Monday, 30 January 2017

Monthly Wrap-Up: From January onto February......


I am literally stunned that it's the end - almost - of January. THE FIRST MONTH OF 2017 IS GONE!! (Nearly.)

My month went really well.  School has been bearable not counting maths and science but we won't go there, and I've been reading the Bible and writing every day :) I am SO happy about that! Some nights I just couldn't face writing, but I made myself do it and I already feel like it's improving. 

As for my sugar-free diet......it's going okay, I guess.  Although my Dad bought a box of instant Honey and Nut Latte the other day, and since I'm the only one who likes it and coffee is my ultimate weakness......Thanks, Dad. Nothing like a box of sugary, amazing coffee to motivate a diet. 

I watched and read a lot this month. It was also an amazing time for review requests - in the first week of Jan I received about four requests from different authors, and I also requested my first review copy; which I got accepted for and received from a publisher. I am SO grateful for all of that - it was amazing and I feel so honoured <3


Posts of the month (excluding reviews and weekly round-ups): 




My Reviews: 

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey

The Luxe - Anna Godbersen

Unhinged - A. G. Howard

Freeks - Amanda Hocking

Rumours - Anna Godbersen

The Maze Runner - James Dashner

Frog Music - Emma Donoghue



My favourite book of the month was either Unhinged or The Luxe, and my least favourite was The Maze Runner.



My Reviews: 


The Host - 2016

An Education - 2009

Me Before You - 2016

Cafe Society - 2016



My favourite film of the month was probably Cafe Society or The Host, and my least favourite was Me Before You. (I think...)


In other news, I created my own blog meme! 

If you'd like to join in, simply borrow the graphic and provide the link back to my blog. Thanks!   


Tears on Tuesday is a meme hosted by A Magical World of Words that encourages you to share moments from books and movies that have made you cry - either in sadness or joy.








*coughs loudly* This is a VERY ambitious TBR; I doubt I'll get to all of them in Feb. I got most of the books from the library - except for Missing Books, which I received for review, and DarkthawSix of Crows and Flawed that I bought myself.




How has your January been? What have you read or watched or done? Got any plans for February? 




(My blog now has a Facebook page!! Find me here)


Sunday, 29 January 2017

6 Month Blogoversary! (a.k.a my baby is now 6 months old...)


On the 31st of January it will have been 6 months since I started A Magical World Of Words. It seriously does not seem like months, it seems like days....... I'm still so much of a newbie, but I have learnt a lot since I started my blog, and I'm so grateful for everything and everyone who has contributed to my blog's "survival" over the last six months.






THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! Thank you for supporting my blog, following my blog, liking/retweeting my tweets, loving my posts on Bloglovin', commenting, chatting with me, thank you thank you thank you. I can never say that enough. And I'd love to list everyone, but then this post would be super long and you'd hate me, and so I'm just going to name a few :)

Di @ Book Reviews by Di - Di was my first proper blog follower :) Since then, I have loved every minute of our chats and discussions, and she has been amazing when it comes to helping me with tricky issues like HTML and coding and blog design.  She's always so willing to give advice or share tips, and her blog is seriously awesome and professional so go check it out!.     

Uma @ Books.Bags. Burgers - Uma's a fellow feminist, fangirl, daydreamer, writer, and Cecelia Ahern fan. Need I say more?! She always supports and comments regularly on my posts, and her own blog is beautiful and her posts are a delight to read. I LOVE fangirling with Uma, and chatting with her and Di has been one of the best things about having a blog :)   

Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic  - After seeing Kyra's lovely blog and the piles of books sitting on her bedroom floor, I was seriously motivated.  Now she's in England - *sobs* - but thank goodness for Facebook; we chat regularly, and she's always there to rant to or fangirl with, so that's awesome :)  

Audrey @ Audrey Caylin - Audrey's also a writer, and I love reading her posts and chatting to her about writing! She always leaves such thoughtful comments on my blog, and it's great to talk to someone who loves writing as much as I do.  

Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books - Maria is an awesome online friend to have!! Her comments are so thoughtful and positive, and she's a passionate fangirl and feminist like me, so it's always a joy to talk to her!  


Some more shout-outs because I can't resist: Book Lover, Alyssa, Brittany, Luna & Saturn, and Prabhleen

And thank you most importantly to Jesus Christ, for allowing me this chance.





HTML is a pain

Fighting with HTML can seriously kill your blogging spirit. I've wrestled with it constantly and stressed over it and sweated over it and IT. IS. A. PAIN. Adding to CSS is much easier, but coding in general is still a huge annoyance. It takes huge amounts of time, and there's literally your whole blog design at stake sometimes.   
Also, there's your blog layout. I doubt I'll ever be completely happy with mine, but it takes a lot of time to redesign, so often you just have to relax and try be satisfied. And that's hard too. 


It's not about the books, it's about the buddies: 

You start a book blog. You talk to people about books. That's basically it.
Well, that's what I thought when I first started this blog. And I'm so glad it didn't turn out like that.

My favourite part of blogging is talking to the amazing people I've met online. Chatting, commenting, interacting...it's just amazing.  The blogging community is incredible, and I feel so honoured to be a part of it.   


Keeping a diary and scheduling HELPS A LOT: 

I thought I was organised before I started blogging, but it turns out that kind of organised is nothing like blogging organised. I now use my diary OCD-like, and literally never stress about posts because I always know what's coming and what day I'll post them, and it makes a world of difference. 
I don't know how I'd cope without my diary :) 


Blogging takes a lot of time: 

It's not just writing posts or reviews, it's the commenting, replying to comments, visiting blogs, Twitter, Facebook......
I love every minute, don't get me wrong, but it can be very time-consuming and overwhelming. When I started my blog, I had to give up something so I had time for blogging. I ended up cutting back drastically on making YouTube fandom videos, which I was doing regularly. I wish I could do it as often as I used to, but there's no time.  And when push comes to shove, I'd definitely choose blogging. But it does mean I have to be serious about committing to it.    


I'd love your feedback! Are there any blogging things you think I should know? Anything you think I should improve on? Let me know! 


Again, thank you. Here's to many more months and years of blogging fun and friendship!! 
<3 <3 Xx




Friday, 27 January 2017

Book Blitz and Giveaway! : MY CLUELESS BROKEN HEART



Hi everyone! I am so excited to share with you information about this awesome looking book, and an e-book giveaway! 
I haven't read it yet - *sigh*....sometimes my "no e-book" policy gets annoying.... - but doesn't it sound amazing? It looks so unique and sweet and quirky.   



Title: My Clueless Broken Heart
Author: Jennifer DiGiovanni
Genre: YA Romance
Becca Thornton is clueless when it comes to love. Why else would she break up with Will Gamen, a boy at the top of the hottie short list for every other girl? Because, if she’s being totally honest, Becca will admit the truth. Her heart belongs to someone else. For as long as she can remember, Travis Brennen has been unavailable. When Travis unexpectedly rolls back into town, Becca realizes for the first time that her feelings for him might be mutual. But Travis and Becca come from what he calls “different circumstances.” Becca’s parents are world-famous scientists and Travis’s dad is the caretaker on the Thornton family’s estate. Still, Becca can’t change the way she feels about him, no matter how hard her parents try to keep them apart. She’ll just need to find a way to prove to her parents that Travis isn’t the guy they’ve always assumed him to be. Becca’s earned the right to grow up, make her own choices, and fall in love, even if she ends up with a broken heart.


Links

Author Bio

Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and YA author of the School Dayz series. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, working on home design projects, or trying to meet the daily goals on her Fitbit. She also likes to try new sports and activities, from archery to ballroom dancing, with varying degrees of success.

Swoon Romance on Twitter: @SwoonRomance



Now for the giveaway!! And may the odds be ever in your favour.........


Giveaway:

Win an eBook copy of My Clueless Broken Heart!

(Swoon Romance will handle the giveaway details and sending of the e-book) 


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #17: KONG: SKULL ISLAND (film)



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming book releases we're eagerly anticipating. And on my blog, I include movies as well.

Kong: Skull Island 

Cast: Tom Hiddleston / Brie Larson / Samuel L. Jackson

Release Date: 10 March 2017.

A team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, including the mythic Kong.




Okay, let me be honest: if it wasn't for Tom and Brie, I would never have looked twice at this film. Yes, I love action/adventure movies, but I'm not too keen on King Kong and blah de blah......

BUT!!! It's Tom Hiddleston everybody!! So naturally, I want to watch him fighting saving gorillas and charging through the jungles and shooting with that gun of his, and OH......
*clears throat* So this is really a film about Kong. But......
I FOR ONE AM WATCHING IT FOR TOM AND BRIE BECAUSE THEY ARE BOTH AWESOME <3  





Anyone else excited for Tom Hiddleston Kong: Skull Island?!  


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

CAFE SOCIETY (film) was visually stunning, but fell flat with a purposeless story

Cafe Society - 2016
Cast: Steve Carell / Kristen Stewart / Jesse Eisenberg / Blake Lively / Sheryl Lee / Ken Stott / Anna Camp.
Director: Woody Allen.
Content Rating: PG 13 for some violence and suggestive material.  
Source: Rented.


In the 1930s, a Bronx native moves to Hollywood and falls in love with a young woman who is seeing a married man.






I have a confession to make: Before this film, I had never watched a Woody Allen film before. 
To be honest, I don't even know that much about him and his film history.
But I plan to remedy that, and thus this film served as a solid introduction to his film making.
( *ticks item off list* )


From the very start of the movie we're swept away into the historical wealth of an era that largely reflects The Great Gatsby. Or that's what I thought, anyway.  (This film is set in the 1930s, so I'm not too far off...).  It's basically a parody of the era, though, and that became more apparent as the film went on.
Cafe Society danced on a fine line between between comedy and tragedy, but never reached the full potential of either. The humour was delightful, and the tragic undercurrents could have been very powerful, but the movie wavered between both themes and never fully addressed either. It wasn't as funny as it could have been, and the painful plot of Kirsten Stewart's character wasted its potential.

Visually, it was gorgeous. That's what I loved most about the movie. Every scene was stunning, tangible, and meticulously crafted so that the makeup of the actors, the costumes they were wearing, and the lightning and scene settings all contributed to create the perfect atmosphere. Everything was perfectly in sync; from the makeup, to the lighting, to the set pieces. 
It was ravishing and rich and smooth.  

The dialogue was witty and effortlessly sharp, but it left no time for the viewer to breathe (irony intended). It became exhausting, and bordered dangerously on becoming too witty and sharp; and thus unrealistic.
The cinematography was perfectly atmospheric, and the large cast of characters were all fully rounded and three dimensional.  
Unfortunately, the movie lost itself somewhere along the way. It suffered a heavy dose of middle-movie syndrome.


The cast was, in general, excellent. Jesse Eisenberg was solid and so were the supporting cast, but while Steve Carell's comic timing was brilliant, I felt like he was miscast.  His character belonged in another era, and while he felt like a parody of the stereotype the writers had avoided, it just didn't work.
(Carell portrayed the rich and indecisive lover who had left his wife for a younger girl).

Cafe Society is known for Stewart's performance. At one stage, it was even suggested that she might win an Oscar for her performance.
Quite honestly, I didn't see it. She was good and decent, but definitely not brilliant, and her "Twilight mannerisms" still remain.  However, I did think she lit up the screen whenever she was present; not for her acting, but because she felt like a breath of fresh air.

I had one huge problem with this film: The ending was a cop-out. It ended without resolution, and came across like the writers had thought "wait, is this a tragedy or a comedy and what's the theme we're trying to put across? Oh well, let's end the film now because we can't decide..." 
That's what it felt like.



Cafe Society was a lavish spectacle that shined with a stellar cast and provided an elegant and relaxing escape for viewers, but the story completely wasted its potential. 






P.S. My favourite character was definitely Sari Lennick's character, Evelyn, who was the wife of that peacemaking husband who always preferred to reason, rather than use violence ;) She was such a strong, hilarious character, and an absolute delight to watch.   


Monday, 23 January 2017

FROG MUSIC - by Emma Donoghue

Frog Music - Emma Donoghue
Year Published: 2014 by HarperCollins.
Genre: Historical fiction / mystery
Pages: 403.
Source: Library.
Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice--if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.

Donoghue's writing is flawless. More than that, it's exquisite. She creates atmosphere so effortlessly that it sweeps you into the world and it becomes a part of you; you're there, you're watching, and it's frightening. So brilliant that it's scary and overwhelming and absorbing.


Frog Music was another masterpiece. The characterisation was absolutely excellent - the characters' personalities came through loud and clear and three dimensional - and the writing flowed perfectly. The story/mystery was tight and clever and so intelligently executed, but what I loved most about this book - and I said the same for Donoghue's The Sealed Letter -  was the revelation of the facts regarding the murder and the characters' backstorys (that gradually led to the murder being solved and understood.)

I could go on forever about how much I loved that - it was so brilliantly on point, so subtle, so careful, and so, so natural. Light gradually moved over the characters, forcing up their pasts, giving reasons for their behaviour in the present, and drawing to the surface the painful and horrific subtext that had unwittingly been under my nose the whole time.  It was poignant and it was excellent.  

I must mention the atmosphere again. In Frog Music, it unfortunately wasn't as rich as it could have been (considering the era Donoghue chose)  but it was still chilling and tragic. The sexism of the time was horrendous - but brilliantly portrayed -  and I hated to see how Blanche and Jenny were treated in what was then a "man's world". The abuse Blanche suffered was disgusting, and it was gut-wrenching to see how women were often left with no other option but prostitution. 


I have to mention something else:
Frog Music was very sexual. Very sexual. There were graphic depictions of intimate, physical sexual relations - literally all of the time in the form of abuse - and I often skim-read those sections. They were not pleasant or edifying.  

Another "con" of the book:  
As brilliant as Donoghue's writing was, this wasn't a nice story. It was very well written, but it was sad, painful, and frequently disheartening. None of the characters were likable, and the story was horrible.    



Frog Music was brilliantly written in every sense of the word, but the actual story was tragic and painful - despite a very satisfying ending - and the scenes of sexual content were never edifying or loving.   





Sunday, 22 January 2017

Weekly Round-Up: Reading & Life


Quick question: What do you think of Disqus? I'm interested to hear your opinions, and whether you prefer to comment via Disqus instead of the default Blogger system? 


I started school again this week. Actually, it went really well, although, *sighs*, science and maths are still awful. I hate doing those.
My sugar free diet is also going well; I only had a tiny bit of chocolate mousse and a nutella milkshake this week (the milkshake was nutella, how could I refuse?)  And I actually felt sick after having the mousse, so that's a good sign.
I won't be starting any new books this week because I've got a lot of blog posts to do and, obviously, school. But I can't wait for February so I can start the haul I got from the library!

I did also some fun designing on Photoshop, which I haven't done in a while. Since I'd just re-watched The Amazing Spiderman 2, I was overwhelmed with feels and thus came this little tribute:




Posts of the week: 

Book Review: Unhinged
Book Review: Freeks
Waiting on Wednesday #16
Book Review: Rumours
A TV series for everyone!
Book Review: The Maze Runner


My review of Frog Music will be up this week.



My review of Cafe Society (film) will also be up this week.





Exciting news! My 6 month blogoversary is coming up, and so I'll have a post up for that later this week (or beginning of next week). I can't believe it's been 6 months! 




Well, that's my week. Now I better go and make lunch for my family (I do that every Sunday: macaroni cheese and bacon). And I listen to music while I cook, so it's awesome :)


How's your week been? What have you read or done or watched?


Saturday, 21 January 2017

THE MAZE RUNNER (The Maze Runner #1) - by James Dashner

The Maze Runner - James Dashner
Year Published: 2014 - by Chicken House.
Genres: Dystopia / young adult / science fiction
Pages: 371.
Source: Library.

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human. When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade. Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. Everything is going to change. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying. Remember. Survive. Run.


I watched snippets of The Maze Runner film about two years ago and didn't really like what I saw. Then I watched The Scorch Trials and loved that. Since then, I've wanted to read the books and see how they compare.
So I finally got round to picking up the first book. And I was so disappointed. 


The idea is brilliant. So, so much potential, and I really liked how Dashner executed it. But having said that, I didn't think the writing was great. The pacing was sloppy - I especially thought Teresa's arrival was too close to the start to leave a big enough impact on me; it didn't make the impression it should have made because I was still getting into the world and the story.
The writing was also amateurish and unoriginal. 
On a positive note, however, it was wonderfully dark, gritty, and held together by a strong concept. 

The characters were the real let-down for me. They all sounded the same. But I have to say this: since I watched the movie first, it was very hard for me to separate Dashner's writing with the visuals I'd seen in the film. I think because I watched the movie first, the characters seemed more rounded to me than they would have seemed if I was just reading without any preconceived images of them in my head. That said, I tried hard to judge Dashner's writing based solely on his writing; which was difficult. But when I did manage to try ignore the film's perception of the characters, I can say that they were still very badly developed, flat, and static. The dialogue and actions did nothing to separate them from each other, and I found it very hard to like anyone. I thought Thomas and Chuck's friendship was way too forced, and *takes deep breath* that brings me to Thomas...

Thomas was a huge, huge, HUGE pain. He was annoying, flat, and just plain stupid. Then, as the story progressed, he became the hero: the one everyone's dying to save, the one everyone's believing can do no wrong, the one everyone worships. I had no patience for that.  And I really don't get why his surviving the maze that night was the first time anyone's done it. That was silly and unrealistic and a weak plot toy.
He became too "goody goody", and he stupidly kept things to himself that would have saved everyone a lot of time if he'd just told them outright (like Teresa talking to him in his head - he was afraid the others wouldn't believe him if he told them, so he kept it to himself. That's a pathetic excuse for wasting the story's time).

Thomas also made a really cruel, stupid comment towards the end of the book:

"The scream ran on, shattering the air, overpowering the other sounds of war, until it faded in death. Thomas felt his heart tremble, hoped it wasn't someone he knew."
~ pg 336. 

Excuse me, dude?! How disgusting can you be to think that thought as someone dies a slow and painful death?!   
But then, on page 345, there's a contradiction to the previous statement as another character dies: 

"It {the death} still hurt, even though he hadn't known them very well." 



The Maze Runner was carried by a strong idea and, for the most part, excitement. But the characters were flat, boring, annoying, and it was impossible for me to sympathise with them. In addition, the writing wasn't great.  





Friday, 20 January 2017

A TV Series for Everyone


Watching a TV series is one of the things I love to do. 
Whether the series gets your heart racing, or your palms sweating, or your tears falling, or simply lets you forget the pressures of life, there's something wonderful about sitting down to relax (or not relax) and enjoying the story playing out on the screen in front of you. 
There are a huge number of TV shows these days - a crazy number, actually, that I can never hope to get to!   
But here's a list of some of the ones I've really enjoyed :)  I've purposefully chosen a large variety. 





Robin Hood is addictive watching. The acting isn't amazing, nor are the effects, and there's plenty of cheese and *cringe* moments, but it's fun and very entertaining and the characters are wonderfully colourful. It's also utterly action-packed and romantic.
(And I've sobbed through a number of the tragic scenes, so yeah...) 

Once Upon A Time is my bae at the moment. It's a beautiful blend of fairy tales and three-dimensional characters, filled with action and romance and humour. It's endlessly entertaining and magical, and *coughs* Captain Swan are my OTP <3   

Arrow has had its ups and downs, but I've really enjoyed what I've seen of it. It's jam-packed with action and romance, and hosts a rich, three-dimensional cast of characters. The acting's decent, too.  




Parks and Recreation is delightful! It's from the same producers of The Office, but it's a lot more lighthearted, easy-to-watch, and doesn't have the strong emotional core of The Office, making it a lot more relaxing.
Amy Poehler leads the brilliant cast.  

The Office is probably my favourite comedy series. Steve Carell leads the stellar cast through what is an absolutely hilarious, heartfelt, tragic, romantic, and witty journey spanning nine seasons.
The characters are excellent, so is the whole production, and The Office will make your cry from sadness as well as laughter.
(I've never watched the British series of the same name, but some of my friends have and apparently this American series is a lot more funny and lighthearted).   

Horrible Histories is wonderful. I haven't watched it for a while now, but it's based off the series of books by the same name, and it's clever, hilarious, and very informative while still maintaining an awesome level of entertainment. The acting is decent too (with some exceptions...the budget wasn't great...) and the songs are very catchy :)  




White Collar is excellent, although again - as is the case with many of the shows listed here - the first few seasons are stronger than the last ones. But it's still a witty, romantic, intelligent series packed with three-dimensional characters, and it's made me cry on a number of occasions ;)
It's addictive; and the cast is very good-looking, in case you're wondering.....

Sherlock is so, so good. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are absolutely brilliant, not to mention the tightness and intelligence of the plots, the excellent cinematography, and the well-developed characters. It's a gripping and effortlessly classy series.  

Broadchurch is spectacular. It revolves around the incident of a young boy's murder, and dives deep into the different aspects of the case: the police, the townspeople, the family, the friends, and the press. Gorgeous setting, rich, rounded characters, and a story that will keep you guessing right to the end. It's excellent.       




Cranford shines with all star cast as they bring Elizabeth Gaskell's classic novel to life. It's a brilliant series; very funny, very sweet, and very romantic and entertaining. 
English life in a quaint country town has never been more heart-warming or fascinating.  It's pure class and pure fun. 

Downton Abbey is a brilliant example of a historical drama, sprinkled with romance and action. 
I was a huge fan until about a year ago; personally I thought it went on for a bit too long and when they started killing off my favourite characters, it just wasn't the same. And I thought it became a bit too much like a soapy :(  





What TV series do you like to watch? Do you enjoy any of the shows above? 


Thursday, 19 January 2017

RUMOURS (The Luxe #2) - by Anna Godbersen

Rumours - Anna Godbersen
Year Published: 2008 - by Penguin Books.
Genres: Historical drama / romance / young adult
Pages: 422.
Source: Library.

After bidding good-bye to New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise. All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family's only hope for redemption; New York's most notorious cad, Henry Schoonmaker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind—including Henry; even Elizabeth's scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency. As old friends become rivals, Manhattan's most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal... or more precious than a secret.


I love Rumours. It's just beautiful. 


Like the first book, the atmosphere was the best thing about this book; you can't help getting swept away into the glamorous, forbidden world of New York society, and watching the fancy balls and stolen kisses as though you're really there and spying on the characters yourselves. It's a delicious social scene; captivating and colourful and luscious.
The descriptions of the gowns the girls wore were mouth-watering. I loved the scenes Godbersen painted, and everything was so rich and tangible. 
Unfortunately, the dialogue still wasn't great. Although it has definitely improved since the first book.

Rumours was a lot more mysterious and sensational than the first book was. The gossip was thick and rich and plentiful, and the secrets were even more tantalizing.  



I still adore Will and Elizabeth.  They're such a beautiful, beautiful couple, and THAT ENDING KILLED ME. I knew it was coming because I read this book a few years ago, but it still hurt and I still sobbed. It was so bittersweet and so tragic and SO agonizing, and while I admire the author for making me feel, I did think it was a bit of an unnecessary move to have Will and Liz's romance end like that. They didn't deserve it, and it felt unfair as well as painful.



Rumours improves upon the first book with a delicious bounty of secrets and stolen romances. The stakes were raised, the tragedy was bittersweet, and I'm dying to know what's next for New York's high society......   





Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #16: WINTERSONG - by S. Jae-Jones


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases we're excited to read. On my blog, I include movies as well as books.


Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Release Date: 7 February 2017.

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell. All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns. But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts. Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

All the reviews of this book I've seen have been amazingly positive. And just reading the premise I'm like: "LYRICAL, ROMANTIC, RETELLING, FAIRY TALES, SO MUCH BEAUTY YES PLEASE!" Doesn't it look so beautiful and chilling and incredible? AND THE COVER IS BEYOND BEAUTY ITSELF <3 <3  
I want to get lost in this magical new world and I want to fall in love with it.
I need this book.

P.S. Is it possible that this cover was crafted by fairies? JUST LOOK AT ITS GORGEOUS BEAUTY





Anyone else excited for Wintersong?!

P.S. If not, WHY WHY? 


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

FREEKS - by Amanda Hocking

Freeks - Amanda Hocking
Year Published: 2016 - by St. Martin's Griffin.
Genres: Young adult / paranormal / romance
Pages: 400.
Source: Thank you to St. Martin's Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!


In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible? Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

When you pick up an Amanda Hocking book, you know you're in for action, romance, and an utterly fun ride.
While this book had its faults, I still enjoyed it :)


The atmosphere was fantastic! Dark, creepy, and deliciously hypnotic, the world of Freeks captivated me.
The mystery aspect of the story kept me guessing right up to about the last quarter of the book, when Gabe's secret became very obvious.  It was constantly gripping and I found it almost impossible to put the book down. I just had to keep reading; it wasn't boring at all. It was exciting, easy-to-read, frightening, and beautifully creepy.
The characters were brilliantly diverse, and such a refresher from the "all white" casts we so often read about in YA. Mara's world had characters from all different backgrounds and cultures and it was such a delight to read about them. I particularly like the character of Roxy; she was my favourite character. She was probably the most three-dimensional character in the book, and she lit up every scene she was in.
Mara was a wonderfully strong, feisty heroine. I adore, adore this particular quote:



YEAH! Girl power! Mara was a wonderfully strong heroine :)
The only thing I didn't like about her was that she was obviously the kind of girl who slept around a lot and had been through a ton of boys. That wasn't cool, and I couldn't respect her for that.


What I Didn't Like So Much:

- The romance between Gabe and Mara was very "insta-love". It was very, very insta; on page 32 they were already kissing! I just couldn't ship the romance in this book :(   
- The dialogue wasn't great, and when the characters talked they didn't sound all that different from one another; with perhaps the exception of Roxy.
- Hocking's writing is rather clumsy. She has an amazing way of carrying you into her story, but her actual writing isn't mind-blowing.
- Personally, I didn't like all the dark occult stuff and spell casting. As a Christian, that just didn't sit well with me, and so I didn't like it.
- The ending was very rushed. Mara was awesome and the action was good, but it was over too quickly.



Freeks was a deliciously atmospheric, hypnotic YA fantasy packed with diverse characters and rippling with dark, forbidden undercurrents. The dialogue and romance weren't great, but it was still an exciting read. 
Do I recommend it? Yes. 
If you like fun, gripping stories and refreshingly diverse characters, Freeks is for you.