Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Top Ten Beach Reads

This week's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is Beach Reads Week! We've each chosen five of our top reads for on the beach. This one was a difficult topic, as being British we obviously barely see the sun, and even though Angharad lives right by the beach, we're both basically hermits. However, here's our picks!

Angharad's Choices:

Vicious by V. E. Schwab
Vicious follows the story of two college roommates who share an interest in all things adrenaline-filled and death-defying. They believe that under extraordinary conditions, people can come back from the brink of death with an Extra Ordinary ability. 
Okay, so I admit this doesn't sound much like a beach read but to me, it doesn't just mean happy, summery books, it means books you can devour in one sitting and that's exactly what I did with this novel. Brilliant characters, brilliant plot and there's even a dog. What more could you ask for?


Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson 
Since You've Been Gone (stop singing the song), is the story of Emily and her friendship with a girl called Sloane. We meet Emily as she realises Sloane has left town. Faced with the loss of her best friend, Emily soon realises Sloane has left her a list of things she needs to do over the summer. It's a story of friendship, self-confidence and love.
I think this is the perfect beach read. It takes place over the summer and Emily and her newfound friends have the time of their lives. Skinny dipping happens, guys. That's summery, right?


The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle is all about friendship, love, adventure and a Welsh King. It follows Blue, a girl who lives with a bunch of women psychics but hasn't got the ability herself. She meets 'the raven boys', a group of men who after initially hating, she grows to love unconditionally. The series spans over four books as we follow their adventures in the mystical town of Henrietta as they figure out how to wake a sleeping prince.
I think you can read this book no matter what the season is, no matter where you are (a beach in this case) and no matter how you're feeling. It's magical. 


Lord of the Flies by William Golding 
Okay, so I've recommended a book suitable to read on the beach that I had to study for the English Literature GCSE which follows the story of a bunch of school boys who become stranded on a deserted island? Am I normal? Probably not. They are technically on a beach and it's sunny and stuff. Yeah, people get murdered and everyone turns crazy but you know, life goes on. 


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sàenz 
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is the ultimate summer beach read for me. It primarily takes place during the summer and follows the story of two boys, Ari and Dante, who become friends and slowly realise their feelings for each other. Also features funny moments, amazing families and incredible prose from the author. I flew through it and I wish I had read it on a beach.


Becky's Choices:

When I'm on the beach I do usually tend to read whatever I was already reading, but when packing beach books I'll go in one of two rather unconventional directions - fantasy adventure books, or contemporary thrillers. Maybe I just feel the need to counteract all the happy sunlight vibes, but there we go.

 Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton 
A fast-paced fantasy, based around a journey, inspired by cowboys and the Middle East, Rebel of the Sands is an exciting but easy read. Perfect to read whilst relaxing on the beach! 


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Two Londons, magical creatures named after landmarks and stations throughout the city, talking rats, a pair of disgustingly creepy villains... what could be better to read on the beach?! Neverwhere is a magically-fuelled adventure following Richard's journey to London Below - a city inhabited by the people who fell through the cracks in the world.


A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab 
Now here, V. E. Schwab takes it up a notch. This time, we have four London's to contend with. (Although I love all the multiple London books, where's the book about two or more Manchester's? Come on, people - we've been voted the best UK city for years on end!) 
. . . anyway.
A Darker Shade of Magic, as mentioned, is another magical adventure novel based in London(s). It's about Kell, one of the last antari who can travel between the Londons. It's also about Lila, a cross-dressing pirate thief from Grey London (aka the London we know). It's about how the two of them meet and what happens when they do. Another light-hearted, but at the same time thrilling and gripping beach read.


Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas 
 Although Dangerous Girls may not seem like the most typical beach read, I can definitely picture reading it by the sea. It's mostly set in Aruba, and as I mentioned I enjoy reading contemporary thrillers on the beach, so to me, this book just makes perfect sense. It follows the story of Anna, who's away with friends during spring break when her best friend Elise is found murdered in her room, and Anna is seen as the prime suspect.


Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot 
I think this is possibly my most serious choice... it's definitely the one happy, light hearted book on my list. On my shelves, actually.
Ok, so whose inner thirteen year old self was hugely excited to discover that Meg Cabot was writing an 11th Princess Diaries book, set in present day and aimed at adult readers? *sticks up hand*. Royal Wedding is the feel good beach book that you need to read this summer if you loved The Princess Diaries series as a kid. 


What are your perfect books to read at the beach? Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Unpopular Bookish Opinions Tag

Today we decided to do the unpopular bookish opinions tag - because doesn't everyone love a bit of controversy? These are just our opinions, so feel free to disagree with us, but lets keep it civil!

We tag everyone who's reading this post to do this tag!

1. A popular book or series that you didn't like.
Angharad: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. 
I didn't hate this book but I didn't love it. It just felt too slow and uneventful for me and as much as I love Kestrel, her love interest who's name I can't even remember?? Well, I didn't like him and I wasn't overly fond of their relationship. I wish it was just more Kestrel with her brilliant mind. 
Becky: The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. 
I read the first book in this series, wasn't into it at all, and to this day I just don't get the hype. I didn't enjoy the plot or the writing style, and the main character (who's name I can't remember... Juliette, apparently?) just irritated me nonstop. I really wanted to like this series, because not only was I really interested in the synopsis, but the covers are so gorgeous and I wanted to have those beauties on my shelves.


2. A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love. 
A: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.
I admit I read this a long time ago so my opinion of it has changed since then but at the time I bloody loved it. I loved Patroclus and Achilles and I loved their relationship. A lot of people hate it and compare it to a 'published fan fiction' and I can see their point but a part of my heart will always love this book and the amount of tears it made me spill. 
B: Sleepwalking by Nicola Morgan. 
It's not that I think people actively dislike this book, more just that I don't think many people have heard of it. I read it when I was twelve as part of the little English Lit club I was in in High School where we were given books to review for some sort of national competition, and I fell in love with it. This is the book that got me into dystopian fiction. I re-read it a couple of years ago, and although I can now see that this book is far from perfect, there are definitely multiple books out there that I would have never looked twice at if it wasn't for this book. 


3. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with, OR an OTP that you don't like.
*spoilers for the Grisha trilogy below*
A: Alina and The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy.
Alina and the Darkling were equals - equal in power. To be with Mal, Alina had to sacrifice her power. Why should she do that? Why did she have to become less to be with Mal? I'm not saying her relationship with Aleksander was perfect but I hate the idea that she had to change to be with Mal whereas Aleksander would have welcomed her as his equal. 
B: I've got to agree with Angharad on this one - Alina and Mal shouldn't have been together. Mal didn't even pay attention to Alina until it turned out that she was the Sun Summoner - in fact, even though they were best friends, he just didn't seem to be very nice to her at all until she became "worth something". I didn't like him as a character at all. Yeah, so The Darkling may have been just a little bit crazy and evil, but to this day I still stand by my opinion that Alina should've ended up with him. 


4. A popular book genre that you hardly reach for. 
A: magic realism.
It isn't because I don't like this genre, it is purely because I haven't read much of it. One of the books on my TBR list is 'The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender' which fits into this genre and I'm really looking forward to it. It's just not a genre I'm educated in. 
B: I rarely read classics. I think the memory of trying to read Jane Eyre when I was about eight and not understanding half of the old English words still puts me off. I don't read much crime/thriller fiction either, but on the occasions that I do, I tend to love it, so I should probably start reading more of that genre!


5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like. 
A: Sloane from Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson.
I'm not really sure if Sloane is popular seeing as this is the only Morgan Matson book I've read but I finished it recently and Sloane immediately popped into my head. I think she was quite manipulative of Emily when they were together and made her do some things she wasn't comfortable with doing. I've had a friend like Sloane and now I'm away from that friendship, I can see the problems and so her character didn't sit well with me. 
B: Adelina from The Young Elites by Marie Lu. 
When I first came across The Young Elites, everyone went on about how Adelina was a really badass protagonist, but honestly, I just couldn't see it. It wasn't just that though - I didn't connect with her at all.


6. A popular author that you can't seem to get into.
A: Cassandra Clare (but for many reasons).
It's not that I can't get into Cassandra's writing, it's just that I've seen a lot of problematic things about her on the internet (such as plagiarism and general cruelty to her fans) so she's an author whose books I will not read in the future. 
B: Stephen King.
I really struggle with Stephen King's books, even though I feel like if I could get through one, I'd really enjoy his writing! 


7. A popular book trope that you're tired of seeing.
A: Love at first sight when the two characters don't even know each other but dive into a relationship.
"Oh my god, I love him so much. He's my life, I would die for him." Yeah but do you even know his birthday?? It just doesn't feel right to me. Yeah, he's attractive and seems amazing and you feel this 'pull' towards him but come on girl, get to know each other first because chances are, he's a dick. 
B: The "I'm a young teenage girl living in a ruined world but I'm strong and I'll learn to fight/steal/hunt/control and use my magical powers to protect my family" protagonist.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this sort of main character when it's done well, but quite a few times now I've seen carbon copies of Katniss that just don't work. Where's the backstory? How did the character get this way? Please just tell me and then I'll be perfectly happy with this sort of character!


8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading.
A: The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare.
When Lady Midnight came out, pretty much everyone on social media screamed for about a month and so for that month, I taught myself 'selective eyesight' as I like to call it. For reasons stated about Cassandra Clare, I have no interest in reading this series. 
B: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
I'm fairly sure that I will read this series eventually, but I've tried to start the first one a couple of times now and never got past the first few pages without getting distracted by another book. 


9. The saying goes "the book is always better than the movie", but what movie or TV show adaptation do you like more than the book?
A: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I did not like the book purely because I'm not a fan of novels written in diary format. I did like it at the time, I did resonate with Charlie and there are some beautifully written lines BUT I just liked the movie better, I loved seeing it all play out visually. Also, the soundtrack was A++.
B: I haven't actually seen the film, but I'm gonna go off trailers/good authority and say The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I couldn't stand the books so, even from the snippets I've seen of it, I'm assuming the film was better.

also, *whispers*, The Lord of the Rings. I'm SO sorry. I just find it so difficult to make it through the books and it's one of the few instances where I watched the films before reading the books and agh, the films are just so much more enjoyable, whereas the books feel like a monumental task that you need to approach with caution. I'M SORRY.


Do you have any unpopular bookish opinions, or did you agree or disagree with any of our choices? 
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Favourite Villains

“But these words people threw around - humans, monsters, heroes, villains - to Victor it was all just a matter of semantics. Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” 

We are currently participating in the wonderful Monika's (printsnpixels) May Book Challenge over on our Instagram page. After seeing today's topic (Day 25 - Favourite Villain), we decided it was impossible to choose just one so we did the next logical thing and made a blog post about it.
+ So here are our top 5 favourite fictional villains (and the occasional anti-hero) +

1. The Commandant 
(An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir)
Picture Queen Ravenna in 'Snow White and the Huntsman' but ten times scarier. She is the main antagonist in this story and she never lets you forget it. After our main character, Laia, becomes a spy and is told to spy on the Commandant, her every move matters. This is a woman that whips people for being late and even disfigures them for no reason. She is the head of the Academy and one of the most powerful people in the Empire.

2. Bellatrix Lestrange
(Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
Could any list be made without featuring this series? We decided choosing Voldemort would be too obvious but then we realised Bellatrix is ten times more frightening anyway. Everything from her devotion to her master, what she did to the Longbottoms and Hermione and the way she does it all with a baby voice is enough to make you uncomfortable. 

3. The Darkling
(Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo)
After the first book, I essentially carried on reading this series for the Darkling - in my opinion, he's what really makes the series. A beautifully, tragically written character who pulls you between loving and hating him (I mean, I always loved him, but still). The Darkling is the leader of the Grisha order in this series - the one Grisha who can summon darkness. When Alina gets tangled up with the Grisha, she must confront the Darkling, his secrets, and his ambitions for her and for the kingdom of Ravka.

4. Koschei
(Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente)
Koschei the Deathless is described as being 'to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories' aka, apparently, my perfect boyfriend. I'm not even exaggerating, I'm literally just in love with all three of my favourite villains. Koschei, the Tsar of Life, is greedy, selfish, all encompassing and cruel, yet despite all this, you often find yourself rooting for him. 

5. Rhysand
(A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas)
Now, I think both of us have made it clear how we feel about Rhys in A Court of Mist and Fury. However, in A Court of Thorns and Roses, where he is portrayed as one of the main antagonists, he is still an amazing character, one that you instantly want to know more about and anticipate the next time that he'll appear. Despite supposedly being the bad guy in the first book, and playing up to that role at many points, there is definitely a lot of foreshadowing to how he's going to be in A Court of Mist and Fury. 


What are some of your favourite villains? Or are there some characters that are portrayed as villains when they shouldn't be? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Ten Books That We Feel Differently About Now That Time Has Passed

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is ten books that we feel differently about now that time has passed! We were really excited about this topic - don't you always find that you can love a book upon finishing it, but dislike it years down the line, and vice versa? 

As always, we've picked five books each! 

Angharad's Picks: 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I first read this book pretty much when it came out and at the time as I wasn’t a huge reader, I thoroughly enjoyed it as I had nothing to compare it too. However, now that many years have passed and my ‘read’ pile has grown significantly, I realise that I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I did. In fact, I preferred the movie version.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I read this book, I went to DNF it but then I tried again. I read it and rated it 2/5 stars but I rated its sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury, 5/5 stars. Looking back, I know my main problem with the first book was Tamlin. I don’t like abusive characters being romanticised and I felt like he was. However, I now appreciate the world-building and Feyre’s character development. 

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
This is a short story and by short, I mean like less than 100 pages. I loved it so so much after reading it but as time has passed, I wish this had been made into a full-length novel because it had SO much more to give.

The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne
I read this book last year when I was going through my annual ‘crime-thriller’ phase so I read this novel among many others and I feel like although I loved it, I didn’t appreciate it enough. I loved the spooky, desolate setting and more than once it made chills run down my spine. Realistic and scary and I do recommend it if you like this genre!

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
I read this book a while back and I rated it 3/5 stars. I didn’t enjoy it that much but I hear that the next two books are definitely an improvement. Thinking back, I really enjoy the character of Kestrel and I am interested to see where her journey goes. It is refreshing to have a fantasy character that relies on her brains and isn’t a good fighter. They are equally as dangerous.


Becky's Picks:

Deathless by Catherynne M Valente
When I read Deathless, I did really enjoy it. I gave it five stars and immediately classed it as being amongst my favourite books. However, after reading it a second time, I can see that there's so many little things I missed the first time round. This is such a perfectly complex book, and it'll definitely take me a few reads to fully appreciate everything that it has to offer. 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I adored the first book of this series, but was really disappointed with Ruin and Rising, and I think I let this change my opinion on the trilogy as a whole (for the worst). I fell back in love with Leigh Bardugo's writing after reading Six of Crows, and now I've learned to appreciate Shadow and Bone as though it was a standalone. Plus, if I ignore the final book, I can pretend that Alina ends up with the right person... 

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
When I read Red Queen, I felt as though I'd read something really new and unique, but when the sequel came out I just couldn't bring myself to be bothered about it - in fact, although I probably will read it eventually, I still haven't got around to it. Unfortunately, this is just one of those books that I found faded away with time as I read books that I preferred. 

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Like many people did, I got swept right into the hype surrounding The Mortal Instruments. I couldn't get enough of the series and basically counted down the days until City of Heavenly Fire was released. Back when I read them, I rated each book five stars. Now that a couple of years have passed, and now that I've seen the Shadowhunter franchise be dragged through a film and a netflix show, I can definitely say I'm way over it. (P.S. it's very likely that I'll still read the rest of the Shadowhunter books though...)

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Now before I say this, don't get me wrong - I will always love The Hunger Games. This is the trilogy that got me back into reading in the first place, and I'll be forever grateful to Suzanne Collins for that. When I hadn't read a book properly for a long time and decided to pick up The Hunger Games not long before the film came out so I could go and watch it (despite my reading drought, I still firmly believed in reading the book before watching the film) I thought it was by far the best thing I've ever read. Now I can see that, although I do love the books and still enjoy re-reading this series, my severe lack of literature for a couple of years was probably the reason that I thought so highly of it. 

Thursday, 19 May 2016

A-Z Bookish Survey Tag

Today we are doing the A-Z Bookish Survey tag created by the wonderful Perpetual Page Turner.
We tag whoever reads this and feel free to tag us to yours in the comments. So without further ado, here are our answers.

+ Author you've read the most books from
George R.R. Martin & J.K. Rowling

+ Best Sequel Ever + 
A Court of Mist and Fury (we both agree)

+ Currently reading +
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson & A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

+ Drink of Choice While Reading +
Cup of tea & smoothie/fruit juice

+ E-reader or physical book? +

+ Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated In High School 
The Darkling (because he's such a little goth) & Gansey (even with his boat shoes)

+ Glad You Gave This Book A Chance +
Assassins Apprentice by Robin Hobb & Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

+ Hidden Gem Book +
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma & Defiance by C.J. Redwine

+ Important Moment In Your Reading Life +
When I read The Hunger Games and rediscovered my love for reading & receiving a book from my grandmother before she passed away.

+ Just Finished +
This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab

+ Kinds of Books You Won't Read +
Dull Romances & Non-Fiction

+ Longest Book You've Read +
ASOIAF series 

+ Major Book Hangover Because of +
A Court of Mist and Fury (yes, again)

+ Number of Bookcases You Own +

+ One Book You Have Read Multiple Times +
Throne of Glass by Sarah J.Maas & The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

+ Preferred Place To Read +
In bed (or on it)

+ Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read +
"It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on..." - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
"I do not want to be human. I want to be myself. They think I'm a lion, that I will chase them. I will not deny that I have lions in me. I am the monster in the wood. I have wonders in my house of sugar. I have parts of myself I do not yet understand.
I am not a Good Robot. To tell a story about a robot who wants to be human is a distraction. There is no difference. Alive is alive.
There is only one verb that matters: to be." - Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente

+ Reading Regret +
Not reviewing books on Goodreads sooner & deciding to stop reading for over two years

+ Series You Started And Need To Finish +
Shatter Me series

+ Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books +
A Court of Mist and Fury, Six of Crows and Deathless
The Book Thief, Vicious and The Nightingale 

+ Unapologetic Fangirl For +
Sarah J. Maas & The Raven Cycle

+ Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others +
Crooked Kingdom & Empire of Storms

+ Worst Bookish Habit +
Dog-earring my pages & my inability to DNF anything

+ X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book +
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas and What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

+ Your Latest Book Purchase +
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas & Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

+ Zzz-snatcher Book (last book that kept you up way too late) +
A Court of Mist and Fury (the answer to everything)

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

This Savage Song - V. E. Schwab

This Savage Song is the story of Kate and August, the heirs to the two men in charge of either half of Verity, a city torn by monsters that are formed from the violent acts of sinners: the Corsai, formed of shadow and feeding on flesh; the Malchai, the blood drinkers who roam the streets; and the rare Sunai, the coal-eyed, human-like soul eaters. Kate and August, through family feuds, should be enemies. This is what happens when their lives collide. 

we were both sent this book by the publisher, Titan Books, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are our own.

Becky's Thoughts:

This Savage Song is definitely unlike anything I've ever read before, and it was right up my street. A dark urban fantasy written from two points of view, some amazing badass characters, an ending full of suspense and leaving me needing the sequel already, and on top of that, monsters?! This book was amazing! I feel like I've read so many books about vampires, werewolves, fairies, angels and demons, chimaera, even zombies, but monsters seem to be often sadly left out of fiction. I'm officially putting out a call to action for more monster related books to be written. 

Anyway, this book. it was perfectly written and laid out, with the sections being titled as verses, and the idea of the story being a song was prevalent throughout. 

Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal.
Sing you a song and steal your soul.

I was so hooked on this book that I was genuinely counting down the minutes until I could carry on reading it whenever I wasn't able to. I connected with the characters so well, and a relatable character is one of the main necessities in a book in my opinion. 

First, there's Kate, the daughter of crime lord Callum Harker who runs one half of the city. She was a character who I fell in love with straight away. She distances herself from others and shrouds herself in anger in an attempt to impress her father, but has deeply hidden secrets and problems that she buries. August is the adopted son of Henry Flynn, who runs the other side of the city. August is a monstrous boy who just wants to be normal. I loved both of these characters, as well as their interactions with each other and the way that their friendship developed through the book. They are completely different, but complement each other perfectly, and this development and their journeys, both separately and together, are at the heart of the plot. The story also revolves around the idea of looking at who is truly the monster in the situation; those who are called monsters, or the men who use and control them. 

As I said earlier, this book is so unique and I did thoroughly enjoy it. It's not even been released yet, and I'm already anticipating the sequel!

Angharad's thoughts:

+ V.E. Schwab can do no wrong when it comes to writing monsters. She takes the concept of them (which has been done so many times) and turns it on its head. This novel doesn’t only explore monsters vs monsters but more importantly, the roles humans play in showing that not all monsters are monstrous and not all humans are good.

“It hurts,” he whispered.
“What does?” asked Kate.
“Being. Not being. Giving in. Holding out. No matter what I do, it hurts.”
Kate tipped her head back against the tub. “That’s life, August,” she said. “You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts."

+ I love that at the heart of this story is the friendship between Kate and August. Yes, you heard me, friendship. Whether or not their relationship develops in the sequel remains to be seen but at the moment, I am so happy with their journey as friends. I think authors can forget the strength in friendship. Kate and August are polar opposites (not just because they are different species) and yet they come together to form a mutual trust and a formidable team. They sacrifice a lot for each other and I’m exciting to see where their journey takes them.

“I read somewhere,” said Kate, “that people are made of stardust.”
He dragged his eyes from the sky. “Really?”
“Maybe that’s what your made of. Just like us.”
And despite everything, August smiled.

+ Kate Harker is a wonderfully written character. We meet her as she is burning down her boarding school’s chapel. Yep. After the death of her mother, Kate’s father sent her to six different boarding schools, all of which she purposefully got kicked out of. Her goal is not just to live with her father but to be like her father. Kate commits cruel acts but she has a good heart. She thinks this is the only way to win her father’s approval. She is brave but lonely, automatically isolating herself as she doesn’t want to do anything that will make her father class her as weak. She finds solace with August who doesn’t judge her because she is the daughter of an important (but assholish figure.) 

Kate smiled at the praise, even if it was an act. She’d show him. She could be strong. She could be cunning. She could be cold.

+ August is one of the three monsters in this book. He is a Sunai, a creature that is able to lure victim’s towards them with music only to kill them by feeding on their soul. He sounds scary right? Nope. August is a little golden retriever. He dotes on his adoptive family, wishes he was normal and has a very good heart. I loved his relationship with his sister, Isla (who I want to see a LOT more of in the sequel) and he is proof that not all monsters have a monstrous heart.

I am not a monster, that’s what he wanted to say, but he couldn’t. He hadn’t found a way to make it true.

+ One thing that I loved in this book was the mention of disabilities. Kate has lost her hearing in one ear and that is never mentioned and then forgot about a chapter later. It hinders her a lot but she still pushes on. August, due to the hunger that he often experiences, develops moments of sensory overload. As a person on the autistic spectrum, I too suffer with this and V.E. Schwab described these episodes in perfect detail. People just don’t get it when I can sometimes shout “It’s too loud!” so it’s so refreshing that this is explored. 

August cringed; the overhead lights were too bright, the scraping of chairs too sharp. Everything was heightened, like the volume on his life was turned up but not in an exciting way. Noises were too loud and smells too strong and pain -- which he did feel -- too sharp.

+ Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I did enjoy Vicious more so that’s why I’ve knocked off half a star. I can’t wait for the sequel so I can lose myself in the world V.E. Schwab has created. If you want a book with a strong friendship, flawed but wonderfully written characters and monstrous worlds, then this is the one for you.

This Savage Song is released on the 7th June in the UK and the 5th July in the US.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Ten Books Picked Up On A Whim

This week's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the amazing The Broke and the Bookish is 'Top Ten Books Picked Up On A Whim.' We have combined some books that we bought without much knowledge of them but ended up loving. 

Becky's choices +

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas I picked up Throne of Glass at Waterstones on a whim, during one of the many times that I needed to get a second book for the buy one get one half price offer. I saw the cover, read the blurb and thought I’d maybe enjoy it a little bit, and that if nothing else, it’d at least be an interesting, light hearted read. I definitely didn’t expect it to be the start of one of my favourite series! The book follows the beginning of the story of Celaena, Adarlan’s best assassin, as she is released from her imprisonment in order to take part in a competition to become the crown’s royal assassin.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Around the time that I really started getting into YA books, I got Daughter of Smoke and Bone for Christmas. Again, this series is now one of my all time favourites, so big thanks go to my Uncle for picking it up for me. It’s the story of Karou, a girl half of this world and half not, as she navigates the secrets surrounding her past and the monsters she works for.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir I genuinely don’t know how I ended up getting hold of An Ember in the Ashes. I’d heard nothing about it, never even heard of the title or author before, but it appeared on Amazon and I immediately bought it there and then just after reading the small synopsis. The book, set in a land inspired by Ancient Rome, follows Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier, and how their worlds collide.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh A beautiful, modern retelling of Arabian Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is the story of Shahrzad and Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. I downloaded the free Kindle sample of this, was immediately sucked into the story, and knew that I had to order a hardback of it straight away.

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen This is the story of Kelsea, the young heir to the throne of a torn kingdom, trying to learn how to bring peace to the land as well as contending with the Red Queen of Mortmesne. This is another book that I stumbled across during a time when I had nothing to read and was looking for something simple that I could get through quickly and easily, and it turned out to be a really interesting story! I can’t wait for the third instalment of this series to come out later this year.

+ Angharad's choices +

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
One of my all time favourite books 'Before I Die' was written by the same author so when I saw this in Waterstones, I automatically grabbed it without even reading the synopsis. I'm such a fan of Jenny Downham's writing style. Unbecoming tells the story of three generations of women and it deals with dementia, family and truth.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I know it's hard to believe that I picked up this book on a whim considering how much hype was surrounding it but, yep, I did. In my defence, it was before I had Goodreads and before I discovered Booktube so I was pretty much living under a rock. I had previously read the Grisha trilogy and although that series should have ended after the first book, I was still a fan of the world Leigh had created. Six of Crows tells the story of six misfits who come together to attempt a dangerous heist.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Yes, it may have the world's longest title and that's probably what drew me towards it in the book shop. The beautiful cover and promising synopsis was also a winner. This book tells the story of Aristotle and Dante as they develop an unlikely friendship and eventually fall in love.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
I bought this after seeing it in the same section as 'Dare Me' in the book shop. I have always been fascinated with the complexity of teenage girls and their friendships and the authors brave enough to delve into that world. This book follows the story of a group of friends that go on holiday but tragedy strikes when one girl is found brutally murdered. Anna, our protagonist and the victim's best friend, is framed for the crime but is everything as it seems?

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
I think this book is pretty much unknown in the book community so I had no knowledge of it until I was browsing the Crime Fiction section of Waterstones. I've grown up loving this genre and this book's blurb just drew me in. It tells the story of Ted and Lily, strangers who meet at an airport bar. After revealing secrets to one another, Ted reveals that he believes his wife is having an affair and he could kill her for what she's done. Without a beat, Lily wants to help plan the murder and so a dark plan is formed.

What are some books you picked up on a whim?
Let us know in the comments.