Bookish Edition: Would You Rather

Today, inspired by my friend over at @thepurplenightingale, I decided my blog post would be a bookish edition of Would You Rather…

Lets go

and

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Would you rather…?

1. Read only trilogies or standalones?
Both.

2. Read only male or female authors?
Well I do have more books on my shelf written by female authors than males, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to reading books by males- some of my favourite books are written by guys!

3. Shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?
Um, can I make Book Depository an option? Like c’mon… free shipping and books half the price of any other bookstore in the world? Nothing beats Book Depository.

4. All books made into movies or TV shows?
I love both, but books made into tv shows can often be better because there’s more time to add lots of detail and character development- also, it lasts longer.

5. Read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?
Definitely 5 books per week- knocking books off my evergrowing TBR list is always a good feeling.

6. Be a professional reviewer or author? 
Both! I could be a professional reviewer as a full-time job and write books on the side.

7. Only read your top 20 favourites over and over or always read new ones?
Read new ones… because as much as I love re-reading some of my favourites, I’m pretty sure I would get sick of reading the same 20 books after a while…

8. Be a librarian or bookseller?
A bit of both would be cool, but I can’t really decide on that one.

9. Only read your favorite genre or every genre except your favorite?
I don’t really mind any genre so I would be happy to choose the latter-(I’ve always wanted to use the word latter, yay).

10. Only read physical books or eBooks? 
PHYSICAl. I hate eBooks, reading on technology doesn’t have any charm. As well as the fact that there is no beautiful musty scent or the feel of pages beneath your hands.

So that’s it! This was lots of fun to do 🙂

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The Ultimate Book Tag

So today I thought I would try my first ever tag post, and decided upon ‘The Ultimate Book Tag,’ a tag I’ve seen come up on many of my favourite book blogs!

So here we go:

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1. DO YOU GET SICK WHILE READING IN THE CAR?

Most of the time yes, though there is the odd occasion where I don’t feel sick at all!

2. WHICH AUTHOR’S WRITING STYLE IS COMPLETELY UNIQUE TO YOU AND WHY?

I’m going to have to say E. Lockhart. We Were Liar’s was a book I will never forget because of how differently it was written to everything else I’ve ever read!

3. HARRY POTTER SERIES OR THE TWILIGHT SAGA? GIVE 3 POINTS TO DEFEND YOUR ANSWER.

I can’t really answer this question because I’ve never actually read the Twilight Saga… but I don’t have any doubts that Harry Potter is better because, well, it’s Harry Potter.

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4. DO YOU CARRY A BOOK BAG? IF SO, WHAT IS IN IT (BESIDES BOOKS)?

I don’t have a specific ‘book bag,’ but I do have a number of bags I put my books in… and I might pack a few snacks in along with a book.

5. DO YOU SMELL YOUR BOOKS?

Um. Who doesn’t?

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6. BOOKS WITH OR WITHOUT LITTLE ILLUSTRATIONS?

I never usually read books with any illustrations, but I don’t really mind.

7. WHAT IS THE THINNEST BOOK ON YOUR SHELF?

The first Mary Poppins- only 177 pages!

8. WHAT IS THE THICKEST BOOK ON YOUR SHELF?

Definitely Order of The Phoenix! Probably my favourite book in the HP series 🙂

9. WHEN DID YOU GET INTO READING?

When I was in nappies! I’ve always loved reading, its the best thing in the world.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CLASSIC BOOK?

Probably Anne of Green Gables… I loveeeeeee this series, its so sweet and perfect!

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11. IN SCHOOL WHAT IS YOUR BEST SUBJECT?

Definitely English, it comes so naturally to me- no doubt because I’m a reader.

12. IF YOU WERE GIVEN A BOOK AS A PRESENT THAT YOU HAD READ BEFORE AND HATED, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Re-gift it, or exchange it for another book- hopefully the person who gave it to me kept the receipt!

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORD?

Way to hard. I go through different phases where I find unusual words and can’t stop saying them haha.

14. FULL ON ROMANCE BOOKS OR ACTION-PACKED WITH A FEW LOVE SCENES MIXED IN?

It really depends on what mood I’m in! But I usually prefer the latter.

 

Thanks for reading 🙂 Next time I think I’m going to try The Fictional Boyfriend Tag!

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Starr Fall- Kim Briggs

Star Fall, Kim Briggs

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About:
On the run from the Organization, Starr never planned on falling in love.
Starr Bishop’s the complete package. A perfect smile, brains to match, and a winning attitude. Boys want to date her and girls want to be her. She’s the type of girl you want to hate, if only she wasn’t so damn likable. But don’t worry, she’s not interested in your boyfriend. Boys are one complication she can live without. When the Organization decides she’s not only the model student but the ideal assassin, Starr’ll need a lot more than high test scores and extracurricular involvement to get herself out of that commitment.

 

Review: 

Firstly a big thankyou to Kim Briggs for letting me read your book!

I first found Starr Fall a bit slow, and cliché, but as the story began to unfold, I gradually warmed up the story, and was excited to see where it would go. After Starr escapes from The Organisation, and goes on the run, she teams up with bad boy goth Christian Evergood. Now, Christians character might seem to most as dead sexy and plain adorable- but if you look at him a bit more closely, I think you’ll find his obsessive love for Start just a tadddd creepy. For example: I don’t exactly find it normal for a guy you just met to go buy you perfectly fitting underwear, bras bikinis from Victoria’s Secret. I’m sorry… but Christians “perfection” is a little unnerving. No boy is that amazing without some weird personality disorder. Not to mention that he is very condescending towards Starr and tries to treat her like some precious object that can’t be exposed to the real world. I’m sorry, but Christian has a no from me.
I liked Starr. Apart from a few irritating flaws and the fact that she overlooked Christians sudden change of heart, I found her character to be very realistic and at times relatable. I really really loved the storyline: it’s interesting, action packed, and intriguing, but I still give this story 3 stars, because while the storyline was promising, and I was excited to see what would happen, I felt that the rest of the book didn’t deliver on what it hinted at in the beginning. At the start, Starr was all intent on ‘getting revenge,’ and while she often talked about ‘getting revenge’ she never actually GOT revenge. The rest of the book was just basically a romantic getaway in the woods. While I understand that there are two more books in the series, I would’ve liked for book 1 to be wrapped up a bit better.
Will I read the rest of the series? I think I will! (After I read everything else on my huge TBR list), but I am keen to see Starr’s journey continue 😁.

Content Summary:

Age: 13+

Violence: Deaths occur but none are graphically described. Threats are made. A character is tortured, but not graphically described.

Sex: Lots of kissing, some innuendo

Language: Not applicable

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking: Not applicable

Recommended? 

No

Rating:

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Author Interview: Belinda Murrell!

Hi everyone!

So recently I had the opportunity to interview who I consider to be one of my favourite all time authors, and a huge inspiration for me as a writer: Belinda Murrell!

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Whether you have read any of Belinda’s books or not, I urge you to pick up one of her time slip novels at the next opportunity- you won’t be dissapointed!

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With that, here is the interview!

When did you first realize that you wanted to become an author?

When I was about eight, I started writing poems, plays, stories and novels in hand illustrated exercise books just because it was fun!! I kept writing all through school and university, then when I left uni I worked as a technical writer, journalist and freelance travel writer, but all the time I had a dream to write books. When my own children were young I started writing books for them, and then one day was brave enough to send a manuscript off to Random House – the first book in The Sun Sword Trilogy. They loved it and I’ve been writing kids books full-time ever since. My first novel was published in 2006 – and now I’m working on my thirtieth book!

How did you choose the genre that you write in?

I love to mix up genres – history, adventure, fantasy, with a twist of romance. I think most of my books are exciting adventure books – whether it is historical adventure like The Forgotten Pearl and The Lost Sapphire, timeslip adventure like The Ivory Rose, fantasy adventure like the Sun Sword, or everyday animal adventures like Lulu Bell.

 

What do you love most about being an author? 

Definitely seeing children love my work! Getting emails from children saying that was the best book I’ve ever read! Watching a boy walk down the street and bump into a lightpost because he was reading one of my books!

Which of your works are you most proud of?

The River Charm is a very special book to me, because it is based on the true life adventures of my great-great-great grandmother, Charlotte Elizabeth Atkinson. Set in Australia, during the 1840s, it is the story of a family who lost everything but fought against almost insurmountable odds to regain their independence and their right to be together as a family. Being based on real life people, it was a very challenging book to research and to write, but of all my books, I think this is the one that I am most proud of. I especially loved visiting Oldbury, the beautiful sandstone house in Moss Vale, that my ancestors built in the 1820s.

How long does it usually take to complete writing a book?

It takes me about a year to write a time slip book like The Forgotten Pearl or The Lost Sapphire. I spend about three to four months doing the research, about three to four months writing the book, another two months editing the book and when the new book comes out I spend about two months on tour – visiting schools, doing signings at bookshops, speaking at festivals and doing media interviews – so it keeps me very busy!!

When can readers expect your next novel to be released?

This year, I am so excited to be launching a completely new series, called Pippa’s Island, for girls about 8 to 10 years old, as a step up from the Lulu Bell books. I was inspired to write the books by hearing from lots of parents and young girls, that they loved Lulu Bell, and had read all the books over and over again, but now needed something that was more challenging and slightly older.

So Pippa’s Island, it is about a girl called Pippa, who moves with her family from London, to a small tropical island on the other side of the world. She has to leave her home, her school and all her friends behind her, which is really tough.

So the series is about making friends, finding your courage and coping with change. It is about a gang of the best friends a girl could wish for, who form a secret club, called Sassy Sisters, who meet after school in a round tower on top of a boat-house. The girls are lively, fun-loving, bold, brave, creative and happy. But like all kids they have real life problems to face and lessons to learn – making friends, school, sport, squabbles, secrets, getting in trouble, fitting in, fashion, music, naughty pets, family, siblings and all the things that tween girls love and worry about.

The first two books – The Beach Shack and Cub Reporters will be released in July 2017, with a further two books that I’m writing at the moment, to be released in early 2018.

What was your favourite childhood novel? 

When I was growing up, the book that most fired my imagination was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I loved its enticing mixture of adventure, action and fantasy. My sister and I would dress up in silver chain mail, with swords and bows and arrows, and play Narnia. I was enraptured by the idea that it might be possible to pass through a secret door into a magical world, full of talking animals and adventure.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words? 

Determined. Hard-working. Adventurous.

If you could travel back to a time in history, where would you go and why? 

I’m fascinated by many periods of history, and especially the ones that I’ve explored through my time slip novels, and I really feel as if I live in that world when I’m writing the book. But if I had to pick one – it would be Oldbury (the setting of The River Charm and the house that my great-great-great-great grandparents built). I’d love to meet the Atkinson family to see how they compare with my imaginings about them. I feel that I know these characters intimately after spending a year researching their lives and adventures. It would be amazing to meet them in real life.

What is your all time favourite read?

So hard to pick only one, but I’ll say Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I discovered Jane Austen’s novels when I was a teenager and immediately loved them. I particularly enjoyed the satirical humour of her novels, the witty dialogue and the insight into late eighteenth century English society. I’m enjoying sharing Jane Austen with my own daughter now.

Thankyou Belinda for taking the time to answer my questions! 🙂 

Throne of Glass- Sarah J Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

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About:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world…

Review:

While the start was fairly slow, and focused majorly on setting the scene and introducing characters, I grew to fall in love with this book. The fast paced chapters and spine tingling plot line kept me aching for more- I couldn’t seem to turn the pages fast enough! The story thrilled me, and I loved, loved, loved the authors style of writing and superb descriptions. There was not a single time during the book where I found myself beginning to lose interest or get bored, in fact I haven’t been that engrossed in a book for a while- so engrossed that I completely zoned out of the real world and entered Celaena Sardothien’s! You can’t not love Throne of Glass, it’s just… amazing!

Discussing further;

The characters:

I loved each character so much. The way that Sarah J Maas portrayed their flaws, was something that made each individual character so real and so unique. I could see pieces of myself, and my friends in each of their personalities, making them incredibly relatable. I was able to experience each characters emotions, and slip into their shoes during each circumstance that they found themselves in. Overall, I’m so excited to see more character development, and am looking forward to seeing where the story takes them… 😀

The writing:

As I mentioned briefly before, I absolutely loved Maas’s writing style. Her descriptions were fabulous, and I could vividly imagine all of the surroundings and characters. I also really enjoyed how well the story line flowed, and how easily the plot fell into place. Sarah kept the plot suspenseful and mysterious, all the way to the very last page, and was able to tie up every loose end.

In conclusion I recommend Throne of Glass to EVERYONE. It’s action and adventure packed with the perfect amount of romance and a seriously fabulous story line that will keep you craving more! It pulls you in, and keeps you thoroughly engrossed throughout the 404 pages. Never once will you want to put it down. Just READ IT. Do it. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

How I feel after reading Throne of Glass:

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Content Summary:

Age: 14+ (mature read)

Violence: The main character is an assassin and therefore has a history of murdering. Tests are held where competitors must fight to display their strength, therefore can involve violence and description of injuries. Graphic/macabre descriptions of mauled and at times severed bodies. A mythical human eating beast is summoned to destroy competitors. Other involvement of the dead and ghosts. Spiritual violence. Some discussion of magic.

Sex: Some brief kissing, some mild sexual innuendo, lingering looks.

Language: Some insults: no swearing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking: Competitors consume ceremonial wine. Some characters drink at functions.

Recommended?

YESSSSSSS!

Rating:

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Red Queen- Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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This is world divided by blood- Red or Silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possesion of god-like superpowers. To seventeen year old Mare Barrows, a Red girl from the poverty stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will change. But Mare possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of her potential, the Silvers hide Mare in plain view, declaring her a long lost Silver princess. Knowing that one false move will mean her death, Mare must use her new position to bring down the regime- from the inside. Now Mare has entered a game of betrayal and lies.

This is Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

Review:

From the very first sentence of Red Queen, I was already intrigued. The dystopian setting and unusual story line kept me wanting more. While I’m not a person who usually reads fantasy novels, Red Queen was an exception. I often found myself struggling to release the book from my cold, clammy hands, and get back to living my actual life! While I found the begginning a little bit slow to take off, I ended up completely and thoroughly engrossed in the story line, and the lives of the characters, constantly aching to find out how everything was going to end! While the book itself was very big and long, it didn’t stop me from flying through each and every page until the final words- words that sent a shiver down my spine and left me craving for the second installment in the series… Victoria Aveyard did a fantastic job in engaging me the reader throughout the many long chapters, as not once did I find myself bored, or begginning to lose interest. What a fantastic first read to kickstart my love for fantasy!

Let’s discuss further;

The characters:

I absolutely loved Mare and many of the other vibrant characters introduced throughout the story. I could connect with each character really well, and could easily put myself in their shoes. I found myself reading the book as though I was living each individual characters life. Victoria does a marvellous job on exploring and at times exposing, each characters personality, their strengths and their weaknesses. I love it 😀

*SIDE NOTE + SPOILER*

I had a premonition from the start that Maven was no good 

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Now lets talk about the writing:

Victoria’s writing is just fabulous! What stood out to me is how easily the novel reads and how the story line just flows so well. Everything about Red Queen is intriguing and lovable!

Now to finish up, I most definitley recommend Red Queen to everyone!- (as I already have to each and every single one of my friends- uhum, numerous times in a course of 4 days) It’s full of action and adventure, and a great read for someone in the mood for a detailed story. Red Queen heavily centres around the big question: Who can you really trust? And also covers the definition of ultimate betrayal… 

Content Summary:

Age: 13+ a *mature read*

Violence: The silver court host gladiator like fights where 2 silvers use their powers to defeat each other. Certain silvers can enter your mind and control your thoughts and actions. A bomb kills innocent people. Revolutionaries fight silvers with dangerous weapons. Silvers kill with their own powers and weapons. Characters are tortured and murdered

Sex: Some brief kissing 

Language: Insults: weak, coward and liar

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking: Adults- (including teens who are of age), drink at social functions

Recommended? 

YES!

Rating:

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The Perfectionists- Sara Shepard

The Perfectionists, by Sara Shepard

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About: 

In Beacon Heights High, where without perfection you cannot succeed- Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted.

Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker—know that you don’t have to be good to be perfect. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they realize that they all hate Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s done terrible things to each of them. They come up with the perfect way to kill him—a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s just a joke- until Nolan turns up dead, in exactly the way they planned. Only, they didn’t do it. And unless they find the real killer, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them…

Review:

I first picked up The Perfectionists last year- and from page one I was hooked. Reading it a second time, still left me hanging off every page, and I seemed to fall in love with this book all over again! The constant drama, twists, turns and secrets keeps you longing for more. I couldn’t seem to release the novel from my cold grip until every last word had been devoured, let alone lift my head from the page. Everything about this addictive book is entertaining, Sara Shepard is a pro in the art of engaging each and every individual reader, with that, I have nothing but praise for this spectacular story.

Lets discuss a lil’ more 🙂

Firstly, the characters:

I was able to connect with the every character so easily! Each protagonists individual background and story pulled me in, leaving me wondering and guessing until the very last page- and even then I still had a million questions bubbling inside of me! As far as characters go, Shepard writes and depicts each and every one so vividly, you can’t help but like them- well, most of them anyway 😉

Now, the writing:

Honestly, I loved this book from page one. Nothing tainted, or lowered my praise for The Perfectionists the entire way through, and it’s not easy to say that about just any book. Shepards writing is just fabulous.

Now to conclude, I reccommend The Perfectionists to everybody. If your looking for a fun, addictive, fast paced murder mystery with scandalous secrets and an intriguing story line, than you’ve found the right book. Please, pick up the book the next chance you have, and give it a try! I’m sure you’ll love it 🙂

Content Summary:

Age: 13+

Violence: Girls drug a boy at a party, and he dies shortly after. A teenage boy commits suicide after being horribly bullied for a long period of time. A father abuses his daughter leaving physical and mental scars. A teacher is murdered

Sex: Some dating, kissing and making out. One character feels used after sleeping with her boyfriend, and another regrets sending nudes. A teacher collects sexts from students on his phone, and later propositions one of the protagonists who has a false reputation for trading sexual favours for grades. She kisses him, unbuttons her dress and says she wants a “perfect” night with him- though she’s really just tricking him to protect her friends

Language: Some cursing inlcuding mild use of the words; bitch, butt, “Oh my God” and s**t

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking: Students take OxyContin recreationally and a teacher has a prescription. Teens drink at a party and a student and teacher smoke

Recommend?

YES!

Rating:

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The Amateurs- Sara Shepard

The Amateurs, by Sara Shepard

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About:

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without answers–without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

Eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier wants to change that. After connecting with Maddy Wright, his friend Brett, and Helena’s sister, Aerin Kelly, on a message board dedicated to solving cold cases, she just might succeed where the police have failed. But Seneca is hiding some dark secrets of her own–secrets that could get in the way of the investigation.

Somewhere nearby, the killer is watching…ready to do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

Review:

When I first picked up The Amateurs, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.

After previously reading The Perfectionists and six chapters of bestseller Pretty Little Liars by the same author, I was skeptical of what the content would include. This is probably because both books are based on a group of mostly wealthy, cheeky, rebellious female protagonists who’s lives have been flipped upside down by the sudden disappearance and/or murder of a fellow schoolmate.

I was worried that I would have to abandon The Amateurs due to some of it’s more “adult” themes, but in the end it turned out to be fairly mild, and I was able to enjoy the book for its intriguing, cleverly written story line, and ignore the sub stories, with some exceptions.

Now let’s discuss!

Firstly, the characters.

I wasn’t able to entirely connect with any of them on an understandable level. I honestly found the majority of the characters mildly annoying, each with their fair share of flaws, though they became much more likeable further into the story. What I did like about each protagonist is how real they were, and how well the author depicted their authenticity, and humaness- probably the reason I found them a bit annoying- every human being has their faults!

Now, the writing:

  • Firstly, I found the start of the book a little slow to take off.
  • Secondly, I found that some of the romantic and frivilous substories, took away from the main focus of the novel.

While these too cons were a thumbs down, thankfully, they were only for a small part of the book- the rest of the story made up for it 🙂 Shepard’s writing finds a way to completely immerse you within the world of the book, leaving you to hang off every word and every chapter 😀

To wrap things up, The Amateurs is all round very well written. Sara has a natural gift for presenting a number of different stories, and then being able to connect and intertwine them together in sometimes the smallest ways, leaving you unexpectedly shocked and taken by surprise. This book certainly did that to me!

Content Summary:

Age: 13 +

Violence: Murder is discussed, and weapon injuries are mentioned. A few brief, low level violence scenes.

Sex: One main character displays her underwear to boys on many different occasions, though all occurences are flashbacks. Characters make out, “hooking up” is mentioned and briefly discussed. Characters have relationships.

Language: Fairly regular uses of s**t and b***h. Occasional f-word.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking: One main character smokes dope regularly. Teens drink and do drugs at parties, alcohol is consumed numerous times.

Recommended?

YES!

Rating:

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