Monday 30 April 2018

April Wrap-Up.

I fee like I'm falling into a bit of a rut. Especially when it comes to sticking to planned reads! Maybe I'm being too harsh on myself... Anyway, I managed four reads, which I'm not all that happy about. I need to get back into a reading routine!

  1. 'Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them' by Newt Scamander. I really wanted to fit this one in before reading anything else, and I'm glad I did! Anyone expecting the story from the films will be disappointed but I found that this fictional non-fiction really helped to expand the lore of the Harry Potter universe and I particularly enjoyed the essay on beast vs. being classification. I also felt that Scamander's personality shone through in his writing. 4/5 Stars.
  2. 'Milk & Honey' by Rupi Kaur. Another dive away from the original planned reads, I was in the mood for some poetry and I borrowed this from a friend to read! I've seen some great reviews for this book and I can see why: the subject matter and presentation was very emotionally impactful. I loved the illustrations too! 3.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'They Both Die At The End' by Adam Silvera. I was really excited by the prospect of this LGBT book, and I loved that it contained so much diversity and representation in it's pages. I also adored the world-building! I have to say though, I expected a much bigger emotional impact than I actually got. I also didn't really connect with the characters in the way I hoped I would.
  4. 'The Magician's Nephew' by C.S. Lewis. I tried to read this as a child and remember putting it down then, but don't remember why. I decided to give it a second chance because I find the world of Narnia so fascinating, and while I liked elements of this story, I found everything too simplistic. The characters had no dimension which was a real shame, but it did answer some questions on the origins of Narnia!

This month I read four books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total so far thirteen.

- Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
- Milk & Honey
- They Both Die At The End
- The Magician's Nephew

This month I read zero books for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total so far zero.

I read zero books for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total so far four.

I read one book for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, making my yearly total so far ten.

- They Both Die At The End

Here is the end result for Pretty Deadly Blog's Bookish Bingo card.

Part Of A Series: The Novice; Taran Matharu
Spring Release: Children Of Blood & Bone; Tomi Adeyemi
New To Me Author: Milk & Honey; Rupi Kaur
Freebie: --
Intersectional Diversity: bone; Yrsa Daley-Ward
Animal On Cover: Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them; J.K. Rowling
Family: Spectacle; Megan Rose Gedris
LGBT+: They Both Die At The End; Adam Silvera
Second Chance: The Magician's Nephew; C.S. Lewis

Last Week's Shenanigans (23rd April - 29th April)...

A couple of things to report this week that I enjoyed, mostly because they allowed me to be a little bit cultured! For the first time in forever Mat and I took a trip to the Theatre to watch The Grinning Man! I'm so glad I got to catch it before it disappeared from the West End because I really enjoyed it! While the plot was a little bizarre and disjointed at times, the characters were amazingly vibrant and I adored most of the songs! I adored Julian Bleach as Barkilphedro the clown in particular, a truly natural comedian if ever I saw one!

Mat and I also went to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron a film that I had been both desperate to see and absolutely dreading for months. We went to the midnight showing which made it even more special, and I have to say it lived up to all my excitement and fears. I won't spoil it any more for those that still haven't seen it, but I only urge that you do!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Power' by Naomi Alderman: Borrowed

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Book Review: The Magician's Nephew; C.S. Lewis.

Well, April hasn't been such a successful reading month for me and I was a bit disappointed with this one to be totally honest. I remember vividly watching The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe numerous times when I was younger and loving it! I honestly thought that the first in the series that the movie was based on would be right up my alley but sadly not.

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Magician's Nephew
AUTHOR: C.S. Lewis
SERIES: Chronicles Of Narnia (#1)
PAGES: 171
GENRE: Children's Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Classic

RATING: 2.5/5 Stars


Where the woods are thick and cold, where Talking Beasts are called to life...

A new world where the adventure begins.

Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he is a magician, sends them hurtling to...somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis before they finally return home.

What I Liked:
  • The thing I liked most about this book was actually what I'd hoped to get out of it - answers to some of the questions about Narnia. How was it formed? Who is the White Witch? And of course, some backstory on the mysterious professor Digory and his magical wardrobe. I was thankful that C.S. Lewis did answer those questions for me, and the story included a few symbolic additions which was nice.
What I Disliked:
  • There was really no depth to this story, and that isn't just because it's aimed at children. The plot was pretty random, very short, and served only to expand upon the world we know and love rather than create it's own. There were so many missed opportunities for this prequel. Yes, it answered questions but it also created many more.
  • I did not connect with these characters, and found them pretty one-dimensional. The two main characters, Digory and Polly were precocious children which made it almost impossible to care about them in any way. Especially Digory. Uncle Andrew had absolutely no backstory behind his disagreeable nature either. My biggest disappointment came from Jadis, later to become the White Witch. I wanted her to be so much more than the solely evil for absolutely no reason villain that she ended up being. Aslan had a just as disappointing God-like purity and I found it such a shame.
Overall Conclusion:
This book was a bit of a dud for me. It was nice to have a story hinting the origins of Narnia, both creation and Royal family alike (though I really found it a bit random too). I'd have liked more detail, plot development and character creation involved. Some of the character decisions were questionable too and though I liked the theological symbolism, it was all a bit too obvious for me. I haven't given up on this series though, and I'd at least like to read 'The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe' before completely making up my mind. Especially as these books are so short and considered children's classics!

Monday 23 April 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (16th April - 22nd April)...

I worked so much this week, mostly as penance for my time off last week! It's meant that I didn't do an awful lot. I've massively fallen behind on reading and writing this week! In fact, this month has been a little slow in that respect for me! I have managed to do a few bits though, and I've especially managed to catch up on some TV shows! Mat and I have been watching Jessica Jones Season 2 (and loving it) and rewatching the Marvel universe films in preparation for Avengers: Infinity War which I'm equally as excited about as I am dreading it!

I Read...

I Received...


Tuesday 17 April 2018

Book Review: They Both Die At The End; Adam Silvera.

I'm actually a little sad that this book wasn't as soul destroying as I expected it to be. I normally don't like to read books that I know are going to break my heart but by the end of this, I felt nothing more than just a little sad.

SOURCE: Edelweiss
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: They Both Die At The End
AUTHOR: Adam Silvera
PAGES: 384
GENRE: Young Adult, LGBT, Science Fiction

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

What I Liked:
  • I really liked the science fiction elements to this book, and the world-building in general. A lot of this novel actually read like contemporary YA, but with the inclusion of a company called Death-cast who call you when you are in your last twenty four hours as a regular part of life it definitely wasn't. And I loved the inclusion, it was really quite an inventive concept!
  • The diversity in this book is also a big plus. The two MCs are not caucasian and this is an LGBT romance too which is what I enjoy reading. I really liked the two MCs, especially Rufus who was probably one of the best bisexual characters I've ever read.
What I Disliked:
  • Well, like I said, this book didn't really break my heart like I was expecting. I knew what was coming of course, and that might have had something to do with my detachment. But while the ending was sad, I didn't feel that I'd been totally blown away.
  • There is actually very little plot in this book. It's mostly filled with two teenagers in their last day travelling from place to place having 'deep and meaningful' conversation and essentially learning the same lesson. Parts of it felt a little cheesy to be honest.
Overall Conclusion:
The idea behind this novel is really cool, and I liked the characters, diversity and world-building. I also think that Adam Silvera writes very well and would definitely read more of his work. That being said, this was my first sampler of his work and I wish that I had enjoyed it more than I did. A lot of it lacked any real tension, the plot wasn't really there, and the reflective, philosophical dialogue got old a little too quickly.

Monday 16 April 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (9th April - 15th April)...

I had a pretty busy week this week, but definitely an enjoyable one! I began the week still staying with my family, and Mat and I went to see Ready Player One which was a really cool film! Fans of pop culture will love the many references and it has made me really want to read the book! That wasn't the only film we saw in the cinema this week though. On Friday, we went to go and see Love, Simon which was incredible! Honestly, we bawled like babies and I'm so glad this film exists. Anyone who hasn't, please go and see it!

On the same day, we went out for a lovely meal out with our friends to celebrate one of their birthdays. That began a lovely four day weekend for me that I spent doing a variety of things, one of which being some work towards a TOP SECRET project that I am working on with friends. I'm not going to reveal too much right now, but I'm super excited about it!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Over Raging Tides' by Jennifer Ellision: Netgalley (12/04/18)
- 'Carve The Mark' by Veronica Roth: Bought (12/04/18)

Thursday 12 April 2018

Book Review: Milk & Honey; Rupi Kaur.

Many thanks to some recent acquaintances for introducing me to this book! I don't read a lot of poetry as I've mentioned before, but many of my blogging friends have told me to read this one and I have finally had the opportunity.

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Milk & Honey
AUTHOR: Rupi Kaur
Andrews McMeel
PAGES: 208
GENRE: Poetry, Feminism

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

What I Liked:
  • A lot of the poems really packed a punch and were so emotive! Especially in the first section. Kaur takes a 'no holds barred' approach with tackling some pretty sensitive subjects and though for me it had a bigger impact, I would definitely put a trigger warning on this for sexual abuse and violence. My favourite section was the last because it was filled with a sense of sisterhood and hope which spoke to me.
  • I really loved the drawings that accompanied a lot of the poems. They were so effortlessly beautiful, and fit the tone of the poems perfectly too! Kaur is really talented at illustration as well as poetry, and I admired them more than anything in this book.
What I Disliked:
  • I almost cried for the trees that must have gone into the thousands of books this sold. Why? Because some of those poems were two lines long and took a whole page. The format for each poem grew a little tiresome too, as they were all written in the same way. While I loved the point behind each poem, I felt that it was the thought and emotion more than any kind of structure that I liked.
Overall Conclusion:
In a lot of ways this felt more like a collection of thoughts than poems. And I liked elements of that, mostly because Kaur's words were emotive and powerful. I felt myself agreeing with her sentiments and inspired by her musings. I also adored her artwork! I wish there had been more in the way of longer poems, as I tend to prefer those, but I still liked this book a lot. I don't know if I'll read her next collection, 'The Sun & Her Flowers', just yet but I certainly won't discount it.

Monday 9 April 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (2nd April - 8th April)...

I can't believe we are already past Easter? After the longest January ever, doesn't this year seem to be going mighty quick? This was a pretty busy week for me - I had Easter Monday off and I did at least get to spend a day relaxing then. Mat and I played Dungeon Siege III all day which is an awesome game if anyone is considering it! I then worked up until Thursday, which was my Mum's birthday. I didn't actually get to see her but Mat and I did go to the cinema to watch A Wrinkle In Time, a film full of big visuals and representation but really lacking in terms of the script and plot development.

On Saturday night after work, Mat and I went back to visit my parents and in preparation for a big wedding planning trip around Kent on Sunday! It was lovely to see everyone again, and on Sunday we drove around with my sister, stopping off at a Florist, a cake makers and our venue for their open day to talk to the DJ. All were really productive outings and I have a great weight off of my mind about a lot of things now! Phew! We also did find time to stop off for a delicious brunch, and I had myself a homemade, rustic cream tea which I strongly recommend!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Gentleman's Guide To Vice & Virtue' by Mackenzi Lee: Bought (03/04)
- 'Elefant' by Martin Suter: Netgalley (04/04)
- 'The Penelopiad' by Margaret Atwood: Netgalley (05/04)
- 'White Privilege' by Kalwant Bhopal: Netgalley (05/04)
- 'Women Of Resistance' by Danielle Barnhart & Iris Mahan: Netgalley (05/04)
- 'An Ember In The Ashes' by Sabaa Tahir: Bought (05/04)
- 'Steelheart' by Brandon Sanderson: Bought (05/04)
- 'Legion' by Brandon Sanderson: Bought (05/04)

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Book Review: Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them; J.K. Rowling.

Yes, yes. I know. This was not on my April list. But I really couldn't resist anymore? Those animated illustrations looked SO cool and once I started reading, I just couldn't stop!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
AUTHOR: J.K. Rowling (as Newt Scamander)
SERIES: Hogwarts Library (#1)
Hodder Children's Books
PAGES: 160
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Reference

RATING: 4/5 Stars

This glorious new Kindle in Motion edition of Newt Scamander's 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' (considered a classic throughout the wizarding world) features an extraordinary array of magical creatures, from Acromantula to Yeti via ten different breeds of dragon – all beautifully illustrated in full colour in a beautifully designed digital reading experience by the brilliantly inventive, Greenaway Medal-shortlisted Olivia Lomenech Gill.

The artist’s interpretations of these creatures and their habitats are newly animated to come alive on your device. Cower at the terrifying transformation of a werewolf, and regard the power and grace of a grazing Erumpent. Discover a Niffler snuffling out some valuables, and a fierce Griffin guarding some treasure. Keep an eye on the famously cautious Hippogriff burrowing alongside its fledgling, and marvel at the splendour of a combusting phoenix.

Famed Magizoologist Newt Scamander's years of adventure and exploration have yielded a work of unparalleled importance, admired by scholars, devoured by young witches and wizards, and even made available to Muggles in the early years of this century. With this dazzling Kindle in Motion edition, readers can explore the magical fauna of five continents from the comfort of their own armchairs. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is essential reading at Hogwarts.

What I Liked:

  • The art in this book is incredible. Honestly, Olivia Lomenech Gill did herself proud with both the still pieces and especially the animations! I bought the book particularly for this reading experience, as the moving images would certainly add to the magic of it all, and I'm so glad I wasn't disappointed on this front!
  • I thought that Rowling did a great job at giving Newt a lot of personality in his writing! He was very serious about the topic at hand, passionate about magizoology and a little eccentric at the same time. It certainly gave me a new appreciation for Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of him in the movies (the plots of which are not referenced in this book, which I'm saying in order to prevent confusion). I particularly loved the essay at the beginning on the classification of beasts and beings. Fascinating!
What I Disliked:
  • I would have liked more beasts. Rowling included a large variety of course, and there's no doubt that a lot of work was involved in coming up with them. I do understand that this is not designed to be a record of every magical beast in existence. That being said, I would have liked to have seen more because I'm a completionist! Where were the three-headed dogs? The dementors? That is literally my only complaint though.
Overall Conclusion:
I really liked this a lot! Those looking for the plot of the movies or a 'story' will be disappointed as this is designed as if it were a school text book containing information, probably for a Care Of Magical Creatures class. This is the end product of Newt Scamander's study of magical beings. Nevertheless, it adds so much into the lore of the Harry Potter universe. Rowling did such a great job building the wizarding world and this answers a lot of questions regarding exactly how some of the 'beasts' have remained hidden.

Monday 2 April 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (26th March - 1st April)...Happy Easter!

This year is actually starting to go pretty quickly now! We are already in April! Thanks to Easter celebrations, I had a little bit of time off work (Good Friday and Easter Sunday) which was nice! What made it even lovelier was that Mat had the Easter weekend off too, meaning we could spend it together. We had a lovely time too, spending Friday evening with our friends for a roast dinner at our place, and all of Sunday playing games and watching TV together. I also managed to get a lot of reading done on Sunday and it's the first day in a long time that I can remember being able to just sit and read for a long time.

I hope everyone else had a lovely Easter too!

I Read...

I Received...


I Posted...

March Wrap-Up
Planned Reads For April

Sunday 1 April 2018

Planned Reads for April.

So, a lot of these are going to be repeats from last month. I want to read those books so badly, and I'm a bit gutted that I couldn't get to them!

I am currently reading Adam Silvera's 'They Both Die At the End' and although the way this book finishes is somewhat inevitable, I am loving it so far! I should have read this book sooner.

I have been dying to read the last book in Danielle L. Jensen's fantasy series, 'Warrior Witch', and I will certainly do so this month. I so badly want to progress in a series, and here's my chance to finally get through one once and for all!

I'm pretty heavily invested in getting through some of these gorgeous-looking 2018 releases too. 'The Belles' by Dhonielle Clayton is one such release and looks to be a diverse read with great world-building and a fun plot. I'm looking forward to it!

Don't think I've forgotten my favourite female superhero of last year! I'm an even bigger fan of Leigh Bardugo now that I've started her 'Six Of Crows' series and so 'Wonder Woman: Warbringer' is top of the priority list. I'm excited to see what she does with such an iconic character!

'The Astonishing Colour Of After' by Emily X.R. Pan is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 and when you look at that cover, you see why! Grief, loss and suicide are prevalent themes, and the book gives me a chance to read about a new culture!

Yet another month goes by and I still haven't read 'The Outliers' by Kimberly McCreight. It looks like a great thriller, a genre that doesn't normally appeal to me, and that cover is stunning. I hope I get to it this month without distractions!

While 'Orangeboy' was a book I liked, I'm hoping that Patrice Lawrence's 'Indigo Donut' will blow me away! I adore the covers for her books and it's another book set in London which I always appreciate. I'm hoping for more East London references because that's where I'm currently living!

I've been debating where to start in C.S. Lewis' classic series (hence why it's taken me so long to get to) hut I've finally decided on 'The Magician's Nephew'. It might not be the publishing order but the particular set I own places it first and I can't stand to read them out of order.