Friday, 31 March 2017

March Wrap-Up

Books I Read This Month:

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon
Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan
Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell*

All links lead to Goodreads. Reviews to come for starred books! I didn't have a great reading month in March, I only read six books (and literally all of them were fantasy, so you can tell what kind of mood I was in). The Song Rising was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it was definitely worth the (loooong) wait! I also really liked Daughter of the Pirate King, and I'm glad we're getting a sequel.

Blog Posts:


I had a bit of a crappy blogging month too - March generally hasn't been good for me. I've not been well, and I've also just been feeling a bit unmotivated - I've been job-hunting for a while now with no luck, which isn't fun, and coupled with being ill, it's made for a bit of a rubbish month!

TV Shows I Watched/Started:

Supergirl season 2 (currently airing on Sky1)
The Flash season 3 (currently airing Sky1)
Legends of Tomorrow season 2 (currently airing on Sky1)
Scorpion season 3 (currently airing on ITV2)
Timeless (E4)
Emerald City (currently airing on 5STAR)
The Magicians season 2 (currently airing on 5STAR)
Shadowhunters season 2 (mid-season break, Netflix)
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD season 4 (currently airing E4)
Legion (FOX)
Riverdale (weekly on Netflix)
The Middle (currently airing on Comedy Central)
12 Monkeys season 1 (Netflix)
Killjoys season 1 (Netflix)
The Replacement (BBC1)
BoJack Horseman seasons 1-3 (Netflix)
Designated Survivor (weekly on Netflix)

So all my usual things with a few new shows. I really enjoyed 12 Monkeys and hope Netflix gets season 2 soon! Killjoys was decent, though way overacted at points. The Replacement had a really disappointing finale and words can't really describe BoJack Horseman... The musical episode of The Flash was pretty cool, but had a weak plot, and I have gotten really into Designated Survivor.

I did attempt to watch Iron Fist but it was so awful, and after reading all the reviews, I thought it wasn't worth even trying to finish it. I also started Big Little Lies but couldn't get into it. In good news, however, we are FINALLY getting season 4 of The 100 in the UK! It starts next week, yay!

Films I Watched:

Back to the Future parts I & II (I have lost count how many times I've seen these)
Cinderella (2014)
Doctor Strange
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Music I Listened to:

So. Much. Disney
The Maine, old and new (in particular, Diet Soda Society and Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu)
All the songs from the musical episode of Buffy, "Once More, with Feeling"
Hamilton
Ruelle
One Day More - Les Mis
Anime openings (the Yuri on Ice song though?!)
Songs from all the A Very Potter Musicals
At Least it Was Here - The 88 (the Community opening theme song)

Notable Events:

For my birthday last month, my brother and his fiancée got me tickets to a double feature marathon of Back to the Future parts I & II (Back to the Future being my favourite film of all time) at the Prince Charles Cinema, which was so awesome! The Prince Charles Cinema is a really relaxed cinema where you can bring your own food, sit in comfy seats and bring blankets and whatnot. The screen has a curtain like at an actual theatre and it was generally a really cool place to watch the films - especially since everyone else there obviously also also loved Back to the Future.

And that is my month in a nutshell! I really want to read more in April because I have so many books to get through. I'm also taking part in a blog tour for the second book in the Shadow Magic series by Joshua Khan if you're interested - my post will be up Saturday 8th April! More info on the blog tour banner at the bottom of the sidebar.

Also if anyone wants to hire me...I mean, I have a Law degree. And a year's experience in a really busy office. I analysed data and everything...

What are your bookish (and non-bookish) goals for next month?

Friday, 24 March 2017

Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Released: 7th March 2017
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.
(from Goodreads)

The Bone Witch suffered from a few cliché tropes here and there but overall, I quite enjoyed it. It’s not the best fantasy book I’ve ever read, but I would be interested in reading the sequel.

Tea was a fairly likeable main character. Okay, at times she was a bit boring and a stereotypical overpowered heroine dithering over what to do, but I was really intrigued by her story, and how she ended up having a black heartglass in present day. We got a few hints (the chapters were set up in a way where bits from the present day were matched with what was happening in past – think The Name of the Wind) but a lot was still left a mystery, and I do want to find out what exactly happened. For example, Tea stated that she had visited the Oracle 28 times, but we only saw a handful of visits in the book. I am wondering when the rest occur (and why!), because there isn’t that much of a time gap between the present day and the story from the past.

I have to say I wasn’t a fan of the romance, but luckily, there wasn’t much of it. There was a hint of a love triangle with Prince Kance and his cousin? Guard? (I have honestly forgotten his name), but I wasn’t really interested. I’d rather have learnt more about heartglasses. The whole idea of giving your heartglass to someone else if you loved them seemed entirely too risky to me, especially since there wasn’t really a benefit, and I would have liked to have learn more about this practice, as well as more about heartglasses in general and the different colours they could be.

Plot-wise, admittedly, not a lot happened. As I said before, the book was split with some scenes from present day, and some in the past, and I was reading mostly for clues as to how Tea changed from a seemingly innocent girl who was just trying to bring back her brother, to a killer who had no qualms about hurting people. Present day Tea was a lot more interesting that past Tea but we didn’t know what caused her to become that way or how things changed so drastically. Not a lot actually happened in the past scenes to show why this occurred, but there were some signs that got me interested. While I had a lot of issues with the pacing of this book and some of the characterisation, I think I’ll read the next one purely because I want to know what happens to Tea to change her so much.

Overall, this was a fun read to pass the time, and while it had its issues, if you like this sort of split narrative with a continuing mystery, you may enjoy this book.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Review: The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 2nd March 2017
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person.
(from Goodreads)

While I did enjoy The Ship Beyond Time overall, I have to admit that at times, I found it confusing and a bit difficult to follow. As a result, I don’t think it was as good as The Girl from Everywhere, but I have liked reading this series as a whole and would still recommend it to fans of time travel and adventures on ships.

Nix was one of the reasons I kept on with this book even when I found it a bit unclear at times. I really liked her character, and her relationship with her father was very interesting in this book. In book one, I really didn’t like Slate, and to be honest, I still wasn’t his biggest fan in this book either, but I did like seeing how the relationship between father and daughter had changed and how Nix was adapting to this. One thing that I will point out is that I predicted the meaning of Joss’s fortune (Nix losing the one she loves) from the start, so the ending wasn’t really a surprise to me. While this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book as a whole, I did kind of spend the whole time waiting for Nix to realise what was going to happen.

Kashmir got his own point of view in this book, and while it was nice to see from his POV, I felt his character wasn’t really as developed as he could be. I really wanted to know more about Kashmir but I felt like this book was all about his relationship with Nix and whether or not he could be saved and I don’t know. He got a bit cheesy at times, and I would have loved to explore his backstory more and what that meant in relation to his feelings for Nix (he touched on this in his own chapters, expressing his concerns about it, but I would have liked more detail). He was a great character though, and continued to be that voice of reason who always offered good advice.

Blake was Blake. I didn’t really like him in the first book, and I didn’t much like him in this book either. I understood why he was there though, and it was actually a bit sad to see that he was really similar to Nix and they could have been close friends in another life, if things had been different.

Plot-wise, this is where I was confused. I really struggled with the mythical places and travelling there by map, the whole Ancient Greece debacle, how they somehow managed to change the past but people retained memories in dreams (and there were all these alternate universes they could see in dreams - what?! This never came up in the first book!) and how [spoiler, highlight to read]Nix’s mother was somehow saved with no consequences. How? Plus, whatever happened to Dahut? I liked her[end of spoiler]. Navigation was also never fully explained and in the end I was just reading without understanding because I was too confused by it all. I doubt everyone will have the same problem, but I’ve always needed really clear explanations when it comes to books like this; I don’t like being forced to fill in blanks myself or pick up on really subtle hints or metaphors or whatever. It gets lost on me. I also found the ending a bit abrupt, especially since there’s not going to be another book.

Overall, while I did like this book, I did have a few problems with it. It’s a good read to pass the time, but I found it too confusing to fully appreciate (perhaps if I were more familiar with the myths in question, I’d be less puzzled by everything).

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Confession: I Like Spoilers

I've been blogging for almost seven years now, and I think it's about time I shared one of my deepest, darkest secrets: I like spoilers. I know. I am a terrible person. I scroll through Tumblr and Twitter and Goodreads, actively trying to find spoilers for books.

It's now gotten to the point where, for some (not all) books, I go through spoilers first, and then decide whether to read the book or not. It's kind of ridiculous, but I think it's because I have found so many books disappointing (especially last books in series - I have so many unfinished series right now) that at this stage, I'd rather not waste my time on a book if I know I really really won't like what happens/how it ends.

So, yes. I go looking for spoilers, and I get really annoyed when I can't find any. I want to know if my ship is endgame, damn it! I want to know if a stupid love triangle is going to be introduced! I want to know if the main characters die! Because if I don't know, I'm not prepared, and I'll end up being hugely disappointed if the book takes a route I reeeally don't want it to take. I rarely ever pick up a book without doing thorough research on it first. I will very occasionally, or if I really like the author, but in general, I look into every book beforehand. And I am very reliant on reviews. I will read dozens before I decide on which book to pick up. If it's a series, and I'm waiting for a new book to be released, I'll generally buy the book on release day unless there are already reviews out that convince me otherwise (yes, I will even abandon a series I am highly invested in if I don't like what the spoilers tell me. Doesn't happen often, and doesn't mean I won't ever pick it back up again, but I am not truly loyal to anything. Does this make me a terrible human being? Probably).

Basically, I have trust issues, and I hate being unexpectedly disappointed. If I KNOW I'll be disappointed, then I won't be as disappointed as if I hadn't known...you know?

Obviously, I do still pick up books I'm not certain I'll like, and sometimes I'll think they're rubbish, and sometimes I'll be pleasantly surprised. It's only when I'm very sure that I will really dislike a book that I let the spoilers prevent me from picking it up at all. Usually, I just read the spoilers, and then prepare myself for what will happen (and it's mainly for already established series - I'm much less likely to search for spoilers for standalones or first books in series, and even if I do, I won't want as much depth as I would for series I've already started).

(I feel like I am really not explaining myself well.)

Also, I am just really impatient. I want to know what happens and I can't actually wait until I read the book. And it's not just books! It's TV shows and films as well. For example, we don't get season 4 of The 100 in the UK for another few months. But I can't NOT know what's happening...so I just read all the recaps media outlets post after the episodes air in the US. Keeps me going until I can actually watch the episodes myself.

I completely understand that a lot of people don't like spoilers and I of course wouldn't ever want to spoil anything for people who don't want to know (this is why you always need to tag your spoilers!). But I can't deny that I am a person who likes knowing things. I don't generally like surprises. I don't like being unprepared. And I am too curious to avoid searching for answers...

What are your thoughts on spoilers? Are you like me? Do you hate them? Did this post mortally offend you (I'm sorry!). I really hope I'm not alone in this...