Wrapping Up The Week (19th February – 25th February)

I find it so hard to believe that it’s March next week, and yesterday it was one month until my birthday. February has flown by, but I feel that it was a successful month. This week was especially good as I felt like I got a lot done in terms of my writing, as well as trying to become more organised.

The weekend flew by, mainly because I was busy on both days. Saturday morning was spent walking in the park and catching pokemon (there was a dratini event and yes, I caught a shiny one). Afterwards we headed to the most vintage cinema I had ever been to, the Kinema in the Woods.

 

Not to mention, the tickets were so much cheaper than going to the Odeon in town. You can find out what film I saw in the fun section below. Time to talk about books…

Books I read and reviewed…

between the blade and the heart

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking was an entertaining read, although it wasn’t the best book I’ve read so far this year. All in all, it was fun with some action, a bit of romance (not the greatest though) and I read it pretty quickly. Based on Norse Mythology, but in an urban fantasy setting, this book is definitely unique. You can check out more of my views here.

I am currently reading…

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While I still haven’t finished reading Zenith (I’m in a bit of a slump with it) I have started reading To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, which is all about sirens, pirates, and pretty much everything I love. I can’t even remember the last time I read a book that centred on mermaids and such, so I’m enjoying it so far. Fingers crossed I can finish this one before next weekend and then I can power through Zenith.

Posts from the week…

Our Trip To A Wildlife Park

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m No Longer Interested In Reading

I would have managed to do a post on Wednesday, if only all the bulbs in my room hadn’t decided to blow themselves. So I had to go straight after work to get some and I just ran out of time. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen next week.

My WIP…

In last weeks wrap up I was on 84,000 words and today I am on 92,000, which just seems incredible to me. I am almost at the end of my book and am writing the final scenes (including my plot twist that I am so excited about). I haven’t managed to write anything today so far as I’ve had a bit of a headache since this afternoon, but I’m hoping to write at least a thousand words if I can.

Other Fun Stuff…

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Finally I got the chance to see Black Panther and it was incredible! Honestly, I think it is now my favourite Marvel film and it was everything I hoped it would be. I loved how technology was fused with African culture, the way they handled the tougher topics and the world building was wonderful. Would probably go and watch it again if I could. Plus, the music was perfect.

Today I also went to Whisby Nature Park with my boyfriend and we spent a couple of hours walking around and enjoying the winter sun. It’s supposed to get extremely cold here in the UK over the next few days so we thought we’d get out while we can.

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So, that was my week! Hopefully you all had a great one as well, and managed to do some awesome things.

Review: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

between the blade and the heart

Title: Between the Blade and the Heart

Author: Amanda Hocking

Date: 22nd February 2018

Publisher: Pan

Until I picked up this book (which I was approved to read on NetGalley) I was in a bit of a reading slump with another book I was slowly making my way through. I knew the publication date was coming up and thought it couldn’t hurt to read two books at once. Turns out it was a good choice to make because I flew through this book. Luckily it isn’t a large read, with only 287 pages on the Kindle, and I have to say it was a fun read and quite entertaining. While it isn’t the best book I’ve read, I will probably be picking up the second after that ending.

Valkyries help to keep the balance in the world by slaying the immortal beings when their time comes to die. Malin is in training to become a Valkyrie, but she hasn’t been finding it easy to balance everything in her life, with things being more difficult once she broke up with her girlfriend. When Malin’s home is broken into and she’s attacked, she realises that the stranger has discovered that a rogue immortal, who should have died, killed his mother. After asking for Malin’s help, she uncovers that a betrayal led to the woman’s death and that nothing is as it seems. She embarks on a journey with her friends to hunt down the immortal and stop him before the end of the world, as they know it, comes about.

I can see why this book was compared to Blade Runner (although I have never seen it myself, I know about it) and it was interesting to see Valkyries in such a modern setting, with strange and unique weapons. It was a different concept and a unique idea, one that Hocking fleshed out so I had a good idea of the way the world worked. I would have loved to see the Valkyries in action more and have more battle scenes, but something tells me that will be in the second book.

Malin was an interesting main character, with so many conflicting emotions that made her relatable, but also annoying at times. She didn’t always make the best decisions, but I liked how she questioned things, about her mother and the way their world worked. What I didn’t like was the little love triangle (if you can call it that) and the romance wasn’t incredible. There were a few scenes that got steamy, but I was expecting more from what I had heard from others. I wish it had seemed before realistic, so I could believe what was being said, but I didn’t resonate with it.

The other characters weren’t too memorable, although I thought Oona, Malin’s best friend, was quite cool, being a sorceress and all. I had read one of Amanda Hocking’s books before, but it was so long ago that I can’t remember if I loved it or not. Between the Blade and the Heart entertained me for a bit and it didn’t take itself too seriously. If you are expecting a book all about Norse mythology, you’ll be disappointed because this has a very urban fantasy setting, something I wasn’t sure about at first and in the end I enjoyed it.

Overall, I thought this was a good read with a fast pace. It was nothing spectacular but I wasn’t expecting it to be from the reviews that I had seen. A booktuber I like said that it was a fun read with some sexy scenes, and that is what it was. I enjoyed it for the most part and I might even pick up the second book, just so I can see how it ends. All in all, I will be giving Between the Blade and The Heart a solid 3 stars.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m No Longer Interested In Reading

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Top Ten Tuesday was originally hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish and is now over at Jana’s blog, That Artsy Reader Girl.

Not too long ago I did a massive clear out of my TBR list on Goodreads because I had over 1,000 books on there. Granted, most of them were from when I was active on the site nearly 5 years ago and since then I hadn’t added many. When I began to get back into reading I went back onto the List and whittled it down to just under 100 books. The ones that are left are the ones that I 100% want to read (and need to read).

This week’s topic is all about the books that, at one time, we wanted to read and now are no longer interested in. I had a lot to choose from.

1. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

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It seems kind of silly, but I gave up with this series just before the last book came out, and I don’t even think that I read the fifth instalment. I’m not sure why I stopped, but I would have to re-read the whole series if I wanted to carry on again and I just don’t have time for that at the moment.

2. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

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I feel like I’m one of the only people who haven’t read Harry Potter, but there is a very good reason. I was way too young when they came, and even too young to see the films when they first came out. So by the time I was old enough to be interested in reading the books I had already seen about 3 of the films and I just didn’t see much point in reading them then. It’s fine though because I love the films.

3. The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa

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I’m gonna say it, these covers are still some of my favourite. I don’t really like the whole faces-on-covers thing anymore but I do like this series. Unfortunately, I read two of these books and I never finished the series. I have them all on my shelf so I can eventually read them, but I’m not interested at the moment (and I can’t remember what happens in them).

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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I was recently looking through my TBR list and saw that this was still there from all those years ago. I asked myself, am I actually going to buy this book? My answer was no, straight away, and I knew it was time to take this off the list.

5. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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I am probably never going to get around to reading this book, even though it’s on my shelf, and it doesn’t really interest me anymore. I’m pretty sure I started it a few years ago but never got more than 30 pages or so. If I’m not hooked at the beginning, it’s not going to work out.

6. IT by Stephen King

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Why does this book have to be so big? When I was 14 years old I managed to read 300 pages and I stopped. I think I was a little bored, and now that I’ve seen the movie I don’t feel the need to read this anymore. There are lots of other books that I would prefer to spend my time reading.

7. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

the raven boys

Over the years I have seen so many people talking about this book series, but I never bought it, for one reason or another. I’m not even sure why it was still on my TBR because I will never get around to buying it now.

8. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

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Funny story, I actually stopped watching the TV show after season 5 because I found myself getting bored and looking at my phone instead of paying attention to what was happening. Of course, social media has told me everything that happens, so I’m still in the loop. I think I can be sure that I won’t get around to reading these anytime in the future.

9. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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I am 99% sure that I added this to my TBR list just because I thought the cover looked pretty. I didn’t even remember anything about what it was supposed to be about until I looked up the synopsis. This one is going off my TBR list, pronto.

10. Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

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After having loved The Vampire Academy series, I was so sure that I would enjoy Gameboard of the Gods. However, I started this book and quickly got bored. I’m not sure if it was because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, or it wasn’t my style at the time. I can’t see myself picking this up again anytime soon though.

page-breakI probably could have added a lot more to this list. I’ve been reading what other people have been adding and found myself nodding along in agreement.

What books have you given up with or lost interest in?

Our Trip To A Wildlife Park

At the weekend my boyfriend and I decided to take a trip to Woodside Wildlife Park near our home town of Lincoln. Almost three and a half years ago we visited the same park, having only been together a few months at the time, and I had such fond memories. So we figured, why not go again?

I’ll be honest, we didn’t choose the best day to go as it started raining while we were there (and I didn’t wear my thick coat so my lips turned blue from the cold) but it was enjoyable. We got to walk around and see all the different animals, tried to communicate with the Lynx (we saw a video on YouTube about making friendly noises to tigers and figured it would be worth a try) and made friends with a cute deer called Fawn. She was abandoned when she was a baby and was raised at the park, so she’s extremely friendly with people.

When we got to the park we were greeted by a parrot that squawked every so often, and in the distance we could hear the howling of the wolves and their loud barks, with a growl thrown in every so often. Once we had made our way around we saw that they were playing with each other, one sneaking up on the other, all the while a lone wolf sat above the others, looking over them all.

There were a range of cats are the park, but unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a very good picture of the tiger as she kept moving too much. However, the lynx was very inquisitive of the people walking by and she kept coming up to the fence, as you can see below. As well as this, there was one that was more cat like than any of the others and was the size of the average household breed.

I know that not a lot of people agree with what zoos do, and in some instance I don’t. However, all of the animals at Woodside were rescued, their latest was a tiger from a circus in Europe, but there are also foxes, racoons and even some rats that take part in the Amazing Animal show.

We’ve already decided that we are going to go back in the summer, when the weather isn’t as cold, and check out the butterflies that are in the green houses.

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Every so often I like doing a blog post that isn’t book or writing related (although those are a big part of my life) because I don’t always stay indoors all the time. We’re hoping to head to Ireland in the summer and visit Dublin Zoo if the weather is good.

When was the last time you went to a zoo or wildlife park?

Wrapping Up The Week (12th February – 18th February)

Once you get past January the weeks just seem to fly by! Already we are over halfway through the month and I am halfway through reading all of my TBR list. I’m back to reading two books at the same time to try and speed things up, so I’m hoping it’s going to work!

This week has been a really good one in terms of work, but unfortunately not so much for my writing at the beginning. For some reason my anxiety was spiking, and while I don’t tend to talk too much about this topic online (I keep it to myself), it did affect my creativity. Luckily for me my attitude and outlook was starting to change and I managed to write nearly 3,000 words this weekend. I also received something that I hope will help me to stay organised and it is….The Happiness Planner! It’s gorgeous (as you can see below) and I can’t wait to get using it this week.

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I’ve been a little slow when it comes to reading and I think it’s because I’m taking a while to get into the book I’m currently reading, reasons of which I will mention in the following sections.

Books I read and reviewed…

reign of the fallen

I finally got my review up for Reign of the Fallen, which I read last week, and absolutely adored. I’ve been raving about this book a lot on my blog and it deserves every bit of love it has been receiving from the reading community. You can read my review and check out my thoughts here.

I am currently reading…

Zenith

So, where do I begin? Overall, I’m liking Zenith, even enjoying it in some place, but it’s taken me some time to get into the story. There are flashbacks, different character perspectives, lots of withholding of information and it’s a little slow in places. But there is also some action, humour and likeable characters. I am curious to see where the second half of the book will take me.

between the blade and the heart

I also started Between the Blade and the Heart, which is due to be released on the 22nd of this month so I am trying to read it before then. I’m only 11% of the way through, so I don’t have much of an opinion right now, but I like how different the world is. Fingers crossed I can get a review up by the end of the week.

Posts from the week…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Incredible Romances

WWW Wednesday – In A Galaxy…

Again, another quiet week and I think it was definitely to do with the mental health issues I had in the week. But fear not! I am much better and raring to go! Especially because I get to use my new planner.

My WIP…

I am currently at almost 84,000 words and I am SO close to reaching the climax of my book (and my amazing plot twist) that I just cannot wait! Only a few more chapters before I get to the gritty stuff. Honestly, I am so excited to get to the editing stage and I can make the changes that have been running around my head. There’s a few plot holes, but I know how to fix them and that’s all that matters.

Other Fun Stuff…

This weekend my boyfriend and I went into town and visited the new restaurant, The Cosy Club, for brunch. It has a 1930s style, as seen in the photos, and it was amazing. Such a cool and interesting restaurant that features some of the history of Lincoln (the city I live in) and the decor is to die for. I love the mix-matched chairs and the vintage flair. Not to mention, the food was amazing too! Of course I had to go for a fry up.

Afterwards we went to a wildlife park, but that is a story for another blog post. Stay tuned!

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I hope that the rest of you had an amazing week and got up to some fun stuff at the weekend! Fingers crossed I will be going to see Black Panther next weekend so if you’ve seen it already let me know in the comments.

WWW Wednesday – In A Galaxy…

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and was taken over by Taking on a World of Words.

Happy Valentines Day to everyone, whether you’re loved up or single. I don’t really celebrate the day because I don’t think you should show someone you love them on one day, so me and my boyfriend got a takeaway instead. Can’t go wrong with pizza!

Time to talk about the books…

What Are You Currently Reading?

Zenith

I am a quarter of the way through Zenith so far and I’m enjoying it. Nothing has wowed me so far and we are only just getting into the story, but I like the characters. I can’t wait to find out some more of their backstories and see more of the galaxy. The only problem I have is that it can be a bit information overload at times (especially with the descriptions), but I’ll get used to the style soon.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

reign of the fallen

Reign of the Fallen was the last book that I read and I loved it, LOVED it! Honestly this book was so entertaining, but it also touched on a few dark subjects such as how to deal with grief and the effects it can have. The characters were amazing and everything just felt real, as if I really was the main character. You can check out my 4.5 star review here.

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

between the blade and the heart

I hope to finish Zenith this weekend, so I can begin Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking. This was a NetGalley approval and is due to be released on the 22nd of this month. Hopefully I can read it before then and have a review up for you all. I just hope that I enjoy it.

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I hope you’ve all been having a lovely week so far and that you’re enjoying the book (or books) that you’re reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Incredible Romances

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Top Ten Tuesday was originally hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish and is now over at Jana’s blog, That Artsy Reader Girl.

Tomorrow is Valentines day and you know what that means…It’s the Top Ten Tuesday Love Freebie. We have free reign when it comes to choosing the topic and I decided to go with the top ten books that had incredible romances that I remember to this day.

Stay tuned for a little sneak peak of something at the end…

1. Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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I loved the Vampire Academy series and I think a lot of it had to do with the relationship between Rose and Dimitri. I wanted my own Dimitri when I have finished the series. Their scenes were so intense, romantic and they would do anything for each other.

2. Celaena and Chaol from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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While I have only read three books so far in the series, I am rooting for Celaena and Chaol. I have a feeling they won’t end up together, but I have really enjoyed their interactions and the romantic scenes they had together.

3. Zoey and Stark from House of Night by P. C. Cast

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While I couldn’t find any fan art of Zoey and Stark, I loved them together. I stopped reading after the 8th or 9th book and I remember wishing that they would end up together. This series was full of romance and it was incredible for a 15 year old me.

4. Tris and Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth

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I read the books way before the films came out and honestly, this couple was one of my favourites and they were well portrayed on the big screen. I would say they were almost how I imaged them, but I can’t remember exactly.

5. Clary and Jace from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

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This fan art is exactly how I depicted Clary and Jace, because I don’t like either of the actors who have portrayed Jace. I guess they will never match the image I conjured up when I was a teenager.

6. Elena and Stefan from The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith

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Again, a series I read before it was turned into a TV show, and I am always going to say that Elena should have ended up with Stefan. While I never finished reading the series, I loved their relationship in both the books and the TV show.

7. Bella and Edward from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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How can I not mention them on this list. 13 year old me lived for this relationship and the book series. The book that got me into YA and the relationship that started it all.

8. Nora and Path from Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

nora and patch

The nostalgia is kicking in because I read Hush Hush years ago, but I will never forget the crush that I had on Patch. Who doesn’t love bad boys that are actually angels?

9. Lina and Hades from Goddess of Spring by P. C. Cast

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One of the first adult novels that I read (I loved all the books in this mythology series) and this romance stood out to me the most. It was so different to what I normally read and I may even revisit it one day to see if I enjoy it as much.

10. Raegan and Malakai from My Secret WIP

Surprise! I thought I would add my own characters in to this top ten, because why not? These are the best images that portray the look I have in mind for Raegan and Kai. I won’t give too much of the plot away, but this is a slow burning romance, not everything happens at once, but there is a ton of chemistry between these two characters, as you can see from the few lines I’ve plucked out below.

“Then their lips touched, and a fire sparked to life. At first it was slow, their lips touching tenderly and moving slowly. It was exactly how Raegan had imagined it would be, the softness of them, the plumpness. Her nerves went crazy. Then the fire burned brighter, causing her breath to catch and she opened her lips, inviting him in. It was all the encouragement he needed.”

I won’t give away any more than that. There are probably a few things I would change, but that is for the editing process.

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What would your top ten books be? Do you agree with my choices?

Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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Title: Reign of the Fallen

Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh

Date: 23rd January 2018

Publisher: Razorbill

I don’t think I have read a book this quickly in a very long time. The cover is what drew me in to start with. I remember coming across it on twitter and thinking ‘wow, that’s a cool cover. I wonder what it’s about?’ and as soon as I read the blurb I knew it would be something I’d like. And I was right. In fact, I loved Reign of the Fallen. It was emotional, it had action, twists and turns, and characters that I was rooting for.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s Necromancers, a master, and it’s her job to raise the dead. When the noblemen and women die, she goes into the Deadlands and retrieves their souls to bring them back. All the Dead have to remain shrouded, a price they are willing to pay. For if any of their skin is seen by the living they will turn into Shades, demonic creatures with a thirst for blood. Suddenly there are attacks from the Shades, killing the Dead and the living. When one of the Necromancers own dies, they realise that these attacks aren’t random and that someone is controlling the Shades. It is up to Odessa to figure out who is behind it and she wonders if her magic will be the thing to tear apart Karthia.

The world of Karthia felt so real as I was reading the descriptions. I could see, feel and taste the world before Odessa and it was amazing. Karthia was stuck in the past, clinging on to it, unwilling to change for fear of it and I could see the parallels to our own world. I loved the magic system of the world and how your eyes matched with your magical ability, all Necromancers having blue eyes, Beast Masters having green etc. I was trying to think of a book that was based on Necromancers and I couldn’t come up with anything, which made this book very different in my eyes. The Deadlands were as eerie, magical and dangerous as I imagined they would be.

Odessa was such a complex character and her grief spoke volumes in this book. It was heart breaking and I connected with her, feeling everything that she was going through. While she was weak at times, she was also a badass Necromancer with a sense of humour and she was strong when she needed to be, when others in her position would have fallen. She is also bisexual and it was interesting to see her romantic interactions with both males and females, and Marsh made it seem so natural, the way it should be in real life.

It wasn’t just Odessa that was representing bisexuality, there were other characters who were gay, both men and women, and it was lovely to see it being represented in such a normal and natural way. While I myself am straight, I can see why a lot of people who aren’t will enjoy this book and all the characters in it.

I would speak about some of the other characters but it could ruin the plot as not all of them stay with us throughout the book and honestly, so many unexpected things happened to them all. I was gasping out loud in shock, my mouth hanging open, unable to believe what I was reading. When a book can make me do that, I know I’m invested. There were so many diverse characters in Reign of the Fallen and they each had their own voice. It was interesting to see how they all dealt with loss in their own ways, because that is what this book is about. Loss, and how we can move on in a way that isn’t harmful to ourselves or others.

There are some incredible lines in this book and I just wanted to share my favourite one.

“The sun still rises and sets, like it always has. It seems cruel that it wouldn’t stop, just for a little while, to show how much darker the world is without them in it.”

This hit me hard, especially the context in which it is written. At the end of the day, we all feel like this at some point, whether you have lost a loved one, lost a friendship or relationship, or some other part of your life. But we all have to move on at some point and I loved how this was shown in Reign of the Fallen.

I could probably ramble on all day about how much I enjoyed this book, but you wouldn’t probably get bored. Overall, Reign of the Fallen was amazing, fast paced and enjoyable. It made me think about things more and it is more than deserving of the 4.5 stars I’m going to give it.

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Wrapping Up The Week (5th February – 11th February)

This week started off great. I celebrated my boyfriend’s birthday, work was going really well, I finished a book and then I got the flu. That wasn’t so great and since Thursday I’ve been feeling pretty bad and I’m only starting to get better now. Because of that I had to delay uploading my review, I couldn’t write anything on my WIP because I couldn’t concentrate, but, as I was feeling a little better yesterday, I got into my reading a lot more. Every cloud has a sliver lining and all that.

I’m hoping that nothing is going to go wrong this week and that everything can get back on track. I’m also going to start walking to work in the mornings, which will take about 45 minutes, instead of getting the bus and walking for 20. Time to get healthy!

In terms of reading it was a really good week. I managed to finish reading two books, one I finished today so I won’t have a review up yet, so keep your eyes peeled.

Books I read and reviewed…

the hazel wood

Even though I finished reading The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert mid-week, I only managed to upload my review yesterday, which gave me some time to think it over.  While there were parts of this book that I loved, there were other parts that I didn’t like. One being the fact that it took a while to get to the fairy tale parts. And for a book that is supposed to be about dark and creepy tales, it was a little disappointing. You can see my full review here, in which I gave it 3 stars.

reign of the fallen

I just finished Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh this evening and I swear, I haven’t read a book this quickly in a while. It was such a great read and I enjoyed every second. There were so many twists and turns, with some shocking events taking place with characters from the beginning, all the way to the end of the book. Honestly, this book was heartbreaking and amazing and I cannot wait to write a full review which should be up within the next two days.

I am currently reading…

Zenith

While I haven’t actually started reading it yet, I have set my bookmark against page 1 of Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings, which debuted on the New York Times list at number 7. There has been a lot of talk about this book and as I follow the authors on social media I have been seeing it everywhere. Safe to say I am looking forward to reading Zenith and giving my views on a book that some people love and some people hate.

Posts from the week…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been On My TBR List Forever

WWW Wednesday – Creepy Fairy Tales

I really hate the fact that I got ill because it meant I wasn’t able to blog as much, especially when I got tagged by another blogger in a post and I was looking forward to joining in.

My WIP…

…is coming along very slowly, especially last week where I only wrote a total of 3,500 words. A lot less than I normally do but I couldn’t help that. I have had ideas buzzing around my head and the characters’ voices have been in my head the last few days (I’m not crazy) and I can’t wait to get back to writing. My energy is picking up now and I’m hoping I can get the next few chapters done this week.

Other Fun Stuff…

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I FINALLY finished season 3 of How To Get Away With Murder and oh wow, am I glad I did. I had forgotten how much I loved this show and now I can head into season 4 with so many questions that need answering. Being ill had its perks as I binge watched the episodes that I hadn’t seen and it felt good.

As well as this I also got around to watching The Justice League and I really enjoyed it. I’m a big superhero fan and the film was so enjoyable, much better than Batman Vs Superman. On a side note, Aquaman is now my favourite superhero.

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I’m glad that this week is out of the way and now it is on to better things (praying I don’t get ill). I hope you all had a better week than I did and read some great books.

Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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Title: The Hazel Wood

Author: Melissa Albert

Date: 8th February 2018

Publisher: Penguin

I was one of the lucky people that got accepted to read this on Netgalley before the release date, and I was really excited because I had heard so much. The Hazel Wood was one of the strangest books I have read in a long time and while I was intrigued by the idea, I felt that it could have been a lot darker. I was expecting creepier tales and settings to dominate the book and I was a little disappointed that they didn’t. You can definitely see the inspiration from Alice in Wonderland and while I enjoyed this book, I wish we got to see more of the Fantasy setting.

For her whole life, Alice and her mother, Ella, have constantly moved from place to place, bad luck following them wherever they go. Until one day they hear that Alice’s grandmother, Althea, an author of a book filled with dark fairy tales, dies in the Hazel Wood, they finally settle down. They were wrong to feel safe and one day Ella mysteriously disappears, leaving behind nothing but a message telling Alice to stay away from the Hazel Wood. Unable to do that, she embarks on a quest to rescue her mother from the people that have supposedly come from the world of fairy tales.

I will say that I prefer the second half of the book to the first, because at the beginning it felt very Contemporary with not a lot of Fantasy elements. I understand why, but it would have been nice for our characters to get to Hinterland, the place where the fairy tales reside, instead of milling about in the city and travelling by car. However, I really enjoyed the dark and strange world of Hinterland and the Hazel Wood. Some things might not have made sense (do fairy tales ever make sense with their rhymes and what not), but I thought that the descriptions of the world were great and intriguing. I loved the idea of the ‘story’ characters and how they acted. Not to mention, there were a couple plot twists that I didn’t see coming, which is always a nice surprise.

Alice is the kind of character who doesn’t care much about anything, except for her mother that she will do anything for, even if it means travelling to a far off place they have no idea if it even exists. I wanted to like Alice, and I did in parts, but she isn’t the most likeable character, often being rude and ignorant (which is understandable later on when we learn of her background). However, I enjoyed reading about Finch, the rich boy who helps Alice with her mission. He was so lovely and tried to help, even when he probably shouldn’t have because Alice was awful to him at times. Because of that it was a little awkward reading some interactions, especially when it came to mentioning his race (as he’s dark skinned) and Alice always seemed to bring up how entitled he was because he had money.

I wish we had a chance to meet more of the fairy tale characters from Hinterland and I would have loved to know more of the tales, instead of the few that are mentioned. The book definitely would have seemed more interesting if there were more fantastical elements to it. The pacing of the book was mainly good, with only a few slow parts, but I think most books have them in places.

Overall, while there were things I would have improved on and parts I didn’t connect with, I enjoyed the idea of the story and the majority of The Hazel Wood. Was it the most amazing book I’ve ever read? No, and I think that’s because I was expecting it to be something it wasn’t. I am intrigued to know more about the world, just not so much about how it works alongside the ‘normal’ world. After a long time thinking about this book, I think that a 3 star rating is what I will give it.

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