Saturday 31 October 2015

October Wrap-Up.

I am actually so pleased with this month's reading progress! There were a couple of moments that I thought I wasn't going to be overly productive this month with my reading, but in a couple of instances I managed to find time to sit down and actually read for a few hours, not just on the Tube to and from work. I managed 6 of my 7 chosen reads for the month and I couldn't be more pleased!

  1. 'More Than This'; Patrick Ness. Despite the mild panic attack the first few chapters gave me, I loved this book! Patrick Ness writes amazingly well, merging multiple genres seamlessly and making it look so easy! He maintained a sense of suspense consistently and I audibly reacted at the end of every chapter! I really felt emotionally connected to the characters too, particularly Seth's very sad story. At times the conversation got a little too philosophical and I'm not a fan of the rather ambiguous ending but the pros far outweighed the cons. 4.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children'; Ransom Riggs. This felt like a novel of two parts to me and it made rating it rather tricky. The first part was my favourite. I loved the atmosphere, hearing about his Grandfather's stories and pairing them with the photographs. The atmosphere that Riggs built was creepy, particularly when the setting changed to a remote Island near Wales. But in the last third of the book I felt like I was reading a different book! The characters started making decisions that I genuinely felt they shouldn't have done so easily. I gave it a high rating in the end because half of the book impressed me and I want to find out what happens. 3.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Other Lamb'; Katie Young. There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about this book. The writing for one really got to me because it just flowed so well. It was very poetic too, and hooked me with both beautiful and brutal images. There is a lot of violence and detailed sex in this book, so if you're sensitive to that sot of material I'd stay away. Young had obviously done an absolute ton of research in order to aid writing the Mythology for this book, and it was very intricately pieced together as a result. On the other hand, the characterisation didn't wash at times. Despite being the 'main character', Zach's personality felt very lacklustre and he was pushed off to the side a lot. The plot began to unravel towards the end leaving me with more questions than answers. It's a shame because it had such promise! 3/5 Stars.
  4. 'Horns'; Joe Hill. I started reading this book a while back and never got more than a few chapters in because I didn't really understand it. I'm glad I waited until now to revisit it! The plot concept was a really good one, and like nothing I had ever read before. Hill's writing style was absolutely captivating and filled with a lot of symbolism and iconography for me to unpick for deeper meanings (which I loved). The characters were not very relateable however, and I felt like Hill didn't fully know what sort of book he wanted to write so slapped a bit of everything in. 3.5/5 Stars.
  5. 'Vengeance Road'; Erin Bowman. I was originally a little frustrated at my own idiocy for getting hold of a copy of this book. My request for a copy on Netgalley was accepted but then I didn't download it in time before it was archived so I ended up buying a Hardcover copy anyway. This turned out to be the best purchase I've made in ages! I LOVED this book! Thanks to growing up on Clint Eastwood films with my Dad, everything about a YA Western screamed awesome! And it certainly was: a kick-ass heroine, swoon-worth romance, gorgeous world-building and a mesmerising plot. What more could you want? 5/5 Stars.
  6. 'Mary Hades'; Sarah Dalton. I just about got round to this one for Halloween and it was a very good choice for the time of year. It seems I've read a lot of books where the writing has impressed me this month, and this is one of them. At times it felt a little juvenile and basic, but there's no denying that I was hooked on the story from beginning to end. I also loved the romantic sub-plot for this one, Seth was a wonderful, mysteriously brooding love interest. My favourite kind! Unfortunately the main character was a little too trusting and naive for my liking and the ending was anticlimactic and disappointing. I really want to see if Dalton fixes some of these problems in the next book because this series has a lot of promise! 3/5 Stars.
This month I have read four physical books:

- More Than This
- Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
- Horns
- Vengeance Road

This month I have read two Netgalley/Edelweiss Reads:

- The Other Lamb
- Vengeance Road

Here's my updated Bookish Bingo and Story Sprites cards!

Horror: The Other Lamb; Kate Young.
LGBTQIA: More Than This; Patrick Ness.
Sparkly Cover: Horns; Joe Hill.
Mental Illness: Mary Hades; Sarah Dalton.
Science Fiction: Spinning Starlight; R.C. Lewis.
New To You Author: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children; Ransom Riggs.
On Your Shelf For Over A Year: Life After Life; Kate Atkinson.
Set In Another Country: Etta & Otto & Russell & James; Emma Hooper.
Animal On The Cover: Station Eleven; Emily St. John Mandel.
Mystery: Vengeance Road; Erin Bowman.
Black Cover: Witch Hunter; Virginia Boecker.

A Character Death: More Than This; Patrick Ness.
Male MC: Horns; Joe Hill.
Photograph On The Cover: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children; Ransom Riggs.
A Halloween Read: Mary Hades; Sarah Dalton.
Set In The Southern USA: Vengeance Road; Erin Bowman.
Supernatural Race In Modern Times: The Other Lamb; Katie Young.

Book Review: Mary Hades; Sarah Dalton.

I won this book absolutely ages ago in a Giveaway, and I'm ashamed to say I'm only reading it now. Still, it's the perfect read for Halloween because it mixes scares with fun! I'm so glad I got to finish it today and tell you guys all about it! Also this fits onto the Monthly Motif challenge too!

SOURCE: Giveaway Win
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Mary Hades
AUTHOR: Sarah Dalton
SERIES: Mary Hades (#1)
PUBLISHER: Createspace
PAGES: 286
GENRE: Young Adult, Horror, Romance, Mystery

RATING: 3/5 Stars

Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager. 

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite… 

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement. 

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

What I Liked:
  • I really liked the plot concept for this one, it felt like something I hadn't seen before. Most people know that I don't read many Murder Mystery books because I find that I have to be in the right mood for them. It turns out I was for this one, especially when the detective of the story has a ghostly sidekick helping her out. Dalton's writing was impressive too (though a little basic and juvenile at times). It had some really quotable moments that I enjoyed reading a lot, and certainly had me hooked! Overall I found myself feeling a little creeped out while reading, but mostly having fun!
  • The romance in this book was really enjoyable. Seth was brooding, mysterious and attractive with dark secrets just waiting to be discovered. I really adore love interests like that, so I was sold pretty much instantly. In such a shot book, there was a pretty big dose of insta-love but I'm willing to let that go because I really shipped these two!
What I Disliked:
  • I had mixed feelings on the characters and it was largely to do with the fact that there wasn't enough book space to develop them more fully. Mary herself was a likeable enough heroine, but she was far too trusting and came across as a little naive. She was certainly happy to share her secrets with basically everyone she met, so I couldn't really understand why she hadn't done the same with her parents who she knew she could actually trust. Lacey, her recently deceased best friend, I found a little irritating. Dalton was trying to highlight that since dying, Lacey was frightened and bitter. Instead it came across as moody and possessive. I wish I had been able to know Lacey before she died and grow attached to her character, perhaps the story could have focused more on the horrible doctor we met briefly at the beginning? Or even some flashbacks?
  • I felt like the ending let me down a little. The ghost that Mary and Lacey were trying to find was built up to be so powerful and terrifying that I expected a huge showdown to finish with. Instead, the story sort of fizzled out and felt very anti-climactic. Not only that, but I was not very happy with the way that the romance ended at all and it left me with a pretty sour feeling.
Overall Conclusion:
The overall tone of this book was hugely enjoyable and I really loved the premise. The plot was, for the most part, well thought-out. The romance sub-plot (which wouldn't normally interest me a whole bunch) really got to me despite being a bit cliché, and the cast was diverse with a lot of personality which I like to read in YA. There were a few flaws: characters still felt underdeveloped, a disappointing ending, and the back-story could have used a lot more detail (I would in fact like to read a whole book detailing Mary's stay on the Magdalena ward to put things into perspective). I do want to read more of this series however, because I feel like these issues can be fixed in later books and I think the series as a whole has a lot of potential!

The Halloween Book Tag!

Hooray! It's Halloween! That means it's time for a bit of spooky fun! I didn't have much time to come up with a post of my own, so I thought for today I'd do this fairly simple tag I've seen a few other Bloggers doing: The Halloween Book Tag.Without further goes!

1) Favourite Horror book?

Oooh this is a tough first question! I'm going to go with the first book I ever read for this Blog: 'A Tale Of Raw Head & Bloody Bones' - Jack Wolf. 

This book really stands out in my mind as being something special, most notably because it reminds me so much of Victorian Gothic novels, which I adore. It covers Mental Illness in an age where it wasn't fully understood, gives the Main Character a Jekyll & Hyde like personality making you route for and be repulsed by him, has a great romance sub-plot and draws from British Folklore which also really intrigued me. I just loved the battle between superstition and science that it portrayed and Wolf is a masterful writer!

2) Scariest moment in a book you've read?

This has to be from a recent read of mine: 'More Than This' - Patrick Ness.

This choice may surprise a fair few people, as the book itself is not particularly scary. However I've chosen it because while reading the first chapter (in which a young boy droning is vividly described) I actually ended up having a panic attack on the London Underground. I'm Aquaphobic, meaning I'm frightened of being in the water, and particularly the idea that I might drown...hence the strong reaction! This is quite a personal choice and I'm sure that other people who have answered these questions will think of better ones that everyone can agree on.

3) Would you or have you ever dressed up as a Book Character for Halloween?

I'm afraid to say for Halloween: no. I have in the past dressed up as various characters, and I distinctly recall posing as Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter for a Sixth Form Rag Week dress-up day. I would love to dress up as a book character for Halloween at some point though! I think my choice would have to be Karou from 'The Daughter Of Smoke & Bone' series because I think she looks really cool!

4) What do you think your favourite character would dress up a for Halloween?

This is tricky because I have a fair few characters from books and some interesting ideas for all of them I'll choose two: Tyrion Lannister from the 'A Song Of Ice & Fire' series and Hermione Granger from the 'Harry Potter' series. Tyrion would straight up go as a Demon Monkey to be ironic because that, much to his utter disbelief, is how people seem to view him. Hermione I think would make an awesome cat because she has actually half turned into one before (thanks to a Polyjuice potion mix-up) and she adores her own pet cat Crookshanks so much!

5) What is your favourite kind of Horror?

Definitely the Supernatural kind! I'm not a huge fan of Psychological thrillers, I find them pretty predictable. I like haunted houses, schools, asylums, forests, the lot! I've always found that the Paranormal scares me far more than anything else, particularly ghosts.

6) If books were as cheap as candy, which would you give out to trick or treaters?

I'm too big a fan of Fairy Tales not to choose them with an opportunity like this. It's difficult to choose one of course...but if I had to it would probably be 'Cinder' - Marissa Meyer.

I always feel that people who don't like to read just haven't read the right story yet. Perhaps they should go back to story-telling roots (Folklore and Fairy Tales) to really get them back into reading (or even further their love of it). 'Cinder' certainly managed to reawaken my love for the classic 'Cinderella' with a fresh new Sci-Fi spin, and Sci-Fi is certainly a popular genre that people can't seem to get enough of these days. I think a lot of people would love this book and want to read more!

7) Halloween to-read list?

Well I'll just quickly list the spooky reads I've chosen for October as a whole. 'Mary Hades' by Sarah Dalton is the one I'm actually reading on Halloween this month, but the others were also there in honour of the spookiest day if the year!

'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children' - Ransom Riggs
'The Other Lamb' - Katie Young
'Horns' - Joe Hill
'Mary Hades' - Sarah Dalton

8) Recommend some Halloween reads!

Okay, I guess I have a few to choose from...

'Dracula' - Bram Stoker
'Cuckoo Song' - Frances Hardinge
'The Woman In Black' - Susan Hill

And that marks the end of this fun little tag! I hope you guys enjoyed reading my answers as much as I liked writing them.

Friday 30 October 2015

Book Review: Vengeance Road; Erin Bowman.

I've been complaining recently that I can never find time to read books for long stretches of time, continually reading just a chapter or two at a time. But for this book? I made time. As soon as I got home this evening, I scoffed dinner so that I could just sit and read for the rest of the evening. Boy am I glad I did, because it's the best read I've had in a while and I can't wait to tell you all my thoughts. Also: I originally got a free copy from Netgalley but I took my eye off the ball and didn't download it before it was archived, so ended up ordering the Hardcover. I'm quite glad that I did now because the cover is also really pretty! Right: enough rambling!

SOURCE: Bought (Originally Netgalley...)
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: Vengeance Road
AUTHOR: Erin Bowman
PUBLISHER: HMH Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 336
GENRE: Young Adult, Western, Historical Fiction, Adventure

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

What I Liked:
  • My instant answer to this title is 'everything!' but of course I'll have to be more specific than that. I'll start with how impressed I was with Bowman's writing: not just because it sucked me in, but also because it was such a masterful handling of the genre. It took all of my favourite elements of the Classic Westerns that I know and love, and somehow managed to make them feel fresh and exciting. I also thought that combining a YA audience with the gritty, brutal reality of the Wild West would be difficult but Bowman balanced everything with ease. Her descriptive work was outstanding and I audibly reacted a lot while reading. This kind of writing is not easy, yet she made it look like it was. Bravo!
  • The world-building impressed me. The research that has gone into this book is clear, and I was very interested to read Bowman's notes at the back of the book on her inspiration for the plot and how much of it was based on a true story. The accents that were not overbearing, the added use of Western slang and Mexican words, and even the knowledge of Apache lore really aided in developing the plot into something spectacular. Everyone knows that I prize world-building above anything else, so let me just be clear, you may all consider me thoroughly dazzled.
  • Not only did the plot shine, but the characters too! Kate was a wonderful heroine who contained ever personality trait I love in main characters. She was feisty, intelligent and could handle herself in a world where men ruled and women faded into the background. She just oozed personality, as did the characters that surrounded her. The Colton brothers were both charming in their own way, but I loved how different they were. Liluye was a wonderful, calming, late addition to the story who managed to bring so much in a short space of time. Equally, Waylan Rose made for a great villain. He actually frightened me and reminded me of some of the great gang leaders I've watched in the past in Clint Eastwood films with my Dad.
What I Disliked:
  • I think the only thing that really struck me as something I didn't really feel was necessary was the big plot twist towards the end, in a showdown with Rose. I won't say what it is as I fear I will spoil the story for those that still haven't read it, but it felt a little too random for my liking and I don't think it was needed. That being said, it wasn't a terrible addition to the story and I think I dislike the fact that the book has ended and it's not the first in a series more. I want to see all those wonderful characters again!
Overall Conclusion:
I think I've pretty much covered everything I wanted to in the 'What I Liked' section. This book filled me with so much adoration and I was mesmerised from start to finish. I used to watch a lot of Westerns with my Dad when I was younger, and despite not being a fan of Action as a whole, loved them! While reading this, I was reminded of those films because it contained so many recognisable elements: shoot-outs, poker, piano playing in the saloons, angry mobs, notorious gangs and most of all the hunt for gold! I would seriously recommend this book to just about anyone. I want to see more YA Western in the world!

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (Freebie): My picks for 'Horror Books I Would Love To Read'.

I would say I'm a pretty diverse reader when it comes to genres, but there' something about Horror that really makes me smile. Especially when it's Halloween time! I'm pretty hard to please with this genre because I like to feel scared when reading horror. I'm pretty convinced I'll find a pretty good list of ten that I'm excited about!

1) 'Slasher Girls & Monster Boys'; April Genevieve Tucholke et al.

I don't really read a whole lot of books with short stories, but Horror is my favourite genre for this type of fiction. This book is a short stories collection that I've been desperately eyeing up for a little while for that very reason! Not only that, but it has a very impressive Author list, including authors I've adored such as April Genevieve Tucholke and Leigh Bardugo, and authors I want to sample such as Kendare Blake, Jay Kristoff and Marie Lu. This is sure to be a great read!

2) 'The Lie Tree'; Frances Hardinge.

I've read 'Cuckoo Song' by this lovely lady and not only really enjoyed it, but also found myself pretty creeped out by the concept. As soon as I saw this book popping up in Goodreads, it went straight on the TBR because I want to read more of Hardinge's work! I have to say I'm pretty intrigued by the story. A lot of people have labelled it as chilling rather than really scary but that's okay! Sometimes those are just as good!

3) 'The Small Hand: A Ghost Story'; Susan Hill.

Susan Hill! The mistress of terrifying atmospheres! I read 'The Woman In Black' such a long time ago (as well as watching the play and movie) and it's a story that has stuck with me since. I'm so desperate to get into another book by the same lady that gave me nightmares for weeks on end when I was halfway through Grammar School. 'The Small Hand' is a small book, but I still have high hopes because so was 'The Woman In Black'.

4) 'Horowitz Horror'; Anthony Horowitz.

My desire to read this book comes from the fact that I actually read it's sequel, 'More Horowitz Horror' first. Of course, being a collection of short stories that actually doesn't really matter...but I'm still keen to read the first lot. 'More Horowitz Horror' was one of my favourite teen reads and I remember being up late at night scaring myself silly with some of the stories. It would be fun to do that again, Horowitz is a great writer!

5) 'Bird Box'; Josh Malerman.

I added this to my TBR a long time ago when it came up as a Goodreads Giveaway prize. The cover looks intensely creepy, and the synopsis really intrigued me too. After a bit of research, I've seen some of the fantastic reviews this book has received and now I desperately want to read it! When it comes to horror, I'm a fan of supernatural elements rather than chainsaw-wielding murderers, and so 'The Problem' has certainly piqued my curiousity.

6) 'Anna Dressed In Blood'; Kendare Blake.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I still haven't read this book. Not long after I started this book, I began to see it popping up everywhere and I desperately wanted to get it! The cover is beautiful and of course, a good old-fashioned ghost story is my favourite kind of horror read! It's part of a duology too, and this has grabbed my attention even more. I've read the blurb which has sent my mind racing and all that's left to do is read the book itself! Soon please?

7) 'A Monster Calls'; Patrick Ness.

So many things about this book excite me. First off: Patrick Ness! I finally got round to reading and adoring his work just last month, and now I'm desperate to read something else of his. This book looks so chilling and I want to know what Ness will do with such an intriguing plot idea. Secondly: YA Horror! I have a soft spot for YA it's true, and just like my last pick on this list, the idea of YA Horror really excites me. Finally: Siobhan Dowd! After a bit of digging I found that Dowd actually came up with the idea and Ness has written it in her honour. I really enjoyed 'A Swift Pure Cry', a really gorgeous book by the same lady. Dowd sold it to me.

8) 'The Girl From The Well'; Rin Chupeco.

Like 'Bird Box', I put this book on my TBR a very long time ago and haven't got to it since. I plan to at some point of course because of the huge number of parallels drawn between this film and Asian Horror films such as 'The Ring' (Ringu) or 'The Grudge' (Ju-on). I've always been a big fan of Japanese culture and I particularly love their folklore and supernatural tales so I think this would be an excellent book for me to read!

9) 'A Madness So Discreet'; Mindy McGinnis.

I have seen this book everywhere and was immediately transfixed by the gorgeous, slightly disturbing cover! The title was really intriguing too. Some people may describe this more as a Murder Mystery but I think it looks like there's enough darkness and creep factor for it to be shuffled into the Horror genre too. McGinnis also wrote 'Not A Drop To Drink', another book that I quite want to read. This one looks more up my street though!

10) 'The Passage'; Justin Cronin.

This gives off some great post-apocalyptic zombie-ish vibes and I love the idea of it. The size of it (700+ pages) looks absolutely terrifying but I want to start reading longer books because I don't manage to get through many of them and I bet they're really good and worth the long reading time. Reading the synopsis for this also made me think of 'Station Eleven' for some strange reason, which was a book I really loved! I hopefully will get to read this beast of a book at some point soon!

Monday 26 October 2015

Last Week's Shenanigans (19th October - 25th October)...& London Comic-Con Haul!

So I have some very exciting bits and bobs to share with you in this week's post because I've been out and about far more than I usually am and want to share with you every last detail of the cool things that I managed to get on my adventures at one of my favourite places to go: Comic Con. But first, I'll quickly talk about the rest of my week which also wasn't too bad. It was a bit of a weird one because I only actually worked for three of my usual five days a week. On Tuesday I had the day off so that in the evening I could go to the Rose Playhouse with Mat and watch 'Twelfth Night' again, this time with gender roles reversed (so Viola, Olivia & Maria played by men and Malvolio, Orsino & Sebastian played by women). It was an interesting watch to say the least and provoked some pretty philosophical, serious discussion on traditional gender roles on the way home. All in all, success! For those that are fans of the Bard (as I mentioned last week) the Rose Playhouse is actually an ongoing Archaeological project that's being funded only by charity. If you're interested, visit their website and read more! Here's a quick picture of the highlighted foundations (it's currently submerged underwater).

So next up...Comic Con on Saturday 24th! I'm sure a lot of my followers will be familiar with this event but for those that aren't I'll explain: it's a huge great convention for the Nerds & Geeks of our community. Those that are passionate about anything: movies, TV Shows, video games, Cosplay, even books can come and dress up and have fun! The people I've met here are some of the nicest people I've ever met too. I've only been twice but I've loved both times! This year, I went with Mat and a group of friends and we all decided to dress up which was something we hadn't done before at this convention.

As you can see (or perhaps not, my costume was certainly not the most impressive)I went as Scarlet Witch from 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'. I had a great time and got stopped for a couple of photos, though not nearly as many as my lovely friend Tash, who as you can see dressed as Elsa from 'Frozen'! I had a great time and it was nice to be in the company of such good friends for an extensive period of time.

After getting in, we spent a vast majority of our time walking from stall to stall and admiring all the things you could buy/do. As you can see we bought some delicious cakes as well as a whole host of other things (which I'll get to in just a second). In terms of the costume, some of them were simply amazing and I was bowled over by just how creative some people are! The costumes ranged too from characters from famous movies or TV Shows, from anime, from video games and even from famous musicals! If that kind of thing interests you, why not look up and see where the nearest Comic Con to you is?

Now for the best bit...THE HAUL!

Not the biggest as you can see (I think I bought a bunch more stuff last year) but I really love this haul for a variety of reasons. I'll go through item by item and explain just why I love it so much!

- Signed 'Once Upon A Time' Script. I'll start with the thing that I completely forgot to include in the main photograph so I've put a picture of here. My new proudest possession! I love this show so much and think that the cast do such a great job of making stock Fairytale characters be so much more complex. Some of my favourite actors and actresses have signed this script and I've read through it and found a whole host of interesting things: did you guys know that Emma Swan was originally going to be Anna Swan? Me neither! The script is the 'Pilot' episode and came from TVandFilmScripts.
The Scarlet Witch Pop! Figure. I adore these figures, they are so cute. Since my lovely friend Imogen gave me Loki for my birthday, I really thought I ought to start building up some kind of collection. Having chosen to dress as her, Scarlet Witch seemed like the next obvious choice!
- Power Bank. This wasn't something I actually bought, but a freebie that a kind lady handed to me in a great big CEX bag (which also included a fortune cookie, some cards and a whole bunch of adverts). I included it because it was nice to get a free one!
'Once Upon A Time' Bracelet. One stall I ended up visiting a few times was the Canvas Warriors stall. The shoes they sold were a little out of my price range but the awesome custom made jewellry wasn't and I think this has to be my favourite buy of all! I've included a close up picture as I've taken special care when choosing the charms: fans of the show will recognise the significance of an apple, a tea cup, a dagger, a swan a bottle of sun gold and a pirate ship. I absolutely adore this bracelet and seriously want to wear it every day! There were charms to suit all sorts of Fandoms too, so do check out their website and make one for yourself!
- Lucky Dip Prizes. Those two sealed up necklaces on the right? They both came from a lucky dip! I can't for the life of me remember the stall that was running it but I thought they were both pretty nice. One is a blue butterfly, the other is a cute amulet that has a picture of Bilbo Baggins from 'The Hobbit' films. 
- Jack Frost Tea. Everyone who knows me will also be aware that I drink a lot of tea. I don't really drink a whole bunch of loose leaf though, so this made a nice change. I had to rescue it from the cupboard as I have already had some. As it's Jack Frost (Rise Of The Guardians) inspired, it contains Rooibos, Marzipan, Almond, Papaya and Sugar Snowflakes/Balls! It's totally adorable and there's a ton more to be found in their Etsy shop: Beastly Beverages.
- Disney Princess T-Shirt. I bought a shirt from Tee Turtle last time I went to Comic-Con and I've decided it simply must become a tradition! This time, after much deliberation, I decided on another blue shirt but this time featuring my favourite Disney Princesses taking a selfie! I had such a tough time choosing and I'll certainly be purchasing more from their website as they have such a huge collection!

All in all I'm pretty pleased with myself! I'm so glad that I managed to go to such a great event with my friends and I certainly hope to go next year, possibly in May?!

I Read:


Sunday 25 October 2015

Book Review: Horns; Joe Hill.

This month is turning out to be quite the month for spooky, slightly bizarre reads and this latest one is definitely the strangest I've read so far. I had actually tried to read the book a long time ago, in my youth, and gave up a few chapters on because I felt a little lost. Considering the book's mature content and themes, I'm glad I decided to tackle it again when I was much older. I'm entering it into the 'Monthly Motif' Challenge, which I'm certainly on a roll for this month!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: Horns
AUTHOR: Joe Hill
PAGES: 437
GENRE: Adult, Horror, Fantasy, Thriller

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache...and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more - he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone - raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances - with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty.

Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power - with just a touch he can see peoples' darkest desires - to go with his terrible new look, and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge; it's time the devil had his due.

What I Liked:
  • I really took to Hill's writing style very quickly. It was captivatingly brutal (there's seriously a whole lot of violence and some shocking moments in this read), and I loved the way that, through Ig, he highlighted and mocked the hypocrisy found in human behaviour. It really made me reflect on just how selfish people can be, despite the fact that they can go so far as to kid themselves they are doing what's right. While reading, I felt like I wasn't just getting a Horror story, but a study into the mind and what it is to be human. A great concept!
  • There is a whole bunch of iconography and symbolism in this book, and I adore reading books that contain that. My favourite thing to do is unpick the deeper meaning behind certain environments, animals or objects and seeing as this book had a deep connection to religion as an idea, it made for a very enjoyable and thought-provoking read. It also made the atmosphere a whole lot creepier!
What I Disliked:
  • Despite liking a lot of aspects regarding this book, I had this vague, disjointed feeling that I really didn't enjoy. There was a real lack of connection, for me, to the characters. I didn't really sympathise with any of them, I thought they were all a little reckless at times, and I didn't ever feel all that emotional (though Merrin's letter was the closest I got to feeling a little bit sad). I think part of the problem came from Hill not really knowing what kind of book he wanted to write. It switched from Horror, to Murder Mystery, to Romantic love triangle, to total tragedy and then back to Horror in the space of just a few chapters and at times made me feel pretty lost as to where the story was actually going.
Overall Conclusion:
This book was a little difficult for me to rate at first because although I had enjoyed this read, I also felt a little dissatisfied with it. There are some great aspects to this book: the imagery, symbolism and hidden meanings found within are spot on. However, a strong writing style isn't always enough to make a book the best thing you've ever read. There has to be a real sense of plot direction (which I felt thee was not) and/or characters that the reader can really relate to and root for (I was not entirely convinced here either). I would like to read more of Hill's work. As this was his second novel, perhaps he's still deciding what kind of Author he'd like to be? Anyway: this was a great read that I would only keep clear from if you are faint-hearted or a little sensitive.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me'.

My goodness, if there is actually a Book Genie then I could really do with his help because I have so many wishes! Perhaps I should use a wish to wish him into existence? I have to say, considering Genies normally grant three wishes, this one is being very generous. I'd better get to it before he changes his mind!

1) The ability to read a lot faster/have more time.

I've covered this before, but although I read quite quickly, I do it in short bursts due to the nature of having a full time job. I guess what I'd be wishing for is more time to dedicate to reading. Perhaps a few hours extra each day so I can sit down and properly read my book? I think I'd get through a lot more in each month and be much happier with my reading progress than I currently am.

2) Free access to all books.

Okay yes obviously this one is kind of terrible because Authors deserve the money their books make them. Especially as I want to be an Author too. However, I feel like my Bank Balance limits me when it comes to book buying! Perhaps what I should be asking for is to be a billionaire so that I can buy all the books in beautiful hard-cover and paperback version. Yes that sounds better.

3) More book space. I want a Library!

Seriously, if I could I would have an entire Library that spans a few floors, the kind you find in Universities and such. Like in Beast's Castle! It would have to have a Window seat and a ton of comfy Bean Bags and also tea making facilities and a chocolate/biscuit supply so that I can settle down in there for a day or two if needs be! Man, I would organise the heck out of those books too. It would be great!

4) Let me meet Tamora Pierce? Please?

I have a lot of Authors that I love and would of course die if I got to meet them. But Tamora Pierce is really very special to me. I mean, her series' I just couldn't get enough of. I went through a phase of reading and re-reading them repeatedly. In all honesty, she opened up my eyes to the world of reading in a way no other Author had: she introduced me to Fantasy, to strong female characters, to gorgeous romantic sub-plots that made me smile as a teenager. My only connection to her stuff at that point was a very kind friend who tirelessly bought books into school for me and my friends to borrow every day. I just...really want to meet and thank her.

5) Help me to finish all the series that I start?

The amount of unfinished series sitting on my read pile at the moment is ridiculous. I've got into so many and there are of course a small number that I've decided I won't read any more of because I hated the first book...but there are a heck of a lot of them that I do want to continue and instead of doing so, I just keep starting more series! Book Genie, help me get my priorities right and get onto them immediately!

6) Help the authors whose series remain unfinished...finish them?

I'm a great believer that Authors should be allowed all the time they need to finish a great series properly (though some do take this idea to extremes...I'm looking at you George R.R. Martin) but if it's a bit of inspiration they're after, or more time to get their ideas on paper or even just a holiday then Book Genie please grant it because it would seriously benefit us all in the long term.

7) Help me write more.

I massively enjoy writing as well as reading, and I previously mentioned that I want to write my own book(s) one day. I have ideas of course but can never find the time or the energy to set ink to paper. It's part procrastination too, not just lack of time. I want to get better and do this a lot more. Even if it just means practicing actual writing rather than working on anything substantial.

8) Please let me got to a Book Event soon?

Obviously the goal is BEA. But unfortunately I live in London, not America so that certainly won't be happening any time soon. I'm looking at some of the events closer to home, namely YALC or YAShot. I haven't/won't be able to attend this year...but 2016? Please?

9) Please give all the fantastic books with poor covers a makeover?

Sometimes, normally thanks to Netgalley or Author's requests, I read great books with awful covers. Despite the Author's best efforts, something has gone terribly wrong cover-design wise and simply doesn't stand out, or even worse, looks so horrific that no one would want to pick it up. I wish I had the power to think up a great cover, wiggle my fingers and BOOM! A brand spanking new, pretty cover appears.

10) Let me visit the worlds I read about!

There are some worlds that while reading about them is fun, they sound horrific to live in (once again George R.R. Martin, I'm looking at you). But some sound like a whole host of fun! Who wouldn't want to be a student at Hogwarts, or chill in Wonderland, or step through a wardrobe into Narnia? How about flying around in Space with Cinder and crew, or even seeing Prague and meeting Chimaera with Karou. There are so many possibilities and I want to explore them all!

Monday 19 October 2015

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

I've had a really enjoyable week this week, mostly because it hasn't been entirely made up of work! On Monday I went shopping in Stratford with high hopes of assembling most of my Scarlet Witch costume because I'm going to London Comic Con! Hooray! This is hugely exciting for me because I've only been once and I've never Cosplayed before! It's on Saturday 24th October so I should have plenty of pictures for you guys next week. I've made up a good majority of it now, just a few final bits to go. I then worked until my booked day off on Thursday, which was both busy an semi-stressful but not terrible.

On Wednesday evening, Mat, Tash and I set out to go and see a production of 'Twelfth Night' at the Rose Playhouse. Anyone who knows me will know that it is my favourite Shakespeare comedy of all time and so when Mat said he was studying it I had to go! It is actually being shown in the form of a Gender experiment, so there are four different cast combinations: traditional, reversed roles, all male and all female. We went to see the Traditional, own gender version Wednesday, and on Tuesday 20th (tomorrow) we are going to watch the reversed roles version. The play itself was very well acted and I greatly enjoyed performances from all cast members. They did a smashing job considering the small amount of space they had to work in. For those that don't know, The Rose Playhouse is actually an ongoing archaeological project and if you're in London and a fan of the bard, well worth a look considering it is where the actors would have performed.

The reason I booked a day off on Thursday was because a group of my Uni friends (who I have not seen in well over a year) were coming up for one of their Birthdays to London! I was relieved to find that work let me change my holiday date, as I was so worried that working full-time would force me to miss out on yet another thing that I wanted to do. We had a great deal of fun, meeting at mid-morning and having a quick Burger King/Subway before spending a great many hours in the Natural History Museum (a place I haven't been since I was very young). It was a really enjoyable day out and it was so nice to see so many of my friends again all in one day!

I Read: