Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My First Book Haul - April 2016

I love watching Booktube and one of my favourite videos to watch is a book haul. I must have watched hundreds of them and (as long as they're done well) I do really enjoy them. In all this watching though, I'd never considered doing a book haul blog post until I discovered Bibliophile Book Club and I read her March book haul post. I decided I'd give it a go and see what people think and see if you're interested in what books I'm getting each month.

I'm posting this a little before the end of the month as I genuinely don't think I'll be getting or receiving any more books before the end of the month. If I do and people enjoy this, I can always add it to next months haul. This month as well the books are not in the order I got them, but if I do continue to do these blog posts, I will make sure that I keep the order of when I received books in the future.

So the books I bought, received or was gifted in the months of April (and the very back end of March) were as follows:

1. The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett
2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
3. Half Lost by Sally Green
4. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
5. The Ring Of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud
6. Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
7. Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris
8. Covet by J. R. Ward
9. Crave by J. R, Ward
10. Envy by J. R. Ward
11. The Lie by C. L. Taylor
12. The Accident by C. L. Taylor
13. Batman: A Visual History
14. Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
15. Yonder by LeeAnne Hansen (Audiobook)
16. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Audiobook)
17. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (Audiobook)
18. Whispers Of Bedlam Asylum by Mark C. King
19. Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley
20. Harvest Festival by Karl Drinkwater
21. Death Note: Black Edition, Vol. 5 by Tsugumi Ohba
22. Death Note: Black Edition, Vol. 6 by Tsugumi Ohba
23. Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb
24. The Flash: Born To Run by Mark Waid
25. Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
26. Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder

I think I got everything. I think there's a really nice mix of books and I am really looking forward to them all.

What do you think of this kind of blog post? Would you like to see more of this in the future? Also tell me what books you've bought recently.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Chamber - Dominic H. King

I was incredibly lucky to receive an e-book copy of The Chamber (Twin Worlds Trilogy #1) directly from the author Dominic H. King in exchange for an honest review (I also received the second and third book in the trilogy so there will be a series over view to look out for when I'm all done).

The story is told from the dual perspectives of Kal and Daine and we follow them in their quest to save their own world from the same evil called the Reaper. The dual perspective is done extremely well and it is immediately obvious which character you are following in each chapter.

Kal and Daine are both excellent characters and are really well developed. I don't think I can say if I had a favourite between the two as they both have their own good points and bad, I really enjoyed their different and yet similar journeys to their final destination towards the end of the book. There is a whole host of really interesting characters too, I particularly like Thaan the head Shadow. he has a really good back story and he is a complete bad ass. I hope we see more of him in the future books.

The worlds are really well built and the enemy, particularly the Arrochom so far, are described in all their horrifying glory. Imagine giant spider type things with pincers that scream. They are definitely terrifying.

The story itself is incredibly enjoyable and it was very hard to put down as I always wanted to read "just one more chapter" to see what happened next. It's also very fast paced and I think incredibly well written and thought out.

My only real complaint about the whole book was the second half seemed to not have been edited or proof read as there seemed to be a lot of errors. None of them were big enough to pull you completely out of the story luckily, but there was all of sudden from about half way through a lot of them.

Overall I really loved this book and I really look forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy to see what happens to both Kal and Daine and to see if they can succeed in their mission.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

Following Love In The Time Of Cholera (my review is here), it was my turn to choose our next buddy read and I decided that as I have somehow never read any Charles Dickens, that I would pick one of his books. I decided to choose one of his more popular works which was Oliver Twist.

Firstly I will just say outright, I really dislike the over of the edition that I got for us.

Secondly I will say that I thought I knew a lot more about the story of Oliver Twist than I actually do, I thought I'd at least seen a film adaptation or something similar, but I barely knew anything about it.

I'm going to start this review a little different and give you a list of things I learnt while reading Oliver Twist.

  • Fagin and the Artful Dodger are not the same person. 
  • Fagin is not in the book as much as I expected. 
  • The "Please Sir, can I have some more" is not the main plot point of the story. 
  • There's actually a lot of death, including a murder in the story. 
  • The whole story does not revolve around a jolly band of pick pockets. 
There may have been a couple of other things, but these were the main things that stood out to me from what I thought I knew about the story. 

I really struggled reading this book due to the way it was written, I had a feeling that Dickens would not be for me and I was right. It's not that it's badly written, it's just not written in a way that I like. I also really didn't like any of the characters except possibly Mr Brownlow, so I found it very difficult to care what happened to anyone and yes that includes Oliver. There's nothing exactly wrong with Oliver, but he's just so bland that he doesn't really stand out to me at all. 

Overall the book was just ok and that's why I've given it three stars instead of two. It was just perfectly average throughout. The only thing that has come from this is that I can say that I have finally read some Dickens. 

Our next buddy read has already been chosen and we will be starting to read it tomorrow (17/04/2016) and that is The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett which is certainly more of a chunky read. 

We started this book on the 31st of March 2016 and we finished it on the 16th of April 2016.
I gave the book 3 stars on Goodreads. 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Unhauling Books

The people that know me, know that I have a really serious aversion to giving away or getting rid of books. I've been like this for as long as I can remember and I never thought that it would change.

Recently however I have been looking at my shelves (wishing I had more room like all bookaholics) and I'm seeing books that I genuinely either didn't enjoy reading, will never read again or that I am plain just not interested in reading any more as my reading tastes have changed over the years. I also have a few duplicates *ahem* but enough about that.

I have realised that all of these books are taking up space that I could use for new and exciting books that I have enjoyed or will enjoy in the future. This has been a hard realisation for me as I feel like I have an emotional connection to all of my books regardless of whether I loved or hated them. Since I have started my blog and I have Goodreads and I have my book journal, I don't really need to keep hold of the physical copy of the book any longer to have memories of it as I have them in the form of reviews or even photographs on my Instagram.

So going forward I am going to be working through my many (many) bookshelves and I will be sorting them into keep and donate piles and I will also continue my never ending cataloguing of all my books onto Goodreads so that it is fully up to date. This is going to be a big job and it won't be completed instantly, but I am at least now motivated to do this and I don't feel like I'm going to struggle, too much anyway, to give away books, even if I haven't read them.

How do you feel about unhauling books? Are you as attached to your books as I have been or can you give them away without a thought?

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was my buddy readers choice for our second read along. (We're now currently reading Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens) She chose a more modern classic and it was one I have not heard of before. I have heard of One Hundred Years Of Solitude also by Marquez and I do actually own it but I haven't got around to read it as of yet. I will also admit that reading the synopsis it is not a book I would have ever personally picked up, but that's half the fun of doing this buddy read,

The story follows Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza and how they were what I imagine could be called childhood sweethearts who separated and then came back into each others lives at a lot older age. Florentino never gives up on his love for Fermina, but she goes off to marry a successful doctor called Juvenal Urbino who was my favourite character until he died at the end of the first chapter. (This is not a spoiler the information is in the synopsis). You follow both characters as they go through through their lives, in particular Florentino and you learn about them as you read the book.

Fermina was an ok character but I just couldn't get behind her as she just seemed very selfish and childish for the most part. Florentino however I absolutely hated. His character is just awful! He is a mummy's boy and not in a good way, she does anything and everything for him and he gratefully takes advantage of this, His opinion of women was also extremely disrespectful. A direct quote from page 188 of my version "He believed that when a woman says no, she is waiting to be urged before making her final decision"....there is so much wrong with that one sentence. The worst part of him though is his relationships with over 600 women (though he claims to have saved himself for Fermina and is a virgin) and the fact that his final relationship was with a 12 year old girl. Another direct quote from page 272 of my copy "He won her affection, he led her by the hand, with the gentle astuteness of a kind Grandfather, toward his secret slaughterhouse". I really really struggled with the content of the second half of the book as it concentrated more and more on Florentino and his relationships and what happened because of these relationships ( I won't say as I wouldn't like to give out spoilers, but trust me when I say that things don't always end well).

The book itself was absolutely beautifully written and the descriptions were flowery and expressive, but it certainly worked within the story of the book. I'm glad I read it, but I'm equally glad I had someone to read it with me to keep me going through the content I struggled with.

I'm conflicted as to whether I loved or loathed this book and so I've scored it down the middle giving it three stars. For the writing style and skill I think its wonderful, but for the content, the first half is great, but the second half is just not for me. It's definitely  book that will get people talking if they choose to read it.

We started reading this on the 12th of February 2016 and finished it on the 30th of March 2016.
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

Monday, 4 April 2016

MNJ Poetry - Meagan Jennett

MNJ Poetry by Meagan Jennett is a collection of poems written when the author was a teenager struggling through life and dealing with the overwhelming emotions of adolescence. 

I really feel this is an important collection for both teenagers and adults alike to read. The poems explain some extreme feelings and thoughts that go through the minds of teenagers, things they feel that they cannot talk about and which can lead to them making bad and dangerous decisions. 

I've mentioned before that I don't read poems very often, but when I saw this collection and read what it was about, I immediately knew I had to read it and it went straight in my shopping cart. The poems are all so beautifully written and you can really feel the emotion through the words as you are reading them, I had to take a moment between reading some of the poems to think about what I'd just read and experienced and to wonder how someone managed to get through these feelings at such a young age without the support that they needed. 

As with any collections, there were some poems that I preferred over others but there are none that I would say that I didn't like. 

I really can't express how important I feel that things like this should be read by everyone and then maybe people will be more willing to talk about difficult topics such as teenage depression, cutting and suicide. 

This is a definite recommendation from me. 

I read this book on the 29th of February 2016. 
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Unmarked Vampire by Belinda Laj

I was incredibly lucky to receive an e-book copy of Unmarked Vampire directly from the author Belinda Laj in exchange for an honest review.

Unmarked Vampire follows the story of Julian Laurent who wakes up in a dungeon and discovers that he is a vampire. The dungeon is the way into the Damned Academy where immortals receive their relevant mark and then the education to deal with their new found needs and talents. There are vampires, demons and angels and they're all ruled over by Blake Night (I adore this name).

The story contains many interesting twists and turns which are well done and though some things are hinted at, you're never fully sure if you're right until the reveal. The world design and how the powers and things work are all very well thought out and well written and I really enjoyed the way each immortal was defined.

The characters are all well developed and are interesting in their own right...except Julian! I so far hate Julian, I know he's been through a lot and he had a lot to take in, but he's just so whiny and child like that it's hard to take him seriously at times. That to me is my only "complaint" about the book as he's supposed to be 19/20 but to me comes across more as an early teen or tween. Genuinely though it doesn't affect the story or take you out the zone while reading, it's just my personal taste.

Unmarked Vampire was originally released in Italian so I was slightly concerned that something might have been lost in the translation, but I was proven wrong and I think the translation was very true to the original story and I didn't feel like I had missed anything.

Overall I really enjoyed Unmarked Vampire and I will look forward to reading more of the Damned Academy books as they come out.

I started this book on the 20th of March 2016 and I finished it on the 2nd of April 2016.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Books I Read - March 2016

I've had a very busy month this month and I travelled to see my parents for a long weekend, so I haven't read as many novel length books. However I have been continuing catching up reading my graphic novels/trade paper backs and I have tried a new manga series which I've fallen in love with and will definitely be continuing with it at some point in the future. I also had another wonderful author interview and  me and my buddy reader finished our second book and are ready to get started with our third in April.

I have more reviews and possibly some more interviews going forward into April, so definitely keep your eyes open for all of that!

On to the books:

1. Batman And Son by Grant Morrison - 3 Stars
2. The Maze Runner Files by James Dashner - 2 Stars
3. This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It by David Wong - 2 Stars
4. JLA: Year One by Mark Waid - 4 Stars
5. Attack On Titan, Vol. 1 by Hajime Isayama - 4 Stars
6. Attack On Titan, Vol. 2 by Hajime Isayama - 4 Stars
7. Attack On Titan, Vol. 3 by Hajime Isayama - 4 Stars
8. Harley Quinn: Preludes And Knock-Knock Jokes by Karl Kesel - 3 Stars
9. Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean And Me by Caroline James - 5 Stars
10. Superman: The Man Of Steel by John Byrne - 4 Stars
11. Lex Luthor: Man Of Steel by Brian Azarello - 2.5 Stars
12. Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - 3 Stars
13. JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison - 5 Stars

What did you read in March? Have you read any of the books I read, what did you think?