Thursday 30 November 2017

November Wrap-Up.

Another solid six reads managed! It's frustrating, I know I can read much faster than this but I seem to be so busy most of the time that I simply don't get round to it. But the reads I did manage were mostly great!

  1. 'Zenn Diagram' by Wendy Brant. I had pretty high hopes for this book when I read the synopsis, but sadly it was a pretty sad start to the month's reading. The MC was so annoying and the writing took way too long to get to the point. I grew so bored of the constant info-dumping and inner monologues. I liked the romantic interest and the plot twists were well thought out. A pretty cool concept, but not very well executed. 2.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'Hortense & The Shadow' by Natalia O'Hara & Lauren O'Hara. I'm always up for a good, illustrated children's book with a fairy tale feel. This one certainly delivered, though was so short. There was a really clever (albeit sinister) addition to a lot of the drawings so I think I felt the ending to be a bit anticlimactic due to them. 4/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Goblins Of Bellwater' by Molly Ringle. This was the book that I had no idea I needed until I read it. Goblins are a creature seldom found in fiction, and having grown up with the movie Labyrinth they were everything I wanted: cunning, mischevious and stronger than they appeared. I adored this read. Great characters, fantastic world-building and a thrilling plot. 5/5 Stars.
  4. 'The Girl In The Tower' by Katherine Arden. I adored 'The Bear & The Nightingale' at the beginning of the year, and saw this month as the perfect time to get stuck into book two! And what a sequel! What impressed me most (being a 'middle' book) was the character and plot development. It felt like a necessary addition to the series' world. I can't wait for book three. 5/5 Stars.
  5. 'Fragments Of Femininity' by Olivier Pont and Laurence Croix. Another graphic novel, in response to my promise to read more of these at the beginning of the year. I really loved this beautiful piece of art, as each fragment or story so beautifully articulated a point regarding a very taboo topic: breasts. I felt there was room for a piece on motherhood here, but each story was sensitive, liberating, and a little bit heartbreaking. 4.5/5 Stars.
  6. 'The Wrath & The Dawn' by Renée Ahdieh. I just about squeezed this one in but it was well worth it. It played on a lot of overused tropes, and yet somehow that didn't irritate me! Shazi is a great female MC, strong-willed, clever and witty. Khaled was a great love interest too despite being a little typical. This book was a fantastic retelling and made me melt. 4.5/5 Stars.

Now it's time to see how I did with my challenges this month!

This month I have read five books for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to twenty seven. My reads were:

- Zenn Diagram
- Hortense & The Shadow
- The Goblins Of Bellwater
- The Girl In The Tower
- Fragments Of Femininity

This month I have read five books for the 2017 New Releases Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to fifteen. My reads were:

Zenn Diagram
Hortense & The Shadow
The Goblins Of Bellwater
The Girl In The Tower
Fragments Of Femininity

This month I have read one book for the LGBTQIA Challenge, bringing my yearly total to eleven. My read was:

- Fragments Of Femininity

This month I have read three books for the Diverse Reads Challenge, bringing my yearly total to thirty four. My reads were:

- The Girl In The Tower
- Fragments Of Femininity
- The Wrath & The Dawn

And here's my update on this quarter's Bookish Bingo card, courtesy of Pretty Deadly Blog!

Mental Health: Our Numbered Days; Neil Hilborn
Different Culture: I Am Malala; Patricia McCormick & Malala Yousfazai
Illustrations: The Little Red Wolf; Amélie Fléchais
Black Cover: The Hate U Give; Angie Thomas
Set In Another Country: The Girl In The Tower; Katherine Arden
Person On The Cover: The Elite; Kiera Cass
Magic In The Real World: The Girl From Everywhere; Heidi Heilig
Co-Authored: Fragments Of Femininity; Olivier Pont & Laurence Croix
2017 Debut: Hortense & The Shadow; Natalia O'Hara & Lauren O'Hara
American History: Lies We Tell Ourselves; Robin Talley
Fall Release: The Goblins Of Bellwater; Molly Ringle
Horror: Lot No. 249; Arthur Conan Doyle
Asian American Author: The Wrath & The Dawn; Renée Ahdieh
Yellow Cover: The Geek Feminist Revolution; Kameron Hurley
Required Reading: The Return Of Sherlock Holmes; Arthur Conan Doyle
Set At School: Zenn Diagram; Wendy Brant
Poetry Or Verse: O Frabjous Day!; Lewis Carroll
Paranormal: The Woman In Black & Other Ghost Stories; Susan Hill

Book Review: The Wrath & The Dawn; Renée Ahdieh.

I'mm so happy I managed one last read before the end of November. I'd been looking forward to this one for a long time too, especially after reading Renée Ahdieh's 'Flame In The Mist' and liking that too.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Wrath & The Dawn
AUTHOR: Renée Ahdieh
The Wrath & The Dawn (#1)
PUBLISHER: G.P Putnam's Sons
PAGES: 404
GENRE: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy, Romance

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

What I Liked:
  • Shazi was such a good heroine to root for and I liked her from the first POV chapter. Her wit, intelligence and constant quick-thinking were really fun to read and watching her develop over time was so interesting. She was definitely my favourite part of the book, her conversations and relationships with other characters was hilarious most of the time! Ahdieh put a lot of thought into all of them of course, but having a likeable MC is so important.
  • Romance is not normally my primary concern in stories, but it was sizzling here! I loved it! Khalid was a fairly typical love interest - mysterious, anguished and yet somehow adorable. I really liked him from the off too, and I was so desperate to see him grow and find out more about his strange past and why he did what he did.
  • The story really drew me in! Some of the twists and turns were a little predictable, playing on some fairly well-known tropes. Yet, I still really enjoyed this book! Ahdieh switched to other POVs occasionally which helped to develop the events surrounding everyone, and I liked the stories that Shazi wrote too. They were a lot of fun to read!
What I Disliked:
  • As I said, there were some pretty tropey elements to this story. Above all? The love triangle. I don't particularly like them, and while it served a purpose here it really caused me to get more than mildly irritated with poor Tariq. Which he probably didn't deserve. The story could have been written without all that aggravation and it made me a little frustrated.
Overall Conclusion:
It's strange how much I loved this story, it contained so many things that usually wind me up and a few other glaring problems too: pacing issues (particularly at the end), corny dialogue and vague setting among them. But the plot was well-penned and Ahdieh does write well. I'm decidedly determined to read the next in the series soon because I liked this so much! I liked the twist on the source material too - 'One Thousand & One Nights'.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Book Review: Fragments Of Femininity; Olivier Pont & Laurence Croix.

I said at the start of this year that I wanted to read more graphic novels. Netgalley has definitely helped me achieve that, and I have to say that this is one of my favourite so far!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Fragments Of Femininity
AUTHOR: Olivier Pont & Laurence Croix
PUBLISHER: Europe Comics
PAGES: 118
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Adult, Short Stories

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

This is a collection of portraits of 7 women, of all different ages, backgrounds, circumstances and eras. Each one of them is facing a defining moment in her life. They are bound together by the symbol of their femininity: their breasts. 

We see an awkward college girl getting to grips with her womanhood; a 1960s house-wife freeing herself from the restraints of propriety; the manager of a small underwear shop fighting against corporate giants; a woman nude modelling for an unexpected reason... 

Love, illness, sex, liberation, sensuality: Olivier Pont draws us into the lives of these women with astounding force.

What I Liked:

  • This collection is beautiful. Every story served a purpose and resonated with me in some way, which I loved. Breasts are such a taboo topic, for absolutely no reason, and art like this will help to start conversations about why exactly that is. Each story was very different too and touched upon different themes - liberation, frustration, insecurity, femininity, etc. My favourite was Faith's. It was heart-aching to read but wonderful.
  • The art is of course what I always look for in a good graphic novel. And here, it is beautiful. Pont did a wonderful job marrying the beautiful panels together and I loved the thought that went into everything. Croix's colour schemes were also beautiful. It was a well designed, likeable, collaborative effort.
What I Disliked:
  • I did feel that there was room for an eighth story here concerning breasts: motherhood and breastfeeding. I'm passionate about this topic of course, which is why I hoped to see some commentary on the matter, and so found myself disappointed that Pont didn't include a 'fragment' that involved the  main purpose of the topic each segment was based upon.
Overall Conclusion:
This is truly a beautiful read for a number of reasons, but mostly because it sensitively covers a taboo topic that really shouldn't be taboo. Breasts are something I feel very strongly should be talked about more and this is definitely a read that's going to resonate strongly with feminists. Interesting plots, gorgeous artwork and a great development of each character.

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books On My Winter TBR List'.

I've taken a far more relaxed approach to the Top Ten Tuesday lists this year, it's true, but I couldn't miss this one! I love picking TBRs, especially when they are seasonal! Winter is a gorgeous time of the year of course, even if I'm not a fan of the cold. It gives me a chance to light a ton of candles, make multiple mugs of tea and hot chocolate and snuggle up in a hundred blankets with a good book! My winter reads are normally very fantastical, and related in some way to snow, ice and all manner of things usually found in the winter months. I also like to read very deep, reflective books and very long reads or very short stories really suit me depending on my mood!

1) 'Renegades' by Marissa Meyer.

Well, I had really hoped to get to this read in November, but it is looking more and more like that won't be possible. It's pretty big and there aren't many days of November left! That being said, I'm far too excited to let a new release by one of my favourite authors leave my TBR quietly! Superheroes might not be the most wintery topic, but I want to read this book ASAP!

2) 'Wintersong' by S. Jae-Jones.

I think it's pretty clear why this one appears on the list! Look at that cover and title! But aside from that, reading 'The Goblins Of Bellwater' has really put me in the mood for more books featuring goblins, and what better book than this? Some people have compared it to Labyrinth, a film that I personally love but I'm glad to hear that there are differences too! 

3) 'Matilda' by Mary Shelley.

A shorter book written by the author of the classic, 'Frankenstein', this looks to be a more sombre, haunting read. It does, after all, cover the topic of abuse. However, I'm looking forward to it as the winter months seem like a good time for this kind of book! Also, I've never read anything by this very famous author and I'd really like to!

4) 'The Toymakers' by Robert Dinsdale.

If that cover doesn't scream Christmas to you, then what does? You know, one of the classic, Victorian variety? I've heard of Robert Dinsdale before. In fact, I have his book 'Gingerbread' (a retelling of Hansel & Gretel) firmly on my TBR! It gives me hope that his work has appealed to me in the past, and I'm glad to have nabbed a copy of this novel to get stuck into!

5) 'The Ice' by Laline Paull.

A book themed around ice? Perfect. I've read Paull's 'The Bees' many months ago and I really enjoyed it a lot! 'The Ice' is obviously looking very different story-line wise, but I'm interested to see how her writing has developed. The book has an interesting synopsis for sure, and I'm certain it will be a good match.

6) 'Sea Spell' by Jennifer Donnelly.

It's been a fun ride, reading Donnelly's 'Waterfire Saga'. The first three books started good and became better and better as time went on, I really enjoyed them. Going by the front cover, and seeing as Astrid is my favourite of our heroines, I'm very excited at the prospect of this conclusion. I hope that Donnelly draws everything together well!

7) 'Wolf Winter' by Cecilia Ekbäck.

Another gorgeous cover and perfect premise for the cold, winter nights. I've been saving this one just for the right time of year. The blurb promises that readers of 'Burial Rites' will enjoy this, and I'm a big fan of historical fiction generally so I have high hopes! Books like this make me really excited for the winter!

8) 'Six Of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo.

This is another book pulled straight from my November reads to December, as I want to get into it before the year is out! I've waited far too long to read this book already! Bardugo writes really well, I enjoyed her 'Grisha Verse' series. I like that this is set in the same world but, as far as I can tell, contains a much more diverse range of characters of a roguish nature! 

9) 'Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore' by Matthew Sullivan.

I love book shops in the winter, don't you? It makes everything seem so festive! So a book set in a book shop would be awesome! It's a mystery, certainly one that sounds very intriguing and a little different! I'm excited to see what happens and (fingers crossed) be thoroughly captivated.

10) 'The Hunter's Kind' by Rebecca Levene.

This is another series that I have left alone for far too long. I read 'Smiler's Fair' an absolute age ago and haven't touched it's sequel despite my enjoyment of book one. It's a common, terrible habit of mine that I'm trying to break. Hopefully book two will develop everyone's stories nicely!

Monday 27 November 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (20th November - 26th November)...

This week has been one I have been looking forward to for an age. Why? Because I'd booked a fair chunk of it off of work! And that time that I got off, I actually managed to use productively, which was great! It was nice to relax but also get things done! Thursday and Friday I did so much cleaning and tidying of the flat. It was long overdue, and we were expecting guests later in the week. I also found time to finally get through large chunks of my book after reading hardly any of it at all the week before (yikes).

Saturday, Mat and I went to our friends and a large group of us had a pre-Christmas/holidays meal with games, quizzes and laughter well into the night. I'm not a very sociable person for the most part - in fact I find large gatherings of people very exhausting and stress-headache inducing, but I do like spending time with my friends! I also got my first present: a Harry Potter moleskine notebook! It is so pretty and perfect for me! Also, it was my sister's birthday, and though I didn't get to see her, I'm glad that she liked her brand new mermaid blanket and enjoyed herself!

On Sunday, Mat's family came up to see us (which was again, very pleasant) and we had a wonderful afternoon together. My time off definitely felt very relaxing and was just what I needed. We also have one of Mat's friends staying with us in London now and it's been nice seeing him also.

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Bedlam Stacks' by Natasha Pulley: Bought on Amazon (24/11/17)
- 'A Skinful Of Shadows' by Frances Hardinge: Bought on Amazon (24/11/17)
- 'Nest Of Nightmares' by Lisa Tuttle: Bought on Amazon (24/11/17)

Sunday 26 November 2017

Book Review: The Girl In The Tower; Katherine Arden.

I thought, seeing as I read 'The Bear & The Nightingale' at the beginning of the year, reading the second in the trilogy at the end would be a nice way to begin the winter months! I adored the first but wasn't prepared to love the second even more!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Girl In The Tower
AUTHOR: Katherine Arden
SERIES: The Winternight Trilogy (#2)
PAGES: 384
GENRE: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling, Young Adult

RATING: 5/5 Stars

For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic...

The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.

Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior's training, recognises this 'boy' as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical...

What I Liked:
  • Vasya has grown up from a feisty, inquisitive girl to a strong heroine! I loved her so much! She didn't make too many stupid decisions, was strong in her beliefs and seems to have a much better hold over her own feelings and powers. I also really enjoyed reading POV chapters from her family members - Sasha and Olga were both characters I wanted to hear more from. Great character development from all to be found here, and that was my favourite thing about the book!
  • Once again I was amazed by Katherine Arden's world-crafting ability! She really knew the time period and culture well, and it was interesting to have such a glimpse into Russian history. But the folklore was the best inclusion of all. This book, and it's predecessor, gives a nod to Russian fairy tales of course but the mythology is deeply entwined into the story. The spirits that inhabit houses and bath rooms and ovens are often comical and do a great job of adding to the plot!
  • Let's not forget the plot itself! It was certainly interesting, full of plenty of action, twists and turns. I liked the battles, I liked the romance and I liked the elements of mystery solving. This is definitely Fantasy done right and I want more. Much more.
What I Disliked:
  • Personally, I didn't struggle so I won't say this is a dislike per se. However, Russians on the Medieval era really liked nicknames. They assign hundreds to the same character and Arden incorporates that well into the story meaning that if you aren't paying attention, you might lose track!
Overall Conclusion:
What a wonderful read. If you like magic and adventure set in a historical time period, you'll love this. There's great fantastical elements to be had, I loved recognising some of the stories and fairy tales, and above all I am so glad this wasn't just a filler book. The plot really helped to develop the characters which is important in the second book of a trilogy. I can't wait for book three!

Monday 20 November 2017

Last Week Shenanigans (13th November - 19th November)...

What a busy old week it has been! Firstly, I went to go and see Murder On The Orient Express with Mat and we both enjoyed it very much! It's definitely a fantastic film with a stellar cast (though I am a little sick of seeing Johnny Depp's face and not the biggest fan of Kenneth Branagh) and all of them did a cracking job. I loved Judi Dench especially, and of course Daisy Ridley did wonderfully, it was good to see her in this role.

One of our close friends organised a lovely meal out on the Friday at Las Iguanas, Spitalfields. The food is definitely wonderful and I'm a huge fan of their iced tea! We had a really nice time out and it was good to catch up with friends, especially after such a hard week at work. Sunday too was a time for birthday-oriented socialisation. My sister's birthday is on the 25th so we went down to see her and give her gift in advance. I've always enjoyed catching up with family, and playing lots of games.

I Read...


I Received...


Monday 13 November 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (6th November - 12th November)...

It's been a pretty busy week actually! Mat and I are trying to make more use of our cinema cards at the moment so we went to go and see the newest Pokemon movie (we are huge fans!). There were a few sound issues, but despite some weird changes to the Pokemon history that we know and love, it was a really good film! We are also well on our way through Season 2 of Stranger Things and loving it a lot, even more than Season 1 in some ways!

Mat and I also went down to see his family, as it was his younger brother's birthday and his older brother has just moved into their new house! It was nice to see everyone and catch-up, and we ended up having a lovely, relaxing day off. Thanks the long travel times, I ended up getting through a couple of good reads too!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Truth & Lies Of Ella Black' by Emily Barr: Approved by Netgalley (08/11/17)
- 'Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek' by Anthony O'Neill: Approved by Netgalley (08/11/17)
- 'The Sacrifice Box' by Martin Stewart: Approved by Netgalley (09/11/17)
- 'Hortense & The Shadow' by Natalia O'Hara & Lauren O'Hara: (13/11/17)

Sunday 12 November 2017

Book Review: Hortense & The Shadow; Natalia O'Hara & Lauren O'Hara.

This was a very quick read just to help round the week off, which intrigued me on Netgalley! I like illustrated books as of late, especially if they are a little darker and read like a fairy tale. I'm always happy to break up big reads with a little children's story!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Hortense & The Shadow
AUTHOR: Natalia O'Hara & Lauren O'Hara
GENRE: Children's, Picture Book, Fantasy

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Hortense is a kind and brave girl, but she is sad--even angry--that her shadow follows her everywhere she goes. She hates her shadow, and thinks her shadow must hate her too. 

But one cold, dark night, when bandits surprise her in the woods, Hortense discovers that her shadow is the very thing she needs most.

What I Liked:
  • The illustrations are normally my favourite part of reading picture books (otherwise, what's the point?) but these were gorgeous. What made it even better was the realisation that there was a hidden element in most of them and trying to find it each time. Definitely worth a couple of re-reads for that alone!
  • The message of this story is both adorable and crystal clear. It really read like a fairy tale, both cute but with a slightly twisted element that will give some readers the shivers for sure.
What I Disliked:
  • There was very little that I disliked, though after such an intense and slightly sinister build up I was sort of disappointed by the anti-climactic ending. I kind of expected a little more 'danger' though this is aimed at children so I kind of understand the lack of real threat!
Overall Conclusion:
This is a book that can definitely appeal to all ages for a variety of reasons. If you love good artwork, buy this. If you like fairy tales then this will also be good for you. It's definitely a children's story and I'd mostly push this towards the kids who love a little magic and like to find 'hidden things'. It's imaginative, fun, and very sincere in it's message.

Book Review: The Goblins Of Bellwater; Molly Ringle.

I loved this book so much! I'm not normally a fan of New Adult, and while this didn't really read as 'sexual' like others of the genre, this worked in it's favour. There was more depth and development in this one, and it was every bit the magical story I wanted it to be!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Goblins Of Bellwater
AUTHOR: Molly Ringle
PUBLISHER: Central Avenue Publishing
PAGES: 289
GENRE: Contemporary, New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. 

Her older sister, Livy, is at wit's end trying to understand what's wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn't talk of such things: he's the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Then Kit starts dating Livy, and Skye draws Kit's cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods. Skye and Grady are doomed to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever, unless Livy, the only one untainted by enchantment, can unravel the spell by walking a dangerous magical path of her own.

What I Liked:
  • This was a fantastic adaptation of one of my favourite poems in school! Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin Market' has captured the imaginations of many people and Ringle wrote the goblins to be exactly how I imagined: sinister, mischievous, and far stronger and cleverer than they look and act. I liked the modern setting, it felt fresh and relatable with twists of the strange and unpredictable to keep things interesting.
  • This is a New Adult book and while it contained sex, it didn't take over the whole book. I'm also pretty glad there wasn't any human/goblin action and the fae (and their actions) were treated as 'evil' beings rather than romanticised. This is how they should be! The romance that was actually found in this book directly addressed the consensual side of things and was pretty steamy, but also sweet.
What I Disliked:
  • I have no real complaints here. This was a fantastic book and I enjoyed it immensely. I have to say that when Kit told Livy his big 'secret' her reaction did strike me as a little OTT. I don't think I'd jump to 'serial killer', maybe just a bit superstitious or weird. But other than that tiny gripe, I was hooked by this book.
Overall Conclusion:
This really is a top contender for favourite book of the year, it's so good. So much magic and folklore entwined into a gorgeous, contemporary setting. Ringle is a very visual writer with great descriptions, wrote complex and likeable characters, and her plot flowed very nicely with a lot of twists and turns to keep things interesting. There really aren't any faults with this one. I strongly recommend it, especially if you want to read more books about goblins and the fae generally.

Monday 6 November 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (30th October - 5th November)...

Oh my gosh, Halloween week! Spooky! Things are getting colder (which is not ideal for me, as I feel the cold very easily) but there's something about Autumn and the crunching of leaves underfoot that is distinctly magical. I managed to get through one of my reads fairly quickly and Mat and I have achieved so much planning for our wedding, which has also been a lot of fun!

Saturday 4th, after work, Mat and I headed to our friends to see our brand new pug-friend Lola and celebrate bonfire night with them! We had a lovely, fun party, lit some sparklers and watched some nearby fireworks. It really rounded off a good week.

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Toy Makers' by Robert Dinsdale: Approved by Netgalley (30/10/17)
- 'Out Of The Blue' by Sophie Cameron: Approved by Netgalley (03/11/17)


Top Ten Tuesday: Horror Books I Would Love To Read [Part II]

I Posted...

October Wrap-Up
Planned Reads For November

Sunday 5 November 2017

Book Review: Zenn Diagram; Wendy Brant.

I actually ended up reading this, before my other reads, because I realised I only had a few more days left before it would disappear from my computer forever! My thoughts? Mediocre.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Zenn Diagram
AUTHOR: Wendy Brant
PUBLISHER: Kids Can Press
PAGES: 222
GENRE: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy

RATING: 2.5/5 Stars

Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues. 

Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realises that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart.

What I Liked:
  • The concept, in some ways, is a little weird sounding but it was actually pretty cool. If you don't know what fractals are, google them. They're awesome. I feel that Brant pulled it off fairly well: though I think that never touching people or their belongings would be very difficult but it seemed plausible here. I liked how it was described as well, and the way that Brant described Eva's fear of her power. Because she can't fix what she sees, and she sees some pretty horrendous things.
  • The latter part of the book was definitely better than the beginning. At that point I was semi-hooked and felt that the story actually flowed a lot better writing-wise. This was clearly the part of the plot that Brant had totally figured out. I think part of the reason was because I liked Zenn too. He was very adorkable, patient and trustworthy. I like complex characters and he definitely fell into that category.
What I Disliked:
  • My biggest problem here was Eva herself. I found her so irritating. Brant obviously wrote her to be as 'nerdy' as possible and anti-anyone who had a social life and a normal IQ. But beyond that, she came across as so bitter all of the time and was actually really mean to her Aunt in the second half of the book. But what really got me the most was that Eva slut-shamed her own sister. Who was a child. It was a snarky comment, clearly meant to be funny but it almost made me vomit.
  • Brant really loved to info-dump and generally fill the book with a lot of useless information. I think it was to highlight Eva's love for maths, but I really don't care how many pints of milk there were, or how much the shopping bill came to. The repetition was aggravating too. I get it, looking after a lot of kids is hard and chaotic. I don't need to be reminded every page.
Overall Conclusion:
This book has a lot of potential to be really cool. It was more than the usual contemporary YA romance, with an added element of mathematical 'superpower'. I liked the concept, and even elements of the romance were enjoyable to read. Brant did seem to have a good grasp on teenage friendships and romances. However, an frustrating MC and writing that could have focused more on character development meant that I ended up not really being too bothered about this read.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Planned Reads For November.

Is it really November already? 2017 is almost over? Yikes! Still, another month means new reads for me to delve into and I have some really fun ones planned for this month! In the months leading up to Christmas I like my reads to be more wintery, longer, a little magical or sci-fi and literary. Colder months just give off those vibes for me.

My current read, 'The Goblins Of Bellwater' by Molly Ringle is leftover from last month but still fits early November perfectly. I've read a little of it and it's definitely magical, mysterious and contains a lot of mischief that is reminiscent of some of my favourite childhood movies. Yet, it's mature too and I look forward to seeing where the plot will take me! Inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem 'Goblin Market' it's a great tribute so far!

I really loved the first book in this series, 'The Bear & The Nightingale, so I have no doubt that Katherine Arden's 'The Girl In The Tower' will be just as magical and exciting. Based on Slavic fairy tales and folklore, it's the perfect time of the year for a book set in the winters of Russia.

Maybe a book set in the hot desert doesn't seem like an obvious wintery book read, but I like to throw in a curve ball every now and again, and this book certainly contains all the magic. I love reading YA based on folklore from cultures that are not European, and 'The Wrath & The Dawn' by Renée Ahdieh is just that. I feel like fairytales and fantasy are going to be a recurring theme this month.

Why not read a YA contemporary too? The truth is, this book still has a touch of magic in it but a real world setting which I like. Wendy Brant's 'Zenn Diagram' is about a young girl, obsessed with maths, who has powers that allow her to know things about people when she touches objects that they frequently come into contact with them. It's an interesting concept. I hope it translates well to paper!

This book has been on my TBR for too long, and finally I'm going to read it. 'The Novice' by Taran Matharu has a gorgeous cover, and reminds me a little of Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' series with demon companions and a University to study at. I do so love magical schools so I'm expecting good things from this book!

I can almost hear cries of outrage that I haven't read 'Six Of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo yet, especially when it's so obviously the kind of book I'd love. But I really wanted to finish her 'Grisha' series first and then take a little break so I come into it fresh. I'm ready to meet this ensemble of awesome characters I've heard so much about now!

That's right, I'm having another crack at 'Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years Of Pilgrimage' by Haruki Murukami. Like I said, I like literary fiction at this time of year, and I've never read one of Murukami's books before! I was going to read this in September, but didn't find time. Hopefully I can get to it this month!

Everyone knows that Marissa Meyer is probably one of my all time favourite authors. Not a single one of her 'Lunar Chronicles' disappointed me and I've been super excited about the sound of all her other books ever since. 'Renegades' is about super heroes and super villains, and I hope not only to see more of her futuristic visions, but also the complex, fun characters she often creates. I'm so lucky to have received an ARC of this book, and I'm not wasting another moment before reading it!