Posted in book review

July 2017 Books

1. The Graces by Laure Eve

Initially I wasn’t a big fan of the writing style. I found that it relied a little too the graces.jpgheavily on telling. But then I got into the story. A major question looming over the story was whether or not River was good. Also, I only realised when it was brought up 40 pages in that, until that point, nobody had referred to her name. She chooses the name River and from that day she is only addressed as that. We don’t learn of her true name, but I hope that in the next book we do because I think it could say an awful lot about her. Why doesn’t she like her name? Is it too ordinary? Does it mean something? It was curious to me that her birth name was just left out.

 

I enjoyed The Graces. So much so, that I pre-ordered the next book.

 

2. Midsummer Nightmare by Kody Keplingermidsummer nightmare

Another book that I have previously read. It’s a simple premise of a one night stand coming back to bite you in the butt: high-school edition. Keplinger has a fascinating way of bringing out family drama that makes you sympathise with the main character. However, I felt like the mother in this story was kind of made out to be the enemy. Whilst Whitley’s relationship with her father develops and becomes more mature, Whitley’s insistence to make her mother the villain never changes. She blames her mother for never wanting to move on, for consistently bad mouthing her father. We never get to see them reconcile, nor do we see the relationship change between her and her mother and I found that so disappointing. It ultimately leaves this story on a low, even though everything else is supposed to make you feel like it’s a happy ending.

Whilst I love Keplinger’s stories, it saddened me to see the disregard to Whitley’s relationship to her mother. Especially as midway through the book Whitley needed someone to remind her that they were in her corner when her father was ignoring her. Having the mother just… disregard Whitley for her own personal vendetta seemed shallow, although that was probably the point.

Whilst The Duff from last month is a personal favourite of mine, Midsummer Nightmare is probably the opposite. It’s one that I might pick up every so often, but it’s certainly not a book that will have me on an emotional roller-coaster.

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So that’s it for this month! I haven’t really had a chance to read to my hearts content due to job hunting, but I hope I’ll be able to pick up my old habits of reading a couple of chapters before bed every night. Hopefully I’ll be back to devouring books in no time!

 

If you have any book recommendations, I would love to hear them! Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to check them out.

 

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June 2017 Books

So I’ve decided to start something new on the blog. At the end of every month, I’m going to do a quick review of the books I managed to read. Hopefully, it will help remind of what I’ve actually read.

 

  1. Monstress Vol 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu

I received this as a present from my brother and his girlfriend. It was.. interesting. Definitely something I would like to read more of.Monstress_Vol1-1

 

It had an fascinating concept and was beautifully drawn.

 

My issue was that at times I found it difficult to keep up with who’s who in the story. Perhaps it just requires me to read it again to solve the issue.

 

However, it has not held the test of time. I’m desperately trying to think back on the story – to remember character’s names, places, plot and… I can’t. I haven’t retained any of that information.

 

2. Deadpool Vol 1: Dead Presidents by Brian Posehn

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; I love Deadpool. deadpool dead presidents

He’s sarcastic, uncaring, and unapologetic. He makes pop reference and breaks the third wall constantly. But the merc-with-the-mouth is a total sweetheart. And this book is no exception.

In it, Deadpool faces exactly what’s on the cover; dead presidents. I thought I was going to be in for a completely unrealistic, face-palm story but… it actually made sense. On top of that, I laughed. A lot.

After reading Monstress,  it was a definitely needed pick me up!

 

3. By Your Side by Kasie West

I don’t often read Teen Romance books, but lately that’s what I’ve been craving. Kasie West’s By Your Side was a nice way to begin.by your side

It follows two teens trapped in a library who slowly get to know each other despite their different personalities and lives. It’s a tale of friendship and romance that leaves a sweet taste on the tongue.

I both enjoyed and hated this story. Hated because with every cliche, every over-the-top sickly moment I was rolling my eyes, but I loved it because of those things.

West has this way of writing that just wins me over every time. It’s like reading Sarah Dessen again. I don’t mind her stories being a little predictable because there’s always this element of surprise. That, and they’re just so easy to love.

 

4. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

I originally read this book when I was 16. Since then I have read it 4/5 times. I guess that’s a testament to how much I love it as I don’t normally return to books I’ve read.the duff

The thing about The DUFF is that it has such an important message – everybody feels like the ugly friend sometimes, but beauty is subjective. Whilst that sound shallow, the story has multiple elements that just work. From bad ex’s making a return, to dealing with problems at home, The DUFF is this complex story that some how captures the struggles you face in life (which is why I absolutely hate the film version).

Sure, it can be a little silly at times. But I got it. Even at 16, I connected with this book. I’m not sure why, I’m not sure if I care. But I love this book.

 

So that’s it for this month! I didn’t get a chance to read much (I moved back home at the beginning of the month so I haven’t really had that much time to read), but I plan on reading a few more books this month.

If you have any book recommendations, I would love to hear them! Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

On my Goodreads account, I wrote ‘predictable ending, still made me cry.’

On January 12th, 2017, I finished this book. Even though my review was short, I still somewhat agree with it.

To give you a taste of the book, here’s the blurb:

LIVE LIFE IN A BUBBLE?

OR RISK EVERYTHING FOR LOVE?

Maddy is allergic to the world.

She hasn’t left her house in seventeen years.

Olly is the boy next door.

He’s determined to find a way to reach her.

Everything, Everything is about the crazy risks we take for love.

Straight away you know this is a young adult romance novel.

That’s not why I picked it up.

It has been on my recommended list, both on Goodreads and Amazon, for a while. I just never picked up a copy until I walked in WHSmith one afternoon.

In general, romance novels aren’t my go to when I want a book to read. But this book intrigued me because it’s not often that you have a character with an illness star as the main character.

I mean, sure, Me Before You centres around a woman falling in love with a man in a wheelchair, but it the story was about how the people you meet, the people you love, can change your life without you even realising it.

Everything, Everything is not like that.

It’s worse.

Straight away you’re introduced to Maddy and her unusual way of narrating her story. Made up of diary entries, doctor’s reports, schedules, book reviews, and more, you discover what makes Maddy tick.

But the ending is placed right in front of you quite early on. I won’t tell you the ending, but any eagle-eyed reading will catch on. So by the time you’re reaching the climax, you’re already guessing what’s going to happen.

Yes, the book made me cry, that’s why I waited a few weeks before writing a review. If a book makes me cry, I automatically assume that it’s a good book. I don’t blame it on the fact that I’m a bog baby who cries at everything (everything).

Sitting here now, I don’t really remember the characters. I had to pull my copy of the book out from my shelf just to figure out the main character’s name (always a good sign). I don’t remember what part made me cry, I just remember the ending.

An ending that was just… meh.

When it comes to book or films, I always stress trying them out yourself and making your own opinion. This is just mine.

But… if you want a cheat sheet, I recommend you watch the trailer for the film. They really hold nothing back.

Watch the trailer here:

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I was recently recommended this book through a friend on Goodreads. It instantly ticked several of my loves just through the blurb alone. It had suspense, crime, action, and most importantly, no hint of a romance.

Take a look for yourself…

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23437156-six-of-crows

Starting this book, I was intrigued. This quickly disappeared once I started to actually read the book. Once I realised that none of the main characters exceeded the age of nineteen, everything just became… implausible. At first, I believed Kaz to be older, at least in his thirties. He’s described as walking with a cane, dark, and brooding.

He’s seventeen.

Instantly I began to question his ability to lead. He may have been skilled, but he’s still a child. He still has a very limited experience of the world. This sense only became stronger and stronger as I read on and learned more about the other characters.

Inej is basically a ninja with sneaking about. She’s known as the Wraith because you’ll never hear her coming into a room. But this seems to be her only strength as, physically, she is overpowered easily. The only way she has an advantage over opponents is by sneaking up to them.

Nina is a ‘heartrender’, a term here meaning ‘blood’ magic, who works mainly in a brothel of sorts manipulating emotions. She may seem like a hardass when you first meet her, but you soon learn that that trait quickly disappears when confronted.

Jesper is a sharpshooter who joins the crew after ditching uni and taking up gambling. He’s the sarcastic, light-hearted one in the bunch.

Wylan is the rich boy slumming it, which sounds like a boring character to have with a bunch of criminals, but he just so happens to have a knack for making bombs. Because, you know, that’s what rich kids are taught.

Finally, and most reluctantly on the team, is Matthias, who is a brute of a boy (teen, really) and is only recruited because of his knowledge of the Ice court.

Whilst I can get over the young ages of all the characters, what bothered me about this book was the fact that the characters were able to get out of situations easily. That Bardugo makes it seem like, even when their plans went to the shitter, they were still on track to their goal (which wasn’t true). Especially as, in many instances, their escape relied on a trait or object that one character possessed that was never mentioned before (and this is 200 pages into the book). It wouldn’t have been so bad, but I honestly think it was just lazy writing.

For example, when they first arrive at the prison they have no reasonable means to escape. Suddenly, one character reveals a talent that just so happens to provide a way for them to leave – a talent they have not mastered and certainly has no control over. It’s later revealed that this talent wasn’t even needed anyway (I know that’s vague, but I don’t want to spoil the book too much) because another character had concealed a lockpick by swallowing one.

Every time they managed to escape with not even a scratch, I was rolling my eyes. It was too good to be true. Everything turns out perfect even when Kaz sabotages his own mission. It’s as if he planned for this from the very start (which is explicitly said he hasn’t and everything that happens in the Ice Court is on the fly).

Now I did enjoy reading this. In fact, I enjoyed it very much, but all these small discrepancies can’t be ignored. Whilst I loved the fact that this is the first book I’ve read with multiple female characters, there are too many things that stopped me from loving it. Because of that, I don’t think I will ever be able to pick up the sequel.

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Harry Potter and The Cursed Child (2016)

Harry Potter is one of the best things I have ever read. I’m one of the few that didn’t grow up reading the books, but irregardless it is one of my favorites. When Deathly Hallows Part 2 finally hit the big screen in 2011, I was gutted. It marked the end of an era. So when The Cursed Child was announced, I was thrilled. We were finally getting a sequel.

Now it needs to be said that whilst this is the eighth addition to the Potter saga, it is not a novel but a script. If it was a novel, I would have walked away completely frustrated because the story line is basically fanfiction – in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve come across one very similar to this. But as a script it works. It’s supposed to be visual and the dialogue is supposed to reveal a little too much but the character – how else would you know what’s going on if you’re sitting on the back row?

I am definitely biased when it comes to Harry Potter, so whilst this may be my least favourite of the series, I still love it.

Now, I’m not going to be revealing anything. The books still fresh on the shelves and it doesn’t seem fair to give away spoilers this early in the game.

But I will say this – if you don’t like reading scripts, this is definitely not the one to read. If you don’t mind, proceed. You’ll enjoy it. But at the end of the day, you’ll only get to experience the magic if you see the play in person.

And don’t worry, new tickets are released every Friday at 1pm so you still have a chance!

I, for one, will be trying to snag myself some tickets as soon as possible so I can experience the magic before my eyes.

 

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransome Riggs

By now, I think I’ve made my love for superheroes and all things supernatural clear. I decided to purchase Riggs book after seeing the film trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Instantly, I loved the concept. It was basically the English equivalent of X-men.

However, as much as I enjoyed the book, it did let me down a little. I didn’t really feel Jacob – I didn’t sympathise with him at all. He seemed wishy-washy to me. He was quick to abandon his friend – his only friend too, apparently. He was quick to fall in love and abandon his family.

What I did enjoy was the use of photography. It creates this world that can be real although you know it’s not.

Really, I’m conflicted about it. On one hand, I devoured it in a few days (an accomplishment, really, as it’s been taking me longer lately to get through a book). On the other, I don’t really feel motivated to read the second book (although I have bought it just in case I want to).

I would recommend it to anyone who likes super-powers, especially as the powers used are quite unique and interesting. Really, what I’m excited about is seeing the adaptation and how they’ve changed the story.

At the end of the day, it’s an okay read but just don’t expect to love the characters.

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Civil War by Mark Millar

For my birthday, my brother presented me, with a rather large grin, Civil War by Mark Millar because he knows how excited I am for the upcoming Captain America film.

Whilst I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the read, completing the comic in a few hours, it has given me low hopes for the film.

The comic is so complex – there’s so many angles, so many of my favorite characters integrated into the story. How can the film even compare?

As a quick run down, the story begins with a group of amateur superheroes recording a reality T.V. program and ‘chasing ratings’. They decide to take on a group of super-villains well out of their league, resulting not only in their deaths, but the destruction of a near by school killing hundreds of innocent children. Of course this results in protests demanding that superheroes be put on a leash and stop them from taking the piss all over New York – sorry I mean the world.

Thus we have Iron Man and Captain America fore-fronting the two arguments, as we see in the film.

However, I think the film will still work. They’ve simplified the idea of Civil War, sure. But the basis is still the same. In Age of Ultron, they literally destroyed an entire town fighting Ultron and the trailers for Civil War demonstrate the backlash to all that destruction.

Personally, I sided with Tony Stark. Whilst Superheroes are amazing, their determination to defeat super villains frequently involves taking down cities. Whilst putting them on a leash will not remove this factor away from their fights, it will make them more conscious if there are punishments for their actions.

Superheroes can easily be seen as gods on Earth, especially when they are also mutants. Their abilities put them far above ordinary humans, which is why I understand why the X-Men face such hatred among the common person. I’m not saying it is necessary, nor even appropriate, but that I understand where that hatred comes from.

Left unchecked, who is to stop these ‘heroes’ from turning? From deciding to take over the world?

Whilst the idea also becomes reminiscent of the mutant registration (which obviously has strong ties to the Nazis regime), I like the idea of superheroes working with the government. Whilst the whole ‘mutant registration’ is a completely different ball park, superheroes being registered is a brilliant idea. not only do they become an organised team, they will also have the chance to train to work on their abilities in a safe space (much like Xavier team).

Again, there is a fine like between having superheroes registered and mutants registered. Whilst I believe in Tony’s fight, the average mutant should not need to announce their status as a mutant. Not every mutant with abilities will become a hero – will go on to protect the world. Like any human, they deserve anonymity.

Of course, if they then go on to protect/terrorize the world, their status should change.

Really, when you start thinking like this, you start walking on a fine line between fiction and the real world. Comics have always had statements on society, and with everything going on in the world as of late, Civil War is just as current today as when it was originally published.

I definitively recommend the comic to anyone who loves Marvel, especially the Avenger films, but be prepared to be thrown in without much introduction to the character -and there are many. I found myself a little lost as to who some of the characters are, and I would have previously said I was quite familiar of the Marvel Universe.

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The Way The World Ends.

Don’t worry, it’s not literal. It’s just a book.apocalypse

For my degree, we have to write a short story. My lecturers strongly advised that we familiarized ourselves with them for the project. Apocalypse by Calum Kerr just so happened to peak my interest.

Now I love a good disaster book. And this was Kerr’s collection of flash fiction on the apocalypse – how could I not love it?

Except for the fact that I didn’t. Not really.

I will say this about Apocalypse; it wasn’t what I expected.

When I think of the apocalypse trope, automatically I think of I am Legend by Richard Matheson, or The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Both are tales that occur after the major event has happened.

Apocalypse follows many characters. Some recurring, and others for only a glimpse. It combines all the usual tropes of end of world books. It has zombies, Godzilla like creatures, and even a ‘rapture’ of sorts. But it is the way Kerr combines them in his series that somehow makes the story sound plausible. It does not sound completely bizarre, which it undoubtedly is when you list them in such a fashion.

It flows in an unexpected way. However I could not fully enjoy the stories. Maybe it is because of the nature of flash fiction, but I found myself wanting more. I wanted to know these characters. I wanted to see them go on adventures; to survive. 

For me, flash fiction is brilliant. It is more complicated to write than a novel, yet Kerr managed to make a novella out of flash fiction. It works because he comes back to several character’s throughout.Each time you greet them is like the first; you don’t necessarily have to read the stories in the right order. In fact, I’m pretty certain you could flick to any story within the book and read it, and it will still make sense.

For that reason alone, I recommend Apocalypse for anyone who loves disaster books.