Friday, 4 August 2017

Book Blogger Hop - (August 4th to 10th) #4

This Week's Question:

Do you ever go "way back" to when you first started blogging and look at your old review posts? Do you see any differences from then to now? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

My Answer:

Yes I do go back to read my old reviews every now and then. Previously when I used to go back to them, there was always something I wanted to change, or a sentence I needed to fix. Nowadays I avoid doing that and try to appreciate what I had written (including all the bad writing). In some of the reviews I notice a greater difference than others but I wouldn't say the difference is too drastic. I think the way I go about reviewing books and expressing myself is still the same, only my writing has become a little better, only a little!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Publication date: First published 1813
Page count: 279
Buy The Book: Amazon | Book Depository
Rating: 5/5


When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Some of my favourite moments in the book!

"There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense."

I really enjoyed the conversation between the sisters (Elizabeth and Jane) at this point. In particular, I was compelled by what Elizabeth tells her sister. So much of it I could relate to, especially as it's the sort of thoughts that pass through your mind as you're growing up. However, I feel you need a balance, you need some of Jane's optimism/positive outlook because there is always some good to discover around you.

"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."

I stopped breathing for a few seconds and had to put the book down! It was like this moment let loose a storm of emotions but most of all the tension between Darcy and Elizabeth was at its peak. I had to take a break after finishing that particular scene.

"'Tis an etiquette I despise,' said he. 'If he wants our society, let him seek it. He knows where we live. I will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours every time they go away and come back again.'"

This is exactly what I wanted to say to Mrs. Bennet, and in this case, Mr. Bennet put it perfectly to her.

"After tea, Mr. Bennet retired to the library, as was his custom, and Mary went up stairs to her instrument. Two obstacles of the five being thus removed, Mrs. Bennet sat looking and winking at Elizabeth and Catherine for a considerable time, without making any impression on them. Elizabeth would not observe her; and when at last Kitty did, she very innocently said, 'What is the matter mamma? What do you keep winking at me for? What am I to do?'
'Nothing child, nothing. I did not wink at you.' She then sat still five minutes longer; but unable to waste such a precious occasion, she suddenly got up, and saying to Kitty, 'Come here, my love, I want to speak to you,' took her out of the room. Jane instantly gave a look at Elizabeth which spoke her distress at such premeditation, and her intreaty that she would not give in to it. In a few minutes, Mrs. Bennet half-opened the door and called out,
'Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak with you.'
Elizabeth was forced to go."
This was ONE of my biggest laugh-out-loud moments of this book. I just couldn't stop laughing imagining Mrs. Bennet winking away at the table to get her daughters to leave so Jane and Mr. Bingley could be alone. What was most funny was the way Kitty casually exposed her mother!

My Thoughts

I can't believe it took me so long to finally read Pride and Prejudice. I had watched the adaptations and remakes, read books that were inspired by it but had never picked up the original. I thought I knew exactly how the original would play out, and nothing would surprise me. But I was swept off my feet. There were so many things I loved about it - the characters, the pace, the humour, and the interactions. I only picked a few of my favourite moments above, but I assure you, there were many more.

The pace is important to me because I tend to find myself easily losing interest if the story moves too slowly. But I enjoyed how the story unfolded, how it took the characters to different places and engaged the reader at every point. What I really came to appreciate is how even today I could relate with the story, that I found myself nodding along to some of the conversations in agreement, that some of the family dynamics/interactions from back then instantly reminded me of moments and events I had with my own family. 

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy's relationship was a rollercoaster of emotions - they both came face to face with their shortcomings and overcame them during the course of the book, this in turn brought them together. The ending was beautiful and it truly warmed my heart, I couldn't stop smiling for ages after reading the book. 

The Aftermath

The first thing I did after finishing Pride and Prejudice was re-watch the film (2005) - I saw it all in a new found light, it was even more beautiful than all the other times I had watched it! I am tempted to watch it again, but I want to watch all the other versions too. One of my all-time favourite Pride and Prejudice related things is the 'Lizzie Bennet Diaries' on Youtube. I watched it about 4 years ago and there are 100 short episodes - and it is honestly so much fun. It is set in the modern day and Lizzie tells the story in the form of vlogs. It is super addictive and I very much recommend it, I might even re-watch that too! So much re-watching to do.

P.S. I made sure to take pretty pictures of the book too 💓

Books To Read [August]

Did July not just fly by? Summer break always manages to slip away so very quickly! I hope I can get lots of reading done in August before I am bombarded with my studies in September. Also, this month I have my driving theory test and I have a lot of preparing to do for that (I am procrastinating like a pro and trying to avoid picking up the revision book, help!)

Onto the main part of this post, here are a few of the books I plan to read this August. Hopefully I will successfully get through some of these. 

Books For Review

Books I Would Like To Read

If I can get through at least three of the books above in August, I will be super happy!

What books are you hoping to read this August? Any new releases this month that you can't wait to read? Anyone else's summer break going by too fast?

Friday, 28 July 2017

Book Blogger Hop - (July 28th to August 3rd) #3

This Week's Question:

Do you read tie-in novels to movies or television series? If so, which ones? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

My Answer:

The answer would be yes if they were book adaptations. In this case, where the original is the movie or TV show, and the books have been based from them, my answer would be a no. There just hasn't been any tie-in novels that have appealed to me. I do love Doctor Who but I've never picked up any of the related books. However, feel free to recommend a Doctor Who tie-in novel that you thought was good, I will be happy to check it out and see if I enjoy it!

Just casually leaving a Dr Who gif here...

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Books Plus Thoughts #2 - Burn for Burn + Throne of Glass

Both the books on this post of Books Plus Thoughts are the first in a series but for both I am still considering whether to continue the series on.

1. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han (Book #1)
Summary: Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge. KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend. LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it. MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him. None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible. With an alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently...” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together. (Goodreads)

Rating: ★★★

It took me YEARS to get round to reading Burn for Burn, it was falling further down my TBR pile and was at risk of never being read. Miraculously I was able to make time just before my exams to pick this one up. This book is written from the POV of Kat, Lillia and Mary - I am not usually a fan of changing POVs but it really worked here. Each girl has a distinct voice and personality, there wasn't one I preferred over the other - all three girls had interesting backstories that kept me intrigued. The pace builds up as the story progresses, it was a real page-turner from the halfway point. The last few chapters were crazy intense! However I felt like there was something missing. After finishing the book I didn't feel the urge to pick up the next book even after such a big cliffhanger - is it worth picking up the next book, yay or nay?

Note: The cover is gorgeous!

Favourite Quotes:

“It took a long time for me to get better, but I did. I got better. But suddenly it's like the last four years never happened, and I'm feeling all the same terrible feelings about myself that I did back then.” 

“This is Karma. I’m a bitch. Can you think of anyone who deserves a bitch slap?” 

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Book #1)
Summary: Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness. In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught. Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted? (Goodreads)

Rating: ★★★

Throne of Glass is a book with glowing reviews and the series is loved by many. When I was reading the book, I really did understand its appeal - the main character is badass, I loved the backdrop and premise of the story and the friendship between the female characters. There were just a few down points for me. I had a love/hate relationship with Celaena, she had some great moments and some not-so-great moments, I'm still somewhere in the middle about her. Also, there were some characters I REALLY disliked and I was tempted to skip the pages every time they appeared. Other than that, I did enjoy the book and overall thought it to be 'okay'. Maybe this is a series that gets better with each book?

Favourite Quotes:

“Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

“You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

Which of these series would be worth carrying on?

Friday, 21 July 2017

Book Blogger Hop - (July 21st to 27th) #2

This Week's Question:

Have you ever read a book or books you would consider 'toxic' because of the effect it (they) had on you? If so, which one(s)? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

My Answer:

I spent a lot of time during the week thinking about this question. I didn't have an immediate pick as I didn't really consider any of my reads 'toxic'. 

The book I did finally choose was 'After Evil' by Jane Carter Woodrow. It is not one I would put under the 'toxic' category, but it was a book that gave me chills and completely terrified me (close enough to 'toxic' I hope?). 

The book tells the story of the serial killer known as the 'Yorkshire Ripper' - it follows the events that unfolded with each of his killings and describes the gruesome nature of the murders. In particular the book focusses on the family of the ripper's second victim. It was an interesting read that really opened my eyes in many ways, but it truly scared me when reading about how the serial killer was able to get away many times and claim the lives of so many people. 

Summary: Everything seemed perfect in Neil Jackson's childhood until one day, on a cold January morning in 1976...He was awoken by the police knocking on the door to break the shocking news that his mother had become the second victim of a serial killer - soon to become known as the 'Yorkshire Ripper'. This evil act exposed a web of secrets and lies that was to devastate Neil and change his life forever. Jane Carter Woodrow, an experienced criminologist, discovers what happens when the camera and the lurid headlines fade away. Neil's riveting story captures the real nature of the tragedy that murder can visit on a family and shows how incredibly he pieced his life back together after becoming one of the forgotten victims of Britain's most notorious serial killer. (Goodreads)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Books Plus Thoughts #1 - Dreamology + Things We Know by Heart

1. Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Summary: After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all. Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake. (Goodreads)

Rating: ✩✩✩✩

I absolutely loved Jessi Kirby's Golden so I knew I had to read Things We Know by Heart. The book was a quick and beautiful read - Jessi Kirby's writing was emotional and magical, it brought me back to how I felt when I read Golden. I loved that she included quotes at the start of the chapters, little pieces of information to help the reader better understand the heart and organ transplantation. It was a book about healing and moving forward, and the message that came with it was uplifting, and by the end my own heart was touched. I really came to love Colton's character - I felt the sincerity behind his actions (+ he was super cute too!) 

This is the perfect light read with countless heart fluttering moments, and even more perfect to read during these summer months.

Favourite Quote:

“But it's terrifying to realise how much of your world is wrapped up in loving another person.”

“The days passed, one after another, measured out in an unbroken, never-ending rhythm. Seemingly infinite, but gone in the blink of an eye—like waves crashing on the shore, or the seasons passing.
Or the beating of a heart.”

2. Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Summary: For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist. But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped. Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough? (Goodreads)

Rating: DNF

The second book I'm highlighting in this post is on the opposite spectrum of number one. This one was a 'DID NOT FINISH' for me. I must say the cover of this book caught my eye, I really do thing it is pretty. Moving on, the synopsis of this book sounded really good and totally up my street. The beginning was promising, dreamy and the premise seemed interesting. But this book lost me at around the 50% mark. I was greatly disappointed in the actions of the two main characters, and it just made me not want to read any further. All I will say is that the love interest Max already has a girlfriend. Also, as I kept reading I was finding it more and more difficult to connect with Alice. I know that some people will be able to enjoy this book but I guess it just wasn't working for me. You may give this one a go and it might sit better with you than it did with me.

Have you read any of the books I've mentioned in this post, and if yes, what did you think? Any recommendations based on either book above?