Throne of Glass

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Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) – Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

RATING: ★★★★★

Goodreads page

This book was even better the second time round! I read Throne of Glass when it was all the hype a couple of years ago and absolutely adored it, along with the current sequels. There are a few more being released into this series soon, including Empire of Storms (coming out in September – so exciting!!) and a TOG colouring book around the same time too! These books are about a young assassin named Celaena Sardothien who has been taken out from the mines in Endovier, where she is currently imprisoned, to partake in a competition against fellow felons and criminals to become the King’s Champion, where she’ll have four years of service before absolute freedom. Being the self-assured, confident character that she is, Celaena doesn’t quite anticipate the strength of her competitors, like monstrous Cain, and other difficulties that stand in her way. Who knows if she can do it? And at what cost?

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Salt to the Sea

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Salt to the SeaRuta Sepetys
Genre: Historical fiction, YA

RATING: ★★★✩✩

Goodreads page

As soon as I found out that Sepetys was releasing another book, the excitement levels were high. I absolutely adored her other two stand-alone novels, Out of the Easy and Between Shades of Gray. Historical fiction is also my favourite genre along with fantasy so to see a new one on the shelves got me seriously eager to read it. While the story was truly heart-breaking, I didn’t entirely enjoy it; struggling to connect to the characters and the abrupt ending to name a few problems. The writing was still beautiful though and Sepetys managed to translate a very sad story in a delicate, meaningful way.

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Mara Dyer series

The Unbecoming/Evolution/Retribution of Mara DyerMichelle Hodkin
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Thriller

RATING: #1 – ★★★★★, #2 – ★★★★✩, #3 – ★★★✩✩

Goodreads page

This series, as a whole, was seriously good. It’s a shame that my fondness lessened as the series went on but my overall judgement towards the trilogy is positive. As a brief summary for the first book, Mara Dyer is a teenage girl who has recently moved away from her home town after experiencing a traumatic event that really shook her but the most frightful aspect is that she can’t remember it at all. The story follows Mara adapting to new life as she slowly uncovers what happened that night and more is revealed about her character. While adjusting, she meets a boy named Noah Shaw who, on the surface is a player and arrogant teen but, in reality, has a connection to Mara that is remarkably unimaginable.

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Me Before You movie review

Me Before You (adapted from the novel by Jojo Moyes)

RATING: ★★★★★

My book review

I had been highly anticipating this movie ever since I read and adored the book. My excitement was only heightened when I heard that Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games) and Emilia Clarke (my dearest Khaleesi from GOT) were starring in it alongside some other familiar faces like Neville Longbottom and Tywin Lannister. Safe to say, they nailed the casting. Each of them played their characters so well and were brilliant at portraying them in the way I had imagined from reading the book. And it’s true what they say: tissues are a must. I balled my eyes out like no other, in one particular heart-wrenching scene and I commend Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin for acting in a way that made me so unbelievably connected to their characters which, in turn, initiated such an emotional reaction from me. That said, the movie is not exclusively sad. For the most part, it’s actually hilarious with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments so don’t expect tears to fall from start to finish (unless the tears come from laughter – in which case, you’re not alone!). And so, regardless of what your ‘typical’ type of film taste is, I thoroughly encourage you give this one a watch as it easily the best film I’ve seen of 2016.

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I’M BACK + end-of-exams book haul!

Hey everybody! Long time no see! I didn’t realise quite how much I missed blogging until starting this blog post – it feels so long ago that I did this! But I am definitely back and here to stay with loads of ideas for blog posts and book reviews coming your way. Admittedly, my last exam was actually on the 23rd May so I’ve been free for about 3 weeks and it felt so good to just relax (and READ!) that I decided to make a comeback on the blog when college started up again and there was more structure to my life! Before exams started, I promised to reward myself with new books because 1) I hadn’t received any new books since Christmas, 2) I had stopped reading before/during exams so wanted a pick-me-up and 3) I mean, BOOKS, need there be a reason?! And so with that, I’ll show you what I treated myself to:

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So I’ll split this up into college books and ‘leisure reads’

I needed to buy a couple books for my English Lit coursework that I’m starting when I get back. I’ll probably touch on it more in another blog post but for my assessment, I have to compare Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte with a 20th century novel. From a list we were provided, I’ve narrowed it down to Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jennette Winterson and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I’ve already read Winterson’s book and wasn’t overly enthralled by it but it’s a popular one in my class so it’s still a contender because I’m going to need as much support as possible if I’m going to do well in this essay! I know Burial Rites is quite popular among the book-blogging community so if anyone’s read it/read a review that might sway me to pick it then please comment down below!

Now for the leisure reads, a.k.a. the ones I’ve been dying to read for so long. First we have The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, the third and final book in the Mara Dyer trilogy. This has been out for a while now and I’ve been desperate to get my hands on it! I re-read the first two prior to reading this one and I definitely have some thoughts that I’ll share in my series review next week (with and without spoilers!) so I won’t say anything yet! There’s also The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. I’ve already read this one too but it completely slipped my mind to take notes while reading (see how out of practice I am!?) that I don’t think I’ll be able to do a full review on it so I’ll say now that I was disappointed in it. I had such high hopes after The Wrath and The Dawn (review here) but the sequel had an unclear direction and I really struggled to keep up with the different character’s plot-lines despite having read the first one only a matter of months ago! The final two books I bought were Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (which came highly recommended by friends and who doesn’t love a lil’ bit of Sanderson in their life?) and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (which I am uncontrollably excited to start!)

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful time while I’ve been away and if you had exams/still going through them, good luck and stay calm!

Happy Reading Bookworms!

A lil update #1 +mini Jane Eyre review

Hey everybody!

Just a heads-up that blog posts may be a lil sparse over the next month because my end of year exams are approaching and I do need to take them seriously to ensure I’m covered for next year! I really want to try to keep to my Monday schedule (and I am definitely going to try my hardest!) but it’s unlikely that you’ll see any actual book reviews because, quite frankly, I haven’t been reading all that much *sigh*. But, just you wait, once exams are over, you bet a big book haul is coming your way and oh my goodness, it’s pretty much my main motivation at the moment.

That said, I have been reading for my English coursework that I’m starting in a month or two so we’ve been told to get a head start. The book in question is Jane Eyre and I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, if not read it and loved it. Honestly, I wouldn’t normally find 400 pages too hefty but it’s by far the longest classic I’ve ever read and I never realised how the language really adds time to the reading. It’s not exactly Shakespearean but it’s also not a YA contemporary released last month, you know? Either way, it was still a rather enjoyable book regardless of how long it took me to read (over a month!) I loved seeing Jane develop as an individual and those last 50 pages or so really took me by surprise. Albeit, there were some dull moments but, all in all, I felt like I really experienced the story which I am learning to do a lot more now. Previously, I would devour books in just a matter of days or even a few hours but I’m now coming to appreciate the finer details and I can specifically picture scenes from the stories which just completely adds to the enjoyment.

So, to sum up: I may be a little absent in the coming weeks but I won’t be away for too long, I assure you of that. Also, read Jane Eyre. It was somewhat slow-paced but the story is a goodun’ and a great novel to read at some point in your lifetime.

Happy Reading Bookworms!

Audiobooks – yay or nay?

When I started this blog back in January, I already had this idea in my mind because 2015 was the year I first gave audiobooks a go. It was during my GCSEs when I was struggling to find time to read that I turned to audiobooks to recuperate after a day of revision. I didn’t exactly want to tackle a seven book fantasy series or 800 page adult book because I knew I’d have to really concentrate to pick up all the details so I decided to try re-reading books instead. For those of you who haven’t tried audiobooks before, I would 10/10 recommend this way of easing you in because, like I mentioned before, starting a new book does require dedication and I just didn’t have the energy nor the brain capacity to be introduced to a bunch of new characters and a great, big world so I went with what I thought would be the best bet: Harry Potter. I’ve read the books once before and seen the movies countless times so I knew that, even if I did drift in and out it, I wouldn’t be missing anything that I didn’t already know. I raced through them in the end and began them again in November, listening to the them on the train to college, where I finished them a week before Christmas. Safe to say, I’m a fan.

Although it probably seems obvious, I didn’t quite realise the importance the voice of the reader has. If they’re too monotonous and lack in any sort of emotion, I find I really struggle to listen all the way through so I do click off within the first fifteen minutes if it’s just not working for me. I was lucky in the sense that the first audiobook I listened to was read by Stephen Frey so my first impression of the whole audiobook experience started out on a high. I say this because you shouldn’t be deterred if you’ve tried audiobooks in the past and had difficulty getting into them; in the same way that we all like different music, we all like the different sounds/tones/levels of emphasis in people’s voices so just listen to samples for a minute or two before you invest in an audiobook because, they’re good but, boy, are they generally very expensive.

I feel as though the price of audiobooks is a massive con (as in pros/cons, not a scam!) and I have, personally, never physically bought an audiobook nor do I think I ever will unless the cost of them goes down or I find one in a charity shop. I do, however, have a couple apps on my phone that provide you with free, classic audiobooks but you can easily find them on YouTube as well and I also have a subscription to Audible. Audible has a huge collection of books to choose from so that for £7.99 a month, you can purchase one book (and these audio files can be 10-15 hours long if you really want to get your money’s worth!) and the best part is that it stays on your account forever so you can listen to it again and again or share it with others (then maybe split the cost?). You’d expect to pay around £7.99 for a fiction book now-a-days anyway so you really are only paying for a different format which is far cheaper than what you can end up paying if you purchase them one-off.

Previously, I mentioned how I started out re-reading audiobooks and, to be perfectly honest, I exclusively re-read audiobooks. For whatever reason, I can’t concentrate on physically unread books as audiobooks regardless of how many or how little distractions I have around me. Actually, my favourite way to listen is to be in bed, with a cup of tea and a colouring book – trust me, it’s one of the most relaxing rituals that I swear by to help de-stress. Perhaps that’s the reason why, perhaps the feeling of having to listen so intently takes away from that calm energy I most enjoy about the experience. Either way, I’ve tried to listen to books straight off the bat but my attention wavers around the 20 minute mark and I find that I’d rather be listening to music, if I’m out listening to it, or reading a book, if I’m listening to it at home.

Lastly, although this isn’t something I’ve seen the benefit of for myself, I know that audiobooks tend to be great for those who drive to work or school. I can imagine that it can be frustrating knowing that if you were on a train or bus, you could pick up a book and read it there and then but audiobooks are most definitely the answer to those woes. They help you get that fix of reading we booklovers thrive off of and make the journey just that little less tedious.

So what do you think? Ever given audiobooks a go? Thinking about it now? Are you pro-audiobooks or anti-audiobooks? Let me know!

Happy Reading Bookworms!