Thursday, 8 December 2016

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard: Not Your Usual Phantom Retelling

RoseBloodTitle: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: Abrams
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

I find RoseBlood nigh on impossible to review as I still can't quite figure out how I actually feel about it. Quite honestly, it is one of the weirdest books I have ever read, and I always struggle with these kind of strange reads. I read Howard's debut, Splintered, a few years ago and seemed to be one of only a few people who didn't love it, it just didn't work for me. RoseBlood had appealed to me as I am drawn to Phantom retellings, plus the blurb I saw for it made no mention of anything supernatural or otherworldly. RoseBlood was not what I was expecting at all, going off the blurb I saw for it. I was surprised when the book turned weirdly supernatural when nothing I had seen had hinted at that.
Me reading this book:
confused jane the virgin wut jtv i dont think so

Those who loved Howard's Splintered series will probably be equally enthralled by this dark, weird and fantastical story. I was completely thrown off by the strangeness of this story and its supernatural elements. Maybe if I had been aware of that before starting then I might have found it easier to swallow. For me, it just seemed a little too much and it didn't work for me. The Phantom role in this and his plans for Rune were just too out there and ridiculous for me to grasp. Honestly most of my time spent reading this I was utterly confused and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Those who love Splintered will probably eat this up, as it is all the strange of Splintered, meets the darker side of the Phantom story.

friends confused joey joey tribbiani matt leblancOur lead character, Rune, is someone I just couldn't seem to care about. She is moving to a musical boarding school in France, that focuses on Opera. She is running away from something she did back home, that ended with a boy in a coma. I felt her back story was quite muddled and confusing. For a lot of the story there are big questions surrounding Rune and I was quite disappointed by how these were concluded in the end -especially when it came to her grandmother. Rune's other issues was that she felt a little like a walking, talking special snowflake cliche. Although this book contained a few cliches, the most annoying was definitely the seemingly pointless drama between Rune and the schools resident 'Regina George'.

It was a real shame here that so much time was given to Rune and Thorn, but so very little attention was given to secondary characters. The secondary characters are mostly ignored in this book and only pop up when they can serve some purpose. It is a shame because I feel that there was a lot of potential with these characters, and more of them could have mad this book more enjoyable. This book is just the Rune and Thorn show and that was disappointing to me. Thorn is a very intriguing character and I found him a lot more interesting than Rune. I felt he was fleshed out a lot more and had more of a personality. Thorn also has such an interesting back story that was explored a lot throughout the book. He has spent a lot of his life being raised by the Phantom, and has been helping him to achieve his goal no matter what the Phantom asks of him. Thorn was a very conflicted character and I liked that about him.

movie disney gross goth emo
My reaction to 'soulmates'
One bookish trope that I just can't stand is soulmates, actual soulmates. Those that are 'destined' to be together. Some like that, I absolutely hate it. I would much rather have a romance built on two characters that get to know one another and falling for who they are as a person. I don't go for the whole instant connection because of a supernatural link between them. I have so much I want to talk about regarding this book, but I don't want to give away any major spoilers.

2/5 Butterflies

I think A.G. Howard fans will absolutely love this, it just didn't work for me. I felt it was a little too long and completely confusing, not at all what I had been expecting. I felt I might have handled all the supernatural elements better if I had known about it in advance, but the blurb I saw didn't have any mention of anything like that. This is also not a retelling and more a continuation of Phantom of the Opera. If you love weird, wacky books then this is probably one you will love. Or if you are looking for a supernatural Phantom retelling.

Monday, 5 December 2016

I Discovered These Awesome Authors in 2016

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday and this weeks topic is:

New to Me Authors of 2016

So far this year I have read 116 books. It means I have exceeded my goal of 100, but I am still disappointed as I could have got to 150 if I hadn't hit a massive reading slump. I actually have only read 6 books in the last 3 months, which is 2 books a month when I usually read that in a week. So, yes, my slump hit me pretty hard. I have read a fair amount of books this year though, so I am still very proud of myself for getting 116 in so far. I discovered a few new authors this month, ones where I thoroughly enjoyed the books.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) Saga, Volume 1 The Leaving
Jay Kristoff, Brian K. Vaughan & Tara Altebrando

I read Illuminae & Gemina this year and absolutely loved both. I fell in love with the unique way that Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff decided to tell the story. It also has one of the most interesting 'villains' as well. I literally could not put down either book and lost much needed sleep so I could devour them as quickly as possible. Saga is the series that got me into reading graphic novels this year, and I spent a lot of money trying new ones. Nothing has compared to Saga - not the beautiful style of drawings and not the fantastic story. Saga is a graphic novel everyone should read - the characters are absolutely hilarious and the story is incredible and emotional.The Leaving was a surprising read for me, I was expecting to love that one as much as I did. I was just so taken in by the story, Tara Altebrando is definitely an author whose writing just completely works for me and I am excited to read whatever she does next.

Vain (The Seven Deadly, #1) An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) Things We Know by Heart
Fisher Amelie, Sabaa Tahir & Jessi Kirby

Fisher Amelie was an author who I took a chance on, as I don't usually read New Adult. I am so glad I took that chance as I absolutely LOVED Vain. It was the start of a series and I ended up buying the next two books in the series, and have bought two more Amelie books since. I love the development that her characters go through over the course of her novels - it is my favourite thing about them. I really enjoyed An Ember in the Ashes, and am surprised I haven't got to the sequel yet but I am blaming it on my awful reading slump which is just the worst right now. Things We Know By Heart was such a beautiful, emotional read and I LOVED it. I will definitely be reading more books by this author as I completely loved this one.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1) Every Breath (Every, #1)
Maggie Stiefvater, Evelyn Skye & Ellie Marney

I finally read a Maggie Stiefvater book! It only took me years and years and much pestering from fellow bookworms. She is very beloved, so I felt a lot of pressure to love this one. I did really love the first book, but I admit that I struggled far too much with The Dream Thieves as it was quite boring. I hope to continue the series and that the third book is as good as the first, if not better. I thoroughly enjoyed The Crown's Game as it was brilliant fantasy set in one of my favourite times - Imperial Russia! Can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. And Every Breath was as great as everyone had suggested, definitely need to get to the sequels asap.

What authors did you discover this year that you would recommend?

I am planning to do a proper post soon about my return to the blog, as I have been absent for quite some time. I plan to hold a giveaway, so felt I might as well just get it all sorted now. The giveaway is for one winner to receive up to £40 of books of their choice from Book Depository. It's a giveaway for my return to blogging and to celebrate 15k followers on Instagram.

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Holiday Gift Guide: What To Get This Bookworm for Christmas

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday and this weeks topic is:

Holiday Gift Guide Freebie!

That meant I could do a generic gift guide for the average bookworm. Or what books to buy for someone who likes a specific genre. Or gifts to buy a HP fan. Or gifts to buy whatever... So of course I am just totally do all the gifts I would love to receive this Christmas, because I CAN!

1. Funkos

Here are my beautiful Harry Potter themed shelves of my bookshelves, and just a tiny selection of the Funkos I have. There are about 14 new Harry Potter Funkos that are being released or have been released... AND I WANT THEM ALL! Not to mention that there are literally hundreds of others that I want -like the Breakfast Club ones, Disney ones, Friends ones and so many more. I want to just decorate my bookshelves with these adorable things. I am also already eyeing up all the Stranger Things Funkos that are coming out next year... I will be buying them all.

2. Harry Potter Hoodie

This rather incredible Harry Potter hoodie because I am completely in love with it. It is far too much money as I would have to get it shipped to the UK, but it doesn't stop me wanting it. It is available here.

3. This Harry Potter Shirt

I would love to be able to wear it to work every single day, unfortunately it would definitely not be classed as appropriate work attire. It might just be the single greatest shirt in existence. And I want it. It can be found here for anyone that loves it as much as I do.

4. Hamilton Merch

Both designs are by Evie Seo and I would have the designs on anything. I actually already have the Inimitable one as a mug, but I want the pillow. It is one of my favourite lyrics from the musical and is what I use on my bio on social media.

 5. Any & All Evie Seo's Designs


 On mugs. On shirts. On totes. On pillows. On blankets. Put it on anything. I just need it!!! Her designs are gorgeous - she even did my blog design and it is flawless. Seriously, her designs are the best and I want them all. She just did a few Disney ones and they AMAZE me! I want them on everything. Not to mention she does Harry Potter, Six of Crows, classics and so many others. You can buy her designs on Society 6 & Redbubble - both of which have sales on that I can't take part in as I have exactly £0.82 left in my bank.

6. Books!!!

Seems easy enough, as I am a bookworm. It is actually bottom of my list for once, as I probably got my hands on hundreds of books this year. I am also in the midst of a giant reading slump that has lasted months. So, whilst I love books, I am less eager than usual to add to my already endless TBR bookshelves. Yes, I have whole bookcases filled with unread books. I stopped counting once the number of unread books I owned reached 700 or so books.

What about you guys? What you hoping to get this year?!?!

I am planning to do a proper post soon about my return to the blog, as I have been absent for quite some time. I plan to hold a giveaway, so felt I might as well just get it all sorted now. The giveaway is for one winner to receive up to £40 of books of their choice from Book Depository. It's a giveaway for my return to blogging and to celebrate 15k followers on Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

I Think I Adore These Movies A Little Too Much

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday and this weeks topic is:

My Favourite Movies!!!

I am obsessed with films, about the same as I am with books. I own 1,000s of DVDs, which is a lot since I haven't really bought any in 2 or 3 years as I watch everything online now. I have so many favourite films that this topic is so hard. And, come on, there is no way I was ever going to just be able to pick 10. So here are just a small collection of some of my favourite films.

These are three movies that I consider my classics, I love them all and feel they are films everyone should see once. I think Fight Club might be the best book to movie adaptation ever, where they actually improved on the source material. Even the author of Fight Club says he thinks the movie is better. Plus it has amazing performances from Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. The Boondock Saints is soooo iconic to me for so many reasons, such a great concept for a movie. V for Vendetta is the movie me and my fiance watch every single 5th of November, it is an amazing film.

People should not be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.

The Lord of the Rings movies are just masterpieces in my opinion. Peter Jackson was a genius when he created these films, I love them so much. I can also watch them over and over again and never get sick of them. I can just sit and binge watch all three and not think about anything else. These films were just soooooooo good. I will admit to being really sad that the Hobbit movies weren't anywhere near as good.

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

These are probably my 3 favourite romantic movies,and that is quite sad as they all have really depressing endings! Ooooops. I guess The Notebook isn't depressing, it is a rather sweet ending. The other two are just depressing though! I love Baz Luhrman, he creates some of the most stunning pieces of cinema. I think Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge are his two best films. 

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

And here are three of my favourite kids movies, that are totally not just for kids! I adore Anastasia, it has one of the best soundtracks ever. Plus I can still say I have a huge crush on Dimitri, even if he isn't a real person - his sass and sarcasm just speaks to me. Quest for Camelot is hilarious and also has a fantastic soundtrack, I will never get sick of watching that film. The Emperor's New Groove is hilarious from beginning to end, it is probably my favourite Disney movie. 

And some other favourites: 

Can you tell that I LOVE kids films? I am sad that I can't just sit and list every single movie I love, but we would be here all day, Your turn... What movies do you love?!? Do any of mine make your own list?

I am planning to do a proper post soon about my return to the blog, as I have been absent for quite some time. I plan to hold a giveaway, so felt I might as well just get it all sorted now. The giveaway is for one winner to receive up to £40 of books of their choice from Book Depository. It's a giveaway for my return to blogging and to celebrate 15k followers on Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 14 November 2016

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the most daring heist imaginable.
But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're fighting for their lives. 
Double-crossed and badly weakened, they're low on resources, allies and hope.
While a war rages on the city's streets, the team's fragile loyalties are stretched to breaking point. 
Kaz and his crew will have to make sure they're on the winning side... no matter what the cost.

new york yankees
Me before and during reading this book!
I hate having to review the last book in a series, especially one that I LOVE! I absolutely adored Six of Crows, it was one of my top reads of 2015 and introduced me to 6 of my new favourite characters. So that made it very hard to read the second and final book in this duology, I was so nervous that I wouldn't enjoy it or it would end badly. It didn't but, if I am being completely honest, it also wasn't my favourite ending to a series either. It was really good, it just wasn't everything I was hoping for. I am going to just give you a spoiler free review of my thoughts about this book.