#BookBlogWriMo

Day 1: Blog History
Day 2: How I Read
Day 3: Where I Read
Day 4: Why I Blog
Day 5: Where I Blog
Day 6: Favourite Childhood Books
Day 7: #FlashbackFriday – Blog’s First Design
Day 8: Your Blogging Toolkit
Day 9: Blog Workflow
Day 10: Meme your Memes
Day 11: Most Popular Posts

I’ve always been intrigued by NaNoWriMo but I knew I would never participate because a) I don’t think I have what it takes to write a novel and b) it hasn’t ever really been a goal of mine to write a book – write for a newspaper, yes, but never a book. So tonight, when I stumbled upon The Writing Hufflepuff’s post on #BookBlogWriMo I instantly clicked the link to find out more.

Book Bumblings is the creator of #BookBlogWriMo and the goal of it was to blog more, especially original content (something I need to continue doing more of). For more information or you are interested in joining just head on over to the Book Bumbling website.

You can definitely count me in!

Check out the schedule below:

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Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Book Details:
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 404
Published: August 2nd 2012
Goodreads Rating: 4.17

Blurb:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

My Thoughts: 
You know that moment when you start a series and there comes a point where you realise you care more about the characters and what is going to happen  than your own life? Yeah, that’s what happened here.

I honestly haven’t read too much fantasy – Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings aside – so I was a little worried I wasn’t going to get into this one despite the amazing reviews I had seen and been told, but boy was I wrong. I, very quickly, became invested in the characters lives; I wanted to understand them, get to know them better, see love and happiness for them, and just see what the heck was going to happen with their story lines.

Celaena Sardothien is a complete badass who still cares for shoes and clothes; she is such a great female character and I think all girls should get to know her. I wanted to be her and I wanted to be her best friend.

Second to Celaena my favourite character is Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall. I love him. So much. His character development and thought process throughout the novel was so interesting. So many feelings…but those will be looked at further in my Crown of Midnight review.

The Crown Prince (Dorian) and the Princess of Eyllwe (Nehemia) were also fantastic and engaging characters.

Basically, all the characters in the series are fantastic which is always something I look for in books, but especially in series.

There is no pure good in this story – though I think it is fair to say that the bad guys are pretty bad. All the characters have these amazing layers you can’t wait to dive into.

This novel is very clearly a set up novel that will allow the world and the story to grow as the series continues (as we will look at in future reviews).

Only one thing stood out to me as a negative; I found that there was a lot of repetition of titles. There is only so many times I need to hear that Celaean is Ardalan’s Assassin. Repeated way too many times.

Overall, the book was so great – a world set up book, but amazing nonetheless.

My Rating: 
4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good fantasy series that has an extremely strong female lead.

Favourite Quotes:
“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

“No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.”

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”

Adaptation Report: Gone Girl

In anticipation of the release of the Gone Girl movie I made sure to put the novel in my September TBR list to ensure that I read it before the release of the movie (check out the review I did for Gone Girl here) . Having done that I was able to see the thriller the night it was released – far enough away from when I finished the book to not be annoyed, but still close enough that I remembered most – if not all – details of the plot.

My thoughts? Well, I think I may have actually enjoyed the movie more if I hadn’t read the book first and I sort of wish I hadn’t. Shocking, I know.

One of the things that this story thrives on is the twists and turns, and since I read the book what was lost for me was that experience of surprise the rest of the theatre felt. It was the one time knowing too much hindered my enjoyment.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie was good – a  very good adaptation; I just felt a bit left out. I should say this though – waiting for the crowd’s reaction to everything was great. The number gasps the lady let out next to me was amazing and hilarious.

The film was beautifully shot – in typical David Fincher fashion – and stayed pretty close to the novel, only small changes, though that is probably because Gillian Flynn actually wrote the screenplay. Much like with Perks of Being a Wallflower, having the author writing the screenplay definitely pays off; it’s one of the reasons why I have so much hope in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies JK Rowling is working on.

It was a good movie. Other than me losing the surprise appeal of the plot, the only thing I really didn’t appreciate was them making Nick Dunne more likeable. In the books you hate Nick; you actually think that killing Amy is something he can and would do. They made Nick more likeable and they didn’t make Amy nearly as believable as she was in the book. Mind you, this is coming from me who read the book – I’m not sure what people who didn’t read it thought.

While I did have a few issues here and there, I found the overall film to be enjoyable. It’s a good movie for an older crowd (there is nudity) of both genders. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike gave amazing and chilling performances. So whether or not you have read the book I definitely recommend this psychological thriller.

Adaptation Score: B+/A-. Great adaptation, but I think I would have enjoyed it just a little bit more if I hadn’t read the book.

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Book Details:
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Phoenix
Pages: 466
Published: January 3rd 2013 (first edition: 2012)
Goodreads Rating: 3.94

Blurb:
Who are you?
What have we done to each other?
These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.
So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

My Thoughts:
Much like with More Than Thisthis review is going to be completely spoiler free; simply because it is worth it going into Gone Girl completely blind.

I’ll admit, I have this problem where I like to read ahead – not the last page per say…though that is what it is most of the time, but even just flipping through the pages until something catches my eye that makes me want to either read what is happening or slap the book shut to avoid insane spoilers. That being said, I went into this book blind, but I definitely wasn’t blind all the way through.

The one thing that everyone talks about with this book is  the huge twists and turns of the plot, and the ending – some people love it and other hate it. I was..indifferent. I didn’t think it was as shocking as everyone said it was, but it was really intriguing and worked perfectly with the characters involved in this story. I personally thought it was the natural progression of the characters. This, of course, may have been a result of my previously mentioned reading ahead problem…but sh.

I can say with 100% certainty that I much hated almost all the main characters in this book, with a few exceptions of course (Go). They were just so messed up, but they were entertaining. I flew through the book without even realising it after a slow start.

There was quite a bit of humour that was intertwined in the plot, and I always appreciate a good joke of any kind. I think with the subject matter there needed to be some lighter moments that made you laugh out loud – which I did on a few occasions.

The book was, for me, over-hyped. I was expecting a lot more than what I got, but I still enjoyed it and I think as long as you go into this book not expecting it to be “the book to rule them all” it will be enjoyable to you too.

If you are looking for a psychological thriller/mystery this is definitely the book for you.

I also watched the movie so look out for a adaptation report coming later this week!

My Rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars. It was good, but I was expecting more. It also took me a bit to get into it – it definitely picked up though.

Favourite (non spoiler) Quotes:
“It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.”

“Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial – you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.”

“Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.”

“A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.”

 

Redesign Wednesday: The Maze Runner Cover Makeover

DesignCard

I decided to start something a little different that I haven’t necessarily seen around the book blogging community: I’m going to take book covers and give them a little bit of a makeover!

If you didn’t know, I just completed my MSc in publishing and one of the things we learned on the program was designing book covers. It’s pretty tough finding the right visual to go with the text because you want it to be just right. I’m 100% not a trained graphic designer, so that is always an added difficulty to some of the ideas I have.

I’m by no means a professional (on books, I’m not too shabby on magazine articles if I do say so myself), but it is a bit of a hobby I have and this will also help me improve my skills.

The first book I decided to give a makeover was The Maze Runner. This is not a cover that I am really drawn to and I really don’t like the original cover all that much to be honest – there are a LOT of really great redesigns that I love though.

Below is a picture of the original cover next to my design of The Maze Runner:

Original on the left and my design on the right

Original on the left and my design on the right

I decided to go with a very minimalistic/simplistic approach as it has always been a favourite of mine. I wanted to show a corridor in the maze and I decided to have the black ‘N’ in runner sort of signify the exit of the Maze into the Griever hole. I just really like black and white covers so that is pretty much the only explanation I have for that.

Let me know what you think about the redesign. Do you like it? Does it work?

If you want me to keep this feature up let me know! And tell me if there are any book covers you would like to see redone.

Getting Through the Pile One Book at a Time: October TBR

TBR

Everyone seems to have a themed TBR list for the month of October and I’m here to say that I will…not be doing that. Sorry guys, horror novels are not my thing. I wouldn’t sleep ever again, probably. I’ve been on a reading spree so far in October; I’m on my 4th book already (though only three will be listed since I put Throne of Glass on my September Wrap Up list even though I finished it in October (shh). I really hope I keep this reading binge up because now I’m only two books behind on my reading challenge and I want to get ahead!

Enough blabbing, let’s get to this list:

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher:
Bloomsbury 
Published: 
August 27th 2013
Genre:
YA Fantasy
Pages:
420
Blurb:
 “A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.
It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie…and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.
Goodreads Rating: 4.51
Status: Completed AND OMG I AM SO OBSESSED. This series honestly just gets better and better. I hate how much I love this because usually when I become this obsessed with a book a movie is around the corner, but that’s not happening here and I’m sad. I just. I loved this book, and I will be doing a review very soon.

Fortunately, the Milk… by Neil Gaiman
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Children’s
Published: September 17, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s Fantasy
Pages: 160
Blurb: You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.
Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.
Goodreads Rating: 4.04
Status: Completed. I wanted a really quick, fun read after I finished Crown of Midnight and was waiting for Heir of Fire to arrive in the mail so, naturally, this was the perfect choice. It was funny and super sweet…plus it is Neil Gaiman who is an author I’ve been dying to read more of. So cute!

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: 
Bloomsbury
Published: September 2, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 565
Blurb: Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.
While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
Goodreads Rating: 4.63
Status: 46% complete and I’m loving it. Celaena is such a badass I can’t even deal with it and, despite his stubbornness, I still love Chaol.

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: 
Bloomsbury
Published: March 4, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 435
Blurb: Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.
When Celaena’s scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn’s clutches and if they fail, they’ll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives.
A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers listeners a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling and deadly world.
Included in this volume:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Healer
The Assassin and the Desert
The Assassin and the Underworld
The Assassin and the Empire
Goodreads Rating: 4.55
Status: N/A. I haven’t started this yet, but you better believe I will be reading this as soon as I finish Heir of Fire. 

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) by Rick Riordan
Publisher: 
Disney Hyperion Books
Published: March 21st 2005
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pages: 377 c.
Blurb: Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
Goodreads Rating: 4.18 out of 5 stars
Status: Yes this is still here, but I’ve started it and I’m about 20% in. It’s adorable so far, but I’ve put it on hold for Heir of Fire for so many reasons.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Publisher: 
Black Swan
Published: Reprinted September 8, 2007
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pages: 560
Blurb: HERE IS A SMALL FACT – YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH.
It’s a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.
ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES.
Goodreads Rating: 4.36
Status: N/A. I guess this will be my “spooky-ish” book of the month. I’m actually SO excited to get to this book, it has been on my to-read list for way to long.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher:
Plume
Published: March 27, 2012 (paperback)
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Pages: 323
Blurb: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?
Goodreads Rating: 3.97
Status: N/A. This month is full of some pretty intense books so I wanted to add something nice and fluffy to end my October TBR.

And that’s that. What books do you plan on reading this month?

Getting Through the Pile One Book at a Time: September Wrap Up

Wrap Up

We are already six days into the month of October and I still can’t quite believe that it’s here already. Time just moves so quickly I can’t deal with it. My reading game wasn’t too bad this month; it could have been better and could have been worse. I managed to read almost all the books on my September TBR and I’ve become obsessed with a new series (like Hunger Games and Harry Potter level of obsessed), but more on that later.

So without further ado – here are the books I finished in September:

The Death Cure by James Dashner
Quick Review:
I think this was a pretty good conclusion for the trilogy…give or take a few things of course. This book was definitely a slower read than the other two and I didn’t like it quite as much. And Thomas frustrated me to no end. To see my full review of The Maze Runner trilogy click here!
My Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

More Than This by Patrick Ness
Quick Review:
I. Loved. This. Book. LOVE IT. Like I want to climb to the top of a mountain and yell about my love for all the world to hear. One of the best books I’ve read all year. Patrick Ness has a new fan in this girl; I can’t wait to read more of his stuff. See my full review of the novel here!
My Rating:
A perfect 5 out of 5 stars

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Quick Review:
It took me a while to really get into this story, but once I did I enjoyed it. That being said, I do think that its reputation ruined it a bit for me – just wasn’t as good as I was expecting. I will have a full review of this up sometime with week as well as an Adaptation Report for the film!
My Rating: 
3.5 out of 5 stars

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Quick Review:
Kind of cheating with this one as I finished it on October 1st, but SHH. There isn’t much to say other than: I’m obsessed. Totally and completely obsessed. I’ve already finished Crown of Midnight and I can’t deal with it. A review will be up ASAP! SO MANY FEELS. AND CHAOL. Okay, I’m done.
My Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars

And that’s that! The only book I didn’t end up getting to was The Lightning Thief (aka the first book in the Percy Jackson series), but I did just start that book as I wait for Heir of Fire to arrive in the mail. October may pan out to be a good month as I’ve already finished two books (technically 3) and it’s only the 6th!

What was your favourite book last month?