Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone number 1

Release Date: 5th August 2012

Pages: 420

Publisher: Hodder

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

 Star Rating: 5

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic."

I remember when this book first came out, I saw the book in work and read the synopsis and I thought it sounded okay but I just wasn't tempted enough to pay for it in hardback and boy was I wrong. The daughter of smoke and bone lives up to its hype and more. From start to finish I was completely transfixed, this book has it all, amazing best friends, hot guys, heart ache inducing forbidden love, paranormal creatures (that are seriously freaky but so cool at the same time) and a lot of angst, seriously this story is brimming with angst but that's one of the reasons its so captivating.

In my opinion Laini Taylor has crafted a beautiful and endearing masterpiece with her story of Karou, this book will emotionally drain you and in the end will leave you speechless, from start to finish Taylor takes you on a journey with Karou, discovering her life and who she really is. It's majestic and its magical.

Karou is a seventeen year old art student in Peru, she had bright blue hair, hangs out in a wonderfully gothic cafe with her best friend and tries her best to avoid her ex-boyfriend who can't take the hint. At first glance Karou appears to be a normal seventeen year old, but alas she is hiding a secret, for Karou has no normal family, she has been bought up by the Chimera, specifically those who grant wishes and she must frequently run errands for them collecting teeth from all over the world. Karou has spent her life in between worlds and she feels like she doesn't fit in either, until one day when she runs into beautiful Akiva and everything she knows shatters.

As you've probably already guessed I adored this book, in particularly the wonderful mix of characters, Karou is feisty and funny and makes mistakes in her life. She regretted loosing her virginity to her ex-boyfriend after he turned out to be nothing but a nightmare, she is inquisitive and is both fearless and vulnerable. Karou appears lost in the world, not knowing who she is or where she belongs.

And Akiva, Madrigal Brimstone, Kaz, Issa, I could go on, every character in this book has a purpose, they are wonderful and charming and I can't wait to learn more about their back stories.

I think one of my favourite aspects of this book was Taylors writing, its is beautiful, emotional and poetic and completely swept me away. It is a wonderful mix of fantasy and seraphim/chimaera  mythology and whirlwind romance. I've read a lot of Angel and forbidden love stories in the past but this one by far surpassed them all. The mystery and suspense throughout this book is crafted amazingly, I never would have guessed the true reason behind Brimstone needing all those teeth or who Karou really is and for that Taylor I thank you, I loved being able to be surprised by a book as that very rarely happens.

This is a must read book, Taylor has created a world that will stretch the limits of your imagination she paints a picture with her words. This story left me speechless and stayed with me long after I had finished reading.

“Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.” 

Monday, 31 March 2014

Monday Nights

Okay, so I have a confession to make, I'm a 24 year old woman who still loves Disney movies, they are always my go to option when I'm feeling a little low. You can't go wrong, the singing and dancing makes me smile and I end up singing the songs for days afterwards.

So today Frozen came out on DVD in the UK, it feels like I've been waiting ages for it to come out, I only saw it for the first time when I was on the way home from America and I fell in love with it, apart from Tangled (which I love dearly), Frozen has to be one of my favourite Disney movies of the modern age. The relationship between Anna and Elsa is beautiful as is the soundtrack, I swear I've not stopped singing 'let it go' since I saw it. Plus its funny, I love how Disney are now making adult jokes in these films, things children wouldn't necessarily get.

And well this is my Monday night, a can of my favourite lemonade and a DVD. What are you up to?

Book Recommends: Dystopian YA

'A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterised in books like Brave New World and 1984. Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social control systems and various forms of active and passive coercion, often imagined as police states, with unlimited power over the citizens. Dystopias are often set in the future and involve technological innovations not accessible in actual present reality.'

I was first introduced to the dystopian genre a few years ago when I read the Hunger Games and I fell in love. I loved the idea of a society that was under some sort of control and a group of characters that rebelled against the social norm, plus dystopians often have strong characters who find an inner strength to overcome some tough obstacles, be it overthrowing a corrupt government or trying to survive in this bizarre world they've been thrust in to. Dystopian books are intelligent and fast paced stories with many twists and turns, they are dark and thrilling and often surprisingly emotional.

And so with that in mind these are my favourite dystopian YA books and ones I would recommend you read as well.

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

Have you read any of these? What would you recommend?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Four Simple Goals: April

Whilst I was browsing the Internet looking for some helpful posts on how to improve my blog, I stumbled across a blog 'FiveSixteethsblog' who has a monthly post in which she sets herself four simple goals to accomplish each month and I thought that this was a great idea and something I would like to do on my own blog, Now I don't know about you but I know I'm awful at fulfilling the goals I set for myself, I think I always go too big and then when I don't complete them I get a little disheartened and kind of give up.

But I think this will be good for me, a way to set little things for me to achieve each month, simple things that I know I can accomplish and go from there. Don't get me wrong I still have big goals and dreams I want to achieve but I think if I'm feeling good about completing the simpler goals I wont get so disheartened if the bigger ones aren't happening when I want them too.

So as its nearly April here are my Four Simple Goals for April:

Spring Clean my Bedroom
I'm getting ready to redecorate my bedroom but first I need to have a clear out, I have so much junk in my room. Clothes I am never going to wear again and books that I've been sent or have read and will probably never pick up again. I can have a slight issue with hoarding things sometimes. So April is time to clear all that junk out!

Apply for ten jobs
I know this may seem like a strange one. I do in fact have a job but I'm currently looking for something else, don't get me wrong I love my job but its not exactly going anywhere and I'm not getting any younger, I want to have a career. So I've set myself a long term gaol of finding a new job but for April I just want to apply for at least 10 jobs.

Keep up with blogging
I love blogging but it is an effort sometimes to put a post together, taking the pictures, editing pictures and writing my book reviews. One of the reasons I like having this new blog is because I don't have to focus on just one particular type of post (my previous blog was all about books) and its put the enjoyment back into blogging. Now I just need to keep up with it.

Be happy, try one new thing
I've recently had a bad couple of weeks, I've gone through a big change in my life and it wasn't something I wanted and so now I'm trying to make the best of a bad situation. So in taking everything one day at a time, I am trying to find the little things in life that makes me happy and bearing that in mind I want to try something new, just one little thing I've never done before. I don't know what I'm going to try but watch this space.

In My Bag #1

I thought it might be quite fun to do a 'what's my bag post' you know besides old receipts and such. I always carry a large bag around with me as I tend to carry a lot of stuff or junk as some people might think. I recently bought this backpack from accessorise, as soon as I saw it I knew I just had to get it, its the perfect summer bag and its fits all my stuff into it.
 So I always have staple items in my bag, a bottle of water (got to keep hydrated), my phone and I-pod because god forbid I don't have them on me and some reading material, I tend to switch between reading a book and graphic novel depending on what I'm doing and where I am. I'm currently reading When I was Five I Killed Myself by Howard Butler and Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Make-up, some powder (Maybelline Fit Me) and an everyday lipstick (Mac Speak Louder), my comb and bobble for those hair emergencies and of course my purse, keys, bus pass and passport because you never know when an opportunity to jet off somewhere new might occur and you should always be prepared.
And more recently I've added my sunglasses (the weather finally looks like its warming up), my Harry Potter notebook because you never know when inspiration my strike and some earrings because for some reason I can never last an entire day wearing them.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Oh, how I wish I had your wardrobe!

Kelly Osbourne has come a long way from the angst ridden teenager we saw on 'The Osborne's', over the years we have seen her evolve into a beautiful woman. I imagine it must have been so hard for her to grow up in the glare of the media, everyone scrutinizing everything from her weight to her fashion choices. I mean come-on we all had an awkward stage, I know I did and I've tried to destroy most photos of me from back then, I don't know what I was thinking, Kelly just had to go through hers with the opinion of everyone trying to put her down.

However Kelly has now become a trendsetter, her creative style and 'no care' attitude make her a celebrity to watch. I watch fashion police just to see what she is wearing, if there is one persons wardrobe I wish I could steal it would be hers. Her mix of prints and colours is amazing, she never fails to surprise with her innovative fashion choices and bold make-up looks and lets not forget her lilac hair which I just adore. I would love to be able to take more risks like Kelly does and I think I will. She not only makes great wardrobe choices but she has the attitude to match, she isn't afraid to say her mind, as proven by the many infamous arguments she has had over the years but that's part of why I like her so much. Maybe I'll take a leaf out of Kelley's book and start taking more risks, no matter peoples opinion.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

It's the end of the world, what are you going to do?

I've been having a Walking Dead marathon recently as I've gotten a little behind on the series, well honestly its a lot behind, I'm currently watching season 3 (so no spoilers please) and I am loving it. The addition of Michonne was just genius, I love how dark and mysterious she is, you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her, she definitely kicks ass with that katana of hers. Even though I'm nothing like her in real life if I was transported to the Walking Dead world I would want to be like her.

So as I've been catching up on the series this has sparked many conversations with my friends over what we would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse, where would you run too? What would be your weapon of choice?

Now if I had to run anywhere I think I would take a leaf out of the guys from the Walking Dead book and hide out in a Prison or at least somewhere that is already barricaded in some way, you don't want to risk being exposed in anyway. As I said before Michonne is my girl and I would follow her lead and use a Katana, its the perfect weapon, sharp and deadly for cutting off those zombie heads, I know a lot of people I've spoken to have said a shotgun or some similar weapon but what happens when you run out of bullets and get over run by zombies. See its not such a great choice. Someone else said what about using a crossbow like Daryl but that means that you have to go and pick up your arrows not exactly a safe option.

I know what your thinking what I strange conversation to have with friends but believe me you'll be happy that you had a plan if it ever happens.

What would you do?

Friday, 21 March 2014

Oh Harry How I Love You

Like most people of my generation, I grew up reading the magical Harry Potter series, these books made my childhood I was addicted to them, I can't explain how many times I re-read these books, I didn't sleep on release weekend and I had generally finished whatever the latest title was before school started again on the Monday.

I remember being introduced to the series during one of my lessons in school, we had to bring in whatever books we had been reading recently and do a presentation on the book and author and I remember one of my fellow classmates was telling us about a young boy, around the same age as we were and him discovering he was a Wizard and this magical world that existed all around us, I was hooked before he had even finished explaining and I knew I just had to have these books. I was lucky only a couple of weeks before my Nan had gifted my brother with the boxset of books 1-3 (number 3 had only just been released) for Christmas and so I finished school on the Friday and had finished book 3 by the Monday. I ended up re-reading these books continuously for months until the next book was released.

When I was younger I enjoyed reading but I wasn't and avid reader, Harry Potter changed all that for me, J.K Rowling is solely responsible for my current addiction to books and I can only say thank you. Books are my life, they pick me up when I'm down, they understand me when I'm going through a difficult time, they make me happy.

So as it has been many years since I have read Harry Potter I have decided that this is the year I am going to re-read them, I'm excited and I'm sure I am going to be transported to my childhood and to that girl that spent many hours sitting on her bed reading all about a world she wished she could be a part of it.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Raising Awareness for Cancer

Yesterday there was a lot of talk surrounding the no make-up selfie pictures everyone was posting in order to raise awareness for cancer and most of what I saw was rather negative. Now I think everyone who was posting these pictures was aware that they weren't going to cure cancer by doing this, it was just to raise awareness and I know from looking online that cancer research has seen a large increase in the number of donations made since this no make-up selfie thing was started and that can only be a good thing right?

The more money that is given, means more research can be carried out. I know from working within the science industry how much research is on-going at the moment and its exciting but its also very costly. Its not just the initial research that costs a lot its also testing the drugs and implanting production so anything we can do to get people to donate more is great. Yes everyone is aware of Cancer and they know the devastation it can bring to a family but how many of us actually donate.

I think the thing that annoyed me the most about yesterday wasn't the girls posting the pictures without make-up or the boys posting pictures of themselves wearing make-up. It was those people making comments on how ugly the girls looked without make-up, making nasty comments about their appearance, most I don't want to repeat because they were unnecessary yesterday and I don't want to write them on my blog. Girls struggle with insecurity issues everyday and I don't think some people understand how wearing make-up can be a comfort to some people, believe me it can hide a multitude of things and for those girls who decided to post those pictures for a good cause they shouldn't then be subjected to nasty and hateful things being said about them.

So that's the end of my little  rant and please I urge you to donate, whether its to Cancer research or the Alzheimer's foundation or the British heart foundation, every small donation is a step in the right direction. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall by Susan Ee
Penryn End of Days Book 1
Release Date: 23rd May 2013

Pages: 325

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Dystopia

Star Rating: 4.5

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

A dark and captivating story set in a post apocalyptic world that has been devastated by Angels, cities lie in ruins, most of the population has been wiped out and only a handful of survivors are left doing what they must to get by in a world gone mad. Angels rule and you hope you never have to meet one.

17 year old Penryn lives and breathes this world everyday and with a Mother suffering with Schizophrenia and a sister who is wheelchair bound, she must fight harder than others to keep her family together. The story starts with Penryn and her sister having to flee the apartment they've been living in as its no longer safe. When a fight between a group of Angels breaks out and Penryn watches in horror as one Angel has his wings ripped from his body and her little sister is kidnapped by the same group. Knowing the only way to get her sister back is to work with the broken and battered Angel she must overcome her fears and help him.

Penryn is a strong and beautiful selfless heroine, who will do whatever she has to in order to look after her family. She is the personification of what a protagonist in this genre should be like, it doesn't matter the situation Penryn will use her wits to figure out a way out of it, she is fierce and loyal to a fault and has a strength that is hard to comprehend and yet she comes across as being a normal 17 year old girl, who is so easy to relate too. Susan Ee has done an amazing job at creating a character that is believable in a world that is so far from our own.

Now Raffe, apart from the name which had a few problems initially when trying to pronounce, I absolutely loved him. He was dark, mysterious and a typical bad guy with a twist. Initially he was arrogant and was clearly amused by Penryn's acts of bravado but as the story progresses we get to see a softer and funnier side to him. At first him and Penryn come to and uneasy truce in order to get his wings back and Penryn her sister but as their journey progresses so does their relationship. Whilst not overly romantic, they both start to learn that maybe the other isn't the 'enemy', their banter is witty and funny and was definitely one of my favourite parts about the book. Actually I completely loved everything about this book.

A book that is anything but ordinary, with a plot that never gives up and plenty of twists and turns. The character and wind building is fantastic, Susan Ee creates a vivid and captivating world that I could completely imagine existing with characters that manage to balance each out. A book about doing whatever its takes to look after those you love, about learning to overcome prejudices and a book about finding love in even the bleakest of circumstances.

This is one book that you just have to read to understand just how good it is.

Fictional Crush 1

Okay, so we all have to admit we occasionally (maybe more than occasionally) wish that some of our favourite fictional characters were real. I know I do and I can even admit to having a tiny incy wincy crush on some of them too.

Now instead of hiding our feelings away I think that this is something we should embrace, something we shouldn't be afraid to announce to the world. Well maybe not the entire world but you know lets not hide the fact that we sometimes crush on people who aren't real.

Once a month (maybe twice) I'm going to talk about my fictional crushes and why I think they are completely crush worthy.

This months pick has to be my first ever book crush Ned Nickerson from the Nancy Drew series.

When I was younger I had a particular fascination with detective series, The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and Nancy Drew. Now Nancy Drew was my girl, I adored this series, I was amazed by the plot twists and I never saw the ending coming. Nancy was perfect to me, she was pretty, confident, adventurous and oh so clever. She was the person I looked up to and I wanted to grow up to be just like her. I wanted to solve mysterious, I wanted to be as quirky and witty as she was. Basically everything about her life I wanted including her boyfriend Ned. Thinking back he was the first every character that I had a crush on, the Nancy Drew series was one of the first series where I started to imagine what I would do if I was one of the characters.

“Ned said "Nancy Drew is the best girl detective in the whole world!"
"Don't you believe him," Nancy said quickly. "I have solved some mysteries, I'll admit, and I enjoy it, but I'm sure there are many other girls who could do the same.”

As I've gotten older I've realised that Ned isn't the greatest guy on earth and that he is a little bit of a bore. But when I was younger all I knew was that he was kind and considerate, he worried about Nancy's safety and all round he seemed like a good guy. He was completely devoted to Nancy and let her shine when it came to solving cases and yet was there to rescue her if he needed to, plus he was the hottest guy in River Heights.

Who was your first fictional crush?

Graphic Novels

I've never been a big graphic novel fan, there isn't a particular reason behind this I've just never had the urge to pick one up before.

However recently this has all changed, my best friend is a big comic book fan and he loves exploring our local comic stores for hours on end, looking at all the new releases and well whilst I'm there with him, I end up looking too and I have to say I think I may have a new love, they are quick and easy to read and yet at the same time some are so thought-provoking and create intense emotional reactions from me, the same reactions I get from reading books, I can't believe I've never given them a try before and can we talk about the illustrations. Just wow! I wish I could draw as well as some of these artist, honestly I would love to see some of my favourite books turned into graphic novel form.

Now I am still a complete novice but these are some of the graphic novels that I've read and really

1. Chew (Tasters Choice) by John Layman and Rob Guillory

Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases.

2. The Sandman (Preludes and Nocturnes) by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg

 In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his seventy-year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

3. Fables (Legends in Exile) by Bill Willington, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha and Craig Hamilton 
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown's sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

4. Locke and Key (Welcome to Lovecraft) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
"The Eisner-nominated Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all!"
5. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

6. Maus (My Fathers Bleeds History) by Art Spiegelman
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.

Can you recommend any Graphic Novels I should read?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Pretyy Things

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 

So I've been looking into redecorating my room recently, I'm a little fed up with it at the moment and I have been browsing online for some cute little bits and pieces to put on my shelves and for storage use. I've been wanting a record player for quite some time now and I have finally saved up enough money to buy one, I've heard some great things about the Crosley ones, plus they come in some really great colours. How cute are the storage containers, the heart-shaped jewellery box and the bird tin, I know that the My Little Pony one is technically a lunch box but I'm sure I could use it for other things. You can never have enough storage boxes. I also really want a new stereo system and I really like the vintage feel of this one, I think it would be perfect in my room. And finally the skull, I know its a little gothic compared to the other stuff but that's just me, my taste is so eclectic and my bedroom definitely reflects this.

"You don't look depressed"

I recently saw an interview with a woman who was suffering with depression and she was talking about the reaction she had from people when she told them about it and one comment that was made was that she didn't 'look depressed'. What a silly comment to make, I didn't realise there was a look to depression, that in order to be depressed you had to look a certain way.

There are plenty of people in this world that suffer with depression, people you would least expect because inside they feel like they are dying and yet they put a smile on for the rest of the world. You see depression is something that goes on in the mind, its like there is a separate part of you whispering things in your ear, telling you your not good enough or that you can't do it, it breaks you down. But it doesn't always translate to an outwards appearance, its something that occurs on the inside and to say that you can tell that someone is depressed based on how they look is ridiculous, even the most beautiful and wealthy people in the world can suffer from depression. It's common misconceptions like this that still give the dieses its stigma.

Time for a little honesty.

I suffer from depression and I have for many years now, I hid it for a long time I was ashamed and embarrassed and felt like something was wrong with me. I suppose in some ways there is but not in the way I was thinking. My friends and family just thought I was unsociable and yes while I'm not particularly fond of large social gatherings I do enjoy interacting with people but while I was at the height of my depression I pushed everyone away and truly felt like I was completely alone in the world but I didn't walk round looking sad, I got up everyday and put my make-up on and I've never wore sweatpants outside of my home, I went to work and university. From the outside it appeared as if everything was fine in my life but in reality it wasn't, university was at one point just too much for me and that was my breaking point, I was on the verge of leaving and never going back and one day I just broke down and told my parents everything, every thought or feeling I had ever had. It was the best thing I ever did, they helped me get help and I managed to turn my life around and now I can honestly say I'm happy and that smile on my face that you see, well that smile is real.

If you're reading this and you suffer from depression then all I can say to you is, I know what its like, I know the weight that you feel but please go and get help, its not an over night fix but it will help and just know that people do care and love you, even when it feels like you are alone, you never are.



Starting a blog is always a strange experience, believe me I've had a fair few in my time, I never know what to say for the first post, I mean how much do you actually want to know about a girl you've never met and how much do I want to share.

Well lets start with the basics, my name is Ashley, I'm a recent university graduate just trying to find my way in the world, I'm trying to find what makes me, me.

I know, I know it all sound so cliché but what better place to discover who I am then writing a blog about all the things I love in life, who I am, my thoughts, my feelings.

The last two blogs I've had I've loved and I'm technically going to continue with them on this one as well, basically this is just going to a continuation of what I've already been doing but just bringing it all into one place.

So sit back and enjoy all that my life has to offer.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

City of Heavenly Fire Cover Reveal

AHHHHH Its finally here.

The City of Heavenly Fire cover was revealed last night, its the sixth and final book in the Mortal Instrument series.

I don't think I can express how excited I am for this book to be released May can not come quick enough, even though it will be sad to say goodbye to Clary, Jace and all the gang and I know that we are in for some shocking surprises, I still can't wait to see what happens, espcically after the cliff-hanger in book 5.

The cover is awesome it shows Clary holding a sword dressed in white while Sebastian stands in the background with black wings. We all know that someone (or maybe more) are going to die in this book and I am guessing the Clary wearing white is a reflection of this.


What do you think of the cover? Do you have any predictions for the final book?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Top Ten 2014 debuts I'm excited for

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks theme is top ten 2014 debuts that we are looking forward too. I always love reading an authors for the first time, I love hunting down new authors to read. Every year more and more amazing authors are getting published and this year is no exception.

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano


Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page



Love Letter to the Dead


The Murder Complex


Side Effects May Vary


The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski



Are there any other 2014 debuts that I should be looking out for?


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Most Anticipated Reads of 2014 (January)

2013 was an amazing year for me in terms of finding new authors and series to read. I discovered the amazing talents of Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss/ Lola and the Boy Next Door) and Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor and Park and Fangirl) who made me realise I do actually like to read contemporary fiction. Fantasy became my new love, Maria V Snyder, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor and Sarah Mass all contributed to this and had my imagination living in far off lands. However 2014 is set to be just as good with so many series reaching their epic conclusions but what about the new authors, new series and standalones. There are so many great book set to be released this year which I why I've compelled by list of my most anticipated reads.

Each month I'll list the books I'm most looking forward to reading this month, the ones I'll be rushing out to buy on release day.

 Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

In 1940 after the first book ends, Jacob and his new Welsh island friends flee to London, the Peculiar capital of the world. Caul, a dangerous madman, is Miss Peregrine’s brother, and can steal Peculiar abilities for himself. The Peculiars must fight for survival, again.

Taste of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.


The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over?

Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband Bones. They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war…

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights. Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death…because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences. And if they fail, their lives—and those of everyone they hold dear— will be hovering on the edge of the grave.


Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi


Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

What are you looking forward to reading this month?


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Top Ten Bookish Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

This weeks topic on Top Ten Tuesday are  'bookish resolutions' for the new year, whilst I don't have ten I do have a few things I would like to change about my reading habits.

1. Read More Classics - I used to say that Classics were my favourite genre to read and yet in the past year or so I don't think I've picked up a single one and so this year I want to try and read at least one a month.

2. Read More Non-Fiction - I never read non-fiction and yet when I am browsing bookstores it always a section I find myself looking at, especially the popular science books and so this year I want to try and read at least 7 non-fiction titles.

3. Stop giving up on books - I'm not referring to books I'm not enjoying reading this is for those times in a book when something is going wrong for a character, when the world around them is falling apart. Sometimes I don't want to read about bad things happening to them and so I just stop reading. I really do need to stop this because its part of the experience of reading a book, to experience those emotional highs and lows with a character.

4. Read at least 10 books from my TBR pile before I buy anymore books.

5. Try new things - This goes along with reading more non-fiction but I also want to read new authors and new genres, try something within fiction that I wouldn't normally think of picking up.

6. Finish Series - This is something I've been meaning to do for a while now, I've started tons of series and then neglected to pick up the rest, as I've always found something new and shiny to read instead but this year I want to try and finish some so I can finally put them to bed.

I think is this the year that I try to branch out with my reading, explore new avenues and get lost in brand new and exiting adventures.

What are your bookish resolutions?

Monday, 6 January 2014




a great desire to travel or rove about

I love to travel, who doesn't. The chance to explore a new place, delving into new experiences and new cultures. I love it all.

A couple of years ago I spent two and half months travelling around America, it was one of the best experiences of my life and now in six weeks time and going back again, this time not for as long, just three short weeks but I can't wait.

I'm starting off in New York, then flying to Vancouver, then off to Seattle, then onto Portland and finally to Chicago. I've been to both Chicago an New York before, I loved both cities so much that I am really eager to return. But Vancouver, Seattle and Portland will be a whole new adventure for me. I've never been to Canada before, but its one place I've always wanted to go and I've only ever heard great things about it. I've spent weeks reading through travel blogs and books trying to find the best places to visit to make the most of my short time. I'm going with a couple of friends from work, and considering we are all book crazy we want to try and visit as many bookstores as we can, from the big mega bookstores to the small independent ones, I want to see as many as I can. I want to experience the American and Canadian nightlife, I want live music and local bars. I want to see the local markets, the parks and museums. I especially want to visit the museums, I love going to museums, (side note: I would love to travel around Europe one day on  tour of museums). There is just so much to see and do and I don't want to miss a moment.

"Travel as much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life's not meant to be lived in one place."

Are there any places you think I should visit whilst I'm there?

Friday, 3 January 2014

Top Ten Books of 2013

2013 was actually a good year in terms of books read for me I beat my goal of 100 by 4 books and I know if I hadn't of slacked of in December and actually finished some books then that number would have been a lot bigger which is why I have set myself a target of 150 for 2014, if I meet this goal then it will be the most books I have ever read in one year, its going to be quite a feat for me but I think will a little perseverance, I am more than capable to doing it.

Now onto last year, as I said I read 104 books last year, some of them I liked, others I loved and some I actually obsessed over. It was really hard for me to pick just 10 books that I loved and would encourage you to read but here are the ones I would recommend you drop everything you're doing and read right away because I loved them that much.


1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell was defiantly my discovery of the year in terms of new authors, I fell head over heels with both of her books and the characters and worlds she creates. Fangirl spoke directly to my inner book nerd, I loved Caths obsessive behaviour with the world of Simon Snow, she reminded me of my younger self and my love of Harry Potter fanfiction. Rowell created a wonderful world in which Cath learns to grow and enters the 'real world', a world full of magic of its own kind.

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor

I remember when I found this book, I don't think I shut up about it for weeks and I think I may have actually have fallen in love with Laini Taylor and her words when I read it. From the minute I read the first page, I wanted, no needed to know more. Taylor created a magical and beautiful world and merged it with our own, her words left me speechless and her characters were beautifully flawed, I don't know if I would recommend another book as much as I would this one. I promise you wont be disappointed.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephaine Perkins

 This book was a breath of fresh air, it was beautiful and heart-breaking and made me want to go back to Paris and have the same experiences as Anna. I wish I could express how much I loved this book, it was beautiful and mesmerizing, Stephanie just has a way with words that creates a world and characters that I would love to experience and to know.

4. Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

This book is filled to the brim with action, tension, murder, mystery, romance and with a sprinkling of magic. Loyalty is questioned, battle lines are drawn and it is just the start to what is sure to be an epic series. Celaena is such a refreshing chance from the stereotypical characters we often see in books, she is good looking, smart and extremely skilled in combat and boy does she know it. 

5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I hadn't heard much about this book before it appeared in work one day and after finishing Daughter of Smoke and Bone I was eager to read something in a similar vain and let me tell you I was not disappointed. Shadow and Bone was an epic fantasy, the characters, the world building all blew me away, from the prologue to the end I was hooked, the writing was beautiful and kept me captivated throughout.

6. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I had been eager to read Eleanor and Park since I had first heard about Rainbow Rowell and I think this book is a contender for being my absolute favourite of the year. Eleanor has to be one of the best female characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about, she individual and quirky. This book gave me those butterflies in my stomach, it made my heart clench and it sent me on a roller-coaster of emotions and the ending, I think I screamed in frustration when I read it, I kept turning the page hoping for something more.

7. More Than This by Patrick Ness

More than this is an utterly compelling and wonderfully bizarre book, that will keep you hooked from the opening chapter, when our main protagonist dies whilst swimming on the beach and wakes up back in his childhood home. The events that occur throughout the rest of the book will have you second guessing everything you thought you knew. Ness keeps us on the edge of our seats and has created a diverse set of characters that you'll learn to love. More than this challenges the human nature and the fact that we are always searching for 'more than this'.

8. All my Friends are Superheroes

I think this was one of the shortest books I read this year and it was recommended to me by a lot of the people I work with and I loved it. It was funny and quirky, I loved all the little descriptions of the different types of superheroes that exist. It was a romantic comedy in a small little package and will leave you feeling warm inside. 


9. Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

This book was an interesting look and compelling story about a depressed teenager and what he perceives to be his last day on earth, the book jumps between different times in Leonards life and those life changing moments, as Leonard starts to say goodbye to all the people who have changed his life in some way, whether they realise it or not. It was a surprisingly sweet story and made me think about how people effect may our lives in the smallest of ways.


10. Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

This was the last book I read in 2013 and from the moment I picked it up I couldn't put it down. Touch of Power is the first book in the Avery of Kazan series and if you like high fantasy then you should defiantly give it a try. Snyder has created a magical world, full of mayhem and danger, her characters are funny and loyal. Every chapter brings a new threat to Avery so its never boring. I ran out and bought the sequel as soon as I had finished it.

In other news, as I'm writing this post I am actually watching or should I say catching up on some NHL, I haven't watched that many games before but one of my close friends is a major Chicago Blackhawks fan and considering we are heading over to America in a couple of weeks and we are actually going to watch a game I figured I should get to grips with it.

Now if you didn't know I am more an NFL girl myself but I have to say once I got my head around the speed of the sport I am really enjoying watching it, I'm not sure I fully understand all the rules yet but I am sure that that will come with time. It's definitely more of an aggressive sport, its strange that fighting is actually acceptable but boy do these guys have some skill on the ice, I'm more of a grip the sides of a rink girl myself.


What were your favourite books of 2013? Do you agree with any of mine?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Let's talk: Reading Habits

Okay so I've got a little confession to make, recently I've been starting books but not actually finishing them now this isn't one or two books its a lot, 11 to be exact.

I don't know why I keep doing this, sometimes is simply because I just am in the mood to read a different genre of book and sometimes its because the story itself isn't keeping me entertained and then other times its because I can tell something bad is about to happen in the story and I don't want to read about it just yet, I just want to keep envisioning everything being perfectly happy for my characters for a little while longer and then in one case its because the subject nature of the story hit a little close to home and I couldn't quiet bring myself to carry on reading it just yet.

Now I will get round to finishing them, that's actually going to be my goal for this month is to finish what I've started to read and this shouldn't be too hard to complete considering I'm over half way through most of these books.

Do you ever struggle to finish reading books?