Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Book Review: The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi

Read: June 28 - 30   Verdict: 4 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

Mukta did not have a great start to life, and has experienced traumatic events that no-one should ever have to go to. With her sparkling green eyes, fair skin and glossy hair, Mukta is desired by many but the only thing Mukta wants is for her father to come and take her away.

Tara immediately befriends Mukta when the orphaned girl is brought to stay with her and rehabilitate. before long, a couple of weeks becomes several years and the girls are as inseparable as sisters. Until one night, Mukta is stolen in the night.

Now an adult Tara has returned to Bombay to search for Mukta and relieve the guilt that she has felt that night. For Tara knows the real reason that Mukta disappeared.

This story is a poignant tale of a female friendship that spans decades and never leaves hearts. A tale that shows the gritty, ugly side of the kind of human trafficking that still exists in backstreet India and highlights the people who will do anything to try and save those affected by it.

While Mukta and Tara, in theory, should have led similar lives, they are separated by a huge bridge due to their different upbringings. Tara was spoiled as the child of a father who was well respected within his new city community and a mother who doted on both husband and daughter. While Mukta was the daughter of the temple prostitute, and treated like dirt by most people she came into contact with. However, while the girls came together and should have progressed in education and their future, they were both held back, in different ways, by cultural superstitions.

While Mukta's story was, at times, difficult to read, it really highlighted the importance of trying to stop the human trafficking problem in India. I never knew about the temple prostitutes and how it is still considered a norm in today's society to initiate girls as young as eight into this kind of society.

I definitely preferred Mukta's story rather than Tara's as the latter became rather whiney and repetitive at times, feeling sorry for herself and embroiled in her own guilt for what happened to her friend. Mukta, on the other hand, despite her horrid circumstances seemed to be able to put on a braver face.

The best way to describe this book is a female, Indian version of The Kite Runner. It contains the same strength of friendship spanning over years, the same search to relieve a guilty soul and the same kind of inside look at a culture and country far from your own. Overall, this is a well-rounded book that, despite hitting heavy topics, is an extremely engrossing and enjoyable read.

Also, I have to mention how beautiful the cover is. Absolutely breathtaking.

Book Review: The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year by Sue Townsend

Read: June 23 - 25     Verdict: 2.7 Stars

Eva is simply fed up and would like the time to simply think. On the day her husband drops her mathematical genius twins off to college, Eva crawls under her duvet and decides she's not coming out again, for at least a year. 

Eventually, word gets round about Eva's decision and she is soon revered as something of a saint. People come to her for advice about everything, the likeness of her face appears in cooked objects and Eva shrinks within herself as her fear of leaving her bed grows and grows.

While this book doesn't contain the laugh-out-loud humour, I associate with Sue Townsend's writing in her Adrian Mole series, it is funny in a more dark and twisty way.

I would definitely say that I enjoyed the first half of this book more than the second half. Once I get past the halfway point, Eva's attitude became a bit more unreasonable and I started getting fed up of her actions and reasoning. She didn't really have any reason to stay in bed, and she expected everyone to do everything for her - and she knew exactly what she was doing to Alexander who became the only likeable character in the story.

I found the twins and Poppy pretty intolerable, and the worst thing was that Poppy didn't even learn anything, have any character development or get any kind of comeuppance in the end. I can be fairly sure that she went on to continue screwing money out of people, and manipulating everyone she met.

Overall, while this book was alright, it just seemed to trail off in the end, and didn't receive a real conclusion of sorts. I'm not sure anything else Sue Townsend has written will ever beat Adrian Mole.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Originally Read: December 2013          Verdict: 4 Stars
Reread: June 22

When Quentin describes personal miracles, he concludes his own as being lucky enough to be Margo Roth Spiegelman's next door neighbour. As long as he can remember knowing her, Q has been in love with Margo. Wild, uncontrollable and flighty, nothing that makes up Margo would fit into Quentin's planned life of stability - graduation, college, marriage, kids...peaceful death at old age. 

One night, Q is invited by Margo to take part in one wild night of adventures and then the next day she disappears leaving a paper trail of clues. Q believes Margo left the clues for him and he is determined to find her.

No matter what anyone says, I love all of the character created by John Green, the steady, capable Q, cool and clever Radar, embarrassingly awkward yet lovable Ben, Queen Bee Margo and Lacey, the popular girl with a secret heart of gold.

The plot of this book involving the hidden words underneath the poems of Walt Whitman, the paper stuffed in a door-frame, the comment that was never meant to be discovered about a certain Paper Town, it was all so incredibly laid-out, intense and clever.

What i love about this book is Q's realisation that sometimes unrequited love is a little bit different up close. While he always knew he loved Margo, he does come to realise he only ever really loved the idea of her. He never really knew her. The Margo in his head was very different to the Margo in her own. She needed something bigger than Q, something away from the 'paper town' that had captured her for most of her life. She's definitely someone who would find her own in New York. Anything she had with Q would definitely end up suffocating her....he's just far too normal and safe.

I did feel like there was a major component of Margo that was selfish and mean. She didn't really seem to care about the people she left behind and what they might have thought she was doing to herself. Lacey really did care about Margo, and I loved that she redeemed herself with her relationship with Ben, and proved she wasn't a shallow popular girl like the reader originally thought.

Underneath it all, Paper Towns is far from paper. It's a solid block of teenage angst, discovery and adventure.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Read: June 16 - 17    Verdict: 5 stars

A is not normal. He never wakes up in the same bed. He doesn't know if he's
going to be a boy or a girl. He is never able to make true friends, real connections or feel true love. A doesn't have his own body. Instead, A wakes up in the body of a stranger, every single day. A has come to accept his strange way of existence until he wakes up in the body of Justin, and meets Justin's girlfriend Rhiannon.

There's not a lot of books that come along, and literally make you question everything. Every Day is one of those books, and the different issues and wonderings raised really makes it one that is a must-read for anyone who has ever thought about life, existence and simply being.

What is A? Is he a soul? An existence? Can he be classified as a human being even though he has his own thoughts and conscience? More importantly, A's journey really made me think about what makes a person. Are we real because of our physical body? Or are we more made up of our minds, souls and conscience. There aren't really any definitive answers as I think it all comes down to personal opinions.

A is definitely the type of person a reader would inspire to be. He is patient and kind. Loving, generous, and as honest as he can possibly be for someone living in his situation. He has extremely open and accepting thoughts when it comes to identity, gender and sexuality. For A, there is no 'I'm a boy who like boys' or 'I'm a girl who likes girl', he is simply A and he is attracted to kind, honest people.

Rhiannon is similar to A, similar as much as she can be for someone who has lived a normal life..in the same body everyday for 16 years. She is also kind and generous. She accepts people for who they are, though this is made harder for her when she simply doesn't know who A is going to be every day. Rhiannon's difficulty in accepting and acting on her love for A when he's in different bodies, particularly female, is one many of us could identify with and understand. While it seems simpler to A because of the way he grew up, in reality things like that are a lot more difficult.

This book was thought-provoking, heart-warming and bittersweet right to the end. It made me sigh, smile and cry. And I loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Read: June 11 - 12   Verdict: 4.2 stars

"The fact is I was sick, but not in an easily explained flu kind of way. It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other recognizable disease just to make it simple for me and also for them. Anything would be better than the truth." 

All the Bright Places tells the story of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. Two teenagers who meet on the top of the school bell-tower, contemplating jumping and ending their lives. While Finch is plagued by depressesion, Violet is still mourning the death of her older sister. They become unlikely friends and allies, and as Finch brings Violet on a journey, she begins to enjoy life again. But Finch's darkness is still threatening to overcome him and Violet may not be enough.

This is a story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die.

From the get go, Finch is a completely different character than I thought he would be. I has placed him into the category of stereotypical depressive teenager - moody, probably dresses in black, shy and nerdy. But he's none of those things. Finch pops out of the pages of this book in a kaleidoscope of colour. He is expressive, excited, courageous, mysterious, adventurous. He is strong, and tall and darkly good-looking. He even has a little bit of a reputation among girls and an even bigger one in the school hallways. While people may not know what Finch looks like, everyone knows who Finch is.

I felt that the character of Finch was a beautiful way of putting it out there that depression isn't something that happens to a particular kind of person, in a particular part of society. It is something that can happen to everyone and anyone can be suffering from it...and just be really good at hiding it.

Finch's depression is told very well in that some days he is all bright rays of sunshine and ready to go and have an adventure. Other days he is overcome and can hardly even get out of bed. It completely consumes him, and his happy thoughts, in a way I found very realistic.

While I connected very well with Finch, I think in contrast to him, Violet fell rather flat for me. Beside Finch, she was nothing remarkable. Just an ordinary teenage girl, who happens to catch the eye of the school enigma. The only thing that really makes her stand out is her sadness for Eleanor and results of this loss.

While All the Bright Places tells a realistic story of depression, and clearly outlines the fact that sometimes you can't save somebody unless they really want to save themselves, I really wish I could have walked away from this book feeling a little bit happier.

All in all, a well-written novel with meaningful, real characters that tell a story that needs to be heard. And brings to light an issue that is becoming a huge problem and is one people need to start feeling okay to talk about. Getting help for any problems, mental or physical, is always an option and is never a problem. It's the best thing you can do.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Book Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Read: June 10 - 11    Verdict: 5 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

Wow, oh wow, this book.

Madeline is an 18-year-old girl who doesn't know what it's like to be in the Outside world. All her life, Maddy has been stuck inside the walls of life because she suffers from SCID. Basically, Maddie is allergic to everything, and everything could kill her. And Maddie is okay with that, more or less. She has her mom, she has her books and she has her nurse Carla. What else is there?

And then comes Olly. Olly who only dresses in black, runs up walls and makes hilarious skit comedies about bundt cakes. Olly is what Maddie has been waiting for, and she just didn't know it until now.

When it comes to Goodreads and BookTube, there are several months every couple of months that get a massive round of hype. This is one of those books. It's a book you desperately want to read, but you're almost afraid to start in case it ends up disappointing you. This book did not disappoint me. It lived up to those expectations and then exceeded them.

Despite her situation, Maddie is more or less a normal girl. She likes reading, and she likes board games. She likes instant messaging and Tumblr. And she's able to develop an intense crush on the guy next door.

Olly and Maddie's relationship was perfect. It wasn't insta-love. It was a brief attraction at first glance, that crew into an insatiable curiosity. Then it morphed in to jokes, friendship, laughter and finally tenderness, love and heartbreak.

There were some perfect, beautiful moments in this book. All the bundt cake jokes, Maddie's Rapunzel-like hair, Hawaii, the bookshop. I don't think there was one second that I wasn't riveted.

It's hard to develop such intense relationships without some flashes of hatred towards characters for their actions. But somehow Maddie seemed justified in certain ways she acted because of how she had lived her life. She never knew such feelings, and like a wild animals, something new and scary made her flee into a safe corner.

And the twist in this book blew me away.I really didn't see it coming! I'm sure other people did but not me. And I love that!

I would implore anyone thinking about picking this book when it's out on bookshelves in September to do so.It makes your heart dance, sign and sob, all in the space of a few hundred pages. And when you put it down, it will never leave you...not really.

Book Review: Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue

Read: June 9 - 10  Verdict: 4 stars

Maggie Brennan loves dogs and works as a pet bereavement counsellor (yep, they exist!). However, Maggie has some problem off her own that despite all her academic achievements, she can't seem to fix on her own. Then Maggie meets Anya, a vivacious young woman who is angry at the whole world. Anya believes, despite what her family say, that her missing dog Billy was stolen and is not, in fact, dead.  Sometime about Anya stirs Maggie and she soon finds herself pushing her own boundaries to help one girl find her lost dog.

This book is one for dog lovers. Or animal lovers. It's not for anyone indifferent to our canine companions, or someone who scoffs at peoples pain over the deaths of animals, when they treat them like family. For a dog lover, this book will allow you to recognise all the different feelings you have had towards your own dogs (or give you a glimpse at what you cane expect if you ever get one). It has a very real glimpse into the power a dog has to reach into your heart with chocolate brown eyes and grab it, squeeze it, and claim it as theirs.

Maggie is lost. She is living in a strange new city, and still hasn't gotten over the death of her best friend, and dog, Toby. Toby was Maggie's rock and helped her combat fears and anxieties that she never knew she had until he was gone. Now Maggie is a prisoner in her own fear, and the bars of her cell have been put there by her own mind.

For all her anxiety, Maggie is an extremely likable character. She has a very good heart and calm, quiet demeanor that radiates kindness. And despite her illness, Maggie really pushes to beat it when she needs to.

There's a great character development for both Maggie and Anya in this book (and Seymour). Maggie learns to be brave, and how to count her breaths. Anya learns that there can be things found to smile about, even when you don't think you can be happy ever again.

There was such a great emphasis on rescue dogs as well in this book, that as an owner of a rescue dog myself, I really enjoyed. Between Sally and Seymour, the book gave any readers thinking about adding to their home an idea as to where to find it.

The strongest element in Dog Crazy was, naturally, an owners bond to their dog. It describes perfectly that ragged, helpless feeling you get when you simply can't help your friend anymore. The horrible decision of deciding what the best thing to do is, and the emotions of when you might be ready to move on with another. When Maggie eventually got around to talking about saying goodbye to Toby, I was on my morning commute and had to gulp away tears while standing on a packed train carriage!

A definite must-read for anyone who is a fan of waggy tails!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Book Review: Poldark by Winston Graham

Read: June 6 - 8   Verdict: 4 stars

I'm not going to lie. Before reading this book, I had already watched the first series of the BBC take on the books. The TV program is the reason I picked up the books in the first place, I had never even heard of them but they are very much my cup of tea.

Ross Poldark is the first in the Poldark series and focuses on the return of Ross Poldark to his Cornish birthplace. Poldark has been away for several years, fighting for the British army in America - he is changed from the way he was before and carries scars from his battles. However, not all is as he left it at home in his mining community, his father is dead, leaving his small estate and mine in Ross's hands and , even worse, Ross's first love Elizabeth is engages to his cousin and best friend Francis Poldark.

Now Ross is faced with building back up his inheritance on his won, with the help of his two old and lazy employees. However, a little light comes into Ross's life when he rescues a young girl from a pack of street boys. Her name is Demelza and without knowing it, she will change Ross's life.


I really loved this book. All the characters are exactly what you want them to be. Dark and brooding Ross with his kind eyes (as said by Demelza) and his generous spirit, Francis - handsome and privileged yet racked with jealousy and weakness. Elizabeth - beautiful yet cool. Often seems to want what she can't have and Verity, the poor dull sister who is trapped by family and obligations and faces a future of spinsterhood.

The book was easy to read and get through, despite being of the older persuasion, and may I say, a classic. It wasn't terribly hard too understand, and though I certainly can't say that I'm an expert in mining, I think I did alright (though, this may be due to watching the series).

I really really didn't like the character of Elizabeth. She is portrayed as quite a delicate flower yet can be strong when needed to. However, she was rather cold and cruel towards Ross - despite her being the one to jilt him for his cousin - yet still manages to make everything about herself. She has a special way of making you feel sorry for her and hating her all at the same time.

While Elizabeth is on one end of the spectrum, Demelza is definitely on the other. While she is only thirteen when she is first rescued by Ross, her spirit grows away from the threatening blows of her father and she becomes cheeky and willful - in a way that you can never be angry at her for breaking rules. While in today's society, the relationship between Demelza and Ross could be eyed with something like disgust, due to the fact she's 10 years younger and first came to live with him when she's 13, there's something undeniably sweet about it and it makes it work. Ross needed someone like Demelza - someone full of lightness and joy in simple things, and the occasional exclamations of "Judas!"

This book, like many, touches upon things that every generation, young or old, experience - from poverty, homelessness, unemployment and despair. Losing love, finding love and then also being denied love. Exceeding expectations and stepping away from unfair obligations. Overcoming fear and embracing change. And the hope that there's something bright around the corner.

I'm really looking forward to the next book,which I believe focuses on Demelza. It will be interesting to see things from her POV as she tries to touch her toes into the waters of Cornwall's high society and try and forget about her humble beginnings.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

Read: June 4 - 6    Verdict: 5 stars.

Celaena Sardothien is only 18 years old. Yet, she's spent the last year a prison camp - the salt mines of Endovier. A place that the King of Adarlan sends criminals. Celaena has been beaten, whipped and starved to near-death because she happens to be the best assasin the world had ever seen - until she got caught.

Now, Celaena has the opportunity of a lifetime to escape the mines. Only the offer comes from Prince Dorian, the son of her worst enemy. She is to be the Prince's champion in a tournament that will eventually result in one competitor becoming the King's Champion. But can Celaena really work for the man who brought such destruction down upon her? And can she escape the attention of the Prince...and avoid falling for him at the same time.

I'm not going to lie, I've heard such great things about this series and for Sarah J. Mass's writing in general, I had some great expectations for this book. And they did not disappoint, I really really enjoyed it.

I found Celaena to be a fascinating character who, despite her history in the mines and tough childhood, remained whimsical, witty and just a downright fun character. Despite Celaena basically being a prisoner, she made it seem like she wasn't - making friends, and making the best out of a situation that she really had no other choice but to walk in, hands up.

I also loved how a slightly strange and magical subplot, that involved the investigation of murder and mysterious signs, introduced itself halfway through the book - once the reader had really become invested in Celaena, and other characters such as Dorian, Chaol and Nox, we suddenly had this new threat that really spiced things up. I also loved the character of Nehemia and how at first she seems like a normal, slightly lost, princess but she's SO much more than that and stronger and smarter than we could have imagined.

I enjoyed how Celaena did drop hints about her past in the school of Assasins and tidbits about Sam, her mysterious, deceased lover. I know there is a book of novellas out and these bits and pieces really make me want to read it to find out more.

**A few minor spoilers regarding Chaol and Dorian below **

I didn't really like Celaena's chemistry and relationship with the Prince despite him being a good guy. He's almost too good, without any real flaws, despite him being a prince and Celaena an assasin with a sentence. I also preferred Celaena's relationship with Chaol which was like a slow, blooming flower. Sometimes you almost forgot there was something there, until there was a glance, or a secret joke between them. While there's no doubt Celaena and Dorian have a great chemistry, I feel like Celaena has a beautiful, deeper connection with Chaol that goes into their souls. I also feel like Chaol knows Celaena better than anyone - and nobody, even him, realised it.

One thing I found rather annoying and unbelievanle was the fact that when Chaol killed someone under service, it turned out to be his first kill. I know he is only 22, but as Captain of the Royal Guard, surely he must have killed someone before, and how smart is it to let someone unseasoned in the way of taking life when duty calls, lead the guard?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

My Favourite Characteristics in Female Characters/Protagonists

This week's Tuesday Talks topic on Booktube was about your own personal favorites when it came to characteristics/personality traits in female characters or female protagonists. I think this is a pretty interesting and important topic. Time and time again, readers are given female characters with extraordinarily similar backgrounds - they've been abused b
y someone, they've been abandoned so don't trust people, they're orphaned or they're the main person keeping their family together. While none of these are bad, it's also nice to get variety and spice when it comes to female characters so reading doesn't become monotonous.

I think a hugely important characteristics in females is the ability to be able to think and act independently. A strong female can think on her feet and act when she needs to act. She can stand up for herself and for others without a male presence by her shoulder. While heartbreak is a real thing, and extremely crippling at times, it's not an excuse to allow a character to become a shell, simply because she doesn't have a man. It's something I won't be able to forgive Stephanie Meyer for when in New Moon Bella basically became a mute robot because she didn't have Edward there. Not a great message to be telling young girls.

I also love when characters have personality or physical flaws. It's too easy to read a book and say "this kind of great love could never happen to me because I'm ugly and she's so pretty." It's a common thing to assume this character you're reading about never gets spots or split ends, and is basically a literary twin to a Victoria Secrets model. No. We have to love Hermione's bushy hair and goofy teeth,  Tris's long nose, and Katniss's scrawny arms. These are what makes these characters more human and less ethereal. In our heads, they suddenly become more like us.

I also believe an ability to be kind to others and forgive people for their cruelty is important. While I adore The Hunger Games, a decision Katniss makes near the end of the trilogy let her down (something to do with Snow's granddaughter). The real Katniss would never have agreed to such a thing and while it was right to show the ordeal had changed the Mockingjay, it wasn't right to make her do something so backward to what we originally thought of her as.

At the end of the day, it's an important job to give females in particular some respectable and strong role models to look up. Again and again, women are told by the media that we are just a body, just a pretty face and while things are changing, it's not changing fast enough. If girls who read can learn it's okay to be smart like Hermione, brassy like Kami and strong and fierce like Katniss..than they'll be less likely to succumb to eating disorders pushed upon them by advertising campaigns or be told they're nothing by manipulative partners. Sometimes what's written, or even not written, in a book, can stay with you for a lifetime.

P.S I know Imperator Furiosa is a movie character rather than a book character but she's so fierce and amazing, I can't not put her picture in here.

Book Review: The Heir by Kiera Cass

Read: June 1-2   Verdict 4.5 stars

Note: This review contains spoilers for The Selection series and minor spoilers for The Heir (just names and some personality traits etc. Why I think they'd be good or bad choices).






Okay, now I have that out of the way. I absolutely adored this novel! The Heir follows on from events 20 years after The Selection series. Now, the new Princess/ Queen in waiting is Eadlyn, the 18-year-old daughter of King Maxon...and Queen America. Eadlyn will be the first ever Princess to become Queen before her brothers, her parents changed degree following her birth, a whole seven minutes before her brother Ahren.

But things in Ilea are not as well as you would hope. Despite the castes being eradicated, uprising and rebellions are still rampant and getting worse. Under persuasion from her parents, Eadlyn agrees to take part in a new Selection - inviting 35 men into her home, and allow them to try and make her fall in love with one of them.

From the start, Eadlyn comes across straight-laced, haughty and rather cold. And it's not too much of a surprise. Even though she was brought up in a loving family, Eadlyn always knew she would be Queen of Ilea someday, and had a different kind of education and instruction than her brothers, and was taught to look at things a different way.  I also feel a lot of her coldness and loner tendencies, comes from always believing she would, at least start of her reign alone with no help from a male companion.

So it's especially hard for Eadlyn to welcome the new boys - despite some of them being genuinely lovely and caring and even one being a boy she grew up with - Marlee's son Kile (this isn't technically a spoiler, as soon as he's mentioned it's obvious he will end up there). While Eadlyn has been surrounded by the true love of her parents, and the love Ahren has for the French princess Camille,  it's never something she desired for herself. So she makes a few mistakes along the way...and comes across even worse to the public and downright terrifying to the lads.

One of the huge differences between The Selection and The Heir was the feelings for those in the Selection. With the original series, everyone rooted for America, and we only had two choices - Aspen or Maxon. With The Heir, we're suddenly seeing first hand how amazing each strong contender is - Hale with his perfect clothes, Fox with his determination and sweetness, Henri simply being Henri and Kile with his history and chemisty with Eadlyn. On both sides, you could see where each strongest contender would be both right and wrong for Eady. I may be called judgemental, but there was a point where I believed Hale might be gay as he's so overly into fashion, but maybe not. Kile would be wrong as a Prince, he can barely stand the Palace now, it would be wrong of Eadlyn to expect him to do it for the rest of his life. And Henri, beautiful Henri...who doesn't speak a word of english. Though considering there's clear Swendway connections in Ilea, why doesn't Eadlyn speak Finnish? Or in that case, more languages than just English and Spanish?

One of the other different between the original series and the spin off, was that while Maxon was very alone during his choice and didn't have much people to turn to - Eadlyn has her three brother. The post-Jack scene when Maxon and America walked in on them all snuggled in the bed was so sweet and one of favourite scenes in the whole book (plus a certain midnight kitchen scene)

Ugh but Kiera!!!! How could you leave us with an ending like that! Just how and why!!! I think my heart literally stopped and I was screaming, "That's it!!!!!" And then I frantically went online searching for another book. The only reason this is 4.5 rather than 5 stars was that I really thought this was a standalone spin-off, I was very surprised and almost irritated to discover there would (hopefully) be one more. Just because I wasn't expecting it.

Overall, I've one thing left to say.... #TeamHenri

Let's pretend Erik doesn't exist.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

What I'm Reading During #TBRTakedown

Shannon over at YouTube/leaninglights is hosting a readthon called #TBRTakedown from June 1 - 7. And naturally, I'm totally in.

Being a new addition to BookTube itself, I am new to readathons but I already love them and plan to participate in as many as I possibly can. So onward to my planned reading/ the challenges!

1. A book that's been on your TBR shelf over a year!

2. An unread sequel sitting on your TBR shelf.

3. A first book in a series on your TBR shelf.

4. An "out of your comfort zone" book on your TBR shelf!

5. A book from your most recent book haul!

happy reading everyone!

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Read: May 31 - June 1    Verdict: 5 Stars

In a dystopian world, Day is a teenage boy on the run from a government who want him dead. June is the government's prodigy - the only to every score 1500 in the Republic's exam. When June's brother is killed by Day, June vows to avenge his death. While undercover, June meets a blonder haired kind boy, with an imperfect eye and a limp to his step. But surely this couldn't be the stone cold killer who took away her brother? And does she have the heart to bring him in, where he will surely be killed himself?


Why haven't I read this book sooner? I am literally slapping myself for only discovering the fantastic mind of Marie Lu now.

I just need to say one thing. Day = BAE. What. A. Babe!

I felt the premise of The Republic and its closed off world very good, and realistic. While we were't told too much about it, I could understand the kind of world that June and Day were living in and even more so when June went undercover and travelled around different parts of the poorer community that she had prevously scorned.

While June is definitely a character you warm up to - I'm not actually sure she could ever be described as a 'warm' character, it's not her nature, Day was mine from the first. I really connected with him, and I felt like it didn't long to know and understand him. He was very genuine and true - from his care of his family, to his gentle friendship with Tess.

There was an immediate chemistry between Day and June, and while I'm not 100% sure we haven't seen the last of the Elector's son, though he was only in it for five seconds, i feel like June and Day have found that missing part.

The plot of June finding out many things she believed in wasn't strictly true was written well. I did feel she could have hurried up on it, you know being so smart and all. She's actually rather annoyingly cocky and almost overconfident when it comes to her smarts.

Following the completion of June's mission, the novel slowed up a bit for me. It felt like a lot of it was June just going back and forth from her apartment and thinking about things. But eventually, the action resumed and that ending, ugh, so bittersweet.

Really looking forward to the rest of the trilogy, which I have ordered already!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Book Review: Cleo by Lucy Coats

Read: May 28-30  Verdict: 2 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

(I also spoke briefly about this book in my May Wrap Up video)

Goodreads review here.

Cleo, or Cleopatra, is only ten years of age when she is forced to flee her father's kingdom following the death of her mother. Cleo knows that now with her mother dead and her father, the Pharaoh,  in Rome, her older half-sisters will kill her to make sure she can never succeed them on the throne. Cleo and her slave/best friend Charm flee to a Temple of Isis, the Goddess who blessed Cleo on her birth and whom she has a special connection with.

Four years later, Cleo is instructed by Isis to return to her old home, and into the arms of her now death-worshipping sisters, on a mission to help restore Isis's failing power. Cleo, Charm and Khai, a librarian, are now all on a time-restrained mission to bring back Isis to the Egyptians.

I really wish I could say that this is a downright amazing book, because the premise of it sounded so so promising. But unfortunately, it isn't and the main fault behind this whole book is the personality of Cleo herself.

The book starts off with a ten year old Cleo going off on a rant about everything, and everyone. Now, yes, her mother is dying and she has every reason under the sun to hate everybody but I felt like it was a very bad way to start a novel as right away, the reader is turned off of Cleo. And this ended up remaining for the entire book. I felt like she was overly spoilt, and expecting, and extremely privileged despite leaving the palace at age ten and making her own way. 

I didn't really connect overall with any character in the book, none felt extremely deep and every single one of them came across to me as a bit untrustworthy. 

Unfortunately, the relationship between Khai and Cleo was off for me for a start but for a personal reason for me which is that one of bookish pet peeves is the whole, "I've seen him once, and now I'm in love with him." NO! That's not how it works, you can never make me believe that that's how it works. While i do feel the connection is there, I just wish there had been a better bridge built towards the love bit rather than the easy way out of 'love at first sight'. I also felt myself, that ten years old is far too young to be having stomach melting dreams about a boy older than you. Even at 14, it's a bit young, though certainly better than ten. I think Khai and Cleo's relationship is the reason I kelp imagining Cleo older in my head. Yet, throughout the novel she had an extremely juvenile voice (she calls her sisters the Evil Sow Sisters).

I did feel that everything from the dress, gods and goddesses, customs and food matched very well up to what I would believe Egypt was like back when Cleopatra was believed to have lived and I enjoyed reading about the different costumes she wore and the food she ate. I was always a fan of the Greek gods and goddesses so hearing about the Egyptian ones was just as interesting for me.

The book could have definitely been about 100 pages longer and been a stand alone. I can't really imagine what could fill up an entire book unless it's a lot of plot that wasn't touched upon at all in Cleo. Unless, the entire second book is Cleo and the gang riding across a desert...who knows? I don't think I'll be picking it up either way.