Saturday 30 April 2016

Review on The Space Between

Harper Isabelle is the most popular girl in her grade. All the boys want to date her and all the girls want to be her friend. Her freshman year of high school is going perfectly. That is until she meets Sarah Jamieson, a girl who hides behind a thick layer of dark make up and constantly gets bullied. When Harper befriends Sarah, she soon comes to realise there is more to this girl than meets the eye. As their relationship progresses, Harper must choose between her popularity and being with Sarah.

 I was immediately drawn to this book by the gorgeous cover, and when I found out that it was a YA lesbian romance novel I knew that I had to read it! The story follows Harper Isabelle, a girl in her freshman year of high school who has always followed in her older sister Bronte's footsteps. I loved that the sisters were named after famous classic authors, and although I could not relate to Harper's popularity, I did relate to her love of classic literature and the expectations put on her by others.

Harper's romantic relationships have always been set up for her by her older sister, and consequently she has never felt any romantic feelings towards any of the boys she has dated. However, she soon develops a crush on Sarah Jamieson, a girl in her class who wears black make up and gets bullied. I loved that Harper was confused about her feelings towards Sarah, as she had been brought up being told that she was meant to want to date guys. I loved the build up to their relationship and seeing things from both of the girls point of view.

However, once they had admitted their feelings for each other around the middle of the book I felt as if nothing much happened apart from cute dates and a little angst. The majority of the book seemed like a cute fan fiction that would be tagged as fluff, and although it was adorable I felt that it was extremely cliché, and the fact that it was a lesbian romance was the only thing that kept me interested.

Sarah's brother Tyler was one of the most interesting characters, as my feelings towards him kept changing throughout the book. I hated what he did to Harper, but I also felt sympathetic as he had started to develop genuine feelings for Harper only to be cheated on. However I was glad that he was able to redeem himself towards the end.

Although I did overall like Harper, I hated that she was trying to force Sarah to come out to her parents. As Sarah comes from a deeply religious Christian family, it may not have been safe for her to come out. Sadly many teenagers get physically abused or thrown out of their homes by homophobic parents, and I felt as if Harper should have respected her decision to not come out rather than threatening to break up with her if she refused.

There is a highly pessimistic view on coming out, and the majority of books and tv shows that represent coming out to their family show the process in a negative light with the parents reacting in a homophobic and unaccepting manner. I was disappointed that this was also the case for Harper, as I feel as if it is important for gay teenagers to see families act positively too, as not all families will react negatively, and it is important to show that sometimes coming out doesn't have to end in emotional or physical abuse.

I felt as if the epilogue left out a couple of plot points I was looking forward to finding out, such as if Sarah ever came out to her parents and what their reaction was, along with if Harper's parents ever came to terms with her being gay. Although I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I was going to, it still made for a light and fluffy read, which made a nice change to the emotional trauma that I usually put myself through.

The Space Between is now available to purchase!

Monday 18 April 2016

Reviewing the Classics #2 Maurice

Firstly i'd like to apologise for not sticking to my original schedule of reviewing a classic every other month! Lady Midnight completely consumed me last month and with it being huge and me being a slow reader I just didn't get round to reading a classic! However I intend to make up for this by reviewing a classic in both April and May. My classic for this month is Maurice by E.M Forster

                                Goodreads Summary:

Set in the elegant Edwardian world of Cambridge undergraduate life,this story by a master novelist introduces us to Maurice Hall when he is fourteen. 

We follow him through public  school and Cambridge, and on into his father's firm, Hill and Hall, Stock Brokers. In a highly structured society, Maurice is a conventional young man in almost every way "stepping into the niche that England had prepared for him" except that his is homosexual.  

 Although I of course had heard of E.M Forster before, this was the first time that I actually picked up one of his books. The book follows Maurice throughout his adolescent years, including his time at Cambridge University and his time after working for his fathers firm. I immediately loved Maurice's character, as although he was stuck up and had little sympathy towards other people I identified with his initial view of not seeing others as individuals. Especially in the modern world, we often hide away in our own personal spaces and don't think of the stranger passing us in the street as someone with a life just as intricate as our own. I loved that after interacting with his fellow Cambridge students, he came to realise that these were people just like him.

I loved that Maurice's homosexuality was hinted at right from the start of the novel, which was shown by his fascination with George the gardener and the reason why he had left. It also foreshadowed his relationship with Alec and how class difference would be one of the obstacles in their relationship. I also loved that although Maurice is seen as privileged and someone who can afford to attend Cambridge, it is stated several times that he is of average intelligence, and that Clive is superior to him in this. I felt that this made Maurice seem more likeable and relatable, and set up Clive to be a bit of a snob.

Clive is the first romantic relationship Maurice has ever entered, and I loved how it started out slowly with Maurice trying to throw out little hints that he liked Clive in a romantic way. I found it both adorable and hilarious that Maurice waited outside for him for hours and lost his nerve at the last minute and ended up yelling goodnight at him. I loved how their relationship progressed and that they were finally comfortable with admitting their feelings to each other.

I felt myself liking Clive less and less as the novel went on, especially when he told Maurice that he didn't love him anymore and that he was now “normal.” I felt as if Clive was forcing himself to be straight, as he was afraid that his family would find out about his true relationship with Maurice. Society and Class are a huge theme in this book, and we are not shown any affection between Clive and his wife, so to me it felt as if he was hiding his homosexuality from everyone, including his former lover. It was also extremely frustrating that Clive made Maurice feel bad about his homosexuality and was often telling him that he should go and find a wife. Maurice is left to feel that the one person he trusted with his sexuality has abandoned him and is left isolated.

I loved the introduction of Alec, Clive's servant and gamekeeper. Alec is introduced into the story in a very subtle way until he becomes Maurice's main focus. I thought Alec was a completely adorable character and I loved him straight away. I loved that unlike Clive, he didn't see anything wrong with loving men, and never makes Maurice feel as if it is sinful. The character development that Maurice goes through is mainly due to Alec, as throughout the novel he sees his homosexuality as something that is sinful, and goes to great lengths to try to “cure” himself, including going to his doctor and a hypnotist. The ending of the novel made me extremely happy in that he accepted his homosexuality and even went to talk to Clive about his relationship with Alec.

I loved the fact that Alec was bisexual, as I feel as if even in the modern world people often see bisexuality as “not being real” or that the person is “greedy” so seeing it represented in a classic novel wasn't something I was expecting! I loved that although there was a class difference between Maurice and Alec, it was never shown in their personal relationship with each other, and the one time that Maurice calls Alec out for using his first name, Alec retaliates by telling Maurice that he is no better than him. I loved Alec's confidence despite the fact that he is a servant and that he doesn't let class difference stand in the way of loving Maurice.

Although this book was written in 1913, I felt that it was still relevant to modern life. For example, Clive telling his family that he was an atheist and their reactions to this mirrors someone coming out as gay to their family in the modern world. I loved that Christianity could literally be switched out for homosexuality and have exactly the same effect.

I have to talk about the ending because as the pessimist that I am I was not expecting it to be happy! I loved that Maurice and Alec got to stay together, and that the ending suggests that they lived happily ever after. The fact that this book was written at a time when homosexuality was a sin is heartbreaking, as Forster stated that he wrote them a happy ending as this meant that homosexual men would at least be able to live together happily in fiction. I found this extremely sad as Forster felt that if the book had ended with them not being together for whatever reason, then it would have easily been published.

This book covers extremely important themes and even if you're not a classics fan I would definitely recommend this one as I felt that it was way ahead of it's times! It is also relatively short, which makes a change from the daunting 500 page novels that come to mind when you hear the word classic. This has definitely made it's way into my top 5 classic books and I could not recommend it more!

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Review on Lady Midnight

Five years after Emma Carstairs' parents were murdered under mysterious circumstances, a new series of murders suddenly starts across Los Angeles which resemble the deaths of her parents. Along with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, Emma must find out who is behind these murders and finally avenge her parents deaths. However things are not as simple as they seem, as faeries along with mundanes are being murdered, and the law makes it impossible to get involved in faerie affairs. When Mark Blackthorn, Julian's half brother is returned to them as a bargaining chip, Emma and Julian must decide if they are going to help the faeries and break the laws of the Clave, or leave Mark in the hands of the faeries. Not everyone can be trusted, and Emma must make some important decisions if she is is ever to find out the truth.

I first started reading Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters books back in 2012, so I was extremely excited to get my hands on this book! Lady Midnight is set five years after the events of City of Heavenly Fire, the last book in The Mortal Instruments series, and focuses on a set of characters who were introduced to us at the end of the Mortal Instruments books. As I was not too interested in these characters then, I was concerned over if I would enjoy reading a whole book about them, but being the Cassandra Clare trash that I am I of course had to read it anyway!

I immediately fell in love with these characters despite not caring much for them previously. I found Emma to be a likeable protagonist, and I soon came to like her more than I liked Clary. Emma's parents died when she was just twelve years old, and since then she has been trying to find out who killed them. Her obsession over this has caused her to find out information by any means possible, including attending the Shadow Market where she is in contact with notorious crook Johnny Rook and his son Kit. I was immediately interested in Kit, as his father seemed to be trying to keep him hidden, which of course made me wonder why. Although Kit was not a big part of this book, I was extremely shocked to find out about his true identity towards the end of the book and I am excited to find out more about him in the rest of the series!

Julian Blackthorn was an interesting character and although I do still prefer Jace, I did enjoy his character. I find that in a lot of YA books, the protagonists love interest does not interest me at all and their character is lacking in depth, but this was not the case with Julian at all. Julian Blackthorn was extremely likeable. He is the glue that keeps the Blackthorn family together, and has been looking after his younger siblings ever since his parents died. I felt really sympathetic towards Julian, as he never got to experience a proper childhood, as he was constantly having to act as more of a father than a brother to his siblings. He is extremely unselfish and always puts the needs of others before himself.

I also loved Julian's younger siblings, especially Ty. I feel as if characters in fantasy novels always seem to be perfect and have no disabilities. I especially feel that characters with mental disabilities seem to be severely lacking in most YA, so having a character with autism in a fantasy novel was something I'd never seen before. I loved that having autism did not hold Ty back, and that he found various ways to cope with certain situations that made him uncomfortable. I loved that this book was diverse with not only disabled characters, but also with characters who are not heterosexual, as the majority of YA books I read do not include LGBT characters.

I must talk about my favourite character in the book Mark Blackthorn! Mark was previously a member of The Wild Hunt, and as a half faerie, half Shadowhunter, he is not sure where he fits in. I loved how quirky he was, and I immediately fell in love with him the minute he came into the book. He has picked up faerie traits from living with them for so long, and he speaks in an archaic way which often confuses his siblings. I found it hilarious that Mark would often accidentally compliment someone while trying to insult them. I loved his character development throughout the book as he started to accept that he was a Shadowhunter and belonged with his family.

The only character who did not interest me was Cristina. Although I have seen a lot of people saying they love her, I found her to be quite boring, as all of her problems seemed to revolve around romantic relationships. I really wanted to like her more than I did as she is an important friend to Emma, but I just couldn't make myself care about her. I also did not like her relationship with Mark, as they barely knew each other and I thought they were moving way too quickly. I thought Mark's relationship with Kieran was far more interesting, as they had known each other for a long time and seemed to have a lot of history between them. Although he made some serious mistakes, I still adored Kieran and felt bad for him, as he clearly regretted what he had done and was constantly trying to redeem himself.

Although the story focused on the new characters, I loved that the characters from Clare's previous works made little appearances too. I loved finding out new information about what the characters from The Mortal Instruments were currently doing, and I especially enjoyed the appearances from Magnus, Jace and Clary. I felt that this, along with mentions of the Dark War gave a nice little shout out to the fans who have read The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices.

With the realisation that this review is going to be way too long, I need to talk a little about the plot itself. Although this book is huge, I never once felt like I was getting bored or that not enough was happening. Although there were lulls in the action, I felt that this was important for the characters to collect their thoughts and do more research into what was happening. I really enjoyed the plot twist of who the killer was, as I was really not expecting it at all! I actually went back to a chapter near the start of the novel where there was a huge clue to who was behind everything and I hated myself that I had completely overlooked over it! It was totally unexpected and really showed that you can't trust any character no matter how nice they seem.

I loved learning about the reason why having a romantic relationship with your parabatai is forbidden, as this has been something that I've wondered about for a long time! I loved the relationship between Emma and Julian, and how it changed throughout the course of the novel. I am interested to find out in what direction their relationship goes in the next book, along with finding out more about the other Blackthorns. I'm really hoping that Kit and Ty have a bigger storyline in the rest of the series, as although they have barely interacted with each other so far, I feel as if a strong bond will form between them. I'm also hoping that this isn't the last that we've seen of Kieran, as I really loved his character and would love to see more of him.

Even though this book has caused me emotional trauma I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.  

Friday 1 April 2016

Cover Reveal of Strange the Dreamer

Laini Taylor's brand new novel 'Strange the Dreamer' is set to be released this September, and to celebrate I would love to reveal  the gorgeous covers for both the UK and US versions of the book!


Both of these covers are beautiful and I really can't decide which one I prefer! The cover on the left will be available in the UK, while the one on the right will be for US readers.

If you just can't wait to get your hands on this book, then you can read the prologue right here!


On the second sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
Her skin was blue, her blood was red.

She broke over an iron gate, crimping it on impact, and there she hung, impossibly arched, graceful as a temple dancer swooning on a lover’s arm. One slick finial anchored her in place. Its point, protruding from her sternum, glittered like a brooch. She fluttered briefly as her ghost shook loose, and then her hands relaxed, shedding fistfuls of freshly picked torch ginger buds.

Later, they would say these had been hummingbird hearts and not blossoms at all.
They would say she hadn’t shed blood but wept it. That she was lewd, tonguing her teeth at them, upside down and dying, that she vomited a serpent that turned to smoke when it hit the ground. They would say a flock of moths had come, frantic, and tried to lift her away.

That was true. Only that.

They hadn’t a prayer, though. The moths were no bigger than the startled mouths of children, and even dozens together could only pluck at the strands of her darkening hair until their wings sagged, sodden with her blood. They were purled away with the blossoms as a grit-choked gust came blasting down the street. The earth heaved underfoot. The sky spun on its axis. A queer brilliance lanced through billowing smoke, and the people of Weep had to squint against it. Blowing grit and hot light and the stink of saltpeter. There had been an explosion. They might have died, all and easily, but only this girl had, shaken from some pocket of the sky.

Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.

She was also blue.

Blue as opals, pale blue. Blue as cornflowers, or dragonfly wings, or a spring—not summer—sky.
Someone screamed. The scream drew others. The others screamed, too, not because a girl was dead, but because the girl was blue, and this meant something in the city of Weep. Even after the sky stopped reeling, and the earth settled, and the last fume spluttered from the blast site and dispersed, the screams went on, feeding themselves from voice to voice, a virus of the air.

The blue girl’s ghost gathered itself and perched, bereft, upon the spearpoint-tip of the projecting finial, just an inch above her own still chest. Gasping in shock, she tilted back her invisible head and gazed, mournfully, up.
The screams went on and on.

And across the city, atop a monolithic wedge of seamless, mirror-smooth metal, a statue stirred, as though awakened by the tumult, and slowly lifted its great horned head.

 Make sure not to miss out on what is set to be a fantastic start to the series by pre ordering today!

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