Sunday, 1 January 2017

December Wrap Up 2016

I read some really amazing books in December. I read four books, which I'm happy with because I had Christmas exams and I'm currently in my last year of secondary school.

1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I picked this book up on  a trip to the Strand in New York City last November. I'd heard so much about it and one of my favourite booktubers, jessethereader, absolutely adores this series, so I was really excited to get into it. My favourite thing about this book is that the writing is simply outstanding. From the first page, I was in awe of Riggs' writing ability.
The story follows a teenage boy named Jacob who, after the death of his grandfather, decides to visit the children's home in Wales where his grandfather lived as a child. He discovers that it's not an ordinary orphanage. I really think that it's best go into this book blind as that's exactly what I did.
Rating: 5 stars

2. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

This is the third and final book in the Remnant Chronicles Trilogy, which is one of my favourite trilogies of all time. I can't write what this book is about due to spoilers, but the first book follows a princess named Lia who runs away from her kingdom because she doesn't want to marry the prince of a neighbouring kingdom. The romance in this series is wonderful and swoon worthy. I just adore it!
Rating: 5 stars

3. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon

This is the first book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, which is currently ongoing. It was originally written in Spanish and the translator Lucia Graves did an impeccable job with translating it. The writing is beautiful and captivating. The story follows a boy named Daniel. When Daniel was ten years old, his father brought him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in Barcelona, where Daniel could pick any book he liked and take it home. Daniel chose a book named The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. Over the years, the book receives a lot of attention due to the mysterious nature of its author, and the lives of Daniel and those close to him become at risk. Daniel must unravel the mystery surrounding Julian Carax before it's too late.
This is one of the best books I've read all year.  It has a huge cast of characters, each of them memorable and interesting. The plot is incredible, with twists and turns that I wasn't expecting at all. There's a cute romance too.
This is a book lover's book at heart. There are so many lovely quotes about reading, such as when Daniel says "I was raised among books, making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on my hands to this day". Isn't that a nice line?
Rating: 5 stars

4. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This essay is based on the Ted Talk that the author gave on the topic of feminism, with a focus on feminism in Africa. I found the focus on Africa to be very enlightening because as an Irish teenager I had never learned about feminism in Africa before. I really enjoyed this piece and look forward to reading more feminist literature in the future.
Rating: 5 stars

All images are from Goodreads.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Book Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Title: November 9

Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: New adult romance

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK

What it's about: November 9 is a love story about Fallon and Ben, who after an encounter at a restaurant, agree to meet on the same date for the next five years.

What I thought: Colleen Hoover's books are so addictive!  They're such quick reads for me. I really enjoyed November 9. I loved the two main characters. I really admired Fallon because of her strength. Ben was really intriguing because there was so much that we didn't know about him. I loved how they connected over books and their conversations about reading were fun to read. The romance was very well executed by Hoover and I found myself smiling a lot. The one problem I have with this book is that Fallon doesn't have any confidence or self worth until she meets Ben. Why couldn't she love herself without Ben? Why couldn't she find confidence herself?
The plot was quite fast paced. I loved seeing how much each of the characters changed as the years passed. Although I guessed a part of the plot twist, I was still surprised. Overall, it's a really solid romance and my favourite Colleen Hoover book I've read so far.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Favourite quotes: "Please don't tell me you're one of those pretentious readers who judge people by the books they like." - Fallon 

“I hope they laugh at you, Fallon. If people are laughing at you, it means you’re putting yourself out there to be laughed at. Not enough people have the courage to even take that step.” - Ben

Sunday, 10 July 2016

June Wrap Up 2016

I had a pretty good reading month this month. In total I read 10 books, so I'm happy with that. I really enjoyed them all.

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey

This series follows Cassie, a sixteen year old girl who is one of the last people left on earth after an alien invasion.

I really enjoyed the conclusion to this trilogy! It was fast paced, action packed and shocking. I'm not really into science fiction at all, so I'd suggest that everyone give it a try.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Crush (Crash #3) by Nicole Williams

This new adult series follows a driven dancer named Lucy who meets a bad boy called Jude.

I enjoyed this book. There was the drama you'd expect from Lucy and Jude and it was entertaining. I couldn't put it down.

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

This book is about the Greek god Apollo who is sent to live on Earth as punishment after a falling out with his dad Zeus.

I loved this! Apollo is funny. Riordan's writing is great, as per usual. I loved seeing some of the characters from the old books. Also, Apollo is openly bisexual, which is great to see in middle grade books. I can't wait for more books to come out.

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

In this psychological thriller, Rachel looks around the train window one morning and sees something that changes her life forever.

I've never read a book like this before. It was fast paced and exciting. The characters are all really complex and interesting and I was very surprised by the ending. I can't wait to see the film later this year.

Rating: 4/5 stars

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

This book follows a teenage girl named McLean who moves around a lot with her dad, never putting down roots. However, she meets Dave and learns that maybe it would be nice to have a place to call home.

This is the second Sarah Dessen book I've read and I was captivated by it. I love small town and family restaurant settings. I loved the characters. It's a very good summer read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

This book follows Andie, who takes up dog walking after her plans for the summer are cancelled. She meets Clark, an awkward guy who is so not her usual type, but you guessed it, she ends up falling for him regardless.

This is such a fun read. I loved how it focuses on family and friendships. Clark is every fangirl's dream. It's really cute and I'd definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This book is about Samantha, who has watched the fascinating Garrett family from her bedroom window for as long as she can remember. One night, Jase Garrett climbs her onto her roof and they have a talk that changes everything.

This was my favourite book that I read on holiday! I loved Jase and Samantha and the whole Garrett clan. It's an excellent romance.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Mia Goes Fourth (The Princess Diaries #4)

This series follows a high schooler named Mia who discovers that she is the princess of a small island named Genovia.

This book was a lot of fun to read. Mia never fails to make me laugh. It's a quick, light read.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire

This book is about a college student named Abby who meets the dangerous yet alluring Travis Maddox. They make a bet that states that if Abby loses, she will have to live alongside him in his apartment.

I can see why a lot of people have problems with this book. I am aware that Abby and Travis's relationship is not something to strive for. In fact, it should be avoided at all costs. However, it was an entertaining read. I will not be continuing on with the series.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5) by Sarah Shepard

This series follows a group of teenage girls who after the disappearance of their former friend start to receive threatening anonymous messages.

This book was a lot of fun. I loved comparing it to the television who, which is one of my all time favourites. There are 16 books in this series, so I have to keep on reading.

Rating: 4/5 stars

I hope you read some great books last month too! All of the pictures are from Goodreads.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Feature and Follow Friday

Colour Favourites: Show us beautiful book covers in your fave colour!

My favourite colour is blue, so I have chosen five mesmerising book covers. In no particular order...

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

2. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg.

3. The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas.

4. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Lesley Walton.

5. Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

25 Random Facts About Me - Beyond the Books

I thought that since I just got back into blogging again I would join in on Kissin Blue Karen's weekly meme. This week's topic sounds like a good way for you to get to know me better.

1. I love country music. I just love how every song tells a story and how well thought out the lyrics are. My favourite artists are Hunter Hayes, Maren Morris, Dan and Shay and of course, Taylor Swift.

2. I really enjoy going to concerts. I've been to see Taylor Swift twice, Kodaline twice, Gabrielle Aplin twice, Union J twice and Hunter Hayes. I have to say that Hunter Hayes was probably my favourite because it was an intimate gig in Vicar Street, which is a small concert venue in Dublin. Everyone was singing along and he was really nice and he is an incredible musician.

3. I love GAA, which is Gaelic football and hurling. I'm an avid Dublin supporter and  I always go to their matches. There is always an amazing atmosphere.

4. I love meeting authors, even though I get really nervous. I have signed books from Cassandra Clare, Rick Yancey, Darren Shan, Patrick Ness, Louise O'Neill and Catherine Doyle. They are all such nice people.

5. I love watching football and I support Liverpool.

6. My favourite subjects in school are English, History and Biology.

7. My favourite television show is Pretty Little Liars. I binge watched it last summer and I just love it. I can't wait to find out who Uber A is. My favourite liar is Spencer.

8. I love to read YA. My favourite genre is fantasy, but I like to read contemporary sometimes.

9. I actually enjoy exercise. I find going to the gym to be fun and I love seeing positive results.

10. I love to travel. I've been to England, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Germany, Italy and America. I can't wait to travel more in the future. I'd love to go to France because I've read about it in so many books and it sounds so beautiful.

11. In late August I'll be starting my final year in secondary school. I have lots of work and exams ahead of me, but it will all be worth it in the end.

12. I hope to study English in college. I'd love to be able to study something that I love every day.

13. I like using make-up, though I don't wear it every day. My favourite eyeshadow pallet is Naked 3 by Urban Decay. It has such pretty colours and I just love rose gold.

14. When I was younger, I was obsessed with Twilight. I've read all of the books countless times and I used to be able to quote the movie word for word. Actually, Breaking Dawn: Part Two was on television the other day and I found that I still remembered their lines, haha.

15. My favourite films are The Fault In Our Stars, Law Vita É Bella (Life is Beautiful), Love Rosie and Brooklyn.

16. My favourite author is Cassandra Clare. The Shadowhunter Chronicles are outstanding. I can connect with Clare's characters so well. Jace and Clary are my OTP.

17. I really like watching Booktube. Some of my favourite Booktubers are Shannon from Leaning Lights, Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes, Ben from BenjaminOfTomes, Reagan from PeruseProject, Sasha from abookutopia, Whitney from Whitty Novels, Jesse from jessethereader and Kat from Katytastic.

18. I really enjoy writing. I like writing English and history essays. We have to study Hamlet for our Leaving Certificate and I loved it and I think that it's fun to write about.

19. I speak three languages; English, Irish and Italian. We have to study Irish in school, but I actually don't mind it. I think that Italian is a beautiful language. I can't wait to visit Italy again in the future.

20. I've never had coffee. Ever.

21. I love to sing. It's so much fun. I only sing when I'm really happy.

22. I used to hate vegetables when I was younger, but I love them now. They're so good for you. My favourite is broccoli.

23. I really love listening to film scores. Gravity and the Harry Potter ones are some of my favourites.

24. I always read before I go to sleep at night. It relaxes me and I fall asleep much easier.

25. I love blogging and I have commited myself to writing this blog. I love chatting with other book lovers.

I hope you enjoyed this! It was actually quite hard to come up with 25 facts. What are some facts about you? I'd love to know.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Review: The Hero of Ages (Mistborn Book #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Hero of Ages (Mistborn Book #3)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Gollancz
Genre: Adult fantasy
Publication date: 11 February 2010
Source: I bought this book.

Please only read this review if you have read the first two Mistborn novels; The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension, because you will be spoiled.

What it's about (Goodreads): Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world. This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson's saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith and responsibility. 

What I thought: At 724 pages, The Hero of Ages is a beast of a book. I actually began reading it last summer and I got about 300 pages in, but I put it down because I felt that the pacing was quite slow. Then, the other night I remember that I'd promised my friend that I'd read it over the summer so that we can talk about it when we go back to school, so I picked it up again. I'm so happy that I did. The plot really took off.
I believe that The Hero of Ages takes place two years after the events of The Well of Ascension. At the end of the previous book, we discovered that the whole prophecy was a lie and that Vin accidentally released ruin, who wanted to destroy the world and also Elend became a Mistborn.
Luthadel and the rest of the empire are on it's knees, so Vin and Elend are forced to search the land for food and hopefully find some hints left by the Lord ruler on the way. They take control of the other cities in the empire. Although the pacing at the beginning is quite slow, it all builds up to form an outstanding conclusion and it is definitley worth ploughing through the more mundane parts of the novel.
There is stunning character development in this novel. Vin has grown into a confident woman and a powerful Allomancer. Elend is no longer an awkward and shy idealist and he has grown into a confident leader. Spook, who was rather cast aside by the other crew members in the previous novels, plays a very important role here. 
The magic system in this world is so intricate and well thought out. I can visualise the fight scenes so easily in my head. Man, Sanderson knows how to right a good fight scene.
The questions that I had at the end of book two are definitely answered in this book. I was mind blown by the ending. I did not seen it coming at all. Everything came together and I am in awe of Sanderson's skill. I'm not sure if I will read the continuation of this trilogy because it contains different characters, but maybe sometime in the future I will.

Favourite quotes: "Somehow, we'll find it. The balance between who  we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply need to be satisfied with who we are."

"You hate change. I hate it too. But things can't stay the same - and that's well, for when nothing changes in your life, it's as good as being dead."

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

This picture is from Goodreads.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Publication date: January 7 2016
Source: I bought this book.

What it's about: My Life Next Door is about a girl named Samantha who has always been fascinated by the Garrett family who live next door. One night, Jase Garrett sneaks up onto her roof and they have a conversation that changes everything. Sam becomes involved with the Garretts, unbeknownst to her highly strung mother. Swoon worthy romance at it's best.

What I liked: I read this book in less than a day! The female protagonist, Samantha, is wonderful. Despite her wealth, she comes across as a normal, down to earth seventeen year old girl. I was quite fond of her. Jase is the best book boyfriend I've read about in a long time. I was so happy whenever he was in a scene. He's a fun, confident character and a stand up guy.
The best thing about My Life Next Door is that it has a huge cast of characters. Jase has lots of siblings; Joel, Alice, Andy, Duff, Harry, George and Patsy. Each one of them was unique. I especially loved George. She was just too cute. Sam's man, Debbie, is a very complex woman and I've never read about a character like her before, so that was interesting.
I really enjoyed the plot. I was really invested in the story. There's a plot twist that makes the story that bit more serious and it really added to the novel as a hole. I read this by the pool while I was in Spain and it's the perfect summer read.

Rating: 5 stars

Favourite quotes: "They say you never know what you would do in a hypothetical situation. We'd all like to think we'd be one of the people who gave up their life jackets and waved a stoic good-bye from the slanting deck of the Titanic, someone who jumped in front of a bullet for a stranger, or turned and raced back up the stairs of one of the towers, in search of someone who needed help rather than your own security. But you just don't know for sure if, when things fall apart, you'll think safety first, or if safety will be the last thing on your mind."

"... And the way he does look at me makes me feel absolutely beautiful."

This picture is mine. Instagram @courtneysbooks