So I need to get into the swing of writing things daily again if I ever have any hope of writing a book, my best friend nudged me to my starting point; “Write like you’ve never written before.” I decided a writing challenge will be a fun way to start and will help you all learn a little more about me.
Day 1 – Five Ways to win your heart (Or Five Ways My Fiance managed to)
I had to think about this one more than was probably necessary. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be serious or not with this one. I decided not to be (well, not too serious at least) and made it a little more suited to my situation. My fiance and I have been together for three and a half years now and we got engaged this year in Berlin. So, five ways my fiance won my heart.
So I find myself with a free bit of time for once and I thought this is something I would talk about.
If you’re like me and you find nothing more comforting than physical books, browsing in bookshops and libraries and spending as much time as is humanly possible surrounded by shelves overflowing (but well organised!) books, then you will understand that online giants like Amazon are killing our beloved bookshops. Of course, it is understandable why people prefer to buy books from places such as Amazon, it’s usually always cheaper to buy books and easier to find box sets and, let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t want to interact with people. And that’s great because Amazon and ebooks and audiobooks give us access to literature literally anywhere in the world, the world needs more books, but it impacts the bookshops, our high street stores, and worst of all, our libraries.
Growing up in Scotland, I’ve become accustomed to Waterstones being only of the biggest chain bookshops that are readily available in all major cities, with just a few standalone stores. Where I can, I will always buy my books from there and I tend to take any excuse to go into my nearest Waterstones to buy them, rather than online. (Except they have started to refurbish Waterstones stores and make them all fancy and modern and it makes me quite sad. It’s not quite so cosy there anymore). Read More
Just a short one for you all tonight. So I’ve been trying to organise our flat because the place is getting a little out of hand with our junk (mostly mine) and I thought that I would take the opportunity to start organising my bookshelves. Basically, the books are taking over the living room and while I don’t mind that at all, my fiance does. Anyway, while doing this I realised just how massive my TBR pile actually is. I’ve a terrible habit of buying more books when there is still a pile as tall as me, and so I decided it’s time to do something about that. I decided to make a TBR jar.
I bought these Lego storage heads a few years back, a pumpkin one and a skeleton one (they’re cute as hell), but I never really found a suitable use for them until now. I made a note of ALL of the books currently in my possession (even the ones I’ve read because I’m in a reading slump I need to break out of) and wrote down all the titles on strips of different coloured paper, founded them up neatly and put them into my pumpkin Lego head. The operation took the better part of my evening, cutting and folding, but I’m very pleased with the outcome. The idea of the project is that I no longer have to spend so long picking a book to read, I just need to pick at random and the jar does all the decision making for me. It’ll be great because it will help me to tear through my TBR pile while also pushing me to read new books rather than the same titles over and over again. I’m very excited to get stuck in. I’ll keep you posted.
The first pick from my jar was The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale so that’s up next. Have any of you read it before? It’s a beautiful book. A post on the book to follow.
Until next time,
So I decided to re-read some of my old favourites, sifting through my bookshelves. I wasn’t going to write about this but the Penryn & the End of Days trilogy by Susan EE is so underrated and never seems to get the recognition that it deserves. The first book was released back in 2011 and from there I followed the release of the books, addicted in the same way I now am with Maas books. This is the first post of three and we’re starting with book 1, Angelfall.
The book starts with a family together, fighting off starvation in a world reduced to rubble by invading angels. The angel’s arrival on earth ripped the world apart and initially, there seems to be no motive behind the invasion other than to torment and kill humans. Penryn, her sister, and her unhinged mother have survived the initial few months and managed to stay together unlike many others. However, things very quickly take a turn for the worst when the family finds themselves in the middle of an execution of an archangel. A group of angels brutalise an injured angel before severing the angels’ wings and continuing to fight with the wounded angel. Read More
My love for Audible library seems to grow exponentially with each passing month and each new credit. I don’t tend to find myself with much free time these days for reading, but the opportunity often arises where I can pull on a pair of headphones and stick on an audiobook while I’m doing something constructive.
Audible (and most audiobook providers) fit with my type of lifestyle, and while they will never replace the satisfaction of a good old paperback, they offer the chance to escape to the worlds and adventures and characters we’ve grown to love so much. Life is getting rather noisy so finding an hour or so here and there to escape makes all the difference to my sanity and mental well-being. Read More
So I’m a part of a few Facebook fan groups that are dedicated to A Court of Thorns and Roses series and they are amazing and it’s so great to see so many fans dedicated to a series and sharing their thoughts and views, art and crafts, cosplays, tattoos and just sharing the wonder that is the ACOTAR series together. One of the topics that appear regularly is Tamlin and there are mixed feelings about the character on both sides. I feel the need to talk about him.
Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, is a topic that needs to be discussed.
In ACOTAR, most of the readers warm up to Tamlin pretty quickly and are happy to see Feyre get together with him and to get her fairytale ending. I know that I was the first time, maybe even the second time that I read the first book. However, by the third time I read the book and I really started to think about Tamlin’s character I started to see the flaws that were so apparent from the beginning. Is Tamlin really the tragic hero of the series? It feels like he may actually be, set up to collapse from the beginning. Let’s take a look; Read More
So I’ve been in a bit of a book slump since the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin back in May and it’s only been recently that I’ve picked up a book, let alone one that I’ve wanted to write about (I’m not entirely sure why because unlike a lot of Maas fans I enjoyed the book). Between then and now I’ve also started a new job so life has been a little up in the air recently but we’re finally getting there. I picked this book up in ASDA to keep me occupied at work. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland seemed to be the fluffy feel-good story that I needed to pull me out of the slump. I read this book in less than two days. I think it was worth it.
The book is a love story. Almost. Kind of. Not really. It’s set out that way, with Henry Page looking for that heart-stopping kind of love that he’s read about (he’s an English Lit student at heart), and seen in movies and witnessed first hand in his parents.
Something I have been thinking about recently is how my opinion on book-related things relate so differently to other people but sometimes my opinions are so similar. So I thought I would try and get some of my confessions in writing for the world to see and maybe find out that I’m not entirely crazy and others feel similar.
So, as promised, I already had the ball in motion and fully planned to make way onto a series of reviews based on The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and here I have the first instalment of six! I give you The City of Bones.
(A quick note- If you had the displeasure of watching the Mortal Instruments movie that based very loosely around the first book please don’t be put off by the book series. The movie was bloody awful and the book series is exponentially better. It isn’t our fault as a fandom that they graced us with terrible “film adaptation” of a fantastic book series and I’m more than happy they stopped after the failure of the first film and didn’t continue to ruin the remainder of the series. On a side note from that, the Netflix series wasn’t terrible, it’s cringy but it’s accurate to the books. I quite enjoy it.)
Anyway! The City of Bones is the first book in the series of six books in the Mortal Instruments series. TMI is a series within the Shadowhunters series and all in there is at least 12 actual novels within the larger series and more to come, with the second Dark Artifices book coming out later in the year (hooray!). They all tie in together and we see names and families pop up in loads of the books. I really enjoy how the books incorporate loads of different families at different periods in time, we get a history of people’s families and it’s fascinating and heartbreaking knowing what happens to them and how they lived in the Shadow world. The City of Bones introduces us to modern-day Brooklyn, where we meet Clary Fray and Simon Lewis, two best friends who lead incredibly normal lives. That is until they are unexpectedly thrown into a world that they never knew existed, a world that Clary belongs in by blood. Clary’s mother, Jocelyn Fray (formerly Jocelyn Fairchild), was of the shadow world, married and part of an elite group of shadowhunters called The Circle. Jocelyn sees the error in her husbands objectives and fights against it, taking an important part of Valentine’s plan and runs far from that world. Away from Valentine. But when she runs from that life, pregnant with Clary, she promises to do everything she can to protect her from that life. So she takes Clary to a warlock, the High Warlock of Brooklyn to be precise. Enter Magnus Bane, one of my favourite characters. Magnus glamours Clary’s memories frequently, ensuring that she remembers nothing unusual and ensuring she remembers nothing of the shadow world. Fast forward fifteen years later, and Clary is none-the-wiser to the shadow world until her memories start to filter through and she starts to see weird things that she’d never noticed before. She thinks she’s going crazy and Simon is inclined to agree with her. Her mother, who is in hiding from the shadow world, is attacked and taken away from Clary. From here, Clary is thrown into the deep end and quickly learns that all the stories are true.
The Nephilim, or shadowhunters, are an elite group of demon hunters. Created by the Angel Raziel, they are charged with protecting the human world from demons that slip through from other worlds with the intent to kill and destroy. Clary learns that she is of the Nephilim, and learns that there is more to the world than angels and demons. Enter Jace Wayland and the Lightwood children. These guys are residents of New York’s Institute – a home for shadowhunters, a stronghold. it is place for the Conclave to meet.Between Jace, Alec, Isabelle and Clary they manage to gate crash a house party thrown by our favourite High Warlock, piss off a the Brooklyn Vampire Clan, rendezvous with a pack of werewolves and take on one of most notorious shadowhunters in history. Much of the City of Bones is a set up for the return of Valentine Morgenstern, the leader of the former Circle, and honestly he’s a bit of an ass. He’s a pretty good villain.
The title of the book refers to the Silent City or The City of Bones. The Silent City is part of the shadow world and is home to the Silent Brothers. The Silent Brothers are former shadow hunters who serve as medics and archivists to the nephilim. They take on powerful runes and often have mutilated face and it is because of this that they are feared by many shadowhunters. The Silent City is referred to as the City of Bones because it is also the place where the dead reside. The bodies of fallen shadowhunters are burned and used to create the very walls of the Silent City – hence the name.
It means ‘Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234’.
So for the most part, it’s pretty action-packed and set up the rest of the series quite nicely. We have our fair share of love interests within the first book. Let’s start with Jace and Clary. This is my second favourite pairing in the series (we’ll get to Malec soon). Jace is the bad boy that deep inside we all want but won’t readily admit to so it is completely understandable when Clary falls for his boyish, bad-boy charm.
“Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?’
Jace said, “Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself.”
“At least,” she said, “you don’t have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland.”
“Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.”
At this point, all of the ships are new and there isn’t too much to go with for now but there is still five more books. Jace had an interesting start to life, raised by a tyrant who believed whole-heartedly that to love is to destroy, a mentality he drummed into Jace. Jace continues to remember his roots to a father he saw murdered when he was a child, who believed that love is a weapon. Jace knows that he wants Clary but his bones tell him that one of them will be left in pieces should he chose to give in to basal urges and have her. Towards the end of the book we learn something quite devastating that might perhaps change the way that the two visualise each other!
“The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”
On top of this we learn that Simon Lewis, Clary’s best friend and friend-zone resident, is in love with Clary. He doesn’t think highly of Jace, not understanding the attraction that Clary has to him and he truly just wants Clary to realise that he has been there the whole time, with more love for her than she might have anticipated. It is sweet, in a sense, that he has loved Clary for years and he has always operated in her best interest but as soon as Jace comes onto the scene, he realises that he has to try harder if he has any chance of getting the girl. It does bother me a little though. Simon is a great guy, and a great friend to Clary, but I feel like he needs to grasp that you can’t change someone’s feeling for you. You can’t make someone love you and I feel like that is what he starts trying to do. I mean, of course she loves him but not in the non-platonic way that he seems to hold out for.
To conclude our list of love interests for The City of Bones, we have Alec. Alec Lightwood is Jace’s parabatai, brother by bond and equal. They are there for one another, bound to protect each other by oath from the Clave. You can only commit to one parabatai in your life, and when you do your souls become entwined. There is, however, a rule. You cannot fall in love with your parabatai and that is exactly what Alec has done. He keeps it between himself and Isabelle, Jace is none-the-wiser to this development. Not only would such a thing disgrace his family name and he would face trail by the Clave, it also means that he a gay shadowhunter which is something that is not readily accepted by the nephilim. It is hard for Alec to see Jace and Clary take to each other like a moth to flame, and he reacts badly to it for most of the first book. Clary sees Alec for what he is straight away, accepting it but not appreciating how she is treated because of his feelings. It starts messy, and Alec tries his hardest to push Clary out, encouraging her to go back to her life in the human world.
I was going to talk about Magnus Bane but I think I might just have to make an appreciation post for him seperately. Magnus is one of the most down-to-earth characters in the series, I think. Not that there is anything real about being the High Warlock of Brooklyn, but I mean he is the most sincere. He has lived a life, many lives, and he understands feelings and emotions. He has seen a great deal, has been hurt but still holds a soft place in his heart for shadowhunters, no matter how they have treated him in the past. He cares for the shadowhunters of the institute even when he is under no obligation to do so and all the while he feels more than he knows he should. He is destinctly human dispite it all. On top of this, he is fabulous. I wish I could pull off wearing half the clothing that Magnus can.
It is a fantastic start to the series and it introduces many stories within the stories meaning there is enough to keep you interested in the series. We meet a good number of the main characters and we get enough background to the shadow world without getting confused. There is a really fantastic Wiki page for the entire shadowhunters series which is helpful for some terms in the book you might not yet be familiar with but beware! There are spoilers inside. As always, I hope you enjoyed this and I’ll have a review for The City of Ashes very soon!
The City of Bones
The City of Ashes
The City of Glass
The City of Fallen Angels
The City of Lost Souls
The City of Heavenly Fire
So I thought I would share my January book haul with you, and include the gorgeous book that I got for Christmas too because I think everyone should appreciate it. I got loads of Waterstones vouchers for Christmas and I think I made a good choice with what I got. I’ve also had an issue with space for books and I keep buying more so it’s been getting a little out of hand. So I decided to reshuffle my bookcase and alcoves to make it look more presentable and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. So without further adieu, let’s bring on the pretty pictures.
These two are my reshuffled book alcoves in the living room. I finally managed to collect enough pretty hard back books to make them work nicely. The Lego heads are cute and full of so much crap. Secondly, we have these three beauties. The first, I’ll admit, I’m pretty excited about. I’ve never really read anything from the point of view of a creature that isn’t human or supernatural and it’s about bees in case you hadn’t figured and bees always hold a place close to my heart. The next is the Silk Road, a book we’ve all seen in the window of our nearest and dearest book shops. This 100% appeals to the geographer in me and y’know, it’s pretty. The last book here seems like a heart-felt, romance-y kind of book and that’s something we all need sometimes.
These three are my newest additions, bought just yesterday when I was 100% not supposed to be buying more books but did anyway. They’re about mages and magic and this here is the complete trilogy. They are very lovely. On top of these three, there are other books and series within the universe which, if I enjoy these three, I fully intend to enjoy.
When I was in Waterstones the other week and I saw Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, I was overjoyed. Everything Cassandra Clare and related to the Shadowhunter series makes me so happy and I honestly had no idea that there was going to be anything else following up the Mortal Instruments so nicely. We get even more Simon Lewis than we deserve and throughout the whole book (and it’s a pretty big book) we have the lovely illustrations by the delightful Cassie Clare that have accompanied the Shadowhunter series non-stop. So, yeah, buzzing for some more TMI.
I really love these books because they are all really nice colours and they are really big books (each is essentially a trilogy in one book) and I love that because it means there is so much more. The great thing about this author is that she has written so many books and so she always has something that you can read. Most of her books are within the same genre and many are within the same universe which is fab.
Just below we have the two books I was given at Christmas. The First is my lovely new edition of the Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. This was given to by my friend Bridie.You might not have ever read the Hogfather (or any of the Discworld series) but the film is what a lot of people know it by. The program of it was great but the book is even better and I really enjoy having such a pretty copy to gush over. The second is the first Game of Thrones book which is hardback and illustrated (as you can see in the two picture below it). It has a coloured map of Westeros and is illustrated throughout the entire book. My only fear is that they won’t publish the other books in this format and then I can’t have a matching hardback series.
Finally is the first book in the Poison Study series which I’m excited for. My old flat -mate absolutely adored this series and she constantly harassed me about reading it so I finally decided to take the hit and read the first book at least. At least, it has a pretty cover and several sequel books. Anyway, that’s all from me here. Let me know what books are in your January/Christmas haul and if any of mine were on your list!
So it’s term time again and that means I have to find ways to not do any uni work and procrastinate as much as is humanly possible. Instead, I decided to think about what is coming next.
I’ve been having so much fun writing of an actual blog and it means so much that people actually read anything I attempt to write about here so thank you so much. I might maybe run a competition in coming months which would be fun.
Anyway, I have plans! So many plans. Starting with the Mortal Instruments series and Tales from Shadow Hunter Academy, all by the lovely Cassandra Clare, to follow that. I’m currently reading City of Bones so the ball is in motion. In honour of the Netflix original series, together we are going to work out way through the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. It’s a big series but easy books so I’d like to take a month to get through all 13 books. As April hits us I have all the free time in the world and therefore all the time in the world for books. As summer roles in, I’ll be alone for about 7 weeks so we can expect constant updates. And May marks the arrival of Court of Wings and Ruin so that will happen too. I think a competition just before the release of ACOWAR will be in order.
I hope someone reading this is as excited as I am. Let me know what you think, and be sure to let me know of any recommendations for anything you’d like to see in this space! Let’s start as we mean to go on and fill our new year with loads of books and feels.
Watch this space!
Court of Thorns and Roses was just the beginning of the series and, in hind sight, it was nothing in comparison to following book in the series, child’s play really. Let’s open the floor to the captivating A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. This is a follow on from my first review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first book in the series.
The threat of Amarantha is gone, Prythian is free from her reign and Feyre, our broken and tortured protagonist, is adjusting to her immortal body. Her wish came true, she fell into immortality and won the hand of her great love, the High Lord of the Spring Court. Tamlin was what she wanted, what she fought to save and protect. She is praised and worshiped and dressed up and pushed into parties and, as the bride-to-be of a High Lord, she is smothered and coddled. But the invisible scars inflicted on her from under the mountain run deeper than anyone can imagine. Well, than most can imagine or comprehend. Enter Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court. A tie in from the first book, is the bargain that is struck between Rhysand and Feyre. It removes her from difficult situations in the Spring Court as Rhysand can feel her through the bond of their bargain. She is cracking, breaking under her own emotional stress and Rhys is the only one who understands the affect that her time under the mountain had on her, not even Tamlin takes the time to pull Feyre out of the bottomless ravine that she has soundlessly fallen into. But Rhys does. He sees her for the broken mess she has become, if only because he has become the same behind his mask of indifference and hostility. Rhys, beautiful and equally as scarred, whisks her away to his own court, away from Tamlin and the life she cannot seem to find her place in and he offers her santuary and friendship and the promise not to treat her like glass.
“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”
He becomes a friend and she becomes part of his inner circle, part of his family. There is threat looming, and Amarantha was only the beginning, only one of Hyberns generals. Hybern is gathering its forces with intent to strike the wall, and only Rhys and his inner circle are willing to step up to the mark and stand against the King of Hybern.
There are many reasons why this book is my favourite of the series and is becoming my all-time favourite the longer I think about it. In this book we are introduced to the Court of Nightmares and the Court of Dreams and the city of starlight and the Illyrian warriors and their beautiful wings. There isn’t enough words, I cannot really describe how stunning this book is, how much it touches your heart and cripples it and just makes you feel so alive. It makes you want to be a part of it, to live it.
There is such character development too, so much more than the first book half and it hurts all the more but you can’t help but feel as they do. We learn more about our characters too and we meet new characters. We meet the High Lord of the Summer Court and he is the sun and sea and warm summer breeze incarnate. We meet Cassian and Azriel and Mor and Amren, Rhysands inner circle. The characters we once loved are scorned and the ones we were uncertain of becomes the ones we are rooting for. And the magic becomes more intricately worn into the story and we so quickly become lost in the fantasy world of Prythian. I am a dreamer and this is a book for dreamers. It gives hope and love and warmth even in the darkness of hardships. It reminds us there is always something better and that it is important to be your own person. To be the person that empowers you.
“There are different kinds of darkness… There is the darkness that frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful. There is the darkness of lovers, and the darkness of assassins. It becomes what the bearer wishes it to be, needs it to be. It is not wholly bad or good.”
Of course, we also have our characteristic steamy scenes between characters and they are guaranteed to leave you feeling a little hot under the collar. It isn’t tasteless, and it only enhances the detail and reality of the descriptive detail.
Something I feel that it is necessary to rant about is the love that is still felt for Tamlin. Okay. So in the ACOTAR we love Tamlin. He steals Fere away and introduces her into his court and they fall in love and all seems pretty sound. Except after the fanfare under the mountain something sort of clicks out of place and it isn’t quite the same for them and that’s really okay. People can change and their views change shift and their whOLE LIFE IS QUICKLY THROWN OUT OF PERSPECTIVE AND THEY DO THINGS THEY AREN’T PROUD OF IN THE NAME OF LOVE AND PEACE AND FREEDOM AND THAT IS OKAY. It changes who you are and I would have been worried if Feyre hadn’t reacted badly to the things she had to do under the mountain, who she had to kill and the families she tore apart just for Tamlin. I don’t think I could feel the same way about him if it had been me. Both Feyre and Tamlin change and it isn’t anything to do with not loving each other but it is enough of a change to drive a wedge between them. Tamlin doesn’t give FEyre what she needs to heal and fill that hole in her chest, a hole that was torn because of Tamlin. No Rhys didn’t steal her or manipulate her or anything to turn her against Tamlin. He wanted her help and he helped her see that she was more than Tamlin was allowing her to be, she was more than an accolade. She is a Queen and if he couldn’t accept her as his High Lady of the Spring Court then he 100% did not deserve her.
Both books are available on Audible as audio books and if you’re anything like me then you will be pleased to know that both books are narrated by the same person which makes me happy. I don’t wholeheartedly endorse Audible, I 100% recommend reading the book, but audible is handy for myself as it fits nicely into a busy lifestyle. Also, kindle has audio narration that accompanies a lot of its books which you may find to your liking (I hate it).
With the ending to A Court of Mist and Fury we are set up and ready for A Court of Wind and Ruin, the third booking coming this summer. The suspense is absolutely killing me. Prepare yourself, war is coming and if Hybern is going to fight dirty then the Night Court and its High Lord and High Lady will gladly rise to the occasion.
“To the stars the listen — and the dreams that are answered.”