The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I’d wanted to start this series for a long time, and had read some of the Shiver series by Maggie Stiefvater years ago and liked that, but only recently did I finally get around to buying The Raven Boys as I picked it up at Yalc and got it signed (Post including Yalc wrap up).

I thought the whole mystic aspect was really interesting especially as the main characters are only really on the edge of it, so I feel like there is so much more about this to come in the following books which I’m excited about. I’d also like to find out more about certain characters in the next books as I’m intrigued by all of Blue’s family, although I felt like this one gave quite a good amount of info etc on the characters. I really liked the way that it was written in 3rd person and then flicked the focus between different characters and scenes as it just made the story feel more in-depth.

I’m a big fan of romance in novels and really liked how it was done here as an undertone to the main story. Without giving any major spoilers, Blue develops a relationship throughout the novel but then there are hints towards a different romance for her too. I felt like this was really interesting because it’s almost a love triangle but without there actually being one – it is just a hint that she will be with somebody else later on. This is completely ambiguous however as it is kept unclear whether it is going to happen or just a possibility. I really like both of the love interests but am more interested in the ‘possible’ one rather than the actual one in this novel so am so excited to see how that all pans out and why.

There’s also a really amazing plot twist with one character that I completely wasn’t expecting but that I can now see was foreshadowed, I really hope that this character is included in, and maybe expanded upon, in the following novels although I think how it ended could also mean that this storyline is finished. I was actually just really confused and kind of disappointed by the ending as I thought that they were only halfway through the last climactic scene when it suddenly seemed like everything was fine again and so I don’t really understand what happened.

I really do now want to read rest of series, as this one was well written and there is just so many things that I want to be tied up and explained in the other books. Have you read The Raven Boys? Agree or disagree with my opinions? Comment below! And my next post shall either be a Duodecathon wrap up or my wrap up for the month, so subscribe if you’re interested in reading either of those 🙂

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I first heard about this book when it was shown on the Hot Key Books Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/HotKeyBooks) and then saw it on a lot of different booktube channels after that. Everyone seemed to be giving it great reviews, and it sounded interesting, but I already had a load of books that I wanted to read and so didn’t get around to it until recently when I bought the Zoella book bundle, and then read it for the September AYearAThon (which I posted about here: https://emlinian.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/ayearathon-september-2016/).

In addition to just having other books to read, I also didn’t really like the sound of the way that it was written as although it was said to be written beautifully, it was also described a lot as ‘poetic’ which I took to mean that it was going to be written well, but also, hard to read, like lots of the ‘poetic’ books that I read for uni. However, I was completely wrong on this, as the writing style was really easy, captivating, and had an amazing flow to it.

Another thing that caught me by surprise was the ‘lying’ aspect to the novel; I found that wasn’t really ‘lies’ at first but a lot of metaphors, and then it was more like everyone was lying to Cadence rather than her, as the narrator, lying to us, which was what I expected. The novel actually follows Cadence on her first trip back to her family’s summer island after she has lost her memory surrounding the summer 2 years previously, and so while I was under the impression that you’d always be trying to figure out what Cadence was lying to you about, it was more like going on a journey with her to find out how her own memory is lying to her. Although, ‘Liars’ is also just a name for her group of friends which I felt was never actually explained.

I absolutely loved Cadence though! I felt like she was sweet and just really relatable in some aspects too. Something that I felt really stood out with her as a character and made her so relatable and tragic was the repetition of the idea that she feels like she has to be normal and has to pull herself together constantly. It was aspects such as this that I think just made the whole novel have this feel of being so very realistic and sad, yet there is also a theme of moving on from tragedy, and from yourself in a sense, and so in this aspect I actually found the novel quite uplifting as well as being so sad.

I don’t want to really say much more in case of spoilers but I just felt like this novel was so amazing, I loved so much about it, and it definitely a new favourite as one of the best books that I have ever read. I think most people would like this book, but especially if you’ve read and enjoyed Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen which is another of my favourites and shares some themes with this one.

Comment below if you’ve also read We Were Liars, what you thought of it, and if it was what you expected. My next post will probably be on The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater which I also loved so subscribe if you want to see that too 🙂

Tome Topple Readathon Wrap Up (June 2016)

I took part in another readathon for 2 weeks, the Tome Topple Readathon which focuses on reading tomes (books over 500 pages) and was really fun. I loved how active their twitter account was and the challenges so would love to do this one again sometime.

Wrap Up

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition) by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean – I had already started this so only read 48 Pages but isn’t a tome anyway, just my book for the graphic novel challenge

Gone by Michael Grant

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Challenges

I completed all of the challenges which is awesome so here’s the list and which of my books counted:

Read more than one tome (500+ pages)  – I ended up reading 3 tomes

Take a graphic novel break (doesn’t need to be over 500 pages!) – For this I read the Batman graphic novel

Read a tome that is part of a series – All 3 of my tomes are actually the first book in their series

Read over 500 pages in one week – I read Lady Midnight in 3 days, The Cuckoo’s Calling in 4 days, and Gone in 4 days so I completed this challenge will all 3 tomes too

Read an adult novel – I read The Cuckoo’s Calling for this one

Links

Here’s the link to the main post for Tome Topple including the YouTube video:

Tome Topple Readathon Sign-Up | Readathon + Giveaway

And here is where I find out about readathons:

http://www.littlebookowl.com/p/read-thon-calendar.html

My next readathon will be the June Duodecathon which I will do a wrap up post for too.

May Book Wrap Up & June TBR

May Reading Wrap Up

I’m actually not going to go into detail about the books that I’ve read this month because I’ve already talked about most of them in my exam reading wrap up and May Duodecathon wrap up:

https://emlinian.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/exam-period-reading-wrap-up/

https://emlinian.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/may-duodecathon-readathon/

But here are all of the books that I finished in May:

  • The Faerie Queene Book 2 by Edmund Spenser
  • The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Claire, Maureen Johnson & Sarah Rees Brennan
  • The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster
  • Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

May Book Haul

After my exams were finished I went and bought Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire, then just read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy as an ebook, but I’m not really counting that because I don’t want it as an ebook, so will buy the physical copy when that finally comes out.

June TBR

This is my first TBR post but just means ‘to be read’ and so here is what I am planning to read in June (although June has already started so I have already read/started some).

For the Tome Topple Readathon (6th-19th) I want to read Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire, The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling), and then I’d like to finish Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison & illustrated by Dave McKean.

I then want to read Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen before the June Duodecathon begins.

Finally, for the Duodecathon (24th-30th) I want to finish Emma by Jane Austen and then complete the spell out your name in books challenge by reading 2 books beginning with M and 1 beginning with A, but I’m not sure which ones yet as I want them to be quite short and I don’t really have any that are, so may just find some random cheap ebooks for those.

 

I’m not sure if I will keep doing posts like these, or if I want to do them differently, I just wanted to try it out as I think it’s fun, but my next post will probably be a wrap up for the Tome Topple Readathon, or a discussion post for one of the Cassandra Claire books.

May Duodecathon (Readathon)

Wrapping Up the May Duodecathon

For day 1 of the readathon, I read the last 3 stories from Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy (Stories 8-10) and 2 chapters of Moby-Dick (chapters 74-75).

In day 2 I read 12 chapters of Moby-Dick (chapters 76-87).

In day 3 I read 5 chapters of Moby-Dick (chapters 88-92).

For day 4 I read 8 chapters of Moby-Dick (chapters 93-100).

In day 5 I finished Moby-Dick, reading 35 chapters (101-135).

Then over days 6 and 7, I read 3 chapters of Emma (15-18)

Totals & Thoughts

Emma by Jane Austen (3 chapters – 22 pages) – Despite liking this story I find the actual book really slow and hard to get through, I think I’m just going to save the rest for the June Duodecathon so I can use it for challenges.

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (62 chapters – read as an audiobook) – This was a weird one, I’m glad I read it as an audiobook so I didn’t have to really pay attention when it was talking about random whale facts etc. Really I just think it needs a load of editing but other than that it’s quite interesting.

Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman (3 stories – 70 pages) – I loved this and so am excited to start reading  Lady Midnight, I wish this was out as a physical book already though as I didn’t like reading it as an ebook but want to read Lady Midnight and not be spoiled for this one.

Challenges

Read a book by your favourite author (Cassandra Claire – Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy)

I’ve decided that the way I am doing challenges is that I shall count it as complete if I finish the book within the readathon, or read most of it during the readathon, and so I didn’t count The Bane Chronicles last month because I only read a small part of it and didn’t finish it within the readathon, but Cassandra Claire is definitely one of my favourite authors as I am so obsessed with her books right now.

Links

Here’s a link to the Duodecathon Goodreads group:

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/156177-duodecathon

And then if you want more readathons here is the list that I am using to find them:

http://www.littlebookowl.com/p/read-thon-calendar.html

I’m now doing the Tome Topple Readathon, which you can find here:

https://thoughtsontomes.com/2016/05/28/tome-topple-readathon-sign-readathon-giveaway/

I didn’t read very much in this readathon but am hoping that my reading will pick up properly now that I am back home from summer, I’ll be posting a wrap up for the Tome Topple Readathon on here though so we shall see then 🙂

Exam Period Reading Wrap Up

ReaThis is just going to be a wrap up of my opinions on the books I read through the couple months of exams and revision, so I’m not going to go into a load of detail or give proper reviews but just random thoughts about each book.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling (Audiobook – Stephen Fry Edition)

The Harry Potter series has always been a part of my life pretty much, but over the last couple years has become a really large part of it. I have met a lot of friends through the fandom and had a lot of fun because of it all. The Stephen Fry audiobook versions finally became available on Audible so I thought it would be a great way of being able to reread the series. I think that I last reread the series before reading the Deathly Hallows for the first time, which must have been about 7 years ago now, and there is just so much that I had forgotten and really appreciate now. The narration by Stephen Fry is amazing and I’m going to continue with listening to the series as I have some spare audible points saved up.

Everyman by Anonymous

So this is just a play that I had to read for university and it is basically just an old morality play where a character called Everyman is told that he is going to die and so has to go around and find evidence that he’s a good guy before he is then judged by God. I found this pretty hard to read because although the story is really simple, the language is hard to get through and the iBooks edition that I was reading wasn’t always clear about who was speaking.

Light in August by William Faulkner

This was another university book and I read it through the audiobook, and although I think that this is a good book, and has some really interesting messages, I did not like reading it. Basically, parts of it just made me uncomfortable, which I understand is kind of the point, but still just means it’s not fun to read, although I would still say it’s worth reading, just be aware of this.

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

Another university book, but I really like Shakespeare so it was fine, my only problem was that I had to revise both this and his other play The Merchant of Venice at the same time and so kept getting confused between the two. However, Measure for Measure is a comedy about a law forbidding sex outside of marriage, and so Isabella’s brother is going to be executed and she has to go prevent, it which basically means a bad time for her. It’s a pretty short play and I quite liked it, but I do prefer Shakespeare’s tragedies to his comedies.

The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione

So this book was yet another university book and consists of 4 sub-books: book 1 is about what makes a great courtier in general, book 2 is about humour, book 3 is about what makes a good court lady (and stories of women being brave etc), then book 4 is what makes a good ruler and good politics. My favorite was book 3 which is strange because it also made me the most annoyed as some of the statements in this one from certain characters are pretty misogynistic, but then that just made it interesting in comparison to the rest of the book which I thought was mostly really dull.

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Claire, Maureen Johnson & Sarah Rees Brennan

I loved this book! Obviously, this one is not for my university course but was just for fun, as it is a collection of short stories so was quite nice to read over a long time while revision was going on. Cassandra Claire has quickly become one of my favourite authors as I read the mortal instruments and infernal devices series, along with watching the film and first series of the TV show (which I am obsessed with and cannot wait for the next season). I thought this book was just great as it gave some brief background to Magnus’s life and I liked the later stories especially, but don’t want to really say any more about that here because of spoilers about the mortal instruments series. Basically to avoid spoilers in any of Cassandra Claire’s books make sure you read them in the order that she wrote them because the series all overlap, which is a lot of reading but so worth it!

The Faerie Queene (Books 1&2) by Edmund Spenser

Back to university books I had to read the first two books of this, and so due to the language being so tricky I had the audiobook on while I read the physical book which worked pretty okay. Shmoop has amazing summaries for each canto if you need to study this, but I really didn’t like this book. It’s meant to be a great English epic about knights and quests etc. but I feel like a lot of the plot is repetitive and then, in the end a lot just comes down to fate/chance.

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

So this one is really similar to The Book of the Courtier as they can be seen as handbooks for how to be a good prince/courtier. Again, I’d say this was pretty dull, but was good to use in comparison with Castiglione in an exam.

April Duodecathon (Readathon)

Wrapping up on the April Duodecathon!

Day 1 coincided with the last part of Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon so I read half of “The Rise of the Hotel Dumont” from The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Claire (& Maureen Johnson & Sarah Rees Brennan) and 6 chapters of William Faulkner’s Light in August for that. Then, after the 24-hour readathon finished I read the last 4 chapters of Light in August and then half of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

Day 2 I finished reading Measure for Measure, then read 46 pages of Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier. On the walk home from uni I then listened to 3 chapters of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, before I then listened to the audiobook of The Faerie Queene while also following along in the book for 5 cantos (67 pages). Finally, having finished my university reading for the day, I read another story from The Bane Chronicles; “Saving Raphael Santiago”.

Day 3 I listened to 8 more chapters of Moby-Dick on the way to and from uni, read 66 pages of The Book of the Courtier, and 74 pages of The Faerie Queene, including the end of Book 1, before ending with another story from The Bane Chronicles; “The Fall of the Hotel Dumort”.

Day 4 I read 11 chapters of Moby-Dick, 58 pages of The Book of the Courtier, and 3 cantos of The Faerie Queene.

Day 5 I got through 3 chapters of Moby-Dick and the entire last book in The Book of the Courtier (64 pages)!

Day 6 was 3 chapters of Moby-Dick and 3 cantos of The Faerie Queene.

Then day 7 was a light day with only 1 canto of The Faerie Queene and 22 pages of Machiavelli’s The Prince

Totals!

Last 4 chapters of Light in August by William Faulkner

All of Measure for Measure by Shakespeare (100 pages)

2 and a half stories from The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Claire, Maureen Johnson & Sarah Rees Brennan (94 pages)

The last 3 books of The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione (240 pages)

28 chapters of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

16 cantos of The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser (232 pages)

22 pages of The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Challenges!

Listen to an audiobook (Light in August, Moby Dick, and The Faerie Queene)

I was hoping to do more than one challenge seeing as I only just joined and so have missed 2 Duodecathons but due to reading mostly coursebooks I couldn’t really do this, but by the time May Duodecathon starts I will have finished with my exams so maybe then I will get a few more challenges done!

Links!

This readathon was really fun so I can’t wait for May’s, here’s the link for the Duodecathons:

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/156177-duodecathon

And then if you want more readathons here is the list that I am using to find them:

http://www.littlebookowl.com/p/read-thon-calendar.html

Although I won’t be doing one until the next Duodecathon seeing as the ones in the meantime clash with my exams, so hopefully I will find time to blog around those but if not then there will definitely be a wrap-up post for the May Duodecathon 🙂