Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I know that it's technically New Years Eve right now but I really wanted to get this post up.

Do you have any New Years resolutions or goals? I have a few.

- Exercise more! There's a nice park near my house with a path lined with trees. I need to get more fresh air.

- Finish the first draft of my novel. I've been working on it for a long time and I keep abandoning it, but I really want to get it done.

- Read more! In 2016 there was a period of time when I didn't read as much because I got Netflix. This year, I won't let Netflix get in the way of my reading time.

- Go to university. I am applying to university with hopes of being accepted for the 2017 autumn semester.

That's about it for my goals and resolutions for 2017.

My Goodreads reading challenge this year was to read 40 books. I achieved my goal, and as of right now I have actually read 53 books! According to Goodreads, I read 16,770 pages worth of books! That is currently my record. Maybe in 2017, I can reach 20,000 pages. I think my reading challenge goal for 2017 will be 50 books.

What was your reading challenge goal? Did you complete it? How many books do you want to read in 2017? Do you have any New Years resolutions or goals?

Monday, 26 December 2016

Summer by Jeff Mariotte


 Series: Witch Season
Author: Jeff Mariotte
Page Count: 324
Published: July 6th, 2004
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  4 Stars ★★★★

Kerry is far away from home, working a summer job at a resort and staying with some new friends. One night, she returns home to find a man laying on her lawn, possibly near death. Against the wishes of her roommates, she brings him into their home for the night. 

His name is Daniel Blessing, and he explains that he is searching for a witch named Season. She's dangerous, she killed his brother, and she is now after Kerry and her friends. While Kerry starts to fall for Daniel, she realizes that they're all in danger, and she joins in on the hunt for Season. But a witch this powerful is hard to find, and even harder to kill. 

I was mostly impressed with this book, especially with it's take on witches and the conflict between Daniel and Season. Firstly, the powers that the witches had were often brutal or harmful, which is an interesting change from the generally more glamorous magic of witches in other books. For example, when Kerry finds Daniel, he's in horrible condition, with gashes and bleeding to the point that she fears that he will die. This violent style of magic added an air of horror to the novel, especially with Daniel's journals.

Daniel's journals, as mentioned, were provided to Kerry because she wanted to learn more about the whole situation. I really appreciated them, as a reader, because they filled in not only Kerry, but also myself, on the conflict between Daniel and Season. With great detail, often providing more clues to who Daniel was as a character and a person, it assisted in understanding Daniel's relationship with Season, and gave a great back story filled with death and vengeance. Several of Kerry's journal entries are also provided, which gives the reader a glance into her own mind and thoughts, which I also really enjoyed.

I had a bit of an issue with the length of the book. I feel like it was much too short for the story, and I wish that the events had taken place over a longer period of time, and that the author had devoted more effort to characterization. I say this because certain parts of the book felt way too rushed, and I didn't receive as much detail about the general happenings as I wish I had. While the journals and the third person narration went over the events adequately, I feel like something was missing. 

I also thought that the romance wasn't well thought out. Kerry seems to fall for Daniel far too quickly, and the author tries to frame her feelings for him as actual love, while they come across more as infatuation. Certainly, love can be evolved from infatuation, however the author did not convince me that Kerry's feelings for Daniel, and vice versa, were genuine as opposed to a crush.

I found this to be a very enjoyable read, and I am hoping that the issues I found within this first book will be solved in the second! I recommend this book to those who like stories about magic. If you're interested in a book including witches, vengeance, and a darker kind of sorcery, this is a great pick.

Friday, 23 December 2016

50/50 Friday - Sidekicks

This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is sidekick deserving of a spinoff / better off with the group


Sidekick Deserving of a Spinoff

Ghastly Bespoke from Skulduggery Pleasant most certainly deserves his own spinoff. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us *cries* but if he were, I think he'd deserve his own spinoff series. Or perhaps a prequel focusing on his life before the first Skulduggery Pleasant novel. 

Better Off with the Group

China Sorrows is much better off with the group, in my opinion. I might think this just because I hate her but.... I don't know if I'd enjoy a spinoff based on her. 

What characters would you like to see have their own spinoff, and which should stay with the group?

Monday, 19 December 2016

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater


   Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Page Count: 360
Published: July 13th, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
  4 Stars ★★★★ 

Sam believes that he's been cured of being a werewolf and that he's going to stay a human for good. He and Grace are happy about this, but they have to consider their pasts and what they want for their future. With Sam hopeful that everything will work out and Grace dealing with tensions within her family, things get a bit more complicated when a new werewolf is brought into the mix.

Cole is adjusting to life as a werewolf, but he seems happy to escape his human life and his status as a rock star. But beneath his arrogant and confident demeanor lies unresolved issues. With the worry that he'll be spotted and that his location will be revealed to the world, Grace and Sam have a whole other problem to deal with.

Personally, I found Linger to be a lot slower than Shiver, and I thought it seemed more character-driven than plot-driven. While it had a great cliff-hanger ending and has made me excited to read the next book, I feel that it didn't live up to it's full potential, especially compared to Shiver.

I was glad to read more about one of my favourite couples in YA, Sam and Grace. I think they're so sweet together! Sam is such a sweetheart, with his concern and love for Grace, and of course, his passion for music. I like Grace because she's so ordinary, she's just a girl who got swept up into a paranormal world because of her interaction with, and love for Sam, and I think that this is a nice change from the whole "chosen one" or "secret past" trends within many YA books. One thing that has made me excited to continue reading this series is my interest in Sam and Grace's relationship and my hope that everything works out for them! I have to know how it ends with them, so I know I will definitely finish this series, even if the rest of the books aren't as great as the first.

Cole was an interesting character because I couldn't decide whether I liked him or not. He was kind of annoying with his arrogance and cockiness, however he had more beneath the surface and his own personal struggles. I thought his evolving relationship with Isabel was a nice touch and I was worried that I might find it turning cliche in the end, but I never found it to be that way at all.

I really like Maggie Stiefvater's interpretation of werewolves because it's not just a paranormal phenomenon within her books, but there's a bit of a scientific basis to it. Discussions of a possible cure throughout the book intrigued me because I wanted to learn more about werewolves and how they worked in this book's universe. Along with Sam and Grace's relationship, I'm going to be reading the rest of the books in this series with an anticipation for the conclusion of Sam's research for a cure. 

Overall, while slightly disappointing, this was still an enjoyable read and I can't wait to see how everything works out in the end. I recommend this series to fans of werewolves and YA fiction! If you like romance with your werewolves, this series is a must-read. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag

So, I suppose I wasn't actually tagged specifically to do this feature, but a post at Metaphors and Moonlight technically tags anyone who wants to take part in it, so.....

A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Favourite Stand Alone Book?

 Unnatural Deeds

This is a hard one, because there are many stand alone books that I've really enjoyed. I'm going to have to say Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog, though, because it kept me up reading all night and I think it was just amazing. 

Two Turtle Doves: Fictional OTP / Favourite Ship?

 Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)

Oh my goodness, this is another hard one! I'm gong to choose Grace and Sam from Shiver because Sam is such a sweet guy and Grace loves him so much!

Three French Hens: Favourite Trilogy?

Eve (Eve, #1)

The Eve trilogy by Anna Carey is an amazing dystopian trilogy! Eve is a strong main character, Caleb is a great love interest, and the world that the book takes place in is amazing. 

Four Calling Birds: Favourite Fictional Beast / Creature?

Nevermore (Nevermore, #1)

The Nocs from Nevermore take this spot on the list! They're like no fictional creature I have ever read about before. 

Five Golden Rings: Show Five Golden Books

Betrayal (The Descendants, #1) 11112619 The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1) 
 Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart 9559404

I haven't read most of these, but they look nice! And they've all got at least a bit of gold on the cover...whether that be the dress or the background. I know that Fever barely has any gold but I think her dress counts as gold. 

Six Geese a Laying: Rotten Egg - What's Your Least Favourite Book?

Fallen Angel (Fallen Angel, #1)

There are many books I have read that I really didn't like. Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell is only one of them. It wasn't the worst book in the history of books, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Seven Swans a Swimming: Show a Book with Water on the Cover

Seven Tears Into the Sea

This book has water on the cover, and it was good, too. 

Eight Maids a Milking: What Fictional Food do you Wish you Could Taste?

 The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

I honestly do not know. I can't recall any books with food that doesn't exist that I wish I could try. This sounds like a question for people who read a lot of fantasy? It makes me think of fantasy worlds with bizarre foods that don't exist in the real world. So, here is The Hunger Games, because I can't think of anything for this category 😜

Nine Ladies Dancing: Favourite Dance Between Two Characters?

 Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

I also haven't read a lot of books with characters dancing together, but Cinder and Kai's dance from Cinder was a great scene.

Ten Lords a Leaping: Favourite Book to Movie Adaptation?

 Twilight (Twilight, #1)

So none of the book to movie adaptations that I've watched have been absolutely amazing, which makes this another tough question to answer, but I am going to have to choose Twilight. I just like the film, I like the atmosphere, I like the way it was filmed.

Eleven Pipers Piping: Favourite Book to Movie Soundtrack?

 The Phantom of the Opera

So I know that the version I am talking about here is technically the broadway version, so it's not originally a movie soundtrack in itself. However, it was eventually made into a movie. I would have chosen this for number ten, but because it was originally on broadway and doesn't actually stay very true to the original novel, in my opinion, I feel like it wouldn't fit.

Twelve Drummers Drumming: It's the End of the Song; What's Your Favourite Book Ending?

The Dying of the Light (Skulduggery Pleasant, #9)

You didn't actually think that I'd get through such a long list without at least one book from the Skulduggery Pleasant series, did you? The ending of the ninth book was just amazing. It tore my heart apart and then haphazardly glued it back together again. Derek Landy is a cruel, cruel author, but he is one of the best authors I have ever come across. 

What do you think of my choices? If you've completed this tag, leave a link to your blog post in the comments!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready


Series: Shade
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Page Count: 309
Published: May 4th, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  3.5 Stars ★★★

Aura was born after the Shift, which means that she can see ghosts. She wonders why the Shift actually happened in the first place, and she wishes that she could reverse it so she could live without having to listen to ghosts tell her their stories or demand justice all the time.

When her boyfriend Logan suddenly dies, Aura is devastated. But because of the Shift, she finds herself able to talk with him, spend time with him, and pretend that he's still truly here with her. With the new boy, Zachary, being so supportive of everything that's going on, her feelings become conflicted and she's not sure if she really wants to be with Logan anymore. 

The idea of many people being able to see ghosts seemed very original to me. Upon reading this book, I can say that I was very interested in the theories that Aura had concerning the Shift, and I want to know what caused it! I think that was my favourite part about this book. 

However, I feel like the way that the world had evolved after the Shift didn't seem to really add up to me. I understand taking measures to keep ghosts out of public areas, I understand making new police or government forces to keep ghosts in line. But the way that people acted when their loved ones died seemed not to match up with what they had discovered.

You'd think that after learning that ghosts and an afterlife of sorts exists, people would be calmer concerning death. Yet, the culture surrounding death didn't really change, people still found themselves absolutely devastated and stuck on their personal beliefs surrounding death. This didn't make sense to me, and unfortunately it made the world that Aura lived in seem a little less real to me. 

Aside from that, I found it unrealistic how quickly Aura developed a crush on another guy after her boyfriend passes away. I mean, not only is she upset about his death, but she actually can still hang out with him and have some sort of relationship with him. So why would she start having all these feelings for Zachary? She barely knows him, yet she's getting butterflies in his presence. Meanwhile, she supposedly loves Logan with all her heart, and he's still there! This didn't add up to me either.

I'm not sure if I'll read the sequel, but I might decide to because I want to know more about the Shift! As I mentioned, this was the best aspect of the book, in my opinion. I can only hope that the world and character's relationships will start to make more sense to me in the next book. 

If you want a book about ghosts with original ideas, you'll like this one. If you're interested in romantic YA books, this novel is for you.

Friday, 9 December 2016

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite MC

This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is favorite /  least favorite MC


 Image result for stolen lucy christopher

So, I was just going to answer Skulduggery Pleasant because he is one of my most favorite MCs, but I keep featuring Derek Landy's books and characters and it's getting a bit repetitive! So, this week I decided to choose a character from another book that I enjoy.
I've chosen Gemma from Stolen by Lucy Christopher. I like her because she's strong, she doesn't give up, and she's compassionate. 

Least Favorite

Related image 

Zoey from Marked has to be my pick for this one. While I am going to continue reading the House of Night series because I am curious about how the characters evolve and about the world itself, Zoey as a person is shallow, judgemental, and sometimes immature. I like her story, but I can't say that I like her at this point.

What do you think of the main characters from these books?

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Coven by Cate Tiernan


 Series: Sweep
Author: Cate Tiernan
Page Count: 185
Published: March 22nd, 2007
Publisher: Speak
  3 Stars ★★★

Morgan is a blood witch with strong magickal powers and a personal tie to witchcraft. After Samhain, she and Cal become a couple and, as a result, she finds herself targeted by her former friend, Bree. Aside from all the drama between current and former coven members, Morgan has to deal with a startling revelation, a revelation that may change her life forever: she's adopted. But who were her biological parents? And are the ex-coven members planning something against her and Cal?

I can confidently say that this book was a disappointment. I enjoyed the first book so much, but all of the things that I liked from the first book weren't enough to redeem the second. Unfortunately, I won't be continuing the series. 

Any previous connection I felt to the characters was gone. Instead of seeing Morgan as curious, brave and likeable, I found her rather irritating. Her narration seemed almost whiny at times, and I was always counting the pages left until I could finish the book. Cal seemed empty, like a shadow as opposed to an actual character. I lost any sense of who Cal was as a person. Also, all this drama with Bree being angry that Cal went out with Morgan....Couldn't Cal have stood up for Morgan? He really didn't do much to help the situation, while as the whole reason for the issue between the two girls in the first place, he probably could've done a lot. 

My hatred for Morgan's parents grew. I didn't like that they kept her past from her, that they continued being stuck-up and close minded to Morgan's beliefs and that they almost seemed to play the victim at times. The author seems to try to redeem them near the end of the book, where they explain all to Morgan and try to convey why they kept secrets from her, but I couldn't feel any positivity towards them. I just hate them, plain and simple. As with Morgan, they irritated me, just in a different way.

I also feel like this book was super slow compared to the first one. I feel like this was less of a novel and more of an introduction to a larger book. It seemed incomplete. Of course, as part of a series, cliffhangers, questions, and other things are to be expected. But the way that The Coven was written seemed less like an installment in a series and more like a group of chapters plucked out of a larger book. 

I did enjoy a few things about this book. Firstly, there is the more "realistic" portrayal of magic. Unlike the fantasy magic of other books, this one contains more of a contemporary witchcraft, as the characters are Wiccan witches as opposed to creatures living alongside vampires and werewolves and any other number of paranormal beings found in young adult witch stories. However, this installment of the Sweep series did take on a bit more of a fantasy element than the first book.

I did like the discussion of religious intolerance, that is, people who judge religious minorities or don't allow others around them to practice their religious beliefs freely. As somebody who has personal experience with this issue, I greatly appreciated that this subject was approached. 

While I liked the idea of the book overall, I really do think that it could have been better. I don't feel the need to continue the series, so, as mentioned, I probably won't be. 

Those who like non-fantasy portrayals of witchcraft in fiction may enjoy this novel. Readers looking for books which explore issues such as religious intolerance, friendship and romance, and adoption might want to give this one a try.

Friday, 2 December 2016

50/50 Friday - Character Most/Least Likely to Go Cliff-Diving

This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books

This week's topic is character most / least likely to go cliff diving

Most Likely

 Image result for skulduggery pleasant

I know, I know, I keep choosing characters from the Skulduggery Pleasant series. But honestly this series is just everything, and there are tons of different characters so of course one of them would be likely to go cliff diving. I think that the skeleton detective himself would be most likely because he's technically already dead, so there isn't much to lose if things go wrong, he can put himself back together fairly easily and he's quite brave. Other characters who may go cliff diving include any of the various vampires from the series (strength, basically immortality, etc), and maybe even Valkyrie Cain, if everything is deemed safe for her! 

Least Likely

 (Sorry its a bit blurry!)
I think that Otto from The Kneebone Boy is least likely because he seems really reserved and rather cautious, in my opinion. Quiet and young, I feel like the potential risks would probably outweigh any sort of gains from cliff diving? I just could never ever see him going cliff diving.

Would you ever go cliff diving???