Friday, 31 October 2014

The Bedtime Book Tag!

So I was browsing away on Youtube when I came across the Bedtime Book tag (click HERE to see the original video and creator). It was posted up not too long ago so I'm not sure if someone has already brought it to the bookblogosphere or not, but it looks like a whole lot of fun and I want to make sure it's brought to the attention of book bloggers and not just booktubers!

Without further-a-do, on to the questions! *squeals*


1. What book kept you up all night reading?

My memory is rather shocking so I can't really remember what books I've read during the night (though there are many and a few I'm pretty sure were recent *facepalm*) but one that I can put my finger on totally because I did not just search for books I've read late at night on my blog is Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon. I read it a couple years ago and loved it.

2. What book made you scared to go to sleep?

I'm pretty sure The Boo Hag by David Morgan and The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson had me freaking out when I was lying in my bed with the light turned off.

3. What book almost put you to sleep?

There's one book that really stands out to me for this and that's Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I just couldn't get into it at all. The storyline wasn't the most action-packed, the characters were... alright but, the biggest thing? The pacing! It was so slow. Just not for me, I'm afraid. However, I know a lot of people who LOVED it.

4. What book has you tossing and turning in anticipation of its release?

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard has peeked my fancy (releasing in January of next year). Also, Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (the first in her new series) releasing September 2015 and Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly releasing January 2015!

5. What book has your dream girlfriend/boyfriend?

The Infernal Devices books. Will Herondale. Should I go into it? Yeah, why not! He's strong, courageous, great with words, loyal, sarcastic, witty, romantic and just a little flawed.

6. What book world would be your worst nightmare to live in?

Probably the world in The 5th Wave. I know I like my solitude sometimes, but I actually like human contact and interaction and not being scared that aliens are going to send another wave out that's going to kill me.

7. What book cover reminds you of night time?

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence does a little bit.


The shadows on the cover sure add to the effect but I also think the atmosphere this cover gives off is rather night time-esque.

8. What book has a nightmarish cliffhanger?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth certainly has a big cliffhanger! And A Million Suns by Beth Revis certainly has a huge cliffhanger too. (Still haven't got on to Shades of Earth! Can you believe it?!)

9. What book have you actually dreamed about?

I've had two bookish dreams that I can recall. One was during the time I was reading Wither by Lauren DeStefano. In this dream, just after I woke up and sat up in bed, Linden came in and sat on the edge of the bed and talked to me. It was so strange! My room in the dream was my real room - so I seriously wondered if I hadn't dreamt it and it had really happened. The other dream I can remember was Harry Potter related. Of course. The dream started with me running down the stairs in my school. I couldn't have told you, at the time, why I was running, but all I knew was I needed to get away. I was throwing myself over the railings to land on the floor below and, when I got to the bottom, I bolted for the emergency exit. I started sprinting across the playground but Bellatrix Lestrange (the entity I realised I was running from) appeared outside the emergency exit and started sending lightning bolts across the ground at me. The last thing I can remember is jumping up to avoid the bolts clipping my heels and then my legs slowing down because they couldn't run any longer - I was too out of breath.

My dreams are usually pretty scary if they're like this because I'm awake in them. I control my actions and where I go and what I do and, sometimes, I'll change the location of my dream, but I don't usually think to do that when I'm running for my life. :3

10. What book monster would you not want to find under your bed?

I certainly would not want that... thing from The Boo Hag under my bed. Or one of those Grievers from The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

I now tag Sunny from A Sunny Spot, Francoise from My Crazy Bookish World, Hawwa from It Was Lovely Reading You, Fi and/or Zoe from Books for Birds and Rita from Weaving Pages!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone [Spoilers Inc.]

Author: Laini Taylor
Edition: Hodder & Stoughton Paperback
Released: 5th August 2012
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Pages: 418 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

This review contains SPOILERS! If you have not read this book and want to, do NOT read on! SPOILERS are discussed! You have been warned!

It's very unusual for me to do a spoiler review on a first book in a series, but this is one of the rare occasions where I really need to discuss my thoughts. And I have a lot of thoughts.

Going into this book, I was as excited as can be. It'd been on my wishlist for ages. YEARS even. Everyone had raved about it, recommended it to me, and it was finally in my hands. I was internally screaming. I wouldn't say I'd overhyped it in my head though. During the time I was reading it, I'd convinced myself to forget about all the glowing reviews and just read it like it was a book I'd never heard anyone talk about before.

It seemed my approach was working out just fine.

I loved, loved, loved the first part of the book. Like, a whole lot. Like, unbelievably so. You can even ask Cat. I was raving about it so damn much. Being with Brimstone and Issa and Yasri in the shop, being with Karou in her art class and with Zuzanna, and just getting to know Akiva and seeing his and Karou's first interactions (or, well, fights, really), I was loving it.

Up until Elsewhere was cut off that is.

Afterwards, I just started not enjoying the book as much. And I have no clue why. Maybe I just loved the storyline when Brimstone and the other chimaera were a big part of the story, and so was his shop, and we were just beginning to find out about what was through the door...

It got worse when I found out that Karou was Madrigal. I just didn't like that. I've read books before where the main characters have been reincarnated and I've loved it but, for some reason, I really didn't like that Karou was a reincarnation (of sorts) in this book. I wanted nothing more than for Karou to be Karou, and no one else. Ugh, I don't know, I just didn't feel it was the best way to take the story. But, obviously, since everyone else loves this book, I'm alone in this! I really have no idea why I think that way about it, but I do.

Then, the very ending. At the mention of Brimstone and the others, I perked up a little. Then Akiva tells us his secret and I just... AGHHHHHHHH.


What would be the point in continuing with a series where the part of it I loved the most is meant to be no more? I don't want to believe it. I may pick up the sequel sometime or another, as it does intrigue me that she's going into Eretz, but... who knows. I probably will because I want to know what's really happened but... *wails*

I don't know if you can class this as a review really, more a ramble or stream of consciousness. But I'm distressed and confused and... ALL THE THINGS!

THREE TOADSTOOLS TO DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 24 October 2014

Bookish First Impressions... Am I Turned On or Off?

We all have our preferences when it comes to books. Most of us will borrow/buy a book in a library or bookshop because the blurb has peeked our interest. So, somewhere in those ten or so lines, we've liked the sound of something. Today, I'm going to list the things that make me yell:


And the things that make me:


Okay, so the turn ons (ignores immature mind):
  1. Mention of a fantasy setting (another completely different world) or fantastical elements.
  2. Mention of an adventure or quest.
  3. Mention of the characters having magical powers/living in a world where there's magical powers.
  4. Something hinting at action/thrilling moments.
  5. The main character's a princess.
  6. The main character's 16 or 17 (is it just me who likes screaming out SAME AGE BUDDIES!!)
  7. Mention of a boarding school.
  8. Mention of the main character having to travel to a foreign country to live with their aunt or something.
  9. The setting of the book is in space/on a spaceship.
  10. The setting is in the Victorian era/big dresses era.
  11. Mention of a classic battle of good vs. evil.
  12. Mention of faeries or mermaids.
  13. Mention of an animal/mythical beast that plays a part in the storyline.
  14. Hint at a romance.
  15. Mention of siblings (because I love reading about familial relationships)!
  16. Mention of the setting being in my part of the UK (Scotland) - especially if it's in a castle in the country in Scotland.
  17. Or in a castle, period.
  18. Sometimes a love triangle - if I'm in the mood for it.
If any of these things (or, even better, a few of these things together) are mentioned in the synopsis, I want, want, need.

 
 
Okay, now the turn offs:
  1. The main character's a boy. (I really don't mean to, it's just... I've not really got along with most of the boy protagonists I've read about before)!
  2. The main character's a witch/it's a witchy book.
  3. There's mention of angels and demons (too overused for me now)! Even just paranormal type sounding books... I'm turned off.
  4. There's something in the synopsis like 'All I wanted to be was popular...'
  5. The book's contemporary and sounds very stereotypically same-y same-y.
  6. And the main character is that whiny, stereotypical 'teenage' girl.
  7. And her big 'problems' aren't real problems.
  8. The book involves dragons (what can I say, past experience has tainted it for me)!
  9. There's a hint that the best friend is in love with the MC.
If any of these things are in the blurb then:


What about you? When you read a blurb, what turns you on and off?

*tries to hold in laughter* *fails* PAHAHAHAHA

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Let's Discuss... Other Reading Material!

Okay, so I was thinking. You don't just read books. (WOO, well done, Rachel, glad you finally figured that out!) There are many other things we read. Sheet music, poems, plays, essays, reports... Loads of different things.

It got me thinking.

Apart from books, what else do you enjoy reading?

For me, it's probably plays. Poetry from time to time too. But there's just something about plays that I love. Or, more accurately, something about Shakespeare's plays that I love. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed other plays by other playwrights, but there's just something about Shakespeare's plays that I adore. They're all so dramatic and tragic and there's always a vast array of characters you come to love or hate (or simply, at the very least, form a concrete, strong opinion on). I love debating about storylines and characters and all the different literary devices used in literature and Shakespeare's plays provide you with a lot to go on! I love feeling as passionate as I do about them!

Up to now, I've only ever read plays for school, but I really want to start reading them for my own leisure at home. Right now (in Advanced Higher English) we're reading Antony and Cleopatra (by Shakespeare, of course) and I'm adoring it - I'm beyond passionate about it and have very strong, passionate opinions on the main characters! We're almost finished and I can't wait to move on to Othello later in the year. I've also read Hamlet, which I loved a whole lot as well. There's just something about these plays, the way Shakespeare's written them, that really resonates with me.

I do also enjoy the odd poem. But I'm very picky when it comes to poetry and very hard to please. I don't really connect with a lot of poems so the ones I do connect with I love a whole lot. I can fall in love with individual rhyming couplets though. For instance, in Robert Frost's, Fire and Ice, I love the start of it because of the rhyming couplet:

"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those that favour fire..."

There's just something there that strikes a nerve in me. I don't know why!

Just because this post has been quite text heavy, here's a video relating to Antony and Cleopatra my English teacher is obsessed with. Enjoy!


So, apart from books, what else do you enjoy reading? Do you read plays or poetry? Any favourites/recommendations?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 17 October 2014

Review: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Edition: Penguin Classics Paperback
Released: 24th February 2000
Series: n/a (standalone)
Pages: 177 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Publishers' Page | Buy the book!

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald brilliantly captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. But he does more than render the essence of a particular time and place, for in chronicling Gatsby's tragic pursuit of his dream, Fitzgerald re-creates the universal conflict between illusion and reality.

Is it just me who feels like you can't necessarily 'review' a classic? Like it's not meant to be held up to the same standards as books of today so the word 'review' doesn't look right beside it because it's too... normal, too modern. But I've used the word 'review' in the title of this post because I guess this is what this is (or will be).

So I read The Great Gatsby last year in my Higher English course. So I didn't pick it up out of choice or because I wanted to, we needed to study it, simple as. I wasn't too fussed going into it though. At that time I was still pretty much against the idea of classics (I'd resigned myself to the fact they weren't for me) but it wasn't bothering me for the simple reason we would be taking it step by step and it was quite a short book overall.

I ended up coming out of the book without a very well-formed, passionate opinion. All that I knew for sure was that I loved one thing in particular, and that was the symbolism. The Great Gatsby is rich in symbolism, and I know that if I hadn't studied it I wouldn't have appreciated it as much as I did. I'm a real fan of symbolism in stories (I feel like they give the story some more depth and a little something extra) so I rather adored that about the book.

As for the characters, Gatsby intrigued me and, more or less, had my favour. As for Daisy, I didn't like her one bit. And I loved disliking her, which was the fun part. I've never really loved to dislike a character before, but I certainly did with Daisy. I just didn't fall for her fa├žade and everything about her just seemed questionable and screamed iffy to me. I know a few people in my class had a soft spot for her, but I couldn't even empathise with her. I didn't mind Nick though, surprisingly. There's a lot of different opinions on him, to be sure!

Overall, though The Great Gatsby didn't hit a home run with me, I loved, loved, loved the perfectly executed symbolism and the way you formed strong opinions on the different characters because of how well developed Fitzgerald made them. I won't be rating this book because, as you probably know, I find it very hard to rate classics, but I will say don't fear this book if you need to study it for English - it sparks many lively and fun debates!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Blogovesary Time! FOUR YEARS OLD?!

This little blog o' mine turned four years old yesterday! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

My brain is failing me. FAILING me. I just can't find the right words to express how proud I am of this blog and of how far it's come. I wish I could string together a few coherent and poetic sentences but I'm coming up with nothing. NOTHING.


BUT I JUST WANNA HUG THIS LITTLE CORNER OF THE INTERNET AND EVERYONE THAT TAKES THE TIME TO READ IT! OKAY?! *giant bear hugs*

Without all of you (yes, YOU, right there! you reading this!) this blog would not be where it is today and blogging wouldn't be the same!


To those of you who have been there since the beginning, those of you who may have just stumbled upon this blog today and those of you who I've gotten so close to because of blogging - thank you for EVERYTHING and for being SO awesome! Of course thank you to all the authors and publishing companies that have given me review books over the years too! ALL OF YOU ARE SO AMAZING AND DESERVE ALL THE BOOKS! (and unicorns and rainbows and chocolate)!

Seriously. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 10 October 2014

The TBR Tag!

The wonderful Francoise from My Crazy Bookish World recently tagged me to do the TBR tag so...


How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

The top shelf of my book case is where I store all my TBR books and I also have a goodreads shelf which I always try to keep updated.

Is your TBR mostly printed or eBook?

Printed, for sure. Though there is an alarming amount of eBooks on my goodreads shelf!

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I have a long, hard think about what I'm in the mood for and then, if something stands out to me, choose that one. I love the idea of writing all the titles of your TBR books on bits of paper and pulling one out of a jar each month but I'd probably just not be in the mood for the one that'd be picked so... *shrugs*

A book that's been on your TBR list the longest?

The Hobbit is probably one of the longest ones.


A book on your TBR strictly because of it's beautiful cover?

Probably This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel (the plot does sound fascinating though)!


However, it doesn't look as nice in picture as it does in real life!

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

Probably Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy. Simply because it doesn't really catch my eye and I've not kept up with the original series it spawns off.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you're excited for?

Right, so in my head and on goodreads, I have two separate lists. The one I call my TBR contains only books I already own and have yet to read and all the unpublished books I can't wait to read fall into my wishlist. So my number one unpublished wishlist read at the moment would have to be Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger, book number three in the Finishing School series!

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you?

Probably The Hobbit.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends you?

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield I'd say. There was a stage where EVERYONE was recommending that book to me! Unfortunately, I've just not been in the mood/had time to read it yet!

A book on your TBR that you're dying to read?

Northern Lights (aka. The Golden Compass) by Philip Pullman!!


How many books on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

On my to-read shelf I have only 29 books, but on my wishlist-reads shelf I have 211!

I now tag Holly from Lost in a Library, Cat from Through a Cat's Eyes, Lucy from Queen of Contemporary and Ruby from Feed Me Books Now! :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

My Thoughts in Bullet Points... Take Back the Skies

Author: Lucy Saxon
Edition: Bloomsbury Paperback
Released: 5th June 2014
Series: Take Back the Skies #1
Pages: 378 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

The storms will set her free. Freedom will set her world on fire...

Catherine Hunter is one of the lucky ones. Fourteen years old, a daughter of privilege, she doesn't need to fear the Collections which rip other Anglyan families apart. But she longs for escape - before her dad can marry her off to a rich government brat and imprison her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. But the ship's small, courageous crew have secrets of their own. As they brave the storms that fill the skies between islands, Cat must choose: loyalty or freedom; family or truth; love or battle? Let the skies decide.

I've decided to spice things up today and give you a shorter, and hopefully sweeter, review. My reviews usually turn out awful heavy (even if I don't always mean them to!) so what better way than to break up my usual chunks of text and give you something quicker to read for a change?

Let's get right down to it!

  The book was a breath of fresh air. The premise was so unique and I fell in love with it.
  Skyships are just the coolest thing to put in a book. K?
  I adored the main character, Cat. She was relatable and courageous, not to be walked over.
  I LOVED the group of people on the Stormdancer. The relationship dynamics were just the best.
  I am SO excited for the rest of the series.
  It's going to follow different characters from the same world. How cool is that?! And so awesome!

X  Sometimes there was too much arguing (and apologising afterward) between the same characters.
X  The ending didn't get that much of a rise out of me.

FOUR STARS TO TAKE BACK THE SKIES!

So, there we go. What do you think? Is this a format you'd like to see more often? I think I'd be happy to use it again! ^^

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 3 October 2014

How About a Good Quote? [Format w/ a Twist!]

I rather like my book quotes, so I do. So, today, I thought I'd share a few with you. cringy rhyme, go with it


What are some of your favourite quotes?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo