Monday, 30 April 2018

April, 2018 || A Month of Not A Lot

In April I had three weeks of holidays, but for some reason it did NOT feel like that. It went waayyyy too quickly and I did not get as much as I wanted to done. At all! I barely read, I barely blogged, and I did hardly any study (whoops!), but now I'm back at uni and busy with that again so I may have been a little bit slack with the blog for the last week or two (which is why this wrap-up is a week late).
(what did I read this month?)

Five books in April! Go me!! And I just noticed that they were all five star reads... I thought I didn't have the best reading month, but I actually did!!

Full Review Here

Full Review Here

(what books have I added to my collection?)

FROM PUBLISHERS: A HUGE thank you to Harper Collins NZ for the copy of The Queen's Rising which I have already devoured and absolutely adored. YAYYY!!! 

(what happened on the blog?)

Like I said, I was a little slack this month so there were only three posts...

  1. I talked about the highlight of my month which was going to see Love, Simon with other bookish people (it doesn't get much better than this).
  2. I finally wrote my review for Obsidio, the grand finale in the Illuminae Files.
  3. And I finished off the month with another review, this time of The Queen's Rising, which is definitely going on my 2018 favourites list.

(all about meeeeeeee)

So for three weeks off I really did not do a lot... I just worked a lot!

A couple of exciting things that did happen though... Me, Ella (from A Bookish Time), and Shanti and Shar (from Virtually Read) went and saw Love, Simon together which was super cute and fun!! And then at the end of the month we all caught up again (minus Shar) to sit in the gardens in our city and do some writing... We had a super cute wee picnic and I got a review written while the other two got a little more creative. We definitely plan on doing it again when we're back in town as well!

How was your April? Tell me your favourite and least favourite book of the month... Just to mix it up a little!


Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Queen's Rising, by Rebecca Ross || Give. Me. More.

The Queen's Rising
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy novel like this and I was definitely in the mood for one, so when HarperCollins asked if I’d like a copy, I said YES PLEASE! And I’m so glad I did because I LOVED it! At first I was worried that it was going to be a bit predictable, but it most definitely wasn’t. It had such a unique storyline and there was so much I loved about it so here are just a couple of those things

I loved the world and the conflicts within it

I feel like it’s not that often that I am so drawn into the world and the politics of the world in a fantasy novel because I’m just the sort of person that cares more about the characters and their relationships, but in The Queen’s Rising the world was so well built. It was believable and super interesting and I if I could I would definitely read a history book on their world.

The idea of the passions

In this novel, the main character Brienna went to a school for passions, a school where students went to learn and excel in a certain field (aka their passion). There were five passions (art, music, dramatics, wit and knowledge) and the students studied there for seven years before they mastered their passion. I just thought it was a really cool and unique idea and even though I did love the story, part of me wanted more stories about Brienna’s time at the school with her other passion sisters (maybe a collection of novellas idea?!)...

The relationships (mainly the friendships)

I’m talking about the friendships between the passion sisters especially. In fact, I have to admit I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of this but maybe (fingers crossed here) there will be more of the passion sisters in book two!

I think I have to mention here as well that I did love the romance. I’ve read a couple of reviews from people that weren’t the biggest fans, but I thought it was hella cute and hella wholesome! (And not as predictable as what I initially thought.

The taste of magic

There wasn’t a lot of magic in this book BUT there were bits and pieces of it, including Brienna inheriting memories from an ancestor which I thought was such a cool wee detail and I cannot wait for all the magic in the rest of this series.

The ending

The ending of this book wrapped up so nicely that you could definitely read it as a standalone and be satisfied. However, I will 100% be reading the rest of the series because I need more of these characters and their world in my life. In fact, I can't believe that I'm going to wait another year for book two... life is so unfair for us bookworms!

What was the last fantasy novel you read and loved? Have you read this one? If you haven't, you definitely should! What should I read while I impatiently wait for book two?


Sunday, 15 April 2018

Obsidio, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff || The Grand Finale *SPOILER FREE*

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

It's so weird to finish a series... I don't know why! I've been reading The Illuminae Files since they came out and to finally read the third and final book was actually kinda scary. I don't want this story to be over!? I think maybe that's why I have a problem of starting series and not finishing them, I don't want them to be over. But I did it! I finished The Illuminae Files and I couldn't have asked for a better finale! So without further ado, here's some unspoilerish thoughts on why you should read (and finish) this series too!

Reason #1 - The formatting

This was one of the main things that pulled me into the illumine files to begin with. I love books that are formatted differently to "the norm". I've read quite a few books that have collections of letters and emails and texts, but the Illuminae Files took this to a whole new level. It's a collection of files that consists of pictures, message conversations, emails, transcribed surveillance footage and the 'thoughts' (??) of an AI called AIDAN. The only thing I've read that is kind of similar to this would probably be 172 Hours on the Moon by John Harstad (which I would also highly recommend). Not everyone likes this sort of style, but I am a HUGE fan of it.

Reason #2 - The characters (including AIDAN)

I feel like AIDAN the AI sort of deserves a category of his own because of his insane character (?) development throughout the series. Definitely raised some interesting questions about the future of AI. As for the other characters I loved them all! There was such a huge range of people in different situations. Sometimes when there's a huge cast, I feel like I don't connect with them all because there are just too many people to connect with, but somehow Amie and Jay pulled this off! I'm definitely sad to be leaving all these characters behind.

Reason #3 - It's a SCIFI set in space! And I liked it?!

I feel like science fiction novels are hard to pull off. Don't ask me why, but for some reason I just don't usually enjoy the ones I read... They can be confusing and there's just too much happening. (Maybe it's because I've never been on a space mission so I can't relate to it). However, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have changed space novels for me.. I'm now actively searching them out, but I have yet to find something that compares! The temptation to reread is so real!

Reason #4 - There are so many little Easter eggs

Throughout the entire series there are so many references to other authors and books which I think is such a fun wee detail! (I'm pretty sure that Leigh Bardugo is on multiple civilian death lists throughout the series). I posted about it on Twitter a couple of times, but mind the crappy photos... It was late at night and lighting was not on my side.

Reason #5 - In the end it all connects

Illuminae and Gemina could almost (but not quite) be read as standalone novels because they're about different characters and the storylines seem to only vaguely follow on from each other, but Obsidio brings everything together. It answers all the questions I had and wraps it all up perfectly!

Overall Thoughts

Don't put this book off! I'm the sort of person that puts series finales off and I'm so glad I didn't with Obsidio. And if you haven't read The Illumine Files then I would totally recommend sitting down and binging them all at once! They look like huge books, but a lot of that is just the formatting.. you actually finish them WAY too quickly!

Have you read any of the books in this series? Have you read them all and if you haven't do you plan on reading them? What's a book that you read that had interesting formatting? I need more books like this in my life.


Sunday, 8 April 2018

I Saw Love, Simon With My Bookish Friends

Last week I went and saw Love, Simon with Ella (from A Bookish Time), and Shanti and Shar (from Virtually Read). First of all, it was so nice to see a bookish movie adaptation with three other fangirls who had read and loved the book as much as I did! There were definitely little squeals from all of us throughout the movie as we got to see this book come to life.

I want to preface this review by saying that it has been a VERY long time since I read the book, so I couldn't really remember much of the book. I couldn't even remember who Blue was which I think made it even more enjoyable for me. (Also I definitely suffer from serious book amnesia so even if I had read it recently, I probably wouldn't have remembered much... why am I like this?). Anyway, with that in mind, here are a couple of thoughts I did have.

I LOVED the witty/dry humour

Love, Simon made me laugh. I don't really remember a heap of humour in the book, but it didn't seem forced or anything in the movie. They did it well and it was an aspect that I wasn't particularly expecting (I don't know why because really this movie is a rom-com).

Writing the emails

What I remember about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was that there was a lot of back and forth of emails and I was so afraid that they'd portray that badly in the movies. It could have been boring and repetitive, but I really liked how you saw Blue writing the emails throughout the movie, but it changed depending on who Simon thought it was. It really allowed the audience to connect more with Simon because we were just as clueless as he was about the identity of Blue. (Unless you'd read the book and actually remembered it... unlike me).

Simon was privileged

I'm not saying that Simon had the perfect life, but he and his family were definitely privileged. I think that's one of the first things that we all talked about when we got out of the cinemas. How Simon was from a rich (mainly white) neighbourhood and how he had a big room in a huge house and his own car from his parents and all the latest and greatest phones/laptops. And it wasn't just him, it was his friends as well. It's something I definitely don't remember from the book.

The cast

I thought they did an amazing job with the casting of Love, Simon. I loved Nick Robinson as Simon and I though the whole group of friends were perfect as well. I'm so stoked that the movie was cast well because that's one of my biggest fears with book to movie adaptations... that they'll cast people who just don't seem right.

The book to movie aspect

I know they changed little things here and there, but overall I think this movie stayed pretty true to the book. The biggest thing I remember about the book was the cute feels it gave me and the movie definitely did the same. (You should have heard us all squealing over all the cuteness... I think we made the most noise in that theatre). 

Overall Thoughts

Love, Simon was a super cute movie on so many levels. They definitely did the book justice, but you don't have to have read the book to enjoy it. Would recommend to everyone! (Also now I understand why people say they could watch it again and again).

Have you seen Love, Simon? What did you think of it? Also, what's you're favourite book to movie adaptation of all time? This one is definitely up there for me.