Thursday 25 February 2016

Review on The Land Without Color

When Alvin gets lost in a strange land, he immediately knows that something isn't right. The land is a dull and colorless place, and there doesn't seem to be anyone around to tell him what's going on or where he is. After he meets a friendly squirrel, Alvin finds out that the once colorful and vibrant land has has it's color stolen by the goblins, and he just help to restore the color to the land. However Alvin soon finds out that everything he has learnt about the land in a lie. With the help of his new friends, Alvin must rescue the princesses and bring the color back once and for all.

The cover of this book was really colourful and eye catching so I did the classic judging a book by it's cover and decided to read it! The book centres around a young boy named Alvin, who on his birthday finds himself in a colourless land. I really loved the silliness and impossibility of this book, such as the talking animals and Alvin floating from blowing a bubble from bubble gum. I also loved that the book started with a map as you always know that the characters are going to be going on an epic adventure.

The characters were interesting and unique, and I loved that we weren't overburdened with too many characters. The book mainly centred around Alvin and his two animal friends, Permy the Squirrel and Ronaldo the mouse. As the book was short I felt as if this was a good idea, as it's always better to have fewer characters to give personalities to rather than having a lot of characters who we know nothing about. However I did feel as if some of the chapters could have been a little longer, as I felt that Alvin moving from place to place was slightly rushed and that the book could have been made a little longer to explore each area more thoroughly. Although the majority of the places are beautifully described, I felt that some of the characters themselves could have used a little more description. As the book is illustrated I felt as if with certain descriptions the author just left it to the illustrator to give a visual idea of what certain characters and buildings looked like. However I did enjoy the illustrations and felt that they were a good idea for a childrens book, as looking at pages full of text can be a little daunting for younger readers and could possibly put them off reading for personal enjoyment.

I loved some of the important themes in the book, such as not judging someone from what you hear about them. I loved that Alvin got to meet the goblins for himself and found out that everything he knew about them had been a lie, as he learnt that the citizens of the kingdom of color were misinformed, and that it is better to find something out for yourself rather than taking someotnes word for it. I also loved the message of how important it is to eat vegetables to keep your body healthy and to avoid junk food. It explained in a unique way how vegetables give you a slow release of energy whereas sugary foods give you a quick burst before making you feel tired and unmotivated. As children are often opposed to eating vegetables, I felt that showing this through the fantasy world was cleverly done.

Although I did love the silliness and impossibility of the book, I did find that certain things were a little too much. For example, throughout the book I thought that the lost princesses were teenagers, so I was shocked to find out that they were young children. As the King seemed to love his daughters, I didn't understand why instead of living with him, they lived alone in there own castles on opposite ends of the land. Although they had magical powers and seemed to be mature for their ages, I didn't understand why six year olds were living by themselves.

I loved the ending of the book as it was unique compared to other children's fantasy books such as The Chronicles of Narnia. Overall I thought it was a fun read and I would definitely love to read more of the books in this series!

I recommend this book to children who love fairy tales and adventures! Fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Land of Stories will definitely love this book.

The Land Without Color is now available to purchase!

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Review on Demon Princess

 After her father and brother go missing, Adriana reluctantly takes up the the throne as the Demon King until their return. However, Adriana finds herself mysteriously teleporting into the midst of a group of humans she has never met before, and finds that she has become the summon beast of Aldric, a young and arrogant mage in training. Adriana must find a way to break the bond between them and escape back to the Demon Kingdom. But with Aldric having the power to control her every move, its going to be more difficult for Adriana than she thought.

This book immediately caught my interest and I was really excited to read it! The story is told through a first person narrative by Adriana, who we quickly find out is a demon princess who must take up the throne in the absence of her father and brother. I initially disliked Adriana, as she acted like a typical princess and was used to having guards and servants and not doing much for herself. However, once she became Aldric's summon beast I started to sympathise with her, and the majority of my dislike for her was replaced by my dislike for Aldric. I immediately disliked Aldric, and this dislike for him grew as the story went on. Although he believes that Adriana is a human, he treats her like she is an animal. He initially does not provide a bed for her and expects her to eat off the floor, and only starts treating her a little better once he discovers the extent of her powers as she then becomes useful to him.

I loved how the roles we have come to expect from demons and humans were switched round completely with Aldric and Adriana, as we come to sympathise with Adriana and are rooting for her to find a way to break her bond with Aldric, yet we dislike Aldric, who in most stories would be the type of character who would fit the description of the hero. I thought this was an interesting twist and made the story more original.

I loved the rest of the characters in the book, especially Keldrin, Aldric's room mate at the academy. He is the only person who treats Adriana like a human from the start, and provides her with food and a bed. I thought he was a really sweet character, and I loved how unselfish he was, as he was the only character who entered Barren Land without the motive of gaining something for himself. I also liked Razen, as he was quite mysterious and I loved how sneaky he was in his tactics of trying to prove that Adriana was a demon. However I did feel as if Xander was lacking as a character, and I felt that I knew very little about him. As he was the only member of the company trying to help Adriana who was not a mage, I felt that he had a lot more potential as a character and I hope that his character is developed more in future books in the series.

The thing that slightly ruined this book for me was the romance. Although I did love Keldrin and knew a romance between him and Adriana was inevitable, I am never a fan of love at first sight, and I felt that Keldrin telling Adriana that he loved her even though they had known each other for two months was far too soon. As Adriana had been keeping a huge secret from him for all that time, I felt that him immediately forgiving her and declaring his love for her wasn't believable at all, making the romance feel too forced. I also felt that the “forbidden love” aspect was all a little too cliché, as I feel as if forbidden love between a supernatural creature and a human is drastically overdone in fantasy novels, and although I did initially enjoy their relationship growing, I felt that the last couple of chapters forced it to happen too quickly. As this book is quite short I felt that their relationship seemed rushed at the end, as if the author was trying to prove that they were in love just so that she could create a tragic ending.

However I did enjoy the majority of this book, and as there are still many unanswered questions at the end I would love to continue reading this series!

Demon Princess is now available to purchase!

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Review on When Everything Feels Like the Movies

Jude Rothesay is in his last year of middle school, but unlike most teenagers his age he has big plans for his future. Jude plans on moving to Hollywood and becoming a movie star. He wants to get away from his small town and his abusive step dad. Not to mention the bullying he has to suffer due to his sexuality and unconventional gender identity. At his school, Jude doesn't fit in anywhere. He isn't popular like a movie star, yet he isn't ignored completely like an extra. However, once he moves to Hollywood, everything will change for the better

I found this book while browsing through Netgalley as the gorgeous cover caught my eye, and as it is extremely rare to find a YA novel with a gay protagonist I knew I had to read it! When Everything Feels Like The Movies follows Jude Rothesay, a boy in his last year of middle school who doesn't quite fit into normal society. Jude enjoys wearing make up and borrowing his mothers clothes, and is constantly bullied by his peers for it. I thought that Jude was an extremely funny protagonist, and although he is quite vulgar in his language I thought that it showed an accurate portrayal of what the majority of teenagers are like. I feel as if a lot of YA novels try to make teenagers seem innocent, when the reality is that many teenagers do take part in underage sex,swearing, drinking alcohol and taking drugs. I find it strange that I've seen reviews on this book where people have been offended by the content when the truth is this book is a lot more accurate to how teenagers really act than the majority of YA books out there.

Although I initially liked Angela, I started to dislike her as the book progressed. I felt that she was the only person in Jude's life who he could actually talk to about his problems, and she seemed to turn against him like everyone else near the end of the book. I also hated that that even though Jude had told her that he had a crush on Luke, she still went ahead and tried to sleep with him.

Although there is a lot of comedy in this book, I loved that it also covered extremely important themes such as homophobia and domestic abuse. Ray was the perfect example of how not to treat your child, and I found the scene where he abused Keefer for wearing make up extremely powerful. I have personally witnessed on several occasions fathers telling their sons off for playing with toys that are meant for “girls” as if it is a shameful thing to do and that it will “make them gay.” Children do not understand the insane gender roles that society has created, and I feel as if parents should let their children be children and play with whatever toys they want to. Just because your son wants to play with barbies or your daughter wants to play with toy cars doesn't mean it is going to affect their sexuality or gender identity.

I found his relationship with Abel adorable and was rooting for Jude to forget all about Luke and get with Abel instead! I loved how Abel seemed to be struggling with his sexuality, as although he had a girlfriend he also had feelings for Jude. I feel as if this is something that many teenagers go through and I loved how it was portrayed in this book.

The ending of the book was extremely shocking and upsetting and I was not expecting that to happen at all! I am still emotionally distraught by how it ended as I was expecting Jude to get his happy ending. I would like to point out that there are quite a few themes that people could find upsetting or triggering, including self harm, bulemia, domestic abuse and drugs. However I feel as if this book is a step in the right direction towards portraying LGBT characters in YA novels and I highly recommend it!

When Everything Feels Like the Movies is now available to purchase! It will be available in hardback in the UK from February 11th so be sure to pre-order it!

Amazon US Amazon UK  | Waterstones  | WH Smith | Barnes & Noble

Tuesday 2 February 2016

My 100th Post!!


When I first made this blog to keep track of the books I was reading during my Summer break in my second year of University I didn't think that I would have carried on with it for so long! I would like to say a big thank you to all the authors and publishers who have provided me with wonderful books to review. I would not have been able to keep this blog going for so long without you all providing me with a constant stream of books! I would also like to say thank you to everyone who follows and reads my blog, you guys are awesome. I thought I would celebrate this by taking part in a little Q&A to share a little more about myself!

When did you start blogging?

I created this blog in January 2012, but as I had so much work to do at University I didn't really start using it properly until around June. I initially didn't intend for it to be a book blog, as I thought I would use it to not only review books, but also review movies and talk about my life in general. However once the summer break started, I decided that I would use my blog to keep track of and review books that I read over the break. Back then I wasn't aware that book blogging was a huge community, so I just did my own thing, reviewing books that I would pick up at the library and giving them a rating. This was purely for my own benefit, as I was planning on stopping once I returned to university and looking back to see what I had read, along with what I enjoyed and didn't enjoy. However, although the blogging did slow down once I returned to University, I decided to keep the blog for when I was able to find time to read again.

How many books do you review per month?

It all depends on the amount of free time I can find to read, and the length of the books. Also I am a slow reader, so on average it is around three to four.

How do you choose which books to review?

This is always a difficult decision for me. I tend to get around six requests per week, which sadly means that I can never accept them all. I usually look at the genre of the book and read the blurb to see if it interests me. However I will admit that sometimes I make assumptions. For example I tend not to enjoy heterosexual contemporary romance novels, with the exception of some exceptional authors such as John Green and Rainbow Rowell. The amount of YA contemporary romance novels that I have read that have been more or less the same storyline is shocking. I'm also not a huge fan of love triangles and I feel as if they are usually horribly cliché. However I do enjoy certain love triangles where it isn't the typical two boys and a girl with the boys hating each other. A good example of a love triangle I have enjoyed is found in The Infernal Devices series which I highly recommend! (Also read to the end of this post to find out how you can win a copy of the first book in the series, Clockwork Angel)

So what is it exactly that you're looking for from a book?

I have always loved the fantasy genre. It's always exciting to lose myself in a brand new world and get away from the mundane world. I also love when romance isn't a central plot in fantasy novels so that I can focus on the action rather than who has a crush on who. I would also love to see more diverse characters. All of the YA books I read tend to centre around white Americans, and I would love to read a book set in a different part of the world. I always love it when a novel is set in a British high school as they seem extremely rare to find. I would also love to see a more diverse range of sexualities. I always love it when a character is not heterosexual, but their storyline doesn't revolve around the fact that they're not heterosexual. I would also love to see characters who identify with lesser known sexualities, such as asexual and pansexual. I would also love to see love triangles that don't conform to the typical two boys and a girl.

What is your favourite book series of all time?

My answer to this question has always been, and will always be the same, and that is Harry Potter. I started the series when I was around nine years old and from that moment I have been obsessed with the wizarding world. I grew up reading the books and being the same age as Harry, and I don't think that I will ever enjoy reading a book as much as I have enjoyed reading Harry Potter. I am always torn between wanting to read new books and wanting to re-read this series.

You're 24 years old, why are you still reading YA books?

I just find that teenagers have more exciting lives! They never have to worry about adult problems such as taxes, jobs and looking after children. Overall they just seem more free to do what they want, which means that I always find the storylines more exciting than I do in adult books!

Can you recommend some books?

Yes I can! The book that i'm currently always ranting about is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. This book has messed me up in so many ways. As you have probably seen by now i'm not a huge fan of romance, but the romance in Carry On seemed extremely real, and although it is a fantasy, it was far more believable than the majority of contemporary romance' that i've read. The relationship in this book literally brought me to tears it was that perfect. And not only was the romance beautiful, but the storyline was action packed and I was constantly on the edge of my seat!

I also recommend the Mortal Instruments series if you haven't already read it, as it is one of my favourite YA series of all time.

If you're not into fantasy, then I recommend the Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It's beautifully written and the storyline will have you in tears. I also have to say that the movie adaptation was brilliant, so if you enjoy the book then definitely give that a watch! 

As I am extremely close to reaching 100 followers, I thought this would also be a good time to announce that once this happens I will be doing a giveaway! I am going to be giving away a copy of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, the first book in the Infernal Devices series! I am going to try my best to make this giveaway international, but i'll give more details once I reach 100 followers. If you would love to win a copy of this book then please give my blog a follow!