Saturday, 31 May 2014

May Round Up + Look Out! June Releases!

May was a dire month for me reading wise. I read one book. Yes, one book. That book:


I've told you all about my relationship with classics, I'm sure. Haven't I? If not, I was wondering if you'd be interested in a post about it where I'm more thorough? Anyway. This book took me exactly a month to read (April 30th - May 30th) - including the period where I just wouldn't pick it up. I'm one of those people who don't like having more than one book on a go at a time, hence the reason behind my reading fail. However, since I put down Advanced Higher English for my final year in secondary school, I'm required to read a lot of classics. *sigh* So I think I'm going to start reading two books at the same time. I'll have a classic on the go at the same time I'll have a book I want to read on the go. I'm hoping it balances out.

I also only reviewed two books this month. TERRIBLE, I know. I'll put this down to the fact I was finishing exams and also had read no other books to review. *headdesk* These books were:
Click on the covers to be taken to my reviews!
 
I'm pretty proud of some of my non-review posts this month as well! These include:
Some of my favourite posts from other bloggers this month can be found here, here, here and here.
 
Look Out! June Releases!
 
I started doing this feature AGES ago and then didn't continue. I'm starting it up again because I think it's a great way to summarise all the book releases that are happening throughout the month!

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings | 10th June 2014
 Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters | 10th June 2014
 The Merciless by Danielle Vega | 12th June 2014
Don't You Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn | 10th June 2014
Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel | 3rd June 2014
Dark Days by Kate Ormand | 3rd June 2014

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay | 17th June 2014
Hexed by Michelle Krys | 10th June 2014
Take Back the Skies (Take Back the Skies #1) by Lucy Saxon | 3rd June 2014
Inland by Kat Rosenfield | 12th June 2014
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu | 3rd June 2014
Drowned (Drowned #1) by Nichola Reilly | 24th June 2014
  
 Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis | 17th June 2014
Hungry by H.A. Swain | 3rd June 2014
Dark Metropolis (Dark Metropolis #1) by Jaclyn Dolamore | 17th June 2014
Essence by Lisa Ann O'Kane | 3rd June 2014
#scandal by Sarah Ockler | 17th June 2014
Glimpse by Kendra Leighton | 19th June 2014
  
Witch Hunt (Witch Finder #2) | 5th June 2014
Push (The Game #2) | 10th June 2014
In The End (In The After #2) | 24th June 2014
Rain (Paper Gods #2) | 24th June 2014
I Am The Mission (The Unknown Assassin #2) | 17th June 2014
Defector (Variants #2) | 26th June 2014
Born of Deception (Born of Illusion #2) | 10th June 2014

 
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo | 17th June 2014
Wings (Black City #3) by Elizabeth Richards | 12th June 2014
Resistance (Night School #4) by C.J. Daugherty | 5th June 2014
 
Wow! There are a lot of standalones coming out in June! Also spotting some sequels to popular series!
 
What was May like for you reading/blogging wise? Are you excited for any particular June releases? Tell me in the comments!
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Let me tell you a little something about me...

 
I break the spine of the book I'm reading.
 
I wear out the edges of the cover.
 
I don't mind laying my book face down at the page I'm at and leaving it there until my return.
 
I don't mind when the corners of a page are turned slightly up.
 
I don't mind if a little water managed to soak the bottom of a page.
 
I love creased covers.
 
I love yellowing pages. 
 
I love looking at my bookshelf and seeing the books that are battered and wrinkled.

And do you know why?
 
 
It gives the book life. Suggests they've been places, been read, been re-read and been loved. They've been on adventures, seen things, locked memories within their pages. Memories that can be relived and experienced again every time the book is picked up and pages are turned.

There's the mark made by the sand on the beach in Portugal.
 
Oh, look! There's the tear I made when I couldn't stop flying through the pages.
 
There's the crack in the spine I made when I was so frustrated with these two characters because they couldn't see how perfect they were for each other! 

It gives the book vitality, something unique, something else that no other book can compete with. The book with the fraying edges, yellow pages, cover discolouration, wrinkles, cracks and tears could be one of the books you hold dearest to your heart.

 
That's why I am proud to be a spine breaker. Are you?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour!

What I failed to tell you last week was that myself and my family would be away for the weekend to travel down to Watford for the Warner Bros. Studio tour (hence my mini absence from the blogosphere). Today I thought I'd let you in on what I did over the few days I was away and, of course, recap my HP studio tour experience!

DAY ONE

So we set off on the seven hour journey on the Saturday morning. My mum, dad, little brother and myself all squished into the car and off we went. I spent most of the time listening to There's a Place for Us and Ever Ever After by Carrie Underwood on repeat on my phone and, when that died, the Fearless and Speak Now albums by Taylor Swift on my dad's iPad. Specifically, the songs below. Over and over and over again and again and again. Yes, I'm that person who replays a song until they're sick of it. I'm also that person who likes cheesy songs. #immaproudcheeseball


Go ahead and press play. You can listen while you read on. ;P

Apart from the fact I wanted to wring my brother's neck the whole journey, I didn't mind it. I quite enjoy being in the car for long periods of time. I did take a few books with me - Wuthering Heights, The Hobbit and Teardrop - but decided against reading them in the car. I feel really sick if I look down and read in moving vehicles. *sad face*

Anyway, we then got to the hotel. It wasn't a big, busy hotel so I was quite content. It had a lounge area where we ordered our dinner - it had that comfy cosy feel which was nice. We pretty much just went back to the room straight after dinner as we were all pretty exhausted from sitting doing nothing for seven hours. Funny how tired you get when you're sitting listening to music and admiring all the pretty views (which, I discovered, are the prettiest at the border of Scotland and England). Seriously, the hills are gorgeous!

DAY TWO

The day of the Harry Potter Studio tour! So, keeping it short, we got up, had breakfast, met up with my uncle, auntie and cousins who live in England and sped off to experience the HP movie magic! I'm more going to document my day through photos for this as, if I were to describe everything, it would take FOREVER. I will apologise for the quality of the photos though. I forgot my camera so all the photos taken in the tour were by my phone. :3


While we were queueing, we got to see the famous cupboard under the stairs. Had a fangirling moment right here because, as we should all know, I AM THE BIGGEST HARRY POTTER NUT THERE IS!

Then when we got through, this happened:



I GOT TO SEE MY FAVE ANIMAL OF THE HP SERIES, BUCKBEAK! He was so realistic it was scary! :O




My favourites were definitely Diagon Alley and the mini Hogwarts model. You could so easily imagine being a real witch or wizard walking down that alley. The Weasley twins' shop was so cool in person too! I also can't believe how amazing the artists/construction workers were who worked on the movie! They put in so much hard work and certainly didn't get enough credit! The Hogwarts model was breath-taking! Even my dad, who has neither read the books or watched the movies, stood looking at it transfixed.

I also tried the Butterbeer. It really does have the strangest taste but I actually kind-of liked it! I really can't find the words to describe it. Sweet, maybe? That's as far as I can go. Here's my wee cousin sporting the Butterbeer moustache:


And my other little cousin and I on the bridge:


I'm pulling the weirdest face in this but... it's the only half decent one I actually got! :3

Then came the end of the tour. And the gift shop. Uhmm, I may have went a little crazy. Like, completely bonkers. I pretty much spent all the money I own on HP merch. And do you know what? I don't even regret it! [The following photos are slightly better quality because they were taken today with my actual camera, haha]

 






So it finally happened. I fell in love. With my Ravenclaw jumper that is. I was stuck between this jumper or the one Ron's mum knitted for him (with the big 'R' on it - as in, R for Rachel ;P) but I seriously think I made the right choice, I love it so much. I've also never been in love with a mug as much as I am this one. It's gorgeous. *stares at it for hours* And, of course, I just had to pick up a special, wizarding sweet treat. I decided on Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans over a chocolate frog. I now know what the rotten egg, pepper and vomit flavour taste like now - and I didn't try them intentionally, you seriously don't know what flavour you're going to get! Those three flavours were absolutely disgusting! Especially vomit, I felt like I was going to throw up the entire day after I'd tasted it!

I also got a few other bits and bobs. A wand-pen, two bookmarks, a Hogwarts crest poster and the official Making of Harry Potter guide. My wee brother got one of the wands - Snape's specifically - as well as other bits and pieces as well. Here we are looking all happy - and slightly creepy - after we got out of the shop:


Flattering angles and lighting, right? ;)

After the tour, all of us then went to a really busy park and then out for dinner to a Mexican restaurant. 'Twas fun.

Day Three

Breakfast at the hotel and the seven hour journey back home. Again listening to the same songs on repeat.

There we have it! Wow, this is a really long post, isn't it? Sorry!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Book Sacrifice Tag!

Okay, so I think I'm falling into a blogging slump. Not good, eh? Anyway. I'm going to try and stop it by doing something fun and light-hearted - a tag!
 
Most of you have probably already heard of this tag - The Book Sacrifice Tag. It was created by the awesome booktuber, Ariel Bissett, and pretty much every booktuber in the community has done it since. I always find the tag videos so entertaining to watch so I thought, heck, why not bring it to blogger!
 
 
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way trying to offend any authors or any readers who love the books I'm going to talk about. Truth be told, I've never really hated any books. Maybe disliked them because of a certain aspect/aspects but I really can't think of any off of the top of my head I really hate. So, yeah, I'm not going to trash any authors!

SCENARIO ONE:

An Over-Hyped book: Let's start this off with a Zombie Apocalypse! Let's say you're in a book store, just browsing, when BAM! ZOMBIE ATTACK. An announcement comes over the PA System saying that the military has discovered that the zombies' only weakness is over-hyped books. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you really hated do you start chucking at the zombies knowing that it will count as an over-hyped book and successfully wipe them out?!

For this one I'm going to have to go with The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.


I'd been wanting to read this book for AGES before I finally bought myself a copy. I remember being so excited to start this, and then, what happened? I felt literally nothing whilst reading it. I'd been expecting way, way, WAY too much of the storyline, the world and, in particular, the love interest, Ash. So everything just seemed to fall flat. I didn't even connect with Ash, the 'bad', brooding boy who I was sure I'd love. The MC wasn't engaging or anything special to me either. I was just so disappointed. However, I didn't hate hate this book - I simply expected a lot more from it. I'm glad to say, though, I do love one of Kagawa's other books, The Immortal Rules!

SCENARIO TWO:

A Sequel: Let's say you've just left the salon with a SMASHING new haircut and BOOM: Torrential downpour. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?

Crossed by Ally Condie.


This one was just so slow. Like, really, really slow. I'm not one to read a book little by little so I can appreciate it and absorb it all in (one of the main reasons I don't enjoy classics), I need a fast but steady pace to keep my attention. When I was reading this one, my attention was constantly wavering. I actually put it down during my first attempt. Due to the pacing, everything else just seemed to suffer so, yeah, I'm guessing my new hair cut will stay nice and dry with this book shielding it. I gave it way too high a rating in my review. *headdesk*

SCENARIO THREE:

A Classic: Let's say you're in a lecture and your English teacher is going on and on about how this classic changed the world, how it revolutionized literature and you get so sick of it that you chuck the classic right at his face because you know what? This classic is stupid and it's worth detention just to show everyone how you feel! What classic did you chuck?

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.


Okay, so before people hit me, let me lay it out. I had to read this one for school. Getit, for SCHOOL. You're kind-of already programmed to dislike books you have to study from the get go. Or is that just me? :3 When I was reading this one, all I can remember is how bored I was of it. I literally had to pull myself together to face another chapter. BUT - yes, but - this was a couple of years ago. Looking back now, in some ways, I can appreciate it. But not then. Oh, no. I really didn't like it then.

SCENARIO FOUR:

Your least favourite book of life: Let's say that you're hanging out at the library when BAM global warming explodes and the world outside becomes a frozen wasteland. You're trapped and your only chance for survival is to burn a book. What is the book you first run to, your least favourite book of all life, what book do you not fully regret lighting?

This one's really hard for me because, as I've said, I really don't hate any books. But I think I'll go with The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda. I have a good reason for this though.


I despise the main character in this book so much. Hate him actually. Like, a lot. He is arrogant and thinks so much of himself and, ugh. Let's just not go into it too much. It makes me too angry. The plot line was also not as amazing as what I'd expected but it was the MC that made me truly not like this book. He was just... despicable.

SCENARIO FIVE [polandbananasBOOKS's question]:

You're about to go up on stage when you realise you're chewing gum. You have all your favourite series backstage to steady your nerves before your performance and you realise you have to rip out the last page of the last book in one of your favourite series to rid of your gum BECAUSE YOU CAN'T GO ON STAGE CHEWING GUM! What book do you choose to rip out the last page of?

Easy. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.


I really don't like this ending. Really, really, really don't like this ending. I'm not going to go into it because I'll have to reveal spoilers but if you've read it and are wondering why I hate it so much, check out my review/ramble about the book and its ending HERE.

Now I tag:
  • Hawwa @ It Was Lovely Reading You
  • Jack @ The Book Stop
  • Holly @ A DayDreamer's Thoughts
  • Sunny @ A Sunny Spot Blog
  • Francoise @ My Crazy Bookish World
  • Cat @ Life Through a Cat's Eyes
  • Ruby @ Feed Me Books Now
  • Zoe @ Bookhi
  • Kezia @ Chapteriosity
  • Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary
  • Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic
  • Everyone else!
[Just remembered most of the bloggers I tagged here are on breaks, haha! :3]

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 9 May 2014

For as long as I can remember...

I have loved adventure stories. Stories that completely sweep you up into a fast-paced quest to save a magical kingdom. Or to rescue a kidnapped sibling.

When a book is just like:


Here's me:


I especially love adventure stories if there are fantastical elements involved. If the adventure is in a fantasy land, chances are I'll be all like:



It's just the cherry on top if the main character doesn't believe in themselves at the start but grows and develops into a really kick ass character.


 

With these types of stories, I don't even mind if there's any romance involved. If there is, I like it to stick to the sidelines. For me, an adventure story should be all about the adventure.


The best parts are all those 'uh oh' moments, the moments that make you cling on to the edge of your seat as you feel your heart beat in your ears.




And that power moment where the main character just seems like the most amazing being to ever walk the planet.


And after the climax, when you're just like:



The worst part, for me, though, is the end. When I've had such a rollercoaster of a ride on this fictional adventure that I just don't want to let go.

 




A few of my favourite adventure books include:

The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar (forever my go to adventure recommendation!)
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Icons by Margaret Stohl
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Journey to the River Sea, The Star of Kazan and The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson
The Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke

I've yet to continue with a couple of these series and can't wait to delve back into their adventures! Also, a few of my favourite adventure films (because I don't just feel these feels with books ;P) include:

All the Narnia films
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films (I badly want to read these books!)
Eragon (also a decent adventure book!)
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
The Inkheart film

So, this has been fun. It's not my usual post so let me know what you think! Do you have any type of stories you love so much? Do you have any adventure book/movie recs? :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Sorry I've not been very active on the blog much and in comment boxes recently, I'm in the midst of my exams (which finish next week! *dances*) so I don't have much spare time. I'd also quickly like to give a little shoutout to Hawwa over at It Was Lovely Reading You who suggested I should experiment more with gifs. I decided to give it a go today and it's been a whole lot of fun! ;D

None of these GIFs belong to me. I am not taking any credit for any of them. ;P