14 November 2018

The Red Queen Series | Victoria Aveyard

So, as previously promised, I got to the end of the Red Queen series. It took me a little while in between work commitments, health issues and various other excuses that meant I couldn't find as much time to read as I would have liked.

And it was a journey, let me tell you.

In my full review for Red Queen, I ended up giving the book three stars, because I decided I did want to know what happened next. So let's do a quick run down of the next books.

Glass Sword 

The characters that kept me reading Red Queen, I am afraid, may have been the Glass Sword's downfall. It took right until the end of the book for me to actually get behind Mare as she is really quite un-likeable, it was Shade's plot twist that really made me get behind the characters and that is very much at the end of the book.

As for the story, good lord it takes a bit of time to get through, so many people, places, locations and yet somehow it really is hard to picture and takes a long time. There were definitely times I wanted to give up, I even wrote a blog posts (unpublished) asking for opinions on whether you give up on a book you're not enjoying, but kind of want to know what happens.

But I stuck with it, and although this whole book feels like it could be a lot shorter and get through the first 85% a lot quicker.

That ending.

The ended had me driving to The Trafford Centre at stupid o'clock to pick up...

King's Cage ★ and a half

King's Cage again suffered from far too much description in between each point of action, making the book feel more drawn out than necessary. I definitely enjoyed King's Cage more than Glass Sword, and thought that having Mare captured by Maven definitely made for interesting reading and an interesting dynamic between the two of them, when those scenes happened few and far between.
The punishment on the whole left me wanting, Maven is created as this utterly masochistic character, yet her only punishment seemed to be silent stone, and Maven, more or less, left her alone.

The premise of this book had me really excited, but I am afraid it didn't quite deliver on the scale I was hoping for. I did find myself reading this book far faster for Mare's inevitable escape, and I really did enjoy the dynamic between her and Cal that was being developed, but I still had a really hard time empathising with some of the choices Mare made, particularly when it came to her family.

With so much potential, and overall a fairly OK read, it's ★ and a half.

War Storm 

War Storm is definitely a book of two halves. Well, maybe three-quarters and a quarter. The last part of the book is page turning, fast, action-packed and I enjoyed it immensely. The culmination of the books means that the story does feel more exciting than the previous two, we know there is going to be a conclusion one way or another and...

I actually really loved the ending, I won't spoil anything but I thought that it was a really interesting way to finish the book and leave some interpretation to the reader (even if it left me a tiny bit frustrated at the same time).

There was also a part of me that was a tiny bit disappointed in the level of storm Mare could conjure. Now, I know conjuring lightning cannot be easy, but after all she had been through, in the final battle, I wanted no-mercy look-at-how-badass-Mare-is storms, but they never really came. It must have been a choice to keep her on a more level playing field with abilities but after the way she discovered them, I just wanted a little bit more.

I did like the multiple points of view, I know they have received mixed reviews online, sometimes it did feel distracting, but boy did it keep me page turning to get back to the point of view I was interested in. I also thought it was interesting to read from Maven's point of view.

The Red Queen Series 

Well bookish people, we made it, I finished War Storm and the full series. If I had to come down on a side, as this is perhaps the most ambivalent I have been over a book in a while, I would say I am happy that I have read it, which is the reasoning for the three stars, but there were times when it definitely feel like a slog.

Overall, I cannot help but wonder what book we would have read had Maven been who he said he was, and Cal ended up being the tyrannical, murderous king.

24 August 2018

Red Queen | Victoria Aveyard

The world is divided by blood - red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Intrigued? I was.

Coupled with the fact that I seemed to be seeing this book all over Instagram, I headed over to Waterstones and grabbed myself a copy.

I must admit, before reading this book I had seen Emily May's review on Goodreads (which is less than glowing), so my expectations were a bit all over the place.

Let me start by saying this book is a slow burner, it seems to take a long time for anything to happen and I honestly feel like things could have happened a little bit quicker, but I suppose the theory was character building, so let's talk about characters shall we?

The characters individually were one of the main things that kept my reading the book, I was interested in their different motivations, powers and following Mare was enjoyable for me. However, I really struggled through the book to believe the relationships between the characters, Mare seems to have all the boys falling at her feet for no reason I could quite figure out. I started to invest in the relationship between Mare and Maven, but I felt like I knew what was coming there (as much as I didn't want it to happen).

Cal had the potential, but what happened with the dancing (trying to keep as spoiler free as possible) felt like it honestly came (a bit) out of nowhere, there was no real build up and I was left feeling a bit confused. Now they have some tension, I am beginning to invest in their relationship a little bit more.

Kilhorn, again, it's like we are just supposed to accept that they are besties and will constantly protect each other, but we are taken away from him so quickly at the beginning, I don't feel like we see enough evidence of that before we are expected to just believe it.

The revolution takes a bit of a back seat in the Red Queen, which is what I am hoping comes out in the next three (three!) books. I am going to purchase Glass Sword, give it a go and see if there is a bit more story to come out now we know the characters.

I am really hoping Red Queen is like the first episode of a TV series, lots of background and building so we can get into the good stuff in the coming weeks, so due to the fact that I read to the end, and I definitely want to give the next book a try, 

7 August 2018

What I Learnt Planning My Sister's Hen Do

It was my sister's hen do this weekend! Yaaaaaaaaaay!

Planning a hen do can feel like a giant thing getting closer and closer until you've suddenly got a second job you didn't plan on having and 20 people to organise and get to all be in the same place at the same time. So, I thought I would impart some of the knowledge I gained from planning my favourite person in the whole wide world's hen night.

You will get stressed. 

There are no two ways around it, with all the best will in the world, you will find planning the hen do stressful. I found it best to feel the feelings, make a list and try and move through it.

Make lists. 

Having a list infront of you with all your tasks on makes life so much easier. It also makes it easier to see if you could, perhaps, ask for help from other bridesmaids or attendees.

Let go of the little things. 

I spent far too long agonising over what should be in the gift bags - and in the end it turned out to be the wrong theme and I couldn't send them back, so in the bag went a unicorn present for a mermaid themed hen night - but it didn't matter, people thought the gift bags were cute and a nice touch, so there was no need to worry!

Take a disposable camera. 

The playlist for the barge was on my phone, and I was unable to take as many photos as I would have liked. I have all the photos other people took, and one or two that I managed to snap, but I really wish I had taken a disposable camera to take more. Also for the delayed gratification of looking forward to getting them developed.

People are there to have a good time. 

Hopefully, all the people who are coming on your hen evening are there because they mean something to the hen. That means they all want both the hen, and themselves, to have a good time. You plan the actives, they bring the attitude to enjoy themselves.

And finally, there is only so much you can do. 

If I could have, I would have given my sister the world, but unfortunately I can't. I did my best and everyone had a brilliant time and that's all you can do!

Have you planned a hen night? Do you have any tips?

30 July 2018

Everless | Sara Holland

Time is a prison. She is the key. 

Ooooooooooooooh. Right?

I will try and stay away from spoliers, but there are definitely some hints in this review that may influence how you read the novel.

The world Holland creates is bloody gorgeous and clever, and I really do believe this would make a great film or TV series for the young adult audience. The play with time was very much my favourite part as I am fascinated with it to begin with, the characters bleed time out of their blood to keep the ruling family happy, and the metaphor for the class system and capitalism is something that is really beautiful throughout the entire book.

Jules as a main character is incredibly likeable, and I really enjoyed following her journey back to Everless. However, HOWEVER, the relationship with Roan felt like a vehicle for the story, rather than something believable.

HOWEVER again, Liam really felt like a much more fully formed character and subsequently, their relationship felt fully formed.

The villains in this novel (which I will definitely not be giving away) were the biggest twist for me, it also taught me that as I reader, I concentrated on the potential of romance and this feels like it is done deliberately by Holland and she sneaks the villains by you in plain sight.

I really enjoyed Everless, I did, I read it in two sittings and enjoyed sitting and falling into the world, however, there were a couple of things in the story that I was expecting (one twist I was expecting to be slightly more hard hitting than it was), and I found that for a strong female character, she was far too obsessed with a boy.

Other than that, I don't enjoy half stars, so due to the fact I am definitely looking forward to the second and it was such an intoxicating world playing with time, I am rounding up to ★. 
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