Monday 30 June 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 30/06/2014: Sneaking in one more read!

Well I don't quite know how I managed it, but I finished and reviewed Stant Litore's 'No Lasting Burial' in time for my June Wrap-Up post! Hooray! I'm glad I did too because it was well worth the read, I can tell you. As well as that, it marked my last read for the target of 35 reads I set myself on the Goodreads 2014 reading challenge! I've had a fairly busy day today. Firstly I got up pretty early, then had to rush out of bed so that I could drive to Mat's house and pick him up. We drove back to mine and spent most of the day together! I watched a couple more episodes of Game Of Thrones (Season 2) and oh my goodness, things are getting tense! It's making me crave the next book! After Mat had gone, I got straight onto reading and finishing my book for review, and then typed up my June Wrap-Up post. I also got to see how well I had done with my Bookish Bingo challenge over the last few months. I was pretty pleased and can't wait to have ago at the Summer card (July-September). 

Tomorrow I have work again but I have a number of Blog Posts to type up too, as well as making a start on 'Divergent'. I am excited to be getting on with things though!

June Wrap-Up Post.

Whew! So this month was a bit of a slow one, but this last week I have been on fire and caught up a bit with what originally looked like it was going to be a disappointing reading month. I've read all of my challenge books, my picked Netgalley read and 4/6 of my other planned reads! This is also going to serve as my Bookish Bingo Wrap-Up post, which I didn't do too badly on either!

Physical Books:

  1. 'The Luminaries'; Eleanor Catton. This was a beautifully written book with a diverse range of characters and a memorable setting. I found myself getting easily frustrated at the slow pace and the plot-line didn't feel hugely exciting. 3.5/5 stars.
  2. 'A Game Of Thrones'; George R.R. Martin. A fantastic first book to a very promising series, this Fantasy had the lot! I loved the structure of the book and the plot-line gripped me from start to finish. The characters were a little hard to remember at times (there were so many) but I didn't mind. 4.5/5 stars.
  3. 'The Bees'; Laline Paull. A really good book that exceeded my expectations! The bee viewpoint felt believable and I felt like a lot of work went into this read! I really liked the characters too, and the plot was interesting. 4.5/5 stars.
  4. 'Paper Towns'; John Green. So this book made me pretty happy as it was full to the brim of John Green's unique writing style. Witty and touching, I was gripped by the mystery being solved. I was a bit disappointed by the end though. 3.5/5 stars.

Kindle Reads:

  1. 'Stolen Songbird'; Danielle L. Jensen. This book was my favourite read of the month! It made me remember why I love the Fantasy genre so much. The characters were great, the romance believable, the concept very imaginative and it was just done right. 5/5 stars.
  2. 'One Hundred Years Of Solitude'; Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This was such a strange book to read and I'm still completely confused about whether I liked it. It was a really nice concept and beautifully written but I couldn't get my head around the character names and it jumped about a bit. 2/5 stars.
  3. 'The Graveyard Book'; Neil Gaiman. My first ever Gaiman read and I really enjoyed it! The characters had lots of personality and I felt it had a bit of a creepy undertone which I really liked. I was confused about the point of re-introducing one particular character after reading the end but it didn't hugely detract from the plot. 3.5/5 stars.
  4. 'No Lasting Burial'; Stant Litore. My only Netgalley read this month! I really enjoyed this one (I just about sneaked it in there before the end of the month). The plot was great, world-building well thought out and I loved the characters too. 4/5 stars.

All in all then, I've managed 8 books this month! Not terrible, considering that it looked like it would only be 3 at one point! June also marks the end of the Bookish Bingo three month Spring card (April-June) and I am eager to share my moderate success!

Green Cover: Stolen Songbird, Danielle L. Jensen. REVIEW.
Set During Wartime: A Game Of Thrones, George R.R. Martin. REVIEW.
New-to-you Author: The Three, Sarah Lotz. REVIEW.
A Romance: A Certain Slant Of Light, Laura Whitcomb. REVIEW.
Featuring Recovery: Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge. REVIEW.
Child Narrator: The Invention Of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd. REVIEW.
Set In The Caribbean: A Red Tale, Nicola Mar. REVIEW.
Latino MC: One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez. REVIEW.
Has Been Made Into A Movie: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. REVIEW.
Freebie: The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton. REVIEW.
Spring Release: Thereafter, Terri Bruce. REVIEW.
Featuring Travel: Demolition Queen (Champagne, Murder & Chaos), Betsy Cook Speer. REVIEW.
Strong Parent-Child Relationships: The Fault In Our Stars, John Green. REVIEW.
Set In High School: Paper Towns, John Green. REVIEW.
Written By A Woman: Deep Blue, Jennifer Donnelly. REVIEW.
1st In A Series: Tithe (A Modern Faerie Tale), Holly Black. REVIEW.
Yellow Cover: The Bees, Laline Paull. REVIEW.
Starts With S, P, R, I, N or G: The Poison Eaters, Holly Black. REVIEW.
A YA Book: Days Of Blood & Starlight, Laini Taylor. REVIEW.
Zombies: No Lasting Burial, Stant Litore. REVIEW.

Book Review: No Lasting Burial; Stant Litore.

I wanted to try and get one more book in before the end of June, and this Netgalley choice felt like the perfect choice to end the month with. I have been dying to read it for ages and I was not disappointed!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: No Lasting Burial
AUTHOR: Stant Litore
SERIES: The Zombie Bible (#4)
PAGES: 366
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Horror, Adult

RATING: 4/5 Stars

A first-century Israeli village lies ruined after zombies devour most of the coastal community. In their grief, the villagers threw the dead into the Sea of Galilee, not suspecting that this act would poison the fish and starve the few survivors on land.

Yeshua hears their hunger. He hears the moans of the living and the dead, like screaming in his ears. Desperate to respond, he calls up the fish.

Just one thing:

The dead are called up, too.

What I Liked:
  • Stant Litore wrote this book so well. I don't really know what I was expecting, I was a little unsure about shoving Zombies into famous Biblical stories that inspire so many people. But it worked so well. I didn't feel like I needed a lot of Biblical knowledge to understand the references or the characters. This story was more focused on humanity, and it's ability (or lack of) to deal with a crisis, deal with prejudice and band together in a time of need. The plot premise was well explored and I wish I had read the others before this one (though I didn't need to to understand it).
  • The characters were well-written. They were easy to follow, relateable, and I really enjoyed reading about their lives, loves and tragedies. All of them suffer but all of them find happiness and hope at some point. I loved Yeshua's (the obvious nod towards Jesus) character too. Yes he fed the starving, healed and resurrected. But he was so much more than that too! He suffered and felt pain and became much more than just there to save the day.
  • It was pretty obvious that Litore had put a lot of effort into the world-building of his book. There was so much context and history found within the pages but it was written well enough to feel original. I love it when authors put a lot of work into the books that they write in terms of research and Litore definitely did.
What I Disliked:
  • If I had one small complaint, I suppose it would be that the book did jump about a bit. I read a lot of different character viewpoints and it moved around the timeline a bit too. It didn't help that a couple of the characters had the same name. I don't think it detracted all that much from my reading though, and I still followed it pretty easily.
Overall Conclusion:
I'm so glad I gave this book a shot, despite my initial reservations. The cover art is beautiful and the words found within were gripping and kept me on my toes throughout the entire book! I loved the world Litore wrote about, the handling of the Undead in the story and the characters we got to hear about. I would love to read the others in the series!

Sunday 29 June 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 29/06/2014: Officially going to 'Barclaycard presents British Summer Time'!

So now I've sorted everything out with work shift wise, I can announce that I'm extremely excited because I'm going to 'Barclaycard presents: BST' in Hyde Park, Sunday 6th July! I'm literally jumping up and down at this news, I wanted to go so much but I didn't think I would be able to because the tickets were so expensive! But a few days ago, a link got leaked to get them for very cheap prices, Mat snatched some up before they went and then it was announced that the tickets would still be honoured despite the leak! Mat and I will be going with our friend George and my sister Bev to see McBusted (again), Backstreet Boys, The Vamps, Scouting For Girls and Diversity! I can't wait!

As for the rest of my day, obviously I had work (we were completely rushed off our feet) and that took up most of my day. I did manage to post my 'Paper Towns' review before I left though, as promised. When I got home from work, I posted my Weekly Wishlist, and then proceeded to make a start on Stant Litore's 'No Lasting Burial'. What happened to 'Divergent'? I really wanted to finish this Netgalley read before the month was out, it's important that I keep on top of those. And I really fancied reading it to see what it was all about! I've made a good start on some other posts too so I feel pretty organised at the moment.

Tomorrow I'm seeing Mat for most of the day and we'll probably be not doing an awful lot other than chilling out. I will be doing as much reading and blogging as possible though! 

Weekly Wishlist #19

1) 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' DVD. Okay so I'm missing Marvel. I'm getting serious withdrawal symptoms. 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' is coming out in August here in the UK and I'm excited for it. Not only that, but 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' also comes out on DVD in August! Hooray! I can't stop listening to the Soundtrack, so it is clear to me that I need to have this film. I loved it so much when I watched it in the cinema all those months ago, it is definitely one of the top Marvel films for me! The more I think about it, the more I reckon it has overtaken Iron Man 3 and made it to the top three...

2) 'The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime'; Mark Haddon. I heard about this book quite a while back though never actually read it. A friend of mine went on about it for days! I didn't really know what it was about until I got to go and watch the show in the Apollo Theatre in London. I fell in love with it and have had a real hankering to read the book ever since. I realised that it hadn't actually made one of these Wishlists yet so thought that should change! It certainly looks like a touching, fun story.

3) 'High Rise'; J.G. Ballard. I've been wanting to read more Classics as of late. I feel like I don't read them enough, despite the fact that the ones I have read I've really enjoyed. A class war in an Apartment block? This sounds like a strangely intriguing read! As well as my desire to read a classic or too, my all-time favourite actor, Tom Hiddleston, has been cast to play the lead in a film interpretation of the book and that's why of all the Classics, this one stood out as a 'must read soon'. I'd love to have read the book before I watch the film!

4) 'Sugar Hall'; Tiffany Murray. Does anyone else, other than me, get a desire to read a good Ghost story now and again? One such urge recently hit me, and I remembered reading about the synopsis for this highly reviewed book quite a while back! It certainly looks very scary, with a good plot (the most important part of a ghost story, for me) and I would be really happy if I got to read it at some point!

5) Disney 'The Legacy Collection: The Lion King' Soundtrack. Okay so this is one of those discoveries you make where you go 'Why on earth have I not heard of this before?'. Disney have released another version of the Lion King Soundtrack/Score (one of my favourites. But it gets better! It not only contains the original tracks of the soundtrack, but 30 minutes of previously unreleased score! I actually feel like I might be dreaming. This, accompanied with notes from Don Hahn (Producer) and Hans Zimmer (Composer) and some lovely artwork from Lorelay Bove, a visual development artist. And there's going to be a series! I'm definitely dreaming, right?

Book Review: Paper Towns; John Green.

These last few days have been a bit of a reading whirlwind for me! I finished 'Paper Towns' last night and here is the promised review before I head to work. I will be entering this one into a challenge as well, it comes under June's Monthly Motif, which is 'A Long Journey'.

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Paper Towns
AUTHOR: John Green
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury
PAGES: 305
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

'The thing about Margo Roth Spiegelman is that all I could ever do was let her talk, and then when she stopped talking encourage her to go on, due to the facts that 1. I was incontestably in love with her, and 2. she was absolutely unprecedented in every way, and 3. she never really asked me any questions...'

Quentin Jacobson has always loved Margo from afar. So when she climbs through his window to summon him on an all-night road trip of revenge he cannot help but follow. But the next morning Q turns up at school and Margo doesn't. She's left clues to her disappearance, like a trail of breadcrumbs for Q to follow.

And everything leads to one unavoidable question:

Who is the real Margo?

What I Liked:
  • There is just something magical about John Green's style of writing. I can't quite put my finger on it, only that it manages to be witty, deep and utterly charming at the same time. I feel like no one would ever say the things he says the characters are saying, and yet, his writing still feels true. After I read 'The Fault In Our Stars', I really felt like I'd read a book written by a very talented author and this read reaffirmed that completely.
  • The characters were a nice mix. There were a lot more of them than in my previous John Green read, and I think that John Green handled that pretty well! He gave all of them a good amount of time, I don't think anyone got left out. I liked the chemistry between all of them, the changeable nature of them all. I had a bit of a soft spot for Radar, I thought he was great! 
  • The plot-line was so good. I have always had a bit of an on-off relationship with Mystery stories, depending on how they are written. I loved this one! It had clues, it had a detective style layout (I loved the way the book was broken up into parts) and watching Quentin piece everything together in his head with a bit of help from his friends was a lot of fun!
What I Disliked:
  • Okay so firstly the end. I had a tiny bit of a problem with the abrupt ending of 'The Fault In Our Stars' but that was nothing compared to this one. I felt rather disappointed when I realised that all that build-up resulted in such a disappointing finish. I felt like the characters had gone on this huge journey, done a lot of things that endangered their friendships, lives and bank balances, only to find that when they got to the end they were happy to not receive too many answers for their troubles.
  • Although I thought John Green had a good mix of characters, and I did like a few of them, a lot of them did annoy me too. Was I meant to like Margo? Because I don't think I did. Quentin's obsession with finding her grated on me at times too. Why did Ben insist on calling every female a honeybunny for most of the book? As for Quentin's parents, don't even get me started. I felt like Green might have done this on purpose, but I still got so annoyed when they could not stop going on about how great they were as parents. And as they were both therapists, their psychology-related arguments became frustrating. Not cute.
Overall Conclusion:
There were some really awesome points to this book and as soon as I picked it up and read the first few chapters, I smiled at the obvious John Green stamp and knew I would enjoy it. A great, original plot-line that was at times very tense and I loved the mystery-solving elements. The characters were, as I say, a bit of a mix (some I loved, some I despised) but they were well-written and consistent. The most annoying part for me was the disappointing end.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 28/06/2014: Darts night!

I literally just finished reading 'Paper Towns'. I'm afraid I'm far too tired to start the review now but first thing tomorrow it will be up! Today ended up being a pretty busy day. I had work from 11 till 4 and that went surprisingly quickly, though it took up a fair chunk of my day. After work I had dinner,  read a little then went to pick Mat up from work. We both went out with Mat's family this evening which was nice! We didn't get up and play any darts but did have fun watching and socialising. I then got home late but decided I really should finish reading the book before bed.

Tomorrow I have work again but I will post the review and the Weekly Wishlist! I'll also be starting on my next read! Hooray!

Friday 27 June 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 27/06/2014: Picking up a parcel!

My day today has been pretty relaxing! I slept in a little, and felt a lot better than I did yesterday (thank goodness) so got myself some breakfast and had a nice bath. I then spent the rest of the morning reading a bit of John Green's 'Paper Towns'. My Dad finished work early so I had lunch with him, then made my way to town to pick up a few bits from Boots and collect a parcel from the Sorting Office! It was my latest Goodreads Giveaway win, 'The Vanishing Witch' by Karen Maitland. The book looks like a really exciting read which I'm looking forward to getting into. Talking of Giveaway wins, I received another email telling me I'd won a copy of R.J. Ellory's 'Carnival Of Shadows' which looks like a really cool read! I can't believe my luck! I saw Mat this evening after he had finished work and we looked into some things to do while we were in Wales, which I'm really excited about! Not too long to go!

Tomorrow I have work so my reading day is going to be a bit broken up. I hope to finish and get a review up for 'Paper Towns' though! I'm also off out with Mat in the evening to a Darts night, so that should be good fun!

Thursday 26 June 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 26/06/2014: A trip to Town!

Today was pretty productive in terms of blog stuff. I started the day off writing my 'Life Of A Blogger' post. Then later on in the day I finished and reviewed Neil Gaiman's 'The Graveyard Book' which was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Most of my day however has actually been spent with Mat, who came with me to the bank today as I need to upgrade my account. We did also get a McDonalds but I heavily regretted this afterwards as I'd been feeling strange that morning, and it made me feel so much worse. I felt so awful in fact that I missed out on a meal with work friends because my stomach felt awful. Mat went home earlier than usual and I rested and read for the rest of the evening. 

Tomorrow I'll be reading more of John Green's 'Paper Towns' as I've made a start. I also have to pick up a parcel from the sorting office so I hope I feel better. 

Book Review: The Graveyard Book; Neil Gaiman.

I did it! I finally read a Neil Gaiman book! It has taken me so long to finally get round to reading one and it was beginning to get really annoying as I kept having to put it off. However, it was worth the wait. I'll be entering this book into a couple of challenges. Firstly, it's less than 300 pages so counts as a 'Quick Fix'. Secondly, I'm using it as my entry for the 2014 'Key Word Challenge'!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Graveyard Book
AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
PAGES: 236
GENRE: Fantasy, Children's Literature, Horror

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...

What I Liked:
  • I really liked the plot-line. It was a pretty simple story idea (based on 'The Jungle Book' in fact), which worked on so many levels! I was hooked from the first page, really buying into the danger of the situation and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about just how invested I was considering that the book is aimed at children. The structuring of it styled each chapter as a mini-adventure that Bod gets into, but contributed to the overriding sense of danger which I really liked.
  • The characters were well-written and interesting. I loved watching Bod develop and grow over the course of the story. It gave a real sense of him maturing as the years went by, and he became cleverer and braver as time went on. Silas was probably my favourite character, Bod's powerful but purposefully detached Guardian who also develops along with the story.
What I Disliked:
  • I would probably have to say the ending here. I liked the emotional value of it and I did shed a tear. But my reason for not being too happy with it was because the story-arc for one character took a completely unexpected turn which I didn't really like. I don't want to give too much away but early on, a character is introduced, leaves and then is reintroduced again. What happens to that character left me wondering the point of re-introducing her in the first place.
Overall Conclusion:
I was so pleasantly surprised by this children's book! When people recommended it to me (and a lot did) as a fantastic Gaiman book I was a little taken aback to see it was aimed towards an audience much younger than myself. However it had just the right amount of macabre, emotion and imagination put into it that made it very much a worthwhile read for all sorts of ages!

Life Of A Blogger: 'Favourite Sports Teams'.

Well this is going to be a pretty easy, pretty short post. I really don't follow sport. It's simply not a thing I've ever been interested in. This is probably to do with the fact that P.E at school really put me off sport because I hated playing them. The only team I can really say I support is England or the UK I guess, in world tournaments. The World Cup is on at the moment and it is the only time I ever watch Football. Obviously this year England were kicked out pretty much instantly, but most years we do okay and I get a lot more excited about it than I ever would for teams found in England. I used to say I supported Arsenal because my friend did, and my Grandad definitely didn't so it was fun to tease him. In the end though, I really couldn't care less.

The only sport I really enjoy watching is also on at the moment in London! Of course I'm talking about Tennis at Wimbledon! I really get excited for this yearly tournament and it makes me happy about Summer. I love just sitting down to watch it with the family. The main person (it can't really be called a team) that I support is Andy Murray. When I was on holiday in Corfu last year, Mat and I were on a tour around the island on the day that he actually won the final. A lovely Scottish couple found out that he had won and announced it on the coach, and it was really exciting! I hope he does well again this year!

I also really love watching the Olympics, and again I support the United Kingdom (obviously). I really got into the excitement and hype of the London 2012 Olympics and I was really happy every time we won or got a medal in an event. My favourite Summer Olympics sports to watch were the Gymnastics, the Athletics and the Bike Races. I did quite like the Equestrian events as well. I think what we've learnt here is that I'm not really a sport lover, I'm just hugely patriotic! I really love it when my Country does well, but other than that, I really couldn't care less!

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 25/06/2014: Stifling hot day!

The weather today was so warm, and I'm normally a fan of hot days. But today was just unbearable! It was not only stifling hot, but I suffer from terrible hay-fever and today was the worst I'd had it for a long time. I ended up grumpy, tired and feeling pretty ill. I did manage to get a good amount of Gaiman's book read though I'd hoped to finish and review it today! Nevertheless, I'm glad I managed to get anything done at all. Mat is staying with a friend at the moment so he's been pretty unresponsive to my messages. I don't mind, but it's left me feeling a bit lost and lonely this evening, I'm so happy I'm seeing him tomorrow! I did however start getting excited about my fast approaching holiday in Wales with Mat and his family. I am really looking forward to spending some time away from Ashford/Canterbury and actually getting a decent break. Hopefully the weather stays decent!

Tomorrow I'll be posting my Life Of A Blogger post and I should finish reading 'The Graveyard Book' so I'll be reviewing that too. I also have a few appointments in town and am, as I have said, seeing Mat! My day tomorrow will actually be pretty busy, a friend of mine  at work is taking us all out for dinner tomorrow evening. I hope I'm in a better mood!

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 24/06/2014: Battling the Headache!

When I went to bed last night, I had such a good feeling about all the good things I would accomplish today. Then when I woke up this morning I had another of my headaches from hell. I only seem to get them when the air is particularly humid, as if it's about to storm, so I figure they're a result of weird air pressure. They're so painful though I was convinced I would get very little done. How wrong I was! Firstly, I completed my 'Top Ten Tuesday' post. Today's topic was so fun, I really love being involved in this meme! After that, I finished the last few chapters of 'The Bees' and my goodness, it was such a good book. I'm so glad I read it, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I got time to make a fairly decent start on my first ever Neil Gaiman read ('The Graveyard Book'), and I'm enjoying it a lot! It fits in with a couple of challenges, and it has been recommended to me a fair amount. I can't wait to work my way through it. 

Other than being extremely productive I haven't done an awful lot. I sent off my interview questions (first ever set) for an author, in preparation for a blog tour post in July! I'm just shocked I've managed to be so productive, despite feeling pretty wretched today. Tomorrow I'll hopefully have another review up (I am storming through books all of a sudden) but I also have work so we'll see how far I get. After 'The Graveyard Book', I'm reading 'Paper Towns', another John Green book which I'm really excited about.

Book Review: The Bees; Laline Paull.

I can't believe that I managed to read this book in such a short amount of time! I wish I had all the time in the world to read books as quickly as this all the time, I would get through my TBR list a whole lot quicker.

SOURCE: Goodreads Giveaway
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: The Bees
AUTHOR: Laline Paull
PUBLISHER: Fourth Estate
PAGES: 344
GENRE: Dystopian, Adult, Animal Fiction

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is deemed fit only to clean her orchard hive. Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting nectar and pollen on the wing. Before long she finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, learning secrets both sublime and ominous.

Flora's ascent disturbs the natural hierarchy of the colony, incensing powerful enemies. But when she feels compelled to break the most sacred law of all, Flora's instincts are overwhelmed by love, as all-consuming as it is forbidden...

What I Liked:
  • Okay I'm going to start with what is by far the most impressive aspect of this story. The world-building! Is it possible for a person, no matter how much research  they do, to get into the mindset of a bee? Apparently so! Everything about Flora's world felt alien and strange, and yet there was a sense of realism that really impressed me. I was completely sucked into the whole idea! I love it when authors do a lot of research and put thought into the story they are building and it was clear that Paull did. I liked the class system, the idea of the Hive Mind, the references to scent and signals and the detailed look into the life of a bee.
  • The plot-line was really very good. I was very surprised that Bees could have such an interesting story to tell! This book had it all, a conspiracy, religious fanaticism, mass genocide, war. As well as Flora's personal story, there was an overriding arc that allowed a glimpse into things that we might see as insignificant (being humans) that a bee would look at very differently. The action came thick and fast and I never found a dull moment in this book, there was so much going on!
  • The characters were really strong. Flora 717 was a great heroine to read about and I really felt for her plight. She was smart and had a great story to follow. There were times when I really felt sorry for her and admired her perseverance despite the many struggles thrown at her. The characters she was surrounded by were also really great. As much as they were all bees, each one had personality and though a lot of them took on the same names, it was easy to follow who was who. A particular favourite of mine was Sir Linden. Despite his arrogant appearance at the start, it was pretty clear that I was going to like this guy and I thought he was hilarious
Things I Disliked:
  • The only complaint I have is that I felt a little bit thrown into the beginning. I didn't fully understand what was happening, Flora moved around quite a lot and the pace was very quick. However, I felt this coincided pretty nicely with Flora's own confusion, having just been born and having to find her own place in a hive that didn't fully accept her differences. The feeling didn't last long either and I was soon completely immersed.
Overall Conclusion:
This book was a bit of a surprise to me. I did think it was going to be good, but I didn't know it was going to be this good. I would happily re-read and recommend this book to a lot of people. The characters were so strong, the world-building was insanely clever, and the plot was surprisingly filled with twists and turns that kept me hungry for more! 

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Cover Art Trends I Like/Dislike'.

Yes! I love this topic! Cover art is often my favourite thing about books, and although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I often do. In fact for me, a cover can often make or break a decision on whether I choose to read a book. I've chosen five cover trends I really enjoy, and five that really irritate me, so let's go!

Five Cover Trends I Love:

1) Silhouettes. I have always loved covers that are made up of, or do something interesting with silhouettes. I just think they're gorgeous! They can be basic or they can be elaborate, I just think they look magical. It's probably my favourite book trend that I like so of course it had to go on the list!

2) Simple/Text-Based. Sometimes covers don't need a huge picture to make them appealing. There are some gorgeous fonts out there that stand out just as well, and I think simplicity in a cover is sometimes key to making a good one. I feel like these covers are often really unique as well, where as picture covers can get a little samey.

3) Matching Series Covers. I have a bit of an obsession with books in a series, or even books by the same author, having similar or matching covers. It makes me feel so happy when I find a series where the cover art runs along a similar theme, and I always strive to collect those matching covers!

4) Dark/Creepy/Gothic Covers. I have always been, and always will be, a sucker for a creepy-looking book cover. I have no idea why, I'm just one of the weird people who likes a dash of the macabre, and so my attention is always attracted by these kinds of covers. Often they're pretty dark and/or styled like old photographs. I just really like them!

5) Girls In Dresses. Okay so I know this is going to be a controversial one this week. This is a very popular cover art style used probably far too much. And there are a lot of instances where I think it is done appallingly. However, when it is done right, I think these covers can be so beautiful! The dresses look like something out of a fairy-tale and they just make me smile.

Five Cover Trends I Do Not Like:

1) Bad Designs. You know those covers you see that look like someone has tried to put something together in Photoshop fifteen minutes before it's due? Yeah those. They just make me cringe! I know them as soon as I see them, I just get that overwhelming feeling that someone has not worked hard on it at all. That's a real shame too because the story inside might be fantastic!

2) Shirtless Men. There is just something about seeing nothing on the cover but a shirtless man that makes me roll my eyes. It's a trend I've seen about a lot, on a whole host of books (though mostly the more adult ones) and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that I never find those men sexy in any way, shape or form, as well as my lack of enjoyment for those kind of novels. A lot of them suffer from a pretty bad photo-shop job too which is just even worse.

3) Couples. Okay, so can you tell that I'm not overly interested in Romance fiction yet? I like finding romance story-lines within other genres, but I just can't seem to stomach it when the book is just a dragged out love story. There's a reason I haven't read and never will read 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'. Couples on the front of covers makes me cringe a lot of the time. I don't mind the sweet ones holding hands or gazing adoringly at each other quite so much, but like shirtless men, I don't like smutty covers.

4) Movie/TV Tie-Ins. This is quite a big pet hate of mine. When a movie gets released that is based on a book, nine times out of ten that book is released with a new cover which is normally a still from the movie. I find these covers lazy (they're normally the DVD cover too) and plain annoying! Especially when I'm walking into a bookstore after a cover that matches a set and they only sell the movie themed version!

5) Thriller/Suspense/Crime Covers. We have all seen these books. They are normally in the Crime/Suspense/Thriller section, and to me, they all look the same! Some sort of meaningless, gloomy-looking scenery shot in the background with huge great letters (normally looking a bit scratched out for 'added effect') in front. I just get so bored of seeing them everywhere and none of them ever stand out to me.

This week's topic was so much fun. I can't wait to see what everyone else has come up with!