Sunday, 2 August 2015

Review: Lost on Mars

Author: Paul Magrs
Edition: Firefly eARC
Released: 14th May 2015
Series: Lost on Mars #1
Pages: 336 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Blog | Buy the book!

With the scale and scope of the great science fiction epics, Lost on Mars tells the story of Lora and her family, settlers on the red planet struggling to survive in incredible circumstances. The family clings to life on a smallholding, surviving storms and sinister rumours of people disappearing – until one night Lora sees the Dancers. When her father and grandmother disappear, Lora and her family are driven out to seek a new life across the plains. But none of them are ready for what they find – the beautiful, dangerous City Inside.

I'm not 100% sure of my feelings for this book so I'm going to have to break it down into my favourite things and my not-so-favourite things.

The Highlights
  • I loved the fact it was set on Mars - it just made it that little bit more unique.
  • I quite liked the main character, Lora. She was a great lead for the novel and fit into the storyline very well. I also really liked Peter's character, who we met later on. I'm quite intrigued as to what role he'll end up playing in future books and what he'll bring to the storyline.
  • I also really enjoyed the fact that there was so much mystery surrounding everything - even having finished the book, nothing is clear to me! I'm just left with the gut feeling that something isn't right and the world Lora lives in is mucked up.
  • The world was, undeniably, very complex.
  • You can also see how the author has written Doctor Who books because there was a general foreign, alien feel to the book - which I rather enjoyed!
  • **AN UPDATED ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHT** It's thought-provoking - I finished it this morning and all I've been doing since is mulling it all over. It gets in your head.
The Lowlights
  • It didn't feel like that much actually happened overall in the novel, and some parts seemed to drag. It took me longer to get through than a lot of books I read - though I wouldn't say at any point was it bad.
  • I wasn't overly attached to any of the other characters we were stuck with for a majority of the novel, aside from Lora and Peter and her Da.
To conclude, I did really enjoy this book - I'm just unsure at the minute as to the extent of my enjoyment. I've not quite decided whether I'll pick up the sequel yet but I may just end up doing so because I need answers badly!

**UPDATE** The more I think about the book, the more I think I've enjoyed it. Strange, maybe, but I'm going to roll with it.

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Review: The Golden Specific (The Mapmakers Trilogy #2)

Author: S.E. Grove
Edition: Viking ARC
Released: 14th July 2015
Series: The Mapmakers Trilogy #2
Pages: 528 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

**MINOR SPOILERS IN SYNOPSIS BUT SPOILER FREE REVIEW**

It is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents’ disappearance, combing archives and libraries, grasping at even the most slender leads. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country—but one after another proves to be a dead end.

Then Sophia discovers that a crucial piece of the puzzle exists in a foreign Age. At the same time, Theo discovers that his old life outside the law threatens to destroy the new one he has built with Sophia and her uncle Shadrack. What he and Sophia do not know is that their separate discoveries are intertwined, and that one remarkable person is part of both.

There is a city that holds all of the answers—but it cannot be found on any map. Surrounded by plague, it can only be reached by a journey through darkness and chaos, which is at the same time the plague’s cure:
The Golden Specific.

After having loved the first book in this series with all my heart and soul, I was very excited to receive the sequel at the beginning of this year (YES, I read it that long ago and am only getting around to reviewing it now *le sigh*). It ended up being another great instalment that has only deepened my love for the world S.E. Grove has created.

Even though I didn't love it as much as I did the first one, I was still completely enthralled in the world building. I simply can't get over just how complex and utterly fantastic it is. It's just so damn interesting and I HAVE NO CLUE AS TO HOW S.E. GROVE MANAGED TO COME UP WITH IT! I loved that we continued meeting new characters as well and how different sub-plots were introduced. And that magical quality was still weaved into each page.

However, I did find it confusing at times simply because of how complex the whole story is in itself and even though it felt like a lot happened in this book just like the first, there just wasn't enough tied up from the previous book for my liking. However, there's only one more book coming out now in the series and I'm sure that'll do the job just fine!

Overall, another highly enjoyable and enthralling edition to The Mapmakers Trilogy. I'm really surprised it isn't more popular!

FOUR TOADSTOOLS TO THE GOLDEN SPECIFIC!
Huge thanks to the author and publishers for sending this to me! :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 19 July 2015

I NEED YOUR HELP: Uni Prep?

So I'm off to uni this year (September) to do English Literature and I was just wondering if anyone has any recommendations of books that would prepare me for the kinds of books I'll be reading for the course? Just cause I'd like to feel even just a little bit pre-prepared if you know what I'm saying. If anyone has even any kind of advice for me about the type of course I should be expecting or even just about how to survive uni in general, it'd be much appreciated as well. ^.^

I HOPE TO BE BACK TO BLOGGING PROPERLY SOON. STICK WITH ME.

Love you all.

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My Favourite Platonic Relationships!

Hey guys!

*tumbleweed drifts by*

YES, I've been AWOL again. I know, I know. But life. And exams. And everything else in between. I'm not really going to spend a lot of time trying to excuse the fact I've been disappearing lately. I hate being away for too long and feeling alienated from the blogosphere but life happens. And, in all honesty, I think I've been suffering from bloggers block as well. I don't know whether it's down to the fact I've been feeling a little excluded from the world of book blogging for quite some time now (and not because of any bloggers or anything, just in general) but I'm hoping to rediscover my love for blogging once again.

ANYWAYS. On to the post!

Today I'm going to be talking about some of my favourite platonic relationships in books. We all know how much romantic relationships can take over plotlines so, for a change, I thought I'd showcase some non-romantic relationships that really stood out to me.


Harry and Hermione
Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
 
Of course I've got to have a classic. Whether in the books or movies, the relationship between Hermione and Harry really stood out to me. Especially the development of it over time. I just loved how close the pair were and how well they knew each other and their dynamic just generally made me smile (even if a secret part of me wouldn't have minded them being end game but... PLATONIC, Rachel, platonic).
 
Celaena and Rowan
Heir of Fire - Sarah J. Maas
 
This is probably my favourite platonic relationship to date. I absolutely love, love, LOVE the relationship between Celaena and Rowan. It's just perfect and I love how solidly it was built up over time and how the pair grew to love each other (in a platonic way of course). I just... gah, I love it so, so, so, so, SO much.
 
Cinder and Iko
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
 
Granted, I did read this a long time ago but I still, to this day, remember how much I loved Iko as a character as well as the relationship she shared with Cinder. It was certainly humorous at times and I loved the fact that Iko wasn't human yet so human-like in her relationship with Cinder.
 
Maya, Simon and Penny
Lost Island of Tamarind/Secrets of Tamarind - Nadia Aguiar
 
I really loved the sibling dynamic these three shared in both books and how protective they were of each other. Especially the way Maya looked out for her younger siblings in particular. To me, it just epitomised how siblings should act if they found themselves in that situation, and it was rather heart warming.  
 
The Virals
Virals series - Kathy Reichs
 
A friendship group which I truly adore. I just love all the different platonic dynamics between Tory and the three boys (even if one may be more romantic...) and the way they all act with each other. It's one of my favourite fictional friendship groups.
 
What are some of your favourite platonic relationships in books?
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo



Friday, 1 May 2015

April Wrap Up!

I feel like I've been rather absent from the blogging world this month. I had to sit a bundle of compulsory tests in the last week of school (they seemed never ending!) and Scotland was also blasted with a lot of sun at one point so I was constantly out and about with friends. I also had my last day of school ever, ever, ever - which is a pretty monumental milestone - and I will be waving goodbye to it very shortly - after exams and the like.

On another note, I did get to read a few books this month.

 
The Golden Specific (The Mapmaker's Trilogy #2) by S.E. Grove - 4 stars | The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - 4 stars | Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - 4 stars | The Jewel by Amy Ewing - 3 stars | Salt & Stone (Fire and Flood #2) by Victoria Scott - 4 stars
 
I'm quite happy about the number of books I managed to get through in April, though it's not the usual number. I can't really decide on a favourite, though - I enjoyed a lot of different aspects in each book.
 
I only reviewed one book this month and that was Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin (you can read the review HERE). I also created an original tag which I'm pretty proud of and would love for you to do on your own blog (HERE), talked about my feelings for Dominic Sherwood being cast as Jace in the Shadowhunters TV show (HERE) and talked about my highly anticipated May releases (HERE).

How was April to you?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Monday, 27 April 2015

My Highly Anticipated May Releases!

There are two books releasing in May that I am super excited for at the moment and cannot wait to pick up and read as soon as I possibly can. And these are:


The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
The Heir by Kiera Cass
 
I've already heard so much praise for The Wrath & The Dawn from different people and the average rating is already over 4 stars on Goodreads so it's safe to say I'm rather excited for it. It sounds unique and interesting and I can't wait to see what I will think about it when the time comes.
 
I also can't even put in to words how excited I am for The Heir. It's probably the one I'm most excited for out of the two. For some reason I think it has great potential and I really can't wait to meet a new cast of characters in a premise I love. And, hey, I gotta love at least one of the suitors lined up for the main character, yes? It'll be so fun getting to read an instalment in the series from a different perspective.
 
What books are you looking forward to this May?
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Dominic Sherwood as Jace?

Okay, so I was never sure whether I was going to be that invested in the up and coming Shadowhunters TV series (based on The Mortal Instruments books by Cassandra Clare) but after the casting of Jace was revealed, I gotta say... My interest has peeked a little.

Dominic Sherwood has been cast as Jace and though TMI isn't my favourite and I'm not all that obsessed with it (and I would have much rather preferred an Infernal Devices TV series...) I think I'm going to give it a go now when it airs beginning of next year.

And that isn't at all because Dominic Sherwood is appealing to the eye... *she types as she goggles at following picture of him*


*and is not at all bitter about the fact he could have been perfect for Will*

 
Anyway... Getting over the fact TID is probably never going to see the light of TV day (*sad face*), I do admit I can see him embodying Jace relatively well. I really liked his character in Vampire Academy (you may also know him from the Taylor Swift Style music video) and I can really picture him capturing a cocky, snarky character. And, hey, I'm not complaining if he has the pretty outer packaging to boot..

So, yes, I think I'll now give this TV series a chance. I don't know if I'll actually like it when it comes to it but Dominic Sherwood being cast has gotten my attention and peeked my interest for the TV series.

*yes, I believe I could be that superficial considering all it took was a hottie being cast to draw me in*

What do you think of the casting of Jace?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Time to Move On?

So you'll probably all know that for years now Divergent by Veronica Roth has been my favourite book. But recently I've been thinking, is it time to move on? Is it time to find another go-to favourite book which I'll rave about like crazy whenever it gets mentioned?

I love Divergent with all my heart but there are so many worthy books out there I've yet to read and one of them could be just as perfect for me. However, I must say, they are up against stiff competition. I related to Divergent like I've never related to any other book. Especially the main character. I've never been able to understand every single decision an MC has made in any book until I came across Divergent and Tris. I completely understood why she did everything she did - I related to her on so many different levels.


So though I may be on the look-out for a new favourite, Divergent will by no means mean anything less to me than what it does right now. I'd just like to find another book which can be set on the same pedestal because it's been SO long since I've read a book I truly and completely loved in every possible way like I did Divergent.

Are you ready to move on to a new favourite or have you recently discovered a favourite book? What do you look for?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Review: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me

Author: Meredith Zeitlin
Edition: G.P. Putnam's Sons eARC
Releases: 21st April 2015 (in one week!)
Series: n/a (Standalone)
Pages: 336 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Preorder the book!

A laugh-out-loud high school adventure set in Greece, perfect for fans of Meg Cabot! 

High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she's devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona's mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks... but no thanks.

In the vein of 
Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary.

When I was asked whether or not I was interested in reading and reviewing this book all the way back in February, I jumped at the chance. You see, I was still in my cute contemporary kick at the time and couldn't resist another light hearted read (if you can't tell, I'm writing this amidst the aforementioned contemporary kick and this post will be scheduled). Though Sophomore Year is Greek to Me certainly did provide me with a light-hearted read, it, unfortunately, did not quite enthral me like I hoped.

Zona, our main character, is a teenager in the midst of high school when her dad drops a huge bomb shell on her. They're moving to Greece for six months so he can work on a story. Both characters are journalists (one accomplished and one aspiring to be just as successful as the other) and I really enjoyed the way journalism came into play in the book. It was refreshing to have a main character know exactly what she wanted to do with her life and I enjoyed the numerous articles interspersed throughout the novel written by Zona humorously recounting some of the events she was experiencing in Greece. It added a fun little extra to the storyline and I started looking forward to reading more of them as the chapters progressed.

On another note... I found the beginning to be quite slow and the pacing in a few of the chapters to wean a little and, as a result, my attention would drift during these times. I also felt like some events and situations in the storyline weren't particularly there for a purpose - so they sometimes felt a little out of place. I did, however, love the issue that was brought in to the novel by one of the friends Zona makes in Greece - as it's something I don't feel makes an appearance in a lot of books when people really should be made more aware of it.

To conclude, Sophomore Year is Greek to Me ended up being a light, easy read to pass a rainy Sunday but not quite a chart-topper. I adored certain aspects of the novel - like the focus on journalism - but the pacing and some parts of the storyline just felt pretty lacklustre.

TWO AND THREE QUARTER TOADSTOOLS TO SOPHOMORE YEAR IS GREEK TO ME!
Huge thank you to the author's PR for providing me with the opportunity to read this book! :)
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Narnian Book Tag (Original)

Hello everyone! So I've been really wanting to create an original book tag for quite some time now and a few minutes ago inspiration struck! If you didn't know already, I've got a rather unhealthy obsession with Narnia, and in honour of me finally reading one of the books, I thought I'd put this love to good use by incorporating the world I love so dearly into a tag. I'm not sure how this will turn out but...

 
1) King Peter the Magnificent - A book which stands out in its genre.

A book that stands out in its genre for me would be Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. I say this simply because the genre it comes from - contemporary - isn't my favourite and I've had real trouble in the past getting into a lot of contemporary books yet this one really drew me in and I loved it.

2) Queen Susan the Gentle - A book which is underrated.

I'm going to stray away from my usual picks for underrated books here and give you a new one. And that book's going to be The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove. I absolutely adored this book and it has one of the most solid, complex and intricate worlds I've ever come across yet not many people I know have read it. People really need to check it out!

3) King Edmund the Just - A book that took a while to hook you in.

I'm going to say 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad for this one. I remember the beginning feeling quite choppy when I was reading it - it would jump from place to place - so it took me up until the pacing began to settle before I properly started enjoying it.

4) Queen Lucy the Valiant - An on-going series you're loyal to.

Hmmm, this one is actually quite tricky for me because I'm really bad for losing interest in a series after a while if I don't return to it, or even if I just wake up one day not feeling it. Right now, I'd probably have to say I'm loyal to the Selection series by Kiera Cass. Though the first three books weren't my favourites, I still found them really light, quick and fun reads so I'm definitely continuing on with the next books!

5) Aslan, the Great Lion - A powerful book that stuck with you.

Okay, so I'm going to try and stray away from my usual picks for this one as well. I'm going to go for... Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I'm going for this one because I was so in awe of Tris' character in this instalment and could not think of a more admirable character than her when I flicked the last page. Her character development truly awed me.

6) Jadis, the White Witch - A book with a synopsis that deceived you.

I'm going to go with The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke. This is because the synopsis seemed to point at something which did not actually occur in the novel until the very end (so it was not explored throughout the book as the blurb would have had you believe). Don't get me wrong, I did actually really enjoy the book, but I would've liked a synopsis more relevant to the actual storyline present.

7) Mr and Mrs Beaver - Your comfort reads.

Apart from Harry Potter, any of Eva Ibbotson's three tween books.

8) Mr Tumnus - A book with a surprising twist.

One twist I've never fully gotten over is the one in A Million Suns by Beth Revis. Even though I've still not got on to the last book yet (probably to do with how much that twist overwhelmed me!) I really hope to soon!

9) Cair Paravel - A book with a beautiful message.

I'm just going to have to go with my go-to answer here. Milledgeville Misfit by T.L. Gray. I read it so many years ago now but to this day I can still feel the way it got under my skin. I just loved how the author explored family, and discovering family in a time of loss.

10) The Land of Narnia - Your favourite fantasy world.

At this moment in time, the world out of The Mapmaker's Trilogy by S.E. Grove is definitely one of my favourite fantasy worlds. I guess you could count it as dystopia at a push, but it reads more like high fantasy to me. It's just so interesting and complex and different.

I really hope you enjoyed my first original book tag. I would really love for you to do it too. Like, I would love it a lot! Consider yourself tagged! I'll even leave a linky below for anyone who does this tag to link their post to. :D

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tick, Tock Goes The Clock...

I apologise for the following freak out but, y'know, I'm freaking out.

I'm scared, guys. Dreadfully so. I've got five days of school left (20th-24th April) and then I'm done for good. No more school for six hours a day. No more sitting in a class full of pupils I know and have spent six years with (some even more so). No more being spoon-fed by teachers and sitting through subjects that are compulsory. No more of everything I've only ever known.

I'm growing up. And I'm so scared.

I'm scared about starting university, about how different it will be. I'm scared about the fact I will now have to think seriously about jobs and money. I'm scared that my friends won't be there to fall back on if I have a particularly hard class.

I'm scared.

I feel like I'm losing touch with childhood, and I'm just not ready. Not yet. When I was little, I couldn't wait for this moment. But now that it's here, I want to be that child again. I want to go back to being that carefree little girl. The one who never stopped climbing trees and scraping shins and reading and reading and reading.

I feel like I've not enough time in the world to read or get my head around what's happening. Everything's moving forward so fast. My blog's suffering because of revision, of freaking out over the future and I hate it. I want all the time in the world back to blog and read and read and blog. I miss having no worries.

I want everything to stop for just a moment. Just a moment. So I can breathe. So I can come to terms with what's happening. So I can get excited for the future.

But I can't, and I'm scared.

Until next time.

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Mini Review: An Island of Our Own

Author: Sally Nicholls
Edition: Scholastic ARC
Releases: 2nd April 2015 (in a week!)
Series: n/a (Standalone)
Pages: 216 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Preorder the book!

From one of the brightest talents in children's fiction and the winner of the Waterstones Children's Book prize comes a new novel about family and friendship. Siblings Jonathan, Holly and Davy have been struggling to survive since the death of their mother, and are determined to avoid being taken into care. When the family's wealthy but eccentric Great-Aunt Irene has a stroke, they go to visit her. Unable to speak or write, she gives Holly some photographs that might lead them to an inheritance that could solve all their problems. But they're not the only ones after the treasure...

An Island of Our Own is just one of those novels you pick up one day and you don't necessarily have a reason why. It wasn't a novel I particularly enjoyed, yet it's not one I regret reading.

If you'd like a quick, light read that's a realistic interpretation of normal life, you could always give this one a go. It's a seriously short read that will fly by. Though I didn't quite connect to it in the way I thought I might going in to it, as I've said, it wasn't a story I regretted spending time reading.

The main character was a little too forward and selfish for me but her character was undeniably and realistically childish in manner so I can see how some people could easily look by this. However, there was something in me that felt for her big brother, Jonathan, and the way he was struggling to provide for his younger siblings.

Overall, it was an alright read. Not really my cup of tea but I can see how others will like it.

TWO TOADSTOOLS TO AN ISLAND OF OUR OWN!
Huge thank you to Scholastic for providing me with an ARC of this book! :)
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Saturday, 28 February 2015

February Wrap Up!

I always forget February only has 28 days - it feels like it's flown by! I hope this month was good to you all?!

I read nine books this month. Not as many as last month but I'm still pretty happy with the number. These were (in chronological order):


  The Boy with the Tiger's Heart by Linda Coggin - 2.5 stars | Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - 4 stars | Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick - 2 stars | Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson - 4.5 stars | The Duff by Kody Keplinger - 4 stars | The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland - 4 stars | Shut Out by Kody Keplinger - 2.5 stars | The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris - 4 stars | Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin - 2.5 stars
 
As you can see, a lot of the books I read this month fall under the contemporary romance genre. What can I say? I was in a pretty major kick for a while. I absolutely adored most of them and definitely recommend giving them a go! My favourite read was probably Second Chance Summer but that was very closely followed by all the others I rated four stars. The only book I both read and reviewed this month was The Boy with the Tiger's Heart (which you can read HERE). However, I did post another review in the month of February of a book I read a couple months ago and that was Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson (which you can read HERE).
 
I also managed to complete a few more of the challenges set in the 2015 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge. These were:
 
Read a popular author's first book
Read a book set in high school
 
I've also continued using my local library and, this month especially, started reading from a variety of genres. I mean, since when do I read contemporary?! The majority of the books I read this month were also in ebook format, which made for a nice difference. I'm pretty sure the genre, paired with the fact I was reading it electronically, helped me get out of the reading slump I was heading into at the beginning of the month.
 
I'm also finishing off the month reading Silas Marner by George Eliot. It's not the easiest to get into but I'm intrigued so far!
 
If you would like to read my favourite post of mine this month, click HERE. :)
 
How was February for you?
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Thoughts in Bullet Points... Pennyroyal Academy

Author: M.A. Larson
Edition: Putnam Hardback
Released: 7th October 2014
Series: Pennyroyal Academy #1
Pages: 320 approx.
Link: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow's princesses and knights... Come one, come all!

A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war. She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.

Set in Grimm’s fairytale world, M.A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academy masterfully combines adventure, humor, and magical mischief.

Today I feel like spicing things up (reviewing format-wise) so I'm going to do a My Thoughts in Bullet Points... because I just haven't done one in absolute ages! Without further-a-do...

THE GOOD THINGS
  • I was instantly drawn in from the get go. I loved the beginning - it hooked me straight away!
  • The world was extremely cool and magical (and, as we all know, I love magical). I'd describe it as one of those worlds that, no matter your age, it'll get your imagination going. I mean, it's set in the Grimm's fairytale world, guys! (Safe to say I recommend it to people who enjoy fairytales and fairytale retellings!)
  • I really liked the main character.
  • I definitely shipped the main character and... a certain knight right from when they first met in the witch's house at the beginning of the story.
  • There was something almost J.K. Rowling-esque about it which I'm sure will intrigue a lot of people! It certainly did me.
  • I think this book is meant to be turning into a movie (the writer developed it from a screenplay he wrote) and will be starring Reese Witherspoon - and I'm pretty darn excited about that.
  • I will definitely be continuing on with the series - the potential for sequels is real!
THE NOT-SO-GOOD THINGS
  • I felt like some parts could have been fleshed out and developed some more. Apparently M.A. Larson used his screenplay to help cut some parts of the novel down but I would have rather he explored and delved into them more instead - I mean, a story should be lengthier than a screenplay anyhow. It was a little disappointing since some of the parts which weren't developed had so much potential. But maybe in the next books, eh?
  • Sometimes I questioned the role and purpose of certain events. This might have been because the ideas behind them weren't developed though.
  • The climax felt a little rushed.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it! It's beyond fun and I'm sure it'll be an equally fun and enjoyable movie!

FOUR TOADSTOOLS TO PENNYROYAL ACADEMY!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 15 February 2015

I'm in a MAJOR kick right now...

Okay, so for the past few days I've been in a huge contemporary romance kick. Not only is this funny because I never usually read contemporary, like, ever, and all of the novels I've read in this kick have been in ebook format, but it's my second one of the year. The first being my vampire kick in January. I'm starting to think that maybe this will be the year of kicks for me.

As a sidenote, I thought I was going into a reading slump just before I decided to give a contemporary romance a go, and I seriously think that that, coupled with the fact I was reading the book electronically, helped me a lot. Maybe you should think about doing the same next time you feel like you're heading into a slump - to see if it works for you like it did me!

So far I've read three contemporary romance books, and adored them all. These are:


Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

All three of these, though I went in to them thinking they would most likely be of a light-hearted nature and I'd whizz through them, actually all ended up having something going on behind the scenes - something deeper. And this only made me appreciate them more on a whole other level. I basically loved all three and recommend you read them if they appeal to you (or even if they don't)!

It's so strange how much I adored these books after all this time of avoiding the contemporary genre like the plague!

Are you in any sort of kick right now? Be it a book genre, TV series or movie franchise?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Let me know if you're interested in seeing a review of any of these books!

Monday, 9 February 2015

May I borrow some more?

Okay, here's the deal. I love lending out books. To me, grilling your friend on what they like in a book (or what they think they'd like in a book if they're a non-reader) and going through your bookshelf to find suitable choices then forcing them to borrow one (or a few) is a great pastime. So I really don't get when people say they hate lending out books. While I'm here like:

 
They're over there like:
 
 
Or, in extreme cases:
 
 
I'm a firm lender-outer (let's pretend that's a word and roll with it). I love the fact that more people than just me are reading and loving that copy of a book. There's another crack in the spine, more thumb marks on the pages. The story is being shared, just like I feel stories should be.

And if the book comes back with a small coffee stain on a page or a small tear at one corner? It's only proof! Proof that more people have flicked through it and loved it and given it their attention. Proof that the story has been read.

Also, what's more smile-inducing than when you've picked out a winner for your friend - a book they really enjoyed? You feel like a five star librarian!

Are you a lender-outer? Or not so much? Why?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

None of the above images or gifs in this post belong to me. I claim no possession for any of them.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Review: The Boy with the Tiger's Heart

Author: Linda Coggin
Edition: Hot Key Books Paperback
Released: 4th September 2014
Series: n/a (Standalone)
Pages: 229 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Blog | Buy the book!

The wild is danger. The wild is fierce. The wild is freedom.

Raised by dogs and feared by humans, Nona must run from the authorities with the only people she can trust: a frightened boy called Caius, a mixed-up boy called Jay - and a bear by the name of Abel Dancer.

A haunting and unforgettable modern fable about bravery, untamed places, and what it is that makes us human.

I really don't know how I feel toward this book. It was completely not what I was expecting yet I wouldn't say I disliked it.

During the time I was reading it, I just felt slightly detached - I wasn't enthralled in the storyline and dying to pick the book up every time I put it down. I also felt like I missed the deeper meaning behind the story and the themes specified in the synopsis that the book was meant to explore. Sure, I hate the idea of a world where nature and animals are viewed as a threat but it wasn't put across in a way that made me overly emotional - which I would have liked, being the nature and animal lover I am. I also didn't really pick up on the theme of what it is that makes us human which is a real pity because that was one of the main reasons I picked the book up.

However, though the story felt a little weak to me, the characters were very intriguing. My favourite character was by far Jay. I loved the idea behind him. I also liked Nona, though I felt she never quite explored her full potential. Caius also added a different dynamic to the story with his background but I couldn't quite shake the fact he more or less just felt there. I also would have liked Nona and Abel Dancer's relationship to have been explored more because, as we know, I love human/animal relationships in books.

Maybe if you read this, you'll understand where I'm coming from. Though it wasn't one of the strongest novels I've read and I didn't particularly enjoy it, there was just something in the story that didn't repel me. It's a pity that I, personally, didn't feel the themes were explored thoroughly in the storyline - as I'm sure that would have been a portion of the book I loved. As it is, I'm really not sure what to make of this book. It was a unique read, but didn't quite reel me in.

TWO AND A HALF TOADSTOOLS TO THE BOY WITH THE TIGER'S HEART!
Huge thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me out a review copy of this book!
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Exciting February Releases!

I'm not one to follow book releases but I came across a few exciting releases this month and thought I'd share them all with you.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
10th February 2015

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?



The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
10th February 2015

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.




Dove Arising by Karen Bao
24th February 2015

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble


                                           A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
                                                       24th February 2015

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.


I think these all look fantastic and I can't wait for them to release. I hope that these publication dates refer to the UK as well as the USA because I don't want to wait even a little longer!

Are you excited for these? What February releases are you looking forward to?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 1 February 2015

January Wrap Up and Book Haul!

As part of my 2015 goals, I'm bringing you the first of (hopefully) twelve monthly wrap ups!

This month I managed to read fifteen books - which I'm very proud of. Especially since I had prelims and managed to balance the time between studying and reading (which I've never been able to do for the three years I've been sitting prelims and exams).

The fifteen books I read (in chronological order) are as follows:

Click HERE to access their goodreads pages!
Entwined - 3 stars | Snow Like Ashes - 4 stars | Fire & Flood - 4 stars
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown2.75 stars | Vampire Academy - 3 stars | Frostbite - 4 stars
Silverfin - 3 stars | Shadow Kiss - 4 stars | Crown of Midnight - 3 stars
United We Spy - 4 stars | The Darkest Minds - 3 stars | The Glass Sentence - 4.5 stars
Fearsome Dreamer - 3 stars | The Sin Eater's Daughter - 3.5 stars | An Island of Our Own - 3 stars
 
So the highest rating from me this month went to The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove - a fantastic novel. You can read my review for it HERE. I also wrote a review for The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury that you can read HERE. Other reviews I wrote in January for books I read toward the end of 2014 can also be found HERE, HERE and HERE. I'm very proud of the amount of reviews I managed to write in the month of January. Another highlight of January was taking part in the Suzy P. blog tour where I hosted an author guest post, which you can read HERE. I also wrote my first discussion post of the year - Simultaneously Liking and Disliking a Book...

At the beginning of the month I also posted up my blogging and reading goals for 2015. Unbelievably, I've managed to complete one (get a library card and start using it) and picked up my first graphic novel (my goal for 2015 being to read a few so I've not quite completed this one yet). I also completed 12 of the 50 tasks set by the 2015 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge.

Read a book that became a movie
Read a book published this year
Read a book written by someone under 30
Read a book with non-human characters
Read a book by a female author
Read a book with a one-word title
Read a book you can finish in a day
Read a book set in the future
Read a book with magic
Read a graphic novel
Read a book by an author you've never read before
Read a book you own but have never read

Though it wasn't a particular goal, I also read three books by British authors (these being Fearsome Dreamer, The Sin Eater's Daughter and An Island of Our Own). I'm rather happy about this because I've been meaning to read more UKYA and, just simply, more books from British authors for a very long time. It feels good supporting home-grown talent!

So, yes, January was the best month in a long, long time for me reading and blogging wise. Now, on to the books I received throughout the month.
 

The Boy with the Tiger's Heart by Linda Coggin | Received for review by Hot Key Books
 The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury | Gifted by Scholastic (have reviewed)
An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls | Gifted by Scholastic (will review)
Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick | Library book
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein | Library book
Flip by Martyn Bedford | Gift from friend
The Way Inn by Will Wiles | Surprise review book from Harper Collins
The Bees by Laline Paull | Surprise review book from Harper Collins
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (not pictured) | Library book
Silverfin: The Graphic Novel by Charlie Higson and Kev Walker (not pictured) | Library book

Big shout out and huge thank you to the publishers (and Cat!) for sending some books my way this month!
 
How's January treated you? How was it reading and blogging wise?
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 30 January 2015

Review: The Sin Eater's Daughter

Author: Melinda Salisbury
Edition: Scholastic Paperback (Early Copy)
Release: 5th February 2015
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Pages: 333 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

I am the perfect weapon. I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has its price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girl she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous as the queen's, some truths should not be told...

Though this book started out well for me, after a while, there were a couple of problems which surfaced that I just couldn't overlook. However, before I go into more detail, let me just say this: I did enjoy this book and can easily see it being a big hit in the near future with a lot of different people.

Let's start out on a positive note. There were three aspects of the book which really stood out to me. These were the writing, the setting and the way the Gods came in to play in the storyline. All three of these I truly adored. The writing had an almost melodic quality to it and simply seemed to flow, pulling me through page after page. The setting portrayed a medieval feel and, being the fan of castles, big dresses and court drama that I am, well, it went down a storm. And the idea behind the Gods Naeht and Daeg also really interested me and I really enjoyed their roles in the storyline and the way they came into play.

Unfortunately, my problems were very much character based. And it's a really pity because I'm sure I would have probably loved this book otherwise. However, I do believe this all came down to my personal taste in characters so don't be put off by what I'm about to say. I started off liking the main character, Twylla, but, as time went on, I couldn't overlook her selfishness. Now, she isn't the type of selfish you're used to seeing, she's more of the subtle variety and, though I do believe she doesn't always know that she's being selfish, her actions and decisions just begun to irk me after a while. I also wasn't fond of Lief or the prince because I just didn't know what to make of them. The one character I did surprisingly like was Dorin. However, what's to say the characters won't develop and become more to my liking in the next books?

Yeah, that's another thing. I feel like this book would have worked well as a standalone but, now that I know it's going to be a trilogy, I'm really in-between about what I want to do. Should I continue? I'm not sure. Despite my problems, there were some things I really did enjoy.

Overall, The Sin Eater's Daughter was an enjoyable story. The writing was lovely and I loved the time period and atmosphere the author captured by it. And though I didn't find the characters that much to my liking, I do still recommend this book because I feel that came down to my personal tastes alone and I wouldn't want to see anyone giving this book a miss when I know a lot of people will love it.

THREE AND A HALF TOADSTOOLS TO THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER! :)
A big thank you to Scholastic for sending me an early copy of this book!
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Suzy P Blog Tour: Author Guest Post!

In honour of the release of the final book in the Suzy P. trilogy, Suzy P, Forever Me, Suzy P. has taken to the blogosphere to go out with a bang. Today I'm lucky enough to be part of the lovely blog tour and be able to share an author guest post with you all. Enjoy!


Suzy P is back in Suzy P, Forever Me, the third novel in the Suzy series about fourteen-year-old Suzy Puttock, who somehow manages to land herself in trouble and embarrass herself wherever she goes!

This time, Suzy’s made a promise she can’t keep. And it’s kind of a big promise. To her entire school!

She’s promised super-famous band The Drifting will be performing at the Collinsbrooke fundraiser – yup, big fat uh-oh. And as if trying to sort out that mess wasn’t enough, she’s got Dad’s surprise birthday bash to contend with, and Dad is showing definite signs of a midlife crisis…

Suzy always manages to find herself in daft situations. Here are some of the signs that you might be like Suzy yourself…

1. Your life is one long series of embarrassing events.
2. Your family drive you nuts on a daily – actually, make that hourly - basis.
3. You never think before you speak and always end up with problems as a result.
4. Your hair is out-of-control curly and never behaves.
5. You regularly wish you could abandon your younger sibling in an orphanage.
6. You love hot chocolate with marshmallows, and think it helps any problem.
7. You believe dresses and skirts are not to be trusted.
8. You’re super grateful you have a fantastic boyfriend and great mates to help you through the tough times.
9. You firmly believe sleeping in tents should be avoided at all costs.
10. You’ve dropped your underwear on the head of someone you’ve never met before.

Can you identify with Suzy P? How alike are you? Share your similarities with us on Twitter @suzyputtock.

Suzy P, Forever Me, Suzy P and the Trouble With Three and Me, Suzy P by Karen Saunders are available to buy online and from all good bookshops. If you’d like to find out more about the books or the author, do visit Karen online at www.karensaunders.co.uk, ‘like’ her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karensaunderswriter or follow Karen on Twitter @writingkaren. Suzy tweets too, @suzyputtock, so don’t forget to follow her, too!

A couple years ago, I read and LOVED the first book of the series, Me, Suzy P. (review HERE), so I really do whole-heartedly recommend giving it a go!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Review: The Glass Sentence

Author: S.E. Grove
Edition: Viking Hardback
Released: 12th June 2014
Series: The Mapmakers Trilogy #1
Pages: 489 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Series Website | Author's Website | Buy the book!

It is 1891. Almost a century ago, the Great Disruption threw all the continents into different time periods, from prehistory to the far future. It remade the world. Explorers took their lives into their hands; mapmaking became a fine art, a mixture of science and magic.

Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers. Eight years ago, her parents went on an urgent mission, and never returned. She lives with her brilliant, absentminded uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, who is teaching her everything he knows. Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Her new friend Theo, a refugee from the West, comes along. From the moment the two of them get on the train, their lives are in as much danger as Shadrack's - because he has entrusted Sophia with the most important artifact in his collection.

She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.

The Glass Sentence is one of the most complex and intricate books I've ever read in my lifetime and I absolutely loved it. Every moment I spent reading it, I was in complete awe of the world and plotline being crafted in front of my eyes and the sheer scale of detail and thought that S.E. Grove must have put into creating it. It was an astounding story and one that could only have been written by a master storyteller.

The world in this book is overwhelming in its complexity and richness - you will never have read a book with a world even remotely similar to this one before, I assure you. Every time I picked up this book, I'd flick through the pages at a deliberate slower pace, soaking up every stray detail of the world I could find and storing it away in a treasure chest in the back of my mind, revelling in the sheer and utter intricacy of it all. Grove's writing, the way she describes the world and builds it up until you feel lost in the pages, is one of the most entrancing styles I've come across. I think I'll still be processing this world in days to come.

Though Sophia is of a middle grade age, the book does not read like middle grade at all. I truly believe anyone of any age could find something to admire and love in this book, if not everything about it. However, I really liked the way Sophia's age came in to play in the storyline. It gave the story a layer of child-like imagination and fantasy. I loved how serious and determined and caring Sophia was yet still with a childish boldness that made her question everything around her. There were also a great variety of side characters who I couldn't help but adore because they were all so different from one another.

I really don't get why this book isn't being screamed about from every rooftop everywhere. It really deserves way more attention - which, after reading, you seriously think it would be drowning in already! I can't wait for the next book. I can only wonder at how it will delve into this unbelievably developed world and reveal yet some more of its secrets!

To conclude, The Glass Sentence is a stunning debut from an author who implements imagination like nothing you've ever seen. I still find it jaw dropping how complex and original the world is and how the plotline propels the story forward in a way which makes the whole book seem like something so special. If I've convinced one of you to read this book, or even to consider it, I'll be very happy indeed. An astounding novel.

FOUR AND A HALF TOADSTOOLS TO THE GLASS SENTENCE!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 22 January 2015

My Finished Series!

There's been a lot of these types of videos going around booktube lately and, since I really enjoy watching them and am also interested in my own series read count, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon. *spends ten minutes going through goodreads to find completed series* Unfortunately, I'm rather disappointed with my number (it seems I start a lot of series but never finish them -.-) but am up for showing you the ones I've read in their entirety anyway. To make myself feel better, let's just pretend I've forgotten a bunch I read when I was younger (which I probably will have, honestly)...

Harry Potter
 
 
First off, of course, we have the legendary HP series. Words cannot describe how phenomenal and utterly amazing these books are. I'll never be able to repay them for the comfort they've given me over the years and the way they've shaped me as a person.

Divergent
 
 
A series I really adored with a protagonist who was amazing to follow. If you asked me to name a great fictional role model, I'd probably say Tris. She's human and flawed, sure as hell fights for what she believes in and always, always, always strives to do the right and moral thing. She's brave, smart, selfless, kind and honestly one of the best, most complex, amazing fictional characters you'll ever come across.

Dark Touch
 
 
A really fun, entertaining series I read a few years ago and loved. Really light reads I'd recommend marathoning in a day.
 
 Delirium


A thought-provoking trilogy I enjoyed.

Wings
 
 
A really fun series I adored when I read it a couple of years back. The world entranced me and I'm pretty sure kick-started my love for reading books with magical creatures. The covers are some of the most beautiful ones I've seen too.
 
The Hunger Games


My introduction to both the YA and dystopian genre. Adored these books. So fast paced and thrilling.

Inkworld
 
 
Read this trilogy when I was younger and really adored it. Fictional characters coming to life - what more could you ask for?
 
Chestnut Hill
 

Absolutely loved this series as a tween. I've always been very horse obsessed and a series all about four friends in an equestrian boarding school was perfect for me. I'd seriously recommend this to tweens and teens obsessed with horses - you'll love it.

Matched
 
 
A so-so series with some beautiful writing.

The Mortal Instruments

 
An alright/good series with some instalments better than others.

The Infernal Devices

 
One of my favourite series of all time and home to one of my favourite characters of all time too - Will. Except, I loved all the characters and the different relationships and the setting and time era and... just everything. They're pretty epic books, okay?

Have you read any of these series? What did you think of them?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo