Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge

Here's a handy graphic I created for Indie Reading Challenge 2016. This challenge runs till December 2016. If it goes well I would love to continue this for the next year.
Feel free to use this graphic if you want. But I'd love it if you gave me credit ;)


Goodreads Challenge: 70 Books
Current Count: 70/70

Reading Challenge 2016

  1. A Book You Stayed Up All Night to Read - F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher
  2. A Book Based on the Cover - The Air He Breathes by Brittany C Cherry 
  3. A Book Containing Letters - 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Jhonson
  4. A Book that Takes Place on an Island - Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
  5. A Book Set in Europe - The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Jhonson
  6. A Play - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  7. A Book Written by a Celebrity - Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  8. An Audiobook - The Red Necklace by Sally Gardener, Narrated by Tom Hiddleston
  9. A Book with a Female Lead - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  10. A Book With Magic - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  11. A Steampunk Book - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  12. A Book Set in the Future - Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
  13. A Historical Fiction - The Red Necklace by Sally Gardener, Narrated by Tom Hiddleston
  14. A Novella - Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
  15. A Book with a Blue Cover - Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Indie Reading Challenge 2016
  1. A Horror Novel - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke (Not really horror for me, but since its listed on Goodreads, I'm gonna take advantage of that and go with it! 😜 )
  2. A Book About Angels - Stealing Light by Julie Cassar
  3. A Dystopian Novel -  Female: 918: Part I by Jason Ellis
  4. A Book Based on Retellings - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  5. A Book with Magic - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  6. A Book with a Female Lead - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  7. A Novella - Female: 918: Part I by Jason Ellis
  8. A Trilogy - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  9. A Book About Aliens - 
  10. A YA Book - Female: 918: Part I by Jason Ellis
  11. A Book Set in a Different Era - The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin
  12. A Romance Novel - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  13. A Book Based entirely on the Cover - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  14. A Poetry Book - The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
  15. An Anthology - 
  16. A Comedy Book - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke (Stacey Rourke's writing style is pretty amazing and her books always have me in splits. That being said I now realize that the title for this challenge doesn't make any sense and I need to stop making challenges and graphics after midnight. Next year my loves, next year!)
  17. A Paranormal Book - Stealing Light by Julie Cassar
  18. A Thriller/Suspense - The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
  19. A Book Based in a Different Country - The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin
  20. A Fantasy Book - Stealing Light by Julie Cassar

Review for The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin

The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin
Blurb:
One of the darkest times in human history was the insane design and execution to rid the world of Jews and “undesirables.” At the hands of the powerful evil madman Adolf Hitler, families were ripped apart and millions were slaughtered. Persecution, torture, devastation, and enduring the unthinkable remained for those who lived. This is the story of one woman who lived to tell her story. This is a narrative of how a young beautiful teenager, Helen Stein, and her family were torn asunder, ultimately bringing her to Auschwitz. It was there she suffered heinous indignity at the hands of the SS. It was also there, in that death camp, she encountered compassion, selfless acts of kindness, and friendship. Written by the award-winning, best-selling author of His Name Was Ben, comes a story of the resilience of the human spirit that will leave you thinking about Helen Stein and The Seven Year Dress for years to come after the last page is shut.

Review:
As we all know I'm not a big fan of Historical Fiction, but this year I have read/listened to two books in this genre now. I think that's pretty damn good in itself. 

I avoid reading Historical Fiction because I for some reason don't want to read a story based in the times of hardship. Reading The Seven Year Dress was quite difficult. 

When you read about the World Wars or the cruel actions in Germany during that time, its all just in our textbooks. It doesn't feel personal or doesn't hit home that it was real and it was that difficult. And when you connect to a character and you read a book like this one, based amidst one of the most difficult times, it just makes it that much harder to look for the positives in this world that we live in. If people were capable of this, and history repeats itself, won't this happen again?

Anyway, back to the book. The Seven Year Dress was a really touching read. The little moments of kindness interspersed between the horrors and cruel actions kept me going. (It gave me a little hope)

The book beautifully depicts an amazing story of courage and kindness amidst the most excruciating circumstances. It was beautifully written and rang painfully true. The characters and writing style were so engaging that it kept me hooked.

Overall, another amazing read from Paulette Mahurin.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Review for The Red Necklace by Sally Gardener, Narrated by Tom Hiddleston

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardener, Narrated by Tom Hiddleston
Blurb:
France 1789: a time of terror; a charismatic boy, Yann, who must find out who he is; the daring rescue of Sido, an aristocrat's daughter - these are the elements in this tremendous adventure by a consummate storyteller, a marvellous tale of the first days of the French Revolution.

The story of a remarkable boy called Yann Margoza; Tetu the dwarf, his friend and mentor; Sido, unloved daughter of a foolish Marquis; and Count Kalliovski, Grand Master of a secret society, who has half the aristocracy in thrall to him, and wants Yann dead. Yann is spirited away to London but three years later, when Paris is gripped by the bloody horrors of the Revolution, he returns, charged with two missions: to find out Kalliovski's darkest deeds and to save Sido from the guillotine. With a tangle of secrets, a thread of magic and a touch of humour, the follies of the aristocracy and the sufferings of ordinary people are unfolded as their lives move relentlessly towards the tragic and horrific days of the Terror. THE RED NECKLACE is not only a tremendous adventure story but a vibrant and passionate picture of Paris in turmoil and of a large cast of memorable characters.


Review:
First of all - YAY!!!! I have successfully finished listening to my first audiobook!!

Now back to the review. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm not a big fan of Historical Fiction. I get bored and cannot find the will to keep going. And Audiobooks just make me sleepy. The last time I tried to listen to one I promptly fell asleep within the first 20 minitues on three separate occasions. Its safe to say that Audiobooks and me don't really work out well. So this year I thought why not kill two birds with one stone and listen to an Historical Fiction Audiobook?

And let me just say this was a good decision! So when I found out that Tom Hiddleston had narrated an Historical Fiction book, it was fate. I just was meant to listen to this. 

When I started I wasn't sure if I'd be able to finish or even get through this book. But trust me Tom Hiddleston makes this narration so engaging and just brings it to life. I loved the different voices and accents he used for all the different characters. (I think that was what kept me from falling asleep :P )

The two blurbs pretty much tell you everything that you need to know about the plot. It did drag on at some places but the narration kept me going. Overall, I think it was a pretty interesting read.

Review for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Blurb:
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.


Review:
I actually thought Cursed Child wasn't that bad. Unpopular opinion I know.

The main reason why I liked this book was probably because I knew that this book was just a script for the play. I think I had accepted that the "original" magic might not be there in this book.

Was it the mind-blowing and intriguing book that we've come to expect from JK? Probably not. But did it make me smile and feel nostalgic? Hell yeah!

Don't get me wrong, I was a bit pissed off about certain parts of the book, but I just think that this book made me happy to go back into the beloved world of Hogwarts and Magic again. And the nostalgia alone would have made me happy, but the plot of the book was pretty clever. I liked that we got to see how one little action or decision would have made the entire outcome of original story so completely different.

Cursed Child had everything, time travel, magic and that spark that made the Harry Potter Series what it was. Overall, I enjoyed the book.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Review for Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Blurb:
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are—and seeing them right back.

Review:
All the Bright Places holds a special place in my heart, so I was really looking forward to Jennifer Niven's next novel. And Holding Up the Universe did not disappoint.

I love books where I get to learn something new or understand some new concept. And this book did that and so much more. Everyone struggles with who they are and what they want to be seen as when they are in school. It is all about the "face" we choose to show the world. HUTU beautifully deals with the struggles of prosopagnosia and the struggle to defy the labels assigned to you.

I adored the characters and the writing style. The highlight for me was the Supernatural references, I adored them! (Fellow fangirl here!)

I did read some reviews and posts saying that the book or the blurb was offensive. But in my opinion, after reading I felt that the book delivered a very body-positive message. I just had to get that out there.

I don't know what else to say other than I loved the book, and I will be anxiously waiting for the next release by Jennifer Niven.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Review for Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Morning Star by Pierce Brown
Blurb:
Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

Review:

Ah, the finale to the epic journey that has been the Red Rising Trilogy.

I'll be honest with you guys, this book took me way too long to read. I probably dragged this book out for half of 2016 because - A. I didn't want it to end and B. Stupid Plot Twists! I think at one point I was like nope and just didn't read for a solid month, maybe a month and a half. But it all turned out okay in the end. Phew!

I loved the series and the finale was just as action packed and full of plot twists as the previous books. I adored how the author wrapped up the book. This has been one of the few series where the books have been consistently good throughout the series. Definitely adding to the re-read pile and favourite pile.

Cannot wait to read Iron Gold! It's going to be amazing! 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Review for It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Blurb: 

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

Review:
I think its so important that authors write books about things and issues that aren't usually discussed. I love Colleen Hoover and am so thankful to her for this book.

I am not going to mention much about the book because this book is one of those that you need to go in blind without any spoilers. But please note that this book might contain some triggers for some people.

I just want to say that this book was a roller-coaster of emotions. I have never had a complete 180° turn about any character in just one line as I have with this book. The emotions run high in this novel. I just want to thank Colleen again because this book lets us see behind the situation and lets us see why a certain character behaves a certain way.

Thank you for this eye-opener.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Review for Stealing Light by Julie Cassar

Stealing Light by Julie Cassar

Blurb:

"Tonight, everything could change. I wasn’t ready to let go of anyone just yet."

If you could change what you know is coming, would you? Cecelia Walker discovers an amazing ability deep within herself that gives her the power to change the future. When mysterious outsiders enter her life, she begins to question everything and everyone she once knew.

Years earlier, CeeCee’s life changed forever the day her parents were killed in a horrific car accident. Suddenly extraordinary people and bizarre events began to seep into her very small world. Surviving for years on her addiction to coffee and running, life suddenly deals her a game-changing wildcard and all bets are off. Her magnificent Gift of Light awakens a tremendous dark power wanting to steal what is hers.

Will Cecelia be able to change what she’s seen and set a new course? Has she met her otherworldly match against evil and found her true soul mate? Or, is nothing as it seems as the power of darkness threatens to consume her and those she loves.

Review:
Stealing Light is probably only one of the few books I wanted to read just because of the author. I have been following her on social media and I thought that her style was pretty cool. When she graciously offered the book for a review I jumped a t the chance!

First off all let me say this, I did not expect the book to turn out the way it did. Looking at the cover and the blurb, I thought it would be like a murder mystery sort of book , boy was I wrong.

Stealing Light took me completely by surprise. I really liked the author's take on angels and the way she built the whole book world. The writing style was pretty good and easy to follow. If I had to point out one negative it would be that I wish the book was a little more descriptive. At certain places I felt like I needed a bit more to just enjoy the book better I guess? I don't know I'm just being picky here because I really liked the book and this was just one thing that bothered me. Oh and I HAVE to mention the fact that the characters are really well thought out, from their mannerisms and the way they talk, I adore that the author put so much personality into each of the characters.

Overall, loved the book! Can we get book 2 soon? Please?

oxox
TJ

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Reviews for The Hidden Oracle and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Reading books by Rick Riordan is one of the highlights of my year. They make me laugh and take me away into a completely different world. Since I've been not posting, here are both the reviews for books by Rick Riordan that I read this year!

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Blurb:

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go... an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.



Review:

This book was no different. Initially when they announced the book release I knew this book would be hilarious. I mean come on, a book revolving around Apollo? It was sure to be a hit! I loved that Percy was in this book as well. I absolutely love his character and since he was my OG favourite character, I have a soft spot for him.

And I HAVE to mention the chapter titles, I mean they have to be one of the highlights of the book, every chapter title is a haiku by Apollo so obviously it was immensely enjoyable.

I was also really excited about the ending. Why? Well you need to read for yourself, I won't tell you because 

Loved and enjoyed every minute of this book! ❤


The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Blurb:
Thor's hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon--the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn't just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenceless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer's return is the gods' worst enemy, Loki--and the price he wants is very high.


Review:
This was the second book in the Norse Mythology inspired series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. I adore Magnus, not more than Percy but yeah. But in this book another character completely stole the show for me.

Move over Magnus, Alex is here. I ADORE Alex! Initially I will admit I didn't quite "understand" who Alex was and what certain things meant. My reaction was pretty much like Magnus but once it all clicked into place, Alex had a permanent place in my heart.

Again I MUST mention the chapter titles, I mean seriously, the days leading up to the release of the book we saw teasers of the titles and they were absolutely hilarious! I think they add a little bit more to a book that is already pretty damn fantastic.

And finally like in The Hidden Oracle, the ending!!! I ended up frantically texting all of my book babes and asking them if they had finished reading because I was so damn excited! I'm really looking forward to Book 3. 2017 cannot be here soon enough! ♥