Thursday, 8 October 2015

Review: Every Word by Ellie Marney

Publication Date: June 1st 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin/Tundra Books
Length: 340 pages

James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents seven years ago...without saying goodbye to Rachel Watts, his 'partner in crime'.
Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behaviour - not that Mycroft's ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. So Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him...and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.
The theft of a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator, and the deaths of Mycroft's parents...Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events - or will she lose him forever?
Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second sophisticated thriller about the teen sleuthing duo.

Earlier this year I read the first book in this trilogy ‘Every Breath’ and was blown away by the sheer brilliance. You would think then that having loved the book so much I would have leaped straight into the second – that would have been logical I hear you cry. Instead I decided to flail and stress that the brilliance of the first book wouldn’t be caught quite so spectacularly in the second thus destroying my hopes and dreams and leaving me a sobbing mess for the brilliance that might have been. So I waited, and I procrastinated, and I read other books.

And then the two wonderful people who got me onto this series in the first place read the second book and both of them were effusive in their praise of how good it was, so I finally told the panicked voices in my head to shut up, and FINALLY I read it.

And you know what? IT WAS SO GOOD.

Never did I think I would be so smitten with a teenage take on the Holmes and Watson set up, but Ellie not only writes believable and fascinatingly complex characters, she puts them into fantastic, well-paced plots and then she hurts my babies. But it is so good and so well done that I don’t care about the terror and the weeping and the general pain and angst that occurred for me whilst reading it. Basically Ellie can rip my heart out with brilliant writing and I will simply beg her for more.

Everything that I loved about the first book was back in abundance – fast paced and engrossing plot, steamy sexual tension between the two leads, and clever workings of details from the various other incarnations of Holmes we’ve seen. Ellie is astoundingly talented at weaving in little details (some more obvious than others) and leaving the reader to notice them. It’s cleverly done and a huge source of satisfaction whilst reading to pick up on them.

This book felt much darker than the first, Ellie isn’t afraid to really hurt Mycroft and Rache, and some of the darkest scenes were horrifyingly realistic and believable. I stormed through the book, feverishly ripping through the pages because I simply had to know what happened next. I couldn’t put it down.

The writing is fantastic, and it was wonderful to have a change of setting and have the majority of this book set in London. Ellie really captures the feel of the city, and so many little pieces of England and British culture that help you to feel like you’re really there. It was also great to see Mycroft in his home element, to see him slide from boy next door into an English boy – as Rachel notes, suddenly you don’t just know that he’s English you see it. See how he fits in in these surroundings much more smoothly than he does in Australia, and it’s subtle and incredibly well done. We uncover a lot more of Mycroft’s backstory, and I loved having each new piece of information trickle out, seeing it through the filter of Rachel’s eyes and thoughts as she tries to deal not only with the murder case, but Mycroft’s rapid tailspin as events unfold. Rache is such a fantastic protagonist and she really holds her own against Mycroft, no easy feat when he is such a vibrant and fascinating character who is ever present, infusing every page, even when he’s halfway across the world.

I also love, as I did with the first book, that you never forget that these are two teenagers. There are no moments where you want to tear at your hair in frustration because adults are incompetent and Mycroft and Rache are doing things that no teen would realistically do. Yes they are put into extreme circumstances and as a result they’re forced to adapt and do things they otherwise wouldn’t, but it never felt ridiculous or overblown – something that a lot of YA novels never quite manage to achieve.

All in all this is a fantastic second instalment in the trilogy. It more than lives up to the high expectations set by the first book and has left me desperate to get straight into the third book. I love this series, I love Ellie’s writing, but most of all I adore Mycroft and Rache. If you’ve read the first book and are hesitant about getting into the second, don’t be. And if you haven’t yet discovered this series, do so now. Sherlock as the boy next door? Be still my beating heart.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Be warned for spoilers for the first book and very mild spoilers for the second (although it’s nothing you won’t see in the blurb)

Publication Date: September 2002 (this edition. First published 1992)
Publisher: Dell
Length: 947 pages

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones… about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ... and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his....
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ... in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

After starting the TV series for Outlander at the start of the year, I bought and devoured the first book in a matter of days. I then went on to buy the rest of the series, anticipating that I’d spend the next few weeks working my way through all of them.

However real life and other books intervened, so whilst I did start this book shortly after completing the first book, I then put it down again until last week when, on holiday to Scotland for a week, I decided that then was the time to get on and read it.

This delay was due to two things, the first being that it’s a large book and my blogging schedule makes it hard to sit down and work through a tome of this size with so many other books on my urgent to read pile. But it was also due to the start of the novel itself.

We finish Outlander with Claire pregnant and with Jamie in France, preparing to see if they can change the course of history. I expected this book to pick up where the first left off, so I was surprised and a little devastated to find that instead we open the book in Inverness in 1965. Claire is back in her own time, with a twenty year old daughter.

This time jump frustrated me for two reasons. One because it’s incredibly jarring to suddenly go forward and fill in the blanks of what happened before after quite a bit of exposition, and secondly because it destroys a lot of the tension. You know that Claire is going to leave Jamie and come back to her own time and you also know through simply looking at the timelines that Claire’s pregnancy at the end of the first book is going to end in tragedy. It does add a certain sense of foreboding to the novel, but it also leaves you waiting for the inevitable which removes the shock.

As a result the first half of the novel feels more like a waiting game than a thrilling second book in a series. If you aren’t interested in a slower moving historical novel then this will seem incredibly frustrating, but if like me you really enjoy the day to day bits of historical novels then you’ll love it. However I know that for a lot of people that jarring opening section, the slow paced meandering part set in Paris and the sudden introduction of a new perspective in the form of Roger Wakefield may be a little too frustrating and make you want to abandon the novel before you’re half way through.

However at the half way point things pick up. We return to Scotland, the plot kicks up several notches and history starts snowballing in a most alarming fashion until you’re left gasping and reeling in the final act. Dragonfly in Amber suddenly finds its footing and returns to the roots that Outlander fans fell in love with and as a result it shines.

Upon the conclusion of her story of the past, we then return to the present of 1965 where things continue apace as some events come full circle and new surprises will leave you gasping. The second half of the novel is beautifully constructed and more than made up for the sometimes slower sections in the first half.

I loved this novel for a lot of the same reasons as I loved the first, but also whole new ones. We see a whole raft of familiar faces in one way or another, something I hadn’t been expecting with the shift to France, but something I absolutely adored. We also get to see a lot more of the world with the shift to France, particularly Paris, as well as Edinburgh and more of the Highlands. Since I was reading this book whilst in Edinburgh those sections were particularly wonderful because Diana Gabaldon excels at research and bringing her stories to life in the most realistic and wonderful ways.

Whilst the Paris sections may frustrate some, I loved them. I loved the detail, the glimpses not only of life at court but also in the city. The gossip, the scandal, the fashion. There’s less of the uncertainty of the first novel and more of Claire embracing this life she’s been thrown into, and that is a wonderful sight to behold. There is less of the uncertainty and determination to escape and so Claire feels more grounded and settled than she did in the first book, allowing the reader to take their time exploring the new surroundings rather than be in a constant state of will she/won’t she escape back to her own time.

It also explores new depths to the relationship between Claire and Jamie. I loved watching the two of them discover their feelings for the other and build their relationship in the first book, so to watch those feelings deepen and evolve over the course of this book is truly wonderful, and really cements their status as one of my favourite fictional relationships.

So if you read and loved Outlander, this book is a must read. Be warned about the slightly jarring opening section and slow first half, but know that the second half more than makes up for any frustrations you may find in the first. It has everything readers loved about the first book and builds it into a truly gripping tale, one that cements the series as a classic of fantastic storytelling.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Top Ten Bookish Habits I Really Want to Kick

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at 'The Broke & The Bookish' - to join in simply follow the link!

This week it's all about bookish habits I want to break, and at first I couldn't really think of any, but slowly they started crawling out the woodwork until I was inundated with habits I really would rather do without...

1. Stressing about the Goodreads Challenge
I know some incredible people who don't let the goodreads challenge stress them, but I also know a lot of people that do. 'Just don't set a challenge' I hear you cry, but the problem is that I love a challenge, and the idea of seeing just how many books I can read in a year is too good an opportunity to miss. But then the challenge bar starts judging me by telling me just how behind schedule I really am and I let it effect what books I read. No more! I actually managed to complete my challenge way ahead of schedule this year and instead of moving the goalposts and making it harder for myself for the rest of the year I decided to pat myself on the back for finishing and allow the last chunk of the year to be filled with books I wanted to read and re-read, rather than stressing about how behind my quota I am...

2. Not Letting Myself Re-Read Favourites
This one is kinda linked to the first one, but also linked to the sheer number of awesome books that hit our shelves every year. I become so swept up in all the new releases (and trying to hit my Goodreads Challenge) that I rarely let myself go back and re-read favourites, which is tragic because I love re-reading books. Sometimes I'm really in the mood for Harry Potter, or I want to re-visit Tortall or spend some time in The Dells or Thisby. A lot of this problem would go away if Goodreads would just add a re-read option but so far no luck. That's one thing I really want to work on, letting myself take a break from all the exciting shiny new books and sinking back into some favourites every now and again.

3. Making Myself Miserable Reading What I Feel I Should Rather Than What I Want
Shiny books are awesome, and being sent them by publishers is even more awesome. But unfortunately that puts a lot of pressure on what books I read when. I find my reading schedule gets dictated to so much by what books I feel I have to review and I rarely allow myself to pick up a book just because I want to. It's silly and foolish and whilst most of the time I really don't mind, sometimes it really sucks the fun right out of reading when I feel I have to read a book I'm really not in the mood for.

4. Not Allowing Myself to DNF books
This links in to number three - if a book has been sent to me for review for a publisher I find it nigh on impossible to put the book down part way through and say 'you know what, this book is not for me. I am not going to finish it and I'm not going to review it.'
I'm getting slightly better at DNFing books that I've picked up for me rather than pushing through them, but I'm still terrible at doing it for ones sent to me for review. Definitely something to work on because life is just too short to waste on bad books.

5. Saying yes to ALL THE BOOKS
I am so much better at this than I used to be, but it's still something I need to work on. The temptation to request all the books on Netgalley is something that every book blogger faces, which then results in a lot of stress and panic reading. Like I said, this is something that I've stopped doing as badly, but there are still odd moments where I say yes to books and then think that was a terrible idea, why did I do that?...

6. Reading Multiple Books at the Same Time
This can be a good thing and can also be bad. Sometimes I like having the variety of skipping between different stories, like when I'm reading a paperback during the day and then switch to a kindle book when I'm reading in bed at night. But other times, when I have four or more books on the go at the same time I just end up feeling guilty and inevitably leaving one behind where it will languish in half read state for some time. So whilst I really don't think that reading several books at the same time is always a bad thing, I do think that reading more than three at once is a bad idea for me...

7. Leaving Books to Languish Unread on my Bookcase
Most book buying sprees result in the purchase of several books and usually at least one of them will be something that I'm not a hundred percent sure about but it looks interesting enough to give it a go. Unless I start it within a couple of days of buying it though, I tend to get easily excited by other books I do know about and am desperate to read. Thus the book gets left on the shelf gathering dust, making me feel guilty, and leaving me constantly saying I'll get around to it soon... I think next year I should make a stack of books that have been sat on my shelves waiting to be read so I can finally get around to them.

8. Waiting to Write my Reviews
Again, another habit that I am much better over but not entirely broken of yet. I need to get on and write a review for a book within a few days of finishing it, any longer and my brain starts to get fuzzy and I can't remember all the things I wanted to say about it. The more books I read between finishing a book and writing the review for it, the harder I find it when I sit down to write the review. And the longer it goes the more reluctant I am to actually do it because I know I'm going to struggle (at least at first) to remember all I wanted to say. Vicious circle really!

9. Taking Forever to Finish a Series
We're often faced with a year to wait between installments in a series, perfectly reasonable because of how long it takes to write, edit, publish etc. But my little brain often then has issues remembering all the details of the previous book. I forget names and events - some books are easier to remember than others though so this doesn't happen all the time. However with the volume of books I'm reading, to try and think back to a book I read over 150 books back is quite often difficult. So when a new book in a series comes out I often want to go back to the start of the series and re-read them. Which then runs into my earlier bad bookish habit, not allowing myself to re-read... So I'll want to read this new book, but also want to go and re-read the first books so I remember what's happened up to that point, and I end up not getting around to it for ages.

10. Having Multiple Copies of the Same Book
This could be a bad bookish habit, but also not at the same time depending on your view. I never used to do this, but then I started finding so many gorgeous covers for US books, or new editions of books and I want them on my shelves even though I already had a perfectly lovely copy. It tends to only be with my favourite books, but I have quite a few where I have several copies of the same book, including 'The Night Circus', 'The Scorpio Races' and 'The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy'. Lovely for the pretty lovely gorgeous books, less good for shelf space and my bank balance.

So there you have it, my top ten bad bookish habits. Are there any that we share? Let me know and link me to your top tens in the comments below!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Rosy Rec's The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

'The Night Circus' is a standalone novel that has been a favourite of mine ever since I first read it back in September 2011. It has remained a steadfast favourite against hundreds of other books, one I return to again and again and always find myself disappearing into the magic, the stunning prose, the heart break and love that suffuse this story. It is one of my most gifted books, everyone I know has had a copy bought for them, and everyone who has read it has loved it. It is a book that has something for everyone, a truly magical thing.

What’s it About?
Magic, love, a circus that only opens at night.
This is a story about many things but at its most basic level it is a love story. A story about magic. About a game where Celia and Marco are the players pitted against each other without any choice in the matter – a game where they play with magic on the ever changing board of the circus. It spans countries and continents, years and a vast cast of characters. It is a love letter written in the tents of the circus, filled with stories and secrets and breath-taking magic.

Why I Love It:
It’s a beautiful sprawling tale filled with exquisite prose and a depth of imagination that left me speechless. Spanning years with a colourful cast of fascinating characters, this is magic at its finest. Set against the backdrop of the monochrome circus filled with wonder and magic, it weaves a slow yet beautiful narrative that takes its time easing you into the magic, love and heartbreak that make up this story.
Some people may find the slow pace and descriptive passages frustrating, but if the magic gets you this will be a permanent favourite. I fall in love with the writing every time I read this book. I fall in love with the characters and the little glimpses of the circus we see. I fall in love with the magic that slides so seamlessly into the story, weaving into everything until it is as vital as breathing. It is a beautiful book, one I come back to again and again, filled with poignant and stunningly lyrical prose.

“I have been surrounded by love letters you two have built each other for years, encased in tents.” 

Who Should Read It?
Everyone. It is possibly not the most attractive writing style for younger readers, but the content is suitable for all ages. All you really need is a love of magic and beautiful prose and this one is a must read.

Read This If You Liked:
The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Friday, 2 October 2015

Review: Wyrd Sisters by Sir Terry Pratchett

Publication Date: November 1st 1989
Publisher: Corgi
Length: 332 pages

Witches are not by nature gregarious, and they certainly don't have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn't have. But even she found that meddling in royal politics was a lot more difficult than certain playwrights would have you believe...

And so my Discworld Witches education continues with the second book in the thread, and this one went down even better than the first.
I really enjoyed ‘Equal Rites’ but it still felt like it was very early on in the conception of Discworld, before Pratchett really hit his stride of weird and wonderful awesome. However ‘Wyrd Sisters’ left me with no such feelings and I fell in love with this one, storming through it in one night and frequently cackling out loud at the genius.

Pratchett messing around with Macbeth is quite frankly comic gold. I loved the twisting of the original play, the unfound comedy that comes to light through his shaking and poking and the all-round awesome of the Witches themselves.

As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: 'When shall we three meet again?'
There was a pause. 
Finally another voice said, in a far more ordinary tones: 'Well, I can do next Tuesday.'

The tone is set from the very first line, this is going to be a book that isn’t afraid to be utterly superbly insane. Whilst I enjoyed all of the different characters and plot threads, any scene involving the three witches was an instant favourite that found me messaging Sarah with particularly superb lines from them as I tried not to lose my place in the book from laughing too hard. Notable favourites are Granny going to the theatre for the first time and the demon summoning.

My only problem is something that I find with most Pratchett novels that things tend to get a little bit meandery in the middle. He likes to take his time, to thoroughly set up and explore all the threads and weave them into the rough shape he wants before suddenly in the last section tugging on everything and turning it into a free for all of awesome. It leaves you feeling thoroughly satisfied with the end, but a little bit less enthusiastic in the middle unless you’re in the mood for a read that is quite happy to take its time.However I’ve now read enough Pratchett’s to expect this slight lag and instead of feeling frustrated I just enjoy the ride knowing we’re going to be in for one hell of a final act.

‘Wyrd Sisters’ has firmly cemented the Witches as favourites. I adore Granny Weatherwax, and I’m loving seeing her evolve from the first book into the character I met in ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’. This book is a favourite Discworld outing and I cannot wait to get onto the next one in the thread.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Books I'm Squeeing About in October

It's October, which means it's BIRTHDAY MONTH in our household, which basically translates to ALL THE BOOKS. Luckily this month is slightly lighter on the books I'm squeeing about in advance, although I'm sure I'm going to find plenty as I go through the month that I am desperate to get hold of. But for now here are the four books I'm squeeing about in October!

1st October - The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton & Brenna Yovanoff
The follow-up to the acclaimed novel The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff. 
In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor. 
In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love. 
In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea. 
Three new stories—complete with commentary on the creative process—from three acclaimed young adult authors working at the height of their powers. 

I adore these authors, so all three of them in one book is like Christmas and Birthday and some sort of exciting festival all at the same time. I have yet to catch up on the first volume (how I missed it when it first came out I have no idea) but I plan on bingeing on both books over the autumn, because what better time to read stories by these three than when the days are getting colder and night is coming in faster?
You can pre-order this book on Amazon here

6th October - Some Like It Scot by Suzanne Enoch
Nineteenth-century, Scotland:
When a mad lass in trousers shoots at him, Munro "Bear" MacLawry isn't sure what impresses him more-the girl's sure aim or her irresistibly tempting curves. Catriona MacColl has fled to the Highlands with her half-sister to escape an unwanted wedding, and wants no part of him, nor any man. But he can't abandon the flame-haired, sharp-tongued wildcat now that he's discovered her-not when she fits so perfectly in his arms...
Munro has more than earned his nickname-he's a well-muscled, well-favored mountain of a man with an engaging bad-boy grin and a string of well-satisfied lasses behind him. Bringing Catriona food, blankets, candles, everything she needs to survive a winter in an abandoned abbey, Munro is an unexpected gift in her reckless bid for freedom-and an unexpected complication. Clan MacDonald has plans for her, and they don't include her falling for a MacLawry. But this man makes her feel like a woman-and he may be her one chance to live a life about which she's only dared dream...

I love me some Suzanne Enoch, her books are right up there with Julia Quinn and Eloisa James for historical romance. This is the fourth book in a series, but one of the things I love about romances? You don't have to read them in series order. This book has definitely piqued my interest in the series though and now I cannot wait to dive into the other three books. If you like romance, highlanders, min in kilts and steamy scenes, this one is a must read.
You can pre-order this book on Amazon here!

13th October - Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
It's been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring's king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria's lost chasm of magic. Theron is hopeful and excited—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira knows that the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm's secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Jannuari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell's growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter's security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception is woven tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter but for the world.

Confession time, I have yet to read the first book in this series. BUT I am so excited about it and it is at the top of my TBR pile, so SOON MY PRECIOUS. I've heard really good things about the first book and the plus side to reading it now means I can go straight through into the second book. Definitely a bonus.
You can pre-order this book on Amazon here

22nd October - A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife.When Lo-Melkhiin - a formidable king - arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice - leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man.But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king . . . if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.Set against a harsh desert backdrop, A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston is an evocative tale of love, mystery and magic that would not feel out of place if Scheherazade herself were telling it.And perhaps she is...
I loved 'The Wrath & The Dawn' earlier this year and it has left an Arabian nights sized hole that needs to be filled. Luckily there appears to be something in the air so we have a second retelling hitting the shelves this year and I cannot wait to see which direction Johnston takes the story. You can pre-order this book on Amazon here

So there you have the books I cannot wait to get my hands on this October. Are there any you can't wait to start reading? And have I added to your TBR pile with these four? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Publication Date: April 14th 2011
Publisher: Dutton
Length: 323 pages

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?

Whilst I didn’t get along as well as I’d hoped with ‘Eleanor & Park’ I found myself falling head over heels in love with ‘Landline’ a couple of months ago so I’ve been itching to read the rest of Rainbow Rowell’s books ever since and find 
out which way I fall with them.

I did really enjoy ‘Attachments’ but unfortunately not quite as much as I’d hoped. It was a good read, enjoyable and engaging and incredibly funny in places, but at the same time I didn’t connect with the characters as I’d hoped and the plot becomes really stagnant at several points and a whole lot of nothing actually happens.

Everything starts out brilliantly with a hilarious exchange between Beth and Jennifer, one that sets the tone for their friendship wonderfully and gets the novel off to a great start. But then we meet Lincoln, who I didn’t really connect with in the same way and the story kinda stumbles out. Lincoln’s story is much slower, in fact it barely moves for the majority of the novel and it really drags everything back. I found myself putting the book down repeatedly because I’d become invested each time with Beth and Jennifer, and then lose interest with Lincoln.

I also really didn’t feel satisfied with the resolution. It felt like the plot meandered along for most of the novel and then things start to happen but not really and then suddenly poof, done. I felt like I missed the build-up, I missed the excitement and as a result I missed the pay off.

None of this means I didn’t enjoy it though. Beth and Jennifer’s friendship was the heart of this and I adored them. I loved their emails, the little snippets of their lives and backstory coming together. It was a gorgeous friendship, and my favourite part of the entire story. I did eventually start to enjoy Lincoln’s parts but never in the same way, and I never felt entirely comfortable with both Lincoln and Beth’s methods when it came to finding the other.

So whilst I did enjoy it, and I did find it funny and sweet, it also didn’t hit me in the same way as ‘Landline’ which was a shame because I know so many people who loves this one. Maybe I need to come back to it at another point, but this time around ‘Attachments’ sadly wasn’t quite my cup of tea.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Top Ten Books You Need to Read Right This Second to Help Your Queen of Shadows Book Hangover

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely folks over at 'The Broke and the Bookish'. Want to join in? Follow the Link!

Having withdrawal from the lack of Aelin in your life? I think a lot of us are experiencing a rather huge bookish hangover after Queen of Shadows, so that got me thinking about all the books that I wanted to read because of similarities, assassins, fantasy worlds and brilliant writing. So without further ado, my top ten books you should really get onto to help get you through the next year of waiting.

If You Loved... 

The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas

You Need to Read... 

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
This is the series that first got me into fantasy books way back when I was but a little wide eyed eleven year old who was attempting to read all the books in the school library, and I can pinpoint this series as being the one that set my love of fantasy off. Kickass heroine who won't let her being a girl stop what she wants to do with her life, a brilliantly real and detailed fantasy world, plus a whole heap of magic.

His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin La Fevers
Heroines with a healthy dose of murder? No problem. These three ladies each have a book of their own in the trilogy and all three of them are deadly. If your favourite aspects of Throne of Glass are the murderous sassy ladies, with a hint of utterly gorgeous romance then these books need to go to the top of your to read pile asap.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Seraphina may be more comfortable playing with an instrument rather than a weapon, but if you're after a detailed an fascinating fantasy world then this is one of the best. There isn't any magic, but there are dragons. Seriously, actual dragons. I think that kinda balances it out. Plus the writing is gorgeous.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin
The fantasy world with the politics, intrigue, machinations and murder that come along with it are what you want more of? Look no further than the books that the show Game of Thrones is based upon. They're hefty tomes so they can look daunting, but they are chock full of brilliant writing, complex characters, murder, mayhem and power plays.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Kind of an obvious one but always worth mentioning. Maas has started a whole new series, so if you're simply after another fix of Maas and her fantastic writing then look no further than this book.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
So you like your heroines with a healthy dose of murder? Katsa is definitely one you need to get to know. There are three books in this trilogy, but Katsa is definitely the most murderous. All three ladies are fascinating, complex and very very different, plus there is magic in the form of Graces, beautifully constructed fantasy realms and some truly gorgeous prose.

Scarlet Trilogy by A C Gaughen
Less murderous than Katsa but still highly skilled with her knives, this gender-twisted Will Scarlet offers a fresh and beautiful retelling of the Robin Hood story. It's one of the most gorgeously written stories I've had the pleasure of reading, with a wonderful strong, feisty and determined heroine at its heart. This series is a definite favourite as we get to know Scarlet from knife wielding girl disguised as a boy to the woman she becomes as her past is revealed.

The Study Series by Maria V Snyder
I cannot believe how long ago the first book 'Poison Study' was published, because it shows just how long I've been reading it and loving it. Another book that rekindled my love of fantasy worlds and the people and politics that come along with magic, if you're after another 'magic is bad' fight like we've been seeing in Throne of Glass, then this series is a must read.

The Bekka Cooper Trilogy by Tamora Pierce
I picked this trilogy because of the setting, right in the heart of the city of Corus, which reminded me a lot of Rifthold, plus Bekka is part of the guards, so any Chaol fans will love her. However this could easily be any of Tamora Pierce's books and series because she is the official queen of fantasy children's and YA as far as I'm concerned. You want magic? Complex and interesting characters? Feisty and strong heroines? Interesting fantasy worlds? Diversity in every book? Seriously, look no further than Tamora Pierce.

The Girl of Fire & Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson
Another diverse and brilliant fantasy world with a breathtaking plot and a complex heroine. Elisa may not be as badass with a sword as Celaena, but she is strong and powerful in her own ways, and watching her grow over the course of the books is so wonderful. This is another stunning series.

So there you have it, the top ten books or series that you should be stockpiling to see you through the bookish hangover left after reading 'Queen of Shadows'. It's going to be a long wait for the next book, but these will help get you through. And when you make your way through all of these there's always re-reading the Throne of Glass series on repeat...