Top 10 Tuesday: Halloween/Creepy Freebie!

Top 10 Tuesday: Halloween/Creepy Freebie!

Hello lovelies!

I’m back with another top 10 Tuesday and this week it’s a Halloween freebie!

If you’re not familiar with Top 10 Tuesday, it’s hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl and features a different book related topic each week.

I have decided to use this week’s freebie to do a top 10 list of Halloween/spooky books I want to read. These are all books that are spooky, scary, creepy or magic themed.

 

 

  1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  4. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  5. IT by Stephen King

 

 

  1. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist 
  2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  3. City of Ghosts by V. E. Schwab
  4. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  5. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these or do you have any favourite spooky/creepy reads that would recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Advertisements
REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

 

It has been a while since I posted as I took last week off to get back on track. October has been a hectic and stressful month and I haven’t been able to dedicate the time needed to keep on top of my posts.

In the last few weeks, blogging started to feel like a chore which is the last thing I want so I thought taking a week without the pressure might help and it definitely has. I have read lots of amazing books recently that I’m still yet to review so I’m excited to start posting again and what better way to start than with The Cruel Prince by Holly Black!

This is one of the many books I have purchased based on recommendations and reviews I’ve read on various blogs. With all the hype surrounding it and a cover as pretty as this, how could I resist?

Side note: I’m introducing a new section to my reviews from now which is going to be some bullet points at the end of each review of things I liked/didn’t like. This is just because as much as I would love to write long and detailed reviews for every book I read, I’m struggling to find the time, so this should help stick to my schedule but still include everything I want to say about a book. I’m not sure if I’ll keep doing this but I’m going to give it a go!

GoodReads Synopsis:

“Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.”

 

My Rating:

★★★★☆

My Thoughts:

Fantasy will always be one of my favourite genres because of how diverse and creative it is. This is not the first story I’ve read about Faeries and it won’t be the last and yet the world Black has created feels so unique.  I love that authors can take an initial well-known concept such as magical creatures and create a whole new and interesting world for their reader to escape into and I would definitely love to experience the High Court of Faerie in real life after reading this book!

In case you haven’t already gathered, I really enjoyed this book! It’s a brilliant example of a book that uses the strong-female lead trope in the right way. Jude was such a refreshing character. As a human living in faerie, she was at the bottom of the ladder, vulnerable and weak. She has limited options and yet, she uses her intellect to fight her way into a position of power. However, I think the main reason I liked Jude was that she was more of an anti-hero than a saviour. Even though we know what she did was right, we also know her actions were morally questionable at times which made her so much more dimensional and interesting.

Carden was also a brilliant character. He is awful with seemingly no redeeming qualities and whilst part of me wanted him to stay this way, I knew that eventually we would have some reveal that would explain why he behaved the way he did. Black slowly unveiled Carden’s true character and private life to the reader and Jude, making us realise that the prince doesn’t have it quite as good as Jude believes. I know that YA fiction seems to love the ‘bully has a difficult home life’ trope with authors using it flippantly in near enough every coming of age story they write but In The Cruel Prince, the reveal of Carden’s true self completely changes the trajectory of this story. I honestly felt sorry for him at the end when Jude double-crossed him. As much as I enjoyed his involvement in the story, I secretly wanted him to just escape to his own castle far away and not have to deal with any of the Faerie Court’s politics.

The only thing I thought was unnecessary but completely saw coming was Carden and Jude’s kiss. The story would still have worked and made logical sense without adding in the potential romance. Once Carden’s personal life was revealed, we had enough justification for his treatment of Jude without needed the ‘he hates her because he secretly is attracted to her which repulses him’ plot line. That being said, there was no part of me that didn’t expect them to be romantically linked at some point of the book. I do think it’s great that Black didn’t make this the focal point of the book, but it did feel like everything was leading to it which was a bit disappointing. I hope in the next book this takes a back seat to Jude being bad-ass but I’ll have to wait and see!

 

Three things I loved:

  • I found it interesting how Black explored/used the theme of power and how quickly this shifted between characters.
  • As horrifying as it was, I did enjoy the part where the new king was going to be crowned as it reminded me of an episode of Game of Thrones (if you’ve read it then I’m sure you know which episode I’m thinking of – the Red Wedding!)
  • The descriptions of the parties, the food, and the outfits. I felt like I was immersed in their world which is what every good fantasy book should do!

 

Thanks for reading! Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!  

TAG: The Literary Dinner Party

TAG: The Literary Dinner Party

Hello, lovelies!

This is the first tag I’ve done in a while and although I wasn’t actually tagged in this, I couldn’t resist participating!

I first saw this tag over at The Bibliophagist (you can read Sara’s version here) but I’m not sure where it started. I think the idea is just to pick characters that fall into each of the different categories/headings and then build a little scenario out of it at the end.

As I wasn’t tagged in this, I’m not going to leave this open as well so anyone who wants to take part, consider yourself tagged!

  1. One character who can cook/likes to cook

Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I know Lara Jean bakes, not cooks but I was struggling with this one. I think she’d be a cute guest to have at a dinner party. She’d bring baked goods and try and fill any awkward silences.

  1. One character who has money to fund the party

gatasby.gif

Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. Who doesn’t want to go to a Gatsby hosted party?!

  1. One character who might cause a scene

Achilles from The Song of Achilles. I feel like Achilles doesn’t understand social conventions so should anything go wrong or not his way, he will throw a hissy fit and drag someone’s dead body around the dinner table like a thousand times.

  1. One character who is funny/amusing

Kanye-West-Laugh-Serious

Izzy O’Neill from The Exact Opposite of Okay, so funny she could even make Kanye smile.  With Izzy at the table, hilarity will ensue.

  1. One character who is super social/popular

Caitlin Cardew from A Sky Painted Gold. Social, popular and glamorous, Caitlin Cardew would be the must-have guest at any dinner party. She’d probably even offer to help plan it!

  1. One villain

giphy (5)

Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events. Olaf would be both the villain and the one making a scene, usually both at once. I have made sure that that the dinner party has a distinct lack of billionaire orphans, so he should be on his best behaviour. Although, he’ll probably steal some of Gatsby’s silver wear and heirlooms.

  1. One couple – doesn’t have to be romantic

Elsa & her Granny from My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. Name a better due, I’ll wait.

  1. One hero/heroine

giphy (6)

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. I honestly could not think of a worst dinner party guest which is why I’ve included her. Fun and Katniss are not exactly two words that go together so you just know she’d be the cause of lots of awkward moments.

  1. One underappreciated character

Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Tiny Cooper is arguably the best thing about that book, so much so, he deserves a whole book to himself.

  1. One character of your own choosing

Kitty Pong from Crazy Rich Asians. I almost chose Kitty for someone who would make a scene, but I think Achilles lack of social awareness would make him more likely, but Kitty would still be a brilliant guest. She caused a scandal at every party she went to in Crazy Rich Asians and always seemed like she was having the most fun!

How I Think It’ll Go Down

Despite hosting, Gatsby would be nowhere to be seen for the majority of the night. Kitty Pong would turn up wearing something completely outrageous, offering to sign autographs for everyone else. Elsa’s Granny, Caitlin Cardew, Tiny and Izzy would spend all night laughing and telling scandalous stories together with Lara Jean and Elsa hanging on every word.  Count Olaf would definitely put on some impromptu show which most people would humour but Tiny would join in and then take over, leading to an unplanned performance of Hold Me Closer Tiny Cooper in its entirety. He would convince Caitlin, Izzy, Lara Jean, and Kitty to join in, giving them various parts from the play which would make Count Olaf furious as not only has he been upstaged, he’s not been given a part.

Achilles and Katniss would spend the majority of the evening either brooding or misunderstanding Elsa’s Granny and Izzy’s humour. Izzy, Caitlin, and Kitty would be flirting with Achilles but getting nowhere and then Gatsby would make a dramatic entrance at about midnight, descending a grand start case and calling everyone old sport. At this point, Elsa would be asleep under a table or something whilst the adults/young adults partied into the night.

giphy

I could have kept going with my story, but I thought it best to cut off before I ended up with a full book! As I said at the beginning, I’m not doing specific tags for this post so if you want to join in, then please consider yourself tagged!

 

Thanks for reading! Who would you want at your literary dinner party? Let me know in the comments below!

T5T: Top 5 Books That Lived Up to The Hype

T5T: Top 5 Books That Lived Up to The Hype

Welcome back to another Top 5 Tuesday!

If you aren’t familiar with Top 5 Tuesday, it is a group here on WordPress currently run by Shanah over at BionicBookWorm, that features a different book related topic each week.

This week’s topic is the top 5 books that didn’t live up to the hype, but I was struggling to come up with 5 so I’ve gone for the top 5 books that lived up to the hype instead (although this meant I had the opposite problem, only 5?!)

In an attempt to narrow down my list, I’ve decided to only focus on books that I’ve read within the last year.

 

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 

32075671

 

  1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

 

9781408821985

 

  1. The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

 

 35817737

 

  1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 

 eleanor

 

  1. The Power by Naomi Alderman

 

9780670919963 

 

Thanks for reading! What books do you think did/didn’t live up to the hype? Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re taking part in this week’s Top 5 Tuesday or if you’ve done a similar post in the past, then please leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll check it out.

REVIEW: We Were Liars by E. Lockheart

REVIEW: We Were Liars by E. Lockheart

Happy Sunday!

Today I’m reviewing We Were Liars by E. Lockheart. If you’re a fan of this book, you may not want to read on…

 

popcorn_the_it_crowd

 

GoodReads Synopsis:

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.

A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.

A revolution. An accident. A secret.

Lies upon lies.

True love.

The truth.

My Rating:

★★★☆☆

 

My Thoughts:

I have tried to read this book several times but I’ve never made it past the first few pages mainly because of the writing style. I gave it one last chance and finally made it to the end but there was more than one occasion where I wanted to give up.

I genuinely disliked this book which is rare for me. I quite often read books that underwhelm me or just aren’t my thing but it’s unusual for me to have such a strong, negative opinion about a book. I think the last book I read that caused a similar reaction was 13 Reasons Why and that is going back a long time.

I had two main problems with this book, the first being the characters and their background. I don’t know when or why ‘rich people have problems too’ became a trope in YA but it is just not needed. The world doesn’t need more books about rich people suffering. Its always the same, the protagonist comes from a ridiculously wealthy family, but their family doesn’t understand them, or they have mental health issues, or their family is fractured. We’re then supposed to feel sorry for the rich kid because ‘look how hard they actually have it despite having millions of pounds and a private island’, but I don’t understand how a reader can be expected to do this as the characters and the story weren’t relatable (unless of course you’re extremely rich with your own private island in which case, my bad). There were also far too many characters in this book to keep tabs on. It unnecessarily complicated what was already a difficult story to follow.

The second problem I had was the writing style. Having studied modernism at University and suffered my way through Ulysses, I just don’t care for books that are written using little to no grammar and seemingly incoherent sentence structures. I just don’t find it enjoyable to read. You can get a sense of what I mean just from the synopsis but if you’re struggling, think of those ‘poets’ you see on Instagram whose poems consistent of half-written, spaced out sentences and you have the structure/writing style of We Were Liars. I know that some people love this style of writing but I’m more of a classical kind of gal, give me proper sentence structures over this any day of the week.

Now you might be thinking, why is she tearing this book to shreds when she gave it a 3-star rating? Or, how bad does a book have to be for her to give it 1 star?

whaaaaat

Well, one thing this book did exceptionally well was to completely take me by surprise. I never saw the plot twist coming. It wasn’t even that when I got near to the end I started to figure it out, I genuinely had no idea it was going to happen or that there was even going to be a plot twist which is some amazing storytelling on E. Lockheart’s part.

This is what earned We Were Liars 3 stars and made me think, perhaps I should have just listened to the audiobook.

shurggg

Thanks for reading! I know this book is popular so please accept my apologies if I’ve just slated one of your favourite books. If you’ve read this book let me know what you thought (good or bad) in the comments below!

REVIEW: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

REVIEW: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a lovely week so far. This week I’m reviewing Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow.

I just want to make it clear before you read any further, that this review contains references to self-harm, suicide, and mental illness which may be triggering to some readers.

GoodReads Synopsis:

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

 

My Thoughts:

Don’t let the pretty cover fool you as Girl in Pieces is far from a light-hearted YA read. It is a detailed fictional account of struggling with a mental illness, self-harm and the road to recovery.

Mental illness has become a common trope across YA, arguably overtaking the recently neglected and controversial love triangle trope. This is both a blessing and a curse as on the one hand, mental illness is getting the representation in literature that it needs but on the other hand there are times when it is clear that an author is only using mental illness as a secondary plot devise, with no intention or desire to fully explore the subject matter.

Often, we read to know that we are not alone in what we feel which is why it is so important that authors take the time to consider their reader and the message they want to send before deciding to include such a sensitive yet critical subject.

Girl in Pieces is one of the best novels I have ever read that deals with the topic of mental illness. It isn’t a plot device that takes a back seat to romance or teen drama. It is woven into every chapter, page, and sentence of this novel so thoughtfully and carefully. It is the very heart of this novel, providing readers with the honest and raw representation that so desperately needs to be seen in literature.

I won’t lie, it was a difficult read. It was upsetting, heart-breaking but it really resonated with me.

The novel follows Charlie, a young girl recovering from a suicide attempt who is just trying to navigate this often challenging world, with the weight of her past still hanging on her shoulders. When we meet Charlie, she is in a rehab/psychiatric ward following her suicide attempt. She is silent, bandaged up and broken. Surrounded by other young girls all suffering from the same affliction, Charlie begins to heal, begins talking again and tries to face up to her past.

 

“Everyone has that moment I think, the moment when something so momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this piece should go there, and that one there.”

 

All of the girls Charlie is surrounded by are different. They are each in their own way, in pieces. Glasgow slowly develops each of their characters to highlight that there is no one way that mental illness affects people. For Charlie, she cuts herself away with shards of broken glass, for Blue, she sticks needles in her body to get away from the pain and for Isis there is fire leaving circular scars across her body. They all feel their pain in their own way just as they all must recover in their own way.

For Charlie, recovery is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. When she leaves the safety net of the rehab/psychiatric ward, she finds herself under the blazing sun in Tucson and soon begins to try and get her life back on track. She finds a job, a place to live and tries to begin to heal but her past is always close behind her. It is here that she meets Riley West, an ex-musician, alcoholic and a drug user battling his own demons. It is at this point that Glasgow could easily have taken this down the root that so many other authors do (girl is struggling, boy is struggling, girl meets boy, they fix each other and drive off into the sunset) but she doesn’t. She makes it clear that Riley is not the answer to all of Charlie’s problem, in fact, he becomes part of the cause.

Glasgow’s deeply emotional and at times witty writing style complimented the story perfectly. There was just the right amount of dark humour coupled with beautifully written philosophical observations for this story to grip me completely. I couldn’t put this book down because I needed to know what happened to Charlie and whether she was okay. I would love to tell you that this book has a happy ending, but it is more realistic that is doesn’t. It does, however, offer the reader a hopeful ending. Charlie is still dealing with her mental health problems, fighting off the urge to turn away from the world and to self-harm, but she is trying.

So, whilst this is a powerful yet painful read, it is also a hopeful one. For anyone out there struggling with mental health issues, this story may make you feel less alone and more understood.

 

Thanks for reading! I know this has been a particularly long and serious review but I felt I had to do this book justice. This book deals with a lot of sensitive subjects that may be harmful to some readers so do bear this in mind before picking it up. If you’ve read this book then let me know what you thought in the comments below!

T5T: Tropes I’d Like To See More Of

T5T: Tropes I’d Like To See More Of

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome back to another Top 5 Tuesday! If you aren’t familiar with Top 5 Tuesday, it is a group here on WordPress now currently run by Shanah over at BionicBookWorm, that features a different book related topic each week.

I didn’t take part in Top 5 Tuesday last week so I have decided to use last week’s topic for this post as it was a good one.

If you’re taking part in this week’s Top 5 Tuesday or if you’ve done a similar post in the past, then please leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll check it out.

 

Top 5 Tropes I’d Like To See More Of:

  1. Unlikely friendships/relationships

giphy (4).gif

Think of The Breakfast Club but in book form and you’ll understand what I mean. I am a sucker for the typical popular athlete falling for a bookworm Americanised trope that fills the pages of most popular YA novels. No matter how hard I try, I simply can’t deny the stupid grin on my face when the unlikely couple finally realise they are perfect for each other.

  1. Close-knit/Supportive Families

family

Every other book I read seems to use the dysfunctional family format trope to surround their protagonist in tragedy so it’s always refreshing to read a book where family is not the root of the protagonists’ problems. My favourite example of this is To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I mentioned this in my review of the second book in the series but the scenes with Lara Jean and her family are so pure and lovely.

  1. Strong Female Leads

katniss

This is so easy to get wrong but when it’s done right, there’s nothing quite like it. My favourite examples of this are definitely Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and Izzy O’Neill from The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven.

  1. The Fall of Society/ The World Inverted

tenor (4)

I am a big fan of dystopian fiction, so I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this trope. Whilst the premise is the same, each author uses it for an entirely different purpose which is always so interesting to see. Some of my favourite examples of this are The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood and The Power by Naomi Alderman.

  1. The Chosen One

chosen one

I love this trope even if I don’t always love the character that is the chosen one (I think we all know I’m talking about Frodo here). The only example needed for this one has to be the self-titled chosen one, Harry Potter!

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favourite tropes that you’d like to see more of? Let me know in the comments below!