Calling it quits at 200 pages.
Not for me. I made it 200 pages but I'm just not connecting with the main character and not that interested in the plot, I'm finding it very boring and repetitive. DNFing.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
Initially I went into this one not knowing much about it. It was a bit of coverlust, really. Though rereading the blurb when my Netgalley request was approved it sounded like a generic YA fantasy, also sounding a bit too much like Red Queen (which I really didn’t like) though Frostblood wound up really surprising me. I didn’t quite finish it before it came out, but before I was half way through I purchased a finished copy.
The main character Ruby lives in a world of ice ruled by Frostbloods who are cruel and vicious. Ruby has a special power of her own, she can create and manipulate fire – she’s a Fireblood. Firebloods are hunted down by Frostbloods and either killed or imprisoned. There’s a big dramatic history between the two factions of why things are the way they are which is revealed as the novel progresses.
Sounds a bit generic, but the world building is surprisingly in depth with well thought out mythology and history and works well with the plot. Ruby is captured by Frostblood soldiers after an attack on the village near her home which results in a personal tragedy for her, driving her need for revenge. Rescued by local monks Ruby is given an opportunity to help them bring down the Frostblood king.
Not all the monks are happy to have Ruby with them – she is unpredictable, can’t control her powers and a dangerous liability. Ruby has to train to master her ability. With the help of Arcus, who comes across as one of the monks less than pleased to have her there. He’s mysterious, and quite rude and obnoxious. He and Ruby rub each other the wrong way. It’s kind of obvious immediately where it’s going but it’s delightfully shippy, and quite fun to get into their training and snide back and forths with snarking at each other. (I did find myself wanting to shove them together and yell JUST KISS ALREADY! As they sort out their true feelings for each other).
Ruby has her doubts about what she’s got to do, and learns a few things that she’s unsure about. There’s of course a prophecy involved, a few twisty setbacks, and one big ass plot twist towards the end that was really good and completely unexpected when the truth of Arcus’s real identity and his intentions are revealed.
Despite the fact that the plot is nothing that hasn’t been done before, the novel is exceptionally well written, the characters are all interesting and well fleshed out, a mix of good guys, bad guys and one or two you’re not quite sure about. Good solid world building with an interesting history and its own belief system of gods and goddesses which work well within the plot and ties up nicely.
A lot of fun. I have already pre ordered the sequel, and am really looking forward to more from this series.
Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for approving my request to view the title.
I feel sort of bad for DNFing this one as this was a book I picked for a giveaway win. It sounds very much like my sort of book - average girl goes to super fancy boarding school and becomes friends with the most unattainable girl on campus - the one everyone wants to be friends with but it's this girl from a regular background that gets her attention. Things start to go great but then go very wrong.
Trigger Warnings for suicide and drug use.
I made it 265 pages and frankly just don't care anymore. I don't quite get what the point of this book is. I don't like the characters enough to care to want to finish to find out.
The style of the writing is bizarre. It's like the main character is chatting to a friend as she's telling the story, it's almost like - so I did this and that happens and you know that sort thing that you never think would happen to you? That totally happens to me and I know what you're thinking and don't think like that! Paraphrasing obviously. But it's sort of like that and disjointed and weird.
The main character is supposed to be very intelligent and sometimes it clearly shows and she can be very deep and insightful in surprising way. Other times the rambles are pointless. She starts off by describing her only friends with their disabilities and character flaws, she talks endlessly about wanting to kill herself, almost like it's just something to do. Which is annoying because of the almost blase way she talks something so serious. Then the plot sort of trails off and nothing really happens with it. It's never addressed. Only when she needs to use those emotions to manipulate something to her own advantage to change dorms. She pretends she's so stressed she'll want to kill herself and then remembers like - oh yeah, I sort of really wanted to do that so play off those emotions. Kind of disgusting. She uses the word "spastic" a lot when describing how her best friend is acting strange. And that pisses me off. No need to use that word.
The main character is horrible and annoying, and almost nothing has happened plotwise. Other than she's made friends with a very rich but flakey girl and now both girls are doing drugs - popping pills. One can get away with it because she's rich and everyone wants her to like them, but the other one is a scholarship student and can't afford to be strung out on drugs and not keep her grades up. It's blah and boring as hell. One is having an affair with a teacher and the other thinks it's a spectacularly bad idea. There are two potential boys the main character could be interested in.
I just have no desire to read anymore of this.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
Not for me. I made it ten percent and tried to go further but I just don't like this book at all. Premise is interesting enough, main character Britta is an outcast living on the edge of her community, mourning the death of her father, the kingdom tracker. Her only other friend ran off months ago and never returned. When she hunts on land belonging to the King which of course is strictly forbidden - she knows this - does it anyway - and then gets caught. She's offered the chance to track down her father's murderer to avoid being put to death for poaching by the royals. Her other friend may be involved.
Everything about this girl makes my eyes roll, plus there's made up words - floating around - she says Seeds! a lot - like an exclamation or a made up swear word which pisses me off to no end. And now other characters are starting to say this and I really just can't be bothered with this book. Plus Britta's very pale and very blonde and very very annoying.
Don't like this one at all. Don't care about the characters or the plot enough and too much is irritating for me to want to continue.
Thank you Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for approving my request to view the title.
I received a copy from Penguin's FirstoRead.com
The initial premise of this novel is nothing particularly original. Tina’s mother has been murdered, the police haven’t done anything and she’s hell bent on revenge. What gives this book an edge and makes it stand out in the YA mystery genre is its setting. The novel takes place in a city in Kenya and villages in the Congo. It’s raw, it’s violent and scary and incredibly well written.
Tina’s mother is a maid in the house of a very rich man who lives in Sangui City in Kenya. Tina lives there with her baby sister Kiki, and finds herself befriending the rich family’s son, Michael. When Tina’s mother is murdered, Tina runs away. Kiki is safe in a convent school, while Tina is on the streets and becomes part of the city’s most ruthless gang, the Goondas. Her quick thinking and small physique and some other talents make her a great thief and she toughens up, surviving in hard circumstances. The scary leader of the Goondas, a mysterious and very dangerous man, offers Tina the chance at revenge and blood against the man she believes murdered her mother.
As Tina puts her plan in motion, nothing is as it seems as she uncovers secrets and lies, and finds herself working with her old friend Michael – she believes it is his father who is responsible while Michael swears blind it’s not. Michael inserts himself into Tina’s investigation which yields more questions than answers, more danger and thing about Tina’s past and her mother come to light, things of course Tina never knew, which takes Tina, Michael and Tina’s technical whiz friend Boyboy who’s also helping out of Sangui City into the jungles of the unbelievably dangerous Congo.
It’s unflinching and brutal as Tina digs into her mother’s history. She’s smart, tough and wiry and never gives up no matter how hard or seemingly impossible everything looks. She’s just as brutal as the boys and men she has to work with, yet at the same time, she does have some softer moments. Just little things that make her human rather than just hell bent on revenge. Her resolve never really waivers until some really hard truths come to light about the truth of what happened to her mother in the villages in the Congo. There’s war and atrocities going on around them, and people who could be trusted may not be what they seem.
It’s very twisty turny, I never guessed who the killer was. I had several theories and all were wrong. Though in a way when the truth is revealed, you kind of find yourself thinking (or I certainly did) should have seen that one coming! but never did. It’s very harsh and not a comfortable mystery read at all. But it’s so different in its setting and characters and it’s certainly a very compelling read. It did drag a bit in parts of the plot, and some of the characters weren’t as fleshed out as Tina was, but the slowness of the plot does pick up.
Lots of dark secrets and lots of emotional impact. Tough, but very good.
Definitely an author I would love to read more from.
This was one tough book to get through, but at the same time it’s really hard to put down once you get into it. It tells the story of fall from grace of mean girl Regina Afton. Trigger warnings for attempted rape (twice in the book) physical and emotional violence. This is bullying to the extreme. The problem with this book is Regina is a big bitch and flat out unlikeable. Part of a clique of rich pretty mean girls she’s engaged in bullying behaviour herself to the point of completely destroying other girls to the point of the victims attempting suicide. So when she finds herself with her best friend’s asshole boyfriend who doesn’t get no means no and makes the mistake of confiding in someone she shouldn’t have – it’s all over the school that she slept with the most popular girl's boyfriend, and Regina finds herself the subject of the same abuse she’s inflicted on other girls.
It’s deep and emotional and horrible and the bullying goes from bad to worse and turns physical. At the same time there’s a sort of morbid sense of glee seeing Regina getting her comeuppance (especially as a reader who has suffered at the hands mean girl bullying) even though it’s still horrible. She’s got no one to really turn to and finds herself trying to sit with one boy Michael who everyone has dismissed as weird and unlikeable – because of rumours Regina and her former friends spread about him. Despite everything this poor guy has suffered at their hands he still (sort of) gives her a second chance. Doesn’t make them friends or anything, but he’s definitely the bigger person.
Even though she’s getting herself dragged through the mud Regina acts like she’s so above it all and better than everyone else (which makes her even more hateable) she’s done it to other girls, it’s sort of like so what? Doesn’t mean she deserves it (well, no she really didn’t deserve what the boy at the party tried to do, no one deserves that no matter how horrible they are as person).
It’s complex because as I said she does deserve some sort of consequences for her actions in abusing others. Her attitude doesn’t help endear her to anyone, and thankfully, it appears she’s not at all trying to be liked. She’s just getting through it as best she can. She wants to lash out and hurt the girl who’s responsible for spreading the rumour that knocked her off the top. (They have a less than pleasant history) and of course no one believes her about the attempted rape.
It is a tough, gut wrenching read and extremely uncomfortable in places. It did have a how on earth is this going to end tug pulling at me through the later parts of the book. The violence gets worse, it doesn’t let up at all. The novel makes no apologies for characters’ behaviour either, it’s something that happens and it doesn’t always end well or tie up with a nice satisfying bow. It’s very open ended and that, on reflection, actually worked quite well.
It’s a very good book, just a difficult one with some tough topics to deal with.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
A delightful story focusing on two teens during Pride week in San Francisco. Mark is in love with his best friend Ryan while Kate’s best friend has set her up with a girl who she’s built up in her mind and finally gets to meet after hearing about her from other people. Only instead of going to the meeting Kate chickens out and winds up at the same club where Mark and Ryan are hanging out. A chance meeting and somehow a friendship forms as the night progresses between Kate and Mark.
Mark is trying not to be jealous while Ryan is out on the dance floor and having fun, Kate is trying not to freak over ditching out on meeting Violet, the girl she’s supposed to be meeting. Each chapter is told in a viewpoint of either Kate or Mark, both voices are likeable, and very believable. Mark as he tries to convince Ryan they should be together, and the effects this has on him when trying to work through as Ryan meets someone else. While Kate is struggling to understand why she’s friends with her best friend Lehna. She’s known Lehna forever, they’re both out and proud and a beacon for other gay kids at their school. Yet Lehna’s personality is very forward and brash and I found her character irritating and obnoxious. Violet, the girl Kate is supposed to be meeting is actually Lehna’s cousin, and Lehna has told her things about Kate that aren’t exactly true.
Though through meeting Mark at a club in San Francisco and winding up at a glamerous party somewhere later, Kate finds the stories Lehna told about her are actually, in a kind of unexpected way, turning out to come true. Out of the two storylines, Kate’s I found was more interesting when Violet finally turns up, Kate’s story I found as a reader I was able to identify with much more and therefore liked her character a lot more. And there was some pretty swoony romance.
While I liked Mark, his story was more angsty, and seemed to just be focused on I love Ryan, does he love me or this other guy he’s started seeing and wouldn’t have started seeing him if I hadn’t convinced him to go out that night? It does get a bit emotional, but I did find it kind of repetitive. Though together, the two stories actually did work pretty well.
There was one bit towards the end where Mark and Kate go to a poetry slam and some of their other friends are there, some of the poetry was a little lost on me, some of it was awful, while other pieces were incredibly powerful and very moving.
All in all a very good read that managed to smoothly go from quirky and funny to angst to emotional and switch back and forth provoking a range of different emotions. I liked this so much I bought a finished copy.
Thank you Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for approving my request to view the title.
No stars. Doesn't even deserve 1 star.
May be my quickest DNF ever. Barely 3 pages and I loathe this book. Stuck it out to 20 pages, but no more. I hate the characters and the world buildings is nonsense, the dialogue is ludicrous and the plot is awful. Big ass NO WAY am I wasting any more time on this rubbish.
I received a copy from Edelweiss
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this one, it was a bit of coverlust more than anything about it that caught my attention and I snagged it as soon as I saw it on Edelweiss as a read it now. I’d forgotten what it was about by the time I finally got around to read it. Pleasantly surprised to find how unique this novel was and how much I enjoyed and how unexpected the plot was. It’s a turn of the century historical set in the Isle of Man.
The main character lives in small island village steeped mythology regarding the sea and the creatures within and the strange fairy folk (think more traditional type fairies, Little Folk, mysterious and hardly ever seen but a somewhat worrying presence).
Bridey, the main character, just wants to escape from the island and go experience London and the mainland. She has a close tightknit family of a number of siblings, a couple of best friends, though her male friend Lugh’s attention seem to be changing slightly towards her. The town even has a creepy old lady who lives, Morag, alone with a mysterious past known as the local witch.
Bridey is haunted by the mysterious death of her grandfather. She was there when it happened, the official cause is drowning, but she knows there’s more to it. Problem is no one believes her. Not helped when Bridey is looking for work and her mother sends her to go apprentice to Morag. Then girls start disappearing and turning up dead.
Along with the arrival of a strange boy washed up on the beach. The boy has horrible wounds and no memory of who he is. Bridey takes him home to help nurse him back to health, as he has no name, she names him Fynn.
Beautifully written, almost lyrical, and completely captivating, the mythology of the sea beasts and magic of the isle is woven in and it’s absolutely fascinating. The cast of characters is pretty incredible, from the stubborn townsfolk who can be at once giving and incredibly small minded, and of course there’s much more to local witch Morag than anyone thought to look at.
And the slow build of trust and friendship between Bridey and Fynn is very well done and believable. It’s not insta-love, it takes time and work. Coupled with the mystery of the disappearing girls it all mixes together and works incredibly well. It’s not just focused on Bridey and Fynn, I really liked the inclusion of Bridey’s family and her friends and how they all cope differently with the events in the novel as they unfold.
The plot has a few surprising twists and turns and it’s impossible to guess, and the end really threw me and was completely unexpected. Some of the ending was a little hard to follow, I had to go back and read some of the scenes twice to make sure I was following the plot correctly, but the initial twist at the end was still a big surprise.
All in all a fantastic read and definitely an author I look forward to reading more of.
My official sign up post for the Flights of Fantasy reading challenge from Alexa Loves Books
This is a new to me challenge I found on twitter, so as I read a lot of fantasy, why not give it a shot?
My goal is going to be 20 fantasy books.
Story Sprites is back at Great Imaginations so I'm signing up for Round Six. This one looks a bit tough, the Middle Grade with divorce I'm lost on so will be greatful for any suggestions on that one. The others I'm planning my books for.
Best Books of 2016
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
The Woman in the Walls
The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Unrivalled by Alyson Noel
My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barns
Paper Princess by Erin Watt
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Young Elites + The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Until Friday Night by Abby Glines
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Wink Poppy Midnight b April Genevieve Tucholke
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann
The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Stealing Snow by Danielle Page
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The Devil’s Advocate by Andrew Neiderman
Sage’s Eyes by V.C Andrews
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Between Us and The Moon by Rebecca Maziel
The Girls by Emma Cline
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Mass
A very Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you so much to all new followers and everyone who is still following my random musings and reviews. It always amazes me, (and those little like post hearts always give me a happy) even though I'm a terrible social introvert and am dreadful at replying and commenting. (I really do appreciate it, though half the time never know what to say). So thank you again to everyone who reads these posts.
I read a grand total of 170 books this year. Bit of a step down from last years 200 plus, however, I realized that even though I read so many books in 2015 I barely remember any of them. So I took it a bit slower and made sure to enjoy what I read and be even quicker about DNFing the ones I don't like.
I also hit a few slumps this year and did fewer challenges, I think I did two rounds of Story Sprites and a few rounds of Bookish Bingo. (Which are my favourite challenges) I found I struggle when mixing the two. I didn’t do a Goodreads challenge again this year and for some reason I find that always helps when I don’t set a set limit, go at my own pace with a mix of Netgalley books and owned stuff.
I also discovered grown up colouring books this year, and have a bunch of them, which I find incredibly relaxing, so I’ve been diving personal time between that and books (and cuddling with my beloved kitty of course). Had a bit of a blogging slump as well, not been reviewing much other than Netgalley stuff. It also occurred to me the other day I’ve been doing this blogging thing since 2012.
I was also contacted by an author this year (I think for the first time) with a review offer – so thank you Audrey Greathouse! (I’m a very small blog presence, I’ve had one or two publishers contact me ((and I shamefully still haven’t read the book yet)) so this always amazes me as well that an author can do it directly).
And since then I’ve found so many different blogs and reviewers to follow and the difference of opinion is always absolutely fascinating. Also it really helps to find new books and authors I would never consider looking at otherwise.
I usually set a goal to finish a series, one that has more than five books either a reread or an unfinished one. I didn’t manage that this year (I didn’t even reread Harry Potter or Throne of Glass this year and usually do that at least twice, I think I only read The Shining once this year and usually read that at least three times a year). I don’t think I even finished any trilogies.
That’s going to be my goal for 2017. Finish a series with more than 5 books, and finish more trilogies. I also started a lot of things that were abandoned or put on hold (usually because I started a new challenge and wanted to find books to fit that) at some point next year I want to finish all those books.
As usual, read more of my Netgalley books (as these are the only review books I get other than the occasional Read It Now books on Edelweiss.)
I finally read and finished Outlander after starting it March, probably my most favourite book this year. (I’ve already gone and purchased every book in the series. It is now going to be my goal to read all the books in this series, some of them are huge! This will probably take me forever but this is my new obsession.
Also, review more. Pretty Deadly Reviews ran a Backlist Books challenge last year part of which included a condition that all books must be reviewed. If that’s run again in 2017 I’ll be doing that one.
I’m also signing up for Flights of Fantasy from Alexa Loves Books blog. I read a lot of fantasy novels, this is a fantasy novel challenge. I’m going to set myself an initial goal of 20 fantasy books to read.
And I will be doing my favourite Story Sprites from Great Imaginations blog and Bookish Bingo from Pretty Deadly Reviews.
Maybe this year I will find a Booklikes Bingo card to do, these cards looks like so much fun every post I read for these. (Romance Bingo really isn’t my thing, but maybe next card, too many squares for things that I don’t like reading). But I still really want to try Booklikes Bingo.
Probably enough rambling at this point. Thank you again to anyone still reading.
Next up my Best and Worst books of 2016.
After browsing through my never ending TBR list on Booklikes once the site was working again last week I noticed so many duplicates and things I'm never going to get round to reading, after trying to go through and remove the duplicates, I finally decided what the hell - I removed the whole thing and am going to redo it completely. I usually use the booklikes list for books I own.
(At some point I'm probably going to be kicking myself and wondering what possessed me to do this, but hell, it's my blog, I'll whine if I want to)
So be warned, there may be a fair amount of want to read things coming up over the next few days.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
The premise of this one sounded interesting enough, a group of teens on a senior field trip wind up stranded in the woods, spooky things start happening, teachers go missing and they're being stalked by an unknown figure who writes strange things on the arms of four of the kids. Dangerous. Darling. Damaged. Deceptive. With no clue what's happening, stranded from their classmates by bad weather, and suspicions mounting, the kids must pull together and figure a way to get to help and safety.
Kind of reads like a cheesy teen survival movie. It's certainly got all the right elements, and the plot was fairly fast paced. Only once it got to the reveal it was more eye rolling than shocking, at least for me anyway. The other problem I had with it was there are no depth to any of the characters. The main character Sera is sensible enough with a snarky tone, and clearly has some sort of a past with one of the boys on the trip, Lucas. Rich boy Jude has a clear attitude problem, ditzy Melanie and Hayley seem to be into drama, and quiet Emily doesn't seem to say much at all.
But there's no real reasons explained for anyone's attitude. We get a little insight into Jude as the novel progresses and there are a few flashbacks as to what happened with Sera and Lucas, some sort of a potential romance that didn't go very far, and Sera backed off. All that's mentioned is something to do with her mother and not wanting to repeat her mistakes.
More questions than answers. Once the spooky things started happening, the suspicion and tension builds fairly quickly, though it seems everyone is quick to point figures without much evidence. And while they're trying to figure things out with scary shit going down Sera and Lucas seem to be inexplicably drawn to each other. Cue more eye rolling from the reader. The romance felt forced and unnecessary, though in a way I can understand wanting someone to cling to in an increasingly dangerous situation.
There is a fair bit of background on Lucas's character, but almost nothing on Sera herself. Though to be fair, stupid romance decisions that can be blamed on teen hormones aside, Sera is pretty logical and fairly sensible for the most part.
Spoilers, but these bits really irritated me
There's also a story about a girl who died in the woods many years ago on a trip similar to theirs. Deemed an accident when kids went partying in the woods, but there are hints there may be more to the story. Never really explored until the end.
Which in typical teen horror movie fashion, turned completely stupid. At least, it did for me.
Kind of a blah read for me in the end. Interesting premise, not so great execution. Would have liked some more character depth and background info filtered into the story.
Thank you Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for approving my request to view the title.