Book Beginnings and The Friday 56- The Bone Season

Saturday, 30 July 2016
On Fridays I will share excerpts from whatever I am reading that day. First, Book Beginnings hosted by Rose City Reader  then The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

First share the opening lines of your novel, then turn to page 56 (or 56%) and share a few lines!


This week's book is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon.

Beginning: "I like to imagine there were more of us in the beginning. Not many, I suppose. But more than there are now."

Page 56: "The first stain of dawn had touched the spires. The voyants came out after their keepers, three or four to each group. I was the only one with an individual keeper."

Thoughts: I bought this novel a couple of years ago, but only just felt like picking it up now. The ending is quite intriguing, and any fantasy novel featuring magic is always a winner with me!

Happy reading and have a lovely weekend!!

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My Last Review

Book Review- Insurgent

Thursday, 28 July 2016
Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 525
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Series: Divergent #2

Rating: 3/5

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian DIVERGENT series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature. -Goodreads

This is the second book in the Divergent series, and I've tried not to write any spoilers, but if you haven't read this novel, beware!!
Perhaps I shouldn't have but I watched the movie adaptation of this novel with my flatmate earlier this year before I read the book, and they are so different! I actually much prefer the movie, I prefer the characters of Tris and Tobias, and I prefer the way the plot is told. The only the element I preferred in the book was some of the extra characters that we don't see in the movie, especially the one's that Tris is friends with in the Dauntless faction especially. Characters like Lynn and Zeke who (if I remember the movie correctly) don't feature, or at least not very prominently. I liked these characters, and I liked the insights we got into other minor characters' backgrounds, like their families and siblings.
This novel is again told through Tris' point of view, and this was one of my main problems with the novel, Tris is a dislikeable narrator. Her voice irritated me, and this did sour my reading of the novel. On another point I had no idea that she was only 16, I presumed she was older, she doesn't really speak or act like a 16 year old at all! Her reckless behaviour and her keeping things from Tobias just to give the novel some drama was really irritating, I hate it when a couple in YA can't just tell each other things, and the excuse "I did it to protect them" drives me crazy!!! 
I quite liked Tobias in this novel, I thought the struggle within him about his parents was very interesting to read about, and the element with his new fear added to my idea of his character, and gave us a better insight into him.
I did like how grief was depicted in this novel, Roth has a nice way of writing emotions and getting across how a character feels at a particular time. Tris' grief over certain characters deaths was well handled by the author, the way that grief affected her felt real and seemed realistic to how both she would react, and how many others would react too. 
This is a very action packed sequel, which is good because it didn't feel like it was a filler book being used to set up plot points for the third book, it felt like a good book that could stand up on its own. The plot was fast paced throughout, this made the book a very quick read, and also left us with a nice cliff hanger for the last book in the series.
However I was disappointed with how Roth dealt with explaining the world she had created to the readers. I still have loads of unanswered questions and very little grasp of how the city came to be split into factions, and no idea how the rest of the world is set up. Perhaps these things will be explained in the third book, but I normally prefer to have some of my questions answered by the end of the second novel in a trilogy.
Overall I gave this novel 3/5 stars, I thought it was an ok sequel, but I was a little disappointed by certain elements of the novel. I will be reading the last novel in this series, however, and I will be posting a review in the coming weeks!

Happy Reading!

My Last Review

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Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thought #4

Wednesday, 27 July 2016
This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Bookishly Boisterous (link here) where you can write about anything that's happening in your life, book related or not!


1. Firstly apologies for the lack of posts over the last month or so. I've been in a massive panic trying to find another flat to stay in after my landlord asked me to move out of my current one. The stress was multiplied because my flatmate is away in America for the whole summer, so I have had to sort everything myself. Thankfully everything seems to be almost sorted now, I'm signing the lease on a new property in the next week or so, and should be able to move everything from the old flat to the new flat before the deadline! That is my feeble excuse for not posting, but I get anxious about these things, and struggle to find the motivation to blog when I'm not feeling calm!!

2. I've also been working loads over these holidays. I've had 4-5 shifts every week, which is great for my bank balance, not so great for my reading! I also got a pay rise a couple of weeks ago, so that's helping too!! I work in a cafe in a soft play area, which is a popular place during wet Scottish summers, so I am pretty tired when I come home from shifts, and would rather stare mindlessly at a tv show than try and engage in a book. Excuses, excuses, I know!!

3. I just want to take a moment in this post to say how horrible the news has been these past weeks. Although it is such an unpleasant experience reading about the events I think it is our duty to be fully informed about the horrific attacks that are occurring all across the world. It doesn't matter where they occur, it is still a horrific attack on humans and humanity, and a tragic cutting short of lives, some of which hadn't even fully begun. It seems that every morning when I wake up some other attack has occurred somewhere in the world, and it can be depressing to read about. Something that makes me feel slightly better is reading about the response to these attacks. Things like the hashtags that trended after the Nice and Munich attacks with people offering their homes to others to shelter in. These things always remind me that humanity as a collective is better than these individuals who decide to do these deplorable acts. 
Sorry for that serious point, I just felt that I needed to mention it.

4. I did get quite a few books in the past couple of months. I had a £20 book token to spend so I bought The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (this one has been on my TBR for a while, loads of people on the internet rave about it), Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (I had never heard of this one, but it looked really good so I bought it on a whim!), The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (her second book has just been published, and I wanted to pick this one up, also the cover is absolutely gorgeous!) and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (this one has been all over twitter too, so I wanted to see what the excitement was all about). I was also given a copy of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins from a member of my family to read, hopefully I'll get to it soon!

5.I finally started reading the first book for next semester at Uni. I've been meaning to start reading them for a couple of weeks but I just got around to it last night. The first one is Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, which is for my Multi-Ethnic American Fiction module. It seems like quite a quick read, and even making notes as I go it doesn't seem like it will take much time to get through. Thats a relief, because there's 5 or 6 others that I need to read and annotate before mid-September!

6. This week's (plus some extra mentions) TV/Movies:

  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries- Series 1 and 2. This is my current tv obsession, 1920s glamour plus Australian accents, plus a female detective, and one of the best will they/won't they couples ever makes a great tv show!! Honestly check this out, I know its on UK Netflix, and the relationship between Miss Fisher and Jack is the best thing ever!!! It's a light-hearted show, definitely recommend!
  • Friday Night Dinner- Series 4. This is a Channel 4 sitcom about a Jewish family who meet for dinner every friday night, and its the funniest thing ever! I watched the rest of the series last year, and its all available on Channel 4 On Demand, and possible Amazon Prime. I highly recommend if you're looking for a hilarious, laugh out loud show (episodes are only 25 mins each, so easy to binge!!).
  • Slow West- 4/5. This is a movie about a Scottish teenager who travels to America in the 1800s to find the woman he loves. It stars Michael Fassbender as a bounty hunter who takes the boy under his wing, doing a very respectable American accent, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the teenager. His Scottish accent isn't quite as good as Fassbender's Amercian, but he give a good performance. This movie was enjoyable overall, and had an action packed finale!
  • Torchwood- Series 1. I own all the series of Torchwood on DVD and decided to begin re-watching them on a whim. Torchwood is a spin-off series of Doctor Who, although its much grittier and more adult! It stars John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, and rewatching this just reminded me how much I love Harkness, and made me want to rewatch Doctor Who too!
Happy Reading!!

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Shelf Control 26/07/16

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

This is a weekly feature that I will be posting on a Tuesday, where I will be spotlighting a book that I have on my shelves that I haven't read. This is a great idea for a weekly post, as I have loads of unread books, and i find it really interesting to read why others have purchased and want to read certain books!! This is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

This Week's Book:

Title: The Axeman's Jazz
Author: Ray Celestin
Published: 2014
Pages: 412

Synopsis: New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him…
Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret – and if he doesn’t find himself on the right track fast – it could be exposed…
Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca finds himself working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities’.
Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency.Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her trumpet-playing friend, Lewis ‘Louis’ Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger…
As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city… -Goodreads
How/When I Got It: 
I bought this novel last year from a supermarket, it was on offer, so I thought it was worth picking it up.

Why I Want To Read It:
Firstly this picture doesn't do the front cover justice, it feels like parchment and the title is embossed and the whole book just feels and looks great! Also the novel sounds exciting, and it sounds like an interesting setting so I'm hopeful to get to it soon!

Happy Reading!!

My Last Review

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Book Review- Twenty-Four Shadows

Sunday, 17 July 2016
Title: Twenty-Four Shadows
Author: Tanya J. Peterson
Pages: 394
Genre: Fiction, Psychology, Contemporary

Rating: 3/5

In her eye-opening and heartrending fourth novel, award winning author Tanya J. Peterson takes us inside the anguished mind of Isaac Bittman-an average family man whose mysterious and progressively violent mood swings, many of which he cannot remember, begin to unravel the lives of those closest to him. After a series of bizarre encounters, including losing his job and waking up half-dead in the wilds of Idaho, he begins treatment at a revolutionary mental health facility, where the childhood trauma he's repressed for decades leads to revelations that his personality has splintered into twenty-four shadows, or "alters." The novel intricately weaves together Isaac's internal angst and his wife and best friend's struggles to retain both a private and public semblance of normalcy. Stark and realistically rendered, Twenty-Four Shadows delves into the thought processes and erratic habits of a regular man dealing with life-altering mental illness, providing an empathetic, insightful glimpse into a misunderstood and often stereotyped condition. -Goodreads

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Apprentice House in return for an honest review.
This is Peterson's fourth novel, and I'll be honest I hadn't heard of her before I requested the novel, I thought the premise sounded intriguing and wanted to check it out. This was a very interesting novel, the topic was absolutely fascinating, the only thing that let it down for me a little was the actual storytelling. The science and information that the author told us was really interesting and also very well told, the problem for me was the story that she tried to weave around the information just fell through.
The novel revolves around a man called Isaac, who after going missing, is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, basically he has 24 personalities inside his conscious mind. This novel doesn't have much action, most of it is the characters coming to terms with Isaac and the disorder, especially his close family; his wife and 5 year old son.
The lack of action and slow pacing made this novel quite difficult to get through, and although the subject matter was really fascinating to me, I would have liked perhaps a little more action to keep me engrossed.
The only other aspect of the novel I was a little irritated by was some of the characters reactions. Especially in the beginning of the novel, where Isaac is experiencing long periods of time which he can't then remember, the characters acted very un-realistically for me. His wife and his best friend realise and acknowledge that he has these periods of forgotten time, and instead of thinking it might be early-onset Alzheimers or maybe a brain tumour, they instead decide to ignore it!! That seemed ridiculous to me, and at that point I did think about just putting the novel down, but I persevered through. I am glad I did, although the characters' reactions are un-lifelike at the beginning, the author writes some of her best work when describing their reactions to Isaac's diagnosis and his switching personalities. By the end of the novel the characters that Peterson had written were well-rounded and well-developed.
Overall I liked this novel, it introduced me to a fascinating subject that I now know much more about, and although the storyline could have been stronger, it was still an enjoyable read.
My thanks to Net Galley and Apprentice House.

Happy reading!!!

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