Sunday, 15 September 2013

Gotta get back to Hogwarts...I mean university...

Unfortunately, September 1st has come and gone, and I was not on the Hogwarts Express. I recently took a trip to the Harry Potter studio tour (or as it's officially called, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter) though, so I did get to experience a little bit of Harry Potter magic (Dumbledore's office - wow). However, although I will not be attending Hogwarts this year, I do have to go back to university. I'm moving into my new flat on the 20th (it's a flat to be expected of student housing - the walls are all marked and smudged and the kitchen is tiny, but it's on a quiet road and we have a shared garden!) so that means that things on the blog will likely become much more irregular again - though I definitely will continue posting when I have the chance. In the mean time, here are a few pics I took while I was on the HP studio tour! I took over 300 (though half of them turned out so blurry) so no way can I post them all - I've just picked a few of my favourites.

The Great Hall
That thingy from the Yule Ball in film four
Potions dungeon or Snape's office...I kinda forgot
Dumbledore's office
The Knight Bus
No. 4 Privet Drive
Flourish & Blotts
Model of Hogwarts
Chocolate Frog I bought! It was yummy and I got a Rowena Ravenclaw card, which is awesome as I'm a Ravenclaw :P
So that was the HP studio tour! I definitely recommend going one day, it's so fun and you get to see so many cool things. I spent an absurd amount of money in the gift shop (THEY HAD ALL THE SWEETS. I so wanted Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans but had already spent way too much :P) but it was so worth it! I bought a Deathly Hallows t-shirt which I am justifying by saying it's part of my back to uni wardrobe (which I think is fair as the only clothes I've bought are that top and a jacket).

I have however bought all my back to uni stationery and products and all I need now is to pack everything up properly (I have so much stuff lying around...I know I will definitely forget something. And if I don't, I doubt it will fit in my car anyway). Here's a snapshot of the my back to uni essentials!

Everyone needs Febreeze
My fox backpack
And that's it! I thought I'd take a break from bookish stuff for a day and have a more personal post. Let me know if you want to see more posts like this or if you think I should just stick to books! Hope everyone has had a great summer and thank you to everyone who reads and comments on my blog - you make my day :).

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Review: Goddess by Josephine Angelini

16146662Goddess (Starcrossed #3) by Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: May 23rd 2013
My Rating: 3 stars out 5
Find it on Goodreads

She must rise, or they will fall... Helen's powers are increasing--and so is the distance between her and her mortal friends. To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a dangerous traitor is lurking among them, and all fingers point to Orion. Still unsure whether she loves him or Lucas, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, or risk all-out war. The final book in this heart-stopping trilogy. (from Goodreads)

*review contains mild spoilers*

Goddess was not my favourite book in the Starcrossed series.  I just felt like something was missing and certain things just seemed too convenient, like they were hurriedly rushed together just so there could be symbolic parallels to the past. However, it was still a decent ending to the series even with its flaws.

I found Goddess was a bit slow to start but once things started to get going, the pacing was a lot better. After touching the water of the river Lethe in Dreamless, Helen had started to regain the memories of her previous...er, incarnations, I guess? And she kept getting flashbacks of when she was Helen of Troy, or Guinevere from Arthurian legend. The flashbacks were okay, but I feel like there were a lot of them, and then Helen never told anyone what was happening in them anyway, so it was a bit weird. The fact that in every past she was always madly in love with Lucas/Paris/Lancelot as well just sort of made the whole attempted love triangle redundant. I liked Orion a lot when he was introduced in book two, but I didn’t want a love triangle because I just knew Helen would end up with Lucas. Orion was just thrown in for the sake of the plot to create drama and I was so done with the misunderstandings these three kept having. Like, the whole love triangle thing was solved so conveniently – Orion was like “you’ll always love Lucas more, woe is me!” and yet managed to get over Helen easily and find someone else almost immediately. Helen, who was supposed to be “torn” by these two guys, was of course perfectly fine with Orion, whom she apparently loved, moving on and finding someone else, and even encouraged it. Ugh. I mean, what was the point? It was there literally just for some temporary conflict. Helen was never really in conflict at all, she always liked Lucas more, was teary about Orion for like, a page before becoming besties with him (this happened right at the beginning, guys!). Undermined everything that happened in Dreamless. It was just so LUCAS could THINK that Orion and Helen were together for some dramatic stuff to happen. It was so unnecessary.

Speaking of Orion moving on, erm, Cassandra? Really? Am I the only one with a problem with this? I couldn’t even remember how old Cassandra was, I just remember it was younger than Orion/Helen/Lucas and weird. Did not like it at all, and the fact that everyone ended up with who they were with in the past and this whole endless cycle of fate was just too much. I mean, wasn’t the whole point of the series trying to CHANGE fate anyway? About making choices? Yet they all just fell in love with each other again! I get the whole “love that lasts forever” thing, but come on.

Hector was probably my favourite character in Goddess (and maybe the whole series), so any scene with him in it was the most enjoyable (though the relationship with Andy was so rushed, once again, for the sake of parallels to the past/love forever blah blah). He added humour to the book, and also action because he was Helen’s champion and fought on her behalf, because he was the best fighter (which he knew, and it was really funny when he was arguing with Orion and Lucas over it).

One thing I really didn’t understand was why Helen had to become fully immortal. When she thought she and Lucas were cousins and didn’t want to have children with him, I got it – she needed to become immortal so the Face could remain on Earth and so Aphrodite wouldn’t take away love. But when she realised she and Lucas weren’t cousins, why did she need to become fully immortal? She could have children if she wanted! Fair enough if she didn’t want children, but she never actually said that - it was implied that she did want children. She said it was to make it her fight, whatever the hell that meant. The need for her immortality was never really explained – she could have a daughter who would have the Face, so why did she still choose to become immortal?

Despite all these negatives I’ve been mentioning, Goddess was a pretty addictive read, and I did want to find out how everything ended. I really loved the Greek myth and the way Angelini interpreted things to fit the story (though there could have been a bit more explanation – especially on the whole worldbuilding power thing). I also liked that Helen and Lucas’s ending was kind of bittersweet, because Lucas would someday have to go to the Underworld, so their time together on Earth was limited (so thankful that Lucas brought Hector back with his trade, even if it was kind of ridiculous that barely anyone died – I don’t think I could have taken Hector being dead!). I thought it was an interesting twist as well to have Helen’s friends see her differently now that she was so powerful and having trouble controlling herself, because it showed that not everyone reacts well to change and was quite realistic.

Overall, I didn’t love Goddess, but it wasn’t a terrible ending to the series and had its good points. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Liz's Lists #2


Do you like making lists? I do. In fact, I make lists for everything. So I have decided as I am so often making lists, I may as well share some of the book-related ones with you, as sometimes they're actually quite interesting (unlike my many, many to-do lists, which are often abandoned...). Today's list is a list of sequels I want to read most that I unfortunately haven't had the chance to read/buy yet!

[All images from Goodreads. Clicking on the image will take you to the book's Goodreads page]

11532710


The Exiled Queen

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13104080

15819317

16082550

17906008

18076883

Rise

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15894007

Quite a lot of sequels...and these are just the ones I want to read most! I've been meaning to read some of them for ages as well, but haven't got around to them yet! I'm especially behind on the Bloodlines series...I actually only read the first one a few months ago. I was also going to include the Heroes of Olympus series too, but I haven't even started the first one yet (shameful, I know). Are there any books on this list that you have been meaning to read? Which ones are you most looking forward to?

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: August 20th 2013
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
(from Goodreads)

The Bone Season was a really enjoyable first book in a new series, with an interesting and detailed world that I am excited to find out more about.

I really liked Paige as a main character. She was easy to relate to and she was the type of person who didn't give up easily. Even though she was technically a criminal by Scion's standards  (being clairvoyant and working for the Seven Seals) and had done a lot of illegal and really bad things, you could tell that she was actually a good person who really cared about others. She went out of her way to try and protect people she'd only just met and it was strange because half the time she didn't even know why she was trying to help, and yet she did anyway. She seemed to be hiding something from the beginning, and when we finally found out what it was towards the end, I really felt for her. It seemed like nothing ever went right for her and she had just come to accept it. Paige's dreamwalker ability was also really interesting, and she was one of the rarest types of clairvoyants. I was looking forward to seeing her train to improve her power, but there wasn't actually as much training as I'd hoped, and her ability seemed to just develop over time. Still, there are six more books to see what else Paige can do, so I'm not too disappointed.

Warden was...hmm. I'm not sure how to describe it. I was really, really wary at first about how Warden and Paige's relationship might develop seeing as he was a Rephaite  and her "master" and they were on such uneven grounds. The whole thing just made me uncomfortable to be honest. Even as we got to find out more about Warden and learnt he wasn't quite as horrible as we first thought, I was still wary. Even though Warden didn't want to be Paige's "master" and told her he would treat her with respect as a student instead, in public, they still had to act as if Warden was in total control and it was all just a bit icky. I did feel better about it by the end when Paige wasn't so dependent and reliant on the Rephaite for her life anymore and had decided to do something about what was going on. That being said, I liked the fact that nothing really happened between the two until towards the end, and most of the book was spent with trying to build trust and was more about the tension rather than immediately entering into some creepy forbidden love affair. Warden spent a lot of time trying to understand Paige, which is not something the other Rephs cared to attempt, and he didn't agree with a lot of the things he was made to do by the blood-sovereign, his fiancé (who was, for lack of a batter word, horrible). The Rephs were different from humans; they were all voyant, they fed on human aura (creepy) and they had different customs - but there seemed to be a divide and not everyone agreed with the blood-sovereign. Warden was also a skilled fighter and genuinely wanted Paige to learn how to control her power for her own sake, and not so she could just be used by others for their own selfish motives. I did actually quite like him by the end and am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book.

The side-characters were all really interesting and had more purpose than just filling up the background. I liked Liss in particular - she helped Paige when she first arrived, and was practically impossible to dislike. Jaxon, the man who Paige worked for in the Seven Seals, was also a fascinating character. He could be equally charming and frightening and I didn't like him too much - but I definitely want to find out more about him in the next book.

Plot-wise, I found The Bone Season a bit slow to start, and there was definitely a lot of info-dumping; it kind of felt like an educational text at first. However, once Paige found out about the Rephaite and met Liss and Warden, things got a lot more interesting, and the ending was very well done - not a massive cliffhanger, but definitely left me wanting more. As mentioned before, I would have liked to have seen Paige train more, and to learn more about the Rephaite, but there will be time for that in later books (and I'm pretty sure the Rephs were hiding a secret and were meant to be all mysterious for now).

Overall, I really enjoyed The Bone Season and thought it was a great start to a new series. I wouldn't say Samantha Shannon is "the next JK Rowling" as we keep on hearing (not the best idea to tell people that, they will inevitably end up comparing), but I would recommend this book - don't let the hype put you off!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Review: United We Spy by Ally Carter

United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: September 5th 2013
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever. (from Goodreads)

United We Spy was a brilliant conclusion to the Gallagher Girls series, and though I really enjoyed reading it, it kind of made me a little bit sad, because I had to say goodbye to one of my favourite series. I'm really going to miss Gallagher Academy and Cammie and Zach and Macey and Bex and Liz and I really don't know what I'm going to do now it's over. I guess on to waiting for Heist Society #4 and Embassy Row #1!

Like Out of Sight, Out of Time, United We Spy was darker than the other books in the series, and a lot of things happened that made me really scared for the characters at times. Cammie was changed by her experiences in the last book, and really wanted to stop the Circle and Catherine once and for all. She had lost a lot, but not her determination, and I so wanted her to finally be able to live in peace. But before that could happen, she had to figure out what was going on and where the Circle would strike next. Zach was there for her to rely on, and I really loved their relationship in this book. The humour was a bit softer, and there was a more serious tone to things, but still they understood each other and had each other's backs, and really, I couldn't ask for much more.

Preston was back in United We Spy, and poor guy! He was forced to suffer a lot of things, some of which were funny, some of which were just horrible, and I felt bad for him. He didn't know what was going on - he had helped Cammie a lot when she needed it, and now she was trying to return the favour, even if Preston didn't understand why he needed help. I liked reading about him and Macey too - Macey really cared about Preston and was the first one to suggest helping him. And though she couldn't have managed it without everyone, she probably would have gone off by herself to go after Preston if she had to.

Plot-wise, there was a lot I didn't expect but I did kind of guess the ending, though I think it was really well done and especially loved the way a certain childhood song played its part. There was also one revelation that I really didn't see coming, which I thought was quite an excellent twist. I'm not sure how I felt about Cammie's mum and Joe, considering Joe used to be Cammie's dad's best friend, but it was something that had been hinted at a lot and that I knew was going to happen eventually. I also would have liked to have seen Josh again for one last time, because even though I really liked the epilogue, I felt like it would have been nice to sort of end things where they started, to compare how the characters changed over the course of the series. But one of my favourite parts of this book was definitely Liz's speech at graduation. You could tell how emotional she was while reading it, and it was just really heartfelt and lovely. I felt like it was a perfect speech to end their time at Gallagher Academy, and I don't think anyone but Liz could have pulled it off.

Overall, I really enjoyed United We Spy, and I can't recommend this series enough. I'm sad to see it go, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Three Mini Reviews

Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story (Gallagher Girls, #5.5; Heist Society, #2.5)Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story (Heist Society #2.5, Gallagher Girls #5.5) by Ally Carter
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: January 30th 2013
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Macey McHenry—Glamorous society girl or spy-in-training?

W.W. Hale V—Heir to an American dynasty or master thief?

There are two sides to every coin. Whether these two can work together is a tossup.

Born into privilege, Macey and Hale are experts at mingling with the upper class. But even if they’ve never raised an eyebrow at the glitz, neither teenager has ever felt at home with the glamour.

When Macey and Hale meet at a society gala, the party takes a dangerous turn. Suddenly they’re at the center of a hostage situation, and it’s up to them to stop the thugs from becoming hostile. Will Macey’s spy skills and Hale’s con-man ways be enough to outsmart a ruthless gang? Or will they have to seek out the ultimate inside girl to help?

The worlds of
Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls collide in Ally Carter’s fast-paced, high-stakes and tantalizing new story. Get a behind the scenes glimpse as Ally delivers an irresistible thriller that is full of her signature style and savvy twists. (from Goodreads)

How much did I love this novella? Gallagher Girls and Heist Society collide? Could anything be more perfect than this? HALE AND MACEY, guys. Two of the AWESOMEST characters of both series. I just adored it. I loved their banter, they were so hilarious. Hale was being all polite with his “I’m taken” and Macey cracked me up with her “like I care” and ah. The way they both had skills the other didn’t expect...it was fantastic. Kat made an appearance in this one too, and Macey made a passing comment that she and Cammie should meet because they would get along...THIS. THIS. If there is another novella, CAMMIE NEEDS TO MEET KAT. THEY NEED TO GO OFF ON AN ADVENTURE! I would also find Zach and Hale having a chat quite fabulous as well. But back to the Double Crossed...Abby made an appearance too and made Kat a very fine offer at the end which I can’t even tell you how much I “OMG”d at. PLUS Macey just happened to mention her plans for the future, as did Hale...so perhaps they will meet again. I certainly hope so, because I LOVED THIS NOVELLA SO MUCH. It wasn’t long enough. I could have read it all day. AHHHH EXCITEMENT. This is why I love Ally Carter. She’s a genius!

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Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: February 2nd 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her friends—before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s...
(from Goodreads)

I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book. I don’t even know why I did – I love Greek mythology and this book sounded like just my cup of tea, so why I put it off so long is beyond me. However, I have read it now, and I loved it. It was not what I was expecting – I thought it’d be very high school-y and centred around class and stuff, but it wasn’t like that at all. It was a lot creepier and darker than I thought it’d be (the fact the Feed lasted a hundred years was so strange...no wonder Nikki wasn’t your regular high school teen anymore!), and Cole...I thought he’d just be your typical bad boy, but he was far more complex. Have to admit, I am Team Jack – which surprised me, because usually I am all for the bad boys. But he was just so sweet and so cute and obviously cared about Nikki a lot. He wanted to know what happened to her yet he supported her even when she refused to open up to him. I do think he accepted the whole Everneath/Feed thing a little too easily – I would have been a bit more sceptical and “wtf” about it all, but apart from that, I liked him a lot and I just want Jack and Nikki to be happy! I just love the way they met when they were kids, it was so adorable, and now I’m really rooting for them. But well. After that cliffhanger (which I did see coming, buuut there were a few other twists to make up for it), it doesn’t look like happiness is in store for them, so we shall have to see. A fab read!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: March 1st 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger. She wakes from a coma in hospital with no memory of how she got there or of the bizarre accident that caused the deaths of her best friends and her boyfriend, yet left her mysteriously unharmed. The doctors suggest that starting over in a new city, a new school, would be good for her and just to let the memories gradually come back on their own.

But Mara’s new start is anything but comforting. She sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and when she suddenly begins to see other people’s deaths right before they happen, Mara wonders whether she’s going crazy! And if dealing with all this wasn’t enough, Noah Shaw, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen can’t seem to leave her alone… but as her life unravels around her, Mara can’t help but wonder if Noah has another agenda altogether…
(from Goodreads)

Hmmm...my thoughts on this book, let’s see. Well, mostly confusion. But in a good way. I seriously had no idea what was going on half the time, but it made everything more interesting and I was curious enough to want to read on and unravel the mystery. Mara was a very fascinating character, and I like that she was a bit...bad. Not going to explain what I mean by that, but you’ll understand if you’ve read the book. She could be very funny sometimes too and while I didn’t love Noah (I LIKED him, but he doesn’t make my top boyfriends list, sadly – he could be a tad bit cheesy at times, though I will say he had some awesome one-liners and witty/innuendo-y responses that made me laugh) I liked the relationship they had going on...unconventional, to say the least. And the romance was pretty awesome at times, not gonna lie. However...the ending. For me, it came across as quite a big shock. I don’t know whether I should have seen it coming or not, but I didn’t, and man was I surprised. Not just at the cliffhanger, but at finding out what happened to Mara as well... I don’t even know how the next book is going to sort out this mess, honestly. I imagine some more shocking things are to come our way! Very excited to find out what happens next. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Review: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: August 29th 2013
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Free from bonds, but not each other

It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?
 (from Goodreads)

Untold was...Untold was...guys, I don’t even know what to say. Sarah Rees Brennan has once again left me speechless. I feel like I need treatment for this traumatic reading experience. Someone needs to teach me how live my life again. What is with these endings? Why does Sarah do this to us? What is happiness? I don’t know anymore!

Kami. That girl. I can’t tell you how much I adored her. Even when she was hurting, she still managed to be fantastically hilarious. If there were such a thing as a sarcasm competition, she would so win (or she would at least tie with Angela). And she was, I think, a great friend. As well as being willing to do pretty much anything to protect her friends, the whole situation with Holly and Jared – she handled that so well in my opinion. She was still trying to get over the loss of her link with Jared, with losing the comforting voice she’d had in her head her whole life, and was still trying to work out how she really felt about it all, and yet she didn’t get angry or shout at anyone even though she was actually really upset and I just felt for her so much! I just wanted her to be happy. But this was an SRB book and we know from past experience that characters are only ever happy for so long...

ANGELA AND HOLLY, MY PRECIOUSES. I said in book one that Angela probably matched my personality type the most, and oh I loved her in this book. She had so many quoteworthy moments, and I just loved her general hatred of other people. And she was struggling with trying to be friends with Holly again in this book... Holly! Holly, Holly Holly! I loved her and everything, she was so friendly and kind and awesome, and I get she was having a hard time going through changes and trying to accept stuff, but at some point I was certain that she had to see that she and Angela were PERFECT together. I ship them so hard. And Jared and Kami of course, but that is a whole ‘nother story...

Speaking of Jared. Jared. WHY WAS HE SO UGHFBDGEIBDNfbvnvjhgbVnvdVdrunvd9v924ubn. Did he not realise at how one minute he seemed all caring and funny and sweet and the next minute he was like “BURN IN HELL FOREVER MORTALS OF THIS FOOLISH REALM!” WHY did he and Kami spend so much time dancing around each other not talking about their feelings? PEOPLE SHOULD TALK ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS. It was so agonising to see him think things that weren’t true and feel needlessly upset and hurt (and vice versa for Kami) and I just wanted him and Kami to be together and live happily ever after and all evil things could just GO AWAY and leave my Jami alone. You know what was cool, though? The bromance with Ash. You could tell they didn’t really hate each other. They were family and even though Jared relentlessly made fun of Ash, they were bros (ahem).

I wasn’t massively fond of Ash, but I did feel sorry for the poor guy. It seemed nobody liked him best. His own mother was distant and sometimes even cruel and seemed to like Jared better, Kami clearly preferred Jared no matter what she said, he didn’t really even register on Holly’s radar, Angela basically hated everyone and he was “everyone” and Jared never seemed to take him seriously (though their relationship did improve later on). He was constantly being told he wasn’t good enough by his family and I don’t know, it felt like someone was kicking a puppy.

Rusty. Rustyyyy my friend. I have a feeling he was hiding some secrets I would certainly like to know. Especially concerning Kami. But he was awesome in Untold, and was on Kami’s side and trusted her wholeheartedly and was willing to defend her. Gotta say, Kami sure was a lucky girl to know so many amazing people (let’s just forget about the whole evil sorcerer trying to kill her thing for a moment while we appreciate this).

Plot-wise, Kami and co. were up to their usual shenanigans trying to figure out what Rob Lynburn was up to and what he might do next, SRB definitely delivered with book two being the “make out” book, Aunt Lillian was looking down on mere non-magical folk and doing her own thing, revelations! about several things and people, Rob Lynburn was crazy-evil and OMG WTF WAS THAT ENDING WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG FOR BOOK THREE AFTER EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED WITH JARED AND ASH AND I CAN’T TAKE IT I FEEL LIKE THIS SERIES IS MY OXYGEN AND IT’S BEING TAKEN AWAY FROM ME WHHHHY.
Book three. I need it.

Overall, you have not experienced bookish pain and anxiety unless you have read an SRB book. Read this series. Join us as we wait in agony together for the third book!

Monday, 2 September 2013

United We Spy Blog Tour - First Stop!

Hello, everyone! Planet Print is the first stop on the United We Spy blog tour, which is the sixth and final book in the excellent Gallagher Girls series! Each stop will be a post on favourite characters from the series, and there might even be some giveaways, so make sure to visit every blog on the tour. Today, my post (below the book info) is about Zach and Cammie, my two favourite characters of the series. Enjoy!

United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: September 5th 2013
Find it on Goodreads

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever. (from Goodreads)

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How do I love Zach and Cammie? Let me count the ways.

It is no secret that Zach and Cammie are one of my favourite pairings ever. I remember stumbling across the Gallagher Girls series as a young teen, and yet even now I still adore these two. From their casual flirty humour to their spy skills to risking their lives for each other, here is a couple that unfailingly manages to make me root for them, through thick and thin, no matter what happens.

Cammie is an awesome character. Loyal, caring, very smart and a pretty damn good spy, the series wouldn't be half as good if she weren't the main character. She makes the series for me. She is THE Gallagher Girl. And though I do love pretty much the whole cast of characters, Cammie does take the cake. She is sarcastic and funny and half wants a normal life, half loves the spy world and you just can't NOT like her. She is fabulous. However, as the "Chameleon" she sometimes feels overlooked or invisible and things are hard for her. Which is why I think she and Zach make such a great pair. Zach can see through her in a way that a lot of other people can't. He can spot her in a crowd; she isn't a chameleon to him. And he's always there for her, even when he's not actually there. He's a voice of reason, someone she can always talk to even when things are awkward, and he really cares about her! It doesn't hurt that he's super attractive and hilarious, and things are never dull when he's around.

Together, Zach and Cammie have been through a lot of things. Ex-boyfriends (coughJoshcough), attacks on their lives, amnesia, crazy parents, secrets, spy tests, and yet I couldn't picture their relationship any other way. A boring, normal relationship with a regular guy like Josh just wouldn't suit Cammie, I think. I understand her wanting sometimes to have normal things, but she craves the spy life too. It's why she picked to study Covert Operations. It's why she finds field work so exciting. And Zach is challenging, and there's more to their relationship than sitting around eating pistachio ice-cream. Cammie is a Gallagher Girl through and through, and no-one knows that better than Zach.

But you don't have to believe me. All you need to do to realise how amazing Cammie and Zach are together is read the books. They have so many great moments together, so many hilarious lines and touching scenes and awesome kisses. I've picked some of my favourite quotes/lines to highlight their brilliantness, but just a few sentences can't do them justice. So if you have not read this series yet, READ IT. And if you have, I hope you love Zach and Cammie as much as I do. I am very sad to see the Gallagher Girl series end, and  I will really miss Cammie and Zach. Here's to hoping for more GG/Heist Society crossover novellas!

My favourite Zach and Cammie lines/quotes (from Goodreads):

Quote 1: Classic Zach and Cammie humour (with a little help from their friends):

So I hear we get to go to town this weekend. Want to catch a movie or something?
--Z
P.S. That is, if Jimmy doesn't mind.

Translation: This weekend might be a good chance for us to see each other outside our school in a social environment, free of competition. I do not view other boys as threats, and I enjoy making them seem insignificant by calling them the wrong names. [Translation by Macey McHenry] (from Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy)

Quote 2: Zach's romantic side, ooh la la:

“Oh, and Cammie." At the sounds of his voice, I spun around, expecting to hear him crack a joke or call me Gallagher Girl. The last thing I expected was to feel his arms sliding arounds me, to sense the whole world turning upside down as Zach dipped me in the middle of the foyer and pressed his lips to mine. Then he smiled that smile I'd come to know. "I always finish what I start.” (from Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy)

Quote 3: Zach. TRAIN SCENE. One of my favourites. Laughed so much:

“Hey, Macey...sorry to drop in but Cammie just had to be alone with me. You know how she gets.” (from Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover)

Quote 4: Secrets! Who can really be trusted? Cammie asking, Zach replying:

“Why do I feel like I can't trust you anymore?"

I wanted him to lash out. I wanted him to fight, to protest, to argue - to do anything but look deeper into my eyes and say, "Because the Gallagher Academy doesn't admit fools." (from Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover)

Quote 5: Cammie speaking the truth of all things:

Despite having known him for almost a year, there were a lot of things I still didn't know about Zachary Goode. Like how soap and shampoo could smell so much better on him than anyone else. Like where he went when he wasn't mysteriously showing up at random (and frequently dangerous) points in my life. And, most of all, I didn't know how, when he mentioned the jacket, he made me think about the sweet, romantic part of the night last November when he'd given it to me, and not the terrible, bloody, international-terrorists-are-trying-to-kidnap-me part that came right after. (from Only the Good Spy Young)

Quote 5: Cammie being sassy and hilarious:

It is a little-known fact about covert operations that you will spend a lot of time with people you can’t really trust. They may be traitors and liars. We call them assets or informants. But mostly, in those days, I called him Zach. (from Only the Good Spy Young)

Quote 6: Zach and Cammie, putting a funny twist on an old and creepy pastime present in way too many YA books:

“You know," I whispered, "some girls might think it's creepy having a boy watch them sleep."

He smirked and pointed to himself. "Spy."

"Oh." I nodded. "Right. So you're a trained Peeping Tom."

"Product of the best peeping academies in the country."

"Well, now I feel much better."

"You should." (from Out of Sight, Out of Time)

Quote 6: Why Zach and Cammie go together like tea and cake:

He was beside me then, his arms wrapped around me, holding me tightly.

"I'm not crazy," I whispered.

"I know."

Believe it or not, that's the most romantic thing Zachary Goode ever told me.

And I kind of loved him for it. (from Out of Sight, Out of Time)

And, lastly, Quote 7 is my little present to you all, a non-spoilery quote from United We Spy, that just encompasses everything I love about Zach and Cammie:

"I never knew there were this many stars."

"I can't see them," he told me. His breath was warm on my neck, and he kissed the soft skin at the base of my hair. "I just see you."

"That's one of your cheesier lines," I told him but didn't move to make him stop.

"It's the altitude," he told me. "I don't have enough oxygen in my brain."

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And there you have it. Cammie. Zach. Cammie and Zach. I hope this (overly long, I apologise) post convinced you of their awesomeness. Many thanks to Cait for letting me take part in the blog tour! Don't forget to visit Queen of Contemporary tomorrow for the next stop.