Thursday, 31 August 2017

August Book Haul

Hi I'm Gemma and I have a book buying problem!

I'm not sure what really happened this month, especially since I was away for 2 weeks of the month too, I still seem to have acquired far too many books. As well as buying or swapping 15 physical books this month I also received several eARCS so without further ado here are all the books I received in August! 



 Physical Books

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles 
The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Sailsbury 
Rattle by Fiona Cummins - received from the publisher for review
City of Circles by Jess Richards 
The Rest of us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis 
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
Show Stopper by Hayley Barker
Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton
Asking For It by Louise O'Neil
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
The Waking Land by Callie Bates
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Ebooks

Hide and Seek by Richard Parker - eARC from NetGalley (review)
I Know Where She Is by S.B. Caves - eARC from NetGalley (review)
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller - eARC from NetGalley (review)
Outcast by Lauren Hillman - PDF from the author (review)
The Treatment by C.L. Taylor - eARC from NetGalley
A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe - eARC from NetGalley
Blackbird by N.D. Gomes - eARC by NetGalley
The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook - eARC from NetGalley
The Ultimate Sacrifice by S.E. Green - eARC received from publisher
Heartshire High by Charlotte Leonetti - PDF from the author 
The Secrets You Keep by Kate White - eARC from NetGalley
The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz - eARC from NetGalley
The Body in the Marsh by Nick Louth - eARC from NetGalley

Phew! There we have it this is all the books I acquired in August. I am looking forward to all of the ebooks I received, keep an eye out on my blog over the next month for several up and coming blog tours. 

Have you read any of these? Are there any here you would recommend that I bump up my TBR? Let me know in the comments. 





Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Review - Scarlet by Marissa Meyer


Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Published 7th February 2013 by Puffin Books
Star Rating - 2.5*
Goodreads Challenge - 58/50

Synopsis from Goodreads

This is not the fairytale you remember.

But it’s one you won’t forget.


Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.

Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.

As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .


My Thoughts

So I don't want to say too much about the plot of this one as this is the 2nd book in the Lunar Chronicles series but basically we continue to follow Cinder on her journey as well as the introduction of Scarlet and her story. Scarlet's story is a retelling of Red Riding Hood just as Cinders is a retelling of Cinderella and you can definitely see where the inspiration for the story has come from. We follow Scarlet and a mystery man called Wolf as they search for Scarlet's missing Grandmother. We also wait for Cinder and Scarlet's paths to collide.

I loved Cinder and I gave it 4 stars and I was really looking forward to this next installment of the series however, I was quite disappointed. I didn't actually think that anything happened for about the first 300 pages! There was lots of traveling from place to place and that was really it. We had no real action or excitement until the last quarter of the book and to be honest up until then I was a bit bored. I wasn't invested in the story and I wasn't wanting to pick the book up which was such a shame.

I didn't really enjoy Scarlet's chapters. I found her to be quite wingey and annoying and all she really thought about was herself and her family. Now thinking about her family is not necessarily a problem however, when came the time to consider others she came across to me as quite resentful about it. I also didn't like Scarlet and Wolf's relationship. To me it was very unrealistic and instalovey. They met each other one day and fell for each other the next and this just did not feel real to me.

My one issue with Cinder was that I didn't feel we had enough information about the world the story is set in or the world of Luna and I was hoping this might of been rectified in this book however, that was not the case. We didn't learn anything new in relation to these parts of the story, if anything we learned less about where Scarlet came from then we did about where Cinder came from. I did still enjoy Cinder as a character though. She still held her own throughout the story and fought against the odds like she did in her story. Her chapters were my favorite parts of the book.

As I said earlier the story picked up in the last 100 pages and we finally had a lot of action and excitement. I loved Cinder's closing lines and this is why I will be continuing on with the next book, I really want to know what happens next. I'm also looking forward to getting to Fairest as I love Queen Levana as a villain and I can't wait to learn more about why she is so evil! 

Overall Rating (2.5*)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Review - Outcast by Lauren Hillman


Outcast by Lauren Hillman
Independently published on 19th July 2017
Star Rating - ***.5
Goodreads Challenge - 57/50
 
I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review. 
 

Synopsis from Goodreads 

Merissa is a faerie with no magic, no memory... and no friends. Until a hummingbird arrives with an ominous message: The Queen wants her dead.

With the help of the hummingbird Chippen, Merissa sets out on a dangerous journey searching for the one faerie who may know the truth about her past. Instead she finds more questions when they meet Griff, a gypsy boy with pale grey eyes and one heart-melting dimple and Merissa discovers they have a strange connection. Soon her past will
endanger them all.

But she is a faerie. And faeries are protectors. So if anything will help Merissa regain her lost powers it will be to save her friends.
 


My Thoughts

This is a really cute middle grade fantasy that I found really enjoyable. It was super fun to read and had some great overall themes. The story is set in the fae world and focused on one faerie called Marissa who is an outcast among her kind. She is shunned by her village and doesn't know where she comes from. Whilst trying to figure out her past she meets a messenger from the Citadel and gypsy boy. Together they go off on an adventure to discover who she truly is.

This is an independently published story that I was sent a copy of by the author and I'm really glad I was. I thought it was a really cute middle grade fantasy that I can see being loved by lots of children. As I was reading I did notice some grammatical errors but not enough to break my flow of reading so overall I found this to be quite an enjoyable reading experience.

Although I enjoyed the overall story I did find the plot and the characters to be quite surface level. There wasn't as much depth as I would of liked however, I do understand that this may be because of the age group the book is intended for. That being said there were some really lovely ideas that I would of liked to have seen developed a bit more such as how things worked in the Citadel.

I also thought there were some really good themes covered in this book. There was a big emphasis on the importance of friendship as Marissa meets several new friends on her journey after beginning the story as the outcast of the village. I also liked how it showed how it's okay to be different in some ways and not to let others get you down. Marissa showed a certain level of self determination throughout the story and I believe all of these things should be promoted in stories for children.

Overall I thought this was a really fun story with some good themes. I think children who love mythical creatures and faeries will love this book. I didn't realize when I picked it up that it was part of a series and I would love to see how it concludes.
 


Overall Rating (3.5*)

 



Friday, 25 August 2017

Mini Reviews

I'm still trying to catch up on reviews of all the books I've read over the past couple of weeks so here are 4 mini reviews for you guys. I'll also link my full Goodreads review so you can check that out if your interested in any of these.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 
Published June 5th 2012 by Broadway Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 51/50

What I liked: The fact that the premise was based on video games, the video game type quest, the world building and the characters Art3mis and Aech. 

What I didn't like: I didn't understand lots of the 80's references as I grew up in the 90's and I struggled to connect with Wade as a character. 

Full Goodreads review can be found here


The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Published April 23rd 2013 by Harper 
Star Rating - ***.5
Goodreads Challenge 52/50

What I liked: The detailed and magical writing style, how all of the characters perspectives weaved together at the end, the description of the places and the themes of friendships. 

What I didn't like: Some of the side character perspectives and how the novel was quite slow paced with a character focus. 

Full Goodreads review can be found here.  

 
13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough 
Published 18th February 2016 by Gollancz
Star Rating - ****.5
Goodreads Challenge - 53/50

What I liked: The completely gripping nature of this story, the unexpected twists and turns, the realistic depiction of teenage friendships and high school life and all of the characters and how their personalities fit so well with the story. 

What I didn't like: Not much as you can tell by the rating it just didn't quite sit in the 5* category for me.  

Full Goodreads review can be found here

 
The Dry by Jane Harper
Published June 1st 2017 by Abacus 
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 54/50

What I liked: The gripping story line, the fleshed out characters that were real and relatable, the depiction of a small rural town community, the immersive writing and there were some elements of surprise.

What I didn't like: It was a bit slow going in parts and I managed to work out some of the plot twists. 

Full Goodreads review can be found here.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Lets discuss in the comments. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Holiday Wrap Up

As I did a separate holiday TBR I thought I would do a separate holiday wrap up too. Also, this way my monthly wrap up shouldn't be as long as it would be if I put everything together. So lets kick off with all the books I read whilst I was away. 





I was away for two weeks and whilst I was there I managed to read nearly 8 books! I'm really pleased with this as I felt that I managed to make a dent in the pile of books on my kindle. I managed to read 3 physical books and 5 kindle books, 3 of which were NetGalley eArcs. So overall a really successful couple of weeks reading! I have listed the summaries below from highest rated to lowest rated. I aim to review all the books I've read so I will link them alongside once I have done so. 


13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Published February 18th 2016 by Gollancz
Star Rating - ****.5 
Goodreads Challenge - 53/50
Review - Goodreads Review





Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Published June 5th 2012 by Broadway Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 51/50
Review - Goodreads Review



 

Hide and Seek by Richard Parker
Published 31st August 2017 by Bookouture 
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 49/50
Review - Blog Review  



 

The Dry by Jane Harper 
Published June 1st 2017 by Abacus 
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 54/50
Review - Goodreads Review



 

I Know Where She Is by S. B. Caves
Published August 14th 2017 by Canelo
Star Rating - ***.5
Goodreads Challenge - 48/50
Review - Blog Review 



 

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Published April 23rd 2013 by Harper
Star Rating - ***.5
Goodreads Challenge - 52/50
Review - Goodreads Review



 

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Published August 29th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire 
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 50/50
Review - Blog Review  



 

Arcadia by Iain Pears
Published June 2nd 2016 by Faber & Faber
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 55/50
Review - to come 

I actually finished this one when I got back but I got about 75% of the way through when I was away so I'm counting it. 



So there we have it these are all of the books I read whilst I was away. Which ones have you read if any and what did you think? I would love to discuss these with you in the comments. 

Review - Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller


Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Published August 29th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 50/50 (YAY!)
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.


My Thoughts

I found this to be an enjoyable enough story, I found myself wanting to pick it up rather than putting it off. Since finishing it I have read several reviews which compare this story to others such as The Hunger Games and upon reflection I can see why however, this didn't bother me as I enjoy these types of stories. This book is about Sal who finds a poster asking for people to come and take part in a competition to be the new member of the left hand, which is the Queen's elite assassin squad. We follow Sal and the others who take part in the competition and all of the action and excitement that ensues. There are also some side plots which I will come to later.

This main plot line of the competition is what I enjoyed the most about this story. I liked the action and how fast paced the story was and although it was somewhat predictable this didn't bother me. I did however find that I was sometimes confused with what was happening and why things were happening. To me this happened more when we were reading about the side plots and Sal's reasons for joining the Left Hand. I found the writing jumped around a lot and this was sometimes hard to follow. I enjoyed the fast paced nature of the story but I feel that if some chapters slowed down a bit and offered some more explanation the side plots would of been easier to follow. I was also a bit disappointed in the world building. I would of liked some more depth to this. It would of been nice to learn more about the history of the lands, the magic system and the wars.

I loved the fact that the author included a gender fluid main character, any diversity is a hit for me, and I liked how it was accepted in this world. However, I would of liked to have seen a bit more about Sal growing up and dealing with their gender fluidity. I would of liked to see how they challenged others views, overcame difficulties and came into their own. To me this would of made Sal a stronger character. I did like the portrayal of Sal however, and I liked how feisty and kick ass they were.

I also wasn't a massive fan of the romance. This is one of the aspects of the story that I found to be quite confusing. I appreciated that there was diversity in the romance however, I didn't quite get how they went from competitor and teacher to a couple. Again I think this was due to the writing jumping around a bit.

Overall I did enjoy the main crux of the story but I did have some issues with some aspects of this book. Initially I wasn't sure if I was going to continue on with the series but since looking into it a bit more I have found out it is a duology so I think I might pick up the next one just to see how the story concludes.



Overall Rating 


  

 

 

Review - Hide and Seek by Richard Parker


Hide and Seek by Richard Parker
Published August 31st by Bookouture 
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 49/50
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads

The sun is out. Your little boy is smiling. The next time you look… he’s gone.

When Lana and Todd win a trip to Blue Crest Adventure Park, their four-year-old Cooper is ecstatic, but when Lana goes to meet them, Todd is out cold, and Cooper is missing.

No one stopped the man with the sleeping boy. The cameras don’t show where he went. Then Lana finds her family picture on an online map detailing bloody murder sites. This is no random attack.

Whoever took Cooper is playing a twisted game, and if Lana wants to find him, she must participate. Can she uncover her tormentor’s identity before it’s too late?


My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this. The story gripped me throughout and kept me on the edge of my seat, always wanting more! I would definitely recommend this to those who love a good thrilling page turner. The story is about Lana and Todd who win a family trip to a theme park. All is well until Todd is attacked and their little boy Cooper is taken. We follow both Lana and Todd as they both have their own ideas as to why Copper was taken and follow up on these leads in a hope to get their little boy back.

I was completely hooked from the start of this book. It was definitely a page turner and it kept me wanting more and more. I liked how the author kept the chapters short. This kept me engaged throughout and I was always saying to myself I'm going to read just one more. In terms of the story I didn't think the plot was as original as I would of liked. There were definitely some classic thriller tropes throughout however, I felt the story was executed well and this combined with the authors fast paced writing style kept me well and truly engaged. I enjoyed the inclusion of the 'Right Where Your Standing' app. I thought this added an extra level of creepiness to the story.

I enjoyed the characters in this story. I found myself rooting for the good guys and wishing for the demise of the bad guys. I loved how fiery Lana was and I admired her commitment to her son. I don't have children of my own but I understand the need to do anything to protect them and to me this came across well throughout the story. I also admired Todd's commitment and I thought his side story added something extra. I did however want to bang their heads together at times, families need to work together.

Overall I found this a really gripping story and I would really recommend it to anyone who loves a good, fast paced thriller.
 


Overall Rating

 
 


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Review - I Know Where She Is by S. B. Caves


I Know Where She Is by S. B. Caves
Published August 14th 2017 by Canelo
Star Rating - ***.5
Goodreads Challenge - 48/50

I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 

Synopsis from Goodreads 

An explosive, gripping thriller for fans of Karin Slaughter, Linwood Barclay and Karen Dionne, don’t miss this heart-stopping debut.

On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn's abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS

When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.

But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.

It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.

She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.

But will Francine get her daughter back – or is it too late?


My Thoughts 

This story was definitely enthralling and it kept me hooked throughout, so much so that I managed to complete it in a day. Although, please be warned some may find the content triggering.

This is the story of Francine whose daughter was kidnapped 10 years ago. We open with Francine receiving a note echoing the title of the book 'I Know Where She Is'. We then follow Francine's journey as she follows the note and it's sender in the hope of finding her daughter.

I definitely enjoyed the story. I found it to be quiet thrilling and, as I said before, it kept me hooked throughout. The chapters were short which is something I like in thrillers. I find this keeps the story moving at a fast pace and I always find myself saying just one more. Also, to me Francine came across as a slightly unreliable narrator, especially at the beginning and this also kept me engaged with the story as I didn't always know what to think.

Although I did enjoy the reading experience there were a couple of things I struggled with throughout. I thought there were some aspects of the plot, which I won't mention specifically because of spoilers, that I found a bit too far fetched. To me they felt somewhat too easy to accomplish and therefore unrealistic. I also felt some plot points weren't explained in as much detail as I would of liked them to be, again I won't mention to much because of spoilers, and I would of liked a bit more of Lana' s story.

That being said I did enjoy the characters. I liked the fiesti
ness and perseverance both Francine and Autumn displayed. They both had strong personalities, especially Autumn, and they didn't give up easily. Which are traits I always like in female characters.

Overall I found this to be quite an enjoyable read. It kept me engaged throughout and I would defini
tely recommend it to people looking for a good page turner.

Overall Rating (3.5*)




Reviewer at Oftomes Publishing

I'm really excited to join the ranks of reviewers at Oftomes Publishing!

In September we will be reading Trapped in Silver by Emily Sowden which is a YA fantasy novel full of magic and featuring what sounds like a fantastic female main character, I'll link the Goodreads page down below.


I'm super excited to read this and will be posting my progress on twitter using the #trappedinsilver throughout September. I'd love for you to join in the fun and read along too.

Trapped in Silver Goodreads page.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Review - The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published April 6th 2017 by Walker Books
Star Rating - ****.5
Goodreads Challenge - 47/50
Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge - A 2017 release. 

Synopsis from Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice.
   

My Thoughts

I had this on my shelf for a while and I was inspired by the booktubeathon prompt, 'a story about a person different to you', to pick it up and I'm so glad I did. This story was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. It's about Starr who is dealing with the aftermath of witnessing her friend get shot by a police officer. It follows and highlights, quite rightly so, all of the prejudices and injustices their community face. I knew this was going to be an important read as soon as I started, the premise told me this right from the word go, and I wasn't wrong. Within the first 50 pages I had already admired Angie Thomas's ability to write and teared up so I knew I was in for an emotional ride.

I thought Angie's writing was good. It suited the tone of the book and matched the characters well. I did however, find that the use of slang and the way the writing matched the characters speech took me a while to get my head around at first. Initially I felt myself reading some passages over again and this meant the story didn't flow as well as I would of liked in the beginning. After about 100 pages I did get used to this and my reading experience got easier but this was one of the reasons I gave this book 4.5 *s. The other reason for this was because contemporary isn't my genre and although I know how important this story is I wasn't completely gripped throughout. Again please don't feel I am saying this isn't an important story, it is. The story itself and the reasons behind it I would award 5*s it's just a few aspects that personally don't appeal to my taste that made me knock it down to 4.5*s.

I loved the diversity of the characters which is obvious based on the concept of this book however, I loved the inclusion of a Chinese side character. The fact she was Chinese wasn't shouted from the rooftops or made a big deal out of it just fitted in well with the story which I enjoyed. I also liked how the characters broke stereotypes but again this is obvious based on the premise.

Starr as a main character was fantastic. She was very down to earth and her thoughts and feelings felt very realistic. She was extremely strong willed, in a good way, and stood up for what she believed in. Her growth throughout this novel was great. This is what we should hope for from all teenagers today. I thought her relationship with Chris was cute but it didn't detract from the overall story. There was no teenage angst and their feelings for each other felt very real and raw.

The whole of Starr's family were also fantastic. I felt wholly connected to them and again I thought their portrayal was very real. I felt like they could have been part of my family when I was growing up. I truly admire Angie's ability to write real emotion into characters and for her ability to make us feel fully connected to her characters throughout the story.

Overall I thought the was a very important and poignant read. I felt the writing style fit the story well and the characters were very relatable. I teared up a couple of times during the story which I don't normally do and I very rarely pick out quotes but I loved this one and how relevant it is to today's society.

'I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down. Now I am that person, and I'm too afraid to speak'.

I think this is a very significant story and it should be read by as many people as possible. I would definitely recommend.

 Overall Rating (4.5*)






 
 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Review - Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Published January 5th 2012 by Puffin
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 46/50
Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge - A book from a non-human perspective. 

Synopsis from Goodreads 

A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth's fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it's one you won't forget.

My Thoughts


Carrying on with my fairy tale retelling and fairy tale inspired stories I decided to pick up Cinder. I was also really looking forward to this as I have not long read Heartless and loved it so was excited to see what else Marissa Meyer had in store and I was not disappointed.

Cinder is a sci-fi retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. It is set in a futuristic version of our world where humans live alongside cyborgs. Our main character Cinder is one of these cyborgs, hence the non-human perspective challenge prompt, and we follow her life along with her step mother and two step sisters. There is also a castle, a prince and a ball, can you see the Cinderella pattern, and lots of fun and antics. Alongside this futuristic world is another race of people called Lunars who live on the moon and we also follow some of the tension between these two worlds as they come together.

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was a super fun read and I found it quite page turning. I actually finished the majority of the book in one day. You can definitely see the Cinderella influences throughout and I thought it was a super good example of a fairy tale retelling.

I enjoyed Cinders character, I felt invested in her and her story and I wanted to know what happened to her. I enjoyed the idea that she wasn't just a helpless female as you quite often see in the original fairy tales. She didn't rely on others to make things happen she worked hard for herself even if it was against the odds.

I was rooting for the romance in this story. I really hope we see more of Prince Kai and that there's more to his character than what we have seen initially, especially when it comes to Cinder. However, I did admire and appreciate how his character stood up for what he believed in when it came to his country and his people.

The only criticism I have was with the world building. A futuristic version of New Beijing was super interesting to me and I found the world to be fascinating and because of this I would of liked some more in depth information about it. I was also really hoping for some more information about the Lunars, where they came from and how they came to be. We didn't get much information apart from about their powers and I would of liked some more. I know there is a novella called Fairest which is about Queen Levana so hopefully this will give me some more information when I get around to it.

Overall I really enjoyed this story. I've already ordered Scarlett and I can't wait to continue on with this series.

Overall Rating 



Monday, 14 August 2017

Review - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Published May 28th 2008 by Random House UK
Star Rating - ***.5
Goodreads Challenge - 45/50
Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge - An author who uses a pseudonym.

Synopsis from Goodreads   

On a boring summer afternoon, the bright and inquisitive Alice follows a white rabbit down a rabbit-hole. At the bottom, she finds herself immersed in a bizarre world full of strange creatures and bizarre goings-on. She tries pills and potions, and attends a very strange tea party and croquet match. An immensely witty mix of satire, puzzles, and drama, this is one of literature’s most astute depictions of the experience of childhood.

My Thoughts  

I was inspired to pick up Alice's Adventures in Wonderland after reading Heartless by Marissa Meyer and I'm glad I did although I think I would of appreciated the references in Heartless more if I has read this beforehand rather than after.

I haven't read many classics apart from those I had to read in school, I find them quite intimidating and I worry that I will get lost or won't understand the story, but as this is a children's classic I thought I would be okay. I enjoyed reading this I thought it was a very whimsical story and the way Lewis Carroll wrote the book was quite fun. I remember trying to read this as a child and not being able to get through it but I defiantly appreciate it more now as an adult. I find I can understand the way Lewis Carroll writes more now than I could back then. As I said before I haven't read many classics so I find them quite hard to review as I don't have much to compare them to but overall I did enjoy the story.
 


Overall Rating (3.5*s)

 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Review - Fairest of All by Serena Valentino






Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino 
Published August 18th 2009 by Disney Press
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 44/50
Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge - A book with a subtitle. 

Synopsis from Goodreads  

The tale of the young princess and her evil stepmother, the Wicked Queen, is widely known. Despite a few variations from telling to telling, the story remains the same—the Queen was jealous of the girl’s beauty, and this jealousy culminated in the Queen’s attempt on the sweet, naive girl’s life.

Another tale far less often spoken of is the one that explains what caused the Queen to become so contemptuously vile. Still, some have attempted to guess at the reason. Perhaps the Queen’s true nature was that of a wicked hag and her beautiful, regal appearance a disguise used to fool the King. Others claim that the Queen might have hated the girl for her resemblance to the King’s first wife. Mostly, the Queen is painted as a morally abhorrent woman who never loved another being during the course of her miserable life.

In fact, the theories about exactly what cause the Queen’s obsessive vanity and jealous rage are too numerous to catalog. This book recounts a version of the story that has remained untold until now. It is a tragic tale of love and loss, and it contains a bit of magic. It is a tale of the Wicked Queen…

My Thoughts  

I picked this up as part of the Popsugar reading challenge as I was quite limited with choice for this prompt however, I have previously read and enjoyed The Beast Within and I like fairy-tale retellings so I was looking forward to this story. The premise of this book is quite simple, it is basically the back story to the Wicked Queen from Snow White. It tells us where she came from and how she came to be the Queen we know from the Disney version of the story.

Overall I enjoyed this book however, I didn't like it as much as I liked The Beast Within. I felt the story was quite liner and lacking in depth. The story we were given was quite surface level and I would of liked it if it had dug a little deeper. The overall length of the book was only about 250 pages and I would of liked it to of been a bit longer so we could of had some more time to explore the characters and the events in the story. In particular how she ended up the way she did as I felt the ending of the book was quite rushed, things seemed to happen all at once. In terms of writing style I don't really have much to say. It wasn't bad however, there was also nothing to me that stood out.

I will definitely be continuing on in the series as I have enjoyed both I have read so far and I like learning more about the different characters however to me this was a fairly average read.

Overall Rating 


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Review - Heartless by Marissa Meyer


Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Published February 9th 2017 by Macmillan Children's Books
Star Rating - *****
Goodreads Challenge - 43/50
Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge - A bestseller from 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads

Long before Alice fell down the rabbit hole...
And before the roses were painted red...
The Queen of Hearts was just a girl, in love for the first time.



My Thoughts 


I'm a massive fan of fairy-tale retellings therefore, Heartless definitely appealed to me. I've been intrigued by this story since it first came out and having never read anything by Marissa Meyer I thought a standalone would be a good place to start and boy was I right. I absolutely loved this story and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially those who are fans of Alice in Wonderland. The basic premise of this story is that it is a retelling of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, I suppose you could call it her origin story. Basically in the beginning she was just a girl called Catherine who wanted to bake and this is subsequent story. Once you've read it the title will make complete sense.

As much as I loved this book my initial thoughts weren't as positive. Before even beginning I read the back and was a little bit worried as the synopsis seemed to imply it was going to be very romance heavy and I am not a fan of romance. However, this is not the case and although there is romance involved there is a lot more to the story then that. Also, I found the first 50 or so pages quite slow going and seemingly predictable. It took me this long to get into the book but once I got past this point I was hooked and the story has lots of twists and turns along the way. It kept me hanging on till the end and this was definitely one of those stories that kept me saying just one more chapter. I needed to know what was going to happen and I was holding out hope for a happily ever after.

I really enjoyed Marissa Meyer's writing style. I found it very whimsical and felt that it captured the essence of Alice in Wonderland well. I also really liked that fact that she included several original features from Alice, such as the Jabberwock and some of the riddles, but she put her own spin on these things to make them unique to the story.

The characters are now some of my favorites, I felt very connected to them as people, particularly Catherine and Jest who I adored. I felt Marissa Meyer did a fantastic job of making both them and their emotions feel real. I felt everything right alongside these characters and I admire her ability to write raw emotion in a way that can be experienced by the reader. I laughed out loud alongside these characters and my heart broke just as much as theirs did.

Overall I gave this book a very deserving 5*s. Although it began a bit slow the rest of the story definitely made up for it and I feel it was a fantastic insight into who the Queen of Hearts could of been. The ending broke my heart and I've never read a book before that's made me feel as much as this one did. It's a perfect story for fans of Alice in Wonderland and it's inspired me to pick up the original for the first time since I was a child.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

 Overall Rating