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Hey there, book lovers.

Month

September 2015

Book Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J.Maas (Throne of Glass series, Book Two)

1377638680000-Crown-of-Midnight

Hey, book lovers.

So a good while ago I wrote a book review for an amazing YA fantasy book by Sarah J. Maas called Throne of Glass, and you can find this review here: Throne of Glass Review

This review, is of the second book in the series, Crown of Midnight. I read this last year immediately after getting into the series, however I didn’t write a review of it on here, so I thought I should, considering I am currently reading (and loving) the fourth book in the series. I won’t ruin it for you, if you’re only at this stage, though. I just think this is a fantastic series, and I love all of the alternate character perspectives and switching between the main characters, though it requires a little effort, I think is a brilliant way of manifesting these characters and their lives within this enormously complex fantasy world.

The story focuses mainly on the perspective of an eighteen year old assassin called Celaena Sardothien, who has been trained by the king of the assassins, Arobynn, and then thrown into a slave camp when she was caught. The king of this city then chooses to pull her out of the camp, one day, and she is brought into this enormous competition where she will fight against many other powerful, trained competitors, to potentially become his champion, and be his famous, assassin, and then earn her freedom. In the same situation, she comes to find romance and passion both with the prince, Dorian, and the king’s head of the guards, Chaol.

In this book, however, Celaena has become the champion. She completes the king’s errands, though he does not know that she is secretly sending his targets away and hiding their deaths instead of killing them, taking a great risk in her own life and in the lives of everyone she cares about. She does not tell Chaol what she is doing, or Princess Nehemia, her trusted confidante, and she grows closer to Chaol, though she is working completely on her own. She soon comes to discover that the princess of Eywylle has her own secrets, and the princess and Celaena’s best friend is later murdered, where Celaena discovers that she had set it up herself, without confiding in her as a friend, too. This event sends Celaena into her own world, and then, angry, she discovers these rebels, and tries to find out what really happened.

Celaena possesses magic, in a world where magic is forbidden and executions are the consequences for using it. She finds an old abandoned entryway to a hidden chamber, within her rooms. Inside this chamber, she encounters an old sword, and the spirit of a dead princess, of whom becomes one of her trusted friends throughout the book. This book is one of those that will hook you in, particularly if you enjoyed the first book. I honestly can’t say which I enjoyed more because I think, for the first time, I have enjoyed them all equally, however this just continues the amazing world and characters of the first book, and I could not tear myself away. I think at one point, I was even reading this book between lectures. I have fallen in love with this series, and I think, personally, it is just one you have to try.

Peace out, and happy reading 😀

April

xx

Book Review: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

the girl on the train cover

Hey, book lovers.

So I just finished reading this wonderful thriller called ‘The Girl On The Train’ by Paula Hawkins, and I’m kind of blown away. I bought this one a good while back but read other books first, and leant it to my mother, who then told me she had loved it and couldn’t put it down, and then after that I recommended it to my boyfriend’s mother because she was looking for a good read aswell. It was only this week that I actually decided to give it a go, but I’m rather happy I did.

It all starts with Rachel Watson, a young woman who catches the commuter train to London every morning, becoming fascinated with everything she sees as she passes, the houses, the shops, the countryside, the people. Rachel loves to daydream, imagining people and creating events and stories in her head, and she does exactly that for the people living in one of those houses she passes each morning and each evening, whom she calls Jess and Jason, the perfect, happy couple. Or, so she imagines. In her first-person narrative, Rachel tells us that she used to live in the house a few doors down, that her life was ideal then, that she misses it deeply, but we don’t really find out the reason until we are deeper into the story, when she tells us of her ex-husband Tom and his mistress, Anna, who live in that house with their small child, Evie. Rachel passes their house each day, looking out at the bedroom she used to share with her husband and the life she once called her own, but still she continues, until one day everything changes. We find out that ‘Jess’ and ‘Jason’ are really Megan and Scott Hipswell, and Megan cared for Evie for a short while, needing to find something to do with herself and her own life. It is later, when Megan suddenly goes missing, after a night that Rachel witnessed but was too drunk to remember, when the story becomes more complex and Rachel becomes involved in the story and the lives she has seen unfold from the train.

I really sympathised with Rachel throughout the story. You soon discover that, before her husband Tom left her for his mistress, she was desperate for a child. She wanted a family, but she couldn’t conceive, and her husband wasn’t as willing as she was to try to pay for the costly IVF treatments. It made her desperate and depressed, and her drinking started. She lost her job, but still continued to take the same trains she had lost so that her friend and roommate wouldn’t notice, so that it wouldn’t bother her. Tom left her for Anna and his mistress moved her into his home, and their daughter was born.

One of the things I think I loved the most about this book was the characterisation and the complex links that become drawn between them. Soon, while Megan is missing, Rachel makes the decision to tell Scott that she saw his wife sharing a kiss with another man, Megan’s therapist, Kamal Abdic, and when they later discover Megan’s body, he is one of the detectives’ main focuses. In this time, Rachel becomes closer to Scott and develops an attachment to him that she cannot seem to understand or explain herself. One night he comes back to her room and they sleep together.

The book is narrated alternatingly by the three women: Rachel, Megan, and Anna. I loved that. You were able to read the perspectives of each as the story unfolded, with the investigation into Megan’s murder, which made it far more appealing, I think, than if it had only been Rachel’s narrations. Rachel travels across to Witney, to this tiny village beside the train tracks, several times. She visits Scott and they talk, she tells him what she has learned.

There were the occasional narrations from Megan, before she died. We learn that when she was younger, still a child at seventeen years old, she and an old lover moved in together and had a child. Lost and afraid, and unable to care for her child, sadly, her little daughter passed away when she fell asleep with her in the bathtub. Scott, of course, feels awfully betrayed when he learns this information, which Megan had shared with the therapist in her sessions. Megan was constantly bored, before she died. She longed to look elsewhere, outside her supposedly happy life with her husband, feeling a longing for her therapist, and then Rachel’s ex-husband and Anna’s husband, Tom. They later discover that they had an affair and it was Tom that murdered Megan.

Anna has never been sympathetic to Rachel, but I liked the fact that towards the end, before the story comes to its climax, Rachel discovers the truth and tries to warn her, and Anna begins to believe her. There is a small change, a growing difference in the way they see each other, and when they discover the truth about Megan’s death, when they both confront Tom with the child still in the room, Tom goes for Rachel and she twists the head of a corkscrew into his neck and kills him. They plead self-defence, and the story goes on, with Rachel moving elsewhere and Anna living with her child. I think it was an effective way to end the story, but other people might have different opinions, so you’re free to share with me if you like!

Really loved this book. I only wish I’d picked it up sooner!

Happy reading 😀

April xxx

Book Review: Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton

unspeakable cover

Hey, book lovers.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted a book review on here, but I have been reading a lot so I thought I may as well add this one here. I’ve read all these books rather quickly and they’ve just kind of been floating around in my head, so why not share my thoughts of them with you all?

I read this book very quickly, actually. I’m not particularly a fast reader, but I was quite happy to be able to get through a couple in a week. Might not sound like a lot to some, but for me, it’s pretty fast.

So, this book is narrated from the first person perspective of Megan, a sixteen year old mute girl who soon befriends the new girl, talkative bubbly Jasmine when she starts at her school, and she begins to unwind and open up, for reasons she herself can’t quite understand. It’s gripping and well written, keeping her reasons for staying silent a mystery until the moments when she is forced to reveal everything to Jasmine, feeling that if she speaks, she will release the truth of what happened that day and her life as she knows it will end. Abbie is quiet, keeping herself to herself, but Jasmine breaks down her walls without judging her, which she feels she needs. In the very first chapter of the book she is trying to help free a dog from falling into a lake, and unable to speak, the voices in her head keeping her silent, she cannot tell his owner what she needs, or let him thank her properly. She then, later, finds that this same owner is to become her school therapist, who tries to get her to talk, but it is only Jasmine that truly manages to do so.

I loved Megan’s character, and I loved the closeness she shared with Jasmine. They do everything together, sharing a bond that is strong and relatable, understanding even Megan’s circumstances, without asking questions. They become best friends, and then Megan realises that her attachment to Jasmine is something far more complex.

I enjoyed reading Jasmine’s character, too. She was the opposite of Megan, though they were both pretty loveable characters. She was louder and bubblier and it’s her that has most of the dialogue, as you can imagine, but it’s as if they’re having a normal conversation, they don’t even need too many words.

The plot was simple but gripping- I wanted to know more about Megan’s feelings and the way Jasmine would respond, the way Megan felt jealousy and hurt and anger when Megan’s asshole-boyfriend was around her, and that she didn’t trust him. It wasn’t a book I’d seen much of before, but I enjoyed it. Maybe if I read it again I would have more criticisms.

Happy reading 😀

April xxx

I Bought A Pretty Useful Book! (And Writing Resource!)

Hey, book lovers.

So, I found something very useful today. Have any of you ever heard of or used the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook series before? I’ve heard good things about it, but never actually thought to buy it, until today. I’ve had a look through and there seem to be an awful lot of resources in there, and I don’t think I’ve even got to the book publisher’s/literary agent’s section yet! Has it helped you? Which parts do you think would be the best to use if looking into publishing in the YA genre?

I’ve never really looked into many of these resources before. I didn’t even know most of these things existed until I looked around properly!

I’ve got the latest edition. Hoping it will be helpful!

As always, happy reading 😀

April xxx

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