Weekly update

What I read last week

Mudman by James A. Hunter

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By far my favourite thing about this book is the main character, Levi. Has to be one of my favourite character’s of the year. 4/6


Usually, I read at least two books a week, but, wow, I’ve had a slumpy week. I’ve not wanted to read anything. I think it’s going around. Many of my bookish friends online seem to be in slump mode! :/

So, things I do to get out of a slump:

(There are many ways to get out of a slump, but here’s a few that work for me.)

  • Go for a walk/ exercise.

Sometime being cooped up without moving makes me feel crappy. A short walk in the fresh air does wonders and I come back motivated, whether that’s to read or other stuff!

  • Re-read an old favourite/ An ‘easy’ read

Some books are knife wielding serial killers who stab you right in the feels. When I’m in a slump, this is not generally the kind of book I want to read. I want something that uses simple language and tells a light tale. Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett are those kind of author’s for me. Fun, fantasy tales. (Although, TP can lay on the angst. ;-;)

Manga’s/graphic novels are great for this too!

  • Push through it

Sometimes, if I know that the reason I’m not enjoying a book is because of a slump and not because it sucks, I push through it. Many times, I eventually settle into the story and it can pull me out of the slump.

  • Do something else creative

Sometimes I feel the need to be creative myself rather than burying myself in someone else’s wonderful creativity. 

  • Go on twitter and see how excited other bookish peeps are

Excitement is contagious. Often I discover books through people talking about them, (or talking about books I want to read.) It makes me want to read and fangirl about them!

  • Buy a new precious!

Not exactly cost effective, but occasionally just buying a new book that’s caught my eye, which I immediately begin reading and devouring is a great cure for a slump! You can always go bargain hunting in charity shops for books too! 

Hope these help for anyone in a slump. If you do something else when in a slump then let me know! 


What I’m reading this week

I have started, and would like to finish these two books: 

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A sci fi, dystopian novella. A discovered this by reading this book review. It’s also christian fiction, something I’ve not delved into before, so it’ll be interesting to see a dystopian twist on that.

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A middle-grade, fantasy, horror WHICH HAS A WESTIE IN IT! *Ahem* I’ve read the first chapter or two and I’m hooked so far. (Also that book cover is gorgeous!!)

I also plan to read:

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That’s Charming is a whimsical fantasy/adventure novel with sprinklings of humour for a middle grade audience which was shortlisted for the 2012 Guardian/Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize.

This is written by fellow blogger, Heather Lawson. You can find more about the book at its own blog here(you can read the first chapter free here!)and here. (Super gorgeous art on there. Check it out.)

So far, I’ve read the first two chapters and cannot wait to get my hands on the rest! Those two chapters, have helped immensely to end my book slump. 


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Mudman by James A. Hunter book review

Note: This is a spoiler free review!

I requested, (and received), an e-copy of this from netgalley. (My first netgalley review! Whoop! Whoop!)

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Levi Adams is a soft spoken, middle-aged Mennonite man—at least he tries to be when he’s not murdering people.

Levi’s a golem, a Mudman, crafted from the muck, mire, and corpses of a World War II concentration camp—killing is just a part of his DNA. He doesn’t like it, but unfortunately he’s been saddled with a divine commission to dole out judgment on those who shed innocent blood. After seventy years as a cold-blooded murder machine, however, Levi’s trying to change his grisly nature. And the AA meetings and church services are helping. A little. But when he runs across a wounded girl, Sally Ryder, during one of his “hunting expeditions,” he realizes self-help may have to go on the back burner.

(I’ve actually left the last part of the blurb out because I feel it’s a bit spoilery.)

Initial thoughts

I really liked the premise of this book and, honestly, I sense that there may not be romance in it. I was in a very, ‘I do not want to read a book with a love interest’ mood when I picked this up.

Writing

I liked the writing. It moved with good pace and balanced action with explinations…when in Levi’s POV. There are two POVs. Levi’s and Sally’s. I wasn’t a fan of Sally’s POV. I had to grit my teeth between them, because then everything dragged. Luckily, it doesn’t happen often. 

The action scenes were brilliant, but they were just a smidge too long. If they were shortened a little I think the pace of this book would be top marks.

Plot

The plot is great. You’re immediately hooked by the mystery and it keeps feeding you little bits to keep you that way. It was incredibly enjoyable. The world is interesting too and I feel we’ve only scraped the surface. (And I need more of Levi!)

Characters

Levi is a fab character. I loved him to pieces. He was so different from the usual hero types and he’s an incredibly complex, but also simple character. (Yes, I make a lot sense.)

Sally…*Sigh* I don’t like her. I understand her character and she is a good character to a point, but she’s just meh for me. (This may be why I disliked being in her POV as well.) I feel she acted in stupid ways on certain occasions that were supposed to make her look like a badass, strong female and just had me rolling my eyes. 

Overall thoughts

Amazing, different kind of, main character with a well thought plot and world. Sally dragged the experience down for me, but many people may, and probably will, love her. 

It dragged a tiny smidge in places. The author’s hasn’t quite got a handle on the lull between action scenes, but it wasn’t a major thing. A great urban fantasy novel. Finger’s crossed there’s more!


Was it worth the read? Yes

Would I re-read? No

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames: Flame 4 grey


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Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones book review

Note: This is a spoiler free review!

This is the sequel to, The dark lord of Derkholm. Be sure to check out that review first!

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It is eight years after the tours from offworld have stopped. High Chancellor Querida has retired, leaving Wizard Corkoran in charge of the Wizards’ University. Although Wizard Corkoran’s obsession is to be the first man on the moon, and most of his time is devoted to this project, he decides he will teach the new first years himself in hopes of currying the favor of the new students’ families—for surely they must all come from wealth, important families—and obtaining money for the University (which it so desperately needs). But Wizard Corkoran is dismayed to discover that one of those students—indeed, one he had such high hopes for, Wizard Derk’s own daughter Elda—is a huge golden griffin, and that none of the others has any money at all.

Wizard Corkoran’s money-making scheme backfires, and when Elda and her new friends start working magic on their own, the schemes go wronger still. And when, at length, Elda ropes in her brothers Kit and Blade to send Corkoran to the moon… well… life at the Wizards’ University spins magically and magnificently out of control.

Initial thoughts

The Dark lord of Derkholm was the first Diana Wynne Jones book I read and I think one of the first fully fantasy novels I’d read. By that, I mean, properly set in fantasyland. It being the norm. 

I loved that book and so was super excited to discover a sequel. (Took me long enough to read it though.)

Writing

Diana Wynne Jones seems to have knack for juggle several characters at once. It doesn’t read chaotic or annoying. I really like enjoy it.

She does the occasional head hope, but not too much and, if I’m honest, it has a certain charm. (Rules made to be broken, am I right?)

Plot

The plot is fun and light hearted. No angst. Now I like me some angst, but sometimes it’s nice to read something that’s just good fun.

But there was a whole other plot happening in the background that you never get to see which sucked because it seemed interesting. A few things happened off scene. And some plot elements were wrapped up too quick or not evolved on. I think the book was a bit too quick and short. I would’ve loved more book.

I think you’d get away with reading this without the first, although you’d miss a couple of ‘inside’ things. 

Characters

Many of the characters from the previous novel show up, but only one is a main character. I was really sad about this because I’d loved those characters. 

But I really enjoyed the new characters too. 

Overall thoughts

The main let down is plot for me, but I still considered it to be an excellent, well worth reading novel. If you’re looking for something light and fun, then I recommend this!


Was it worth the read? Yes

Would I re-read? No

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames: Flame 4 grey


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Three bags full by Leonie Swann book review

Note: This is a spoiler free review!

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Initial thoughts

I was recommended this by Vicky over at booksandstrips a whiiiiiiile ago. I remember reading the blurb and being really excited about it. A sheep detective guys. SHEEP. DETECTIVE. 

This is also written by a German Author and therefore translated from German. I’m  always interested in reading books from different countries. 

Writing

Now, this is the second book I’ve read where it has been translated from its native language and I think, whoever did it, did a fantastic job. Nothing seemed to be lost in translation.

It’s written in third pov of a flock of sheep. And that’s done well. The pace is a little slow. It moves well at the start and then it sort of petered out. 

Plot

I found this to be unique and refreshing. Being in the POV of the sheep, the sheep could only understand what they understood, but on the downside of that, some of the events were lost in translation. (And I mean from sheep to human, not German to English.)

I felt really distance from the human drama, (which was the whole point of the book.) I did enjoy the sheepy antics.

I did like the ending, but the mystery itself was a let down.

Characters

It is a very character driven book. All the sheep’s had personalites and I loved each of them. I kind of wanted to know more about them, but they’re sheep. It’s hard to have complex backstories.

The human’s were looked at from a sheep’s perspective so its hard to get attached to them.

Overall thoughts

A fun, enjoyable read that I’d recommend because of its uniqueness, but the mystery is lacking. I’m disappointed that the second book hasn’t been translated into English because I would’ve read it.


Was it worth the read? Yes

Would I re-read? No

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames:  Flame 4 grey


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Weekly update

Well, we’re finally back into a routine! Those couple of weeks without blogging were rough. D’:

I’ll be reading in between watching the Olympics, because I LOVE the Olympics. One of my favourite sporting events. I particularly like watching, Swimming, Athletics, Handball, Rugby and…everything else. 

How about all of you? 

I feel like their should be an Olympic inspired reading challenge/readathon. If only I’d thought about this a while ago. -_-

I’d also like to mention this post by Holly Evans. It’s basically a link to a TON of Science fiction, Dystopian, Post apocalyptic, Fantasy, Horror…all that jazz of ebooks. Depending where you live the majority are free or 99p. I believe today is the last day of the promotion so DON’T DILLY DALLY! I ‘purchased’ around 23 books off the list.

What I read last week

The red Queen by Christina Henry

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This was a disappointment. I’m still sad about it. The ending was just… wah?! 3/6


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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I found this a tricky one to rate because, while the plot wasn’t up to scratch, the books message really spoke to me. 5/6


What I’m reading this week

I have no idea. Usually I have a sense of what I want to read, but honestly? Until I pluck a book off my shelf I have no clue at the minute. 

I WANT to read The Cursed child, but I also want to read the series again and THEN that one. Because I’m difficult like that. I’m there’s loads of other people doing that or they were probably more organized and read the series before it came out…Goody two shoes. 

What I can tell you is I’m feeling in a very zombie mood. So maybe some post-apocalyptic fiction or Dystopian may be coming up this week. 

After all, I still have this book, waiting to be read, on my shelf:

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Buuuut, I also want to read this because I HEARD THERE WAS NO ROMANCE!! :O :O :O And Schwab is also on my ‘Author to try’ list.

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I may end up rooting through all those free e-books I got. Who knows? Have you got some good reads planned? What are you reading now?


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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury book review

Note: This is a spoiler free review!

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Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

Initial thoughts 

 I’d watched, and loved, the film when I was younger and so I’d always planned to read it. My Dad has introduced me to some great classics now that I think about it. It got bumped up because I’d read The Fireman by Joe Hill and it had been mentioned there and I was like, yes, wanna read it. NOW.

Can you believe this was written in nine days on a rented typewriter?!

Writing

I think the writing is going to be like Marmite. You’re either going to love it or hate it. I thought it was very good. Yes, at times a little too poetic-y, but I feel like we were in the chaos that was the character’s head and the world around him.It was still very plain language for the most part which I’m a big fan of. 

Plot

The concept, the message, was brilliant and I think is really important for today. It’s scary that this was written so many years ago, and it’s almost like we’re living in this Dystopian world now. But, while, the message was excellent, I felt like the book was over before it began. It moved way too quick and the story itself for the sake of the teachings in it. 

Characters

All of the characters are very, very interesting. I can see that they’re complex, but unfortunately we only get to skim the surface and I sooooo wanted to dive deep under. Beatty is one character I was SUPER interested in.

Overall thoughts

This book was really hard for me to rate. On one hand, I feel the plot didn’t live up to its full potential, but on the other, the message and meaning, transcended that. This book really spoke to me, and for that I’ll be giving it a higher rating than I would have. 


Was it worth the read? Yes

Would I re-read? No

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames: Flame 5 grey

Have you ever read a book that just spoke to you, even if parts were not that good? If so, tell me about them!


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Red Queen by Christina Henry book review

Note: This is a spoiler free review!

This is the sequel to Alice by Christina Henry. If you haven’t read that, then check out my spoiler free review on that first!

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The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. A place where Alice could finally rest, no longer the plaything of the Rabbit, the pawn of Cheshire, or the prey of the Jabberwocky. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash—and hope is nowhere to be found.
 
Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter, a quest they will not forsake even as it takes them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen and her goblin or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King.
 
The pieces are set and the game has already begun. Each move brings Alice closer to her destiny. But, to win, she will need to harness her newfound abilities and ally herself with someone even more powerful—the mysterious and vengeful Red Queen…

Initial thoughts

I was looking forward to reading it. I wanted to find out if lots of plot threads would be dealt with. I was a little sad to leave the city setting though.

Writing

The writing is easy to understand and good quality. The description is excellent. I do feel the Author spent too much time meandering in Alice’s head. 

Plot

Hugely disappointing. When I finished this book, I had to sit for a moment and let the disappointment wash over me. There is nothing worse than a book that has potential and fail to reach it. 

Instead of tying up previous plot threads, more are introduced and then never answered. The ending was on of the most frustrating endings ever. Nothing was resolved, nothing was explained. 

I also felt that the book lost the dark tone of the first one and turned into something different entirely. 

Characters

By the end of it, I didn’t like the characters I’d already met and I didn’t feel connected to the rest. They’re very cardboard, as if they have no life before that moment and didn’t read very real.

Alice seemed numb and lost and not in a purposeful way, but as if she wasn’t sure of her motivations. 

Overall thoughts

I’m thinking these books wouldn’t be so popular if not for the Alice in wonderland attachment. It’s certainly what caught my interest. A darker Alice in wonderland has amazing potential.

There was sparks of good plot, but it needed to be worked on further and the writing is very good too, which is why I gave it 3 flames instead of 2.

You might’ve been able to read this book without the first because it was so different too.

I may end up writing a discussion post for these novels. I have a lot of thoughts I want to share in all their spoilery goodness.


Was it worth the read? No

Would I re-read? No

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames: Flame 3 grey


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Alice cover


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Weekly update

We’re going to ignore Wednesday ever happened, OK? OK.


 

What I read last week

Alice by Christina Henry

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I enjoyed this though there were elements I was disappointed in and the ending was meh. I’m looking forward to the next one. 4/5


What I plan to read this week

Harry Potter and the cursed child by J K Rowling

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This is a pretty obvious one, right? I’ve had to avoid twitter all day to avoid spoilers because I won’t get mine until tomorrow. I probably cry as soon as seeing it, let alone reading it! 

Red Queen by Christina Henry

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This sequel to Alice. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next as well as hoping somethings won’t be as prevalent. 


Although, there are several other books on my shelf I’m in the mood to read too. But these are the ones that are higher on my mood list. We’ll see what I end up reading. 😀

I also really want to see Star Trek: Beyond and Finding Dory! And maybe Jason Bourne because my Dad loves the first three with Matt Damon in them. 

What’s everyone else reading currently or planning to read?


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Alice by Christina Henry book review

Note: This review is spoiler free!

Alice cover

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside.In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place-just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful. And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice

Initial thoughts

An Alice re-telling that’s apparently has a darker twist. I was really interested in reading this and the new covers are gorgeous. 

Writing

It has a simplistic, straightforward style which I really enjoyed. I could visualize everything really well. The mix of description and dialogue was good and it moved at a fast pace.

Plot

The plot was solid. Although, I would’ve liked more surrounding it. More inclusion of the government.

And the ending was the tiniest but anti-climatic. I thought a different ending, (which from the way it reads, I’d bet the Author consider doing), would have had more impact. I’m reserving judgment on that until I’ve read the next book.

One thing, I’m going to put a warning for right now. A strong theme is the abuse of women. 

Characters

Most of the characters are well written. Although, I’d have liked more backstory in general. We only got the barest glimpses of them and it’s all strictly related to the plot.

They aren’t many side characters. Most of it is focused on the two main characters, whom I like. And of course, the bad guys who everyone will really hate, as you should. 

Some I feel should have been used more .

Overall thoughts

While, I may have been disappointed by the ending, (as I said reserving judgement on one particular plot point), the plot is tight and wraps up the story while leaving enough to entice me for the next book which I’m looking forward to reading. 

This is not for young readers. The abuse themes in this a prevalent throughout.

Was it worth the read? Yes

Would I re-read? Maaaaybe

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames: Flame 4 grey


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Weekly update

So, as some of you may have noticed, (or, you know, not), there were no book reviews last week.

As I mentioned on twitter, my laptop charger died on me and I didn’t notice until I had 10% battery left. D’:

I ordered one and received it yesterday so the schedule will be back to normal this week. (Spoiler free book reviews every Wednesday and Saturday with a weekly update on Sundays.)

Let me know what you’ve been reading so I don’t feel so out of the loop. D’:

Hope everyone had a great week and I can’t wait to catch up on all the blogs!!