Monday, 29 September 2014

Review for Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

Warning 
This is a review for the third and final book in the Lynburn Legacy trilogy and so may contain spoilers from the previous books.

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release: 25th September 2014
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review




Synopsis:
"Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice? Kami Glass has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town. Sorry-in-the-Vale has a new master, and he demands a death. Kami must use every resource to try and stop him, and together with friends Rusty, Angela and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility, and a painful choice...a choice that will risk not only Kami's life, but also the lives of all those she loves most."

Review 
Unmade is the kind of final book that I always dream of reading. All too often I’m left unsatisfied with final offerings to a beloved series because I feel like a lot of the time situations are created for shock value and memorable endings that don’t necessarily fit what feels true to the characters and their story. However Unmade shows Sarah Rees Brennan at her best and I loved it completely.

I’m going to keep this review short and sweet because there’s honestly not much I can talk about without giving away major spoilers and this alone is a testimony to Sarah Rees Brennan’s writing. There is action, mystery and emotion right from the start. Instead of a build up to one big final battle and conclusion at the very end the characters work through their problems both big and small from start to finish which meant that every page was a pleasure to read and brought something to the story.

Like every book in the Lynburn Legacy, Unmade offers hilarious dialogue, heart-breaking choices and nail biting suspense. Kami and her friends are on top form as they each make their sacrifices and tackle their problems head on. I was so proud of them all but none more so than Kami who was the problem solver, rescuer and ultimate hero of her own story. These characters in their final acts made me laugh, cry and my heart soar with pride. The united community protecting their town and those they love was so moving to read.

Unmade gave me everything I could have wanted from this final book and is my new favourite of the trilogy. With great love comes great pain and the hours of emotional distress that Sarah Rees Brennan has put me through with this series were more than worth the pay off.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Taylor Swift Book Tag

This tag was created over at The Book Life and I decided to do it because it gave me an excuse to listen to Taylor Swift for an hour, answer questions, look up funny Taylor Swift Gifs and think about books.


1. We are never getting back together: a book or series you were pretty sure you were in love with but then wanted to break up with
A big one that stands out for me this year is Conversion by Katherine Howe. I went into it sure I was going to love it and in the beginning I did but then I just got really bored and even though I stuck with it till the end I wish we had a book break up and I didn't waste my time.

2. Red: pick a book with a red cover
I've gone with one of my favourite covers of the year...


3. The best day: pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic
Last Chance by Sarah Dessen. I got my first copy of this book free with a magazine when I was around thirteen years old. I took it on holiday with me and read it over and over that summer and so I have a lot of fond memories attached to it. It was also the book that sparked my love for Sarah Dessen.

4. Love Story: pick a book with a forbidden love
I'm going to go with my latest favourite book with a forbidden love and that is The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Not only did I love this book but I loved the romance here.


5. I knew you were trouble: pick a book with a bad character you couldn’t help but love
This is a bit of a strange pick but I'm going to go with Bloody Mary from James Dawson's Say Her Name. At times, as legend suggests, she was so scary but other times I felt really endeared towards her.

6. Innocent: pick a book that someone ruined the ending of 
Mockingjay. I think this was actually the first time I ever encountered a spoiler for a book on the internet and it was a couple of days after Mockingjay came out. Still not over it.


7. Everything has changed: pick a book that has a character who goes through extensive character development
A character who really stands out in my mind is Sydney from Vampire Academy and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. I actually didn't care for Sydney that much in VA and when I heard the Bloodlines spin off series was going to be about her I wasn't too keen but now five books into that series she has developed so much and is now one of my favourite heroines.

8. Forever and always: pick your favourite book couple
I have so many favourites and I can't choose an ultimate one so instead I will go for one of my new favourite couples of this year and that is Beast and Sybella from Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers.

9. You belong with me: most anticipated book release
Right now I am pining for Ashes to Ashes the final book in the Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Luckily I don't have much longer to wait!

10. Come back, be here: pick a book you wouldn’t lend out to anyone for fear of missing it too much
My signed copy of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It's one of my favourite books and most treasured possessions and it's never leaving my side.

11. Tear drops on my guitar: a book that made you cry a lot
I'm such a crier especially when it comes to books but the book I think I cried the most with both whilst reading and after reading is Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. If you've read it you'll know why.

12. Shake it off: a book that you love so much you just shake off the haters
I almost didn't give this book a chance because it was receiving a lot of bad reviews on Goodreads and I'm so glad that I did because it's actually one of my favourite reads of 2014 and that book is The Rain by Virginia Bergin. A lot of people didn't like the main character but I actually found Ruby's voice to be really different and what made this book so good.


The End

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Unmade Blog Tour‏: EVERYTHING IS AWFUL (As I’m Sure You’ve All Noticed) by Kami Glass

I'm so excited to be the publication day stop for the Unmade blog tour today! To celebrate, the wonderful Sarah Rees Brennan has written an exclusive never been seen before piece from Kami's paper The Nosy Parker with Kami catching readers up and giving her thoughts on events before book three. Needless to say if you haven't read books one and two there will be spoilers ahead, you have been warned.


EVERYTHING IS AWFUL 
(As I’m Sure You’ve All Noticed) 
by Kami Glass 

I am not certain about writing this article, because articles are meant to report the news. They are meant to convey new information to people who did not have said information before.

The information I have is information you already know.

You all know magic is real. You know there are sorcerers among us in this little town, that there always have been, and the Lynburn family always considered themselves the sorcerers’ leaders.

You all know that Rob Lynburn has taken over Aurimere, the ancient manor on the hill above Sorry-in-the-Vale, and set himself up as the true Lynburn leader, the ruler of this town. You know he killed a girl with one of his long golden knives.

You know he is demanding another sacrifice.

You know people have died fighting him. You know that the town has been made a magic prison, a golden cage with borders we cannot cross and no way to get a message to those outside those borders. You know Rob Lynburn tried to take my little brother and sacrifice him.

You know that Rob Lynburn’s nephew Jared Lynburn, one of the people who stood against Rob, has disappeared. He went into Aurimere to get my brother back, and he did not come out again.

It has been weeks since he was last seen, him or his mother Rosalind Lynburn. It has been weeks since the sorcerers who stood against Rob Lynburn died in the Crying Pools. It has been months since Rob Lynburn demanded his sacrifice.

It is not as if any of you could possibly have missed the ring of fire surrounding the house on the hill. There are shadows coming to life in the town square and creatures stirring in the woods. Sorcerers are walking among us and making no effort to conceal their identity. ‘How are you feeling, Sergeant Kenn?’ you might ask a policeman you once had faith in. ‘I’m feeling evil!’ he might well reply. 

Since I cannot tell you anything you do not know, perhaps you can tell me something. Write it in an editorial letter. Come up to me in the street. I would truly like to have this information.

Are any of you ever going to do anything about what you know? Are any of you ever going to act? 

Are you going to give Rob Lynburn his sacrifice, or let him take one? Could anyone in the town I grew up in, could anyone among the people I trusted, be that weak? Could anyone be that evil?

If we do nothing, be assured he will come. Rob Lynburn has Aurimere. He is watching us. He is not watching over us. He is coming for this town. He has his hand stretched out, and he is still holding his knife.

Maybe there is one last thing that you, dear reader, do not know yet.

One of you knows where Jared Lynburn is.

One of you knows what happened to him.

You may know that much, but something you do not know yet is this. I am looking. I am searching for you. I will not give up.

I am going to find you out.


Check out Wondrous Reads tomorrow for the final stop of the tour.
Happy Unmade day everyone!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Review for Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release: 9th October 2014
Genre: YA, Mental Health
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review




Synopsis:
"I was sent here because of a boy. His name was Reeve Maxfield, and I loved him and then he died, and almost a year passed and no one knew what to do with me. A group of emotionally fragile, highly intelligent teenagers gather at a therapeutic boarding school where they are mysteriously picked for 'Special Topics in English'. Here, they are tasked with studying Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and keeping a journal. Each time the teens write in their diaries they are transported to a miraculous other world called Belzhar, a world where they are no longer haunted by their trauma and grief - and each begins to tell their own story."

Review 
Belzhar is the kind of book that whilst I enjoyed it for the most part I did have a few problems with it that could easily have tipped my favour the other way.

The idea behind the book really caught my attention and made Belzhar a highly anticipated read of 2014 and the plot really lived up to my expectations. I loved reading about a highly coveted and exclusive class in literature that helps “emotionally fragile teenagers” with their mental state. Mrs Q was one of those inspirational and mysterious teachers that I always wish I encountered at school and her lessons on the importance of words and sharing stories was so interesting and poignant to read. I loved the close knit connection the characters in the class developed with each other and the mystery and intrigue of what Belzhar actually is really kept the pages turning.

Despite all of the good in Belzhar there were a couple of things I really didn’t enjoy. I never really connected with Jam as the main character. As somebody who has been depressed I know that feeling all too well and her depression just didn’t come through for me in the writing as it should with any good book about mental health. In fact I didn’t feel like the topic of mental health was dealt with very well at all. The teens at this school all seemed to have gone through some trauma to trigger a mental illness which is not always the case and this lack of understanding added a falseness to the plot.

Another annoyance of mine was the romance and Reeve’s character as a whole. He’s dripping in British stereotypes with no real personality besides his Britishness and as a Brit I just found it so cringey to read.

Whilst Belzhar had a lot of good it also had a lot of bad. Although I enjoyed the book as a whole I’m disappointed that it didn’t quite live up to the early excitement for me.

Friday, 5 September 2014

It is Time for a Holiday!

Hello my lovelies! This is just a little post to say that I'm not going to be around for a while. I'm going on holiday for a week on Saturday to a lovely little cottage by the English seaside with my family. The place we're staying at has no Wi-Fi which is going to be a shock to the system let me tell you! But with no internet distractions and blogging commitments for a week I'm hoping to read a lot of books, watch a lot of DVD's, spend some quality time with my family and, if weather permits, have lots of lovely walks along the beach and in the countryside exploring the area.

Because I haven't had a blog break all year I've decided to extend my break when I return just to re-charge my brain, get on top of my September releases and indulge in some other hobbies that tend to get neglected because I spend all of my time blogging! I'm planning on returning to the blog sometime during the middle of September. By then I'm hoping to have the final feature of my room sorted out which is the bookcases so hopefully my books will all be back where they should be and I can start doing book haul posts again. Yay!

I've had such an amazing spring and summer from going to the Divergent premiere, to YALC, to events at Waterstones, to seeing Matilda the Musical. I've met so many online friends in real life and made some new friends along the way! Along with putting my dream room together this summer feels like a fresh start and has done wonders for both my confidence and my mental health. Now I'm ready to enjoy the last rays of summer and look forward to what Autumn has to bring.

I hope your September is full of amazing books, see you soon! :)

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Blog Tour: From Sketch to Cover Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‏

Welcome to my stop on the Harry Potter blog tour celebrating the new cover for The Prisoner of Azkaban! If you follow my blog you'll know by now what a massive Potterhead I am and so I'm thrilled to have some exciting Harry Potter goodness to share with you today. But for now, the reason that we're all here, can we all just take a moment to admire the absolute beauty that is the new cover...

and the artwork on the back cover is equally wonderful!


Blurb from the back of the book
When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves ... but perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss...

 From Sketch to Cover 
See Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban develop before your eyes in this amazing GIF!


Three exclusive facts from Jonny Duddle 
Jonny Duddle, jacket illustrator for the new Harry Potter children’s editions reveals three facts about the cover of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

·This was the only cover for which I had a clear vision in my head of how I wanted it to look, before I even started the rough. 

·To get good reference photos of the cape, Sammy’s little sister shook the cape continuously, whilst he stood in position. 

·Harry, Hermione and Sirius are all in the background, surrounded by dementors. 

I think that Jonny Duddle has done a fantastic job of capturing the magic of the Harry Potter books. I'd even go as far as to say that they are my favourite editions to date! I have no doubt that these stunning covers will convince a whole new generation to discover the magic for the very first time. In case you haven't read the series yet and need any more convincing to check out this beloved series multi award-winning British children's writer Annabel Pitcher is here today to talk about why the series means so much to her.

Annabel Pitcher and Harry


When I was a teacher browsing the Times Educational Supplement, a secret part of me was always disappointed that there was never a post advertised at Hogwarts. I would have grabbed the first available owl and applied for it in a shot, packing my bags faster than you can say Albus Percival Wolfric Brian Dumbledore. That I believed it were possible is why I fell in love with Harry Potter in the first place. 

In the opening pages, we are not thrown into a fantasy universe. We are shown our world, with all its square-house, suburban drudgery. We see ourselves as muggles and recognise the worst parts of being human in the curtain-twitching, hosepipe-toting Dursleys. We feel Harry’s frustration because it is our frustration, and together we both long for there to be something – anything – more. And then the owls come, and with it the promise of adventure in a world skilfully interwoven with ours. This is magic, almost within our grasp. It is a wall in Kings Cross. An innocent-looking red phone box. An invisible house on an otherwise ordinary street. That is the charm of the series for me. Harry’s universe is so tantalisingly close and intimately recognisable that it feels as if it really does exist.

Bloomsbury Publishing has relaunched its Harry Potter website to support the new children’s editions. The new Harry Potter site uses the Jonny Duddle artwork from the new children’s editions and includes pages of information on the bestselling series as well as exciting new content from Magical Downloads to a Harry Potter Quote Generator. Check out the new site at: http://harrypotter.bloomsbury.com/uk/

Make sure you stop by Readaraptor tomorrow for the next stop on the blog tour!

Monday, 1 September 2014

August Round Up and Book of the Month


August's Book of the Month is Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas



I was one of the few who thought that Throne of Glass was just an okay read and so I've been happily surprised that this series just keeps getting better and better. Heir of Fire is without doubt my new favourite of this series and one of my favourite reads of this year. I don't want to say too much about it in case anyone reading this hasn't started this series yet but if you'd like to know more of my thoughts on this book check out my review here. The only thing I will say for fans of this series is that Celaena Sardothien has never been more badass!


Read in August
63.) Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (5*)
64.) Written in the Stars by Ali Harris (4*)
65.) Rebel Heart by Moira Young (3.5*)
66.) Conversion by Katherine Howe (2*)
67.) Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (5*)
68.) Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (4.5*)
69.) Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (5*)
70.) Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (4*)
71.) Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater (3.5*)

Monthly Book Awards
Best Plot: Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Best Writing: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Best Cover: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Best Characters: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Best Ending: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Best Romance: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Most un-put-down-able: Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Most Memorable: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Best Moral: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: Heir of Fire, Little Lies, Isla and the Happily Ever After. 

Books I’m Looking Forward to Being Released in September 
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
Magisterium: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

 What was the best book you read in August? 
 And what are you looking forward to reading this month?
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