Month: March 2016

Book Review: City of Ashes

21416483

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #2) – Paperback, 411 pages – Published July 7th 2008 by Walker Childrens Paperbacks

This is the second book in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

So the last book contained a lot of fighting, mixed emotions, demonic activity and a hell of a lot more excitement. This book was very much the same. Thrilling fight scenes, confused lovers, a ton of creepy demons. Who wouldn’t love it?

Clary’s mother is still in hospital, Jace and Clary are still trying to decide what sort of relationship they’re in, Simon’s feelings are still abundantly clear, and Valentine is still causing havoc. But now Valentine has another of the Mortal Instruments, and the Queen of the Seelie Court has brought to light some very un-sibling-like emotions between Jace and Clary. Simon is no longer dubbed as “the mundane” after an unexpected turn of events, and Jace is being picked on by the Inquisitor simply because he is the son of Valentine. So yeah, things are going just great.

While all this is going on, people are starting to realise that Jace and Clary aren’t quite normal Shadowhunters. Once their unique abilities are identified, they’re able to use them to their advantage – against their very own father.

As before, Cassandra Clare has included a wonderful mix of action, surprise, emotion and twists in this book. The characters are all going through some problem or another, and the Clave is as threatened as ever. It’s a great read, and despite being rather long it wasn’t boring or anything. The only thing I can say is that it isn’t overly special, so not quite one of my favourites. So I think I’ll give it 4 stars, maybe just about 4.5.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

Right now I’m reading True Calling, Sugar Skulls, The Boy Who Fell to Earth and City of Ashes.

22533460

What did I finish reading recently?

The only book I’ve finished this week is The Manifesto on How to Be InterestingI really need to crack on!

What am I reading next?

Well I need to read And Another Thing… and Coraline because I have so many reserved books ready for collection and tons of books nearing their return date, but other than those your options are all below!

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting

22533460

The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting by Holly Bourne – Paperback, 448 pages – Published August 1st 2014 by Usborne Publishing

I fell in love with Holly Bourne’s writing after reading Am I Normal Yet? and immediately decided to check out some of her other work. Hence me reading this novel.

The general idea of this book is Bree trying to become “interesting” enough to write something that publishers won’t reject. She decides the way to go about this is by infiltrating to posse of popular girls at school, while anonymously blogging about it the whole time.

Bree has her issues; she’s always been a bit of a loser, she’s kind of falling in love with her English teacher, she has way too many rejection letters, and she self harms when she feels low. She has to make a lot of sacrifices for the sake of her new blog, one of which is her best friend, Holdo. She reminds herself that “it’s all material” while she acts like a bitch, spends hundreds of pounds on new clothes and hairstyles, befriends with queen-bee Jassmine and even when she sleeps with Jass’s boyfriend. Besides, her crush told her she wasn’t interesting enough, so surely this is what she’s supposed to be doing?

But things get a bit more complicated than she first anticipated, and things end up worse than before for Bree. Yeah, she’s spent time with her mother and she’s become a social princess, but things start to fall apart. There’s a sex tape, and her teacher’s realised his mistake, and she can’t help but cut herself like she’s always done… But this time, she takes it a little too far.

I love the way Holly Bourne incorporates painfully real issues into her novels, mainly revolving around mental health and feminism. Bree’s issue with self harming isn’t looked down upon, or brushed aside, or made into the main plot. Instead, it’s just part of the story, like it is for most people who struggle with it.

My only real problem with this book is that I just can’t believe that a makeover can get you into the posse of populars. Like, really? If I got a haircut and some new lipstick, would I really become best friends with the most popular girl in school? I highly doubt it. I did like how Bree actually became rather attached to the girls, and how she realised that they really are just normal people underneath all that bitchiness and foundation.

This was a nice, easy read though, and I did enjoy it. It combats some common thoughts that go round teenagers’ heads, and although it is a little cheesy in some places, I think it’s mostly rather realistic. Although it isn’t quite one of my favourite books, I do think The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting could just about earn 4.5 stars from me.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

I am reading True Calling, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting, Sugar Skulls and The Boy Who Fell to Earth.

What did I finish reading recently?

I recently finished Homunculus and the Cat and this morning I finished Unbearable Lightness (which was absolutely amazing).

What am I reading next?

Here are your options for this week:

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Unbearable Lightness

10506959

Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi – Paperback, 309 pages – Published July 2011 by Simon & Schuster UK

Oh. My. God.

This was such an amazing book. I may have to buy myself a copy to read over and over and over again.

I’ve never really known much about Portia de Rossi. I knew she was the wife of Ellen DeGeneres, who I absolutely love, but that’s about it. Never would I have known how much I could relate with her and her life struggles.

This book is so truthful, and so inspirational. Portia tells us the details of her childhood issues with weight and eating, and how her habits developed into bulimia and a serious case of anorexia. She talks about every little thought and habit, her reaction to everything that was said to her. For anyone dealing with similar issues, it is wonderful to read someone else’s experience and know that you are not alone. I’ve always felt ashamed about certain details of my eating disorder, but I now know that Portia seems to have had very similar thoughts, emotions and habits.

Portia is also struggling to accept her homosexuality, and to feel accepted by those around her. She feels like she has to fit into everything – the sample sizes of clothing on set, society’s idea of beauty, even a certain category of lesbianism. But eventually she realises that it isn’t important to be what others expect you to be. It’s only important to be happy and healthy and just enjoy life.

The epilogue of this novel nearly brought me to tears. Portia knows things are not perfect – they probably never will be. But things have certainly changed for the better. She’s married Ellen and she’s come to terms with how to eat normally and maintain a healthy weight without obsessing over her appearance. She’s managed to find links between her childhood, her sexuality and her desires to be thin. She knows why she binged, she knows why she starved herself. And she knows why she wants to get rid of anorexia once and for all and live her life properly.

This is most definitely one of my favourite books ever. It made me rethink my life – I’m going through a tough patch with my anorexia right now, and Portia’s story has made me think twice about the road I’m going down. She doesn’t hide the ugly truth, she embraces it and brings attention to every detail. She is truly an inspirational woman. 5 stars for certain.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Homunculus and the Cat

Professional Reader

First of all, I’d like to say thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book. I’ve got tons of books from the site, ready to review. Can’t wait!
26212399

Homunculus & the Cat by Nathan Croft (The Omnitheon Cylce) – eBook, 283 pages – Published August 31st 2015 by Curiosity Quills Press

So I’ve been reading this book for quite some time now, and honestly I nearly gave up on it a few times. But for the sake of the review, I managed to keep on at it until the end.

What I managed to gather from this book is that it takes place in a whole different universe, where myths and gods are real. Winged cats with nine lives, flying carpets, even homunculi. The main characters include the Ennedi Ankh’ Si, a flying cat, Tyro, a simple human, and homunculi such as Mina and Herakles. A homunculus sanctuary, fighting for equal rights for their kind, is caught in a fire. In desperate need of help, the crew end up travelling all over the place – including to an underwater palace of a goddess, where they participate in a huge battle.
If I’m really honest, I can’t tell you much more than that. There’s some suspicious dude called Manga, and Tyro tries to rescue his friend Herakles – requiring a trip back to good ol’ America. But other than that, I’m not quite sure what happened.
The writing itself is actually pretty good. The descriptions and metaphors are great, and there’s a good deal of underlying humour in places. And the whole idea of this universe full of gods and demons and creatures both beautiful and terrible is wonderful. It’s just a shame that I couldn’t get into it. I felt like I was reading most of it through a daze, just trying to get it over with.
I will give this the benefit of the doubt – maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it, or I just wasn’t paying enough attention. Others may enjoy this a lot more than I did. But I’m going to give it just two stars, which honestly feels like I’m pushing the bar a little already.
866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

I’m reading Homunculus and the Cat, True Calling, Unbearable Lightness and The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting.

What did I finish reading recently?

This week I finished reading Breakfast with Tiffany and Uglies.

What am I reading next?

Here are this week’s options:

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Exchange!

Hey everyone! You may have heard of this before, but I’ve recently participated in a book exchange programme, where you send one book to another person (I’ll tell you who) and you receive at least 36 books back! Basically, I need at least 6 people to like this post, and I will contact you with the details (I’ll contact you through your blog, or any way you prefer, just leave it in the comments or contact me). Thanks!

Book Review: Uglies

24644390

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #1) – Paperback, 425 pages – Published March 29th 2012 by Simon and Schuster

I’ve heard of this book before but never really thought about reading it. The sequel, Pretties, was one of the books of the month on Goodreads, which is what inspired me to finally give it a go.

The whole idea of this book is really rather clever, and honestly quite plausible. The world which Tally knows is split into uglies and pretties – pretties having been transformed to biological perfection on their 16th birthday. Everyone looks forward to the day of the operation, and the life of excitement and partying that follows. Tally is no exception, anticipating the change and being reunited with her best friend Peris, even after she meets Shay – a young ugly who plans to run away from the city before she is turned pretty.

When Shay runs away, Tally stays behind for her operation. But Special Circumstances take her instead, and tell her that she cannot be pretty until she helps them find the Smoke – the wild settlement of runaways that Shay told her about. There’s no way out of it – she has to either let down Shay or Peris. When she finally makes her choice, she is sent off to follow Shay’s cryptic directions to the smoke – as a spy.

Tally learns a lot about life while in the Smoke. She learns how sheltered she was in the city, and how little she really knows about the past or the wilderness. She also learns something a lot more shocking, about how the operation affects more than just your appearance.

The theme of this is lovely. Tally starts off as a girl who hates her looks, waiting to become beautiful as if it’s the only thing that matters. But she eventually changes her mind, and fights against the system. Along with her fellow Smokies and tricky uglies, Tally is determined to bring the operation to an end.

My main problem with this book is the language. It just seems too immature at times, such as the terms “ugly” and “pretty” being used the way they are. I might just be being picky here, but it did irritate me a fair bit. It reminds me of one of those kids books designed to hammer some moral or lessons into a child’s head.

Another thing I can’t quite comprehend is that there are three more books in the series?! I mean, I can see a sequel working – the ending is rather exciting – but how can there be so many? I guess I’ll find out…

So this book has it’s ups and downs. It isn’t my favourite, but I don’t dislike it. I could read it fairly easily, and did enjoy it. I think 3.5 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491