Saturday 31 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 31/05/2014: I did it!

I can't quite believe I managed it, especially as I worked today, but I managed to start and finish 'Shadow & Bone' in one day! I'm a very happy girl right now because the book was so good and I really want to read the next one! My day has basically entirely consisted of reading and work, and not a lot else. Once I had finished 'Shadow & Bone', I did have to quickly do my monthly wrap-up post too! While doing that I realised I haven't read a single physical book this month, I've read from the Kindle instead! This isn't exactly surprising as I did want to get through a lot of my Netgalley reads but I'm still a little sad and really would like to hold a book in my hands again so I'll be reading 'The Luminaries' by Eleanor Catton next. I'm borrowing it from my very generous sister and I'm extremely excited! I can't wait to review that one for you guys. After that, I'll be reading 'Stolen Songbird' by Danielle Jensen, yet another book that everyone seems to have read except me! I figure I really need to catch up with the Blogoverse!

Tomorrow is my day off so I'll spend the day reading, blogging (my 'Planned Reads for June' post and my 'Weekly Wishlist' will both make an apearance tomorrow) and generally relaxing. Then in the evening I'll be seeing Mat and we plan to go and watch Maleficent at the cinema! How exciting!

May Wrap-Up Post.

Okay so this month didn't quite go to plan in terms of reading the exact books that I listed for my challenges. I did manage to complete all my challenges (by the skin of my teeth) but not with the books I said that I would. Still, I have managed it and I did read 5/6 of the Netgalley reads that I promised that I would. Now this normally counts as my wrap up post for my '2014 Real Book Challenge' as well but I've actually only read Kindle books this month (something that will change next month). So without further ado, here are this month's reads and a catch-up on my Bookish Bingo challenge too.

Kindle Reads:

  1. 'Herafter'; Terri Bruce. A pretty enjoyable start to a completely new author to me. Having been approved for the second in the series, 'Thereafter', I really wanted to read this one first. I'm glad I did though I had a few issues with it. 3.5/5 stars.
  2. 'Deep Blue'; Jennifer Donnelly. I had read mixed reviews on this one but I actually really enjoyed it. Once I got past the first few chapters of rather extreme information dumping, I thought there were too many good points to ignore and look forward to the next one! 3.5/5 stars.
  3. 'Cuckoo Song'; Frances Hardinge. What a creepy, original and enjoyable book! I had really looked forward to this one and was not disappointed. It was sinister, the plot well thought out and I loved the characters. 4/5 stars.
  4. 'Thereafter'; Terri Bruce. I finally felt ready to return to the Bruce's world of the Afterlife and I'm really glad I looked past some of my reservations from the first book and went on! the second book was a lot better, it felt more focused and I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of research that must have gone into this one. 4/5 stars.
  5. 'The Three'; Sarah Lotz. I had some mixed thoughts on this book. It was very different in style and structure to books I've read previously, and I found this confusing and frustrating at first. I did end up really getting into it though, I just wish the ending had been a little more conclusive. 3.5/5 stars.
  6. 'A Red Tale'; Nicola Mar. I wanted to enjoy this book so badly but it started to go off track after the first few chapters. Characters seemed inconsistent and I didn't get very attached to them. As well as that, there were just far too many elements in this one and none of them felt completely tied up. 1/5 stars.
  7. 'Shadow And Bone'; Leigh Bardugo. I have only just finished this one as I'm writing this, and I loved it! Why did it take me so long to read this book? A beautiful contribution to the fantasy genre with a wonderful setting, great characters and a perfectly built romance. 4.5/5 stars.
7 books this month! That isn't too bad right? Considering it's probably been the most stressful month at Uni! Still, I probably should have done a bit better. I'm particularly eager to read more physical books next month! Here is the next Bookish Bingo update!

New-to-you Author: The Three, Sarah Lotz.
A Romance: A Certain Slant Of Light, Laura Whitcomb.
Featuring Recovery: Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge.
Child Narrator: The Invention Of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd.
Set In the Caribbean: A Red Tale, Nicola Mar.
Has Been Made Into A Movie: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins.
Spring Release: Thereafter, Terri Bruce.
Featuring Travel: Demolition Queen (Champagne, Murder & Chaos), Betsy Cook Speer.
Strong Parent-Child Relationships: The Fault In Our Stars, John Green.
Written By A Woman: Deep Blue, Jennifer Donnelly.
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: Shadow And Bone; Leigh Bardugo.

I did it! I finished Shadow and Bone in one day! I can't believe I actually managed it, I really thought I was going to have to let two of this month's challenges slide by without completing them. The two challenges I'll be entering this one into are the 'Jumble Your Genres' Challenge (as a Dystopian) and the 'Monthly Key Words' Challenge (for the word 'And'). Buttons for those can be found below this review!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Shadow And Bone
AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo
SERIES: The Grisha (#1)
PUBLISHER: Henry Holt & Co.
PAGES: 416
GENRE: High Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian, Young Adult

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

What I Liked:
  • Wow so where do I begin with this one? Firstly, I loved the setting to it. The references to Russian culture and I felt like a lot of hard work and research had gone into the world building in this one! And as we all know, world building holds a pretty special place in my heart. It made a nice change from usual settings found within Fantasy books, and managed to both spark faint recognition of certain elements within the book, and still feel like an entirely new place! I could see everything written clearly in my mind's eye and it had me hooked from beginning to end!
  • The characterisation was just fantastic. They were all so well-written, and I really saw development in each and every one of them (for better or for worse). I really liked the relationship between Mal and Alina too, it isn't often that an author gets the pacing of a relationship spot on. It wasn't so quick that it felt unbelievable and yet the romance didn't develop so frustratingly slowly that I was tearing my hair out either. Hats off to Bardugo for keeping them interesting!
  • It really reaffirmed my love for this genre. I have always been a pretty big fan of High Fantasy, and I haven't read a book from the genre for a very long time. Reading this book took me straight back to other books I have read within the genre and loved, such as Tamora Pierce's work or Trudi Canavan's 'The Black Magician' series. It just really made me realise how much I've missed out on within Fantasy and I really commend it for that. I smiled the whole way through reading this book!
What I Disliked:
  • There was a bit of a twist that saw most of the characters I'd become quite attached to suddenly turn into almost unrecognisable characters. Now this wasn't done badly, nor do I think it was a horrible decision. It actually really added something to the plot. But that doesn't mean I have to like finding out that my trust in previous favourite characters was misplaced.
Overall Conclusion:
Wow this book was such a refreshing read and a wonderful final choice for May. The romance was written well, the characters fantastically developed, and the world-building was just gorgeous. It's a relatively short book in comparison to some of the High Fantasy epics that can be found. To be honest though, it felt really nicely paced and this didn't detract from it at all. I can't believe it took me so long to read this one and if anyone else is still taking a while to read it, then I highly recommend they do ASAP!

Friday 30 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 30/05/2014: May is almost over!

I can't believe how close the end of the month is! I have set myself a goal that I really have no choice but to complete. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I cannot stand not completing challenges that I have signed up to and I am in danger of doing that twice this month! I still have yet to read a Dystopian novel, and I have yet to read a novel for the 2014 Key Words challenge. Only one day of May remains and my chosen book that fits into both will be 'Shadow & Bone' by Leigh Bardugo (I do not have time to read 'Cinder' this month, which was my original Dystopian choice. I'm so mad!) This month should be the last month that this happens, as I have completely finished with Uni now and only plan to do a lot of working over the Summer, so I can easily fit in a lot of reading around that. I just wish I'd organised myself a little better this month! Straight after 'Shadow And Bone', I'm desperate to get back into a paperback book. I have had far too many kindle reads and I miss the feeling of physically turning pages (is this normal?) so I'll be reading a nice long book, 'The Luminaries' by Eleanor Catton. I am very excited to be reading this one and a huge thank you to my sister for letting me borrow it before she's even read it!

In terms of what I've actually done today rather than cry about May rapidly disappearing, I managed to finish 'A Red Tale' and posted the review this evening. I also went to work, and then after my shift, went to Mat's for the evening. we decided to watch 'Maleficent' on Sunday in 3D, so I very much look forward to that! We mostly chilled out, I read while he played Assassin's Creed and he also watched another episode of Game Of Thrones with me. That programme is so addictive and I'm getting excited watching the book creep up my TBR list towards the top. Not long now! Tomorrow I'll be working so posts might be a little late in the day again, but other than that reading is the only thing on my agenda. Wish me luck on completing 'Shadow & Bone' by the end of the day, I have really high hopes for this one!

Book Review: A Red Tale; Nicola Mar.

So it didn't take me a hugely long time to get through this book, it was pretty short. I'm also pretty aware that tomorrow is the last day of May so that is why I'm posting this review now rather than tomorrow. As it was only a little book, I'll be entering it into the Quick Fix Challenge, and you'll find the button for that below this review!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: A Red Tale
AUTHOR: Nicola Mar
PUBLISHER: Smith Publicity
PAGES: 218
GENRE: Mystery, Fantasy, Middle Grade

RATING: 1/5 Stars

Snow has been falling on the Caribbean island of St. Michael for years, diminishing plant and animal life and leading to extinction. But underneath the island's ocean lies Surritz--a tropical, magical realm where water dragons known as Wayters have discovered their power of reason. 

After being hypnotized, fifteen-year-old Stasia Forrester meets Billy, a Wayter that makes her realize she has the ability to reverse global cooling. But Stasia has something that Billy wants, and to get it, Stasia must travel back in time. She soon discovers that her connection to Surritz is more complicated than she could have ever imagined. When love starts to guide her conscience, she faces tough choices. 

How will her decisions affect global cooling if her needs are more important to her than saving humanity? Does she trust that Billy is telling her the truth? If so, she may lose the only true love she has ever known.

What I Liked:
  • The beginning instantly sparked my curiosity and caught my attention. I liked how the Wayters were introduced, it was a nice introduction and the subsequent first few chapters flowed well and seemed really promising. It's not too often that a book instantly grabs me like this one managed to and I was really excited about what it might have in store. Also, I've never read a book set on a Caribbean Island before and that made a nice change of scenery.
  • The concept itself was pretty original. I loved the idea of Global Cooling, the Wayters were pretty intriguing creatures and the strange dreams of an even stranger land were intriguing to read. I didn't feel like I'd read anything similar before and I have to say, that was a pretty big plus point for me. I wanted to hear more about Surritz, the magic land included.
What I Disliked:
  • I'll start with the really major problem for me first. After the pretty interesting introductory chapters, I really felt that the whole plot began to unravel a bit. Things happened without any real explanation, I felt like there was far too much going on at once and it began to get confusing. I felt like, at times, I was reading a stream of consciousness from the author. At other times, I would just sit with a befuddled expression on my face wondering what on earth was happening. It frustrated me to see a book lose it more and more as it progressed. There was a lack of explanation for how and why certain parts of the journey happened, I was just meant to accept it.
  • This isn't such a major concern but I didn't really find myself attached to any of the characters. Stasia as a main character was a tad boring and some of the characters surrounding her were pretty irritating. Amelie was a perfect example of this, every time she came up with a crazy theory I just found myself groaning in annoyance. I felt generally the characters were not very consistent in their personalities or their opinions. I also had a hard time keeping track because one character might be related to others through past lives and in the end it all got a bit confusing and strangely creepy.
  • I was left with quite a number of unanswered questions. What happened to Abe? Who on earth was Maisie really? Where did Maisie and Flynn disappear to? Were the Wayters actually bad or not? And how on earth did this entire book result in the end of Global Cooling because I see absolutely no reference to this end result whatsoever?! It was disappointing, given the amount of confusion I got while reading, that the ending was so abrupt and my burning questions were brushed aside.
Overall Conclusion:
All in all, this was not a great read for me. Yes there were some nice bits in there, especially at the beginning but I felt that during most of the book there was just too much going on and very little made sense. I didn't know who I was meant to like or trust, why most of the characters were even there, and why parts of the story even needed to exist. It felt quite messy and jumbled at times and I feel like there should have been a lot more focus in this one. Still, it wasn't totally terrible! I just wished that the very loose ends had been thoroughly explained at the end.

Thursday 29 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 29/05/2014: Canterbury again?!

So even though I've actually really finished Uni now, I'm still finding myself in Canterbury more often than not! I woke up and spent a lot of the morning at Mat's which was fun. I got quite a lot of reading done too! After that, Mat and I went back to mine to get my sister and we drove her to Canterbury for her Driving Theory test! It meant a lot of waiting around but she did pass I'm pleased to say. I also popped into Uni to grab some recordings of my Uni project performance and I'm very pleased with how they've come out! After Bev's test, we headed back to Ashford to get ourselves something nice to eat, and then Mat and I headed out to watch his brother's performance as the March Hare in Alice In Wonderland. Incidentally, it was really good! In terms of blogging, I just about managed to find time to do my 'Life Of A Blogger' post, which was on the topic of Siblings. Because of this, we decided we would write joint posts which were a lot of fun to devise. Check both of those out if you're interested!

Tomorrow I'm in Canterbury again, I have work and then I'll be seeing Mat. Fingers crossed, if we have time, we'll be watching Maleficent!

Life Of A Blogger: 'Siblings'.

Here we are again! This week's topic is 'Siblings' and seeing as we're both bloggers, Bev and I thought it would be fun to do something together. Each of us has answered 15 different questions for each other's blogs as well as our own and here they are!

1. Describe each other in one word?

Beverley: Hilarious.

Katrina: Understanding.

2. Do people ever get you mixed up?

Beverley: Not really, people do say we look similar but no one has ever actually called me "Katrina".

Katrina: My thoughts exactly, we get a lot of people saying that it's obvious that we're sisters, but our physical traits aren't extremely similar.

3. Whats the best thing about one another?

Beverley: She's a really good person to hang out with, she makes me laugh and she's a super good listener. That's not really one thing but hey.

Katrina: Bev is very good at understanding me. She is very honest as well, if I'm being silly then she'll tell me and I need that sometimes. As well as that, I just like to spend time with her.

4. Favourite inside joke?

Beverley: The one that comes up most is Kat and her 'fancy moves' which we first sort of discussed years ago and every so often they pop up. We were basically debating who was stronger (which I am) and then she started attempting some weird kind of kung-fu moves.

Katrina: Oh my goodness, 'fancy moves' was going to be my choice as well! It comes up a lot in conversation.

5. Who takes longer to get ready?

Beverley: Probably me because I make lots of very conscious decisions in the mornings like what to wear and things, but Kat takes forever because she spends ages on her laptop and leaves everything until the last minute, so I take longer but if we're late then it's her fault!

Katrina: I would definitely say me generally. Yes Bev does make many conscious decisions, but my consistent procrastination always puts me in last place!

6. Favourite movie you've seen together?

Beverley: Going to have to go with 'Chernobyl Diaries'. It's a terrible film but the whole atmosphere was pretty hilarious. 

Katrina: Bev isn't a huge movie-goer so we haven't watched many together. I really enjoy watching Frozen or Harry Potter films with her!

7. What is your favourite thing to do together?

Beverley: I think Kat's a pretty cool shopping buddy. I really like to chill and do nothing with her too.

Katrina: Shopping with Bev is quite a lot of fun. Or playing games!

8. Do you guys have anything matching?

Beverley: Not really no, we have very different tastes. Our leather jackets do look pretty similar though.

Katrina: No, nothing really! Our tastes are very different.

9. What's your favorite TV show to watch together?

Beverley: I know that Kat's going to disagree but I actually love watching 'trash' shows like "Made In Chelsea" or "The Only Way is Essex" with Kat, purely because her commentary is hilarious.

Katrina: I like watching 'The Big Bang Theory' with Bev, it's a programme we both love!

10. Do you share any favourite music artists?

Beverley: The ones I can think of are Mumford and Sons and Florence and the Machine. They're the ones that really stand out to me.

Katrina: Mumford & Sons, Lana Del Rey, Florence & The Machine, quite a few actually! Those are the main ones.

11.What's the best gift you've ever received from each other?

Beverley: I've had some really great gifts from Kat over the years. I really love my iPod dock that she bought me a couple of years ago for Christmas and I still use it really often so that's probably one of the top things. More recently, she bought me a bottle of Marc Jacobs Honey perfume which I adore, and also the Yankee Candle Christmas memories set which I also love. I think I love those two most because they're so 'me' and they were both so unexpected.

Katrina: Well it was my birthday pretty recently and Bev got me a whole host of amazing presents. My favourites included the books that she bought for me, particularly the awesome 'Song Of Ice And Fire' series. Also, I really loved the little Golden Snitch necklace with a watch inside.

12. Who's more intelligent?

Beverley: I'd say we're of fairly equal intelligence. She's got a few years on me though so she's got more experience of some things. We're both intelligent, but in different ways.
Katrina: Like Bev said, we are both intelligent I think. She's got a little more common sense than I have I suppose.

13. What's the most recent fun thing you've done together?

Beverley: My favourite really recent thing we've done together was definitely our trip to Canterbury. It was good to have a proper chilled out day and do a little shopping/browsing.

Katrina: Playing 'Town Of Salem'! Though the Canterbury trip was pretty fun, especially coming home and blasting out music while in the car.

14. If you could steal one personality trait from the other person, what would it be?

Beverley: Her confidence.

Katrina: Her ability to remain calm.

15. If you could steal one physical trait from the other person, what would it be?

Beverley: The fact that she can literally eat anything and not put on any weight. 

Katrina: The fact that she can suit so many clothes, I certainly can't!

Check out Bev's blog by clicking below, her post will also be up today! she blogs about fashion, lifestyle, make-up and beauty and she also does plenty of book reviews! Check her out!

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 28/05/2014: My Multimedia Project grade!

Today felt extremely busy even though it really wasn't. I started the morning off with a bath, a little reading, copious amounts of packing for Mat's and generally getting ready for work. I ended up starting a little earlier but I didn't mind, it was so busy that my shift flew by! I also took some time this morning to properly plan everything I will read for the remainder of May, and the whole of June. I'm very excited to share some of those picks with you! After work I drove straight to Mat's and I have been spoilt rotten. He cooked me dinner, gave me chocolate and tea and we snuggled up to watch Britain's Got Talent.

The most exciting part of today however I have to say was finding out that I got a 1st for my Multimedia Project I've been harping on about for months. I feel so happy with that result, a lot of time, effort and stress went into making it to the standard I wanted it to be and it seems it paid off! I did get a bit more reading done this evening too which was good, I'm making acceptable progress with my current read I think. Tomorrow I'm going back to Canterbury with Mat and Bev to do a variety of bits and bobs but I should have time during the day to work on some blog related tasks I've set myself. It's also Life Of A Blogger day and as the topic is siblings, Bev and I have something a little special lined up. 

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 27/05/2014: 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past'.

Well today felt like the first actual day off where I've been able to work on blogging and reading without worrying about anything else in ages! I spent the morning working on my Top Ten Tuesday post which as always, I really enjoyed writing. Particularly as this week's topic was a freebie so I could devise whatever list I wanted! I think I chose a topic I've been wanting to get off my chest for a while, page-to-screen adaptions hold a very special place in my heart. Straight after finishing that, I wrote my review of 'The Three' by Sarah Lotz. The book itself I had mixed thoughts on, but I did enjoy the unique style that it was told in. Having finished that, I felt it was important to catch up on all the blog posts I've been missing while I've been busy at Uni because I think it's important that as a community we all take the time to read each other's posts as well as write our own. I did also get a chance to read a little of my next read, Nicola Mar's 'A Red Tale' which I'm enjoying so far.

This evening, Mat came round to drop the car off and we decided on the spur of the moment to go to the cinema and watch a film that we have both been extremely excited about! Since attending the premiere, I have been beside myself waiting to watch the latest X-Men film! The trailers gave very little away but it was really fantastic. I felt that Jennifer Lawrence really excelled herself in this one, Mystique seemed to have a whole lot more depth than I've seen previously in the series. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were just wonderful to watch, I hadn't realised how much I'd missed those characters. I also really enjoyed Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy,  they were just great. Someone that really shone (that I wasn't expecting) was Evan Peters as Quicksilver! One word: hilarious. I really hope to see more of him in the future and I'm a little intrigued to see what Marvel's interpretation in Avengers: Age of Ultron will be! As well as the all important acting and the pretty decent storyline,  I did really enjoy the effects,  and I thought the soundtrack was awesome! Well worth a watch!

Tomorrow I'm reading and packing in the morning as I have work in the afternoon, then straight to Mat's house to stay over. 

Book Review: The Three; Sarah Lotz.

I cannot believe how busy I've been and how long it took me to read this. Nevertheless, I have some pretty mixed thoughts on this which I look forward to sharing. I'll be entering this into the Monthly Motif Challenge as I feel like it fits the 'Mystery, Murder and Mayhem' motif very well. It's full to the brim of inexplicable mysteries, attempted murders, strange deaths and most importantly, a lot of mayhem.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Three
AUTHOR: Sarah Lotz
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
PAGES: 480
GENRE: Mystery, Horror, Thriller, Science Fiction

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

'They're here ... The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there's so many ... They're coming for me now. We're all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he's not to­­--'
The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 - 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged.

And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. 

A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning.

What I Liked:
  • The intriguing layout. This book was presented in a very unique style that I have not seen before in fiction. It is, in essence, a series of accounts, articles, interviews and conversations from various sources that when put together, paint a picture of the feeling surrounding an incident known commonly as 'Black Thursday'. I really liked the originality in the book's presentation and there was a lot of focus on this. It was clear that Lotz had really worked hard to create a new concept that is rarely found in novels and she pulled it off well. 
  • The underlying message of the book, and what it says about humanity. When remembering that the people that we encounter within the book have their own motives, it takes on a very sinister tone and highlights the lengths that some people will go to manipulate and distort things for their own end. The end result can be very chilling. It also holds a very special message about the power of media, and just how easily swayed and gullible people can actually be. How fear can sway the masses into very extreme opinions, and a minority into extreme actions. There's a lot of reading between the lines in this book and I did quite like trying to find the deeper meaning within what I was reading and connecting the dots as I was given more information.
  • The plot in itself was very good, and I really liked both the actual events of Black Thursday, and the subsequent direction that it took afterwards. The mass panic and obvious spiral out of control was a really interesting direction to take. It was full of twists and turns and kept me reading more.
What I Disliked:
  • The way the book is structured did throw me off a little at first and I felt a little frustrated that I wasn't given time to become attached to any characters, nor did I know who I was really meant to be trusting or liking. This book is not meant to be a book where you particularly like or root for anyone, but for me it took a bit of getting used to. 
  • Despite the fantastic build-up to solving the mystery of Black Thursday, I felt quite disappointed with the ending I received. It felt very vague and I really didn't understand the answers I was given. In fact I came away with a lot of questions about who was right, who was wrong and what exactly had happened to the children. I really thought the book was building to something spectacular but for me, it fell a bit flat.
Overall Conclusion:
As you can see, I was a bit unsure on this one. The middle of this book was great! Intriguing concept, original layout, plot twists and big build-up. My problem came at the beginning when I felt a little confused, and the end when I felt a bit disappointed at not really getting any answers. It does have a very chilling tone which is something I really wanted to see in this story so I was pleased with that. I did enjoy it, I just think some aspects could have been done a little better.

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: My picks for 'Books I Want On Film/TV'

A lot of people may know that as well as loving to read, I'm a huge film/TV fan. I love going out to the Cinema to watch the latest releases and I have a list of books that haven't yet made it onto the big (or little) screen, but that I think would be really great on those platforms if done well! So seeing as this week is a freebie, that's what I have gone with as my chosen topic.

1) The 'Daughter Of Smoke & Bone' Trilogy; Laini Taylor.

Now I've only read the first two books in this particular series as it stands, and I love them! This book has been such a huge hit and I know various rumours have flown around about film adaptions but I've seen nothing concrete and I think that's a real shame. These books would make a fantastic film trilogy! They'e got all the right elements for a dramatic plot, some interesting characters, and an imaginative setting! Why not? 

2) The 'Kingkiller Chronicles' Series; Patrick Rothfuss.

Now this series isn't actually complete yet but when I read 'The Name Of The Wind', I instantly thought that it would make a great film. I honestly don't think there are enough High Fantasy films out and they have always been my favourite, from the earlier 'Labyrinth' or 'The Neverending Story' to the more recent 'Lord Of The Rings' series. I've only read the first book of this series and I adored it! It has magic, adventure, a touch of romance, and it is one of my favourite Fantasy books that has been written. Why isn't it a film?!

3) The 'Inheritance' Series; Christopher Paolini.

Now I know what most of you are thinking. Eragon has already been made into a film! True as that may be, it was a bit of a flop and they missed out some pretty key plot details meaning they couldn't really continue the series on. I remember thinking that this would make a really great film series, and I really wish that the first attempt had worked out. As it didn't, could they not remake it? And this time get it right?

4) The 'Noughts And Crosses' Series; Malorie Blackman.

Let's move away from Fantasy for a bit. The 'Noughts and Crosses' series is in essence a fantastic series about the dangers and cruelty of racism, with a pretty ingenious use of role-reversal. I always thought that the series as a whole would make a great film, but even the first book alone would be an effective and deeply touching tale. It's one of the more memorable books on the subject that I have read and I would love to see it on screen.

5) The Tale Of Raw Head And Bloody Bones; Jack Wolf.

I've covered a fair few series. Let's move onto a stand-alone book. This particular historical fiction novel is and will always remain one of my favourites. It is well-researched, has a really interesting and Gothic story-line, and I really liked the characters. There is a bit of a Fantasy element to it, though as we learn early on that the character suffers from bouts of Mental Illness, we are never really sure if the creatures he encounters are real or imagined. It was the first book I ever reviewed for this blog and I think i would make an amazing (if slightly gruesome) film to watch!

6) Cuckoo Song; Frances Hardinge.

Now I only read this book recently but I thought it would make for a pretty intriguing film actually. It is quite creepy, and some of the descriptions/world-building within sounded so intriguing that I would love to see it brought to life on screen! Once you get past the slightly disturbing elements, it has a really strong story-line that teaches the power of friendship, perseverance, and family values.

7) The 'Light' Series; Laura Whitcomb.

Now, I've only read the first book of this series and so I'm only referring to 'A Certain Slant Of Light' here really. But it has such a great story-line and I actually think it would make a pretty interesting TV Drama to watch. Wonderful, relateable characters with plenty of action to be seen. 

8) The Snow Child; Eowyn Ivey.

I couldn't go a whole list without including a Fairy-tale retelling! 'The Snow Child' is such a beautiful book and I can really see in my mind's eye how this one could actually be realised on-screen. I love films that have fairy-tale elements and this particular tale is based on a folk-tale of the same name. It would be a heartbreaking film and probably one that would make me cry, but I would definitely take the risk in order to see it!

9) A Swift Pure Cry; Siobhan Dowd.

I have always loved this heart-breaking tale of Dowd's since I read it. Set in the pretty back-drop of Ireland, I think it would be a fantastic film that would really capture the realities of teenage pregnancy, as well as any audience's hearts and imaginations. 

10) The Three; Sarah Lotz.

I've only just finished this one (literally this morning, review will be posted today after this list). It really struck me how good this book would be as a film or TV series. It is quite unique in it's telling style but comprises as a series of accounts told from different POVs leading from one big event to several others. I don't want to give too much away, but I can really picture this one being a great film, with plenty of twists and turns included.

It was nice to have a Freebie this week and pick out our own topics! I can't wait to see everyone else's choices!

Monday 26 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 26/05/2014: Bank Holiday Monday! And I'm working...

Well it was Bank Holiday Monday today so it should have been a nice relaxing day off. However, I had a shift at work in the afternoon so it actually ended up not being! I did a little reading this morning but didn't really have time to do an awful lot. Work itself was quite quiet with the occasional busy spurt to keep things interesting. I felt absolutely knackered afterwards. After work I made my way home to eat and then I went round Mat's for the evening. We were originally going to watch the new X-Men film at the cinema, but in the end we didn't have time. Instead we stayed in and watched Britain's Got Talent! Tomorrow I will get a lot done, because I have a day off! At last! I'll also hopefully get my Multimedia mark back and fingers crossed I've done well!

Sunday 25 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 25/05/2014: London ComicCon!

Wow! What a day! My first ever ComicCon and I had such a good time. It's all I've done all day basically so this post will be totally dedicated to what I picked up while I was there! A sort of ComicCon haul if you like! So the picture above shows my stash! Quite a variety, a Kimono (which I hope to get better pictures of), art, a Quill, a bowl, a book and jewelry! I did also order a Tee Shirt but can't picture it here, as obviously it hasn't actually arrived yet.

Ok so I'll start with my first purchase. If you read my earlier Wishlist that I posted, I mentioned Coucou Heart had a little stall. I had never heard of this small Jewelry business before but their pieces were adorable! I bought from them a small locket in the shape of a book because I think it is most fitting in all honesty! I am after all, a huge fan of books! I did see some other pieces, such as a Wishbone shaped necklace that made me think of Karou from Daughter Of Smoke & Bone, and a couple of Alice In Wonderland styled pendants. I left those behind however in favour of the locket! Check out their website, they have some beautiful pieces on there! sorry about the terrible pictures, as usual. I really do try!

Next on the list was probably very naughty of me, but I think it might be my favourite purchase. I went to ComicCon expecting Cosplay, Anime, Comics, Japanese madness, art, and plenty of merchandise. What I did not expect was books! And there were actually a few book stalls set up by publishers which I did have a nose at. I'm on a book buying ban as you know but I'm afraid I broke it today (it won't happen again readers I swear...). I met a very lovely chap by the name of Kit Cox (or Major Jack Union) who's written a really interesting looking book, 'How To Bag A Jabberwock'. It instantly grabbed my attention and he was very lovely, both of us agreeing that ComicCon would be so much fun if more literature was involved! He signed my book and in case you were wondering, he has another book on the way called 'The Monster Hunter: The Adventures Of Benjamin Gaul' which looks to be a promising Steampunk adventure that I'll certainly be looking out for! For now though, I can't wait to have a read of my new purchase (now Uni is over, I will have so much time on my hands) and hopefully post a review, so look out for that in the not-too-distant-future!

Now what's next? A bowl? Why not! Japanese culture has always fascinated me and in particular, their Tea ceremonies. I was transfixed by the Doki store, their crockery, ornaments and ceramics were gorgeous. And they had tea sets! In the end however, I went with a beautiful bowl (my current breakfast bowl has a massive crack down the side and I feel it's end draws ever closer) that has a cute little cat on it! I'm quite fond of cats! It's a bit big but will serve it's purpose, and was a really good price! A tea set next time perhaps, when I'm a little less overwhelmed and indecisive.

Next, I'll put the pictures of the Art Prints I nabbed from Comic Village. They were absolutely beautiful and I really couldn't say no! I've put the pictures below and I'll go through in order. The first two prints are drawn by a really talented lady who can be found at Lalas Dreambox. I fell in love with all of her prints but these were two of my favourites and I couldn't leave without them! The second picture was really fulfilling a personal love for a certain film/comic character! I'm a little Loki obsessed and most stalls had run out of merchandise associated with him (clearly I'm not the only Loki fan about)! But this print caught my eye, and the artist can be found here. All of her drawings were really cool, I wish I could have bought more! The third and final art was drawn by a lovely lady found at this link. Such a talented artist, I really struggled to choose between pieces but this one with the tiger really caught my eye! what a beautiful piece!

Whew! Almost done! I'll talk briefly on the other bits and bobs I bought. These included; a gorgeous green quill (I plan to get ink and learn to do calligraphy properly, I've always admired it!), a beautiful black Kimono that came with a traditional belt (I really need to get a decent picture), and a Tee Shirt mentioned earlier in my Weekly Wishlist (I ordered it so it has yet to arrive, but I'm very excited! It has a Studio Ghibli theme!)

Well that about sums up my day at the Expo! I hope everyone really enjoyed their Sundays and managed to have a nice lazy one, unlike me. I got up at quarter past six this morning and my feet are killing me after walking around for six hours! It was definitely worth it though.

Weekly Wishlist #14

Well I'm back from the Expo and am going straight into this post! I will have on here things that I saw but didn't buy, or things that I wanted to get hold of but couldn't find/had run out! I feel as I had quite a book-themed post last week, I'll get rid of anything book-related this week! Do make sure to click the pictures and links included in this post if you want to know more!

1) 'Pocket Full Of Monsters' Tee Shirt, by teeturtle. So this was one of the stalls I found later in my visit but my goodness, it was what I needed.There were so many tee shirt stalls but this one really caught my eye, so many witty and fun designs! And original too! I actually did order this shirt from them then and there but I was unsure about whether to order the design pictured or this one. I really do have a soft spot for the Pokémon Eevee and all of it's evolutions so I think this is my preferred of the two! Only just though, maybe I'll get both!

2) 'Loki' Pop! Vinyl Figure. I saw so many stalls that sold these little figures and in so many designs. superheroes, Harry Potter characters, Disney princesses, the lot! Loki is a character that I think is awesome, one of the best villains in the Marvel Universe and I was desperate to find one of him. Unfortunately, they all sold out yesterday. So I want one please.

3) 'Sometsuke Bowl Set' by Doki Japanese Tableware. I've always been a fan of Japanese culture as a whole and this particular stall really caught my eye because it sold Japanese tableware! Tea sets, Bowl sets, Sake ware, Plates, Sauce dishes, everything. This particular set I thought was beautiful but I ended up only buying one bowl as a new breakfast bowl (my current one has a dangerous crack running down it). I would love to revisit this shop again though!

4) 'Beetle Necklace' by Urban Faerie Oddities. Anyone who knows me will know I'm a bit of a fan of the weird and the wonderful. There were so many lovely pieces on this stall but this particular one really caught my eye. The colours of this necklace were just beautiful! I didn't buy it in the end and it is something I sort of regret. The necklace itself is made of the shells of South East-Asian Beetle (which I suppose is a little odd and distasteful for some). If you're a fan of Steampunk however then really, check this site out. There are some lovely pieces!

5) 'Moon Gazing Hare' Necklace by Coucou Heart. This stall captured my attention and my heart almost instantly. There were so many lovely pieces and I bought myself a little book-shaped locket from there. More than that, I saw a little Wish Bone necklace on the stall! Daughter Of Smoke and Bone anyone? I really regret not buying that one because I can't find it on the main website, but I have found this instead! What a gorgeous pendant, I would love to be the proud owner of this one.

Some lovely items, I really would love to get hold of them. I've had a really nice day but I'm completely knackered now! 

Saturday 24 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 24/05/2014: Lots of reading, check!

I'm very nearly finished with 'The Three' guys! It was so nice to wake up this morning and realise I literally have nothing that needs doing and I can spend the day doing what I actually want to! I organised my Blog a little, put in a lot of requests for Netgalley and Edelweiss reads and then continued on with my reading. The book itself is starting to get pretty interesting, I'm looking forward to finishing and reviewing. My 'Weekly Wishlist' will come a little later tomorrow. Why? I'm going to the London Expo tomorrow with a friend! I'm extremely excited, I've never been before and it looks such fun! I'll probably have a lot of merchandise and awesomeness to show you guys in my daily post tomorrow and I hope to have a lot of fun while I'm there, I've been looking forward to it for weeks! Other than reading and blog stuff, I didn't do a whole lot other than have a nice curry, watch TV, play games with Bev and relax. I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store! I'll try to finish 'The Three' before bed and schedule a review for tomorrow, but if not then you'll get that most likely on Monday because I am out early morning till late evening.

Friday 23 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 23/05/2014: Uni is over!

It's official. Today marked my last Uni assignment and now it's over, so my final year of Uni is over. What does this mean? It means I can completely focus on this blog and catch up on all the reading I really need to do! I am so excited for Summer, for the future, and for being able to relax with a good book more! The performance itself went well I think. I have been in Uni since half 9 this morning, and didn't get out till half 7ish. Man I am tired, but I'm extremely happy. I suppose I also feel a little sad that my project that I've been working on for months is done and dusted with, but it'll be nice not to feel so much stress! Now is the time to go out and do more things, enjoy my new-found freedom and be more social! Hooray! So starting tonight, I'll be finishing 'The Three' and then moving straight onto Nicola Mar's 'A Red Tale'. After that, I'll be moving straight onto completing the rest of May's challenges (so reading 'Shadow & Bone' and 'Cinder').

Time to get on with the rest of my life!

Thursday 22 May 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 22/05/2014: Prop-Making.

A good majority of my day was spent being creative! To start with though, I had a bath and posted my Life Of A Blogger post, which was actually pretty difficult to write! I then continued making a prop for my show tomorrow. Next, my sister and I had stir fry for lunch which is something I have not had for ages. It was gorgeous! Then we headed into town to buy some more props and card/paper to make things with. My entire afternoon has been filled with cutting tings out, sticking things down, writing things out. I did enjoy myself though it got a bit boring after a while. As evening drew in, I quickly took the car out and picked Mat up from the station. He came home with me and spent the evening helping me get some more bits and pieces done ready for tomorrow. Strangely, I don't feel overly unnerved about my assessment, though I'm desperate for it to go right! Once it's over I will be very happy indeed! Right now I think it's a good idea I sleep. I'll be up early tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Life Of A Blogger: '101 Things I Hate'.

I honestly feel like I might fail at this one, 101 is a lot of hated things and hate is a very strong word! Let's give it a go though.
  1. Hayfever (horrendous allergy).
  2. Waking up far later than I planned to.
  3. Knowing I'm procrastinating but being unable to stop.
  4. Headaches. Especially the really bad ones.
  5. Feeling ill.
  6. Spiders.
  7. Answering the phone.
  8. The idea of not having oxygen or drowning.
  9. Humiliation.
  10. Being nervous.
  11. Stress.
  12. Feeling emotional.
  13. Crying.
  14. Being angry.
  15. Arguing with loved ones.
  16. When people I love are upset.
  17. Feeling uncomfortable.
  18. Being unable to finish chapters in books.
  19. Being interrupted.
  20. Wasps.
  21. Bees.
  22. People questioning my decisions.
  23. Hypocrites.
  24. People that are rude.
  25. Knowing I've been talked about.
  26. Knowing if people don't like me.
  27. Being a nuisance.
  28. Not feeling good enough.
  29. Pickled onions.
  30. Cheese and onion crisps.
  31. Not being able to swallow medicine well.
  32. Disappointing people.
  33. Being the bearer of bad news.
  34. Being torn between two decisions.
  35. The fact that I'm not overly independent.
  36. People pointing out my flaws.
  37. People teasing me.
  38. People that do stupid things while driving.
  39. People that are selfish.
  40. Strong, horrible smells.
  41. Pizza.
  42. Stomach aches.
  43. Pain.
  44. Making lists like this one.
  45. People who aren't tolerant.
  46. When I'm explaining something and they take ages to understand.
  47. Being looked down on.
  48. Feeling lonely.
  49. Being around too many people.
  50. Clubbing.
  51. The taste of alcohol.
  52. People who are overly disgusting for no reason.
  53. Feeling powerless.
  54. Poverty.
  55. War.
  56. Death.
  57. The media.
  58. Lack of honesty.
  59. Backtracking.
  60. Awkward moments.
  61. People that whine.
  62. When things don't go to plan.
  63. Feeling unprepared.
  64. Attention seekers.
  65. When I do stupid things.
  66. When others do stupid things.
  67. When people aren't sensitive or tactful.
  68. Not having time to myself every so often.
  69. When I have rare disagreements with Mat. They really upset me.
  70. My lack of immune system.
  71. When people can't stop spending money.
  72. Feeling like I've wasted a day.
  73. When I feel like I've forgotten something very important.
  74. When I forget what I was about to say.
  75. When people expect you to prioritise their needs over yours.
  76. Suddenly remembering you've left something somewhere.
  77. Trashy reality TV shows.
  78. Errors in films. Especially continuity errors.
  79. Books that are falling apart. I like it when books are new.
  80. Chick flicks (not hate, just mostly dislike).
  81. When I'm trying to sit quietly, then suddenly everyone is making noise.
  82. People that don't respect the beliefs of others.
  83. People that feel they are 'normal' and others are weird.
  84. Racism.
  85. Homophobia.
  86. Sexism.
  87. People that cause a huge scene in public.
  88. When I finally go to buy something, and the shop just sold the last one.
  89. Feeling out of my comfort zone.
  90. Not being in control.
  91. When people let me down.
  92. Feeling like I'm nagging people.
  93. Not meeting deadlines.
  94. Having to prioritise work over fun.
  95. Being away from Mat for too long.
  96. Feeling like people are annoyed with me.
  97. Waiting for a parcel.
  98. Animal cruelty.
  99. Repeating myself (which I bet I have).
  100. Getting bad grades.
  101. The fact that I have thought of 101 things. Does that mean I'm negative?
Goodness that took a while but I've done it! I'm not sure that is a good thing though. It makes me feel like I've been a bit pessimistic. Time to re-read my 101 things I love post!