Nerdy Bookworm Box unboxing

So this month I received my first Nerdy Bookworm Box! The theme for November was Magical Beasts and I was soooo excited for this box! I love all things animal-related in books and especially magical beasts because they’re just so magical!

I have to say that the customer service from this subscription box was amazing – I asked to change my order and Jen was so lovely! I would definitely recommend trying out this book subscription service because of how much care goes into looking after the customers.

Right so on to the box! I got some really cute items in this box, all unicorns and beasts!

And the book for November was…

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MOON CHOSEN by P C Cast! I’ve never heard of this author but the book looks amazing and it’s HUGE! Plus the pages are decked so it just makes it all the more impressive. I can’t wait to get stuck into this book!!

My favourite item has to be the unicorn coaster – it’s just adorable and has such a cute quote on it. I was a little disappointed to see no dragon-related items in the box since they’re such a cool magical beast but other than that, I am very happy with my November Nerdy Bookworm Box!

Ivory and Bone book review

by Julie Eshbaugh (2016)Β Image result for starImage result for star

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Ivory and Bone is a book set in prehistoric times where hunting and making a family is the main focus of the people that live there. Clans have formed and not long ago one such clan separated, bringing revenge to the forefront of one particular person’s mind. Kol is the character through which we hear his voice and see things how he sees them; seventeen and looking for wife, Kol is feeling under pressure.

But then the cold and distant Mya arrives and suddenly Kol’s family’s past is stirred up as he discovers the truth about what happened on one hunting trip. Can Mya ever thaw to the affections of Kol or will the curious Lo capture Kol’s attention? With a pride and prejudice vibe, revenge and relationships bloom but will Kol and his family survive through it all?

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What started off well with a unique premise and amazing book cover to grab my attention, I had high hopes for this book. It’s set in the voice of Kol and we – the reader – are Mya and Kol talks as if speaking directly to Mya, like he’s telling her a story from his perspective of what happens between them. It begins with Mya asking Kol to tell her a story of the most marvellous day of his life, and the book follows Kol on his story.

With a short introduction into the life of Kol in his clan of hunting and gathering, the scene was set quickly and Mya soon arrived to steer the story on its path. From here on in, things remained quite stagnant with little happening and no progression with the relationship between Kol and Mya.

Lo enters the story and here things start to pick up speed a bit. The story finishes neither well nor bad, but the peoples’ lives are changed forever.

I struggled to pick up IAB and continue with the story – it didn’t captivate me and the most interesting thing that happened was something near the end, leaving me quite bored throughout the whole book. The story just didn’t reel me in and I found myself keen to finish the chapter and put down the book rather than get to the next chapter and read on. Maybe the setting wasn’t for me, but the only thing that kept me going was the pride and prejudice feel – I wanted to see what would happen with Mya and Kol.

Turning the last page, I felt relieved to have finally finished the story but it won’t be one I’ll read again. The writing felt a bit too simple at times (but maybe that was the point since the people are from prehistoric times) and I got confused with the time it was set in when Kol used the example of a drill – I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t know what a drill Β was then? But maybe I got the wrong idea.

I won’t be mentioning spoilers because not much really happened in the book anyway and what did happen, didn’t affect me in any way – it roused no kind of reaction from me. It was good to try something different, but unfortunately it wasn’t my kind of book – I prefer something with a lot more going on and one that grips me rather than leaves me indifferent to it.

Β Not a great book for me, but if you like things set in prehistoric times or want to try something different, then give it a go because it might be for you. Just because a book doesn’t suit one person doesn’t mean it won’t suit another but I’ll always be honest with my views for whether I did or did not enjoy a book.

Nevernight book review

by Jay Kristoff (2016)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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Well, this book was certainly different from anything I’ve ever read and whilst it intrigued me at first, I soon found myself becoming irritated by the format and not really interested in the story or its characters. It was a shame because the book was really hyped and I expected it to be a lot darker than it was, but maybe it just wasn’t for me.

Nevernight had an interesting premise of a girl seeking revenge who can command shadow; she goes to the Red Church to learn to become a deadly assassin so she can fulfill her promise to herself over something that happened to her family. Mia soon realises the hard task ahead, especially when friendships grow and the dream of becoming a Blade seems further out of her reach and who can be trusted in the Red Church?

So first off, the format of the book was set out so it started with a caveat emptor, as if the narrator is talking to you and is warning you about reading on. The first few chapter were split into sections with italics as someone reflected on the past, and normal text which focused on the present. I really liked the first three chapters because they sort of ran parallel with each other so a sentence was said in the italics bit and it was repeated in the normal text but in a different context. But this stopped and the italics became more reflective on a different part of Mia’s life and the normal text carried on with her life in the present.

What became clear from the start was that the narrator was not just in the third person, it was someone talking to you as the reader about this girl called Mia. They frequently made comments in the footnotes that were funny and sometimes satirical. The footnotes were really strange to get used to and sometimes I thought they were unnecessary and I sort of skimmed over them, but then they were sometimes quite amusing to read (especially where he mentioned that if you can’t see your cat right now, they are probably annoyed with you for reading all the time!).

Mia was a realistic character and I quite liked her, but I didn’t warm to her as much as I have with characters in other stories – she became a bit more likeable at the end when she seemed more human than how she had been described throughout the book. Mister Kindly, the living sort of cat shadow that stays with her and talks was the best character in the book. I found him more interesting to read about because there was one bit where his character changed and it was hard to figure out which side he was on (and I still don’t know).

The world that the book is set in involved a religious origin as one of the gods became angry at some point which resulted in no night ever – hence the name, Nevernight. This had interesting potential, but wasn’t really focused on that much for example, everyone seemed very used to the never-ending day light.

I just found the book really hard to pick up and carry on reading a lot of the time, I didn’t really care about any of the characters and my reactions to certain things that happened were quite neutral.

I think this book was probably just not for me, but it was different to read a book in such a strange and unfamiliar format.

So here come the spoilers – look away if you don’t want to be spoiled!

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The most shocking thing that happened was probably the bit with Tric where Ashlinn killed him in order to get away with her crime of letting the Luminatii into the Red Church and taking all the Shahiid’s for interrogation. Maybe it was because I hadn’t warmed to Tric so I didn’t really care about what happened to him (and to be fair Mia didn’t seem to either).

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Everything just felt a bit underwhelming.

My favourite character was Mister Kindly because I found him the most interesting thing in the whole book. I liked him at first, but when Mia doesn’t have nightmares one night, I really thought he had killed Lotti – I still think he may have had something to do with it because she was murdered at the same time that Mister Kindly had that moment of being unhappy with Mia’s lack of nightmares… Maybe it will come up in the next book?

I really think Mister Kindly is the best part of the book and I would be interested to find out which side he is really on and what happens in the next book with him, but I just didn’t like the story enough to bother reading the sequel.

Not a lot of stuff happened in this book that I was shocked by or remember because it was all just a bit meh.

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It’s a shame really because I really wanted to like this book, but it just wasn’t for me and I know a lot of people absolutely loved it and it’s one of their favourite books of 2016. Unfortunately I don’t feel the same but it was interesting to read a book with a different format including footnotes and a caveat emptor.

Oh well, sometimes you get those books that everyone says are amazing and they turn out to disappoint you – you just have to pick up something new!

Books and hype

Some books are hypedΒ so much pre-release but also after their release when the reviews come flooding in with 4 or 5 stars but what really disappoints me is when the book doesn’t live up to the hype. Is hype good for books and their promotion or not?

I love hype – I get so excited for the release of a book I’m looking forward to or I can’t wait to receive my book in the post after seeing the hype over it and deciding to give in and order it. But sometimes books are hyped too much that when you come to read it, you’re left feeling dissatisfied and maybe a little bit cheated – where was the book everyone was raving about?

Does the hype sometimes set the book in a different light so that you read it already swayed towards thinking about it in a certain way, or is the book actually just not that good for you? When I finish a book that was hyped about a lot and it wasn’t that good, I don’t know whether it’s because it doesn’t live up to the hype or whether it’s been hyped so much that I had expectations that were hard to meet. So is my review and rating actually what I think or how I’ve been led to feel following the disappoint of the book not living up to the hype?

And how do you feel after finishing a book that had so much hype about it when it wasn’t that good? Disappointed? Annoyed? It certainly must be a good thing for a book to have so much hype about it – more sales, more people recommending/reading it as well as the author getting more and more well known. But the hype can also be bad if people are left feeling like it didn’t meet expectations and so they’re more likely to be a bit tougher with their review.

I’ve certainly read books that I was excited to read after all the hype over it and found myself more irritated for wasting my time over something that wasn’t as great as it was made out to be. So does this mean my reviews are a true reflection over the book or is it circumstantial? Reviews and ratings should be taken seriously, but it must be remembered that if you read a book at a different time, the rating could easily be one star more or less.

And what do you do if you’re not enjoying a book that you bought due to the hype – carry on reading? I tend to always give it a good go and I rarely fail to finish a book, but sometimes I know that I won’t read this book again, or indeed get the sequel, so I try to get through to the end since I bought the book.

Hype is both a good and bad thing, but I think it’s more of a good thing than bad. After all, even though I didn’t enjoy the book, I still bought it and read it didn’t I so it’s always good for sales and getting more people reading it.

Which books have you read that didn’t live up to the hype for you, and would you still recommend them even if you didn’t enjoy them?

Empire of Storms book review

by S J Maas (2016)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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Oh gods what do I do now. One whole year till I can find out what happens and I’m just lost thinking about it. Empire of Storms was awesome but not my favourite book in the series and it took on quite a different path compared to the previous books in the series.

Aelin travels to Terrasen to assume the throne but she is met with obstacles from her own lords. Aelin sets out to find the two other Wrydkeys and stop Errawan, but other ancients are stirring and trust will be tested as the young Queen attempts to fight the Dark King and bring peace to Erilea.

This was one of those books that you are never bored reading, but you’ll suddenly find that you’ve read 200 pages and nothing has really happened. Nothing major happened in part one of the book, but Maas is one of those authors that can keep your attention throughout the story but she saves all the action right till the end. The ending of this book will leave you breathless and desperate for more – it really wasn’t something I saw coming at all.

The book starts off with Elena and Gavin who pop up throughout the book every now and then and we come to understand exactly what Elena did and why she appears to Aelin in her quest for the Wrydkeys. I have to say this wasn’t something I saw coming either, and what Elena did impacts upon Aelin in a way beyond anyone could have imagined.

All characters are featured in this book except Chaol and Nesryn which worked well for the story actually – I enjoyed the short story about Chaol at the end as it gave the reader satisfaction in knowing how he is faring since he is exempt from Empire of Storms.

One thing this book contained which the others didn’t was mature content and a lot more romanticism. While it added to the story sometimes, I think it was slightly unnecessary in parts because it took away from the focus of what the characters were doing and after a bit I was starting to think ‘is everyone going to get partnered at the end of this?’ because a lot of characters had some sort of romantic interest in EoS. But even then I was thinking, ‘why have these two been put together?’ because they just didn’t seem like they were being put together as it was benefiting the story and their character development, but just because.

One character I really liked in this book was Elide – she came across a lot stronger being away from Morath and I also actually loved the bit that Maas included about Elide starting her cycle and having to stop in her journey for supplies – one thing that a lot of fantasy books lack is acknowledgement of the fact that the female cycles and bleeds so it was great to just see it mentioned and not pushed back or left out. This if life, people!

So a lot of things happened in this book that I must mention so DO NOT READ on if you want to avoid spoilers!

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First off, I’m going to go through the many ships that occurred in this book – a whole fleet by the time the book had finished!

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So I was glad we finally saw Aelin and Rowan get together (though I think it was mentioned quite a lot how they basically couldn’t wait to have each other, which was a bit wearing after a bit and I kind of wanted to just shout ‘just do it already!’ after the amount of times they mentioned how much they wanted each other). Maas certainly knows how to write sex scenes and this one was written quite sweetly as well (until they were obsessed with biting and scratching each other to claim the other one).

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I just knew that Dorian and Manon would get together but I thought it would be in a more romantic way, but no, they basically just had sex then walked away – no sign of a relationship developing there, not at the moment anyway. And I did feel it was a little soon after Sorscha, but he did appear to just want sex and nothing else from Manon, who was happy for the same in return.

I found Lorcan and Elide a good match as friends with their parts in the book and I looked forward to their parts, but I just really didn’t see why they had to be partnered up! They could have just been good friends and it would have worked really well for the story – the romanticism between them was unnecessary and not needed, and the bit that they almost had sex was so strange and random.

I just knew that Aedion and Lysandra were going to be paired up too which, again, is sort of not needed and it doesn’t benefit the story in anyway. I felt by the end of the book that it was more of a dating frenzy than anything with everyone having some sort of love interest by the end of it.

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So besides the many ships, the story was just Aelin trying to find the Wyrdkeys and formulating plans and keeping secrets. I understand why she liked to keep secrets but it got to a point where she almost likes the dramatic effect of coming up with a plan all by herself and pulling it off without any help. I grew to dislike Aelin in this book, only a little bit but still I prefer the old Celaena who was more witty and vicious compared to cunning and distant.

 

There were quite a lot of fight scenes and I get a bit exhausted when they drag on but Maas manages to make them interesting and not too long that you start getting bored. I think some fights are an excuse to display the love of protection of one character over another though as you see Aedion worried for Lysandra and Lorcan worried for Elide (it’s always the males worried over the females).

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Okay so the ending.

THE ENDING.

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Dramatic is too light a word – it was unbelievable and I was left stunned after finishing the last chapter.

Right, so, Aelin finds out that she is basically going to die because of Elena and her mistake (that I didn’t even think was that bad, like people make mistakes and if no one told her what the Wrydkey was then how was she to know?) so she willingly goes to her death but what happens is worse.

Aelin gets tortured with WHIPS (please don’t do this Maas) which she despises with good reason, before being taken off by Maeve who is going to do gods knows what with her. She stuff her into a COFFIN and gods my heart was just being stamped on – how could Maas do this to Aelin?!

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It was just absolutely shocking and I have no idea what’s going to happen next with regards to Erilea and Terrasen, or indeed with Aelin and Rowan and whether they will both survive. I reckon Maas will definitely kill off at least one person, but I was surprised to find that no one died in this book – I was really expecting someone like Aedion or Lorcan to be killed off. But I suppose Maas is just partnering everyone up so that when someone or people do die in the last book, it will be all the more dramatic.

I couldn’t give Empire of Storms 5 stars despite loving the series and having given all the previous books 5 stars, because I just didn’t like the direction the story has taken now. What with mature content and all the ships (so many ships), I felt that it’s becoming more like ACOMAF and deviating from the Throne of Glass audience and its own direction.

I am so excited for the last book though – I can’t believe the last in the ACOTAR trilogy and the last in the Throne of Glass series are both coming out next year so that will be the ending to two brilliant series in 2017!

 

Author book events – S J Maas, Rainbow Rowell and Leigh Bardugo

(Sorry I was supposed to post this yesterday!)

So I met three authors last month – S J Maas on her Empire of Storms tour, and Rainbow Rowell and Leigh Bardugo on their Worlds Collide tour in the UK.

First, I met S J Maas and it was so surreal and weird I’m kind of like ‘did that even really happen?’. I’m so glad I got to meet her but unfortunately, my brain decided to stop and all I said to her was ‘how are you’ to which she replied and asked the same to me and I said ‘good thanks’ then basically moved on because she had finished signing my book – Β I’m always really aware of how long they have to be there for so I don’t want to take up their time. So yeah, not exactly how I imagined it – I wish I had asked her something like how does she come up with these brilliant book ideas or why did she do that to Aelin in Empire of Storms or justΒ something about her books. Oh well, I guess she hears it all the time about how much people love her books so I probably didn’t need to say it anyway!

On the plus side, I got to meet some really nice bookish people there and I even met Anissa from Fairyloot! The panel was really good and we got to hear from Maas about how she came about writing which was really interesting, as well as some funny little anecdotes. One annoying thing happened though – Maas said that she wasn’t going to spoil anything from Empire of Storms then one girl started asking a question and basically said something about the end with a couple of characters (I’ll never understand why some people find it physically impossibly to justΒ not say spoilers) but luckily most people didn’t hear it properly anyway.

I got my lovely Heir of Fire signed and my ACOTAR book stamped so I’m happy now and they’re going to sit on my bookshelf all proud that they’re signed πŸ™‚

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Then a couple of weeks later I got to meet Rainbow Rowell and Leigh Bardugo on their Worlds Collide tour (in a church of all places!) which was so good! They talked about their books and did a dramatic reading of each others’ books before they answered some questions.

The best bit was meeting the obviously and I’m so happy I’ve got my books signed by Rainbow Rowell but I was also really gladΒ to meet Leigh Bardugo – she’s so funny! I definitely need to read Six of Crows (I bought it this week) after hearing a snippet of Crooked Kingdom and I really hope Rainbow Rowell releases a new book soon – I need more Rainbow in my life!

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I always get so nervous going to see authors (I had never met any before this year!) but I love getting my books signed and the chance to meet the brilliant people who write my favourite booksΒ β™₯