2018 Reading Challenge, Book 21 – Cruel Crown

Hi, Hey, Hello!

I had to double check where this came in the canon before I even thought about reading it, but when I did and realised that it included a Glass Sword preview I knew for sure that it would be safe to read after only reading one book. And so I did.

2018 Reading Challenge, Book 21, Cruel Crown
2018 Reading Challenge, Book 21, Cruel Crown

Now there are 2 stories in this, one about Coriana, Cal’s mother, and one about Farley.

Queen Song was the first story. First of all despite only reading one book by Aveyard, I had gotten used to the first person narrative and so to read this on in 3rd was a little bit of a shock. Not in a bad way, I was just used to first.

This story covers a lot of time and when I realised where the starting point was I was worried that the pacing might feel slightly rushed, and on the one hand at times it did for the most part it didn’t.

For some bizarre reason it didn’t occur to me that Elara would have been present at the court and that she would have some things to say about the whole situation and maybe actually have something to do with everything, even though that was kind of a key point of Red Queen. I guess I just didn’t think she would have been present the whole time. Also I forgot that the Queenstrial would not have happened with Coraina even though it was mentioned, but that was only because I was still reeling from the end of the damn book and at who mind twisty the whole thing was. In hindsight that should have been my damn warning.

My hear broke a little bit when it was moving through Coriana and her several miscarriages and how she slowly started to doubt everything because Tiberias wasn’t there and she felt like Elara was doing this. I didn’t really think that it was possible that that would have something to do with Elara and yeah, I really stupidly did believe her when she played dumb.

Because I am real dumb and Aveyard is a brilliant writer. Reading Coriana’s descent into madness was awful. It all seemed to happen so quickly even though it was also quite a slow burn because it was happening through a lot of the story.

And that final paragraph. My god. The true power of Elara really hit me in the face all over again and made me kind of fearful for what Glass Sword will hold when she slowly makes her way back into the plot.

Moving onto Steel Sword. It kind of took me a while to really get into this one. It was back in first person narrative, which felt weirdly comforting, but then also something about it felt a little disjointed.

I think it had something to do with the telegrams that were interjected into the narrative, which while obviously important did feel a little jarring every single time they came up. It also took me a while to figure out what the timeline of it was. Obviously it was pre Red Queen, but I’m still not really sure what the timescale was. Certain plot points got a little confusing.

They all came together in the end and all the pieces did eventually fall into place, which made the last 20 or so pages really quite an exciting read. But it did take a hot minute for me to get to that point.

I liked getting to know a bit more about Farley and the dynamics that she had with characters that we had already seen and ones that we hadn’t, and finding out a bit more about how wide the reach of the Guard was, it turns out that knowledge slowly plants seeds that come to bloom in Glass Sword and so that was interesting. Especially because it seems like something about the dynamics of it all might come to head at some point…

Altogether I enjoyed these stories. I felt like they added an extra layer to the main narrative, especially in the case of Farley and to a degree Elara. I am glad that I read them because I feel like the information I learned from them will come in useful with these upcoming books

3/5 stars

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

Main sign off


Find me here:

Twitter Instagram Bloglovin’

2018 Reading Challenge, Book 20 – Red Queen

Hi, Hey, Hello!

If it wasn’t obvious from the title (and the fact that I’ve already mentioned it), I am now embarking on this series. What with the final book now being out in the world it felt like a good time to start and make May the month of this series.

2018 Reading Challenge, Book 20, Red Queen
2018 Reading Challenge, Book 20, Red Queen

The first thing this book taught me was that I am not actually on the brink of a reading slump like I had feared but I had hit a string (of two) of books that I couldn’t quite get on board with and so felt like a long hard slog to get through. Also for about 100 pages it gave me Rebel vibes. Just a bad ass heroine who doesn’t know she has powers who then falls in with a couple of princes and then we’re off. The similarities are there. I then forgot about them once shit got real with this plot (also I’m not mad at the similarities, I loved Rebel).

There were parts of this book that were hella predictable, like Cal being royalty. And the kinda love triangle that is also somehow a square. I mean they are like YA staples sometimes and so even though I knew they were coming I was not mad at them. Especially the love geometric shape and the way that it was handled. It was handled well, at no point did I feel like it was super annoying and at no point did I really hate and wonder why it was there. All the actions made sense and overall I liked it. The foundations for something that could be truly complicated were laid and I am interested to see where it may lead.

Let’s talk about Mare shall we, given that it’s her story?

There were times when I liked her and times when I thought that she was incredibly naive and a little bit stupid. However, having said that as it was written in a first person narrative, there was a lot of instances where the reader was finding out things as Mare was, which meant that in some ways the reader was kind of naive to things. I mean the reader both is and isn’t.

I didn’t think she should trust anybody really and yet she kept on doing that, but for some strange bizarre reason I did not see Maven coming. I mean it actually makes perfect sense when you think about it rationally. But in the moment of the narrative it really caught me off guard. I actually had to pause to process what was happening on the pages in front of me.

It all made perfect sense but it was such a twist that I did not see coming. And then it just got crazier. The last 100 pages (I think, I really was not paying any attention to this while it was happening) were just insane. They just took what I thought I knew and then threw it out the window and it felt like I had to start all over again. Which I wasn’t even mad about. I love it so much when a book surprises me. But back to Mare because this is who I was talking about, while I found it frustrating at times that she seemed to always be one step behind everything and was kind of a naive I did also have to continually appreciate that this was not her world. She had no reason to be even remotely good at dealing with this world. She was thrown into it due to a chance encounter and I guess in circumstances like that you are gonna make some bad choices.

Maven is proving to make out to be a delicious villain though, which I am greatly appreciating. Cal is also proving to be a great counterpoint to Maven and also in relation to Mare. Where he is currently positioned come the end of the book is something that I hella intrigued by because you can just tell that it is going to be a continued point of contention. Come the end of this book I am also curious to see what Mare grows into.

They both finish this book kind of stripped of everything they know and in a new domain that is new to both of them, but also with a mission. The ending of this book made me so excited for the rest of the series.

I really liked Aveyard’s style of writing. It read really well and it had a goo quality to it. There was the odd stumbling block with it for sure, but for the most part I really enjoyed it. It took me on a journey with it and managed to conceal vital information in plain sight that I completely missed until it was actually revealed to me.

I really enjoyed this book. It made me feel like I had my reading mojo back and it was a great book. I would definitely recommend it to people, if they were up for the commitment, which I clearly am as I am deep into book 2 as I write this already…

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 4. See you tomorrow!

Main sign off


Find me here:

Twitter Instagram Bloglovin’

Bonus Book Review – Children of Blood and Bone

Hi, Hey, Hello!

In a similar way to how I didn’t quite mean to read about men falling in love in back to back books, I didn’t mean to read a book that was so unapologetically black after reading a book that was about race. But it happened, because I was hyped for this book and the cover is all kinds of stunning.

I mean, just look at it:

Bonus Book Review - Children of Blood and Bone
Bonus Book Review – Children of Blood and Bone

This book had be hooked from the opening page. It wasn’t even a full page or anything, it was just a taste. But that was enough. I was in and I didn’t want to leave. Which was impressive to be honest as I was on the final leg of an afternoon that had been spent travelling and I felt so tired. But it was just that good of a book. It felt so grounded in reality from so early and when you have that you’re onto a winner.

Let’s however start with the drawbacks, of which there are actually very few. It felt a little bit like it dragged on in places. Mainly just because there were so many peaks. There were so many highlights and it was fairly action packed and with that it felt a little bit like a rollercoaster that kept just going up and down and there was a small part of me that felt like I just needed it to come to some kind of conclusion.

The conclusion that it came to was wild. I was exhausted by thinking about it and all the possibilities that it lead to. I’m actually kind of stressed about it. It both made the whole journey up until that point worth it but then also made me feel very impatient for the next one. So, yeah, an ending that I approved of.

Let’s move onto the characters now shall we, Zélie I loved. For the most part. There were times when it was glaringly obvious that she was a teenager and she was making some decisions that were…not wise. That made parts of it frustrating, but only because as the reader in this case you actually know more than whoever’s perspective you are reading. Not by much, but more than if it were just a first person narrative.

That was something else that I really enjoyed about this book. The fact that it was told from multiple perspectives. It meant that you could kind of see everything from all angles. For the most part. I am however a greedy little shit and there was a part of me that was craving a Tzain POV so damn hard. He seemed to be going through a lot in other people’s narratives and I wanted to know what the hell he thought about this whole shitstorm that his sister got him involved in with royalty.

I enjoyed reading Amari’s perspective so much. Mainly because I am obsessed with royalty being out of place in the world that they live in. I think that might be weird. But like, I realised as I was writing this that I have read a lot of books that involve royalty being out of place in some way and I have fucking devoured all of them. I liked the perspective that she offered on the whole thing as well because she was so willing to do what she thought was right by these people that she had limited knowledge of tbh. It went on a full arc as she revealed herself to be totally badass despite her upbringing and the position she was raised to have on things.

I also really enjoyed the interplay between Amari and Zélie. It really morphs into something kind of amazing considering the contentious start that it takes. It is one of those perfectly formed female friendships that is never catty for the sake of being catty and progresses the exact way that you think it would when two people are thrown together and then learn where the other is coming from and then things progress naturally. They didn’t remain enemies just for the sake of it. I love me a female friendship.

Inan is a delightfully complex character, I mean he was somehow my least favourite character because the others were just so great. But the conflict that he creates is just so great. I am interested to see where he goes as a character and how he comes to terms with himself and what it means for his life. He was a dick for the most part, but I felt bad for him and also could understand where he was coming from and so it made writing him off completely as a dick a little difficult. However he totally was. But it’s complicated. I loved that it was complicated.

That was a massive plus point for the whole thing. The way it was written was just outstanding. The world building was just incredible. I am always a little bit wary of high fantasy because it can be a bit difficult to get your head around, but this made it so easy. It felt so real. From the moment it started up until it finished. Even though it was so fantastical, it felt so real. Another thing that I loved was how unapologetically black it was. It made me really take note of how little the representation for African literature/characters is in my everyday reading life. It really made me want to read more of it. I need better representation in my literature and am so going to try and make that the case in the future.

I would totally recommend this book to anyone. It’s great. It’s a rich world with great characters and high stakes. And the fantasy element of it is flawless.

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

 

Main sign off


Find me here:

Twitter Instagram Bloglovin’

“My Blog’s Name in Books” Book Tag

Hi, Hey, Hello!

So I have reached a kind of stalemate with myself in that for some reason I am yet again finding it really hard to get book reviews out of my head and onto the page. And then also I got halfway through one only to discover that it didn’t save and so most of it is now gone and I am protesting against it momentarily. Also, I have a reviewed currently scheduled for a book that I am still reading and so I am also trying to bide myself some time. The Red Queen series reviews are acoming though, I’ve gone all the way in.

In the meantime I am doing another tag post because they are my break glass for emergency. I feel like this one is just going to highlight to me all the books that I have told myself I will read and yet show no signs of actually reading. Also why is my blog name so damn long? And why does it have so many bloody ‘f’s in it??

RULES: 

1.  Spell out your blog’s name. (this is where you wish your blog’s name was shorter LOL)

2. Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter. (Note you cannot ADD to your TBR to complete this challenge – the books must already be on your Goodread’s TBR)

3. Have fun!  

T – Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas – Lucky for me this is actually on my list for this year

13519397
Throne of Glass

H – Hunger, Roxane Gay – Also handy, because this is also on the list

22813605
Hunger

E – Everless, Sara Holland – Also on my list for this year

37883497
Everless

G – Grief is the Thing With Feathers, Max Porter – I forgot this was even on the list, I thought I was gonna struggle with this letter, turns out that is not the case

25334576
Grief is The Thing With Feathers

I – Inkheart, Cornelia Funke – I think I started reading this book when I was in school, but clearly do not remember and so it seems like a safe bet to have this be on a to read list.

Inkheart (Inkworld, #1)
Inkheart

R – Renegades, Marissa Meyer – I need to finish The Lunar Chronicles first, but I liked her style of writing and so I feel like I might like this one too.

28421168
Renegdes

A – Ash Princess, Laura Sebastian – I am currently reading the Red Queen series, as I mentioned above, and all of the covers have a crown and some blood dripping down it, I’ve lived with nothing but this image all month, I am clearly having a moment with fancy crowns on book covers.

Ash Princess
Ash Princess

F – Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk – This is also on my list for this year, so that’s handy

Fight Club
Fight Club

F – Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby – Who knows when I put this on my to read list, I read one book by Hornby once and apparently thought I was going to make it a thing I guess…?

4264
Fever Pitch

E – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman – This is for sure on my list because it is literally everywhere whenever I go into a Waterstones and the power of suggestion is real.

35274766
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fineela

F – False Hearts, Laura Lam – I had no idea this was on the list, my interest has just been been piqued again.

22816079
False Hearts

I – If I Stay, Gayle Forman – For some reason I thought I had already read this, but given that it is still on this list I’m guessing I haven’t

4374400
If I Stay

L – Life After Life, Kate Atkinson – I don’t think I have read anything by Atkinson, but there are a lot of books by her on my list. This being one of them.

15790842
Life After Life

E – Exit Here, Jason Myers – I have no idea what this book is about or how it got here. But here it is.

1240370
Exit Here

S – Someday, Someday, Maybe, Lauren Graham – I actually remember putting this book on my list because it’s written by Lauren Graham and I love her.

16071745
Someday, Someday, Maybe

And that’s another book tag done.

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow, what with I don’t know, but I should be here…!

Main sign off


Find me here:

Twitter Instagram Bloglovin’

2018 Reading Challenge, Book 19 – The Handmaid’s Tale

Hi, Hey, Hello!

The reading of this book has been a long time coming to be honest with you. I have been meaning to read this book for about 4/5 years, if not longer, but definitely since my 2nd year at uni. Then the urge to read it came back with a vengeance last year what with the TV adaptation and as the second season is due out imminently here and so it’s time finally came.

2018 Reading Challenge, Book 19 - The Handmaid's Tale
2018 Reading Challenge, Book 19 – The Handmaid’s Tale

This book stressed me all the way out. For most of it.

First of all I did not realise that it took place in a time that was not all that far from modern day society. When I thought about this book I thought it was a dystopia set in a not so distant future but still kinda distant. But no Offred is just out there knowing what her life was like before and looking on with sadness as she watches new girls be born into the world knowing what the future holds for them.

The flashbacks dotted throughout were heartbreaking because you could tell the way that they were still raw.  They came from a place that was still no fresh to Offred and that hurt. Especially when she was talking about her daughter. The whole unknown aspect of it for her bled through into the whole narrative really.

I loved the way that the story is told. Obviously it is told by Offred but it is told from a perspective that suggests that she is beyond the incidents of the events of the story. And that means that the perspective and the narrative is hella interesting. It also means that I finished the book with a whole lot more questions. None of which will ever truly be resolved.

The way that it is told also adds a really chilling aspect to everything. At points you can feel Offred’s pain as she has go through the tale of it again. It also adds this quality where you wonder just how many times she has tried to tell this tale, and also why she has chosen to tell it. Maybe it was in a quest to get the word out there to people and as a cautionary tale for what could happen if they, the government I guess, are allowed to go through with whatever the hell happened to women in America.

What I also found fascinating was that this whole women problem only seemed to be happening in America. Like the rest of the world just let them do that crazy shit for some reason as long as it didn’t effect them, which I guess makes sense on some level, but also really makes you wonder how it got to that stage. The whole situation makes you wonder really. How enough women thought that the state of the world was so bad that the society that they created was the only way to fix it. And there were those that were willing to teach other, younger, women how to ‘behave’ now.

The sections where all these women were together in the parts to do with childbirth and all that were so jarring. And that was made the case even further because I mean the book opened with these women learning all this new shit and having their old identities stripped from them. The way they were all falling in line, despite it all being relatively new was so fascinating. And kind of horrifying.

That was my main takeaway from this book.

It was kind of horrifying.

The reversion back to a time where women were subservient but it going to an even greater extreme and them just accepting it for some reason. It was weirdly refreshing to know that there were women who didn’t abide by that and who ‘rebelled’. Even though all they were really doing was live their life semi how they used to. Also the actual act of having sex for these women now if they were fortunate enough to be a Handmaid (is fortunate the correct word?) was so bizarre. I mean on one level it made sense, but on another it was just strange. Really strange.

Everything was horrifying and strange. It felt like it cut weirdly close to home. It was beautifully written and I’m kind of annoyed that it took me so long to read it because it has now just  opened my eyes to how great Margret Atwood is and now I have soooo many more books on my to-read list.

I would for sure recommend this book in the same way that it was recommended to me. It’s really good. Horrifying (how many times am I gonna say that in relation to this book?), but good.

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

Main sign off


Find me here:

Twitter Instagram Bloglovin’

Bonus Book Review – Ponti

Hi, Hey, Hello!

This book didn’t appear on the list because I didn’t even know that this book existed until I signed up to do something for Hearst and it involved reading a book. I forgot I signed up for it until I got home one day and the book was already there waiting for me. It was kind of time sensitive and so it got bumped up the list real quick and so here it is. It skewed my Spring Reading List slightly, but whatever, the aim is to read 70 books this year. 70 books is 70 books regardless of how I get there.

This started out as being book 22 and then ended up being 23.

And the reason for this is that I just could not get into it. It was 300 pages and I never really felt like I was in it. And I thought it might have been because I was kind of falling into some kind of reading slump but then I realised that no, it was just the book. It was just one of those books that I didn’t get along with.

I honestly could not tell you what the actual point of this book was. I don’t think there was ever any over arching plot. Or at least it didn’t feel like there was one. In tried to find one but I just couldn’t and that was one of the reasons that I didn’t really mesh with it.

It is told from 3 perspectives at 3 different points in time, which is actually interesting enough and was something that I was interested to see play out. But nothing felt like it ever came from it. They all linked together in some way sure, but not in a way that I at any point felt was interesting or warranted. And I am aware that I am being harsh but honestly that is just where I am at with it. The only reason in the end that I didn’t not finish it is because I was reading it for something. It got to the point where I had to treat it as I treated some books at uni. Do it for the degree. For the greater good.

I didn’t like this book. However, there some positives.

I don’t think I ever really appreciated just how little I read books with Asian characters at the centre of them. This book is full of them. And it provides 3 very different women and the way that they navigate their world. Also, it’s well written. I can’t deny that. It’s just not my cup of tea. Teo has a beautiful way of writing and making everything feel really vivid in the world that she is creating. Her writing style is great. I am also excited to see what future books of hers would bring as I feel like she has some really interesting narratives to tell. And they are narratives are needed, which is a lot to pin on just one person, but that is more of a general comment then anything.

I can’t really say that I would recommend this book. I mean there are some good parts to it, but for the most part I just spent it kind of confused and wondering what the point of everything was and what the overall point of it actually was. And I hated the ended. I really did not like it. At all. It felt like it answered nothing and just kind of felt very meh.

2/5 stars

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

Main sign off


Find me here:

Twitter Instagram Bloglovin’

20 Questions Book Tag

Hi, Hey, Hello!

If you’re surprised by the fact that this is another book tag then I really don’t know what to say to you about this. The tail end of this month is basically just me talking about books in some guise at all times. And so here we are with some more books. I saw this over on Tabby’s blog at some point last month.

1. HOW MANY BOOKS IS TOO MANY BOOKS IN A SERIES?

I’m a fan of the trilogy. I mean having said that it also depends on the series itself. 6 books felt like too much for The Mortal Instruments, but 7 was nowhere enough for Harry Potter. I need all the books that I can get for The Bone Season  series because I am not ready to be done with it

2. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

Let me tell you a thing, I finished The Handmaid’s Tale the day before I wrote this post which had the most open ended ending I’ve ever read and I will always be low key concerned about Offred for the REST OF MY LIFE. All that to say is that I hate them. In most circumstances. There’s those happy open endings that I don’t mind so much.

3. HARDBACK OR PAPERBACK?

I was such team paperback girl and then I threw all caution to the wind and now I’ll take either. And now I have a whole lot of both.

4. FAVOURITE BOOK?

 

I’m not playing this game, because I can’t. So I’m gonna go with my favourite book I’ve read so far this year, They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera

5. LEAST FAVOURITE BOOK?

Again, I’m just going with books that I’ve read this year, and honestly so far I’ve read a lot of decent books which means that this was actually kind of hard to do, but it’s All That She Can See, Carrie Hope Fletcher.

6. LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

I’m bored of them now. Unless you can do it really well and somehow make it worth it I don’t wanna know.

7. THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU JUST COULDN’T FINISH?

It’s still Moby Dick. It may always be this book.

8. A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

Ponti, Sharlene Teo as I’m writing this. As it posts and you’re reading it, who knows it could be any one of the 50 odd books that I have slated for the year.

9. LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

I honestly don’t remember, I don’t really recommend books all that often. I think it might have been The Rosie Project.

10. OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ? (PUBLICATION DATE)

I’ve read a lot of books from the 18th/19th century because uni kicked my ass like that, so have The Scarlett Letter

 

11. NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ? (PUBLICATION DATE)

The book I’m reading right now which is the answer to number 8.

12. FAVOURITE AUTHOR?

I’m gonna say Samantha Shannon at the moment just because I started thinking about the 4th Bone Season book out of nowhere as I was writing this.

13. BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

Buying. Always. I have a problem.

14. A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO LOVE?

I don’t really know. I cannot think of one. I fell off the Twilight train around the same time as everyone jumped on it. But that is kind of the only one that I can think of at the moment.

15. BOOKMARKS OR DOG-EARS?

I’m a bookmark girl now. I used to not give a shit.

16. A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS REREAD?

I haven’t reread a book in a hot minute, so I don’t actually know.

 

17. CAN YOU READ WHILE HEARING MUSIC?

Yeah, that’s how I read on the train, it’s pretty much the only way I read these days.

18. ONE POV OR MULTIPLE POV’S?

Depends on how it’s executed. And there is always a part of me that is wishes for a POV of a character because I just wanna know how Tzain felt about all that was going on throughout the whole thing. That was a book full of different perspectives and they were all handled so well, but I still wanted more.

19. DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

Typically it’s over the course of a week, but there are some books that I can get done in a day if the mood so suits me.

20. A BOOK YOU’VE READ BECAUSE OF THE COVER?

Children of Blood and Bone to be honest. I saw the cover and was like daaammnnn son, then I read what it was about and as like daammmmnnnn son all over again and so it entered my life.

And that is another book tag done. I enjoy these far too much. I tag anyone who wants to do this tag and get the chance to talk a bit more about books.

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

Main sign off


Find me here:

Twitter Instagram Bloglovin’