Deadlines

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I have a complicated relationship with deadlines.

For the most part I work better when I have them in place, but they terrify me. Because they give me an end date for things. But they also motivate me to try and keep to that deadline because I can convince myself that the world is going to end if I don’t abide by it.

You know, do real great things for my anxiety and all that jazz.

This idea of deadlines has come up because I have tried to set one for my reading of War Storm. I spent the whole of May in the Red Queen universe. And I’m not mad at it because I do love the series, but also I spent a whole month with it and I am ready to leave it behind. But War Storm is nearly 700 pages meaning that my usual one book a week pace has been hella thrown off, not helped by the fact that King’s Cage kind of threw my reading pace off because it was so slow and so I’m still trying to find my footing with it again. And I have, but I’m still only averaging at 50 pages a day.

It’s a 600 odd page book.

You can do the maths. I’ve been reading this book for a while. And am only halfway.

So, I set myself a deadline.

To try and finish the book by Wednesday. Which would have been fine if I hadn’t then eliminated my usual hour of reading time on the weekends  (because seriously, I am in such a habit of reading on a train that I find it hard to switch on and read anywhere else) which would be an extra 100 pages done. I’m still only halfway through it and so that Wednesday deadline sounds almost impossible to achieve.

So, rationally speaking I do know that it is unlikely that I am going to reach that deadline because I am not anticipating getting that many pages in 3 days. But I am going to try and get as far as possible. And then get it finished by the weekend.

And then finally be done with it and get into some new worlds.

I am also now acutely aware of the fact that I am currently 2 books behind on my reading challenge for the year, and I’m not all that concerned because I’ve got some books that I can get done real quick and that will get it back up but there is also that little bit part of me in the back of my head that I need to not let that get too far away from me or else it might feel like an impossible climb to make it up.

So, yeah, the new deadline is the weekend.. I wanna start a new week with a new book and also put this world behind me. Reading series’ straight through is a rollercoaster. And weirdly exhausting. And I am loving this one don’t get me wrong, but I also need new characters to fall in love with.

Also, I am very aware that the word ‘deadlines’ sounds a bit dramatic when I am actually only talking about finishing a book, but ya know…the alphabet.

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The Next 5 Books I Will Always Recommend

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I have only even done one of these before. They are my go to books, the ones that I will always tell people to read and they are basically my default. But I read a lot of books and so it seems kind of ridiculous that I would only ever have 5 books to recommend to people, and that’s true. I don’t. There are many.

And so here are 5 more books that I think you all you need to get on.

1) They Both Die in the End – Adam Silvera

I read this book this year. And I mean the beginning of this year, in like the first week or something. And it has stuck with me ever since. Sometimes waves of emotion related to it hit me when I least expect. Mateo’s storyline and the way that it ended just breaks my heart each and every single time.

2) Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

So, I saw the film before I read the book and the film messed with my head real good. And well I knew once I finished the film that I had to read the book even though I knew the twist was coming. It still hit me real hard. This book, and all of Flynn’s books, was so well written. The Cool Girl speech has the staying power as well.

3) The Girl on the Train –  Paula Hawkins

This book messed me up so good. I don’t really know what I expected from it, I knew that it had some hype around it, but I tend to ignore that kind of stuff. This lived up to all that hype and then some. It stressed me out in the best kind of way. It’s so good. It has the same vibes as Gone Girl but it’s different.

4) Atonement – Ian McEwan

I love Ian McEwan and I went through a phase where I felt the need to read almost everything he had written. That urge died off and I still have a lot of books of his that I have yet to read. But this is not one of those. It’s heavy at times and annoying in other parts because characters are frustrating sometimes, but it is such a worthwhile read.

5) Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel

This book was actually recommended to me by someone else and so I read it last year (I think, it may have been the year before, I read a lot of books and didn’t think to check while I was writing this). It was not the kind of book that I usually read, but it was such a worthwhile read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and as such would recommend it. And I also want to read more books by St John Mandel.

And those are the next few books that I would recommend. I for sure have a few more of these in me, so we’ll see when the next one comes.

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 23 – King’s Cage

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This is how reading a series works, you just hit one after another. This was also the book where I hit a bit of a lull. This book was slow. And it was slow in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It made sense that it was slow because the setting had changed, but yeah. It was a total shift in pace and as such it just threw me into a borderline slump. Also it’s big. So when something is moving kind of slowly, and it’s kind of massive it kind of feels overwhelming.

But it got there in the end.

It took like 250 pages which is about half the book which was a bit annoying, but it did get there. And then it kind of died off again until the last 100 pages or so before it kicked in again.

I also kind of accidentally read the blurb to War Storm and so I had inkling of a betrayal from Cal was coming and I had kind of bigged it up massively in my head and it turned out to not be that bad…I mean from Cal’s perspective it made perfect sense but I can see why Mare would be pissed about. And why it would be considered a betrayal. I didn’t 100% see it is as one and so was glad that it was a lot tamer than I what I preparing myself for.

The things I liked about this book.

New perspectives.

Obviously, Mare was stuck with Maven for a lot of the book away from the Scarlet Guard and it was nice to get those bursts of knowledge as to what is going on in their lives and how they were dealing with the issue at hand. I also liked that it came from Cameron because she was always kind of an outsider to this whole thing, she didn’t want to be there. And then seeing her progression from her own perspective and then from Mare’s was a really interesting aspect of this book.

Also, I loved, loved, loved seeing things from Evangeline’s perspective. It is so easy to hate her and just write her off as a villain or whatever but to see the situation and the circumstances within which she was raised added so much depth to her as a character that it turns out I actually kind of really wanted in my life. I also found her part in the rescue of Mare interesting just because of the tension that has always been there between them and will continue to be there in the final instalment of this series. That final chapter from her POV was just killer.

Like I said, this book was slow. But it was building to something, there was no denying that. All that time in the first half of the book in Mare’s head while she basically did nothing but watch Maven from the sidelines and have her mind fucked with. While it felt like a total slog to read at the time revealed a whole bunch of cards that I am so hyped to see get played out in War Storm. Maven continues to prove himself to be a super complicated antagonist which I am loving more and more. Especially because he was so present for so much of the book and then when Mare left he just basically disappeared.

The not knowing about what the hell he is planning and the fact that he effectively went ghost is actually kind of low key super stressful.

The final line of this book confirmed what I kind of already knew, this last book is gonna hurt.

I can’t wait.

3/5 stars

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The Unique Blogger Award

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We are out of the Red Queen saga briefly while I finish up King’s Cage and then there will be another wait before War Storm because you can’t review a book you haven’t read yet. So that will come in a few weeks (why that will be the case will be made apparent soon) and you can probably expect another batch of them when the time comes.

In the meantime however, I was nominated by the lovely Jess for this award.

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you
  • Answer the questions
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award
  • Ask them 3 questions

Jess’ questions were the following:

Starting with a hard one, what is your favourite book?

Ummmm, this is a hard one. I have so many. I am really bad with this question. I think it’s The Secret History. But then it might also be Neverwhere. There are a lot to be honest. I have read a lot of great books. My favourite from this year so far has been They Both Die in the End.

Do you listen to music whilst reading. If you do, what do you listen to?

I do for the most part. These days I tend to only read on my way to and from work on the train. I cannot do that journey in silence, it would drive me insane. As to what I listen to, it varies. Currently I am on a huge musicals thing and am going through a cycle of Mean Girls, Heathers and Bandstand.

Where is your favourite place to read?

I don’t actually have a favourite place to read to be honest with you. I currently do most of my reading on trains, does that count? That’s kind of all I’ve got to be honest.

And that the question section of this here award done.

Onto my questions:

1) Can you not finish a book?

2) What’s your favourite book series?

3) What is one book that you could re-read multiple times and never get bored of?

And I tag:

1) A Very Bookish Girl

2) Samantha the Reader

3) Quirky Lady Bookworm

4) The Infinite Bookcase

5) LF Books

6) The Wanderlust Reader

7) A Book. A Thought

8) Continue Reading Here

And there we have it!

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 22 – Glass Sword

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I think at this point it is pretty obvious that I am reading this whole series straight through. This series occupied my May in terms of reading. It also means that I am one step closer to finish another series this year, which feels like an achievement.

The next book in question is:

2018 Reading Challenge, Book 22, Glass Sword
2018 Reading Challenge, Book 22, Glass Sword

I’m just gonna come straight out and say it. How fucking dare Aveyard kill Shade. And so quick. I had to read the same paragraph about 10 times before I could truly process what was going down before me. It was my morning commute, I then spent the rest of day in semi denial that it had happened and the pain I felt when I went back later that day was real.

Then also, while we are on people who I did not expect to die. Elara. As I mentioned yesterday, I was hyped to see what part Elara was going to play in this. I did not expect that part to be her being dead. And she went so quick. And again, I had to read through the pages several times to check that I hadn’t missed anything. But no, one moment she as alive and the next she was a corpse. I was kind of disappointed about it to be honest, but also, it does make for an interesting plot point. The Shade one I am going to need some more convincing about.

Anyway, onto other things not that I have got that out of the way.

The character development. I loved it.

Don’t get me wrong, Mare is still kind of the MOST annoying character because she is so selfish and yet somehow still so unaware of it and sometimes just sitting with her is a headache because you just want her to stop being so stupid. But she also came into her own in a lot of ways throughout this book.

Her having a purpose meant that she actually had something to work towards and in doing so a lot of her character was revealed. Which I liked. It showed growth. That’s always good. This in turn also affected the other relationships that she had with characters in this book, it meant that everything in that way moved forward.

I found her interactions with Kilorn particularly fascinating because it’s the only consistent one that she carried over from her previous life. The way it interplays with her new Scarlet Guard life and the intentions that she always had regarding his life. I also kind of liked the tension between Kilorn and Cal.

Cal and Mare’s relationship development was also something that I quite enjoyed reading unfold. It kind of didn’t move anywhere but also went so far. It’s like a weirdly slow burn (I think the pun is intended there) because nothing seems to be safe in this world. Because Cal is still fundamentally Silver and Mare is still fundamentally Red and Cal was made to be King and so I even I don’t trust him.

Which is kind of stressful to be honest. When you don’t trust one of the main characters and he’s the love interest. I mean at least with Maven at this point as a reader you kind of know he’s a dick and you’re just finding new layers to that. Which by the way are revealing new depths with each page he’s on. I would be impressed, but honestly I kind of saw it coming. Once the twist happens and you know he’s evil the world is his playground and that is exciting.

Finding the newbloods, while at times felt kind of arduous, was overall interesting and added a great element to the plot. I found myself very interested when they found a new one to see what they do and how they could potentially be of use. And also their attitude to the whole situation (I’m looking at you Cameron). How they are going to come into play in the last 2 books is an aspect of the series that I am really looking forward to see that unfold further.

Overall, this was a great second book. It had it’s lulls but it was great for character development and it introduced some really interesting plot points for future books. I mean it was also a kicker punch to the gut and I a many never be okay about Shade. And also that ending was a real slap. That final line. I loved it.

4/5 stars

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 21 – Cruel Crown

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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

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 20 – Red Queen

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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

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