Thursday, 29 June 2017

Darkmere by Helen Maslin has curses, haunted castles, a gothic romance and you NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE

DarkmereTitle: Darkmere
Series: N/A
Author: Helen Maslin
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Gothic, Contemporary
Publication: August 6th 2015, Chicken House
Pages: 368 pages, Paperback
Source: Library
Rating: 4.5/5
A castle. A curse. A dangerous summer.Leo has invited Kate and a few friends to spend the summer at his inheritance, Darkmere Castle: as wild and remote as it is beautiful. Kate thinks it will be the perfect place for her and Leo to get together - but instead, she's drawn into the dark story of a young nineteenth-century bride who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house. And whose curse now hangs over them all.



This was the book of the month we had to read for my book club and if it hadn't been for that, I don't think I would've picked this book up (I thought it was a horse book, don't ask me why but I just somehow had it stuck in my head that it was a book about horses hence I avoided it, don't even ask me how I reached that conclusion) and that saddens me. I don't generally review books that I haven't been sent to review but I haven't really seen this book around the blogosphere and it NEEDS more publicity because it's freaking fantastic. Like, I totally fell in love with it and I couldn't get it out of my head and EVERYONE JUST NEEDS TO READ IT ALREADY. *heavy breathing*

Okay, to sum it up nicely: this book was epic. It was compelling, it was dark, tragic and utterly addictive. It ensnared me from the first page and didn't relinquish control for a second. I'm so happy that I picked up this book as it was exactly the kind of story I never knew I needed. The premise of this book is utterly incredible and the way it was delivered was done excellently. There have been so many times where I've read a book with a fantastic premise but the writing/characters don't do it justice – THANK GOODNESS THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN IN DARKMERE. The plot was delicious, with suspense and subtle events that contributed enormously to creating the dark, brooding atmosphere that engulfed the castle. Some characters were wonderful, other characters were detestable - which magnified the chilling, haunting mood of Darkmere - the writing was beautiful, the transition between the two time periods (the 19th and 21st century) was done seamlessly and often left me in a state of extreme suspense and anxiety for the characters I had grown to love. And the atmosphere - my goodness, the atmosphere. I was constantly on the edge of my seat as the author included small, subtle hints that something deeply dark and terribly tragic was stirring within the castle walls and within the hearts of those – present and past – who occupied the castle. It was this persistent tension and darkness seeping into the story that had me devouring the pages rapidly and IT WAS PRETTY MUCH PERFECT, REALLY.

So Darkmere is about ghosts, terrible secrets, the past and the present, it's about romance, love, hate, despair and regret, it's about hazy summer days that thrum with dangerous energy – all this set against the backdrop of a beautiful, ruined castle on the edge of a cliff top that drops into the crashing sea down below. It's about Kate, a girl from a poor background who worked hard enough to earn a scholarship to an incredible (and expensive) school. It's about her finally feeling like she belongs and isn't a total misfit when the most popular, most charming boy at her school, Leo St Cloud, invites her to spend the summer at the supposedly cursed castle he just inherited, along with his friends Jackson, Beano, Hat-Man Dan and Lucie. She agrees. She expects a summer filled with partying and drinking, lazy summer days – and she gets that. And more. Deadly dares, malice, horror and centuries' old curses plague that group as soon as the sun sinks beneath the sea. Alternating between Kate's point of view and Elinor, the doomed wife of the formidable St Cloud, the tragic tale of how the curse came to be, unfolds in devastating and gripping manner that had me filled with apprehension, intrigue and terror. HAVE I PERSUADED YOU? PLEASE TELL ME I HAVE. BECAUSE YOU NEED TO READ IT.

One thing I loved about this novel was how the author included several different genres and linked them together seamlessly. I've read books in the past that have several genres happening but it just feels like an uncoordinated jumble of misfit puzzle pieces BUT NOT IN DARKMERE. It's a contemporary, historical fiction, horror, romance and paranormal young adult novel and all these combine together most admirably to form a gorgeously chilling book. There were scenes that felt as if I was reading a summery contemporary filled with fun and romance and then the next scene there was a flashback to the nineteenth century that was filled with balls, suitors, carriages, and servants, fast forward it's the 21st century again, in the castle, at night and there are paranormal/horror aspects beginning to emerge and it all just fits together so perfectly. I don't know how the author did it but can she teach me her ways? Please?

Another thing I can't applaud the author enough for is how brilliantly she executes dual perspectives. Darkmere is voiced by 21st century Kate, as well as Elinor, the wife of St Cloud who lived in the 19th century. I haven't read many books with dual perspectives but when I have, the voices of the characters generally sound extremely similar or one character is just so dull compared to the other. In Darkmere, I was gripped by both girls' accounts of their time spent at Darkmere. Both were enthralling and both had me feeling varying emotions from revulsion and shock to terror and excitement. The author also used this to her advantage in the most cruel manner: she would end the one POV on a complete cliffhanger and I'd be shaking in shock because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT and then by the time I've finished the other POV (which had also ended on a cliffhanger) I ALSO NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NOW and wow, it was an excellent way to write the book as it made it all the more captivating. I was even more invested and I was just on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. IT'S WONDERFUL.

For me, the characters are one of the most important aspects of the story. You can have a book that is severely lacking in plot but if it has incredible characters, I will most likely love it. Now, this is the one thing I didn't LOVE about the book and the reason I deducted half a cupcake: the characters. Even though I liked them, I didn't like the things they did. Anyone who knows me is aware that I don't drink and I'm really against drugs. The modern day characters drank a lot and got stoned a lot and I really struggled with that aspect of the story. I understand that most teenagers experiment with substances at some point in their life but that kind of thing has never appealed to me and if it features quite heavily in a book, it can decrease my overall enjoyment of the novel. I just thought it was stupid and irresponsible of them and I wanted to shake some sense into them BUT ASIDE FROM THAT, I loved everything else! I liked Kate, she wasn't scare to challenge Leo, she worked extremely hard to get her scholarship and she never pretended to be something she wasn't, which I admired. I didn't like Jackson at first but my love for him increased quite rapidly throughout the novel – he's a good guy and I really liked his caring nature that sharply contrasted next to the selfish, ruthless characteristics of Leo. UGH, LEO. He made me so mad throughout this book and there was this constant darkness reverberating off of him that hinted at the darkness he'd bring and boy, did he bring it. As much as I disliked him, he certainly added marvellously to the dark, gothic atmosphere that the book held. I didn't harbour any particularly strong feelings towards Beano, Lucie and Hat-Man Dan but as the story progressed but as the effects of Darkmere began to take its toll on them, I did find myself feeling increasingly worried about them as I did care for them, just not as much as I'd hoped to. 

That aside, I absolutely LOVED Elinor's extracts and I utterly adored her character. Her story was so heartbreaking and her voice just shone through the pages and I developed a strong connection with her. I absolutely loved Elinor. She was quiet yet incredibly fun, she didn't care much for marriage and reaching the high rungs of society, she cared for her best friend Nick and her books. I felt deep remorse and sadness for her situation and it was agonising seeing the change in her – and her sister, Anna – throughout the course of the novel. Only by seeing Darkmere through her eyes could I fully understand the despicable nature that had occupied Darkmere's walls. Her story utterly broke me and I wish there was a whole book about Elinor (and Nick WHO I LOVE SO FREAKING MUCH) because I loved reading about them so very much! The characters really brought so much to the story and the way the two centuries' stories were strung together made the novel so engrossing, so fast-paced, so uniquely wonderful as the story of Darkmere's disturbing history fell into place.

The last two things I want to mention are the romance and the plot. The romance in this book is definitely not the central focus in Darkmere which many people will appreciate, but there is some and it made me feel a plethora of emotions. Some romance is heartbreaking, some not-so-heartbreaking. There is one almost-romance that made me want to throw the book against the wall and sob because of how devastatingly tragic it was and there is another romance that is in the beginning stages and it's filled with love, understanding and a sense of belonging that had my heart chanting “ship ship ship”. The mixture of a sweet romance and a heartbreaking one were also combined flawlessly to leave the reader with a sense of hope despite being faced with despair. All the dark parts were balanced with light parts in Darkmere and I thought the two contrasts were paired together seamlessly, flawlessly.

The plot is absolutely incredible. There were twists and turns and subtle paranormal occurrences that set my heart on edge. There were cliffhangers and the book was heady with the scent of suspense. It was fast-paced and the switching between viewpoints made the book even more intriguing. I wasn't bored for a single second, I was constantly on the edge of my seat and I was just so completely immersed in Darkmere's turbulent, tragic history and in Kate and Elinor's struggles with the castle and the St Clouds. If you need a book to fall completely into, this is it.

Darkmere was captivating and enthralling. It was horrifying and mesmerising. The voices of a nineteenth century girl and a twenty-first century girl intertwined to bring to life the dark history that played out on Darkmere's grounds. The atmosphere of the book is chillingly dark yet simultaneously maintains the feel of a light summery contemporary. This book is composed of several different genres and the result is breathtakingly stunning! I felt terrified, haunted and thoroughly intrigued whilst reading this uniquely divine novel. I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did but I fell absolutely in love with – with the voice of young Elinor, the bloodied history surrounding Darkmere, the tense suspense between the group of 21st century friends and the undercurrent of horror that encompasses this novel. Darkmere will transport you to the crumbling turrets of a haunted castle perched on a cliff above a grey churning sea. You will fall absolutely in love with this book.

I give it: 4.5/5 cupcakes!
 "If home could be just one person, it had always been him."

I told you, I never imagined any of that in my future.”

I was in love with him. I knew it without question. Not because of any “falling” sensation or butterflies in my stomach or romantic music playing in my head. None of the things I'd read about in the novels I'd long since abandoned – just the engulfing whoosh of realization that I had always loved him. Always. There was no “falling” because I was already there.”

*Drinking
*Drug use
*Strong language used occasionally  
Read More »

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Review - Allegiant - Veronica Roth (I forgot to publish this review when I read it 4 years ago XD)

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Title: Allegiant
Series: Divergent #3
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Pages: 526 pages, Paperback
Publication: October 22nd 2013, Harper Collins
Source: MY OWN :')
Rating: 5/5 CUPCAKES!
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
*SPOILERS. DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T YET READ ALLEGIANT*

I'm still trying to comprehend what I just read, still trying to untangle the mass of feelings I felt during Allegiant, still not quite being able to come to the terms that the series I love is over and that one of the characters I love most in the YA category is dead and gone.

Allegiant picks up from where Insurgent left off. Tris' faction-based society has been destroyed. There are wars waging against the Factionless. A group of people called Allegiant, who believe that they should send their strongest soldiers to see what's on the other side of the fence. To follow the instructions of Edith Prior, the lady on the video footage that revealed the whole other world outside the fence. Tris has hope that perhaps her and Tobias can finally settle, finally make a home for themselves, and possibly even one day, have a family of their own. Yet lies will be told, painful memories will arise and sacrifices will be made, sacrifices that will have devastating consequences.



I felt all the feels whilst reading Allegiant. I was on the verge of tears. I laughed. My jaw dropped in astonishment. This is going to be a rambling review, and I'm probably not going to make much sense during it, because I'm still quite shell-shocked.


Allegiant was amazing. It was unexpected. It was heart-breaking. It was emotional. It was beautifully written, it was perfect in my eyes, although the ending left me devastated. 


Allegiant is told in dual perspectives...from Tris and Tobias, which was one of the clues that led me to believe that either one of them was expecting death. For the most part, I enjoyed the dual perspectives, yet I did struggle to differentiate between Tris and Tobias' voices. Seeing their two different perspectives sounds really exciting, yet I felt like we lost a bit of Tobias' personality. I felt like we were reading from Tris' point of view constantly. Tobias just didn't seem like Tobias in this book. Maybe it was because he finally revealed how vulnerable he is or it was different reading about him through his eyes and not just from the eye's of Tris, like we did in the other two books.


The Characters:


The characters were perfect. I have grown extremely close to Tris, Four, Uriah, Zeke, Christina, Cara and a lot of other characters throughout this trilogy. I feel like they are my best friends, and I have been with them as they have become innocent sixteen-year olds to ones that have become hardened by the catastrophic life they live. It broke my heart to see all the insecurities and self-doubt that these characters harboured inside of them...yet it was beautiful to see how they loved each other, and would go to such extreme lengths to lay their lives down for one another. To think that even after all that they've been through, they still go on making friends and living and loving and learning, and not sheltering away from the world.


We have Tris. Fiercely brave, loyal, determined and ready to destroy anyone who endangers her or those she loves. It's been interesting watching Tris' character develop throughout the trilogy. If I look back at Divergent I realise just how young and innocent she seemed and how she's had to toughen up because her life is just one huge game of cat and mouse. I could feel Tris' exhaustion in Allegiant, I could feel how badly she just wanted to live a life of safety...and then when she finds out that the Bureau supplied Jeanine with the serums, Tris realises that the new government she lives under is power-hungry and greedy for control...just like the corrupted government that she left behind.


Tobias was different in this book. We get to read from his perspective and I honestly didn't see much of a difference between him and Tris' voices. I had to check back to see whose POV I was reading Allegiant from, but I was able to distinguish their voices later on in the book. I saw a different side to Tobias in Allegiant, I could see this loathing for his past and how he wanted to rid himself of his roots. I could see the anger, the self-hatred and the fierce protectiveness he felt for Tris. I could see his fragility and it times it perplexed me because its Tobias...Four, and it was terrifying to see him lose control of his emotions.


I also grew to be closer to Evelyn in this novel. I wasn't too sure about her in Insurgent, she abandoned her son, faked her own death and left him in the abusive hands of his greatest enemy. Yet I saw how she just wanted to create a life for people where they could have their own freedom, and not be chained to the faction way of thinking. When she chose Tobias over power...I was so happy and touched by the moment, that I nearly spilled a tear.


Uriah's death saddened me. I loved his jokes and his warmth that was always spread through the book whenever he was in a scene and when he was in the coma, I kept hoping and praying that he would hold out, that he would make it. He didn't deserve to die and I hated seeing Tobias feel like he had been the cause of Uriah's death.


I love Christina. When she and Tris promised that they wouldn't leave each other anytime soon and then Tris died, I could feel Christina's pain emanating throughout Allegiant and see how she felt the unfairness because all the people she had loved had died. I admired her too, though, because as Tobias said, despite all the grief she has experienced, she still has hope and still welcomes new people into her life, even knowing that she could so easily be deserted once again.


And how messed up was it that Tori's brother was actually still ALIVE and she died before she could see him again. That made me scream in frustration because I know how badly Tori wanted her brother to be alive and how she wanted to get revenge on the people who did this to him. That was also a shocking twist, and I wish Tori had been alive to see her brother again.




I still haven't completely gotten over the fact that Caleb betrayed Tris and yet she still sacrificed her life for him. 


David, as well. I can't stand him for what he did to Tris. He really didn't have to go kill her. It was just SO WRONG. *sobs*


It was also interesting reading the journal entries from when Tris' mom was a teenager and I really felt connected to her and saw how strong she was and just how much she loved her family.


The Plot:


What scares me most about the last books in dystopian series, is that they are so mind-shatteringly different from the world that we were first introduced to. I felt such a sense of nostalgia when we revisited Chicago and saw how destructed the whole world had become and how there were no such things as factions anymore, and I think I still haven't come to terms with the loss of the factions and the world that Veronica Roth originally created.


Now, once I had finished Insurgent, I was shocked with the ending. I couldn't believe that there was this whole world out there and I wanted to discover why Tris and them were locked in and I wanted to know what was beyond that fence. It wasn't what I expected, but I still enjoyed reading about it. I was expecting this toxic wasteland and all these wars and fighting, yet I was greeted with a government that believe Divergence was special because they were genetically pure and the others that were not Divergent were "genetically impure". It was quite upsetting that Tobias wasn't actually Divergent, but I agree with Tris that he's still the same person. 


However, I did still find the whole genetic engineering interesting, and it makes sense and I can see why they want to just breed Divergents. They want to create a population with perfect genetics, ones that are selfless, clever, kind, compassionate and brave, to avoid the previous wars and destructions that humanity has waged against the planet and each other.


The Romance:


Although I love the relationship between Tris and Tobias, in Allegiant, towards the beginning, I felt that there were too many of these "saltwater and wind" kisses and it was a bit repetitive in the first few chapters yet towards the end, I started seeing the old Four and Tris, the ones that held unconditional love for each other and needed each other to survive. 


I started panicking when Four went off with Nita in the middle of the night, and I feared that a relationship would develop between the two of them due to the continuously rising tension between Four and Tris, yet I had no need to doubt him, as you can really see the love they have for each other. 


When Four goes through with the plan that is part of Nita's rebellion, I want to slap him as I know it's going to cause problems in the future. When Tris and Four were fighting and he retorted that she wasn't thinking clearly because she was jealous, I knew that he had to listen to Tris, as she's always right in the end.


It was just so beautiful seeing how much they loved each other, and how they brought out the best in each other and even though they had this tension between them due to the lies they each had told each other and I honestly feared that things were about to go awry, they remained true to themselves and their relationship.


I loved the dialogue between them, it could go from humourous and teasing to personal and serious that left me wiping my eyes and hugging Allegiant to my chest.




The Ending:

This is what I really want to talk about. The poignant, heart-wrenching ending that ripped my heart out and stomped on it.


Tris' death.


I had a feeling one of the main characters were going to die, and I had a feeling Tris was going to die, due to a tweet that I had seen on Twitter.


I was quite wary about reading Allegiant because I had a feeling either Tris or Tobias was going to die. A lot of people said that they found the ending stupid, but I didn't. Although it pained me when Tris died...I don't think it could've ended any other way, and I see the author's motives for writing Tris' death into Allegiant.

It was heart-breaking and although I didn't cry, I did sit on the floor and rock back and forth because I couldn't quite comprehend that Tris was gone. She was a survivor that survived everything, and to see her be snuffed out shook me...it was Tris. Lovely, amazing Tris.


The parts that really made me want to sob were the ones when the news was broken to Tobias. The way he broke down and the only way to survive The parts where he recalls the favourite things about her, the way she smiled and the way she was and it honestly broke my heart because I can't imagine Tris without Tobias, I can't imagine the one without the other. Seeing the loneliness and grief engulf Tobias was terrifying and I honestly thought that he was going to take the memory serum, to wipe away the pain of losing the one that he loved the most.


Like Tobias and Christina, it's going to take me awhile to accept the ending. Tris died a brave, honourable death and she sacrificed herself because of the love that she had for her brother, and that's how she believed it should be. She wasn't going to let her brother die out of guilt rather than love. I had a feeling that Tris was going to go in there, but I thought that she was going to survive, just like she always did. 


What is also extremely sad, is that when Tris and Tobias were leaving and parting ways, they told each other that they loved each other and Tobias said that he'll see her soon...and then the next time he did it was her dead body.


It was awful reading about Tris' death and then having to switch to when Tobias, his parents and Johanna are creating this treaty, as he is thinking about the happy future that they can have yet little does he know that when he returns to the Bureau...Tris will no longer be of  this world.


THE FEELS. 



Overall:

Allegiant is a poignant novel that is an amazing ending to an amazing trilogy. The ending was devastating and I would've preferred it if Tris lived, if her and Tobias could've settled down and lived a peaceful life, one where they don't have to continuously look over their shoulder and shoot bullets at people who they thought were on their side. Yet I also know an ending like that would've been unrealistic, she lived a true Dauntless life and she died an honourable death. Allegiant was heart-rendering yet I think that it was a logical ending, a devastating one, nonetheless. Allegiant shows the true meaning of who we are and what we are willing to give for those we love. It shows the ultimate acts of love and sacrifice that one will go through. 

Favourite Quotes: *taken from Goodreads*

“I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last.” 
“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn't.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life. 
That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”  
“I love you" I say."I love you, too" he says. "I'll see you soon.” 
“But when I do feel all the strength go out of me, and I fall to my knees beside the table and I think I cry, then, or at least I want to, and everything inside me screams for just one more kiss, one more word, one more glance, one more.” 
“The person you became with her is worth being.” 
“Yeah, sometimes life really sucks," she says. "But you know what I'm holding on for?"I raise my eyebrows.She raises hers, too, mimicking me."The moments that don't suck," she says. "The trick is to notice them when they come around.
Read More »

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The books next to my bed - Library Edition


As you guys probably all know by now, I'm obsessed with the library. I'm there at least three times a week and I always have at least five books out from the library (at the moment it's twenty hahaha don't look at me like that). I currently have a wonderful selection of books on loan and I'm so excited for all of them! One of my bookish traditions is that as soon as exams are over I go to the library and haul the books that have caught my eye but haven't been able to read because: studying. So I raided the library and I've already knocked 3 books off of the Leaning Tower of Raided Literature (they were so good!) and I'm super stoked for all the other books as well!



Wow, aren't they pretty? They all sound so good and I'm super excited for them! Starting from the beginning...

I read Water Born yesterday and it was so good, chilling and creepy. You know the kind of book that messes with your head, makes you want to check under your bed at night and that sets your heart racing? The kind of book that makes you physically feel the horror and terror the characters are experiencing? Yes, it's one of those. It was the perfect time to read it as in the book it was a blistering hot UK summer and in my reality it's also blistering hot in the UK (which I love, btw). Luckily for me though I don't have a murderous ghost uncle trying to kill my parents and everyone else in the process. Small mercies. 

THEN I got I Capture the Castle out - completely on whim - when I was browsing the classics section. I saw it there and I was totally in the mood for reading a classic so I checked it out and I'm so glad I did! I read the first page and I have a feeling I'm going to love it. I CAN FEEL IT IN MY BONESSSS. (I had to incorporate slight hyperbole somewhere in this post, it's my aesthetic).

I actually returned With Malice to the library because I've been getting slightly anxious the past few days and I remembered that thrillers can intensify le anxieties. Oops. I'll probably read it one day, though! Have you read it? Is it worth reading?


I got The Girl of Ink and Stars out too because a) everyone and their mother seems to be raving about it and b) it's one of the books we'll be discussing in the bookclub I'm attending soon! I'm supposed to go tomorrow but I haven't read the book yet (my reservation only came in yesterday - I'M GENERALLY ORGANISED. Actually that's a lie. Lololol) so we'll see. ANYWAY, it sounds so good and the cover is so prettyful *strokes*. It's got maps, stars, monsters and myths - what more could a girl ask for?

I also FINALLY checked Since You've Been Gone out of the library (well, would you look at that, I'm now going to be singing Kelly Clarkson for the next 48 hours) and I'm so excited to read it as it honestly looks like the perfect summer read! I absolutely adore reading contemporaries in the summer and I have a feeling this is going to be the perfect contemporary for a hot summer's day!


THEN, I have The Archived and This Savage Song to read. I've heard ENDDDLESSSS good things about V.E. Scwab's books and I am SO EXCITED to finally become acquainted with her characters and the worlds she has created! I've reserved A Gathering of Shadows (I think that's what it's called?) And Our Dark Duet from the library - EEEEK!!! Hopefully they'll get here soon!

I also (randomly, yet again) got Reckless and Fearless by Cornelia Funke out of the library and I have reserved the third one so I can marathon them this summer! I was never interested in reading this series but after reading Cait's brilliant review I was like I NEEDED THIS IN MY LIFE 63 YEARS AGO. MUST READ IT. So fingers crossed I love it! I mean, it has magical worlds accessed via a mirror, brotherly love, monsters and magic - what more could you ask for?

I checked out Faking 19 and Kiss & Blog by Alyson Noel out of the library as I had picked them up off of the shelf and read a few pages in the library and was instantly hooked, so obviously I had to take them home with me! They're pure fluff filled with drama, pettiness, misadventures and the awkward and hilarious trials of teenagehood - fun!


I've also been wanting to marathon the Reckoners trilogy forever as it's a) Brandon Sanderson (I've only read one of his books but I need MORE) and b) It's got a superhero feel to it. A burst in the sky. Some people get extraordinary powers. A group of humans without powers called the Reckoners who assassinate the Epics (the powerful people). Superhero books aren't easy to pull off but I have faith in Mr. Sanderson (PLEASE LET IT BE INCREDIBLE). 


Annnnd finally I have several Batman graphic novels out! Some are more classic Batman stories and there is a New 52 one in there as well (DC's newly rebooted series, I think!)

I'm so excited to read all of these as they all look incredible! Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? Have you got any books out from the library? LET'S DISCUSS.
Read More »

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

MY EXAMS ARE OVER AND SO IS MY HIATUS


HI EVERYBODY! 

I'M BACK! My AS exams ended last Wednesday and I am so relieved that they are over! It feels so good to be blogging again and I'm excited to start fangirling about books (among other things) with you all again. I'm on summer holidays for 6 weeks so let the blogging commence!

So, my AS exams ended last Wednesday. I wrote two English AS exams and 3 AS maths exams. I think they went fairly well except my first maths paper went HORRIBLY and I think it really brought down my total grade for maths which I'm really upset about. I'm trying not to think about it because there's no point stressing about it but MEH. I'm so glad they're over though as school work was MY LIFE for two months, I barely read, I didn't blog or write and now, it's so weird waking up and not having to study, LIKE IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?! I'm slowly but surely relaxing more and slipping into holiday mode and it feels so good not having exams to stress about! I get my results mid-August and I'll probably be starting my LAST YEAR OF SCHOOL in the beginning of August which is so crazy to think about! I can't believe it's my last year of high school and then I begin university. I think a part of me is quite sad about it being my last year of school as I enjoy school - so I'm going to embrace it as much as possible and study hard YAS! Time to siriusly channel my inner Hermione! 

The day after my exam I attended a university open day and I really wanted to study at this uni because it's near to where I live, it's a small, cosy campus and it's quite high on the league tables BUT the astrophysics course and the facilities for astrophysics really aren't that great - maybe because that specific course has only been running two years. I was so disappointed after hearing one of the lecturers go into detail about the course because it's very electronic based and that's not something I'm very interested in.

Saturday I had another university open day and I'm so torn about it because I LOVE THE COURSE SO FREAKING MUCH. There are so many more astrophysics module available (for first year too!), the library is amazing (that kind of sold it to be honest), the architecture of the building is incredible and I'm in love with it. HOWEVER, it's a really big university and the university has also received bad press this year with students struggling with mental health and not receiving adequate support which bothers me as I struggle with anxiety and I need to know I'll receive support from the university for it. However, one of  I will be staying at home if I study at this university though, so that will make things a LOT easier! I'm just trying to not worry and put my faith in God because he has a plan, right?

Then on Sunday I went to a South African market where I bought LOADS of South African food (and a cute ring) and heard all the South African accents and saw the South African flag and it made me SO HOMESICK I nearly burst into tears. But I didn't. That would've been slightly awkward. It was such a lovely day though and I had a great time! 

I'm really excited for the rest of my holidays too as I've applied to volunteer at my local library this summer. If my application is accepted I'll be able to help kids sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge, help them choose books to read and discuss books with them - IT'S BASICALLY THE PERFECT JOB FOR ME. I love books and I love children so I really hope I'll be able to volunteer this summer! 

I also have my first classical ballet class tomorrow which I AM SO EXCITED FOR. I haven't had a classical ballet class since I was 5 so I'm really excited! I'll be attending an adult beginners class where the teacher will assess me and place me in an appropriate ballet grade. I want to dance more than once a week and eventually work my way up to going en pointe in a few years - that's always been one of my dreams! It's supposed to be 33 degrees here tomorrow though so wish me luck. XD

SO, that's pretty much what I've been up to and will be up to! Let me know what you've been up to and what your plans are for the summer - let's talk - I've missed you guys!
Read More »