Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Books 11-20 of 2017

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And since I've read another ten books towards my Goodreads Reading Goal, I saw that I needed to do another Books of 2017!
So here are my Books 11-20 of 2017!

Books 11-20 of 2017
11. Would You Rather, by Chris Higgins
I can tell you now that this was just one of those re-reads to get myself out of the reading slump I can fallen into. This book is short, cute and funny with likeable characters that anyone could like. And it's just one of those books that you know you can read and re-read without your like for the actual story lessening at all. Would You Rather is a book about writing, and adoption, and family, and it is one of my favourite Chris Higgins books. It's so easy to fall into the perspective of the protagonist Flick, and fall into the story of her and her family, which is one thing I really like about. I think it's perfect for teen readers that don't want too much of a time commitment.

12. Caraval (Caraval #1), by Stephanie Garber
This book might be considered one of my favourites so far this year (and we're only in March!). I just love the mystery and mystique of the whole book. This is the story of Caraval, and Scarlett and her sister Tella are just desperate to go, entranced by the mysterious game that is Caraval. But once they get there, it isn't all that it seems. What I liked most about the story was that it was treated as if it was real, but we were also warned not to look too closely or else we might descend into madness. We were constantly trying to guess what was real and what was fake. If you are a fan of the Night Circus, I highly recommend this.

13. The Hate List, by Jennifer Brown
The Hate List really surprised me! I had it on my shelves for months on end gathering dust, and then when I finally picked it up, I was sucked into the story, along with the characters that either supported- or hated- Valerie. This is set nine or so months after Valerie's boyfriend- Nick- comes into school with a loaded gun and shoots all the people on a list- The Hate List- a list that Valerie, along with Nick created. Valerie jumped in front of the gun, saving the school, and then Nick shoots himself. This book is sort of the aftermath, and no- even her family herself- are sure what to do next. This book really surprised me, and not in a bad way. This book does have some serious issues, so I recommend it for older readers, but it is still a jolly good book!

14. Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom
Another book that really surprised me! This is set from the point of view of a blind girl, and when you read this, you forget all the stigma that surrounds a blind girl as a protagonist. This book might not seem very interesting from the outside, but I think it's one of those books that everyone should try. I don't want to reveal too much about this book, because I went into this with no idea what it was about- other than what I just told you- and I think everybody else should too. Overall, this is a light, funny story about not letting anybody stand in your way of whatever you want to do, even if your blind! But honestly, loved this book and I totally recommend to anyone who is considering reading it!

15. It's a 50/50 Thing, by Chris Higgins
Yet another Chris Higgins book! This was yet another book that I decided to read on the spot, and since I hadn't read this one in a while, so I decided to read it (yet again). This is a slightly darker and mysterious Chris Higgins book, which even though it isn't like her other ones because of all the mystery around Gem (love interest), I still love it intensely. It kind of sparks the question of how far you would go for love, as well as bringing family life into it too, without making it too overbearing and mysterious. If you are in the mood for a short, yet consuming and engaging read about toxic love then this is the book for you.  

16. The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), by Maggie Steifvater

17. The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), by Maggie Steifvater

18. Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3), by Maggie Steifvater

19. The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4), by Maggie Steifvater
Although I haven't reviewed all of these books (I've got one left, and I will be doing this after my March Wrap Up and April TBR) I immensely enjoyed this series and I highly recommend this for anyone who wants something different to read in YA. If you like mystery, mythology, and a romance on the side, then this is the story for you. These books truly do get better with each one, though I do recommend reading them in order or else it won't make as much sense. But this is a cool story, and one that I cannot seem to get out of my head, especially the last one.

20. Slated (Slated #1), by Teri Terry
I'd been meaning to read this trilogy for a long time before now, but I saved it for when I was having a slow reading month, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. This is my favourite book ever, so I was so happy to read it again. I recommend this to anyone who likes Sci-fi and YA and wants a unique, mysterious and addicting trilogy to read. READ IT (it's so amazing, I promise you will love it).  

So that is my Books 11-20 of 2017! I hope you enjoyed it, and the point to these is kind of like take a look back at the books I've read recently.
So I will see you on Friday (when I will be posting my March Wrap Up (2017), so look out for that!
I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you all then!

-Abi xxxxxx

Monday, 27 March 2017

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3), by Maggie Stiefvater

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
Today I am going to be reviewing Blue Lily, Lily Blue because I do not have enough books to do a Book Haul!
So here it is!

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3), by Maggie Steifvater
Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Author: Maggie Steifvater
Genre: Fantasy, paranormal
Release date: 21st October, 2014
Pages: 389
Blurb: "Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost."

My Thoughts
This was the book that kind of did it for me. Up to this point, how invested I was in the story was... questionable. But then something about this book clicked, and suddenly I was hooked. It might have had something to do with the fact that the book wasn't just about getting to know the background, the premise and the characters, and that the story actually had a bit of direction this time.

A lot of this series is about the future, and the anticipation leading up to a prophesised event. And this is the book that made the leap from one point, to a closer one. And you begin to see how it all forms together in the lead up to the massive ending that is the last book.

By this point, the characters have changed and evolved so much, that you just can't help to love them. And not just as a group. They're not just one pure emotion anymore, and it's so refreshing how they've all gone through individual journeys but have emerged as a group, and it's so nice to see. And if that sounds cheesy, sorry.

Yet, I wouldn't say the characters fell by the wayside, just that they kind of blended into the whole story, instead of them being the centre of the story, and I was surprised to find that I liked it a whole lot more.

Yet, as much as I wanted to love this book, it did have some problems. When I was reading this, I just kept wanting more. It was never quite there. It was a great book, but it wasn't super amazing OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING. But those problems were kind of insignificant compared to what I liked about this book.

Now, the writing. Steifvater is so good at painting a picture in your mind and making you a part of the story that it's almost a crime. Just the way she writes the characters, makes them intricate, yet gives them flaws of their own, and makes them come alive on the page, it's just magical.

There's a sprinkling of romance in this book too, which is something else I want to talk about. The romance was just enough, yet again. It played it's part, which was prominent at some points, but it was never the main plotline.
It gave the reader the time to think about the MASSIVE NOSE DIVES AND PLOTS TWISTS, try to get their head around all the mythology, and just enjoy the story, which was ridiculously easy to do.

Overall, I'm starting to think that these books do actually get better every book (and I am right, because I've already finished it, and it was AMAZING). This was the perfect lead up to the finale in the series, and my favourite so far.
I recommend this for those that want to read something that is truly different to the world of YA Paranormal, mainly because of the lack (but also prominent) of romance, or love triangle. 
I loved this book.

Hey! So that was my review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue: the third book in the Raven Cycle series, and my second favourite in the series! I hope you enjoyed the review, I'm sorry it was kind of all over the place, but that's just the way my thoughts went when writing this review!
I still hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it encourages you to pick it up because it truly is a really really decent book that I did really enjoy!

So I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you all on Wednesday!

-Abi xxxxx 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), by Maggie Steifvater

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And today I'm doing my review on The Dream Thieves!

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), by Maggie Steifvater
Title: The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Steifvater
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Release date: 17th September, 2013
Pages: 450
Blurb: "Blue didn't mean to fall for the Raven Boys,
but she has- and the more her life entwines
with theirs, the more dangerous it becomes.
Ronan is the most dangerous of all.
He's the haunted one, the darkest
the most raven.
His dreams invade reality and
confuse what is true.
With magic growing stronger around
them, now is the time to be wary.
Before everything unravels...
Friendships will be tested.
Someone will get hurt.
And a kiss will get shared."

My Thoughts
Second books in the series kind of have a stigma- they always seen to be worse than the first one. But this happens to be the exception, because this one is first and foremost- not going to sugarcoat it- it's a heck of a lot better than the first one. And to add to that, it made me really looking forward to the next one! (Blue Lily, Lily Blue).

What I liked more about this one as opposed to The Raven Boys is that there was more of a story to this one, it wasn't as heavily character based. (There was still a lot of character development, specifically for Ronan, who is the centre of the story- as you can see from the blurb- but it all seemed to flow better now that there was some direction to the story).

I can't say much about the plot, as it would spoil the first book, but it kind of started the foundation that would eventually lead up to the fourth and final book (that I'm currently reading now, but reviewing the second book now shows how what was happening in The Dream Thieves has impacted the entire story).
So basically, the story couldn't be as good as it is now without this book.

As much as I want to say that Ronan is my favourite character, because he is the focus of this novel, I can't- because they are all truly my favourites. Again, the character development was flawless, and the best part of the book by far. Just the way they all grew as people as a group, and they were so raw and lifelike just completed the book. We did get to meet another character in this book,- he's called the Grey Man- I won't say anything else, because he's super mysterious and your not sure what his purpose is in the book, and that's what I want to keep it as.

But I did like that we got to learn more about Ronan, that we got to see a bit more behind the curtains of the dark mysterious and violent Raven that we really didn't get to know much of in the first book. It wasn't that the other Raven Boys took a backseat, because they didn't, we found out more about them as well, but Ronan was the centre of the book, and I can't say that I minded too much :) .
But because the character that the book centres around is Ronan, the book was slightly grittier and darker, and more mysterious than the previous one, which is what kept me engaged from the start if I'm honest.

Also, somehow Maggie Steifvater manages to make her writing both poetic, and dark, gritty and mysterious, all at the same time! (And trust me, that's hard). But the writing was strong from the first page, all the way through the middle, and then the end too.

So overall, I really enjoyed this book. I felt like they were brewing this book up to make for an even better second half to the series, which I'm really looking forward to reading. So the characters were great, the writing was, and the plot was engaging. I also totally recommend this series, even though this is the second in the series! (Although I do recommend reading the first one before!)

So that was my review of The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), by Maggie Steifvater! I hope you enjoyed it (and I hope it wasn't too long)!
So I will see you all on Friday!
And I hope you have a wonderful day!

-Abi xxxxxx

Monday, 20 March 2017

Reading Books That Match The Season

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And I was thinking I was going to post my review of the Dream Thieves today, but I just don't feel like reviewing something today!
So today I am talking about reading books to match the season.
This is sort of a rant/ rambling of thoughts, so I hope you enjoy it!

Reading Books That Match The Season
Today I want to talk about other people's reading habits, like whether or not they obey the seasons, and read things like fantasy (epic fantasy, urban fantasy etc) at winter, and summary and happy reads during spring? I used to be one of the people that ignored the seasons and used to just read what I felt like (like mysteries, and Sci-fis during summer, and contemporaries during winter), but now I find it hard to imagine the scenarios that the characters are in, because of where I'm reading it.

I mean, there are certain books that you can read whenever you want, and you'll have no problem imagining what is happening between the pages (such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games etc), but I feel like most books you have to be in a certain mood, or it has to be a certain season to read them (like you wouldn't read Let It Snow in the summer, or Since You've Been Gone in the winter).

Because as much as I wish I could read a whole lot of mystery and intrigue when the sun is shining, it just isn't something I can do.
This post is also sort of a discussion too, because I want you guys to tell me your thoughts on this too. Can you all read the deep and time consuming series when the sun is shining, or do you like to read books that match the weather? Tell me your thoughts :) .

To think about it, this sort of applies to holidays too. Like reading romance books around February 14th. Even though most books have some form or subplot that centres around romance, do you guys like to read full blown romance books around that time, or just books that feature just that tiny sprinkle of romance scattered throughout the book?

I think that's all I have to say on the subject, but I want to know your thoughts! Let me know in the comments below what you have to say on the subject!
So I will see you all on Wednesday, and I hope you have an enjoyable day!

-Abi xxxxxx

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), by Maggie Steifvater

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And since I've already read three out of four in this series, I figured I better get to reviewing!

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), by Maggie Steifvater
Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Steifvater
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Release date: 18th September, 2012
Pages: 454
Blurb: "Even if Blue hadn't been told
her true love would die if she
kissed him, she would stay away
from boys. Especially the ones from
the local private school. Known as
Raven Boys, they only mean trouble.

But this is the year that everything
will change for Blue.

This is the year that she will be drawn
into the strange and sinister world of
the Raven Boys. And the year Blue
will discover that magic does exist.

This is the year she will fall in love."

My Thoughts
Going into reading this for the second time, I knew I wasn't going to fall in love with it. And I was right. But I did enjoy it more than last time.
There were aspects that I enjoyed about this book. The characters for one, the group dynamic, the four individual, yet complete set of boys that were both unique in their own way, but complimented each-other so perfectly, was one of the best parts of the book. And that was unwavering.
But there were certain aspects that I expected to enjoy, and I didn't.
So all in all, it was disappointing to say the least.
Another thing that I liked was that, all the way through the book, the moment that Blue and the group of Raven Boys that she was so hesitant to get to know, they didn't welcome her with eager arms the minute she started to get to know her either. And I liked that. I liked how realistic that was.
Now let's talk about the Raven Boys. These boys consist of Gansey, Noah, Adam, and Ronan. They were this groups of boys that were all primarily one emotion, though they weren't at all stereotyped. In fact, I'd go as far to say that I have never read about a group of characters quite like this one. Just the way they didn't agree about everything, they had their own opinions, and their own unique way of looking at things, in some way, it all seemed to work out. This group of boys were in it deep together, and in the situations where they surprised both themselves and the rest of the group and stuck their neck out for another, it was refreshing to see.
They all shared a common interest too (which you will get to see if you read the book), which also helped.
And then Blue and the Raven Boys met. And that's the start.
As you can see, this book is quite heavily character orientated. And if you've been following this blog for a while, you know that that's something I like in books.

Next, the plot. Not much really happened in this book. Up until the end, when a bunch of moments, that left you realising that you were actually much more invested in the story than you originally thought, (mostly the characters), there was some searching, and some character development. It was enough to keep me occupied, and keep me reading, but I was never fully engaged in the story.

The pacing was kind of slow. Well, not kind of, it was slow. Granted, it did give me the chance to get to know the characters inside out, which was probably the purpose of the slow pacing, but it was largely the reason why I was never fully invested.  

The writing wasn't too flowery and poetic, but it wasn't completely nitty and gritty either. The feel of the chapters were polls apart (they switched from Blue, and her physic family, to the Raven Boys, getting up to mischief), but the contrast made the book flow in a way I never thought it would.
The writing was a nice steady medium.

So overall, it was an okay read. I know it gets better from here, which is why I'm saying that I'm glad I read it again, and continued the series. If you are reading this now, and wondering whether to carry on the series, I promise it gets better after. 

So that was my review of The Raven Boys, by Maggie Steifvater! I hope you enjoyed it, and even though it wasn't singing it's praises, it was totally honest.
So I will see you all on Monday, when I will be posting my review of The Dream Thieves, the second book in the series!
I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you then!

-Abi xxxxx 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The School Subjects Book Tag

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And it's time for my monthly tag!
I wasn't tagged by anyone, but a blog (that I follow almost religiously) did this tag about a week ago, and I haven't done a tag so far this month, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity!
So here is the School Subjects Book Tag! (The blog was The Book Prophet, and you should check it out because Savannah is an incredible blogger).
So here's the tag! Enjoy!

The School Subjects Book Tag
1. Math: A book that left your head
spinning in circles
The first book that comes to mind is 1984, because the whole thing is just a mind game. It's super complicated and mysterious, and I love the secret rebellion that's going on behind the scenes, but the reason I've chosen it is because the scientific side of it is so immense.  

2. English: A book you think has
beautiful written expression  
I'll Give You The Sun is another book that was the first one to pop in my head. It centres around two twins, Noah and Jude, and three years ago they had this super special bond, and then something happened that changed that. One perspective takes place three years ago, and one is taking place now. And there's beautiful artwork and wonderful writing, so that is why I picked it for this one.

3. Physics: Your favourite scientifically
minded character from a book or film
Beetee, for sure! There's just no-one else I can think of.  

4. Chemistry: Your favourite literary
This is so hard! How do I choose one?
Okay, even though there are a ton of couples that I love, (I'm not going to pick one, you can't make me. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME) I'm going to go with Luna and Neville because it's that couple that you don't realise until the end that are perfect for each-other, but once you get on board, there's no way you can get off that train (Hunger Games reference :) ).
So I'm going to pick those two, because they're just adorable.

5. Biology: Your favourite book/series/film
Again, I can't choose!
Can I just do a list of some of my favourite characters and why?
  • Tanith Low, from Skulduggery Pleasant- because she isn't just a kick-ass, ready for anything, can run on walls action woman- she's like a big sister to Valkyrie, even after certain events that I won't talk about because I want you to read the series :).
  • Professor McGonagall- I don't have a specific reason why she's on this list, but she just stands out for being awesome, and as well as being strict, she is also fair and kind-hearted. And she came into her own in the final battle against Voldemort. And she has a cat animagus, and I love cats!
  • Dr Lysander from the Slated trilogy- This character is so curious, but also kind and trusting, and even though she is working with Kyla and should probably not get as close to her as she does in the trilogy, she tries to help her as much as she can, because she is curious to the case that Kyla has presented her with, and that is why I love her so much.
  • And finally, Haymitch- this man purely needs no reason as to why he's one of my favourite, and I am not going to say, because if you haven't read Hunger Games, please pick them up, and if you have read them, you should know why he's my favourite.

6. French: Your favourite foreign
book/film/ program
I'm going to go with The Book Thief because it's set in Germany, and I truly believe that it is a book that everyone should read, not just the readers it was written for.

7. Art: Have you ever judged a book by it's
cover, even if you weren't meant to?
Oh, I do this all the time. I mean, I don't seek out books that I think would look good on my bookshelf, because some of the reason why I pick up a book is because I have a good amount of interest in what it's about. But if a book has a beautiful cover, than that makes a huge difference!
But for this one, I think I'll pick The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Steifvater! The cover just blows me away, I finished this yesterday, and there will be a review up soon!

8. History: The last historical book
you've read
The last historical fiction book I read was Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys! I have a full review up somewhere on my blog, and you can read it here.

9. Geography: A literary destination you
would really like to visit (real or
Other than Hogwarts? Narnia, probably! Because they're both so beautiful!

10. Drama: A book that you think has a lot
of over dramatic hype
Hate to say this, but... I'm gonna have to go with The Mortal Instruments. Yes, they were released years ago, and yes Cassandra Clare's books have got better again and again and again, and I did enjoy them, but the first three which everyone seemed to love just didn't do it for me for some reason!
I am going to read The Infernal Devices later this year (definitely), and hopefully I will love that as much as the rest of the world does!

So that was The School Subjects Book Tag! I hope you enjoyed it, and feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

-Abi xxxxx

Monday, 13 March 2017

Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And it's been a while since I've done a review, so I figured why not do one?
So here my review of Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom!

Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom
Title: Not If I See You First
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Genre: Contemporary
Release date: 1st December, 2015 
Pages: 405
Blurb: " Parker Grant doesn't need perfect vision
to see right through you. She is fiercely
proud and take-no-prisoners- treat her
differently just because she's blind and
she'll shun you so bad it hurts.

And as long as she can keep giving herself
gold stars for every day she hasn't cried
since her dad's death, she'll be just fine.
But she can't run from the boy who
broke her heart forever.
Can she learn to love and trust again?"

My Thoughts
This book had been on my shelf gathering dust for a good six months or more before I actually picked it up. It might have been that I had absolutely no interest in it before a friend gave it to me to read, but I from the time that I got it to a couple of months ago, I really didn't have any interest in reading it at all.

When I started reading it, I wasn't expecting much. But then I picked it up, and I was absolutely taken by surprise by how good it was!

Not If I See You First is about Parker Grant, a normal school-girl: good grades, good friends, a runner; and she is also blind. But this girl has some sass- if you treat her differently because she's blind, she will cut you- as hard as a knife on your cheek.
And that was what made the book kind of entertaining.
Just the fact that the one person you'd want to protect or worry about, or think as different, as much as the character might not want you to, is the one that is actually controlling it all. What blew my mind about it was the fact that she didn't let anything get in the way of what she wanted to achieve, even being blind.

Another thing that I liked was that the normality in the book was consistent. It was a book about a normal girl, living in a normal life. As much as I like the new fantasy books and Sci-fis, it was nice to read about a girl just experiencing highs and lows in her life, which was exactly what I needed to read at the time!

This can also be applied to the characters. They weren't over the top, crazy take-over-your-life friends. They were the kind and supportive, but crazy along with you friends that you wanted when you were in secondary school. They supported her, and calmed Parker down when she got a bit too stubborn and mad. They weren't two dimensional, they did have personalities and problems, but the characters were very very well done.

But there was just something about Parker's character and character development that made this book super interesting, especially the fact that she is a runner. Parker runs where nobody sees her, because she's scared that everybody will come to watch- though she is just a normal runner, there's something different about watching a blind girl run. And to add to that, there's also the ex-boyfriend that did something terrible to her, but now he's back, so there's that too.

So overall, it makes for a rather interesting story. It's got wonderful characters, a simple yet problematic storyline, and if your in the mood for a funny, yet unique book, then this is the one you should pick up! I definitely recommend this, and I really hope you enjoy reading it if you decide to!

So that is my review for Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom! I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you all on Wednesday, when I will be doing a book tag of some sort!
I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you all soon!

-Abi xxxxx