Saturday 30 June 2018

June Wrap-Up.

Honestly, I had great intentions of reading more this month but life got in the way a bit. It has been a stressful month for Mat and I, but hopefully July will be better for us (and my TBR)!

  1. 'Out Of The Blue' by Sophie Cameron. I really enjoyed this book, and it was definitely my favourite read of the month. I loved the inclusion of angels and the world-building surrounding the reaction to them falling, as well as the emotions and themes covered in this story! A diverse read, a little different to any angel story I've read before. 4.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'Warrior Witch' by Danielle L. Jensen. There's an element of relief that comes with finishing a series, especially when you've accidentally dragged it out over a long period of time. I have to say, that this book disappointed me though. The OTP that I fell in love with was unrecognisable and barely together, the ending was a total cop-out and I just felt it should have been far more dramatic than it was. 2.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Good Guys' by Rob Kemp & Paul Blow. I was originally skeptical of the premise of a book about the great deeds of men, but wanted to learn something and I definitely did. This book didn't look at bloodthirsty battles or great discoveries. It looked at acts of compassion, which is rarely a trait found in the celebration of men. I liked it just for that. 3.5/5 Stars.
  4. 'Floored' by Various. A great way to end the month, that's for sure. I really enjoyed this book and I'm glad because it was an anticipated read of mine. Seven authors writing seven character POVs is no small feat, and it was accomplished well, watching the interactions between characters was fun. Also, Hugo is my new guilty pleasure. 4/5 Stars.

This month I read one book for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total so far sixteen.

- Warrior Witch

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

- Warrior Witch

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

- Out Of The Blue
- The Good Guys
- Floored

I read three books for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, making my yearly total so far fourteen.

- Out Of The Blue
- The Good Guys
- Floored

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

A Book You've Been Putting Off: Warrior Witch; Danielle L. Jensen
Illustrations: The Good Guys; Rob Kemp & Paul Blow
Yellow Cover: Floored; Various
Freebie: --
Someone Else Picks For You: Out Of The Blue; Sophie Cameron

Book Review: Floored; Various.

I had a list of ten books I was highly anticipating getting early, and this was one of them. And lucky me, my dream came true! Not only that, but I've also been selected to be part of the Blog Tour prior to it's release. So you can imagine I went into this book very excited!

SOURCE: Publisher Sent ARC
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Floored
AUTHOR: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson & Eleanor Wood
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Kids UK
PAGES: 320
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

RATING: 4/5 Stars

When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn't that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he's the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn't match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn't as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognises him; Kaitlyn, who's losing her sight but won't admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn't be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.

What I Liked:
  • These authors are all seriously talented. It's hard to put together a cohesive book with seven POVs, and I imagine it's actually even harder to have everyone agree on things and to do so cohesively. After all, the phrase 'too many cooks spoil the broth' exists for a reason. That being said, they did a wonderful job!
  • I really liked the characters and their development, particularly personality-wise. Some characters went through a major epiphany (I'm looking at you Hugo) while others were much more subtle about it. But they definitely all changed and it was fun to read.
What I Disliked:
  • Even though I felt that the characters developed well, the context and characters that surrounded their lives were a little bit vague. Each meeting is a year apart and a lot happens in a year, but I still came out of this story feeling that I didn't know them all that well. It was very much a novel of fleeting moments.
Overall Conclusion:
Despite the lack of connection to everyone (aside from Hugo, who was an awful human being but made me laugh and root for him like nothing else) I did enjoy this book a lot. They all had great personalities and watching them interact and 'take sides' in certain situations was a lot of fun. I just wish we could have got to know their lives outside of the meetings a little better and had a little more in the way of story. The narrator did a great job of bringing themes and threads together and played a huge part in making this work.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Series I Won't Finish'.

I've been wanting to do this category for some time now, mostly because I've been wanting to give a definitive list of series that I definitely won't be continuing as I've officially 'given up' on them.

1) 'Twisted Tales' Series by Liz Braswell ('Reflection' by Elizabeth Lim).

Just looking at these stunning covers makes me imagine cries of outrage from you all! I love villains, fairy tales, retellings and Disney as much as the rest of you! Why on Earth am I giving up on this one? Was my first experience really that bad? The answer is yes. Yes it was. As someone who enjoys fan-fiction, I did NOT like reading half a book of the same Aladdin script I'm used to and another half of weird nonsense. Having said that, I love Mulan and I can see now that 'Reflection' is written by a different maybe?

2) 'Midnight, Texas' Series by Charlaine Harris.

I really didn't like the first book of this series. Not even a little bit. It's a shame that it was my first and only impression of Charlaine Harris so far, as I know that people really enjoy her books but I couldn't stand the MC in this one, his pig-headed attitude towards women, the necessity to over-describe everyone's appearance, and the lack of real story.

3) 'Passenger' Series by Alexandra Bracken.

I couldn't really get on board with this first book. For me, the pacing was all over the place and the characters not so likeable. Though I liked MC Etta's spirit, I liked nothing else about her. Side characters such as Sophia drew my interest more, but didn't get enough page time. And the romance? It screamed insta-love to me and I just rolled my eyes all the way through it! I'd have liked more time travel and less time-wasting from a book that was supposed to focus on the first.

4) 'Soulwoven' Series by Jeff Seymour.

The main thing that I remember about book one of this series is how entirely forgettable it was. It was a vague fantasy quest book, playing to every trope imaginable and while the story was good, I had absolutely no connection to any of the POVs or what was going on at all. I really just didn't care enough.

5) 'Hunter' Series by Mercedes Lackey.

Again - beautiful covers that mask a less-than-average book. The story was a mish-mash of books I've read before, with a lot of Suzanne Collin's 'The Hunger Games' series coming out and a little bit of Attack On Titan! for good measure.. But the MC (I forget her name) was a total Mary Sue! She just did everything so perfectly, and with very little real experience. I didn't understand what was happening really and dismissed it pretty early on.

6) 'Fairytale Retellings' Series by Jackson Pearce.

I wanted to use the gorgeous covers found for 'Sisters Red' and 'Sweetly' for this post, but the first thing this series lacks? COVER CONSISTENCY. Ugh, it's my pet peeve when it comes to books! But that aside, I only got as far as reading the retelling of 'Little Red Riding Hood' before deciding this was not for me, because while it started relatively strong, it became horrendous as the book progressed. Terrible plot, terrible characters and not much in the way of world-building.

7) 'Benedict-Savant' Series by Joss Stirling.

This series is very much Stirling's response to the 'Twilight' series, and when I read book one I actually liked it. It did a few things differently, some better because Sky had a personality and Zed was a bit of a bad boy. But, after reading 'Stealing Phoenix', I've decided that this series is a little young for me and definitely not my thing. The stories are so predictable and tropey, with very little originality and a bit too much romance. The powers are kind of cool, but that's as far as it goes.

8) 'The Queen Of The Tearling' Series by Erika Johansen.

Upon finishing book one, I was disappointed by how mediocre I had found it. I'd heard so many great things about it and became excited by all of the attention it had received! But book two really through it off the track for me, and I'm 100% not finishing this series. Boring story, bizarre world-building and annoying characters do not make this a good read. At all.

9) 'Magisterium' Series by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare.

I had high hopes for this series because Holly Black, a favourite author of mine, was involved. And I didn't hate it. But I won't go beyond book one because it was just a bit too much like the 'Harry Potter' series we all know and love, except not executed nearly as well. It's such a shame! Look at those lovely covers!

10) ''Mancer' Series by Ferrett Steinmetz.

This book really drops you into it's bizarre world, and in some ways that could have been a good thing. Unfortunately, this world has a lot of rules and if they aren't explained then I'm really not going to get it! The MC was the most annoying aspect of it all though, because he was the very definition of self-loathing. He just whined and complained his way through the story and it got a little old after a while.

Monday 25 June 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (18th June - 24th June)...

This week has been a little hectic for a number of reasons. I mentioned some issues with the flat last week, and it's still an ongoing problem that is causing me a lot of stress and sleepless nights. That being said, we've had a look at a few potential new flats in case we need to move and that side of things has been a teeny bit exciting.

My favourite day of the whole week was probably Monday, because we got to focus on our wedding instead! In the afternoon we went to meet with a lady that we are hoping to have make our cake and we are pleased to announce that the consultation went really well and the samples were delicious! It's less than a year to go before we get married now, and we're really knuckling down to get everything done. We also went to taste the food from our venue's caterers which was equally as delicious. Definitely a food-filled day!

I Read...

I Received...

- '21 Lessons For The 21st Century' by Yuval Noah Harari: Netgalley (18/06/18)


Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Summer TBR List

Saturday 23 June 2018

Book Review: The Good Guys; Rob Kemp & Paul Blow.

This was a bit of an odd choice for me actually. Especially considering the fact that the original premise made me roll my eyes! That being said, I'm glad I picked it up.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Good Guys
AUTHOR: Rob Kemp & Paul Blow
PUBLISHER: Wren & Rook
PAGES: 128
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Reference

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

What if we celebrated boys for their kindness as well their strength? For their generosity as well as their success? For their loyal friendship as well as their charm? The Good Guys introduces us to 50 heroes who have showed that changing the world doesn't require a sword or a corporate jet. Readers will find stories of extraordinary men including Muhammad Ali, Professor Green, Patrick Stewart and Lionel Messi, as well as unsung heroes such as James Harrison, who has spent fifty years donating his rare blood to save millions of babies. There's even a section celebrating ten boys who didn't let their young age stop them from helping others, such as Matthew Kaplan, who responded to his brother's bullies by setting up an anti-bullying programme for schools. The Good Guys celebrates the feats of heroes and everyday men, and will show kids that it really is cool to be kind.

What I Liked:
  • Despite having heard of most of the people in this book, I still felt like I learnt a lot! Kemp highlighted a lot of thinks about his chosen 'heroes' that they are not famous for: compassionate acts of kindness. We need to read more about that, especially regarding historical men who are usually famous for bloodthirsty battles or conquests.
What I Disliked:
  • I have to say, I don't particularly think we need more books about men's accomplishments. It's what originally made me aggravated when I read this book's title. Having read it, that niggling thought remains, though I do think that Kemp provided a bit of a twist here.
Overall Conclusion:
I liked the focus of this book a lot. The illustrations were great, with some nicely chosen quotes to accompany them. There were some really interesting choices too! I think that while the book was very male-orientated, it actually focused on something not necessarily considered to be masculine. Compassion, kindness and sensitivity. I learnt a lot about famous figures I thought I knew a lot about, which was pretty cool!