Sunday, 28 February 2016

Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking

After reading Frostfire in the summer last year, I finally picked up the second installment to the series, Ice Kissed, in December.  But due to it being so close to Christmas and having a lot of other things happening, I never got round to writing a review for this one, and so I decided that now was the time to do so before I read the last one, Crystal Kingdom, hopefully as soon as possible.  

This one continued on with the mysterious threat facing both the Kanin and Skojare kingdoms as they continue to search for the truth behind the kidnappings.  For me, the story really improved in this book, particularly with the conspiracy and politics within the kingdom.  Although alot of it didn't seem to relate majorly to the main mystery presented in the first one, I actually found this one to be a lot more interesting and found it to be alot more deceiving as to who was behind it.  I constantly found myself suspecting different people throughout the entirety of it and really liked not knowing where the story would go next.  

The characters were another aspect of this book that I prefered hugely to the first one.  I continued to like all of the ones I loved in Frostfire, such as Tilda and Ember, as well as loving some of the new characters such as Kasper and Prince Kennet  I also strangely found myself really warming to Ridley so much so that I actually found myself rooting for him as a love interest half way through this one.  I can't pinpoint exactly what it was that changed my mind on him, but I just found him to be alot less irritating and more considerate of other things in this one.  

However, I would have liked to have seen some more romance in this one, as we still only got snippets of moments between Bryn and Ridley.  I really enjoyed what we got and definitely would have liked to have seen more of it.  I would also have liked to have seen more of Konstantin in this as he was absent for almost the entirety of the book, so much so that I almost forgot of his involvement in the storyline.  

But I couldn't end this review without talking about that ending.  I think I'm still in shock from it.  Everything just happened so quickly but at just the right pace that I couldn't read it fast enough.  So many plot twists came flying at me that it took me a moment to take them all in, and I have to admit, I still have to get over one of the main things that happened amidst the action.  

So overall, I really enjoyed this sequel and found this to be series that, so far, definitely gets better as it goes along.  I can't wait to read the final installment and find out exactly what has been going on in these books! 

Character(s):  Kasper 
Scene(s): Kenneth, Kasper and Bryn in the Kanin Palace (the ending) 

Relate a:
Song: Control - Halsey
Just One Yesterday - Fall Out Boy
Other Book: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Forty

Top Ten Books I enjoyed recently that weren't from my typical genre

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week's topic was one I found quite hard as alot of the books I read are from genres I often read from, and so I only had a small number to pick from.  Nonetheless, here are some of my favourite books from genres I normally don't read from - enjoy! 

1) The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey - Sci-fi and alien- post-apocalyptic books are not normally my thing at all, but thought I give this one a go after the summary drew me in straight away, and ended up absolutely loving it.  I have now read the sequel and have recommended it to anyone who would listen, and I can't wait for the final one to be released later this year! 
2) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - It's safe to say that almost all of the books I read are YA, so when it was definitely a change when I picked this one up early last year.  I still have very mixed views on this one but all in all I did enjoy it and know that at the least it has made me curious to try out more adult literature soon.  

3) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo -  Another genre I hardly ever read is fantasy, and so when I saw this one around I was instantly intrigued and so decided to pick it up anyway.  And, I am so glad I did, as it ended up being one of favourites of last year, and has made me seriously excited to pick up some more fantasy very soon. 
4) Wonder by R. J. Palacio - I'm unsure as to whether this counts as a children's book as I have heard it called YA, but I am counting it as it did feel like one to me.  Nonetheless, this is one I did not expect to be picking up last summer but I am so happy I did as it was such a heartwarming story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  

5) Across the Universe by Beth Revis - I read very little sci-fi and so I actually picked this one up as an attempt to read more of it, especially after reading The 5th Wave earlier on in the year.  I really enjoyed this one, and can't wait to carry on, and so I'm glad I left my reading comfort zone to pick it up! 
6)  Half Bad by Sally Green -  Finally, this is one I didn't expect to like in the slightest after DNFing it once before, and so was at the point of giving up when I decided to give this one last try.  It was so different to what I normally read with witches being something I had never really encountered before, and so I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up really enjoying this one.

7) The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough - This was my favourite book of last year, which is incredibly surprising considering it is a historical fiction novel, a genre I rarely dip into but always love when I do.  It's such a beautiful book and has quickly become one of my all time favourites, so hopefully I will try some more historical fiction soon.  

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Winter Wrap Up

To go along with my recent attempt at TBR's for each season or couple of months, I decided that I would also try to recap my reads for each few months as I often forget to write reviews for many of the books that I read and so many of them I don't get to share or more get forgotten as the months go by.  These first two months weren't great for how much I read, especially February, but almost everything I did read I thoroughly enjoyed, and so to me they were pretty good months purely for that.  And so, here is my first wrap up for the months of January and February - enjoy! 

Numbers 3: Infinity by Rachel Ward -
This was my first read of the 2016 and was the final book to the Numbers trilogy which I had loved up to that point, so I was really anticipating reading this.  This final book, however, was more than a bit disappointing for me as it went in a very different direction to the first two and just fell very flat for me.  It just didn't live up to the rest of the series but I am still glad I read it as I now know exactly how everything ends, even if it didn't do so in exactly the way I wanted it to.  
Rating - 3/5

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - 
After that, I decided to pick up one that has been sitting on my shelf for far too long, and so I am the Messenger became my second read of the month.  Before I even started this one, I had high hopes as The Book Thief is one of my favourites, and so I knew I adored Zusak's writing already.  But somehow this one still surprised me and surpassed my expectations withs its amazing story and equally as great characters.  It became my first five star book of 2016 and I am so glad I finally got round to it.  
Rating - 5/5

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling -
Next up I decided to finally pick up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets after reading the first one around a year ago.  I am a huge fan of the movies but have never actually read the books, and so one of my resolutions last year was to read the entire series, but for whatever reason I only ever got round to picking up the first one, and so I knew I had to continue on before I lost interest and just gave up, especially as I already know the general story.  However, I am so glad I didn't as I thoroughly enjoyed this second installment even more than the first and am now extremely excited to read the third, this time before the end of the year.  
Rating - 5/5

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys is one I have said I wanted to read for so long now that at the beginning of this month I decided that it was time I actually picked it up, especially considering the last book in the series comes out later this year.  I can't tell you how happy I am that I finally read this, as it was such a unique story and book with characters that I can't wait to return to.  It was so creepy and magical and I am already contemplating picking up the sequel as soon as possible - which for someone who almost always prefers a break between books in a series, is rare!
Rating - 4.5/5

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 
Finally, for my most recent read I decided that I would attempt to read a classic as I have yet to read one outside of school.  After trying to read Jane Eyre last year and giving up on it after around a hundred pages, it's safe to say I was a little scared and so chose to give Wuthering Heights a go instead.  I actually have yet to finish this one, with about a quarter of it left at the moment, but so far I am really enjoying the beautiful writing of this as well as the story itself.
Rating (so far): 4.5/5

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Thirty Nine

Top Ten Songs I wish were books 

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week's topic is one I've been looking forward to for a while now as many will know that I love music and so grab any opportunity to combine it with my love of books.  I was especially excited when I saw this suggestion as it's such a unique idea but one I was really anticipating trying out.  And so, enjoy! 

1) Manhattan - Sara Bareilles -
This song just breaks my heart everytime, and I can just imagine a beautifully tragic story about these two people who are in love fitting so perfectly with it.

2) How to Say Goodbye - Paul Tiernan -
Another here where I would just love to see how things got to this point and be able to watch things from the very start rather than just hearing about the ending.

3) Make It Right - The Mowgli's - 
I just love the idea in this song of an almost wrong love and am so interested in the story of what it makes it such that I'd love to explore it more and find out more about how it came to be.  

4) On a Lonely Night - A Rocket To The Moon feat. Larkin Poe -
I already love the story told in this song, but I would love to delve deeper into how they met both for the first time and again and what happens in the years between their encounters.

5) Photograph - Ed Sheeran -
I can really imagine this being such a beautiful tale that keeps switching between the present and the past so that slowly the whole story of how they got to where they are is revealed.

6) Iris - The Goo Goo Dolls -
Not only is this one of my favourite songs, but it is also one where I would love to know more about the story behind it and whether or not things work out eventually.

7) Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Lorde -
I can't tell you how many stories and characters this song already reminds me of, but I'd still love to see a story actually fully relate to this song as I can just imagine it being such a dark and intense one about such morally grey characters.  

8) Avalanche - Walk The Moon -
This song just feels like it has such a story behind it, with the idea of these two people who keep meeting and falling in love in different lives having just one shot left at it.  I just need to know what happened between them and why this is their last chance at things.

9) Out On The Town - Fun. -
For me, this would just make such a great, quirky little story about someone struggling to get over a relationship and how things slowly but surely get better for them.

10) Warriors - Imagine Dragons -
I would just love to see development of this one and how the story has progressed and climaxed at this point.  I can just see it being such an action-packed, fast-paced book that not only has great fight scenes but amazing growth that tells you how they built things up 'from dust'.

11) Starlight - Taylor Swift -
I just need this to be a beautiful love story with some kind of historical World War II element as I need to know more about this story than just the one night described in the song.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A Reader Recommends - Romance

This week, I was really struggling to come up with an idea for this post, as I'm currently in the middle of a book and so had nothing new to review and no other ideas ready and waiting.  But after watching a recommendations video and the latest TTT, I decided to use the fact that today is Valentine's Day and give some suggestions on romantic books to read, whether you want to read them particularly for this time or if you're just in the mood for some kind of love story.  And so, enjoy! 

1) Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - I feel as though I have said this so many times before, but I love this book!  Not only does it include one of my favourite romances, but it has some great characters and is just an all round amazing story. 

2) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith - This the perfect book if you're looking for a quick read with a great whirlwind romance.  It follows Hadley as she meets Oliver after missing her flight, and takes place over just 24 hours, so is the perfect book if you want a short but incredibly sweet story.  

3) Looking For Alaska by John Green - If you're looking for a more tragic, unique kind of romance, this is the one for you.  It is by far my favourite of his books, and although it not by any means the most romantic book, it is definitely still one to read.  

4) How They Met by David Levithan - This one is perfect if you don't have a lot of time or are already in the middle of a book but still want some romance, as this is a collection of short stories.  It's a perfect one to keep diving into and you'll soon find your favourites as it includes something for everyone. 

5) Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - Finally, a perfect one for both romance and friendship, this follows Emily as she tries to come out of her shell after her best friend disappears, leaving behind only a list that needs to be completed.  Not only am I fan of the romance in this one, but I also loved watching Emily slowly find herself along the way.  

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Thirty Eight

Top Ten Fictional Couples 

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  For this week topic, I was going to simply do my top valentine's reads, but in the end my love for characters won out and I couldn't help but talk about some of my favourite fictional pairings.  Enjoy!

1) Lola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next by Stephanie Perkins
This book is by far my favourite out of the three, so it's no surprise that these two are my favourite couple as well.  They are both just so quirky and so unique and I just love them!  
2) Katniss and Peeta from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
These may have been one of my first, if not my actual first, otp, and even now they still rank quite highly in a list of mine.  They are just perfect for each other! 

3) Liesel and Rudy from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
As many will know, The Book Thief is my favourite book and so how I could miss of these two from it?  Their friendship throughout is just amazing and I loved reading about their adventures together so much. 
4) Magnus and Alec from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
After reading City of Fallen Angels last year, I truly discovered my love for these two and their relationship.  They are likely now my favourite pairing from the series (although Simon and Izzy are close behind) and I can't wait to see more of them in the next two.

5) Henry and Flora from The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough -
Another couple from one of my favourite books, and another I can't ignore just because of how much of a slow-burning romance it is, but how it still works so well.  It had me constantly waiting for a moment between them and had me so excited when we eventually got one.  
6) Ian and Wanda from The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I honestly can't explain why I love these two as much as I do, other than the for the idea that they fall in love with each other's souls rather than their appearance - they're just amazing! 

7) The Darkling and Alina from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Okay, so I have only read the first of these books, and so I don't know if they do end up together or not (please no spoilers!) but even now I can't help but love them.  Both characters fascinate me and their relationship is just complex that I can't not want them together! 
8) Harper and Daniel from The Watersong Series by Amanda Hocking
I love how the relationship between these two never took centre stage and was never the focus of the book, but how it was still such an amazing relationship that I loved reading about.  

9) Adam and Mia from If I Stay by Gayle Forman
In my opinion, these two are just perfect for each other in every way, and I loved how their relationship was never easy or smooth-sailing.  
10) Dash and Lily from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan
Finally, I couldn't not include these two with their little red notebook and the conversations they have before they even meet. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This is a book I have been wanting to read for so long now, after hearing such good reviews about it for a while.  Before now, I had attempted to read this once before, a good while ago now, so it's safe to say that I was a little nervous despite really wanting to try it again as I knew I had given up on it before.  However, I am really glad that I did give it a second go, as I ended up really enjoying it.  

This book follows the characters as they go on a search for something magical, facing struggles and other problems along the way.  I loved the entire concept of this book, and liked how certain aspect weren't known straight away by both us and Blue.  I also enjoyed how influential alot of the subplots were in this book, with them often taking over from the main idea.  

I also found the progression of the storylines to be done really well, with all the mysteries and hidden stories slowly being revealed as the book went on.  I loved how we slowly began to understand all of the character's motives and backgrounds especially when it came to Gansey and Adam.  And some of the plot twists in here - amazing.  All of them were just so well done that I didn't see them coming, but they still made complete sense when they were revealed.  

The writing style was another aspect which I thoroughly enjoyed about this book.  It really fitted in well with the atmosphere and gave something else to the book.  It was so detailed yet not overly so and so was definitely something you had to pay attention to.  You have to give your whole attention to this book but it is definitely worth it! 

But, as I'm sure many will agree, this book focuses on one thing and one thing entirely - the characters.  Each and everyone of them is different and memorable in their own right, with no confusion every coming about who's who.  I loved reading about all of them, from Blue and her family of physics to the raven boys, Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah.  Each of them had their own role to play and were developed so well that it was impossible not to love them all.  

The relationship between the characters was another thing that couldn't be ignored.  The dynamics between all of the raven boys and Blue just worked so well, and they all fitted together so easily.  I particularly liked the relationship between Gansey and Adam, as it really showed you who they were.

Finally, likely my only problem with this book came with the ending.  I found that it all came along a little quickly and that the last few chapters were slightly confusing due to this.  There was also one thing that happened that I didn't agree with and don't think needed to take place.  Although I do understand the reasoning behind it, I do think that things could have happened differently, but that is just my opinion.  

For me, The Raven Boys is a story I am so glad I read and one I would definitely recommend others to read.  I'm interested into how the series will progress and can't wait to read the next book in the series.  

Character(s): Gansey, Noah 
Scene(s): Adam leaving home 
Quote(s): You're looking for a God.  Didn't you suspect that there was also a devil?

Relate a:
Song: Impossible year - Panic! At The Disco 
Fake your Death - My Chemical Romance  
Cruel and Beautiful World - Grouplove 
Book: The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Thirty Seven

Top Ten Historical Settings I'd love to read about 

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This topic was one I actually found quite difficult, as I don't read a ton of historical fictions and I had a hard time thinking up futuristics books for some reason as well.  So, I decided to list settings and time periods which I would like to read more books about, and so, enjoy! 

1) Victorian England - So much change took place throughout this period and I love the differences you can get in settings and stories around this period because of this. 
2) 1800's Russia - This is a time period I know so little about, and yet I am so intrigued to find out more about and so to read more about it as well.
3) 1920's America - I am just completely in love with this period as a whole and so I am instantly interested in any book set here.  It's just such an interesting time with so much going on and I just can't get enough of it! 
4) India - Ever since I read The Midnight Palace I have been really intrigued to read more books set here, as it's another culture I know little about.  
5) 1980's/1990's - Okay so this isn't exactly historical, but it is still time period I love to read for whatever reason, likely because it was so recent.  It just interests me how much has changed in such a small amount of time, especially as stories written at this point are also still so relatable as well.  
6) American Civil War - This is another one I know little about, but am so interested to find out more about.  I know so little that I would love to learn more about it, and what better way to than by reading? 
7) World War 2 Germany - Out of all of Historical books I have read, the majority of them have been set in this time period, and so naturally it is one I love.  I just think that such good stories can be written in this period and each one seems to give a different insight.