Saturday 31 January 2015

January Wrap-Up.

What a fantastic first month of the year I have had in reading! When January began, I set myself a challenge of six books, as well as finishing my crossover book. I actually managed six of the seven and I'm extremely proud because this marks a good first step in better time management, and catching up with things! I'm going to be doing this post a little differently this time, so without further ado: here goes!

  1. 'The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales'; Kate Mosse. I started reading this collection of short stories in December and finished in January. It was a nice little sample of Kate Mosse's writing style and there were some enjoyable tales. I found that at times, there was a little too much focus on the finer details of the setting and mood, and too little attention to the plot. 3/5 stars.
  2. 'Dreams Of Gods & Monsters'; Laini Taylor. Many have enjoyed this final installment of Taylor's 'Daughter Of Smoke & Bone' series, but for me, it was confusing and pretty anticlimactic with an extra plot-line thrown in right at the last second that felt very unnecessary. The middle portion of the book had some great moments to it, but unfortunately, I much preferred the first two books. 2/5 stars.
  3. 'Howl's Moving Castle'; Diana Wynne Jones. Having loved the film, I felt it necessary to give the book a go and see the differences between the two. And there were a lot of differences. Jones injected so much life into her characters and that was my favourite thing about the book. It contained a strong heroine and fantastic side characters! There were some sections that I felt could have been taken out, but I still enjoyed this book. 3.5/5 stars.
  4. 'All The Birds, Singing'; Evie Wyld. This book was very short, and brutal in it's delivery. It has won many prizes and I can see why: while horrifically violent in it's imagery at times, it had a quality to it that rendered me unable to stop reading. The ending felt a little inconclusive but Wyld's writing is just so captivating that I would happily read more of her work. 3.5/5 stars.
  5. 'The Moment Collector'; Jodi Lynn Anderson. This book started off so well! The writing was good and I loved the idea behind it. A killer on the loose? A ghost posing as a Guardian Angel? A beautiful coming of age story about three children? Well I certainly got the latter of the three, with one of the most believable love triangles I have ever read on the side. Unfortunately, the killer and the ghost aspects left me totally disappointed. The mystery remained unsolved and the ghost seemed to play no role whatsoever. 3.5/5 stars.
  6. 'A Song For Ella Grey'; David Almond. I can't believe how disappointed I ended up being in my final read of the month. As an adaption of the story of Orpheus & Eurydice, it stuck to the original myth well and had some enjoyable subtle references. Unfortunately I found the writing style ridiculous to the point of laughing, the romance totally unbelievable, and the characters so poorly written that they became impossible to like or empathise with. 1.5/5 stars.
This month I have read two physical books:

- 'The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales'
- 'All The Birds, Singing'

This month I have read two Netgalley/Edelweiss reads:

- 'The Moment Collector'
- 'A Song For Ella Grey'

All in all, not a bad start to the year! Of course there is my Bookish Bingo challenge to consider as well, and here is how I'm doing so far!

Forgotten Fridays Pick: Howl's Moving Castle; Diana Wynne Jones.
White Cover: The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales; Kate Mosse.
Mystery Or Thriller: The Moment Collector; Jodi Lynn Anderson.
Freebie: All The Birds, Singing; Evie Wyld.
2014 Release You Missed: Dreams Of Gods & Monsters; Laini Taylor.
Based On Mythology: A Song For Ella Grey; David Almond.

Book Review: A Song for Ella Grey; David Almond.

Oh dear, I'm afraid that I was a little disappointed with this one. It definitely wasn't the best book to end January on. Still, there were a few moments worth mentioning!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: A Song For Ella Grey
AUTHOR: David Almond
PUBLISHER: Hodder Children's Books
PAGES: 293
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Retelling

RATING: 1.5/5 Stars

Claire is Ella Grey's best friend. She's there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story - as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.

What I Liked:
  • Despite the low rating, I did like the connection to the original Greek Myth of 'Orpheus & Eurydice'. It had a coherent plot-line with both clear and subtle references to the source material that I really enjoyed picking out. For example, it didn't just focus on the love story, but other aspects of Orpheus' life (his time travelling pre-Eurydice, his death, etc.) and I was thankful that it at least stuck to the Myth well. The different world in which it was set (North England, rather than Greece) shone through as well and made for interesting reading.
What I Disliked:
  • I'll start with the characters because they were my biggest dislike. The narrator and 'main' character may as well have not been there. All she did was complain that she was losing Ella, reminisce over her childhood with Ella and generally talk about how much she adored Ella. There was no character development for her at all, she just constantly came across as a miserable, clingy child. Ella & Orpheus were even worse. I know Ella (or Eurydice) was meant to be 'Fairy-like' but must she giggle and kiss everyone all the time? And of course, why give Orpheus an actual personality when he can just grab his Lyre and sing until everyone loves him. Where was the romantic development? Because from what I read, people can now fall in love over the phone. The rest of 'the gang' faded into oblivion in my mind and as for what seemed to be the only teacher in school, his constant berating of his students and outburst about the terrible curriculum had no place in the story.
  • The writing in this book just became a bit too frilly for my liking. I like it when a book is a little poetic,but only when it comes naturally. This writing style felt forced and like Almond was trying too hard to be fancy and dramatic with his words. Half the time I ended up skimming yet another passage about Orpheus charming the birds and bees and rocks with his lyre and I honestly felt either bored or was laughing my head off. Rather than make the book meaningful or beautiful, it made it ridiculous and slightly nauseating.
Overall Conclusion:
What more is there to say? The world-building was okay, it did stick to the Myth and it had a coherent plot-line that didn't confuse me. But it also tried far too hard to be the world's most philosophical book and I wasn't convinced. It had the world's fastest insta-love which I hated, and the characters were dull and had no real impact or personality at all. Also, I feel like Almond really wanted this book to be an ode to Youth and I have never seen or heard of teenagers behaving or talking like that in my life. Sorry.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Life Of A Blogger: 'Goals & Dreams'.

So last week I got to reflect on my achievements so far, and this week I'm looking to the future! I have a large number of things I want to achieve in my life (sort of like a Bucket List) and here is a portion of them!
  • Becoming a successful Author/Playwright.
  • Running my own Book Club.
  • Continuing with this Blog for as long as I can!
  • Travelling to Japan.
  • Touring the USA.
  • Visiting many more countries generally!
  • Learning another language.
  • To own a beautiful house (with a Library)!
  • Get married.
  • Have children.
  • Spend my life being happy.
I hope that I manage to achieve at least some of these!

Wednesday 28 January 2015

My First Blogoversary!

So today marks my first ever Blogoversary! That's right guys, I've had this blog (and been regularly updating) for a year exactly today! Honestly I was a little stuck when it came to deciding what to do for this, and in the end, I decided to write a nice, long post about my year of Blogging and why I do it!

This time last year I wrote myself a motivational speech to try and become a better person. That speech turned into a blog post (see here), and I am pleased to announce that since I wrote those words, I have for the most part stuck by them! It was so interesting to go back and read that post (if a tad cringey, my method of linking was terrible) because it made me remember what it was about the idea of a blog that got me started in the first place. I have always loved writing and I wanted to find a way that lets me write for people while I'm not working on my fiction writing.

I can't believe how far I've come since a year ago, and just how much has happened in one year. I've mentioned many times the things that I've achieved and a lot of them are actually pretty big, adult things that I find a little scary. Suddenly I'm 21, able to drive a car, have a full time job, living with my lovely boyfriend in my own flat, and with a degree! How on Earth did that happen?! And at the same time, I did manage to keep this blog running and I've had a lot of fun doing it!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has followed me over the past year, and has taken the time to comment on my blog. I have met some really lovely people while blogging and got to do some really fun, cool things! I took part in numerous and ran a giveaway, interviewed an author, guest posted on another blog, took part in numerous challenges and mini-games, and read so many books that my brain might implode. But I have loved every moment, particularly my interactions with you guys! Over 100 followers on Bloglovin' makes me so proud! Thank you all so, so much!

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Love To Read With My Imaginary Fairy Tale Book Club.

Of course, I don't actually have a Fairy Tale Book Club! But I absolutely would love to, because Fairy Tales have been my biggest inspiration throughout my life and have heavily swayed my reading choices and interests! These are all some Fairy Tale books that I haven't read yet, but would certainly like to, especially in a Book Club environment!

1) 'The Book Of Lost Things'; John Connolly.

This book just sounds so interesting to me. I read a review that described it as 'Part Fairy Tale and part Psychological Study...' and something about that grabbed me. There are hints towards mental illness and this book being so much more than a boy getting lost in a strange land. Above that, it takes my favourite fairy tales and puts a much darker spin on them (I love that sort of thing). This book has received so many good reviews I simply must have it! I feel like this would be the perfect read for any kind of Fairy Tale loving book club!

2) 'Through The Woods'; Emily Carroll.

Now this pick is a little different as it isn't just a retelling. In fact, it's more of a Graphic Novel or Comic than it is a book, but it just looks so pretty! If there's one thing I love alongside Fairy Tales, it's Fairy Tale related art, and this book looks like the perfect book to sit down and appreciate something a little different. I think if I was hosting a Fairy Tale Book Club, I would not always want to read fiction books and would love the chance to branch out into something new.

3) 'Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty'; Christine Hepperman.

Speaking of something different, how about poems? I don't read poetry an awful lot,but I could definitely make an exception for Fairy Tale related verses! This collection has come pretty highly reviewed, especially as it takes well known tales and mixes them up with modern, teenage life. What's not to like? Like I said, it would be something different to get into and I would love to discuss them afterwards!

4) 'Boy, Snow, Bird'; Helen Oyeyemi.

There are a lot of Helen Oyeyemi books that I would love to get into, because her stories seem to give off plenty of Fairy Tale vibes (White Is For Witching, for example). This one was the first that I saw however, and remains the book that I would like to read the most! It seems to be loosely based around the story of Snow White, but contains plenty of other plot elements. As well as that, Racism seems to be a prevalent theme in this one and it goes without saying that this only serves to intrigue me more.

5) 'Beauty's Beast'; Amanda Ashley.

Let's leave the deep and different books behind for a moment and go for a slightly more recognisable retelling. Not many people that I know have read or even heard of this slightly darker re-imagining of Beauty And The Beast, but I stumbled upon it on Netgalley one day and thought I'd request it. Having acquired it, I find myself more and more intrigued the more I read about it! The plot is certainly recognisable but at the same time, sounds like a slightly more original retelling than I have previously read of this story. I picked this for my book club because I would love to hear the thoughts of others on this one as well!

6) 'Once Upon A Time: A Short History Of Fairy Tale'; Marina Warner.

Now this is a very different sort of read because actually, it is non-fiction. Rather than be a book containing Fairy Tales, it is about Fairy tales and that makes it well worth a look in my eyes! I have heard of Marina Warner and her fascination with Myth, Legend, Tales and Icons before so I have no doubt that such an acclaimed Author has probably written a very detailed and interesting account on the history and meaning behind the famous tales that so many of us have read.

7) 'Raven Girl'; Audrey Niffenegger.

Ahhh Audrey Niffenegger. Her critically acclaimed book 'The Time Traveler's Wife' has thus far evaded me, and while I would really like to read it at some point, this book has just sparked my interest a tiny bit more. Described as a dark fairy tale, this book has actually been adapted into a ballet (an instant hit in my eyes) and is short but filled with beautiful illustrations. As I said before, I'm a fan of good art and I love the look of this book. The intriguing premise of a Postman and a Raven falling in love pretty much sold it to me as one of those books you just have to read.

8) 'Strands Of Bronze & Gold' Jane Nickerson.

Now here's a tale that doesn't get retold very often: 'Bluebeard'! Honestly when I first saw the title I thought 'Rapunzel' or maybe 'Rumpelstiltskin', but I'm actually glad it's a slightly lesser known tale because those are my favourite kind. They, for me, always seem to provide the most interesting and thought provoking re-tellings! I would also love the chance to read Nickerson's other fairy tale re-telling, 'The Mirk & The Midnight Hour' which re-imagines yet another less famous tale: 'Tam Lin'!

9) 'The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories'; Angela Carter.

Ever since I was in my last year of school and a whole host of my friends were studying it for their English Literature class, I wanted to read this book. It looked so interesting, and my friend read one of the stories out to me and I adored it! Many people have recommended it to me since, so I can't wait to get round to reading it. It would be fun to read it with a Book Club of some kind though, because then I would get to have all the interesting discussions that I heard my friends have all those years ago.

10) 'Tiger Lily'; Jodi Lynn Anderson.

I recently sampled some of Anderson's work, and while I had some issues with 'The Moment Collector', I feel like I would like this one a lot better. It is a re-telling of the J.M. Barrie's famous 'Peter Pan', but from the POV of a silent observer, Tinkerbell. The focus here as well is not on Wendy, and not even so much Peter, but on a relatively small character: Tiger Lily. Hopefully this book would live up to my very high expectations of it, because I am longing to read a good book based on Peter Pan!

Monday 26 January 2015

Last Week's Shenanigans (19th January - 25th January)...

My week, aside from work, has actually been quite busy! On Monday I travelled back to Ashford (originally to go to the Dentist, but changed train timetables put a stop to that) and saw my family! It was nice to see them again after a fairly long time without them and we did plenty of catching up! Before meeting my sister from school, we went to look around Ashford town centre and it was very strange to see such changes since I've been in London.

After a week of work, it was nice to spend most of Sunday relaxing! That is most, not all, because in the evening I went out with my work friends for a meal at a local Indian Restaurant, Tayyabs. It was a wonderful evening, with great company and plenty of laughs. It was also nice to be able to dress up and make an effort, as I haven't been out for dinner for a while!

I Reviewed:


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Just Had To Buy...But Are Still On My Shelf
Life Of A Blogger: Achievements

I Posted:

My 2015 Challenge Sign-Up Post!

Sunday 25 January 2015

Book Review: The Moment Collector; Jodi Lynn Anderson.

Just to clear things up, this book is also called 'The Vanishing Season'. I heard a lot of mixed thoughts on this book, and indeed, a lot of this author's work. I was glad to have a chance to read this book though because I was eager to see some of the author's work! After finishing, I found that my thoughts on it were pretty mixed as well! 

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Moment Collector
AUTHOR: Jodi Lynn Anderson
PUBLISHER: Orchard Books
PAGES: 256
GENRE: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig. I am looking for the things that are buried.

What I Liked:

  • I'll start by saying that Anderson is a good writer. She describes moments well, can put together a coherent story and I was hooked pretty much from start to finish. Certainly at the beginning of the book I was very impressed with the way the story was going and really enjoyed it!
  • Something that Anderson really excelled at was characterisation. I loved Pauline, Maggie and Liam! They were well-written, fun characters to read and it was clear exactly how different they were and why they got on. When they were happy (especially Maggie) that's how I felt. Equally, when they were going through a tough time, I felt that too. It was interesting to witness the love triangle aspect of the story too (though I normally hate that trope). This one at least felt believable!
What I Disliked:
  • While the first three quarters of the book impressed me a lot, I felt severely let down by the end of it. The ongoing mystery of who the Door County Killer actually is remained unresolved (much to my annoyance) and to be honest, throughout the book it didn't feel like such a big deal. Yes it created a sense of tension and atmosphere but I wouldn't say it took centre stage as the blurb described it as doing.
  • As well as the lack of real mystery resolution, I want to point out that this book's blurb is actually quite misleading. It markets itself as a ghost story, but the ghostly element to it is not only a very small section of the book, it almost feels a bit pointless. Okay, there is a slight plot twist but it made the ending feel like a bit of a cop-out and furthered my disappointment. This story is a coming of age story and the other sub-plots just don't contribute enough to make it anything more.
Overall Conclusion:
I did really enjoy this book most of the way through. At first, I generally thought this was going to be a five star read, but in the end, I came out disappointed. The mystery and ghost story that had been marketed simply weren't there and it turned out to be a coming of age story with a good beginning and a poor ending. The emotion was there and I did feel the pain of the characters, as well as share in their happiness. I just feel like a lot fell short.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Life Of A Blogger: 'Achievements'.

Okay so I have talked about this before, but I have actually achieved quite a lot recently. Especially in the last year!

  • I have passed my Driving Test.
  • I have a First Class BA Hons Degree in Performing Arts.
  • I have moved to London.
  • I have a full time job.
  • I set up this Blog properly.
  • I read 64 books last year, that's more than I've ever read in a year!
There are many more but I did talk a lot about this in my Life Of A Blogger 'New Years' post, so I feel like I'm repeating myself!

Wednesday 21 January 2015

My 2015 Challenge Sign-Up Post!

Yes I know it's late! But last year I didn't get round to this until February, so actually this is making good time. to be honest I've been tossing up in my head whether to enter any challenges this year, but there are so many good ones that I couldn't stop myself! I promise I won't let them rule me like last year though! In fact, I think that some of them will actually help me be a better, more organised reader!

To start with: The '2015 "Real" Book Challenge'.

I entered this challenge last year and really enjoyed it! It helped me to make sure that I kept reading a good balance of Physical Books (which count towards this challenge) and Digital Books (which obviously don't). It's hosted by Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare. I can't wait to see how many I do this year!

On that note, of course I had to enter this one: The '2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge'.

Last year I never entered any kind of Kindle reading challenge, and while this technically isn't one, it's still important! It looks like a fun and productive challenge, hosted by Falling For YA. I really need to keep on top of these this year, so I would like the majority of my Digital reads to contribute towards this challenge.

Okay so this will be the last of my challenges for helping me to get organised: The '2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge'.

Over a fair few of my recent posts, I have complained about the fact that I have not finished any series despite the fact that I started so many! In some cases, I didn't even get to Book Two! That's all about to change with this challenge hosted by Novel Heartbeat and Writer Grrl Reads! I can't wait to finish all of the series that I started, there are so many I have to get through!

Now let's think a little less about organisation, and a little more about having fun: The '2015 Book To Movie Challenge'.

Hosted by Ebook Classics, I'm keen to see just how many books I actually review this year that have been adapted into Movies/Films! I know I've definitely already read one and there is so little pressure involved with this challenge I thought 'Why not?'!!

This challenge is actually going to be a mix of both organisation and fun: It's the 'Authors A-Z Reading Challenge'.

This one is hosted by Samantha Lin and is such a good idea because some of the letters in my Reviews sorted by Author surname age are looking a little bare. Why not challenge myself to read at least one book from each letter? It's another non-pressure challenge too. Just what I need!

Also, just as a quick note while I'm on the topic of Organisation: I am taking part (in March) in the 2015 'Take Control Of Your TBR Pile' Challenge

It's a month long mission to get through as many books that have been published before 1st March 2015 (so no ARCs) as I can. I'll be reading books that I have been waiting for ages to read and hopefully I'll get through a lot this month! This awesome challenge is hosted by Kimberly from Caffienated Book Reviewer and it sounds like a lot of fun.

Now these challenges are purely fun, but I loved them last year: The '2015 Monthly Motif Challenge' and The '2015 Key Words Challenge'.

I know I said I didn't want to pressure myself this year but these two challenges were so much fun last year! In fact I think they helped to expand my reading tastes in a lot of ways, so I'm sticking with them this year too! Forgive me!

And last but not least: The 'Lucky No. 15' Challenge.

This is hosted by Books To Share, and is not by any means a main challenge of mine, but it looked like a lot of fun and the categories are not too hard either! I really enjoy these kinds of little challenges and I couldn't resist! Hopefully I'll manage all fifteen!

And that about wraps it up for my 2015 challenges! I hope I enjoy them and I can't wait to find out my results at the end of the year.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: My picks for 'Books I Just HAD To Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf.'

If I were to include them all, it would probably be a Top One Hundred list because there are so many books on my shelf that I haven't read yet.

1) 'Angela Carter's Book Of Fairy Tales'; Angela Carter.

I bought this beautiful looking book a long time ago and really wanted to get round to it ASAP. Unfortunately I never did! I wanted so badly to sample some of Angela Carter's fairy-tale mania! Some good friends of mine have read her other book, 'The Bloody Chamber', and really recommended it to me!

2) 'The Final Empire'; Brandon Sanderson.

I have always wanted to read a Brandon Sanderson book! I'm such a big fan of Fantasy and his books have always been so highly recommended. Friends and bloggers alike have begged me to read them, telling me his world-building skills are beyond phenomenal. I promise I will get round to it!

3) 'The Hobbit'; J.R.R. Tolkien.

I have watched all of the Lord Of The Rings/Hobbit films and I have loved them all. Why haven't I read the books yet? I have no idea! I bought 'The Hobbit' when the first film came out, hoping to get into the series, but just never got round to it. Hopefully I will at some point this year!

4) 'A Natural History Of Dragons'; Marie Brennan.

I have this book in so many 'Books I Must Read' lists and I really want to! It looks so good, and I'm intrigued about the synopsis idea too. It's sequel is out now too and I still haven't read to it. It is definitely on this year's list, so fingers crossed!

5) 'The Swan Thieves'; Elizabeth Kostova.

I bought this book in a charity shop because it looked so good, and I owned another book by the same author called 'The Historian'. Needless to say I haven't read either. They are both quite long and slightly intimidating reads, and it's difficult to put them at the top of the priority list when there are so many other good books to catch up on!

6) 'Angelfall'; Susan Ee.

This one was a little bit of an impulse buy because it had appeared on my Bloglovin' feed a lot. There were so many reviews for this, and it's sequels, that I really wanted to read it and find out what it was all about! Unfortunately, the moment that it arrived, it went straight to the bookshelf and there it stayed.

7) 'The Wise Man's Fear'; Patrick Rothfuss.

This sequel to Patrick Rothfuss' amazing 'The Name Of The Wind' has been escaping my monthly reading list for a pretty long time now and I have no idea why! I think it's because I really wanted to read the first book in the series again before reading it, and just never found the time. And now 'The Slow Regard Of Silent Things' is out and I have a heck of a lot of catching up to do! Agh!

8) 'Inheritance'; Christopher Paolini.

Well if you thought 'The Wise Man's Fear' was bad then you'll be sitting there with your mouths open at this one! I have read the first three books of this renowned quadrilogy, bought the fourth and final installment, and never finished it. What on Earth am I playing at?

9) 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry'; Rachel Joyce.

I bought this book last year because it was really popular and looked like a fun and quirky read. My sister saw it on my shelf and managed to read it, yet I never did. I guess there's still plenty of 2015 to finally make this book a priority!

10) 'Labyrinth'; Kate Mosse.

Well I have at least read something by Kate Mosse now, but it isn't this huge great book. Not yet. I liked her short stories collection, but I didn't adore it. I so badly want this book not to disappoint me when I get round to it that I refuse to touch it because it looks so pretty and I'm worried it won't read as well. I do love Historical Fiction though, and Mosse has been named a master at the genre. Why do I keep putting it off?

Monday 19 January 2015

Last Week's Shenanigans (12th January - 18th January)...

After a pretty long day on Sunday, Monday was mostly spent indoors. It was nice to have a long rest before going back to work again on Tuesday. As usual, work was  long and a little boring at times. Seeing as Christmas is now over, the shop can be pretty quiet. It was nice to see some of my work friends that went away for Christmas again though!

After a week of work, Sunday actually arrived pretty quickly. I went to visit a friend of mine, Imogen, who I haven't seen for absolutely ages (despite the fact that she lives in London). It was so nice to see her after such a long time, and we did so many things together that we used to do way back when we went to school together. Firstly we had a nice hot chocolate and a bite to eat at Costa, then we went to her current house that she shares (and I haven't seen before) to chill for the afternoon/evening. We ended up watching TV (she showed me an anime, Attack On Titan, that I had not seen before) and playing Left 4 Dead on the Xbox 360 (a game that I really missed playing)! It was a lovely catch-up and a nice end to a pretty horrible week before that.

I Reviewed:

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't
Life Of A Blogger: Bad Habits

I Posted:
Annual End Of Year Book Survey, 2014 Edition!

Book Review: All The Birds, Singing; Evie Wyld.

This book was actually pretty short, so I expected to finish it quickly. Having done so, I have so many strange, mixed feelings about that I'm a bit baffled when it comes to writing the review. How on Earth do I feel about this book? Luckily, it counts towards this month's Key Words challenge so I'll leave the button for that at the bottom of this review too!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: All The Birds, Singing
AUTHOR: Evie Wyld
PAGES: 229
GENRE: Mystery, Contemporary, Adult, Literary Fiction

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed British island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep – every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake’s unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colour and sound, a story held in the scars that stripe her back.

What I Liked:
  • Evie Wyld's writing is absolutely flawless. From the first to the last line I was captivated by it's total brutality, yet there was a strange sense of beauty hidden underneath the violence. She completely transported me to a different place and managed at times to make me smile, to nauseate me, and to horrify me. There's a lot of symbolism in this book too and I loved it!
  • The characters were memorable. Despite the fact that the book jumps around in time a lot, I still managed to remember who everyone was. There were likeable, funny characters (like Lloyd, Don and Greg) among the nastier ones (Otto for sure, Clare too). Yet Wyld captured them all wonderfully, good or bad, and gave them all complexities within their characterisation.
What I Disliked:
  • Like I mentioned before, the book does jump around a lot. This made it hard at times to completely keep up with what was going on. At the start of each chapter, I never knew where in time I was or which characters I had met, and I had to wait for Wyld to give me a clue. Still, I think Wyld did handle the reverse chronological order quite well, I did still understand what was happening and I have seen books that jump around a lot handle it very badly.
  • I think the main thing that I wasn't keen about was the ending. It felt very vague and ambiguous to begin with, and most importantly: it felt unresolved. The last two chapters made no real sense to me and I couldn't really grasp what the ending even was. I realised as well, having finished, that previous story-lines were not very well ended. For example, I wasn't clear still exactly how she got to England, and the event that made her decide to leave Alan and his sheep-shearing crew.
Overall Conclusion:
There were so many good points to this book. Namely, Wyld's writing style was one of the best that I have seen in a long time. I will warn everyone that if you're faint of heart or easily shocked, this book might not be the best to read. There is some pretty nauseating content: sexual abuse, prostitution, and graphic descriptive writing. There were some very well-written characters in the book too and it was interesting to learn their various pasts and how they fit in with the story as a whole. Nevertheless, the plot felt a little all over the place and the ending didn't feel very final. It was a little disappointing to read after such a great build-up.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Life Of A Blogger: 'Bad Habits'.

Oooooh dear. I have quite a lot of these! I'll just do a bullet point list, it will be much easier.
  • Twitching. I'm quite restless and can't stop fidgeting most of the time.
  • Being forgetful. In absolutely everything.
  • Eating too much chocolate.
  • Not drinking enough water.
  • Not eating enough fruit.
  • I don't bite my nails. I pick at them instead.
  • Twirling my hair.
  • Zoning out.
  • Messing my body clock up by not going to bed early.
  • Getting distracted!
  • I'm ridiculously lazy.
  • Being a little disorganised.
  • Promising myself I'll get something done...and then not.
  • Interrupting people! Yet I get so annoyed when other people do it.
  • Not putting things away properly.
I could definitely go on. Oh boy.