Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielson || In which this book totally befuddled my thoughts on it.


Did I love this book? No. Do I hate this book? No. *cue book reviewer crisis* I literally have no idea how to review this book, but I shall endeavour to try. I recived this book as an ARC through Netgalley (so thank you to the publishers)




- It was funny. I laughed lots, which is always a plus.

- The characters were well done. The side characters that is, particularly Koula. She was my favourite character. I think Susin should write a whole book on Koula. I want to know so much more about her; I want to see where she goes in life.

- CATS CATS CATS! I kinda adore cats. There were a lot of cats in this book, and they were all named after book characters. #COOL

- Petula loved to read! yay for bookworm characters!

- Petula's parents were pretty awesome, very understanding and supportive. #YAY FOR GOOD PARENTS

-I really enjoyed Susin's writing style!



- Petula's 'anxiety' was not a very good representation of anxiety. It felt more like OCD (for example, she washes her hands for two rounds of Happy Birthday every time she washes her hands) I have  rather severe anxiety (it fluctuates. Sometimes it's really bad, and other times I feel more okay) , and I just....did not feel any connection with how it was represented. But I do also know that anxiety affects people in different ways, and that means that everyone's experiences with anxiety will be different. I have seen people say that they thought it was well represented, so do not take my word for law. This is simply my opinion.

- THE LOVE TROPE. This has got to be the most over used, annoying trope EVER. Basically it goes like this: Girl has mental illness. Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy somehow magically cures girl of mental illness (or something similar). And that's exactly what went down in this book. Please allow me to roll my eyes.


I gave Optimists Die First two stars because I did like it. Apart from those two major problems. However, I also did enjoy Susin's writing style. I will definitely try Susin's other books in the future. 
                                                                              
AND THAT WAS MY REVIEW OF OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST. Have you read it yet? If so, what are your thoughts on the representation of anxiety? Have you read any good books about anxiety? TELL ME ALL IN THE COMMENTS.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Janurary + February Wrap Up || I forgot about the January wrap up, so I've combined it with the February edition.


So January happened, and somehow I completely forgot to do the wrap up post. How could this happen? Did my mind run off? Did I get eaten by the dark pits of the internet? Did I sleep to much? Probably. So, today I am bringing you my January + February Wrap Up. Fun fact: I started writing this post on the 3rd of March, but didn't post it until today because I was to lazy to take pictures, and I ended up only taking two pictures. I sincerely apologise. Anyways, on with the wrap up!

WHAT I READ:
- Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs. I don't normally read anthologies, but since I'm rather a big fan of the Miss Peregrine trilogy, I caved in and read it. You can read my review here:
4/5 stars

- You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Leviathan. I was so pleasantly surprised by this book! It was a complete spur of the moment read, when I saw it at my library and thought the cover was cool. I loved it. It was like drinking pure happiness. 5/5 stars

- A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess. Wizards? Magicians? Cool female protagonist?! YES PLEASE. I really enjoyed this one. It wasn't the most original, but it was definitely very fun, and I read it really fast. 4/5 stars.

- Heartless by Marissa Meyer. OH MY GOD LET ME FLAIL AND SCREECH ABOUT THIS BOOK FOR SECOND. OKAY I ADORED THIS BOOK SO MUCH AND IT TORE MY HEART OUT (hehe see what I did there?) AND IT WAS SO. GOOD. AND THE CHARACTERS WERE AMAZING AND THE FOOOOOOOOOOOOD AHHH THE FOOD. You can read my full review here:
5/5 stars

- Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken. What an improvement on the last book! Passenger was so hyped, and I ended up sort of liking it, but not loving it. Wayfarer, while at times slow, was so much better! It was exciting! The plot was good! The characters were cool! The ending was satisfying and realistic! Alexandra Bracken did a good job on this book! 4/5 stars.

- The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. What's this? An adult historical fiction book?! This was an.....interesting read. I didn't love. It's an anti hero story, and a very good one. But I really, rather strongly, disliked the main character. However, if you like that type of thing, this book is definitely for you! It's saving grace was that I loved the story line, and the setting. Bonus points because it's based on a true story! 4/5 stars.

- Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth. Everyone has been hating on this book, so much, and while I have tried very hard to see the things that people claim are in this book, I can't find them. I'm not the only one. Go read Sabaa Tahir's post on this here: http://sabaatahir.tumblr.com/post/156055223595/how-can-you-support-veronica-roths-book-its
And here's a post Veronica Roth herself wrote, answering the question of racism: http://sabaatahir.tumblr.com/post/157326375570/question-what-do-you-say-to-allegations-of-racism
As for the 'ableism' in the book; I find it hard to believe that Veronica Roth, a woman who herself suffers from chronic pain, would write something ableist.
4/5 stars.

 King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard. AHH MY POOR HEART. This was one of my most anticipated books for 2017, and it did not disappoint! I needed the next book like, yesterday. Read my review here:
5/5 stars.


BOOKS I BOUGHT:
- Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs. I saw the special edition in my local bookstore, and had to buy it..even though it cost the price of two books.

- King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard. I love the cover. It's so gorgeous!

- A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. I had just finished binge watching the BBC Sherlock (again) and decided I needed more Sherlock in my life. Don't judge.

-Reqiuem by Lauren Oliver. I got this book, in hard cover, in near perfect condition, for free from my library's free shelf. Let that sink in.

WRITING:
Lately I have been SO unmotivated. And exhausted (maybe that's why I still haven't finished Gearbound?? Maybe it's also my anxiety telling me to forget it because everyone will hate it?? Who knows.) I've been working on the same chapter of Gearbound for...wait for it. THREE WEEKS. THREE WHOLE WEEKS. It doesn't help that tumblr and youtube have consumed my soul. So basically, in the whole of January + February, I wrote one chapter. BLERGH.

FANDOM NEWS:
- We got the trailer for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. I haven't read the book, but I will be as soon as possible so that I can watch the movie.

- We got the Before I Fall movie, and apparently it sticks the book like crazy glue?! I need to watch it.

- We're getting another Mary Poppins movie, called Mary Poppins returns, and Emily Blunt has been cast as Mary.

- Shadowhunters season 2 has been doing quite well! Everyone seems to be liking this season a lot more than last season.

- 13 Reasons Why is becoming a Netflix show! And we got a trailer! And it was so good. I have high hopes.

MUSIC RECS:
OOOKKAAYYY. So it's been a long, long time since I've given some music recommendations, but here I am. So I discovered this local pop punk band called Carried Away. They are super small, but their music is SO. DAMN. GOOD. Plus, they're female fronted, which isn't something you see to often. Check out their bandcamp here and their youtube here.

SO. THAT WAS MY JANUARY AND FEBRUARY! WHAT WAS THE BEST/WORST BOOK YOU READ IN THE PAST TWO MONTHS? HAVE YOU BOUGHT ANY BOOKS? OR ARE YOU ON A BOOK BUYING BAN BECAUSE YOU'VE RUN OUT OF ROOM *cough me cough* ARE YOU WRITING ANYTHING? HAVE YOU LISTENED TO CARRIED AWAY? QUICK TELL ME EVERYTHING! IT'S BEEN TO LONG SINCE WE LAST CHATTED.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard Spoiler Review || My Heart Is Completely Shattered


*heavy breathing* *distant screaming*
SOMEONE HELP ME MY OTP BROKE AND I CANT FIX IT EVEN DUCT TAPE CANT FIX IT.

Right so King's Cage. Book three of the Red Queen series, and one of my highly anticipated books of the year. IT WAS SO GOOD.
And by good I mean it messed with my emotions and torn my heart out. Glass Sword was very good, but slow. It was far slower than the first book, and it took me awhile to finish it. I am pleased to say that King's Cage was paced far better. It was never slow. It was a roller coaster from start to finish., with plot twists and plenty of battles. That's pretty much all I can say without spoiling it, so if you haven't read it, don't read any further!





- We saw a lot of character development, especially from Mare and Evangeline (who I actually don't hate anymore??!! WHAT IS THIS WITCH CRAFT) Mare in Glass Sword was very....unlikable and confusing. She progress in a really good direction in this book.

- Victoria Aveyard is such a good author that you will actually pity Maven. MAVEN. But like, I still hate him. But I pity him. "Monsters are made" is a very strong theme here, and it's a very true one. Props to Victoria for making us pity Maven.




-I'm a sucker for epic battles, and the last half of the book was pretty much just one giant battle.


-Evangline. EVANGLINE IS SO EPIC. In the first two books she was just this angry punk who was on Maven's side, and we didn't KNOW her. But happily for us, Victoria decided to add in her perspective, and we got to see how her mind works. SHE'S......SHE ACTUALLY HAS FEELINGS? SHE'S HUMAN?! I DON'T HATE HER??




-We also got to read from Cameron's perspective, and she is another character from book two that we didn't really know. I didn't like Cameron as much as Evangeline, but her perspective was a refresher from Mare.

- The plot was a lot more driven in this book, unlike Glass Sword which sort of meandered all over the place.




- OKAY SO THAT ENDING. I AM NOT OKAY.  THIS IS NOT OKAY. HELP.

-I really disliked Cal in this book, mainly because of the end, but I found him in general to be rather bland and not interesting in this book.




Overall, I really loved King's Cage! It was very exciting.


And that was my review of King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard! Tell me, have you read it yet? Do you like the Red Queen series? If so, which book was your favourite (so far. We still have to wait for book four) What is your most anticipated books of the year, and have you read any of them yet? Comment down below!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Read Before You Rate || REASONS WHY RATING BEFORE YOU READ A BOOK IS HARMFUL FOR ALL PARTIES CONCERNED


I got the idea for this post a LONG while back(like a year and a half ago, I think) after watching @emmabooks video on this topic. You can watch her video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNBiJ_Pc-fI
So you know how on Goodreads you can rate a book that you haven't read? How you can rate a book you are excited about months and months before it even has a cover?? or a title?! This is harmful for everyone, readers and authors. (Unless of course you are lucky enough to have gotten your hands on an ARC and therefore have a valid opinion.) Let's discuss this using lists, because I like lists. Everybody likes lists. Lists are fun. Lists are organizational.




  • It gives a false idea of the book, and creates false hype. For example, if everyone rates Cassandra Clare's new book 5 stars before it comes out, it creates the illusion that people have read it and loved it. All the hype creates high expectations which are most likely going to be dashed to pieces. The reader will then give it a bad rating and review because it didn't live up to the hype. Which was false in the first place.

  • When that person gives that book a bad rating/review, they are affecting other people's view of that book, the sales of the book, and thus the author's income. Isn't it best to make sure that the book is given a fair chance?

  • The point here is that by rating it before it comes out, you are inevitably hurting the author. And that is not something that we want.

  • You are also hurting the reader. They saw that everyone was giving it 5 out of 5 stars, and became super excited and was thinking, 'AW YES I AM SO GOING TO LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK'. They then wasted ten hours or so to read the book, and the book didn't deliver. How could it? It's impossible to live up to that kind of hype/expectations.

  • This can also work the other way around. If a lot of people didn't like an author's other books, they will often go rate the author's new book badly simply because they hated the other books. 'I will never read this book, since their other books was SO BAD!1! 1/5 stars' is something I see a lot.

  • Now this REALLY hurts the author. Like, REALLY HURTS THEM. If everyone rates it badly before it comes out, a lot of people aren't going to want to buy it. "I looked it up on goodreads and it had a bad overall rating! Definitely not wasting my money on it." Now that poor author's sales have been affected, causing it to not do well.

  • This has happened so many times. A good example of this would be Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven. So many people hated the description for some reason (which makes no sense) and then rated/reviewed badly.

  • In conclusion, DON'T RATE BEFORE YOU READ. It's basically a form of lying. Lying is wrong. It hurts people. We're all guilty of it (I used to do it too until I watched Emma's video)
And that is all. COMMENT TIME! WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SUBJECT? DO YOU THINK RATING BEFORE YOU READ IS A GOOD OR BAD THING?


Friday, 10 February 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer || This Book Crushed My Poor Heart


I don't even know what to say. This book blew me completely away. I know a lot of people were disappointed by it, but I must be the black sheep here and say it was by far the best Alice in Wonderland retelling I've ever read. Cath was the perfect anti hero: her journey to becoming the dreaded Queen of Hearts was so well done, and so sad. I was rooting for her the entire time, even though I knew her fate before I even started the book (which just makes it even more
painful)



- Again, Cath was the PERFECT anti hero. It was so hard to watch her go from a happy, whimsical girl with dreams who loves to bake, to a hate filled Queen hell bent on revenge. I JUST WANTED HER TO GET HER FRICKING BAKERY AND BE HAPPY AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.


-Jest. Omg be still my beating heart. He was perfect, and quite stole my heart, aND I AM NOT OKAY WITH WHAT MARISSA DID TO HIM *cue I'm Not Okay(I Promise) by My Chemical Romance*



-THE FOOD. THE FOOD. THE FOOD. Cath bakes the most mouthwatering treats, and Marissa Meyer knows just how to describe them. You have to have a snack with you while read this book, otherwise you'll die from hunger.

- The last few chapters were the best chapters out of the entire book. They were so chilling, and so mesmerizing, aND HEARTBREAKING AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH



- THE KING. HE IS SUCH A WEAK DESPICABLE KING I HATE HIM HE RUINED CATH'S LIFE. OFF WITH HIS HEAD!

- CATH'S PARENTS. THEY ALSO RUINED HER LIFE. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS AS WELL!

ahem. Anyways, Heartless was amazing, and you should all read it so that you can share in my pain.



COMMENT TIME! DO YOU LIKE ALICE IN WONDERLAND RETELLINGS? WHICH ONE IS YOU FAVOURITE? HAVE YOU READ HEARTLESS? DID IT CRUSH YOUR HEART TOO? TELL ME ALL!






Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs || GAH IT'S BEAUTIFUL


FINALLY. I finally read Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs. I was so excited to read it, because I'm such a big fan of the original Miss Peregrine's trilogy. This review is going to be divided by mini reviews of each tale in the book. Okay but the COVER AND THE ILLUSTRATIONS. SO BEAUTFUL GAH.

THE TALES:
Every tale was unique from the others, yet somehow were similar and all worked as one in the peculiar universe. Each tale also had a moral to it. The writing was whimsical and fun, but not silly or childish.

The Splendid Cannibals: This tale was a strong start to the book. It was very strange, but that is to expected. It was not my favourite, but again, it was a strong start. 3/5 stars.


The Forked Tongued Princess: A princess who has serpent tongue fights against beauty standards and misogyny and who kicks ass? YES PLEASE. 5/5 stars


The First Ymbryne: This one was by far my favourite tale out of the book. Back when I was reading the Miss Peregrine's trilogy, I was very curious about how loops and ymbrynes came to be. If you ever wondered that as well, go read this tale. It will answer all your questions. Besides, the main character is a strong female who does what she thinks is best, not a council of grumpy old men. 5/5 stars



The Woman Who Befriended Ghosts: This was my second favourite tale. It was so whimsical and funny and sad and happy. THAT ENDING THOUGH. I LOVED IT. 5/5 stars.



Cocobolo: This was probably the most peculiar tale of all. I liked it, but......It was slightly to peculiar for my taste. 3/5 stars


The Pigeons of St. Paul's: This was a very serious tale. My only problem with it was that the pigeons were far more evenly matched against the humans that they should have been. 4/5 stars


The Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares: The most serious tale of all, with the best moral. I loved it. It was scary, creepy, and I couldn't stop reading it. 5/5 stars


The Locust: The moral of this one was (I think?) that parents should love their children unconditionally and try to understand them. 4/5 stars


The Boy Who Could Hold Back The Sea: This was my fourth favourite(The third was The Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares) and it was a gripping story. It also made me very angry. But the ending was happy, so that's alright now. 5/5 stars


The Tale of Cuthbert: Ahhh our good friend Cuthbert from book two of the Miss Peregrine's trilogy. I liked this story! I already kind of knew the outline of it because it was in Hollow City, but that's okay. 4/5 stars.



OVERALL: 4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed this compilation of the Tales, and I can't wait for the new peculiar trilogy that Ransom Riggs is writing.


OKAY COMMENT TIME. HAVE YOU READ MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN? HAVE YOU READ THE TALES OF THE PECULIAR? ARE YOU GOING TO? OH AND WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE MOVIE? I WATCHED IT RECENTLY, AND QUITE ENJOYED IT, DESPITE THE CHANGES.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Beautiful Books ~ 2017 Writing Goals

Wow we're already half way through Janurary! How crazy is that??! Today I am doing the Beautiful Books ~ 2017 Writing Goals edition! Beautiful Books is a link up hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @further up and further in. Let's do this!



What were your writing achievements last year?
I'm not sure, to be honest. 2016 was a slow year for me. But I did finish the (terrible) first draft of my sci-fi novel and started my next novel, Gearbound, which is actually going to be a duology. I tried editing the sci-fi one, but I feel like it's unredeemable at the moment. And that's okay. I had so much fun living in that world, but for now, it's over.  Maybe when I've grown more as a writer I'll come back to it and I will see it with fresh eyes. I am close to the end of Gearbound, so I hope to finish it by the end of February.

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?
Mainly to finish the first draft of Gearbound, edit it, and start the second draft. I'd also like to write this fanfic I've been wanting to do. It's a Supernatural/Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children crossover. I'm kinda of considering doing a bit of work on Bumble Bee as well. We'll see.

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!
GEARBOUND! Honestly I need to finish it. Even if I do nothing else, I'll be happy.

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
That's a tough question. I hope that by the end of 2017 I'll be able to consistently write 400+ words a day. I don't know where I'll be at the end of 2017, but hopefully at a comfortable place.


Describe your general editing process.

First I start off with good intentions. I write and cut and paste and copy and things are going well.

But then I get bored. I hit a roadblock and this happens. I open Tumblr. All is lost.


And when I'm done with social media and youtube, I enter the boredom stage, where I sit and stare at my screen. I stare at what I've edited until I feel like sacrificing 12 goats to the old pagan gods.


Then I decide I need fuel, and I make many pots of coffee/tea and drink it like so:




The fuel hits my brain, and my imagination is sparked. And I start editing again, while drinking the remainder of coffee/tea exactly like this:


          That is how I edit. While it is time consuming, I definitely recommend this method.

On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?
So far, I'd say five. It's not bad, but it needs SO MUCH EDITING AND RE-WRITING. OH GOD SO MUCH RE-WRITING.

What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
The plot. While it's good, it needs, as aforementioned, SO MUCH RE-WRITING OH GOD SO MUCH RE-WRITING.

What do you like the most about your draft?
That it's so vibrant! I feel like I've partially managed to capture the strangeness and insane-ness of my world. Also Elly. I love that dragon so much.

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
More edits! Until I feel happy with it, and then I will be finding some beta readers. Then more edits. And then querying. I want it to be officially published.

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?
The ending has to be strong. Your opening words and your ending words have to be strong. The whole book has to be strong, but especially the final ones. If it's a standalone, you want those last words to mimic an atomic bomb going off in the reader's mind. If it's a series, you those last words to mimic an atomic bomb going off in the reader's mind, so that they'll read the next book.

And that was the Beautiful Books January Edition! What are your goals for writing in 2016? Have you (unlike me) finished your projects? Tell me all in the comments!