Friday, 30 October 2015

Book Review | Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

"On the day of the Dunne's five year wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne goes missing. All that's left behind is a dishevelled living room, a cat, and a diary. It is through this diary that we see the inner workings of the Dunne's marriage, and Amy's struggles as a naive housewife out of her comfort zone. The format of this book is different - one chapter is a diary entry by Amy set in the past, and the next chapter is Nick Dunne's views and struggles in the present. Then it all changes."

The premise of this book is wonderful. I love all things dark and twisted, and this book seemed right up my alley. The problem is the first 2/3 of the book. Never in my life have I read something so taxing. The first part is slow, with nothing happening and written in a way that made it such hard work to read. I felt more exhausted after reading the first part than I did when I worked a full 10 hour shift at work! It is very slow, the language doesn't flow well and it took so long to read a chapter that I had to put it down after each one. It took me 6 months to read this book, and I'm a fast reader. I read so many books while reading this one because I couldn't bear to read it!

The ending of this book was predictable and unbelievable, with solutions to the various plot twists that I just didn't care about. Every single one of the characters is unlikeable and I found myself not caring about what happened to a single one of them. The character development was poor, and Gillian Flynn is very much a "tell you instead of show you" author, which really ruins the world building aspect also. The ending seemed hurried and was so hilariously bad (almost like a hilarious stage show) that it completely got rid of the "thriller" aspect for me. At least the ending went quicker than the first 2/3 of this book!

Overall, I'm glad I read this. I can't say I'd ever want to read it again, but I'm glad I read it. I can put it down and say I never have to pick it up again.

1/5 stars, although I'd gladly give it 0 if I could.

Book Review | Timebound by Rysa Walker

Thank you so much to both NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
"When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.

Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.

Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?"

This book was absolutely fabulous. It really was. Not only was it written well, I was really impressed with the continuity throughout this book. A lot of the time with time travel, I find that the author struggles to keep various continuities going, whether it be with tone or methods or, in some cases, they've completely and utterly given out different chains of events happening along a singular timeline. This book did absolutely none of that. Walker held her own voice solidly throughout, and everything was so neat and tidy with both the plot and the prose that I really commend her. She also has a really unique idea and method of time travel and that's something I really enjoy seeing, even if it took me a little while to get my head around some of the concepts and explanations behind said time travel.

This is such a well written novel. There really is nothing else to say about that. It ranges from the mid to fast pace sort of writing; I found I got through it maybe in two/three days and that's without a day of reading in the middle. Scenery was described beautifully and there was attention to detail even in sensations, such as feeling hot or cold, water being chilly etc, which I really appreciated. Of course this is done in every good novel, but I've read a few books lately that seem to leave this sort of thing out completely, so I was deeply impressed to see it here. A lot of time went into the explanation of the method of time travel and it was generally written in a clear and concise way. I only really struggled once or twice. So definite props for the writing.

Characters were developed well, as were the relationships within the book. With so much of the book being taken up with the plot and the actual description of the time travel itself, it was nice to see some detail still being paid to the relationships between some of the characters, and the development within the characters themselves as the novel progresses. Kate herself grows into a much richer character, and her relationship with her grandmother was deeply touching as they grow closer together. There's the first hint at a little love triangle, too. These characters are written so well that I already have my favourite male in this little triangle. And he shall prevail, or else... It's rare that I develop such deep feelings over love triangles so quickly, so I think this is a clear indicator of characters written superbly.

The plot in this one was good. I wouldn't say it was mind blowing because for the majority of the novel they are setting up so much backstory and history and explanatory scenes regarding the actual time travel that they really didn't have time for much else. It did really well at demonstrating the past and setting up for the next two novels in the trilogy, though. So while this novel may be a little light on plot, it was still absolutely awesome to read, and what plot there was was absolutely fantastic. I couldn't put it down, honestly. I read this book in two sittings, in two exact halves actually haha. So yes. Light on plot, but what plot there was was absolutely brilliant.

Really this book is a real gem. In fact, I've already got the next two in the trilogy. And I cried when I finished it. Because I'm a big girl and cry when books end that I love, even if there are two more in the series that I actually own. Cough. So yes, a clear 5/5 stars from me. Bravo.

View all my reviews

Monday, 26 October 2015

Book Review | Like This, For Ever by Sharon Bolton

"Bright red. Like rose petals. Or rubies. Or balloons. Little red droplets.

Barney knows the killer will strike again soon. The victim will be another boy, just like him. He will drain the body of blood, and leave it on a Thames beach. There will be no clues for detectives Dana Tulloch and Mark Joesbury to find. There will be no warning about who will be next. There will be no good reason for Lacey Flint to become involved... And no chance that she can stay away.

Keep telling yourself it's only fiction."

Ooo look another book review... What can I say; I read a lot and I read fast, hence the book blog in the first place ;)! Before I start this review, I'm going to put a disclaimer in and say that Sharon Bolton is my favourite author of crime thrillers. I just felt like you should know that because it may make my review biased? On the other hand, it says a lot about her that she's my favourite author. I read so much and so many authors that to get the number one spot is impressive.

Sharon Bolton is the absolute master at dark, twisted and psychologically haunting thrillers. Her plots are easy to follow, and yet strangely complicated, with hundreds of twists and turns that you don't expect along the way. I have read three books by her already and all of them focus on the protagonist Lacey Flint - a police officer, obviously. This is the third in that series. I'm an intelligent person and I can usually figure out the whodunnit long before the end. And yet, out of all of the books I've read by Sharon Bolton (which admittedly isn't a lot), I have never been able to figure out the ending. The first book in the series, Now You See Me, is in my top three favourite books of all time, and is also one of the most gripping and twisting book I've ever read.

She writes with a graceful elegance and all of the words just naturally flow. Bolton has also perfected the art of chapter lengths. In some books, there'll be repeated chapters of two or three pages in a row, leading to a disjointed and difficult to read book. Bolton only ever writes short chapters if it slots into the rest of the plot easily and effectively, and all of the chapters are of appropriate lengths. I honestly cannot fault her style of writing. Simple perfection.

I read this 400ish page book in a day and a half. I was on the edge of my seat and I couldn't put it down. Sharon Bolton, you are a genius and an artist, and both you and this book have received my highest recommendation and regard.

5/5 stars, easily!

I hope you all pick up this book!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Book Review | The Girl with No Past by Kathryn Croft

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.

Then, on the fourteenth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.

But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?

Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly."

I had such high hopes for this book. I truly did. I'd heard nothing but wonderful things, but by the time I'd put down this book it just... fell flat for me. It didn't live up to the expectations of it that I had. While reading, I kept flip flopping between liking this book and hating this book, then liking this book again etc. So let's go into a little more depth, shall we?

Overall, Croft writes well. The story flowed well and at a moderate to fast pace, creating an easy to read novel that's written wonderfully. I finished this book in two days and that's only because I had uni during this time, otherwise I probably could have finished it in one sitting. Not because I was particularly riveted, but because everything flowed so beautifully. I'd definitely be interested in reading anything else Croft puts out, because I can clearly see she has wonderful ideas and premises in her mind and I look forward to seeing how she develops as an author.

The characters were written well, and the story is told from two different time perspectives: one in the past when Leah (our protagonist) was a high school student, and one in the present day when she is a fully grown adult living with the choices of her past in high school. This provided an interesting overlook into the development of Leah over the years, and we really get to see how her actions moulded her personality and her actions in her future life. I quite liked this.

Where this book fell short for me, though, was the plot. I knew who the "baddie" was as soon as they appeared in the book so it was literally like biding time until it revealed what I already knew. And then a twist came at the very end of the book that I'd already figured out for myself as well, so even the major twist came as no surprise to me. It just all felt so predictable, and so unrealistic in some places that I did actually laugh out loud, which is certainly not what you want to be doing when reading a psychological thriller.

So really, this author truly has potential and I'd love to read her other books, but the plot just fell short for me in this particular novel. 3 stars out of 5.

Friday, 23 October 2015

10 Favourite Book Quotes of All Time!

Book quotes. All books have them. All readers love them. So what are some of our all time favourites that we always think of? Some of us even get them tattooed onto us to remember for all time, and now we can have our tattoos preserved after our death maybe even our relatives will grow to love them as well? Haha gross, thought, right? ;)

Still, I was recently chatting with a dear friend on a Facebook book group about our favourite book quotes and thought it'd make an interesting blog post. I'd love to hear all of yours as well! Tweet me or something :) So, without further ado, here are my top ten book quotes in history!
  1. “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” - William Goldman: Four Screenplays (I know this is technically a movie script, but I read it first of all in his screenplays book and later heard it on film)
  2. "Love is many things, none of them logical" - William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  3. "Life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death, that's all" - William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  4. "Some books are so familiar, reading them is like being home again" - Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
  5. "I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen" - Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
  6. "It was a bright, cold day in April , and the clocks were striking thirteen" - George Orwell, 1984
  7. "If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book" - Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events
  8. "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that it is not real?" - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  9. "Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter…" - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  10. "Always" - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
You might have noticed some recurring authors here, possibly because they're some of my favourite authors or books of all time... Possibly because they're just poignant or elegant wordsmiths? Who really knows. But at the end of the day, all of these are either beautiful or funny and I love them all. Even though Harry Potter quotes could easily take up all ten of these slots haha. These are written in no particular order, just the order I thought of them. 

It's taken me a long time to write this post... I'm just glad I finally narrowed it down! I wrote down about a hundred and just crossed them off one by one until only ten were left. So let me know some of your favourites! Are any the same as mine? 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Book Review | Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"A beautiful violinist is haunted by a very old piece of music she finds in a strange antique shop in Rome.

The first time Julia Ansdell picks up The Incendio Waltz, she knows it’s a strikingly unusual composition. But while playing the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her young daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. And when she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a dark secret that involves dangerously powerful people—a family who would stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light."

This is the first Tess Gerritsen I've ever read, and I'm saying now that it won't be my last. This book is absolutely hauntingly beautiful and even had me crying at some parts. It's not often I read a thriller/mystery that isn't based around serial killers and dead bodies, so it was something totally unique and different for me and I absolutely loved it.

Playing with Fire is a story told from two points of view, one in the present and one in the past. One half follows Julia, a modern day musician. The other half follows Lorenzo, a Jewish musician from the past. And let me tell you right now, Lorenzo's story is absolutely stunning. His part is told with grace and dignity, and you can tell the amount of research that Gerritsen put in to make it historically accurate. It's a sad but hauntingly beautiful tale that's been written with poise, elegance and grace.

The writing is stunning, I finished this book in a day. It's so engaging and I just couldn't wait to reach the end. I felt that Julia's story was weaker than Lorenzo's, but still strong, although I predicted her ending and outcome from the beginning of the book. Despite this, it didn't ruin the story for me at all. Gerritsen's writing really makes you feel for and grow deeply in love with her characters. Despite knowing the outcome of Lorenzo's side, my heart ached and I shed some tears over it because I truly loved him so.

The ending felt very rushed, and that's why I dropped the stars to 4 instead of five. It was like a slow building tension throughout the entire book and then BAM it's over and you're left feeling like... "well that was overly fast and convenient..." Not much else can be said about this ending, but that's my reasoning for dropping that star.

Overall the plot was incredibly unique and captivating, and it's a strong novel despite its few flaws. 4 out of 5 stars from me.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Book Review | Slade House by David Mitchell

Thank you to both NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"Turn down Slade Alley - narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you're looking for it. Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn't quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies.

A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Later, you'll find that you can't."

This is the first David Mitchell book I have read, and I probably wouldn't have read it if it wasn't on NetGalley because, for some reason, I don't tend to purchase horror books. I love them so much, I just don't tend to reach for them. Who knows why. Nevertheless, I had heard wonderful things about this author so decided to give it a go. And boy am I glad I did.

It's written wonderfully. This book was so easy to read, it was almost as if the pages were turning themselves. Spooky thought, given the story ;) Seriously, though, Mitchell has a way with words that just seems to flow beautifully. Nothing about his writing is smug or pretentious, and despite being incredibly detailed it isn't overly verbose. Every single word or every single sentence has a point within this book. Nothing is there just to fill the pages, it's all so precise and cleverly thought out.

The characters. Well you don't see much of any of the characters. This is a book that revolves around a variety of characters, none of which has a long part in the book. It is more about the plot and the mystery, and the house, than the characters themselves so obviously there wasn't much character development. And yet each character is only in a few short pages and I managed to feel for each and every one of them. It's a strange feeling, feeling for a character you literally only meet for 5 pages of the book... Who knows how he does it. Magic, I tell you.

Plot wise, this book is incredible. It's unique, it's thrilling, it's mysterious and I could not wait to find out what happened next. In fact, this book was so wonderful that I have since bought The Bone Clocks because I want to be in this same world again. I could not wait to read on, and I finished this book in literally a few hours. Obviously this is due in part to it being a short story, but mostly because the plot was unique and interesting, and truly kept me on the edge of my seat. Absolutely wonderful.

An easy 5/5 stars. Well done, David Mitchell, you've found your newest fan.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Book Review | Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Thank you to both NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review. It was a real honour.

I'm going to preface this review by saying that Angela Marsons is one of my two favourite ever thriller authors. I love her writing style and find her plots to be both thrilling and engaging. So I may be a little bit biased in regards to this review, but I'm trying to be as objective as I can be ;)

The truth is, I thought this to be the weakest of her three Kim Stone novels. It took a different format to her other books, where we follow both the detective's perspective and the criminal's perspective, and I just don't gel with that sort of style really. That's purely personal preference. I love the "whodunnit" aspect of crime thrillers, and with that taken away I just didn't find it as thrilling as her other books. Regardless, this was still a solid novel and a good third in the series.

The plot was interesting and unique, and I really wanted to see the conclusion to it. I was interested in all of the family secrets, although some of them are really obvious. I wanted to see how they'd catch the bad guys, although it was a slower novel with less tension that her other novels because you could see both sides etc. There was less action, but it's nice to read a slower paced thriller novel for a change.

As usual, Marsons writes beautifully. Her sentences just flow together, and every single line has a point to it. There's nothing overly wordy and nothing is a "filler" sentence, every single word aids either the plot or the character development. She has a way with words that totally captivates you and makes it such an easy read. Even in this slower paced novel, I flew through it because of her writing style. Such an easy read.

Character development is, as usual, fantastic. Although in this novel there isn't as much as the previous two, and I believe that's because half of the book was taken up by the criminal's perspectives so there wasn't as much of the book to focus on the pivotal characters. However, it was nice to see a softer and more vulnerable side to Kim Stone. Stone is such a likeable character and you really do grow to feel for her, especially after the second book (which I won't spoil, but ohmigawdfeels). So it was lovely to be back with her and her team. I just wish we saw more of them.

Overall, although I didn't like the format and believed this to be her weakest novel to date, it was still strong and enjoyable and I look forward to the next one. 4/5 stars.

This item comes out on November the 6th.
* This book was sent to me for free through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review | Broken Dolls by James Carol

"Jefferson Winters is the son of one of the most renowned serial killers in the US. This meant that he could have swung one of two ways; he could either have followed his father into the murderous game, or he could spend his life fighting everything his father stood for. He chose the latter. A retired FBI profiler, Winter is now a freelance investigator for anyone with interesting enough cases, and this is how he ends up in London attempting to solve a case where multiple women are being abducted, lobotomised and released."

The premise of this book is amazing. I think it's unique and well thought out, and is a real "keep you on the edge of your seat" book. And yet it managed to incorporate humour to some degree as well, which is rare in a book of the thriller genre. I appreciated that. Everything ties up neatly and the characters are developed well throughout. Overall the entire premise is fantastic and well executed.

However, I only rated it 3 stars. I found the protagonist to be far too irritatingly perfect with no flaws whatsoever besides who his father was, and there were some continuity issues (one particularly irritating case where the protagonist is listening to music on his laptop and within three lines is then digging it out of his bag) that really bugged me. This combined with some glaringly obvious spelling and grammatical issues dampened the story line for me, which was actually a very well thought out plot.

Would have been 4 were it not for those niggling little grammatical issues. Five stars would have been given if his protagonist were likeable and not a hero straight out of a Disney Classic film.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Book Review | Dark The Night Descending (The Dreamers Shadow #1) by Jennifer Bresnick

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

"Arran Swinn knows a thing or two about nightmares. After all, they killed his father. When the sun goes down, the Siheldi come out, and surviving the onslaught until daybreak can be little more than a gamble without the right protection.
Thanks to a dash of luck, a little daring, and an heirloom from his father, Arran can provide protection these days – for the right fee. Guiding seagoing merchants along the haunted trade routes is easy money…right up until he takes on a secretive passenger who proves to be almost as bad as the Siheldi themselves.

With the daylight fading and the ocean rising, Arran finds himself saddled with an illegal cargo, a bargain for his soul that he can’t hope to keep, and the unwelcome scrutiny of Megrithe Prinsthorpe, a tenacious trade inspector intent on seeing him hang for his misdeeds.

After uncovering a plot that could replace the Siheldi with something much worse, Arran must decide just how much he’s willing to sacrifice to the spirits that have had him marked out since the night his father’s death changed his life forever."

Wow what a fabulous book. I am so glad I was approved for this, and honestly I think it's been one of the highlights of my year, and I am SO excited to purchase and read the second one. You really have no idea how excited I am haha.

The writing in this is absolutely fantastic. I flew through this book in a day of solid reading, and I think that's partly down to the writing being so fluid and smooth. I believe this is a young adult novel, so it's always going to be a quicker read really, but the writing definitely helped. There's something about the way Bresnick structures her novel that makes it difficult for me to assess whether it truly is a young adult novel or not. Yes, there is no real adult content, but it's written with such maturity and delicacy that I almost place it under adult fantasy. Not sure where I'd place it, unlike novels like the clunky Cassandra Clare series. Beautiful writing.

The characters were well developed and I found myself truly sad in parts for the outcome of Arran. He just can't catch a break, bless him, and it makes my heart hurt. I liked that this book focuses on a small group of characters that are very well developed rather than a large group of people, much like fantasy tends to do, as that can often lead to a group of lesser developed characters. I loved the sarcastic dialogue between a few of them. Had me giggling in parts. Arran Swinn, the main character, is written so realistically with flaws that we all have. He is a confident person, but in some situations his confidence wavers and is replaced with fear. And that is so real to me, and makes him all the more likeable as a person.

The plot. Oh wow, the plot. An entirely unique concept with absolutely fabulous world and species building. One of the islands in this book... man I want to live there. It's been built so wonderfully. But seriously, I could not stop reading this. I was desperate to see what happened next and what everything was about. As soon as I finished this first in the series, I went to look for the next one because I just can't wait to find out what happens next. I haven't done that about a book for a long time, now. The plot is fun, scary, adventurous, funny, action-packed, and just all round epic. It's literally everything you could ever want from a plot.

Overall I give this a massive 5/5 stars. It was both a joy and an honour to read.
* This book was sent to me for free through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review | Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive."

There really isn't anything much I can say about this book without spoiling the surprises inside it, but WOW! What a book! I have had it for years and honestly don't understand why I haven't read it sooner. I picked it up off my shelf for the month of October because I thought it'd fit the sort of October theme, and now I can't help but order the others instantly. It is absolutely incredible and I am so sad the series is over. After I read the next two, that's it for this particular series. Boo hoo.

The writing is beautiful. It is witty, humorous, in some parts beautiful. It's a very fast read thanks to the short chapters and almost juvenile writing (but what else can be expected from a middle-grade novel). It's not what I'd call a soft book. The writing is blunt and straight to the point, but the world described is wonderful. The landscape is built perfectly and that creates such a clear picture in my mind. The inclusion of photographs aids this, and adds a really eerie and spooky vibe.

I grew to really love the characters within the book. Even those who aren't the most likeable, I grew to love and feel concerned about if something happened to them. They're written well although there wasn't much character development within the book. I put that down to it being relatively short and figured they'd include more character development in the next two books. The main character is a little irritating, but he's still young so I guess that's what comes from being a teenage lad these days haha.

The plot is fun and engaging. I absolutely loved the story line and couldn't wait to see what happened next. There was a lot of world building for the first 3/4 of the book and then all the drama happened at once, and I grew more and more concerned as I neared the end of the book and the dilemma was still unresolved as I was scared I'd be left on a cliffhanger or something. But it ended well and I was content with what happened. Overall the plot is just really fun, if a little creepy. I want to be taken to their world.

I give this book an easy 5/5 starts and cannot wait to read the next two in the series!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Book Review | City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

What to say about this book... I'm so mixed on whether I enjoyed it or not that I don't even know where to begin. On one hand, I really couldn't put this book down. I was interested about the world and what was going to happen next, even though the plot and the twist were entirely too predictable. I finished this 500 page book in one day, then put it down and thought... "why"...

First thing's first, this is not one fantastic piece of literature that's going to last for generations to come. It's poorly written with similies and clich├ęs aplenty, and with such lines as "it tasted green", I have to wonder why it's as popular as it is. Seriously, what sort of person without a sensory condition can taste the colour green?! Very poorly written. Commas were in places they shouldn't be, and missing from places they should be. You can clearly tell this is a rehashing of a badly written fan fiction from back in the day, unfortunately. The writing style is what I'd consider juvenile and childish, lacking substance and depth. Clare is also a "tell and not show" author. Instead of showing us the character's personalities, she decides to tell us through character dialogue what they're like which baffles me. I'd much rather learn what the character is about through their actions than be told the ins and outs of their personality. This is very much the same throughout all aspects of the novel.

There is not one single original character in this entire novel. Every single one has been taken from an already published book, for example Jace is clearly just a rehashing of Draco Malfoy. Clary is very Bella Swan like, in her "plain jane" attitude where she thinks she's boring and ugly. Hodge is clearly a Dumbledore or Gandalf figure who is wise and helpful etc. It's honestly all been done before. The plot is also like this. There are scenes from Star Wars, Harry Potter, and a load of teenage romance movies as well. I'm not going to go into what they are because honestly I am not one for spoilers, but there was not a single original thing in this entire book.

And yet... I had to keep turning the page. I couldn't put it down and I have absolutely no idea why. Despite the plot being predictable, I had to know what happened next. And I've already downloaded the next book in the series because I want to get to the end of it. I honestly do not understand why I feel this way. Absolutely nothing about the novel is engaging and I don't care about any of the characters or what happens to them... so why have I downloaded the next one? The world they live in sounds alright, but nothing special. And yet I long to be transported there. I don't know. I really don't. So that's why, despite being absolute drivel, I gave it three stars.

Overall, despite being very poorly written and predictable (and pretty much just a mish mash of already published stories), I can't wait to read the next one. I'm going mad, I swear.

3/5 stars.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Book Review | Fractured by Karin Slaughter

A woman comes home to find a man with a knife hunched over what she believes to be the dead body of her teenage daughter. She did what she felt she had to do, and fought back, killing him. But all was not as it appeared.

This is the first Karin Slaughter book I have read, and I loved every second of it. Slaughter's writing style reminds me a lot of Lisa Gardner's, which is a huge compliment from me because I adore her books also. The story was gripping and I genuinely couldn't figure out who did it. I'm not used to being unable to figure it out. Usually my overly-analytical brain doesn't give up until it's done, but I think that the plot for this book was so enthralling that I couldn't think of anything at all, I was far too engrossed.

Slaughter really seems to care a great deal about her characters. Throughout the book, I really felt like I got to know them and actually developed some deep feelings towards them. I was actually really saddened when I turned the last page; I just wanted to stay there with them. I'm already looking into the next book in the series because I feel like I can't stay away from my beloved Will Trent for much longer.

I can't speak too much about the writing style. I simply wasn't paying attention to it. I know that she is considered to write quite vigorously and can be quite a tough read, but I didn't find this at all. I found this book to almost turn the pages itself. I was reading, and then before I knew it, I was at the end. It took me two days to read over 500 pages and I think that really speaks volumes for how much it captivated me and how easy to read I found this book. It was a sophisticated book, though, and that's for sure.

Both the plot and characters were incredibly realistic. This is important to me (although I can't say why). The plot itself was captivating and really leaves you wanting more. Everything ties in nicely with everything else, and despite all loose ends being tied at the end, it wasn't perfect. And that lack of perfection at the ending really adds to the realism of the story. Slaughter writes as though she's just telling a tale of something that happened in real life, and I think that when writing a thriller, the scariest and most captivating of tales are those that we can see really happening to our neighbour, our father, ourselves. It is brilliant.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book and am so excited to read the next in the series.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Unpopular Opinions | Book Tag

Okay so I wasn't tagged by anyone in particular, but I am an opinionated person with quite a few unpopular opinions and I thought this looked fun. I watched a few Booktube videos and realised I actually had some different answers to some of the questions but have yet to make a YouTube account so figured I'd make a blog post here, and eventually make a video to accompany the blog post. Phew that was a long sentence. I'm soooooorry! Haha

So this tag was originally created by The Book Archer on YouTube back in April. I'm a little behind, but ah well. It still sounds fun! So onto the questions. As always, these opinions are entirely my own and are not meant personally towards any person who does not agree. If I don't like a book, it doesn't mean the book is BAAAAAD. It just means it didn't personally engage in my brain, and that's okay, because we are all unique people with unique thoughts and that's what makes us wonderful ^_^

1. A Popular Book or series that you didn't like.
Oh gosh there are so many that fall into this category. Twilight, definitely. It's an insta-love book that's not written too well with characters I genuinely did not like at all. So... Twilight would definitely be up there. Gone Girl was another one. I absolutely HATED Gone Girl. I found it silly, predictable, slow to build and incredibly dull. I hated every character and genuinely didn't care what happened to anyone within the book. I think Gone Girl would be my number one

2. A Popular Book or series that every one else seems to hate but you love.
I honestly can't think of anything for this category... I can't even think of a book or series that everyone hates haha. I can think of books I love that aren't well known, but honestly cannot think of a single book or series that I love that everyone else seems to hate... Hm. Maybe I'll come back to this one later? OH WAIT I HAVE IT! :D

I found Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code very entertaining. No, they're not groundbreaking, showstopping literature. Yes, they're written in a very formulaic way, possessing a very linear plot. Yep, the character development is poor and it's very "one bound and then you're free", as my beloved grandma would say. But as a bit of light reading on a Sunday afternoon with a good cup of tea, they're great fun. So I'd have to say The Da Vinci Code for me :)

3. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with (warn ppl for spoilers) OR an OTP that you don't like.
Ohhh boy do I have some unpopular opinions for this one. I absolutely HATE Harry and Ginny together. Ginny in general is a weak character for me, and I feel her story should have really concluded with The Chamber of Secrets. In my opinion, her character is poorly developed and she didn't mesh well with Harry AT ALL. There are whole Tumblr posts dedicated to the hatred of this character and this OTP. Just... no.

The second is also Harry Potter related and is Remus and Tonks. These are two people who are total opposites in every way and I just genuinely don't understand why Rowling decided to pair them up. It sort of feels like she just didn't want Remus to die alone to me, so she pushed him together with the first free female available like "oh hey, I'm single, you're single, let's hook up!" I just... don't get it. I adore Remus, he's my favourite marauder. So I'm very protective of him ¬_¬ I just ignore their relationship as best I can ^_^

4. A popular book Genre that you hardly reach for.
I very rarely reach for two genres in particular - contemporary "chick lit" literature, although I absolutely despise that term as I think it's completely sexist and very limiting in its descriptive properties (what does chick lit even mean?!) and straight up romance. I don't mind a nice book with a bit of romance thrown in, who doesn't like a good romantic sub-plot going on. But I don't like it to be the entire substance of the story. Contemporary chick lit includes authors like Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern. I prefer my stories to have a bit of grit and suspense. So these are two I hardly reach for.

5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like.
Boy do I hate this character. So much. I think he's manipulative, childish and ultimately doesn't care about Harry a single bit. When Harry is in trouble and seeing visions of Voldemort, Dumbledore doesn't take him aside and explain things to put his mind at ease. Dumbledore simply ignores him, avoids him and blanks him. He has Snape protect the boy for years just so that Harry can die at the right moment, and Dumbledore ultimately tells no one of this until the moment when he must die. Snape says it best when he says "now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter"... Ultimately a cruel man. I despise him. 

6. A popular author that you can't seem to get into.
Oh boy you're going to hate me for this ;) I really cannot get into John Green. I've tried to read every single one of his books but haven't been able to finish any of them. I find the pace slow, the story the same every time, the character development weak and two dimensional... I just can't finish them. I absolutely ADORE his videos, so it makes me very sad that I don't enjoy any of his books :(

7. A popular book trope that you're tired of seeing. (examples "lost princess", corrupt ruler, love triangles, etc.)

I picked two main ones for this. I hate the "insta-love" trope. Where their eyes meet across a crowded room and they just KNEW they were "the one". I believe love takes time to develop once you truly grow to know and appreciate a person. Your eyes meet across a crowded room and it could be anyone on the other end. They could be a rapist, an abuser, a sociopath. It isn't until you get to know a person that you grow to love them deeply, so insta-love really bothers me for some reason. 

The second is what I like to refer to as the "Bella Swan". The "oh I'm so plain and nothing special and no one thinks I'm special except that one very particular boy who sees how wonderful and unique I am, with my brown hair and pale skin that means I don't fit in anywhere, but you see how wonderful and special I am" etc. It's just such a flat character, and is silly because every single person on this planet is unique etc. Very two dimensional with a lack of true personality and development. Such a special snowflake, indeed.

8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading.
Boy do I have a rant here. And the series is 50 Shades of Grey. Now, I'm no prude. I'm not opposed to a bit of erotica. However, 50 Shades is SO poorly written that I find myself reading through it and correcting the spelling and grammar, wincing at sentence structure and groaning at the pathetic character building and inner dialogue of the characters. It's truly painful to read for an English Language and Literature student such as myself.

There's also a huge problem with the "BDSM" within 50 Shades. I have a few friends in the BDSM community, befriending a professional dominatrix as one example, and this book is an insult to that culture. It isn't BDSM, it's an abusive relationship masquerading poorly as a BDSM one. Within BDSM, there are safe words, stop words, limits. They do not threaten physical harm when you try and leave the relationship, they do not follow you everywhere you go and threaten your safety when you go somewhere you are not asked. They STOP when they are told to. It is a relationship based on mutual trust, understanding and RESPECT above all else. Christian Grey is an abusive partner and it is an insult to the community that a lot of people I care about hold dear. So I will never read 50 Shades of Grey, nor see any of the movies. Absolute disgrace of a series, in my opinion.

9. The saying goes "The book is always better than the movie", but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?
I have two for this - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I think that the casting for the TV series is absolutely phenomenal, they did it all amazingly and touched upon the sensitive scenes with dignity and grace and portrayed it beautifully (despite being such a horrendous thing to happen). I adored the books and loved the series even more, because while the book was somewhat slow in a few places, the series really did capture AND KEEP the attention. 

The second is The Hunger Games. The books were okay. I thought they were good but missing substance in places. Katniss in the book is irritating and somewhat of an airhead, muttering about whether Peeta liked her truly or not and what she thought of him etc, whereas in the movie series she is a sophisticated and intelligent young woman fighting for her life. She is dignified and gritty. This isn't the case as much in the books, so I truly did prefer all of the movies to the books. Very well done and excellent casting all around.