Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland

So I’ve been in a bit of a book slump since the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin  back in May and it’s only been recently that I’ve picked up a book, let alone one that I’ve wanted to write about (I’m not entirely sure why because unlike a lot of Maas fans I enjoyed the book). Between then and now I’ve also started a new job so life has been a little up in the air recently but we’re finally getting there. I picked this book up in ASDA to keep me occupied at work. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland seemed to be the fluffy feel-good story that I needed to pull me out of the slump. I read this book in less than two days. I think it was worth it.

The book is a love story. Almost. Kind of. Not really. It’s set out that way, with Henry Page looking for that heart-stopping kind of love that he’s read about (he’s an English Lit student at heart), and seen in movies and witnessed first hand in his parents. He works hard at school, has a few friends and wants little more than to be the editor for the school magazine. Enter Grace Town. In the beginning, she is far from the leading lady you might suspect in a love story. She’s unkempt, she walks with a limp, she wears guys clothes and has a less than desirable mannerism towards everyone. She’s a mystery, but not one that you would want to investigate further. That’s how Henry feels when they meet; indifferent to this strange girl he finds himself forced into a partnership with on the editor’s team for the school magazine. Henry finds himself falling for Grace, but it is hard to tell if he is in love with Grace or simply the idea of Grace. They become friends and Henry quickly begins to unravel some of the mystery that is Grace Town for himself regardless of how much it might ruin him in the process.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, betweem the shadow and soul.

The book almost reminds me of John Green’s Paper Towns with the way our protagonist falls in love with the manic pixie dream girl that’s really just there to make their lives seem a little more exciting for a brief period before they disappear again. Grace Town is our manic pixie dream girl in this story and it’s appropriate to love her and hate her simultaneously. She is wicked and cruel, self-destructive and broken. But she is also bright and glowing, and life radiates around her when she chooses to let it. The parallels between Our Chemical Hearts and Paper Towns are there in the way that both protagonists chase their MPDG but ultimately let them go. Love with MPDG’s doesn’t seem to be a healthy obsession to pursue, and Grace Town is not an exception to this statement.

This book feels so familiar and it’s not too hard to figure out why. The book holds its own uniqueness but has similarities to other YA novels that I’ve read. But one of the things that I really enjoyed about this book was the way that it was a teenage love story that wasn’t revolutionary. It didn’t fix anyone or solve the mysteries of the universe. It was teenage sex and house parties, petty crimes and hurting and hurting others in the process because we are humans and we are messy and selfish and unpredictable. People got hurt and it didn’t magically solve itself because there was the mention of love. It was dirty and unadulterated, young love that wasn’t meant to be. It was perfectly imperfect.

The main thing about this story that pulled on my heartstrings was the way that this story almost dissolves the idea of the romantic, heart-stopping kind of love that people strive for. Henry grew up seeing his parents so completely in love with each other, it was there in the way they touched and loved and were. But then later in the book, he realises that his parents aren’t that way anymore and that they haven’t interacted that way in a long. It sets a tone that this kind of love doesn’t really exist or if it does then it is most definitely finite in the duration of human lives, that it will not outlive us or live with us.

However, don’t let that put you off the story. For the most part, it is a love story. It’s sarcastic, witty and funny. One of the great things that I realised once I had finished this book is that there are more! Not about Henry and Grace but about others in the area that this story was set. A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is the next one to sink your teeth into and I just hope it’s as fluffy as Our Chemical Hearts. The book claims to be John Green meets Rainbow Rowell, so I don’t know what’s not to love about that combination. If you’ve got a few hours to spare and are looking for an easy read book to fill a space then I recommend this book.

Let me know if you’ve read any of Krystal Sutherland’s work and recommend anything that is similar to her work. Thanks, guys!

IMAG0104.jpg
The book was supposed to be the focus here.

Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland

ISBN 978-1-4714-0583-9

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Bookish Confessions

Something I have been thinking about recently is how my opinion on book related things relate so differently to other people but sometimes my opinions are so similar. So I thought I would try and get some of my confessions in writing for the world to see and maybe find out that I’m not entirely crazy and others feel similar.

  1. I hate J.K. Rowling as an author – Okay, before you all burn me at the stake, hear me out. I have read the entire Harry Potter Series and I own the entire series in a very pretty hardback edition and it makes me happy to look at them. Yes, I do understand that they are books designed for  young readers (well the first few are anyway). However, can we just take a moment to think about the language, description and repetition used by Rowling throughout the ENTIRE series. Honestly. Every single book she reintroduces every single character. When I am five books in I really do not need a recap of who Dumbledore is. Some of the character development was great and some was terrible. The series could have been so much more. I can’t even just complain about the Harry Potter books – I need to complain about her. She has been a huge success, she has made so much money as an author and she has done wonders in proving that women can write successful novels. And then she changed her pen name to a man and pushed women back twenty bloody years. What kind of message is she sending to young girls and aspiring authors if someone as big as J.K. Rowling changes her name to a guys name just to publish a book? Women authors have more than proved themselves and she has just added to an old-fashioned notion that women authors can’t write crime. Agatha Christie? Patricia Cornwell? Martina Cole?
  2. I am a book snob – I can buy second hand books (happily) but if it is a paperback book and the spine has been broken I can’t buy it. If I’m in Waterstones buying books, I will investigate the condition of the book before I buy it and if it isn’t up to scratch, I won’t buy the book. I need to have pretty editions and series that match – everything needs to be the same size. No movie covers. They give me fear. I judge books by their cover.
  3. I can’t let other people borrow my books – My books are my babies and I will protect them until the very end. The thought of lending a book to a friend (one I trust and respect as a person) and them returning the book to me with a broken spine, folded pages or *shudders* food stuck to the pages is enough for me to lose the respect I had in that person. I gave my boyfriend one of my new textbooks to use while studying and he trashed it. He broke the spine, bent the pages and just genreally beat it about while it was unceremoniously shoved into his bag. I got upset about it and didn’t speak to him for the remainder of the day. It’s just easier if I chose not to lend my books to people.
  4. Sometimes I think about characters in books and it genuinely hurts to think about them. – Rhysand from ACOTAR or Jem Carstairs from TID or Raffe from Angelfall. the list is endless. When I think about characters that I love – and I do love them – it hurts to think that no one gets the way that I can understand these characters, that they have been created so perfectly that in my heart of hearts they are people to me. I can imagine their lives so perfectly, so beautifully, that it just pains me.
  5. Sometimes I can hate a book character more that real people. – Have you ever had a character in a book that just boils your blood so badly that you hope they meet a messy and untimely death? No? Maybe? Well, I do and I do more often than I’d live to admit. Especially if they have wronged my favourite character. Like Sebastian Verlac. or the King of Assassins Guild. Sometimes they more than deserve their fate.
  6. I would cancel plans if it meant that I could have a date with a good book. – Sometimes people just don’t get you. Sometimes your life gets too real and you need to escape some place else and live a different life for a few hours. Sometimes people just suck. Books do it better
  7. I take a book with me everywhere even if I know I won’t have time to read it. – It makes me feel better knowing that I have something a reliable as a book nearby. It’s a comforting thought knowing that a good book is within arms-reach at all times. And hey, you never know when you’ll get a spare second that you can spend  reading that book.
  8. I sometimes delay reading the last few pages of a book for ages because I’m scared for it to be finished. – Empire of Storms came out last year and I haven’t read the last page and a half because I can’t handle the pain.
  9. When I meet new characters in books, it can be hard not to be disappointed by people in real life because they don’t live up to the standard of that character. – I still haven’t met my Will Herondale. But I did meet my Levi.
  10. If the font in a book isn’t right I won’t read it. – If a book has weird layout on its pages, or the font is too big (or too small) or I hate the font I won’t read it because it makes me uncomfortable..

 

Here is 10 confessions of a book lover/snob, I suppose. Looking at these now I’m wondering if there is something mentally wrong with me.

The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones

So, as promised, I already had the ball in motion and fully planned to make way onto a series of reviews based on The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and here I have the first instalment of six! I give you The City of Bones.

(A quick note- If you had the displeasure of watching the Mortal Instruments movie that based very loosely around the first book please don’t be put off by the book series. The movie was bloody awful and the book series is exponentially better. It isn’t our fault as a fandom that they graced us with terrible “film adaptation” of a fantastic book series and I’m more than happy they stopped after the failure of the first film and didn’t continue to ruin the remainder of the series. On a side note from that, the Netflix series wasn’t terrible, it’s cringy but it’s accurate to the books. I quite enjoy it.)

Anyway! The City of Bones is the first book in the series of six books in the Mortal Instruments series. TMI is a series within the Shadowhunters series and all in there is at least 12 actual novels within the larger series and more to come, with the second Dark Artifices book coming out later in the year (hooray!). They all tie in together and we see names and families pop up in loads of the books. I really enjoy how the books incorporate loads of different families at different periods in time, we get a history of people’s families and it’s fascinating and heartbreaking knowing what happens to them and how they lived in the Shadow world. The City of Bones introduces us to modern-day Brooklyn, where we meet Clary Fray and Simon Lewis, two best friends who lead incredibly normal  lives. That is until they are unexpectedly thrown into a world that they never knew existed, a world that Clary belongs in by blood. Clary’s mother, Jocelyn Fray (formerly Jocelyn Fairchild), was of the shadow world, married and part of an elite group of shadowhunters called The Circle. Jocelyn sees the error in her husbands objectives and fights against it, taking an important part of Valentine’s plan and runs far from that world. Away from Valentine. But when she runs from that life, pregnant with Clary, she promises to do everything she can to protect her from that life. So she takes Clary to a warlock, the High Warlock of Brooklyn to be precise. Enter Magnus Bane, one of my favourite characters. Magnus glamours Clary’s memories frequently, ensuring that she remembers nothing unusual and ensuring she remembers nothing of the shadow world. Fast forward fifteen years later, and Clary is none-the-wiser to the shadow world until her memories start to filter through and she starts to see weird things that she’d never noticed before. She thinks she’s going crazy and Simon is inclined to agree with her. Her mother, who is in hiding from the shadow world, is attacked and taken away from Clary. From here, Clary is thrown into the deep end and quickly learns that all the stories are true.

The Nephilim, or shadowhunters, are an elite group of demon hunters. Created by the Angel Raziel, they are charged with protecting the human world from demons that slip through from other worlds with the intent to kill and destroy. Clary learns that she is of the Nephilim, and learns that there is more to the world than angels and demons. Enter Jace Wayland and the Lightwood children. These guys are residents of New York’s Institute – a home for shadowhunters, a stronghold. it is place for the Conclave to meet.Between Jace, Alec, Isabelle and Clary they manage to gate crash a house party thrown by our favourite High Warlock, piss off a the Brooklyn Vampire Clan, rendezvous with a pack of werewolves and take on one of most notorious shadowhunters in history. Much of the City of Bones is a set up for the return of Valentine Morgenstern, the leader of the former Circle, and honestly he’s a bit of an ass. He’s a pretty good villain.

The title of the book refers to the Silent City or The City of Bones. The Silent City is part of the shadow world and is home to the Silent Brothers. The Silent Brothers are former shadow hunters who serve as medics and archivists to the nephilim. They take on powerful runes and often have mutilated face and it is because of this that they are feared by many shadowhunters. The Silent City is referred to as the City of Bones because it is also the place where the dead reside. The bodies of fallen shadowhunters are burned and used to create the very walls of the Silent City – hence the name.

It means ‘Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234’.

 

So for the most part, it’s pretty action-packed and set up the rest of the series quite nicely. We have our fair share of love interests within the first book. Let’s start with Jace and Clary. This is my second favourite pairing  in the series (we’ll get to Malec soon). Jace is the bad boy that deep inside we all want but won’t readily admit to so it is completely understandable when Clary falls for his boyish, bad-boy charm.

“Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?’
Jace said, “Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself.”
“At least,” she said, “you don’t have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland.”
“Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.”

At this point, all of the ships are new and there isn’t too much to go with for now but there is still five more books. Jace had an interesting start to life, raised by a tyrant who believed whole-heartedly that to love is to destroy, a mentality he drummed into Jace. Jace continues to remember his roots to a father he saw murdered when he was a child, who believed that love is a weapon. Jace knows that he wants Clary but his bones tell him that one of them will be left in pieces should he chose to give in to basal urges and have her. Towards the end of the book we learn something quite devastating that might perhaps change the way that the two visualise each other!

“The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”

 

On top of this we learn that Simon Lewis, Clary’s best friend and friend-zone resident, is in love with Clary. He doesn’t think highly of Jace, not understanding the attraction that Clary has to him and he truly just wants Clary to realise that he has been there the whole time, with more love for her than she might have anticipated. It is sweet, in a sense, that he has loved Clary for years and he has always operated in her best interest but as soon as Jace comes onto the scene, he realises that he has to try harder if he has any chance of getting the girl. It does bother me a little though. Simon is a great guy, and a great friend to Clary, but I feel like he needs to grasp that you can’t change someone’s feeling for you. You can’t make someone love you and I feel like that is what he starts trying to do. I mean, of course she loves him but not in the non-platonic way that he seems to hold out for.

To conclude our list of love interests for The City of Bones, we have Alec. Alec Lightwood is Jace’s parabatai, brother by bond and equal. They are there for one another, bound to protect each other by oath from the Clave. You can only commit to one parabatai in your life, and when you do your souls become entwined. There is, however, a rule. You cannot fall in love with your parabatai and that is exactly what Alec has done. He keeps it between himself and Isabelle, Jace is none-the-wiser to this development. Not only would such a thing disgrace his family name and he would face trail by the Clave, it also means that he a  gay shadowhunter which is something that is not readily accepted by the nephilim. It is hard for Alec to see Jace and Clary take to each other like a moth to flame, and he reacts badly to it for most of the first book. Clary sees Alec for what he is straight away, accepting it but not appreciating how she is treated because of his feelings. It starts messy, and Alec tries his hardest to push Clary out, encouraging her to go back to her life in the human world.

I was going to talk about Magnus Bane but I think I might just have to make an appreciation post for him seperately. Magnus is one of the most down-to-earth characters in the series, I think. Not that there is anything real about being the High Warlock of Brooklyn, but I mean he is the most sincere. He has lived a life, many lives, and he understands feelings and emotions. He has seen a great deal, has been hurt but still holds a soft place in his heart for shadowhunters, no matter how they have treated him in the past. He cares for the shadowhunters of the institute even when he is under no obligation to do so and all the while he feels more than he knows he should. He is destinctly human dispite it all. On top of this, he is fabulous. I wish I could pull off wearing half the clothing that Magnus can.

 

It is a fantastic start to the series and it introduces many stories within the stories meaning there is enough to keep you interested in the series. We meet a good number of the main characters and we get enough background to the shadow world without getting confused. There is a really fantastic Wiki page for the entire shadowhunters series which is helpful for some terms in the book you might not yet be familiar with but beware! There are spoilers inside. As always, I hope you enjoyed this and I’ll have a review for The City of Ashes very soon!

 

The City of Bones

The City of Ashes

The City of Glass

The City of Fallen Angels

The City of Lost Souls

The City of Heavenly Fire

January Book Haul – it’s been a good one

Hey guys,

So I thought I would share my January book haul with you, and include the gorgeous book that I got for Christmas too because I think everyone should appreciate it. I got loads of Waterstones vouchers for Christmas and I think I made a good choice with what I got. I’ve also had an issue with space for books and I keep buying more so it’s been getting a little out of hand. So I decided to reshuffle my bookcase and alcoves to make it look more presentable and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. So without further adieu, let’s bring on the pretty pictures.

Look at all the Lord of the Rings collectibles. It’s a tiny Minas Tirith

My beautiful Narnia books- a Christmas present from my best from my best friend.

These two are my reshuffled book alcoves in the living room. I finally managed to collect enough pretty hard back books to make them work nicely. The Lego heads are cute and full of so much crap. Secondly, we have these three beauties. The first, I’ll admit, I’m pretty excited about. I’ve never really read anything from the point of view of a creature that isn’t human or supernatural and it’s about bees in case you hadn’t figured and bees always hold a place close to my heart. The next is the Silk Road, a book we’ve all seen in the window of our nearest and dearest book shops. This 100% appeals to the geographer in me and y’know, it’s pretty. The last book here seems like a heart-felt, romance-y kind of book and that’s something we all need sometimes.

These three are my newest additions, bought just yesterday when I was 100% not supposed to be buying more books but did anyway. They’re about mages and magic and this here is the complete trilogy. They are very lovely. On top of these three, there are other books and series within the universe which, if I enjoy these three, I fully intend to enjoy.

Lovely drawings to add to the feels and angst

When I was in Waterstones the other week and I saw Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, I was overjoyed. Everything Cassandra Clare and related to the Shadowhunter series makes me so happy and I honestly had no idea that there was going to be anything else following up the Mortal Instruments so nicely. We get even more Simon Lewis than we deserve and throughout the whole book (and it’s a pretty big book) we have the lovely illustrations by the delightful Cassie Clare that have accompanied the Shadowhunter series non-stop. So, yeah, buzzing for some more TMI.


 I really love these books because they are all really nice colours and they are really big books (each is essentially a trilogy in one book) and I love that because it means there is so much more. The great thing about this author is that she has written so many books and so she always has something that you can read. Most of her books are within the same genre and many are within the same universe which is fab.

Just below we have the two books I was given at Christmas. The First is my lovely new edition of the Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. This was given to by my friend Bridie.You might not have ever read the Hogfather (or any of the Discworld series) but the film is what a lot of people know it by. The program of it was great but the book is even better and I really enjoy having such a pretty copy to gush over. The second is the first Game of Thrones book which is hardback and illustrated (as you can see in the two picture below it). It has a coloured map of Westeros and is illustrated throughout the entire book. My only fear is that they won’t publish the other books in this format and then I can’t have a matching hardback series.

Finally is the first book in the Poison Study series which I’m excited for. My old flat -mate absolutely adored this series and she constantly harassed me about reading it so I finally decided to take the hit and read the first book at least. At least, it has a pretty cover and several sequel books. Anyway, that’s all from me here. Let me know what books are in your January/Christmas haul and if any of mine were on your list!

Bye!

What’s coming next

So it’s term time again and that means I have to find ways to not do any uni work and procrastinate as much as is humanly possible. Instead, I decided to think about what is coming next.
I’ve been having so much fun writing of an actual blog and it means so much that people actually read anything I attempt to write about here so thank you so much. I might maybe run a competition in coming months which would be fun. 

Anyway, I have plans! So many plans. Starting with the Mortal Instruments series and Tales from Shadow Hunter Academy, all by the lovely Cassandra Clare, to follow that. I’m currently reading City of Bones so the ball is in motion. In honour of the Netflix original series, together we are going to work out way through the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. It’s a big series but easy books so I’d like to take a month to get through all 13 books. As April hits us I have all the free time in the world and therefore all the time in the world for books. As summer roles in, I’ll be alone for about 7 weeks so we can expect constant updates. And May marks the arrival of Court of Wings and Ruin so that will happen too. I think a competition just before the release of ACOWAR will be in order.

I hope someone reading this is as excited as I am. Let me know what you think, and be sure to let me know of any recommendations for anything you’d like to see in this space! Let’s start as we mean to go on and fill our new year with loads of books and feels.

Watch this space!

A Court of Mist and Fury – A Review

Court of Thorns and Roses was just the beginning of the series and, in hind sight, it was nothing in comparison to following book in the series, child’s play really. Let’s open the floor to the captivating A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. This is a follow on from my first review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first book in the series.

The threat of Amarantha is gone, Prythian is free from her reign and Feyre, our broken and tortured protagonist, is adjusting to her immortal body. Her wish came true, she fell into immortality and won the hand of her great love, the High Lord of the Spring Court. Tamlin was what she wanted, what she fought to save and protect. She is praised and worshiped and dressed up and pushed into parties and, as the bride-to-be of a High Lord, she is smothered and coddled. But the invisible scars inflicted on her from under the mountain run deeper than anyone can imagine. Well, than most can imagine or comprehend. Enter Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court. A tie in from the first book, is the bargain that is struck between Rhysand and Feyre. It removes her from difficult situations in the Spring Court as Rhysand can feel her through the bond of their bargain. She is cracking, breaking under her own emotional stress and Rhys is the only one who understands the affect that her time under the mountain had on her, not even Tamlin takes the time to pull Feyre out of the bottomless ravine that she has soundlessly fallen into. But Rhys does. He sees her for the broken mess she has become, if only because he has become the same behind his mask of indifference and hostility. Rhys, beautiful and equally as scarred, whisks her away to his own court, away from Tamlin and the life she cannot seem to find her place in and he offers her santuary and friendship and the promise not to treat her like glass.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

He becomes a friend and she becomes part of his inner circle, part of his family. There is threat looming, and Amarantha was only the beginning, only one of Hyberns generals. Hybern is gathering its forces with intent to strike the wall, and only Rhys and his inner circle are willing to step up to the mark and stand against the King of Hybern.
There are many reasons why this book is my favourite of the series and is becoming my all-time favourite the longer I think about it. In this book we are introduced to the Court of Nightmares and the Court of Dreams and the city of starlight and the Illyrian warriors and their beautiful wings. There isn’t enough words, I cannot really describe how stunning this book is, how much it touches your heart and cripples it and just makes you feel so alive. It makes you want to be a part of it, to live it.

There is such character development too, so much more than the first book half and it hurts all the more but you can’t help but feel as they do. We learn more about our characters too and we meet new characters. We meet the High Lord of the Summer Court and he is the sun and sea and warm summer breeze incarnate. We meet Cassian and Azriel and Mor and Amren, Rhysands inner circle. The characters we once loved are scorned and the ones we were uncertain of becomes the ones we are rooting for. And the magic becomes more intricately worn into the story and we so quickly become lost in the fantasy world of Prythian. I am a dreamer and this is a book for dreamers. It gives hope and love and warmth even in the darkness of hardships. It reminds us there is always something better and that it is important to be your own person. To be the person that empowers you.

“There are different kinds of darkness… There is the darkness that frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful. There is the darkness of lovers, and the darkness of assassins. It becomes what the bearer wishes it to be, needs it to be. It is not wholly bad or good.”

Of course, we also have our characteristic steamy scenes between characters and they are guaranteed to leave you feeling a little hot under the collar. It isn’t tasteless, and it only enhances the detail and reality of the descriptive detail.

Something I feel that it is necessary to rant about is the love that is still felt for Tamlin. Okay. So in the ACOTAR we love Tamlin. He steals Fere away and introduces her into his court and they fall in love and all seems pretty sound. Except after the fanfare under the mountain something sort of clicks out of place and it isn’t quite the same for them and that’s really okay. People can change and their views change shift and their whOLE LIFE IS QUICKLY THROWN OUT OF PERSPECTIVE AND THEY DO THINGS THEY AREN’T PROUD OF IN THE NAME OF LOVE AND PEACE AND FREEDOM AND THAT IS OKAY. It changes who you are and I would have been worried if Feyre hadn’t reacted badly to the things she had to do under the mountain, who she had to kill and the families she tore apart just for Tamlin. I don’t think I could feel the same way about him if it had been me. Both Feyre and Tamlin change and it isn’t anything to do with not loving each other but it is enough of a change to drive a wedge between them. Tamlin doesn’t give FEyre what she needs to heal and fill that hole in her chest, a hole that was torn because of Tamlin. No Rhys didn’t steal her or manipulate her or anything to turn her against Tamlin. He wanted her help and he helped her see that she was more than Tamlin was allowing her to be, she was more than an accolade. She is a Queen and if he couldn’t accept her as his High Lady of the Spring Court then he 100% did not deserve her.

Both books are available on Audible as audio books and if you’re anything like me then you will be pleased to know that both books are narrated by the same person which makes me happy. I don’t wholeheartedly endorse Audible, I 100% recommend reading the book, but audible is handy for myself as it fits nicely into a busy lifestyle. Also, kindle has audio narration that accompanies a lot of its books which you may find to your liking (I hate it).

With the ending to A Court of Mist and Fury we are set up and ready for A Court of Wind and Ruin, the third booking coming this summer. The suspense is absolutely killing me. Prepare yourself, war is coming and if Hybern is going to fight dirty then the Night Court and its High Lord and High Lady will gladly rise to the occasion.

“To the stars the listen — and the dreams that are answered.”

For the Nostalgia – Twilight Saga (from the view of an adult)

Hey guys.

So I went home at Christmas for a week and, while I was browsing all my old books that never made the cut to come up to Aberdeen with me, I found my old Twilight books. I don’t know what it was; maybe I had too much time on my hands, maybe I was feeling nostalgic for 15 year old me, or maybe I was just subconsciously craving some vamp page time. Whatever the reason, I decided to re-read the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers. My memory of Twilight is mostly Kristen Stewart acting like a whiny little so-and-so in the movies and Robert Pattinson showing the emotional capacity of a cabbage so I remembered the books to be equally as cringy. They certainly weren’t brilliant movies. I saw every one in the cinema, nonetheless. I wasn’t disappointed with the book series.

I can say confidently that if we removed the sparkly aspect of the vampires and the crap writing and lack of all the wrong details it could possibly be a pretty decent series. Stephanie Meyer is up there with J.K. Rowling- decent story, rubbish author. And that has to be said for the whole twilight series. Breaking Dawn does get a little better but I never understood why the first 3 books are written from Bella’s perspective but then Breaking Dawn comes along and BOOM! Jacob has a POV. As far as creativity and realism of text goes, Meyer is pretty bad at it. Withing 10 minutes of Bella knowing Edward she is irrevocably in love with him and I know it’s a fictional story about vampires but come on.

 

Twilight wasnt all that terrible from the perspective of a lover of YA novels. We get the vampires and the romance and the beauties that are Carlisle and Jasper. The ending was the downfall of the book, in all honesty. The fight with James was just too easy. Most of the book is wasted over pining over the fact that Edward is probably too good for her and the hunt of Bella from the rogue clan is short-lived. It could have been so much more. More action and violence and epic battles of the immortals. But no. Bella gets bitten, Edward saves her and then she passes out. Yawn.

 

We should all just forget about New Moon. Its the book we can all forget about and the series still flows just as fine. The whole book is spent reminding us that Bella really needs a better hobby. She’s a crap friend, she’s moody and bitter and it makes us depressed just reading it. There are pages, whole pages, just dedicated to the passing of the months she spends living in a shell of herself. It really is depressing. Charlie is concerned. All the drama with the Volturi is because of Bella being stupid. I mean, the love of her life could have killed himself because of her stupidity. She just wants to hear Edwards voice, which is created by her imagination. Like, show some remorse and stop treating him like the bad guy. But can we consider Jessica for just a second? She becomes friends with Bella and then drops her pretty much immediately when she starts dating Edward. She only makes an effort when there is a party or some social event involved that makes a good story. She’s a rubbish friend. I mean, so is Bella but Jessica is just as bad.

 

Eclipse comes along and following it we have the Short Second Life of Bree Tanner which was sad and not really worth the read. Eclipse is about the hunt of James’s mate Victoria. In a similar way to the first fight with James, the fight with Victoria is pretty short lived. The main body of the book is focused around Bella begging for immortality and the hype of the coming battle with the new born vampires. There is something that bothered me about the ending part Eclipse and that was the way that Bella tries to bargain her way into sex with Edward. It’s pretty crappy of her to put off her immortality (which is what Edward wants) and agree to marry him human and in return for that she wants him to try and have sex while she is still human which could be possibly fatal for her. Maybe I’m reading into it too deeply but I really does bother me.
Breaking Dawn was my favourite, and I think it always has been. Breaking Dawn is the written evidence of why vampires and humans should probably not have sex. After the initial horror of the first two sections of the book (no more dying humans and monster babies), it becomes smutty without being too tasteless and we get so much Volturi screen time, it makes me happy. The birth and Bella’s pregnancy were pretty vivid, gruesome and honestly, it’s the type of detail you need in a vampire story. I wish there was more little details like that. However, Reneseme was possibly one of the stupidest names Meyer could have strung together and every time I read the name I die a little inside. We get to meet some old time vampires in the desperate attempt to ready themselves against the Volturi.

 

There is so much that the series needs, it needs a good bit of work but it isn’t the worst series in the world and if you can ignore the cringiness that is Bella Swan (and the stupid name of her daughter) then you can actually sort of enjoy the series. You’ll never be able to appreciate it the same way you did 7 years ago but you can take some enjoyment nonethe less. Take some enjoyment in the Cullens and their origin stories which were my favourite parts of the books. I just would have liked more on Emmit and more on Alice’s history but hey. One thing I’d like to mention that I 100% did not realise the first time I read the books was the reference to the titles of the books. I’m not stupid and I do understand the names and the relationship to the changing states of the moon and the day. However, I never really paid much attention to the mention of the titles in the books and I think it is rather clever. Just think about it. All in, not the worst and I think we should all read them again just for the nostalgia.

The Copper Promise – Review

Dragons and sell-swords, magic and mages, Gods and demons. The Copper Promise by Jennifer Williams has the works.

I came across this book by mistake, as we tend to do with all our favourite books. I found it in Blackwells. I was feeling particularly sorry for myself and decided some book retail therapy was what I was in need of. I found this little wonder there and decided to give it a go. It was originally released as 4 separate e-books but was later published as a single volume. I read it, loved it and craved a sequel so badly it almost hurt. Can you imagine my delight to find not one but two sequels, a  trilogy of the adventures of the Copper Cat and Sir Sebastian.

Anyway, the story begins in the Citadel in Krete, across the Glass sea in the heart of Ede. Here we meet Gallo, a sarcastic, witty adventurer and friends (possibly lovers) of Sir Sebastian, a former Ynnsmouth knight. Together, Gallo, Sebastian, Wydrin (aka the Copper Cat of Crosshaven) intended to set out as guides to the young Lord Aaron Frith to discover the lost treasures of the mages buried deep within the Citadel. Except Gallo doesn’t wait for his companions and sets off into the Citadel with only a guide for company. Weeks pass before Wydrin and her companions venture into the Citadel, they hope to find Gallo alive, well and nothing but his usual self. Lord Frith, an apparent cripple has his own agenda in the ruins of the Citadel beyond the riches of the mages, he seeks a lake. He is a Frith of the  Blackwood forest, a family with such wealth hidden within a vault into the forest that it would attract mercenaries who would seek such riches. He and his family are tortured, Frith crippled and mutilated in an attempt to rip the location of the vault from them but to no avail. Frith escapes, the rest of his family dead, and sets out for the Citadel in order to heal his physical injuries and later reclaim his home and seek vengeance on those who wronged him.
Within the Citadel, they learn the stories. The stories of the mages who grew too greedy, of the gods they tried to become. The mages set a trap, to capture the gods and forever seal them within the confinements of the Citadel. But the trio meet trouble. They find Gallo, but Gallo’s mission is not his own; his mind had been taken over by one of those long forgotten God’s and she had a score to settle. Deep in the Belly of the Citadel she and waited, consumed the life of her companions and birthed an army large enough to raize Ede to the ground. When the jars containing her life force were open, their seals broken and life blood spilled onto the long forgotten stones of the Citadel, she would rise. And the world would burn.
It is a story of friendship, witty sacrasm, sword battles, magic, dragons, beautiful armies and of the copper promise to be fulfilled.

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

ISBN 978-1-4722-1112-5

Kindle? A Necessary Evil?

​When I was 15 (that would have been four years ago now) my mum was so insistent that I was going to get a kindle for my Christmas. I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful but I really, really didn’t want one. She wanted to get me a Kindle Paperwhite, an earlier edition to the ones you would buy today and it was going to cost about £89.99 and I really didn’t want it. It didn’t come with books on it already, I had to charge it, what if I dropped it and I’m so clumsy so it was a possibility. I was set in my ways. Nothing was better than a book in my hands, a real book with that book smell and a whole fictional world encompassed in the ink on the pages. I would rather have a library, a physical library, lining the walls of my room with so many books I couldn’t remember all the names of but loved them all regardless. I wanted that experience of having the books in my presence. I didn’t want this tiny electronic thing that could break and that held no emotional value to me at all. I argued my case persistently.

I woke up on christmas morning and opened my presents. I got a kindle from my mum. I wasn’t mad about it, wasn’t mad that she wasted money on this thing I didn’t need not want but it was a wasted effort. I did my best, I acted grateful and got it charged and set up and even went so far as to get a few books downloaded on it. I mean don’t get me wrong, I was amazed at how small a file ebooks came in. I downloaded What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare (oh, it’s brilliant. It’s one of the short stories about the high warlock of Brooklyn from the Shadowhunters series and it is so funny. Magnus Bane is amazing). I read the book and I forgot about it. I ended up buying a pretty hardback edition of the Bane Chronicles anyway (if you haven’t read any of the Shadowhunter series I recommend it or at least watch Shadowhunters on Netflix), so my kindle got tossed into a drawer and forgotten about.
It made a reappearance a few times and it came in handy a few times – my dad gave me a load of ebooks so I used the kindle as an opportunity to read Fifty Shades of Grey and its series without being judged. That is one reason that I do like the kindle, people can’t see the cover of the book you’re reading and it gives you a little bit of privacy. Not that I’m always reading particularly raunchy things like Fifty Shades of Grey but people are less inclined to ask what you are reading which is good. It’s good for holidays or long travels. If you’re anything like me and you can read a book cover to cover in a few hours then going on holiday with 15 paperback books isn’t really an option. But even then it takes something away from your holiday because you lose that feel of having a book there in your hands. I’ll probably stock pile my kindle for my journey to Boston in May of next year but that is simply to conserve precious space in my suitcase.
And with the rise of Kindle Unlimited from Amazon the power and influence could grow exponentially. The package looks like a good deal to me, although I’m sure that anything you read or listen to through it doesn’t become yours. It is merely loaned to you, but hey unlimited access to kindle books and audio narration? Seems like a pretty sweet deal. Ebooks are gaining power, with new E-readers and most book titles being released in electronic format, they are becoming more accessible and appealing to the masses. You can download apps on your phone and read anywhere so long as you just have your phone. No more paper bookmarks! The revolution! No longer do we have to worry about losing our page or folding corners of pages to mark our place (the horror!). And these apps and E-readers are pretty user friendly, with the ability to change font size and background colour. It’s a nifty little advancement on the technical front.

However, despite the apparent advantages to the kindle and its brethern, I am biased and loyal to my cause. Paper books will always have a place in my heart and spending a day in a bookshop among the shelves of books comforts me a great deal. The kindle only makes a short appearance out of necessity, not out of the desire to actually want to use it. But I’d like to know: What do you think? Do you have opinions on the ebook revolution?
Thanks,

Louise

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Review

It’s that time of year where I become fixated on all of my favourite books in the run up to Christmas before I do a new book haul of new books for and after Christmas. This kicked off with A Court of Thornes and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Now, I don’t know how much you all know of the fantastic works of S. J. Maas but I wholly encourage you all to do some research intoThe Court of Thorns and Roses Series as well as her Throne of Glass Series, which are among my all-time favourite book series.

ACOTAR is a fantasy book, a world of magic and a vicious and relentless divide between fairies and humans. When I say fairies, I’m not talking small, mischievous creatures with wings, luring young children into fairie rings or switching sick children with fairie children. I’m talking High Fae and lesser Fae, creatures of magic, unearthly and immortal beauty as they should be in legends. Warriors. This book and its following series are beautiful. I truly cannot think of a better word to describe them. The language and description of colours and lights and seeing the way that Feyre’s mind thinks and feels in colour is outstanding. The series is written in a manner that, although it is wholly fictional, it is almost relatable. Hardships in life are a burden we all bear, but this book describes such issues in a way we all thought we could never put into words. It puts love into pages of a book, you feel the way they do you, it is so hard not to feel the love and hurt and pain as they do.

 

The series starts with Feyre in the woods, hunting for food to feed her family. She is tasked with the job of feeding and caring for her family through a promise she made to her mother years before on her death bed. She heard stories from the townsfolk of wolves in the forest, great tower beasts much bigger than the ones from the northern wolf territory, just south of the borders of Prythian, fairie territory, but she is forced further into the woods to hunt for game to ensure her family survive the winter. In the forest, she encounters one of the gigantic wolves and fears that it is fairie due to its sheer size. She is at the edge of a clearing in the forest, and there is a small doe but unbeknown to the doe, the wolf creeps up on it, a hunter stalking its prey. Fayre panics, knowing the wolf could kill her and the doe, and her family would starve. It’s kill or be killed, she realises and lets the wolf take down the doe before shooting the wolf with her only ash arrow. She kills the wolf, skins it and then drags the wolf pelt and the doe back to her families hovel on the edge of the woods.

A little later it turns out that the wolf was, in fact, a fairie. Andres, a high fae sentinel for the Spring Court, one of the 7 courts of Pyrthian and its High Lord, disguised as a great beast, takes Feyre across the border to his court as payment for killing his sentinel. the Payment is demanded by the Treaty, a life for a life. The High Lord either killed her or let her live in fairie lands for the rest of her mortal life. She has led her life believing fairies to torture and kill humans for fun, to keep them as slaves, and she would be right to think so after a war was fought and lost long ago. The Wall that divided the Farie and mortal realms was a result of the war. However, the High Lord lets her live her life, sympathetic to the hard life that she had led before and it is a culture shock to young Feyre. She is skeptical, it all felt too good to be true, and what was she supposed to do with her life? She had so much time now that she didn’t have to care for her family.

The number of ‘bad fairies’ entering the Spring Court increases as the months pass and the ‘blight’, the sickness that is affecting the whole of Prythin is worsening. Fayre begins to fall fo the High Lord, but can a human and a High lord really fall in love? She begins to see through the lies she has been told over the months she is in Prythian and learns to read between the lines. Is it possible for a thorny, cold human to save the magical realm? Can she help to cure the ‘sickness’?

There is obviously more to the story than this, a great deal more, including characters you’ll love from the beginning (Lucian and Rhysand, Nesta and Alice). Understanding that this is a YA, it is important to realise too that this book gets… steamy. The description and detail of particular scenes had me a little more hot under the collar than I would definitely like to admit too but it only aids the realness, the emphasis on life and love.

And Rhysand. How can you not love and despair for his character? He is beautifully flawed, broken and sarcastic in a way that makes you love his character all the more. In his first few appearances, you may not like him. He is selfish and arrogant with that gait and swagger that would cause the blood in anyones vein to boil a little. But towards the end, it is clear that there is a hard in the High Lord of the Night Court and in it there is a small space reserved for Feyre. I can relate to his character and through the excellent writing and description you feel every lick of pain bestowed upon him.

“I didn’t want you  to fight alone. Or die alone.”

(My heart breaks a little bit more every time)

 

One of the things I can openly admit to having difficulty with is the pronunciation of names throughout the book. I noticed it, particularly when listening to the audio book that I had one way of saying names such as Rhysand and the Attor but other people have their own way. however, there is a cute little pronunciation guide at the back of the book which is super handy.

 

I highly recommend this book, but more than that I recommend that you persevre with the rest of the series. There is just more one more book currently, A Court of Mist and Fury, where we get enough Rhysand to make everyones insides throb a little. But another book in the series is to follow in May of next year with its recently released title of A Court of Wind and Ruin. To say I’m excited would be the understatement of the year!

Thanks, guys

 

A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

ISBN 978-1-4088-5786-1

 

The second book review – Court of Mist and Fury