BOOK REVIEW | A COURT OF THORNES & ROSES by SARAH J MAAS

26 February 2015

title: a court of thorns and roses
publisher: bloomsbury
publication date: may 7th 2015
format: ARC
summary:  Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever. -goodreads
when i heard sarah j. maas was writing a new series [i think it's going to be a trilogy?] i. was. excited. obviously. were my expectations fulfilled? yes. while i do admit to loving the throne of glass series more than this book, it was one fierce read. a court of thorns and roses is, i believe, an NA novel. and in my experience with this genre, NA basically means more romance. usually i dislike this immensely as it takes away from the action of the story; however, in this case it was a part of the plot - it lent itself well and although one of my favourite characters was not the love interest in question: it didn't lower my interest in the book.
BUT, i have a new favourite anti-hero, i just really really really like his character and i am sure he is going to be explored more in the coming book so i can't wait because honestly, he's just awesome. he was my favourite character in the whole book.
and the world building? well, sarah j.maas wields her pen like a wand of literary excellence, the imagery and depth to the characters and the world around them was beautiful - i always feel like i'm falling down a rabbit hole into a whole other place when i read one of her books. reading a court of thorns and roses was no different.
big thanks to bloomsbury for sending me this book. it was a lovely surprise.

the art of word shaking

21 February 2015


Words are tangible; black text on white page; serif and sans serif; smudged and careless and hopeful and clean lines and smooth dots; passionate, purposeful, individual. Yesterday I started writing an article on the power of words, based on The Book Thief, for my creative writing coursework, and I fell in love with those curves, those edges, and those lines all over again. Because that's all they are in essence, but they are also so much more. I am currently re-reading Jane Eyre, my bookmark is a plain rectangular piece of card scrawled in messy lines with each word I have come across that I do not know its definite meaning of. Some people dislike the unknown, but when it comes to words I love that indescribable feeling of being amongst a myriad of words that mean nothing more to me than what they look like; and then when understanding sweeps through my mind like a shooting star, each and every one of those letters means something more, it is no longer a flat smear on a page, but a pulsing heart of information within my mind. And finally, here are a few sentences in which the words were shaken, and tossed and turned in my mind - some from books I have read, some that I haven't.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
“I felt sorry when I came to the last page. I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print the way you crawl through a fence.”
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
"There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss."
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind)
"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
“That's what I love about poetry. The more abstract, the better. The stuff where you're not sure what the poet's talking about. You may have an idea, but you can't be sure. Not a hundred percent. Each word, specifically chosen, could have a million different meanings. Is it a stand-in-a symbol-for another idea? Does it fit into a larger, more hidden, metaphor?” 
 Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
“Old stories have a habit of being told and retold and changed. Each subsequent storyteller puts his or her mark upon it. Whatever truth the story once had is buried in bias and embellishment. The reasons do not matter as much as the story itself.”
Ali Smith (How to be Both) 
“Art makes nothing happen in a way that makes something happen.” and “All we are is eyes looking for the unbroken or the edges where the broken bits might fit each other.”
 Are you a word-shaker? A logophile? I'd say I'm both, but that would be pretentious.

book palette || dorothy must die

17 February 2015

when i first heard about dorothy must die, i was extremely excited. a story based around the wizard of oz where dorothy was the baddie? i wanted it then and now. when i finally got my hands on the book i read the first two chapters and put it down (i think i was in a partial book slump so i didn't make it far!). i didn't like the writing style. i was disappointed.  
but, because i'd been so excited to read it i put it back on my shelf and resolved to re-try it again later. later turned into eight months, and when i finally picked it back up i read the whole thing. and enjoyed it. not much. but it kept me reading. honestly for me. i think it was a case of pretty book syndrome. i was attracted to the cover, the premise sounded good, so immediately i was hyped. i think the cover is by far the best part of the book which is why i am featuring that instead of writing a review. but if you've already been wanting to read it & just haven't got round to it yet, don't be put off by me; everyone has their own opinion.
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know? -goodreads

MINI-REVIEWS: LOVE, LIES & LEMON PIES + SECRETS, SCHEMES AND SEWING MACHINES

13 February 2015

Sometimes you read a book because it captivates you from beginning to end. Sometimes you read a book because the premise grips you from beginning to and. And sometimes you read a book simply because it is calming, there are no hunger games, no holocaust, no horror-filled moments; it's just simple and uncomplicated and stress-free. This is why I read Love, Lies & Lemon Pies.

SUMMARY: Love, Lies and Lemon Pies, the debut YA novel from Katy Cannon, is the perfect summer read for fans of Sarah Dessen and Louise Rennison. With a Bake Club recipe at the start of each chapter, this book perfectly captures the current appetite for all things baking! Can Lottie keep up the facade of her perfect life without the others finding out what's really going on at home? Can Mac keep his demanding, heavy-handed father off his back - not to mention the school counsellor who's written him off as a no-hoper? And can their bubbling romance survive the pressure? -goodreads
Love, Lies & Lemon Pies is one of those books that you can snuggle down under the covers with before bed and immerse yourself into the sweet, and sometmes sour, story [psst. it ends sweetly, it's all good]. The problem? I got really hungry reading this book and it was 10pm at night. Sigh. 

SUMMARY:  Connor: Far from home and exiled to a new school, all Connor wants is to keep a low profile and get through the year. But agreeing to help his step-dad out with the school play means he’s soon caught up in Grace’s schemes.
Grace had a plan for this year – and it didn’t involve learning to sew. But being out of the spotlight isn’t the disaster she imagined, even if Connor is convinced she’s still a diva extraordinaire. Can Grace prove she’s really changed and save the play from the sidelines, even though her family is coming apart at the seams?
Admittedly, I did enjoy Katy Cannon's debut more than this second installment, maybe because I enjoyed Mac and Lottie's characters more than Connor and Grace's. However Secrets, Schemes & Sewing Machines is definitely not a tangled web of threads, I did enjoy it a lot, especially as Grace's character was the least prominent in Love, Lies & Lemon Pies in which she came off as a little stuck-up and unfriendly. However, in this book she has a chance to shine and her character really redeemed herself. So if you're interested in light-hearted, warm, [and tasty - yes I eat books..] novels, definitely try out Katy Cannon's debuts - and then go on from there!
TO MAKE AN INFINITY SCARF
What you need:
 A piece of lightweight fabric, 175 x 60cm
What to do:
1.     Fold and iron your fabric in half lengthways, with the right sides together, and pin in place.
2.     Sew along the long side of your rectangle, to give you one long tube of fabric.
3.     Press open your seam, using an iron.
4.     Turn the fabric the right way out and fold in half the other way, so the two open ends of your tube are together. Make sure the seams line up exactly.
5.     Now to join both ends of the scarf. Take the two inner layers of fabric, pin them together then sew in place, removing the pins as you go.
6.     Keep going around the circle until the two ends are joined.
7.     If you’re using a sewing machine, leave a gap of about 5cm, fold under the edges of the unstitched section to match the rest, then hand sew the gap closed.
Thank you to Stripes Publishing for sending me both of these books free of charge in exchange for honest reviews.

Why THE GLORY was a glorious read (and other things)

05 February 2015

TITLE: The Glory
AUTHOR: Lauren St John  
PUBLISHER: Orion
PUBLICATION DATE: March 2015
A Girl on the Run from the Law
Alexandra Blakewood has everything any teenager could wish for, apart from the horse she'd love, but she won't stop getting into trouble. Sent to a US boot camp, she dreams of escaping. It seems impossible until she's told about a gruelling 1,200 mile horse race across the American West...
A Boy on a Mission to Save a Life
Will Greyton was the star student at his Tennessee high school until his father was laid off. Now Will works at a burger joint. When his dad falls ill, it seems things can't get any worse. An operation will save him, but there's no way to pay for it. Then Will hears about The Glory, a deadly endurance race with a $250,000 purse, open to any rider daring enough to attempt it...-amazon
1. This book spans 1,200 miles (and more). It took me two nights - and two breakfasts - to read.
When you finish this book, you'll wonder whether you were sitting on a racing horse you galloped through it so fast. Also, it's a big book. This isn't my way of bigging up the fact that I read a 200 page book in two days. My ARC is 445 pages long.
2. This book adds to my collection of books-by-Lauren St John-that-I-loved.
After reading and loving all Lauren St John's books (especially The One Dollar Horse series) I wasn't nervous at all to jump straight into The Glory because I knew it would be good and I knew it would keep me hooked. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed: the characters, the horses, the plot - I adored everything about this book and honestly, if you've not read a book by this author yet then why not?!
3. Potter approves. And if he does then so should you.
I also approve of Nina from Orion - after all she did send me this book for free in exchange for an honest review. *applause*