Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Top Five Wednesday | Books You Won't Read. Ever.

This week's Top Five Wednesday is Top Five Books You Won't Read. Ever. Just in case anyone is new to this. Top Five Wednesday is an idea created by Lainey, or Gingerreadslainey on youtube. She creates weekly topics for bloggers and youtubers to talk more about different aspects of their favourite books. The group, which lists the monthly topics, can be found here!

I have to say that this was a really difficult topic for me. There are very few books that I just refuse to read. I always try to give any book a chance as you never know if you're going to enjoy it despite what other people think. Most of these books are sequels to books I read and really didn't enjoy for one reason or another but there are a couple which I just don't think I'll be picking up.

1) Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
I know lots of people really love this book but when I first heard the synopsis it just didn't really appeal to me. Later on I watched a youtube review of this book about the unhealthy relationship which is presented and it sickened me a little bit. I went on to read several reviews and the sound of the abusive relationship in the book just really put me off ever reading it. Sorry if you love this series but I find it difficult in my twenties to read about these teenage relationships that are just unrealistic and slightly creepy sounding!

2) The Frey Saga by Melissa Wright
This trilogy is on my list for an entirely different reason. I read Melissa Wright's other trilogy, The Descendants, earlier this year and I really disliked it. This was the most vague trilogies I think I have ever read. I was just left with a ridiculous amount of questions. From the first book I couldn't tell you where the book was set, what the world is like, why things are happening, or even what the main character's motives were and it's in a first person narrative. I understand when a book likes to slowly build up the world around it, but in this there was no world building, just a plot which lacked a lot of sense because of it. It also stopped me from connecting to the characters because I didn't understand them or why they were doing things.To see my review of the first book you can click here. In my opinion the series barely got much better so I won't be picking up her next trilogy. I only finished her first trilogy because I bought all three books at once for £2.99.

3) Bridget Jones: Mad About a Boy by Helen Fielding
The final Bridget Jones book was spoiled to me the year it came out and, sadly, I've had absolutely no desire to finish the series because of this. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy the first book and I liked the second book even more but after being spoiled I just don't feel like reading this book. Also I've read some pretty terrible reviews about it and I just don't think it would really appeal to me like the other books did!

4) The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

 I really hate to say this because I love what I've seen of Maureen Johnson as a person in Vlogbrothers videos and everything but I really didn't like 13 Little Blue Envelopes. I was on a contemporary kick about four years ago and decided to pick up this book but I had to force my way through it to be perfectly honest. I remember it falling flat for me and I found the characters quite annoying. I don't remember a lot of the book but I remember it ending on a cliffhanger that I didn't really care about. For those reasons I won't be picking up the sequel I'm afraid.

5) Lord Loss by Darren Shan
Now this is an author that I know many people love but I'm just not one of them. I haven't tried to read much else of Darren Shan's except this so I'm not really judging his writing or his storytelling here. I tried to read this book about ten years ago and I really disliked how gory the first part of the story is. Now I generally don't mind gore in books, I can deal with it. But I think the combination of the age I was and the way it was described in this book really put me off. And now I feel like I probably wouldn't be able to read this series because I'm a bit too old for the characters to be relatable any more. It's become one of those series that I'm just not interested in ever picking up.

So these were my Top Five Books I Won't Read. Ever! What were yours? Leave me a link to your Top Five and I'll check it out. Also please don't be offended if I've trashed your favourite book/series here. It's just my opinion!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Bout of Books Wrap-up

So it's time for my Bout of Books 13.0 Wrap-up! Although I didn't read everything I said I would I still managed to read a lot this week despite working every day so I'm quite proud of that.

For those that don't know what Bout of Books is and didn't see my TBR post here's some more information:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog! 
So I managed to read 6 things overall. Four books and two novellas which I think is pretty good. I won't do a full review of each book I read here but I'll tell you what I read and what I rated it.

Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout ★1/2
Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Half Bad by Sally Green 
Half Lies by Sally Green 
Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout ★1/2
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon ★1/2-
100 pages of Half Wild by Sally Green (Now finished) 
54 pages of Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Now finished) 

I'm happy to say it was a successful read-a-thon! I hope yours was too and I apologise for the lateness of my wrap-up but I had a very busy week/weekend!

BOOK REVIEW: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Rogue (#2) by Julie Kagawa

Genre: Young Adult/Modern Fantasy

My Rating: 

Goodreads Page

Spoiler Free Summary:

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

With assassins after them, the rogues find an unexpected ally and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George. 

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

**Spoiler Free Review**

Publication Date: 15th April 2015

I was sent a copy of this book from Harlequin (UK) Limited, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Rogue is the second book in Julie Kagawa’s series. I had high expectations for the first book, Talon, when I first saw just the cover. I love dragon books and the concept of this one sounded interesting and unique. I’d also heard a lot of good things about Julie Kagawa’s writing (which is, as I found out, completely justified).

The first book I found quite exciting and fast-paced, albeit a little underdeveloped in world-building. However, this second book certainly delved into the world of Talon itself a bit more. I also really enjoyed the exploration into different character’s back stories and points of view. Diving into more of Dante's point of view was especially interesting with his experiences on the other side; it was so fascinating to see more of the dragons and their organisation. Garrett and Riley were equally made so much more three-dimensional in this book as you learnt more about their pasts and what led them to this moment.

Sadly, I did find Ember rather irritating in this book (and a bit in the last book). I think it was just her reckless behaviour which a lot of female characters in YA seem to have these days. I can only hope that character development will continue in the next book and that she will change for the better. However, I do think the main reason for this sudden onslaught of reckless characters in YA is the result of something else... the love triangle.

There is a love triangle in this book and, although I can see how this developed (and I suppose it makes more sense than many love triangles), I really dislike them as a trope in Young Adult fiction. They are everywhere. It just frustrates me when reading a book as I feel it takes away from the storyline and it always seems to force the main character to make stupid/reckless decisions for absolutely no reason. Having said that, I am interested in seeing how this one actually plays out and what will become of the characters; which I think just shows how well Julie Kagawa writes mores than anything else.

And I do think the main thing I love about these books is Julie Kagawa’s writing. She writes dialogue between characters fantastically well. She brings the characters to life through their speech and I really feel as though I know them. Her beautiful writing makes them as vivid and three-dimensional as any person. Although he’s not the main character of this book I think Wes is definitely one of my favourites. He is witty, clever and downright brave when it comes to facing dragons, especially those on his own side. Everyone needs a good hacker on their team and he is the perfect character in the team to stop the main focus being on romance.

Although I did see the twist coming, I still got a shock at a couple of things in the ending, and I thought it suited the book perfectly. It’s an exciting instalment in this series and I am looking forward to continuing on because I’m very interested to see where this story goes and how the characters will develop. I really want to see more of the world of Talon explored, as well as the history of St George. If you're a lover of modern/urban fantasy and dragons then I highly recommend picking up the first book in this series and giving it a read because it gets even more action-packed in the second book!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Bout of Books 13.0 Information and TBR

So I've decided to take part in the Bout of Books 13.0 Read-a-thon hopefully in order to read a bit more and to blog some more too! For those that don't know what Bout of Books is... here you go:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog!
I haven't had too much chance to read so far this month because of starting a new job, but I do have a two hour commute to work now which means lots of reading on the train (although I'm often a bit too exhausted to read when I get home!). So I hope this can push me to read some more this month! Without further ado, here is my TBR for this read-a-thon!

1) Finish Half Bad by Sally Green - I'm really enjoying this so far and although I've been reading it a while I'm finding it very fast paced and quick to get through, I just having picked it up as often as I could have. So this is definitely one to finish this week!

2) Finish Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I only started this a few days ago and I'm speeding through it. Armentrout's writing is so fast-paced and brilliant to read that it's a great book for a read-a-thon. Plus I really want to continue this series!

3) Half Wild by Sally Green - not much explanation needed here!

4) Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - I received an ARC of this book which I would really like to get to as soon as possible because I've heard wonderful things about this book and I'm hoping to review it this month.

5) Maus by Art Spiegelman - I've been desperate to read this for ages and I finally bought myself it last week. Plus, it's always good to have a graphic novel in a read-a-thon TBR!

So that's my Bout of Books Read-a-thon TBR! I'll update at the end of this week to talk about how I did but in the meantime let me know what your TBR's are for this read-a-thon! Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Moonlands by Steven Savile

Moonlands by Steven Savile

Genre: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads Page

Goodreads Summary:

Ashley Hawthorne thinks of herself as the Cuckoo Girl. No matter where she is it feels like she doesn’t quite belong. 

Everything changes when her eccentric aunt, Elspeth Grimm, leaves her the key to a safety deposit box in a bank that was destroyed during the Blitz. That box contains the first part of her true inheritance: an umbrella, a battered old notebook, a pair of aviator’s goggles and a locket. Each of these gifts is a unique part of who she really is. 

Elspeth is a Grimm, a descendent of the brothers who purged this world of monsters by trapping them within the Concord. She is the Oracle. A keeper of all the knowledge we have amassed about the creatures of the Fae and other worlds. And someone intent on destroying the Concord has murdered her! 

**Spoiler Free Review**

Publication Date: 15th April 2015

I was sent a copy of this book from BadPress, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This is another book which I had heard nothing about and I was very interested in the premise, particularly as it was an urban fantasy book set in London, which I haven't really seen much of before.

Just because I only gave this book three and half stars does not mean I didn't enjoy it. I did, I really liked it and found it a fun read. However, I think I was at the wrong age to read this and nothing really leaped out to me to make me want to read more.

The story follows young Ashley Hawthorne who discovers that there are whole other worlds beyond that of ours and that she is actually a huge part of it. I felt like so much happened in one book and I often wanted it to slow down a bit to maybe flesh out the more two-dimensional characters and to explore more about what was going on. I'm not one hundred per cent sure if this is a stand alone novel but it kind of felt like one and I don't think I'll be picking up the rest if there are any more. That's not to say it was a bad book though.

Many of the characters were interesting and if you enjoy urban fantasy, werewolves and magic then you will definitely enjoy picking up this book. It was fast-paced, interesting and it did keep me turning the page to find out more. I especially loved the incredibly creepy creature that destroyed a person's senses (which, in description, reminded me of The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and I found it very eerie and sinister.

One thing that did make me a bit less enthused about the book was the Moonlands themselves, as they felt pretty flat and I couldn't imagine so much of it. There was very little description about the world which is  also why I feel another book would be useful to explore that. I was so interested in this new place but there was so little about it that I feel like some of the book was missing.

I think if you're in your early-mid teens and enjoyed The Mortal Instruments then you would probably enjoy this book too. I know many people will enjoy the romance that develops in the book and the action towards the end was extremely well written. The author is incredibly talented but I just wish the world was a bit more fleshed out. Overall it was a very solid book but it just wasn't for me!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Enchantment Lake: A Northwoods Mystery by Margi Preus

Enchantment Lake: A Northwoods Mystery by Margi Preus

Genre: Young Adult/Middle-Grade/Mystery

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads Page

Goodreads Summary:

A disturbing call from her great aunts Astrid and Jeannette sends seventeen-year-old Francie far from her new home in New York into a tangle of mysteries. Ditching an audition in a Manhattan theater, Francie travels to a remote lake in the northwoods where her aunts’ neighbors are “dropping like flies” from strange accidents. But are they accidents?

On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hot dish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure that is said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? At the center of everything is a suddenly booming business in cabin sales and a road not everyone wants built.

**Spoiler Free Review**

Release Date: 13th April 2015

I was sent a copy of this book from the University of Minnesota Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I hadn't heard anything about this book previous to reading it, however, I was very intrigued by the premise and, I'm not going to lie, the lovely cover drew me in as well.

This book follows Francie, a young girl, who takes on the role of a detective in a secluded lake area where mysterious deaths keep taking place. She takes on the role to protect her two rather batty but lovable Aunties who are sure something suspicious is happening but have no proof.

Despite being a murder mystery novel, I found it rather light-hearted which I enjoyed. The story line was a little bit ridiculous and unbelievable in some ways (such as a teenager being mistaken as a member of the police) but that's what made it really interesting. It was just that little bit silly and witty but equally filled with mystery and suspense that kept me turning the page to find out more. In a way it reminded me of the Professor Layton DS games (if you've ever played them then you'll know what I mean): a rather small, isolated community with lots of strange happenings and a surreal mystery/puzzle which needs to be solved.

I loved Francie's Aunts in this book, they were hilariously witty and slightly bumbling yet incredibly intelligent. I also ended up loving Francie's Grandfather by the end and I found the other small twist at the end quite funny. Some of the characters around the lake weren't explored as much as I'd hoped they would be but I still found them all interesting and somewhat believable.

I have to say that I enjoyed this a lot more than I though I would and I'm definitely intrigued to read more of these mysteries, especially because some of the overarching mysteries about the main character weren't resolved and I think they'll be explored throughout the series.

Overall, it was a light and interesting read, and I would definitely recommend it for those lovers of 'cosy' murder mystery stories and countryside crime novels such as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.