January 2017 Wrap Up

Another month has flown by. A decent reading month for me, I read 7 books in January. So this is going to be a long-ish post. Best to get on with it.

Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

239243553/5 stars

First book I read this year. It was a bit of a disappointment for me, a bit too insta-lovey and way too lacking in sea monsters. Plus, I didn’t really like any of the characters and I was downright annoyed by the MC. The setting was really cool though, so it’s got that going for it. You can read my full review of it here if you are interested.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

254803425/5 stars

This is one of those books for which the hype is entirely justified. It was incredibly powerful and emotional. This book terrified me, to be honest. I really do recommend this to everyone because I feel like it’s relevant to every single person. I have a review of this one as well, which you can read here.

Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley

256711522/5 stars

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Based on the synopsis, I really thought I would enjoy it, but it was just so… weird. It made me kind of uncomfortable to read. The writing was good, and there were ideas that had merit, but just… no. It was too bizarre. And that, coming from me is saying something. But I think I just draw the line at talking slugs and evil sperm monsters. Full review here.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K Rowling

55/5 stars

I started rereading the HP series. Read the first two last year. Of course, I loved it.  It’s strange, I enjoyed this book now more than I did the first time I read it. For some reason, this was my least favourite HP book when I first read the series.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah. J. Maas

acomaf-cover-35/5 stars

Another reread. And finally, FINALLY, after the third reread, I actually reviewed this book. I cannot wait until the last one comes out (especially now that we have the cover!!!). My love for this series, and particularly ACOMAF knows no bounds. You can find the tardy review here, but it has spoilers. So be warned.

Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise Part One

124138363/5 stars

A bit disappointing. Not much happened, so it was kind of boring. I enjoyed the art though. Still, I am hoping that the subsequent parts are more interesting and full of… stuff going on. Haven’t written a review of this on account of not really having much to say about it. Maybe I should write one nonetheless.

A Toaster on Mars by Darell Pitt

282375383/5 stars

The last book I read in January was sadly not a very memorable one. I honestly don’t remember much about this book. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good either. It was just… mediocre. I mean, I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but it didn’t leave much of an impression. You can read my full review of it here.

A Toaster on Mars by Darell Pitt – Book Review

28237538Rating: 3/5

Genre: Sci-fi, humor, YA

First published: 2017

Author: Darell Pitt

Synopsis: The year is 2509 and Earth is a rather polluted blue dot that suffers from global warming, overpopulation and not enough people using deodorant.

Blake Carter, star agent with the Planetary Bureau of Investigation, isn’t having a good day. First he’s beaten up by a bunch of religious zealots, and then he’s assigned a robot—sorry, cyborg—as his new partner, right before his ex wife calls to tell him his daughter has gone missing. His car keeps criticising his driving, and finally, to top things off, the world is held to ransom by his nemesis, evil genius Bartholomew Badde.

Can things get any worse? Yes!

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was one of those books that was definitely not bad, but it wasn’t that good either? In the sense that it wasn’t memorable. It was entertaining while I read it, it was easy to read, but it didn’t leave much of a lasting impression.

It seemed to me like it really, really wanted to be like A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but it just tried too hard and it shows. Even though I haven’t actually finished reading AHGTG. I don’t really know what else to tell you, to be honest. I just really don’t remember much about it.

I remember one image that I thought was absolutely hilarious for some reason, and it just stuck with me. It was that of a plastic dog pooping silicone poop. For some reason, I read that and just burst out laughing. Some other random bits I remember are Elvis clones, cannibalism, grumpy janitor robots and a snarky alarm clock.

This has got to be the shortest and most uninformative review I have ever written, but I honestly don’t know what else to tell you. At least for me, this book just wasn’t very memorable.

Autumn-Winter Book Haul

Autumn-Winter Book Haul

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a book haul. So I thought I’d show you the books I’ve acquired recently. I’ve been pretty sensible, I think. I’ve only got about 15 new books since September.

I’m going to show them to you in fives, because I’m too lazy to show you every single one of them. Plus, that would be a very long post. So here are the first five books. If I have a review for a book, I’ll link to it, so you can click on the title and see where that takes you.

2016-11-11-21-13-17_optimized.jpg

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo  | An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch | Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas | Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

I  only bought 4 of the following 5 books. I won Fear the Drowning Deep in a giveaway.

2017-01-20-21-44-19.jpg

The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid | Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh | A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness | The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss | The Wise man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss 

And finally, the last five books of which I actually only bought 3. So really, that brings my total for the last 4 months to 12 books. Which is reasonable. I’m actually kind of proud of myself.

2017-01-20-21-48-30.jpg

Avatar The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dimartino | Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1 by Gene Luen Yung | A Toaster on Mars by Darrell Pitt | Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

This concludes my book haul. I have been very sensible about buying books. Surprisingly sensible.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – Book Review (SPOILERS)

acomaf-cover-3Rating: 5/5

Genre: New adult, fantasy

First published: 2016

Author: Sarah J. Maas

***SPOILER ALERT*** This review contains spoilers both for this book and the first one because I do not know how to review it without spoilers.

Synopsis: Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

But war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

Book Depository | Goodreads


Finally, finally! Nearly one year and two re-reads later, here is my review of this book.

First thing to say about it, and about the series in general, is that it is a love story. Sure, there’s all kinds of other Fae badassery going on, but this is a love story, and it has been from the beginning. It’s a really good love story.

The reason it’s such a good love story is because, unlike what we so often see in this genre, this isn’t a love story based on attraction (though there’s plenty of that, to be sure). It’s based on friendship. And I applaud Sarah for it, because I think that is the most important thing in a relationship and if people understood that, there’d be a lot fewer failed relationships. But I digress.

Having said that, let’s talk about the characters. This is a very character-centric book. There’s some action going on, but mostly it’s a storm brewing. And somehow, despite that and its considerable length, it still manages to be gripping. That is because of the characters. We meet a whole new cast of characters and they are everything.

First, there’s obviously Rhys. Whom we’ve met before, but we don’t really get to know him until ACOMAF. And he is a precious night kitten and I love him. We get to see a lot of layers to him that are hinted at in ACOTAR.

(As an aside, when I was young and bright-eyed, I used to play DragonFable. Don’t know how many of you know of or have played it, but it’s this online RPG and at some point, you have to fight this adorable little thing called Doomkitten.

rtwmlpy

And it kicks your ass. This is Rhys. Like, if someone took his soul and made an animal out of it, it would be this.)

Then, there’s the rest of the Night Court. Amren is such a delight! I am dying to learn more about her. And about Azriel. The dynamics of the Night Court are a joy, and really that is all that needs saying.

There’s a lot of development going on with the Archeon family as well. First, there’s Feyre, who’s got to learn to live with herself and what she’s done and I loved seeing her healed by friendship and love and learn to love herself again. But I also really loved seeing more of her sisters. Nesta. I cannot wait to see more of her! Also, Nesta and Cassian are going to be everything.

Tamlin. I honestly did not expect him to do what he did. Even after being a complete turd and acting like Feyre was a possession and locking her up, I did not see it coming. I was so shocked. I remember when I first read it, I was sitting outside on a bench and I just yelled in disbelief. And then I stomped my feet yelling “No, no, no, no NO!”

We also get to see a little bit of the Summer Court, which is cool. I really want to see the other courts. I like Tarquin. I hope the Night Squad manage a reconciliation with him, because I like him and I’d be sad if they didn’t. Also, I am so upset that Velaris is no longer secret. After all that Rhys has done, all he’s suffered. I hate those Queens and I hope they die painfully in that stupid Cauldron.

Okay, one more thing I want to talk about before I finish this long, incoherent, rambling review. The foreshadowing! I loved it so much! The painting of the night sky, Feyre and Rhys’ first meeting, I loved it. It gave me the warm and fuzzies. It just goes to show how much thought and love was put into the story. You can tell that it’s been with Sarah for a long time.

Right, so… yeah. If you’re reading this review, you’ve probably read the book already. Unless you like spoilers. So I guess there’s no use in telling you to go read it.

Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley – Book Review

25671152Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Genre: Sci-fi

First published:  2015

Author: Nicholas Conley

Synopsis: Gabriel Schist is spending his remaining years at Bright New Day, a nursing home. He once won the Nobel Prize for inventing a vaccine for AIDS. But now, he has Alzheimer’s, and his mind is slowly slipping away.

When one of the residents comes down with a horrific virus, Gabriel realizes that he is the only one who can find a cure. As the death count mounts, Gabriel is in a race against the clock and his own mind. Can he find a cure before his brain deteriorates past the point of no return?

Book Depository | Goodreads


This book was bizarre. I received an e-copy of it from the author in exchange for a review. And it’s taken me a while to read it. When I was first approached about it and read the synopsis, I was quite intrigued by it. I had hopes for it. But it was just so weird, I don’t even know how to approach this review.

As a sci-fi novel, it was pretty bad. For one thing, it’s so implausible. I mean, it takes place in 2018. That’s like, next year. And I don’t know, I feel like if you’re going to write a sci-fi novel… don’t alter well established history. Nobody’s cured AIDS to this day, and Gabriel Schist is supposed to have done it years ago. I know this is fiction and all, but that just didn’t sit well with me at all. Not to mention that the way the narrative goes, Schist wanted to cure AIDS before it even existed, like huh? I get that he’s a genius, but that’s not genius, that’s being prophetic.

Then there were the talking slugs… I normally wouldn’t give so many details about the story, but just… talking slugs? I mean, I guess it was trying to make us question whether or not it was real, since Gabriel’s mind was going, but all it managed to do was be very weird. It was honestly uncomfortable to read. So, as a sci-fi novel… it fails.

As a sort of… allegorical, philosophical thing… it has more merit. Although it’s still really uncomfortable to read. There’s an attempt at tackling sort of religion, science vs faith, that kind of thing. Although I feel like there could have been a better analogy for God than a Giant Sky Amoeba. I couldn’t really tell if he was trying to ridicule faith or trying to be as “objective” in the depiction of both sides of the argument as possible.

The best part about the story was the glimpse it provided into the life and mindset of the patients in a nursing home. And I can tell that unlike anything else in this book, that is drawn from experience. Conley worked in such a nursing home, I believe. And it was really eye opening in that sense and it really speaks against dehumanising these people just because they can’t function normally anymore. It also dealt a little with alcoholism and the struggle that recovering from it can be and I thought that was also done pretty well.

The writing in itself was actually good. It was evocative, it wasn’t too heavy or too boring. It alternated between past and present, which was a nice way of learning more about Schist’s life without it just being endless internal monologue. And they were tied nicely together as Gabriel dreamt of events in his past. The writing was well done.

Overall, this book was strange. It had it’s good aspects, but it just didn’t sit that well with me for some reason. It just made me uncomfortable, to tell you the truth. It was just bizarre and I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly why it made me so uncomfortable (though the talking slugs probably had something to do with it). Man, this was a long review!

Year in Review 2016

I’m a bit late with this, but better late than never, right? Besides, it’s a perfect opportunity for me to abuse gifs.

2016… not my best reading year. Massive reading slump for the first half or so of the year. Didn’t manage to finish my reading challenge. However, I did read some amazing books this year, so it wasn’t all bad. First, let’s get the stats out of the way. I read 74 books in 2016 (80-ish, if you include re-reads) out of my goal of 100. I’ll just leave a link to that nifty year in books thing GR offers if you want more details. Now, let’s get on to the reading.

Let’s see… I think the crown has to go to ACOMAF. I mean, I’ve read the book three times, THREE TIMES, in less than a year. That book just adsjhfk. And still, I have not managed to write a proper review of it. I wiiiiillll, I promise. third time’s the charm. As soon as I catch up with all my other reviews. It’s just that… how do I convey my love for this book in words?

tumblr_inline_n1id93k6lr1s1kn9r

SIX OF CROWS! Six of Crows is right on its heels. Aaahhh, that series killed me! (I have reviews for both of them.)

Six of Crows
Crooked Kingdom

tumblr_inline_my9btlwtk91sub342

Then, I read some painfully beautiful books such as The Book Thief, The Nightingale and The Giver.

5257106

2016 was also the year I was introduced to V. E. Schwab and found myself a new favourite author. A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows have left me wanting more, more MORE of Schwab’s writing in general and that series in particular.

i-like-it-another-thor-reaction-gif

And last, but most certainly not least, 2016 is the year I took my first steps (and then marathoned through the whole damn thing) into the rich and magical world of the Kingkiller Chronicle. Ahh, yes… The Name of the Wind, my newest obsession. Despite the sheer size of if, it only took me about a week to finish The Wise Man’s Fear, and now I am left waiting… waiting… waiting…

raw

Unfortunately, there have also been a few books that I hated. Not as many as those that I loved, but alas, still a few. The crown for the absolute most infuriating book I have read this year goes to Glass Sword. This book pushed all my buttons and invented a few more buttons just so it could push them.

im-in-a-rage-2

Eldest comes right after it. I just could not wait to finish this book. Goodness, I have read many books over the years, but few have managed to annoy me quite so much.

Another vast disappointment was The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I had expectations for this, but it was just… no.

861315

 

The Game by Terri Schott was probably my only DNF of the year. I just could not be bothered to finish it.

virgin2-1

Okay, just one more absolutely cringe-worthy book. I am not even sure why I read it… it was just so bad it was funny. I’m talking about Touch a Dark Wolf by Jennifer St. Giles. I don’t even… this book was just ridiculous.

a8st9gb

So, there you have it. The best and the worst of 2016. How was your 2016?

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Book Review

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Book Review

25480342Rating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First published: 2011

Author: Patrick Ness

Synopsis: Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This book. This damn book. This book is raw and it’s powerful and beautiful and terrifying. It’s made of pain and nightmares and dreams and hope and it demands to be read. It is a wild thing though, so treat it as such. One of my favourite quotes from the book is:

Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?

And so they are.

How do I tell you about this story? Do I tell you how it made me feel? It made me afraid. It made me hopeful. It hurt. It made me smile. It made me angry.

Do I tell you what it taught me? It taught me that we all have stories to tell. It taught me, or perhaps helped me to remember that we can’t control our stories. Not the ones that we create and especially not the one that we live. It taught me that people can be monsters and monsters can be people. It taught me that wounds can heal and that allowing yourself to heal is okay. It taught me about forgiveness. For oneself and for others.

Do I tell you what it’s about? It’s about life and love and stories. It’s about how those things are one and the same. It’s about hope and despair, about pain and healing and the ruthlessness of time. It’s about truth and how terrible it can be. And how liberating. It is about how humans are so amazingly complex and bizarre and contradictory.

Do I tell you… what do I tell you? What can I tell you that will make you understand? Except perhaps ‘read it’. This is one of those books that isn’t just a story. It’s a truth onto itself. In a way, all stories are true. But this one is especially true. And that, more than anything, is what I can tell you about this book. It is true.

Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh- Book Review

23924355Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, historical fiction

First published: 2016

Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh

Synopsis: Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man. Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea.

Now, Bridey has to face her fear of the sea if she is to save her village from the terrible fate that awaits them at the bottom of the ocean. 

Book Depository | Goodreads


I won this book in a giveaway. It has a gorgeous cover, I have to say that much. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the book half as much as I like the cover. First, let’s talk about the good parts.

The setting is lovely. I don’t think I have ever read a YA set in the Isle of Man in the early 20th century. It was really cool to read about the culture of the people on the Isle of Man, about the Manx language and their folklore and customs. You can tell that the author was well informed and it felt authentic. It created the perfect atmosphere for sea monsters.

Which leads me to the second good point – the idea. Sea monsters, guys! Sea monsters! Who doesn’t love sea monsters? The ocean is such a mysterious place that whenever I read about sea monsters, I can’t help but wonder what monsters the ocean really holds in its cold, dark depths. Combine this with the setting, and I was very excited indeed to read this book.

However, the story and the characters were a disappointment. The story would have been okay, not great, but okay if it hadn’t been for the insta love. And the dreaded love triangle. Also, the ‘plot twist’, if you can call it that, was so, so predictable.

The characters were painfully boring. Bridey had about as much personality as seaweed. The only thing that distinguished her from ‘Jane from next door’ was her profound fear and hatred for the sea and anything that had to do with it. Other than that, she’s just… blah. Her voice really annoyed me.And bored me. I didn’t really like her. And all the other characters were painfully uni-dimensional. There was the gossipy best friend, the goody-two-shoes sister, the grumpy old witch, the mysterious stranger and so on.

The mos disappointing thing by far though was the scarcity of sea monsters. Mostly, it was just Bridey faffing about, worrying what people thought about her, hating the sea and mooning over her ‘mysterious’ stranger. We get a bit of sea monster action towards the end, but not nearly enough. I was expecting more.

All in all, this book was a disappointment for me. I was expecting much more based on the synopsis.

*As an aside, I find it vaguely amusing that someone called Sarah Glenn Marsh wrote a book about fairies and sea monsters.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss – Book Review

2495562Rating: 5/5

Genre: high fantasy

First published: 2011

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Synopsis: My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trehon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

***SPOILER ALERT This is the second book in the series, and therefore the following review may contain some minor spoilers for The Name of the Wind.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was one behemoth of a book. I loved it!

Kvothe’s story continues and more and more little pieces fall into place. We get to meet Felurian and we get to see other places other than the University, which is exciting. We get to see Kvothe be a smartass in several different countries and learn how he gained a couple more of his nicknames. Kvothe is a little bit more grown up in this one. Not much. But a little. In more than one way. Still a smartass though.

Probably my favourite part of this book was the time he spent with the Adem. They’re so fascinating. I love the detail that went into creating all these different customs and cultures. That’s masterful worldbuilding, that is!

One thing that worries me ( I don’t know if “worries” is the right word) is that more than half of the first book and the entirety of the second one happens in less than two years. At the end of this one, Kvothe is 17. Present day Kvothe is maybe 25. He goes ‘missing’ when he’s 23 maybe. That means we have 6 years of story to cover in the last book.

My general thoughts about the writing, worlbuilding and characters are pretty much the same for The Name of the Wind. The storytelling is amazing, the writing is so atmospheric and it just sucks you right in. There isn’t much more that I can add without going into it and spoiling things, which I don’t want to do.

I feel this review is very lacking. But I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to capture the essence of this book. Or this story, really. You just need to read it to understand it. But it’s worth reading.

November & December Wrap up

For some reason, I didn’t do a November wrap up (probably because I didn’t really read in November), so I’m doing a combined wrap up. Which shouldn’t be too long, because I’ve been reading very little.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

an-ember-in-the-ashes-by-sabaa-tahirThis is the first book that I read probably back in November. I really loved it, it lived up to all the hype around it for sure. I have a review of it if you’d like to read all of my thoughts on it, but all around, I would say it’s a good fantasy, has an amazing setting and an interesting story. The characters weren’t my favourite, I feel like they were a bit too trope-y for my taste, but I still gave it 5/5 stars and I’m still looking forward to reading the next one.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

17399160This one was a bit of a disappointment for me. I was expecting more from it. It had a lot of potential; it had a brilliant setting and a decent plot to begin with, but the characters were insipid and the story was all over the place, as if Raasch wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do with it. I also have a review of it, if you’re interested to know more of my thoughts. I don’t think I will be continuing with this series. It was just too meh for me to be interested in the rest of it. 3/5 stars

The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

26836910This was a surprisingly good sci-fi, considering it’s a standalone. So kudos to Kincaid. I’d never read one of her books before, but I might do just that now. I really enjoyed the story and the characters and overall, I just really enjoyed reading this book. It was very well balanced in terms of plot vs worldbuilding, which is something I really appreciate, especially that it wasn’t a particularly long book. I have a review of this one as well, so check that out for more details. 5/5 stars.

Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Lost Adventures

10450750This was probably the best thing I read recently in terms of pure entertainment value. It’s a great graphic novel with awesome artwork and I really do recommend it for any fans of The Last Airbender. It’s one of my favourite shows and somehow, this managed to capture the essence of the show so well I could hardly tell the difference. I have a full review of this one as well, so check that out. 5/5 stars

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

2913377This book was a masterpiece. Like honestly, I hardly feel qualified to judge this book. It was just SO. GOOD! So masterfully written, so rich and powerful and just beautiful. I just want to have it scrubbed from my brain just so I can read it for the first time all over again. It’s that kind of book. I have a full review of this one as well, so be sure to have a look. 5/5 stars. But of a completely different caliber than the other 5/5 stars in this post. This series is in a league of its own, really.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

2495562And finally, the last book I read in 2016. And what a book! Of course I had to immediately read the sequel to The Name of the Wind. And now I of course have to wait forever for the next one. As if ASOIAF wasn’t enough frustration for me. Anyway, I read this mammoth of a book and I loved it every bit as much as its predecessor and I want the next one yesterday. I haven’t had the time to review it yet on account of it being huge and I want to do it justice. But I’ll have a review of it coming up soon, so keep an eye out. 5/5 stars.