catching up on other people's blogs (I normally like to comment on the blogs that I follow, but I feel like I've been neglecting that lately) and drinking copious amounts of tea. I answered a couple of emails which leads me onto my next exciting piece of news, which I alluded to yesterday! I will be taking part in my very first Blog Tour for a book that I downloaded from Netgalley a week or so ago, Vanessa Morton's 'Moonfall'. I really am ever so excited about this, as it stands my post will be appearing Mid-July so still quite a while away. I can't wait to read the book and I have plenty of exciting ideas for this particular post, so look forward to that!

I then spent the evening watching 'Britain's Got Talent' and relaxing! It looks to be a pretty similar agenda, and hopefully if I'm good, I might even finish my current read! Obviously I will also post my Weekly Wishlist at some point, so another busy blog day tomorrow!

Book Review: The Poison Eaters And Other Stories; Holly Black

It didn't take me long to get through this collection of short stories, which I'm glad about because I've been really keen to share my thoughts on these as I've read more and more. I decided I needed to read them after hearing that one would be set in the same book universe as 'Tithe' which I was eager to hear more from. Thank goodness I did! I am using this book for a couple of challenges too so that fits in with this month's plans quite nicely. This month's 'Monthly Motif' is Short & Sweet, and so a collection of Short Stories is the ideal entry! Also, the number of pages in this collection falls below 300 so that's one more entry for the 'Quick Fix challenge'.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Poison Eaters And Other Stories
AUTHOR: Holly Black
PUBLISHER: Small Beer Press
PAGES: 212
GENRE: Young Adult, Short Stories, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Poisonous girls whose kisses will kill. A fateful eating contest with the devil. Faeries who return to Ironside, searching for love. A junior prom turned Bacchanalia. In twelve short stories, eerie and brimming with suspense and unexpected humour, Holly Black twists the fantastical creatures you thought you knew in ways you'll never expect.

What I Liked:
  • So before I go into specific stories, I'll look at the book as a whole. Black has included some really creative and original ideas for a variety of different Supernatural creatures. You'll find Faeries, Vampires, Werewolves, Elves, Unicorns, the Devil and even some well known book characters brought to life! I found Black's take on these creatures to be really interesting too, very different and original from other, more traditional interpretations of the very same creatures. This was something that I really enjoyed, that Black could create such original and vivid ideas based on myths and legends that already exist surrounding what she writes about. I also found really admirable the inclusion of other issues within the stories, sexuality being a big one. Some authors shy away from such subjects but Black fully embraced them and I really liked their inclusion, it gave another focus to the stories and made them more interesting to read than just Fantasy stories.
  • The characters that Black wrote, as to be expected of her, were complex and fun to read. Firstly, the story 'The Land Of Heart's Desire' based in the Universe of 'Tithe' reminded me just how much I loved that world and the characters found within it. It also did some major exploring of relationships that I would have loved to have seen in the novel itself, mostly between Corny and Roiben. I had expected another Kaye and Roiben story so I was very pleased to see Black take the story in a different direction (though of course the romance would have been great too). As for some of the new characters that I hadn't met before, I would love to see some of these short stories turned into full-length novels! I particularly enjoyed 'Virgin' for this reason, Jen and Zachary were a great pair and I wanted to read more of them! I also found a similar feeling with 'The Night Market' the characterisation and vivid descriptions of the setting made it a particularly good read.
  • My favourite story of the lot has to be 'The Coat Of Stars'. It follows a much more traditional Fairy-tale format in some areas, but gives it an entirely new twist in others! Rafe and Lyle were so interesting as a pairing and I was so glad to see that they actually got a good, solid ending to their story. The descriptions were wonderful, particularly of Rafe's costumes, the idea behind it (despite being so obviously based on a Fairy-Tale format) felt wholly original and I was totally hooked. If I had to recommend reading only one of these twelve well-written stories, it would be this one. It strikes a feeling of both familiarity and newness into the heart.
What I Disliked:
  • I think this can be expected in most Short Story collections, but some of the stories didn't impress me as much as others. I didn't find them boring, I just felt they weren't as strong as others I had read in the collection. 'In Vodka Veritas' and 'The Dog King' had some really nice moments and interesting ideas behind them, but overall I came away not overly impressed. I also wanted to see a bit more from 'Going Ironside', which felt cut a little too short as it was such an intriguing idea! My least favourite story was probably the titular one, 'The Poison Eaters'. I didn't really like the characters involved, felt a little confused about the plot-line and found it to be the most disappointing read of them all.
  • Looking at all the stories as a whole, I think I felt a little of how I felt when I read 'Tithe'. Holly Black's writing style is very fast-paced and there are a lot of moments easily missed if not read carefully. I think this probably is the reason why I didn't enjoy a couple of the stories, they felt rushed from time to time. As well as this, the endings to a few felt abrupt and gave those stories an unfinished feel. It worked well for some as it left me wanting more. For others, it just irritated me.
Overall Conclusion:
A really nice collection and certainly on the more enjoyable end of Short Story collections I have read. Yes, there were some stories that I didn't enjoy so much, but the ones that I did more than made up for this. Black has a really unique spin on the Supernatural world (something I discovered when reading 'Tithe') and it was nice to see her cover a wide range of creatures and topics. The characters were very strong and a good number of these stories, if expanded upon, would make really nice stand-alone novels. I think that in itself is impressive and Holly Black did a really nice job here! 

Friday 25 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 25/04/2014: Exciting Netgalley updates!

Okay so we'll start with my day, which has been pretty action-packed! Firstly, I spent the morning and a bit of the afternoon in London, and reviewed 'The Hunger Games'. I enjoyed the book a lot and can't wait to get onto the next ones in the series! I'm currently reading Holly Black's short stories collection 'The Poison Eaters' which are pretty good so far, I'm about a quarter of the way through! When Mat and I came back from London, I wasn't at home for long before heading out again to Canterbury to watch my friend's Multimedia performance! It went well and gave me a bit more train reading time.

Now, onto Netgalley. I have had a heck of a lot of luck with this site, I'm not entirely sure how I've been approved for so many books, being a small blog with no current feedback! However, I'll update you on my more recent approvals which are all very exciting, because I honestly didn't think I'd get approved for some of these!
  • 'The Queen Of The Tearling' ('The Queen Of The Tearling' Series, Book 1) by Erika Johansen
  • 'Smiler's Fair' ('The Hollow Gods' Series, Book 1) by Rebecca Levene
  • 'The Three' by Sarah Lotz
  • 'Deep Blue' ('The Waterfire Saga, Book 1) by Jennifer Donnelly
I've decided to alter my next few reads about a bit. Yes I know, once again I'm going off my planned track but I didn't expect approvals on Netgalley to be coming in so thick and fast and I really want to get going on them so that I can keep up! So after my current read, I will of course read 'Days Of Blood & Starlight' which I've been waiting to read for a ridiculously long time! Then will be the first in a series of a book I was approved for on Netgalley, 'Hereafter' by Terri Bruce. I was actually approved for the second book, 'Thereafter', but I really want to read the first before I get going on that one.

I've also been receiving and sending some exciting emails regarding one of my 'Read Now' downloads and I won't reveal much now but expect updates on that when I have more information! I have a day off tomorrow so I expect to be very productive!

Book Review: The Hunger Games; Suzanne Collins.

I'm really managing to catch up with the rest of the world right now, I've finished The Hunger Games! Phew! I came into reading this book with a lot of expectations and I can't wait to share my thoughts a little more closely. Obviously I've watched the films and my impressions of those will probably impact upon this review. Hopefully not too much though! I will be entering this book into the 'Jumble Your Genres' challenge, as this month's chosen genre is Middle Grade books and I think this one just about fits into that category! The button for that can be found below this review!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Hunger Games
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
SERIES: The Hunger Games (#1)
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
PAGES: 454
GENRE: Romance, Dystopian, Middle Grade

RATING: 4/5 Stars

In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear on a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

What I Liked:
  • The atmosphere that Collins writes into this book is incredible. The idea of the Hunger Games seems loosely based on the Greek Myth, Theseus and the Minotaur. The idea that watching twenty four children aim to kill each other could be a form of entertainment to anyone is horrific and sent shudders down my spine. Collins' writing just really brings to light exactly how terrible this idea is. The Hunger Games aren't just a form of entertainment. They are a political message, serving to remind everyone that the Capitol are not to be rebelled against, and such a twisted idea is enough to make anyone feel sick.
  • There was so much personality in the characters, which was vital for this book. In order for it's story to be hard-hitting, the reader needed to connect with and adore the characters involved because by the end of the book they would most likely be dead. Of course I was rooting for Katniss, the heroine of the story, but I liked Peeta, Rue, Thresh, even Foxface! I was constantly reminded of their (potentially) inevitable deaths and it was quite upsetting. Collins certainly did a fantastic job of making sure that the impossible situation was emotionally hard-hitting.
  • Let's talk about Katniss for a bit. I loved her! I think she's a great heroine, a good role model as well! She's tough enough that she's independent and relies on no one else to baby her which I liked. At the same time, she was human. She made mistakes and she suffered for them. When an author writes their lead as too perfect this can get annoying but I didn't find myself irritated by Katniss once.
What I Disliked:
  • The writing was a little simplistic at times. Now this is not an overly bad thing, it is aimed at a younger audience than myself and so I went into this book expecting as such. But I was so into the story I wished at times that it was aimed at my age group so that I could get a more detailed version! It wasn't so much the content, Collins certainly didn't shy away from writing about death (some rather gruesome) and adult subjects. It was more the writing style itself. Maybe I'm being greedy. I still loved it!
Overall Conclusion:
I spent the whole book trying very hard to separate it from the films and for the most part succeeded! I was so worried I would be disappointed, but I wasn't! It was such a good story, plenty of suspense that kept me on my toes and my eyes glued to the page, and the characters were written so well! If only it had been aimed at a slightly more mature audience I would have been so happy!

Thursday 24 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 24/04/2014: So...I've been to the Year 3000...

I have no words for what I've just experienced, McBusted put on one heck of a show! I'll start with the rest of the day. I basically spent it doing as little, and being as lazy, as possible. I finished 'The Hunger Games' which was awesome and I'll be reviewing it tomorrow! I also did a lot of sleeping and watching Mat play 'Mass Effect 3', so nothing too strenuous! Then at about half four in the afternoon, we hopped on the tube and made our way to the O2 Arena. I've never been before and it is huge and very impressive! Before doors opened, we needed to go and get something to eat so we ate in a lovely Italian Restaurant found inside the O2 Arena Building. The food was gorgeous, particularly the Chocolate Melt pudding. Yum!

Then of course, it was time to see the show! There were three warm up acts before McBusted. All of them were good, E of E did a great cover of Billie Jean! Also, Vix played and the front girl had a phenomenal voice! Well worth checking out! Of course, it was clear who everyone was really waiting for. Their entrance was just awesome, and they went straight into 'Air Hostess' which of course everyone knew! For those of you who don't know, McBusted is a fusion of McFly and Busted, two of my favourite bands from when I was younger. I have grown up knowing all the words to their songs and so I leapt at the chance to get tickets to see them live together!

They played a great set and I recognised most of the songs, including some of the classics, 'What I Go To School For', 'Five Colours In Her Hair', 'Obviously', and of course 'Year 3000' which is the one I think everyone was waiting for! I really enjoyed myself, the tech and set were absolutely amazing and they did a lot of really cool things (including flying down on a UFO) to entertain and astonish. If in the future you ever get the chance to see them, don't hestitate, just book! Our seats were pretty good too which made me happy. Not overly close to the stage but we could see perfectly. Mat and I came away with T Shirts and Souvenir Brochures/Programmes. I've just got through the door and I'm sat with a cup of tea while typing this, absolutely knackered. Okay so tea may not be the best idea at this time of night but hey, you only live once!

Mat has a couple of Uni bits to do tomorrow, so I'll be reviewing 'The Hunger Games' and doing a bit more reading. Next up is Holly Black's book of short stories, 'The Poison Eaters' which I imagine I'll get through quickly. 

Life Of A Blogger: 'Favourite Music Albums'

This week's 'Life Of A Blogger Topic' is Favourite Music Albums! Now I've been looking forward tho this one because I love music and listen to all sorts. But now I'm here, where do I begin?! To be honest I listen do different music depending on my mood.

I'll start with my absolute favourite: Florence & The Machine. They've released two albums, both of which I love. I can't very easily choose between them so I'll give a few tracks from each. Some of my favourite tracks from 'Lungs' include 'Howl', 'Girl With One Eye', 'Drumming Song', 'Cosmic Love' and 'My Boy Builds Coffins'. Meanwhile on 'Ceremonials' the ones that I can never stop playing are 'Only If For A Night', 'Shake It Out', 'No Light, No Light', 'Seven Devils' and 'Strangeness And Charm'. I have been a great fan of theirs for a while now and always eagerly await their next songs. They release quite a few for Film Soundtracks too, which I listen to with equal enthusiasm as their album releases.
Next on the favourite albums list has to be a bit of Lana Del Rey, and my favourite album of hers is 'Born To Die'. I really love the songs on their that made it to the charts of course, but my favourites on the album are 'Off To The Races' and 'Carmen'. I could play those two tracks on repeat and be a happy girl. Again, I love her non-album releases too, there's something about her voice which I just find hypnotic and I can't wait until her next album, 'Ultraviolence' is out!
I can't forgive myself if I don't mention Mumford & Sons on this post. Again, I love both of their albums, 'Sigh No More' (favourite tracks being 'Roll Away Your Stone', 'Thistle & Weeds', 'After The Storm' and 'The Cave') and 'Babel' ('Lover Of The Light', 'Hopeless Wanderer' and 'Broken Crown'). I went to see them live a couple of years ago and they were amazing! I would love to go and see them again, if I could!
I could probably sit here and type out about a hundred albums that I'm in love with but I feel like I should calm myself down a bit. So other favourites include: 'The Singles Collection' by David Bowie (just because it has all my favourites, 'Changes', 'Space Oddity', 'Life On Mars?' etc.), and 'Electra Heart' by Marina And The Diamonds ('Homewrecker', 'Starring Role' and 'Power And Control').

I'm also a pretty big fan of Film Scores/Soundtracks but again, listing all my favourites would take years. So favourite composers include John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Brian Tyler, James Horner, Henry Jackman and Joe Hisaishi! See? Loads!

Next week's topic will be 'Bucket List', which is a great topic idea! I can't wait to read about everyone's favourite music!

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 23/04/2014: London again!

That's right guys, I'm back in London with Mat for a couple of days! We are going to see McBusted tomorrow which I said yesterday and I am extremely excited! My day was pretty average, I spent most of it in Canterbury doing some work and being productive. When I got round to coming home, Mat came round and we chilled out for a bit before setting off on the train. In fact, a lot of my day has been me on the train, but I don't mind. It means more reading time! 

Other than that, nothing to report. I am about halfway through my book now and feel like I have more time over the next couple of days to get a lot of reading done! Look out for reviews soon and obviously my Life Of A Blogger post tomorrow! 

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 22/04/2014: Things are looking up?

It is amazing how much one conversation can change your mood. I have not been happy as of late, in fact I've been beyond stressed. After talking to my Module Tutor today, we both decided it would be best if the date of my Multimedia Project changed in order to give me a bit more time to get things sorted. I'm so relieved! Having got that changed, I spent the rest of the day being ultra productive! Of course, I got my Top Ten Tuesday post up, which was a lot of fun to devise this week, and I also did a lot of Uni work. So I'm a very happy girl indeed!

I've received a couple of exciting emails, talking about a couple of the NetGalley reads I've been approved for (one of which is new, Stant Litore's 'No Lasting Burial'). I'm really excited, it looks like pretty good things are coming this way for my blog and I'm very happy! I can't wait to share some of these things with you! I'm struggling to think of things that have happened today, other than a lot of Uni related things. I got a little further through 'The Hunger Games', I'm really enjoying this book so far. I was worried that having seen the movie would make the book not so enjoyable to me, but I have loved some of the deeper insight we get into the characters with the book, while spotting some of my favourite quotes from the film! I can't wait to finish and review it!

Tomorrow involves more Uni, I'm back there now from Easter so there'll be a lot of days like this as I attempt to get things done in time for various deadlines. Then in the evening, I'm off to London ready to watch McBusted on Thursday night and return on Friday! I'm so unbelievably excited I don't think I can express it properly, and I can't wait to tell you guys all about it!

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Characters That Would Be My Best Friend'.

Wow, what a topic this week! 'Top Ten Characters That Would...?'! Everyone gets to choose their own criteria for their chosen categories, and mine was characters that I would choose to be friends with if I could. I think there are a lot that I could put down here, so I'll get started!

1) Patrick from 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower'; Stephen Chbosky.

I watched the film before I read the book, and I will always maintain that I loved the film more. It is one of very few book-to-film adaptions that I can say that about, but there we are. However, I found with Patrick's character that he was consistently my favourite character in both book and film. I love his sense of humour, his sociable nature but also his hidden vulnerabilities and if ever there were a guy I would want to be friends with, it would be him. He's genuinely so protective and caring, yet not afraid to have a little fun, and Ezra Miller did a wonderful job playing him!

2) Isaac from 'The Fault In Our Stars'; John Green.

I only recently read this one and fell in love with the book instantly. If you read my review, you would know that I had a bit of a soft spot for Isaac. From the get-go I found him hilarious, laughing in the face of his upcoming life-changing tragedy, but not afraid to say that it terrified him too. Even despite some rather major obstacles that he faces throughout the book, he still tries hard to think of others and be a good friend, and he was my favourite character in the novel. I cannot wait until the film comes out so I get to see him exist on the big screen!

3) Corny from 'Tithe'; Holly Black.

Corny I just found to be awesome. He played much more of a role in the book than I thought he would but it was awesome to see him and the MC grow so close, and for it to be a purely platonic relationship. Almost like a brother and sister relationship. I found his near-immediate acceptance of Kayla's 'new look' to be a little too quick, considering as well that they weren't all that close to begin with, but the moment the two of them teamed up, the book became a whole lot more interesting. Also, I loved the comparison that he chose when telling his mother that he was gay. It made me laugh so much!

4) Katniss Everdeen from 'The Hunger Games'; Suzanne Collins.

Now I've only just started reading this book, but I've already watched the films and think Katniss would be a great companion to have! She's got a sense of humour, is very intelligent and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She's also fiercely loyal which is a quality I love in book characters! One thing that would put me off I suppose is that I would hate to live in Panem because it's such a horrible place to be, but then if I did, I suppose she would be exactly who I would want as a friend then too!

5) Daine from 'The Immortals' Series; Tamora Pierce.

Yes, yes I know what you're all thinking. Tamora Pierce makes it to another list! I confess, I do adore everything about Pierce's books, and the characters are no exception! It was pretty tough choosing just one character to be friends with, if I could, I would befriend them all! But Daine has always been my favourite Tamora Pierce character for some strange reason. I mean come on, she can talk to animals! Who wouldn't want a friend like that?! 

6) Zuzana from 'The Daughter Of Smoke & Bone' Trilogy, Laini Taylor.

I really liked this series of books, and Zuzana was such a great character! Never shy to say what she thinks, fiercely protective and loyal to her friend and interested in art and music! I love the creativity in this girl. To be honest it was a tough call between Karou and Zuzana, I love them both! But Zuzana actually reminds me very much of a close friend of mine, so in the end, she won! Only just though, I could do with some of Karou's wishes to help me out from time to time.

7) Hermione Granger from the 'Harry Potter' Series; J.K.Rowling.

This was such a no brainer for me. Ever since I was a little girl I have always wished that Hermione was real so that we could be best friends and read books together at Hogwarts and she would obviously be better than me at spells, but she'd be a really good teacher and help me out! I even imagined that when the holidays came, we would meet up in the holidays and hang out! Now that I'm a bit older, I think I would appreciate Fred & George's sense of humour in my life, or Luna Lovegood to say mystical things that would somehow make sense. But no, I shall remain loyal to Hermione!

8) Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride And Prejudice'; Jane Austen.

Pride & Prejudice. Such a great book, with a really interesting story and very memorable characters. I always felt that Elizabeth was such an awesome power character, not afraid to speak her thoughts on any sort of matter and so if I could choose a best friend this book it would hands down be her! I think she would be a great friend to have, she totally defies the conventions of her time and there's something almost modern in her thoughts about them.

9) Death from 'The Book Thief'; Markus Zusak.

Now I understand that this is a slightly unconventional choice but I love this character that Zusak has written. The entire tragedy of 'The Book Thief' is told from his perspective and the beautiful language use, insightful comments and the humour injected into Death's character was just fantastic. Definitely my favourite character, and though I know that being friends with him would probably expose me to some pretty horrific sights, I still think he would be very good company.

10) Katherine Montague from 'The Tale Of Raw Head & Bloody Bones'; Jack Wolf.

When I read this book, I really liked Katherine's character. She's not really present for a good portion of the book, only really being introduced properly in the later chapters. But I find her so amusing, and despite her slightly odd nature, she grew on me instantly. I just loved her feistiness. Despite being a lady and supposedly ignorant of such things, she understands Tristan's condition far better than most Doctor's do and I was really glad that Jack Wolf decided to include their relationship. 

These choices were so much fun to pick! Next week's topic is 'Top Ten Books If You Liked 'X' (TV Show/Movie/Play etc.' It looks like an interesting topic!

Monday 21 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 21/04/2014: A new Blog look!

You may well have noticed but I've changed the design of my blog! Hooray! It was something I've wanted to do for a while but I've put off for a long time because for one, I was terrified that it would take me a long time, and secondly, I'm pretty rubbish at these kinds of things. As it turns out, my sister and I did it together (she's a lot better than me at things like Photoshop) and I found that actually it only took half an hour at most. Most of my day was spent doing work and catching up on things that needed doing, but it was a fun little distraction to give myself a break! I really like this new design, it's certainly a lot more along the lines of what I originally wanted this blog to look like, so we'll see how long it takes me to come up with a new idea/get bored!

While doing work today, I did also find time to watch 'Thor: The Dark World' with my family (and catch the end of 'Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban' on TV). Two very good films that helped to cheer me up a bit I suppose. They were just what the Doctor ordered when all you  have to look forward to is a day of being busy doing work. I'm off to Uni tomorrow for my first official day back after Easter, something which I have very mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I've got a lot to do and have not been able to get as much done as I'd hoped over Easter so I'm happy that I can be a bit productive. But a day sat at a Mac computer doing non-stop work does not sound ideal to me. Hopefully I won't get too bored, as I'll be there for a while.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 20/04/2014: Easter Day!

I'll begin this post by wishing everyone a happy Easter and I hope you all got the chocolate fix that you wanted/whatever else you wanted instead! I got a few Easter Eggs this year, mostly of the Lindt variety which I cannot wait to tuck into! Other than that, today was a pretty average day for me! The weather was appalling first of all, so much rain and the awful air pressure left my head pounding! I went round Mat's for quite a lot of it, which was nice. We spent the day relaxing, playing Assassin's Creed 4 and generally enjoying a quiet Sunday in. I managed to get my Weekly Wishlist up this morning, and read a bit more of 'The Hunger Games' but other than that I've had a pretty blog-free day today. I did buy 'Saving June' by Hannah Harrington for the Kindle, a book I plan to use to cross off a Bookish Bingo square! It looks great!

I had dinner back at home with my family this evening, and we had curry! I also received the finished music for my Multimedia Piece, which has made me very happy because I've been very stressed out about it and it's nice to see something finished! I just have to match it up with the various script points and programme it all in, a task that I'm not looking forward to but has to be done! Once it is, I'm sure I'll feel a lot better than I've been feeling over the last few days. Tomorrow I was originally going to be meeting with a friend of mine, but alas, she is ill and so I shall probably not see her. So instead, tomorrow will be my 'be productive and literally get as much done as humanly possible' day, so that I can work towards feeling a bit less anxious about things. 

Weekly Wishlist #9

It's Sunday, which must mean it's time for my Weekly Wishlist! I've been quite busy this week so haven't been able to write it in advance.

1) 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Soundtrack. I made no secret of liking this Soundtrack when I posted about the film a few days ago. I really thought it was one of the better ones that I've heard this year in a film, and although it hasn't been released yet, I want it very much for when it is! My favourite theme was the one used for Electro, who was an excellent villain! There seems to be plenty of Electro-related tracks on there, so even more reason to be desperate to have a listen!

2) 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children', Ransom Riggs. I see this book everywhere. It has appeared on my Amazon recommendations more times than I can count and Bloggers all over have raved about how good this book is and how much I should read it. I've put myself on a paperback book ban which is very aggravating but necessary for shelf space. I think I'm going to have to consider getting it on the Kindle, I really need to read it!
3) 'Shiver', 'Linger' and 'Forever', Maggie Stiefvater. I have never read a book by this very popular author and I am deeply ashamed. I actually saw the first one, 'Shiver', a long time ago, and it was recommended to me by various friends of mine, but I never got round to getting or reading it! A lot of people have highly rated it (as well as it's sequels) and I really feel like I need to give some Stiefvater a try. So yes please to this book series!

4) Chocolate! Well it's Easter Day and so of course chocolate had to go on here. It is the great love of my life, the stuff that I can't live without and I adore Easter Eggs in particular for some bizarre reason. I got a couple this year of the Lindt variety (yum!) but the more chocolate the better in my opinion so it would be greatly appreciated in my opinion!

5) To go to the 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Premiere. I have found out that the date has been set for the London Premiere for the 12th May, the day before my birthday! I have never attended a Premiere before, though I've always wanted to. But if there was ever a good first one to go to, it would be this one! Anyone who read Thursday's post on my favourite stars will know that the idea of potentially meeting Jennifer Lawrence or Ian McKellen (slim, but a possibility) makes me a very happy bunny! 

Saturday 19 April 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 19/04/2014: UK YA Day!

Well, my Twitter feed was abuzz with excitement today readers. Why? Because it is UK Young Adult Day! Now I have to admit that until today, I was completely oblivious that it existed but when I saw it did, I couldn't help but get excited! YA Fiction is my absolute favourite! If you want to know a bit more, I suggest you look on the Project UKYA blog, it explains a great deal better than I can! This post is more specific about their plans for April, i.e. why UK YA Day exists! I was pleasantly surprised to see that the day got a lot of support, and actually trended briefly on Twitter! Wowee! Thanks to the day's activities as well, I managed to win another book (some authors were hosting giveaways for their novels/series and I took part in a couple). 'Red Ink' by Julie Mayhew is on it's way to me and I'm very excited.

My other activities for the day? Well my book review for 'A Certain Slant Of Light' was posted, which I really enjoyed! I replied to some blog comments, did some work and went shopping! No, not book shopping for once. Actual clothes shopping! I only bought a few things, but a bit of retail therapy did me good as I've been pretty stressed out as of late. I bought myself a lovely new dress, a jumper and a leather jacket! I got a couple more titles off of NetGalley today, firstly 'Moonfall' by Vanessa Morton, and also I was approved to read 'Thereafter' by Terri Bruce. It is the second in the series, so I'll be getting the first one on Kindle to read before I start that particular one, but I am very excited about both books!

I also saw Mat today, and we exchanged Easter eggs as we were unsure as to whether we would be seeing each other tomorrow (as it turns out, we are). We both bought each other a nice Lindt egg (his was far more impressive than mine though) and I got him some Malteaser Easter Bunnies! He spent the evening fussing over me which was nice, I was showered with cups of tea, bourbon biscuits (my favourite) and chocolate while watching Britain's Got Talent! It was a lovely end to the evening. 

Book Review: A Certain Slant Of Light; Laura Whitcomb

So as well as finally getting my review for 'The Fault In Our Stars' up, I finished 'A Certain Slant Of Light' within a few hours of doing that! This is good because I feel like I've been a bit quiet on the book front, so here I am bouncing back! I'll be entering this book into a couple of challenges. Firstly, 'Light' is one of the 2014 'Key Words' so that's another entry for that challenge! Also, the book had 282 pages so counts as a 'Quick Fix' entry. Buttons for those can be found at the bottom of the page!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: A Certain Slant Of Light
AUTHOR: Laura Whitcomb
SERIES: Light (#1)
PUBLISHER: HMH Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 282
GENRE: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Ghost Story

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: For the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen - terrified, but intrigued, is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.

What I Liked:
  • This was a really original concept! I have read a fair few Paranormal Romance books in my time and first off, barely any of them include ghosts. This one had two! I liked the rules that Whitcomb came up with that ghosts had to stick to, I liked the methods of bending those rules that Whitcomb came up with too. While reading, I was hit by the feeling that I have never read anything like this before, and it was very refreshing to realise that.
  • James and Helen. Such a good couple, I was rooting for them the whole way through! I have seen complaints that they fell in love too quickly from other reviewers, and this worried me because I'm normally very fussy about the pace of a romance. I thought Whitcomb did a good job though! What needs to be taken into consideration here is that Helen is lonely. Up until this point she's had 130 years of being around, but invisible to all humans. Whitcomb really sold that loneliness to me, and on James' part too, because despite having found a vacated body to live in and the fact that he can interact with humans, he is still the only one in his situation. He is still an outsider. Would they have fallen so head over heels so quickly in normal circumstances? Probably not. But these were not normal circumstances.
  • There are some great quotes and lovely writing in this book! Whitcomb is extraordinarily gifted and has a talent in making a reader understand exactly how a character is feeling about a situation. I loved the language and writing style, and found myself hooked on every word. It felt like a modern-day story written by a historical character, which was precisely what it was! 
What I Disliked:
  • The reason I think that I ended up knocking off half a star was because although I enjoyed it, it did feel a little predictable a times. This ultimately meant that I never truly felt like the book had many twists and turns that threatened the characters I cared about, because I had already guessed it would happen and figured out to an extent how they might overcome the problem. It didn't hugely infringe on my enjoyment of the story, it all just felt a little too safe.
  • This isn't really dislike, more confusion. There is a sequel to this book, and while I look forward to getting my hands on it because I really enjoyed this one, I'm not sure it's entirely necessary. This book just ended too well! Loose ends were tied, I felt like character's stories were finished. Is there really any need to continue the story at all? I've had a little look into the vague plot-line for the second book, and it is told more from the POV of the two bodies, Billy and Jenny, that were left behind. Okay, I suppose I can understand that but is there any need to bring back Helen and potentially James too? Perhaps Whitcomb did not originally plan a sequel and so that's why the perfect (almost ridiculously happy) ending but I am still a bit mixed on this one. I guess I should reserve judgement for when I've read it!
Overall Conclusion:
I really did enjoy this book rather a lot! Full marks for originality and writing skill, Whitcomb's prose was lovely to read! Also she really writes romance very well, this couple is one of my favourites that I've read in a while and I rooted for them from the moment they met! There was a certain inevitability about the book in terms of plot-line. Perhaps I just made a few lucky guesses, but I wish that there had been a few unexpected twists thrown in there. I would really recommend this one though, it's very different from a lot of Paranormal Romances I have read previously and if that's something you enjoy, you'll want to give this one a try.