Thursday, 31 March 2016

Birthday Book Haul

Hey guys! I know I promised I'd do a Birthday Book Haul video, but what with me being sick and not really feeling up to doing videos, I thought I'd do a blog post instead! I know it's not the same but still! I'm thinking I probably won't get the months Haul or Wrap Up done and possibly not my TBR either, sorry guys! Anyway.....haul time! 

I had a very bookish birthday, I got books...obviously, but I also got some other bookish things, Slytherin Scarf, book Pandora charm, Harry Potter top and so on! I also got a decent chunk of money, which I used for Manga! I'm trying to catch up on Fairy Tail, Blue Exorcist and Seven Deadly Sins! They've not all arrived which is why they aren't pictured but I got Blue Exorcist Volumes 1-10, Fairy Tail Volumes 1-4 and Seven Deadly Sins Volumes 1-4! Manga is something I've recently started reading, I was getting Sword Art Online from the library and a couple of others, but I've watched the Anime for all three of these and decided I needed them for my collection! I know you all know there's a load of books that I'm after and I probably should have used the money for those...but they'd sit on my TBR shelf for ages, and Manga....well....I'm super fast at reading it so they don't take up shelf space on my TBR...basically! 

So what books did I receive? Well as you can see in the photos...a fair few! 

I got the super fancy edition of Death Note, it's got Volumes 1&2 in it and the edges are BLACK SPRAYED! I'm so in love! Although, it's going to be really hard to read without getting my fingerprints all over it! 

As you all know I collect various different editions of classics and I got two clothbounds for my collection! Anna Karenina and Wuthering Heights! They're so gorgeous, I really love the clothbounds because they're easy to read without damaging them, and they're ya know...really pretty! 

Next up is Lady Midnight and it's the super fancy Limited Edition version from Waterstones! I actually knew I was getting this and got it early when it came out! I'm kinda hoping the other two books will get a fancy edition too, but then at the same time my shelves are probably hoping they won't! 

I'm such a Game of Thrones fan, I have a shelf dedicated to all of the books and for my birthday I got the four graphic novel volumes! I've been eyeing them up for ages, because the art is completely gorgeous, and I'm planning to spend a day sitting and reading them and relieving back to before most of the pain and suffering started. 

As some of you may have seen, as part of my birthday week I got to take a trip to a kinda local comic shop and I came out with two! Harley Quinn and Power Girl because I love Harley Quinn okay, she's my favourite and I have all the individual comics but for Power Girl I decided I'd wait and get the bind up! Although now I think I'm gonna do that with Harley Quinn because I have no space left! 

I also got Spider-Gwen Vol 0 because I've heard a lot of good things about it and it's been intriguing me! I still need to actually read this one! So I managed to grab two of the bind ups that I've been after for aggeeesss and I still need to sit down and read both, because I've not had time yet! I'm thinking of taking it slower and stopping the current review pace I have because I'm burning myself out and I'm losing the fun of YouTubing and reviewing! 

Soooo that's my birthday book haul! I'm really sorry I couldn't do the video as promised, it's just I'm all fuzzy headed and snotty nosed and gross and I'm not really in the mood to drag myself out of bed and slap some makeup on you know? Plus editing the videos wouldn't be too great either with the fuzzy had! I'm hoping to return to normal starting with the Classic of the month, but I'm not entirely sure whether I will be, I'll definitely be back for the regular hauls/wrap ups etc in April and the May TBR! I think I might do this months as blog posts if no-one objects?! 

Thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday, I had such a fantastic day and so many of you where so lovely! 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Wishing For Wednesday #84

Happy Wednesday guys! 
This week I've got two rather interesting reads! 
First up is a new book from an author who's debut last year completely wowed me! So I'm exciting to see what she does in this new book, I have high hopes because the first book was completely brilliant! 
Second is what I think is the third and final book in a trilogy by one of my favourite authors, I actually need to read books one and two...they are on my TBR. 

The Amber Shadows

Bletchley Park typist Honey Deschamps spends her days at a type-x machine in Hut 6, transcribing the decrypted signals from the German Army, doing her bit to help the British war effort.
Halfway across the world Hitler's armies are marching into Leningrad, leaving a trail of destruction and pillaging the country's most treasured artworks, including the famous Amber Room - the eighth wonder of the world.
As reports begin filtering through about the stolen amber loot, Honey receives a package, addressed to her, carried by a man she has never seen before. He claims his name is Felix Plaidstow and that he works in Hut 3. The package is postmarked from Russia, branded with two censors' stamps. Inside is a small flat piece of amber, and it is just the first of several parcels.
Caught between fearing the packages are a trap set by the authorities to test her loyalty or a desperate cry for help, Honey turns to the handsome enigmatic Felix Plaidstow. But then her brother is found beaten to death in nearby woods and suddenly danger is all around…

The Amber Shadows is out April 7th, pre-order your!
Add it to your

Bright Blaze of Magic

Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I'm good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls. 

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families--and kill every last Sinclair. What they don't know is that I'm on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I've got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side… 

Bright Blaze of Magic is out April 26th, pre-order your
Add it to your!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Readers Confession Book Tag

I was nominated by Naz at The Enchanted Bookcase to do this tag, and it's certainly an interesting one and I had to think over a couple of them! 

1. Have you ever damaged a book?
Uuhh, nobody kill me but I do sometimes crack the spines on my books. Like a lot of the time I leave them, or if it's a really pretty spine I leave them, but if the book is bound really tight, I have to crack the spine because otherwise it does my head in trying to read it! I used to dog ear the pages of books as well instead of using a bookmark! My Lord of The Rings and Hobbit editions are pretty battered as well, but not like...on purpose! OH and when I was younger and took books to school my mum used to write my name in them but she actually used pencil so I could rub it out so maybe that doesn't technically count? Maybe I should mention writing notes in my Jane Eyre copy for GCSE?

2. Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?
Nope. If I borrowed someone's book I'd probably be too scared to actually read it in case I accidentally cracked the spine or rumpled a page or something! I get a fair few books from the library and have never damaged one! I treat them with the utmost care!

3. How long does it take you to read a book?
It depends. Most of the time I can read books in one go and depending on the page count either a couple of hours or like a day if it's a really thick book. I read all the Iron Fey books over like 2 and a half days. If I just sit and read I'm a really fast reader, but if I have distractions it takes me longer. Like the TV usually distracts me and it takes twice as long. If I'm tired or not really in the mood it'll take me longer, if I have work to do and so on. 

4. Books that you haven't finished? 
Inkheart. I tried to read it when I was a kid and just never finished it. I really do need to actually sit and finish it! I also started Great Expectations when I was younger and never got very far. The Railway Children, the book version of Wicked...there's some others as well. I don't really like DNFing books, so I'll usually force myself to read them or like...skim read them to the end. I really need to stop doing it! 

5. Hyped/Popular books that you don't like? 
Here we go, now I'm going to become reaaallllyyy unpopular. The Raven Cycle. I read it because everyone raved, and Stiefvater's werewolf ones as well, but I just didn't get all that in to either series. Not really my thing. I haven't even read Divergent yet but after reading some things about the second book I'm not entirely sure if I'll like it. Any John Green book, We Were Liars, The Maze Runner, I mean I liked the Maze Runner well enough but I didn't love it and I won't be re-reading it any time soon if ever, Twilight, The Young Elites.....Harry Potter...NO I'M JOKING! Just trying to relieve the tensiiiion ;) But yeah, I have various reasons for each of these, and no offence if you love them, they just weren't for me! 

6. Is there a book you wouldn't tell anyone you were reading? 
Y'all know about my love of cheesy e-books right? Cheesy verging on trashy. No way in hell I'm admitting to reading any of them! I also don't really admit to reading manga all that much, I don't do currently reading photos for them. I mean I did mention that I was using my birthday money to catch up on manga, purely because regular books would actually sit on my TBR for ages and manga won't! But yeah, I don't really admit to it much, not because I'm embarrassed about reading manga, but because I don't really know anyone else who reads it or if my followers are interested in manga, I'm fairly certain I'm followed for the YA books so I don't want to shove manga in people's face! There's also a tonne of books that I wouldn't admit to reading to some of my friends who are non book readers and wouldn't get it, and they'd be like "what a weirdo". OH I mean...I never told anyone I read the novelisation of the Mummy film either hahahahaha 

7. How many books do you own?
Well, let's see....I actually counted once. But that was ages ago and I can't really remember that far back but it's gotta be like 300? Maybe less? Maybe more? I would actually count for you but there's some behind my bed that I can't get to! 

8. Are you a fast reader or a slow reader?
Fast, unless I'm in a reading slump. It also depends on my mood as well and what I'm reading. 

9. Do you like to buddy read? 
 God yes. Like I suck at it most of the time, but buddy reading is my fave! I remember buddy reading Clockwork Princess the day it came out with a couple of friends and it was the best thing ever being able to fangirl about all the little things! Buddy reading is also helping me survive some of the tougher books for the 2016 Classics Challenge. 

10. Do you read better in your head or out loud? 
In my head for sure. Whenever I read out loud, my brain is reading faster than I'm speaking so I end up like....garbling words or stumbling over things. If that makes sense. 

11. If you were only allowed to own one book, what would it be and why? 
Hahahahaaaaa I can never do these questions, I'm too indecisive. Um, um, OF CROWS. It's one of my favourites and I'll pick it because I'm obsessed with re-reading it right now. 

I nominate...
Sofia at Accio Reviews
And anyone else who wants to have a go! 

Monday, 28 March 2016

Review: Those Below

Those Below
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

For centuries humanity has served Those Above, god-like Eternals who rule from their cloud-capped mountain-city. 

They built a civilization of unimagined beauty and unchecked viciousness.

They thought themselves invincible.

They were wrong. 

The story that began in Those Above comes to an explosive conclusion in this unforgettable battle for the hearts and minds of the human race.

I really, really loved the first book, I thought it was original, and rich and intricate and had some fantastic characters and now we finally have the conclusion! I completely love the world of the book, it and it's history was richly described and had lots of intricacies to it. Not to mention that the world is that little bit different from other fantasy worlds! I loved diving back in to the world of the book again and seeing what was going to happen next after the ending of Those Above. It should probably be mentioned that you really need to have read Those Above before you read this! I'll try very hard not to spoil! 

Those Below throws us back in to the world of the book, but we're on the lower area of the Roost, the bird imagery/significance is back , hour of the Eagle, and so on, which fit nicely with the book and the setting, even though, as previously stated, birds kind of creep me out! The descriptions of the world and the settings are vivid and can paint some wonderful images in your mind as you read, I found it interesting to see how people moved between the rungs of the Roost as well! 

We catch up with all the characters from the last book, although Thistle has had a little name change, shall we say! Eudokia I actually really liked, I believe my exact words where "she's kind of a bitch but she's also intelligent and badass", she's definitely intelligent...cunning, whatever word you want to use and I liked catching up with her again in this book. The ending though, with her standing there "bearing witness to what she had caused" and the final few lines..I can't even. I just think she's a great character, regardless of what she has done. I was so wary of Calla in the last book, but I found her just as intriguing in this book! Like I said, Thistle had a name change and he was another character I wasn't too sure about in the first book so it was...interesting and kind of painful seeing him in this book! Bas is another of the characters I loved, I love his narrative and I STILL want to know more about him! Either way the characters continued to be excellently written, and I'd say more about them, like a lot more, but I'm trying REALLY hard not to spoil! So let's leave it at that! 

There's always something going on in these two books, and the plot is very complex. I mentioned when reviewing the first book that you need to concentrate and pay attention and not half ass it when you read this book to keep up with everything going on. As soon as I picked up the book again, I hadn't time to re-read the first book, so it took me a couple chapters to come to grips with everything again, I remembered most things but there where some things that I'd forgotten about and was like ...DOH. 

I couldn't put the first book down, this one however...I actually had to put down and read a cheesy romance book or two because this book is filled with darkness and at points it's just plain...bleak and depressing. Don't get me wrong, it's well written and everything, it's many parts where painful to read, the author really doesn't pull his punches, but it makes it hard for you to read the book because at points, I'd have to take a break and I really didn't want to pick it up again, but I was determined to finish it because I'd enjoyed the first book so much! I wasn't really expecting this level of dark and depressing for the book, nor the amount of painful scenes to read. 

That's all I can really say without reaching in to spoilers! Don't get me wrong, the books are very good, it's just this one is kind of really, really grim! 

Friday, 25 March 2016

Review: The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen

The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Michael O'Mara Books!

"My hair was at least tidy, which was all my ambition."

Thanks to the Classics Challenge I've become a bit of an Austen fangirl, I LOVED Pride and Prejudice and I'm determined to slowly work my way through her other books, I'm thinking Sense and Sensibility next or maybe Emma! This little volume caught my eye, because Austen is insanely quotable and here we have all her quotes in one place. But it's not just made up of book quotes, this book also contains quotes from her personal correspondence giving you a rather fascinating insight in to who Jane Austen was. 

The introduction on this book was fantastic, there is plenty of information on Austen that you may or may not already know, but like...I had often wondered about her romances in real life, and the introduction told me all about it, as well as providing some context for the letters. It also gives you some incredible insight in to her life and her writing, her wit and her way of seeing things shown in her books. There's even a brief note on her novels, telling you when they where written as well as when they where published, and the other names the novels had before they where published, very important information considering we have letters in this book! 

"I shall not tell you anything more of William Digweed's china, as your silence on the subject makes you unworthy of it."

The quotes from the book where all expertly picked, they where all ones that I would have picked and marked out myself, and all pertained to some different aspect of life. But it was the quotes from her letters that fascinated and intrigued me the most. You get so much insight in to who she was as a person, and her life and her relationships. I'd love to be able to read the letters in their entirety! Jane Austen is funny, witty, and profound in equal measure. 

Now, it's not just a book of quotes. Well, I is, BUT all of the quotes are organised in to different sections such as....

Early Exuberances- All quotes from her early work, which I've not had the pleasure of reading! 

"It was the peculiar misfortune of this woman [Elizabeth] to have had bad ministers - since wicked as she herself was, she could not have committed such extensive mischief, had not these vile and abandoned men connived at, and encouraged her in her crimes." 

History- There is actual Austen, actually narrating ACTUAL HISTORY. Or well...her thoughts on various Kings and Queens. It was brilliant and I'd totally read more of that! 

"Our ball on Thursday was a very poor one, only eight couple and but twenty-three people in the room; but it was not the ball's fault."

Balls, Gowns and Other Fashions- Her comments on fashions of the time and balls, they're not as much fun as they seem! 

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

Books and Writing- Here we have all the bookish quotes you could possibly desire. As well as quotes from her letters giving you some insight in to publishing at the time and her thoughts on it all. 

"Mr Richard Harvey is going to be married; but as it is a great secret and only known to half the neighbourhood, you must not mention it."

The Marriage Market- This section had some letter quotes with some very intriguing gossip. Just saying! 

"I will not say that your mulberry-trees are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive."

Family- The quotes from the letters in this section where just fascinating, you could see what her relationships where like with her family members. 

There where a few more sections, I've just mentioned the ones I found to be the most interesting! There's some sections that have lots of gossip about people who I do not know, but it did make me chuckle! This is a must for any Austen fan! 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Classics: The Woman in White

The Woman in White
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy Courtesy of the Publisher, Alma Classics! 

In love with the beautiful heiress Laura Fairlie, the impoverished art teacher Walter Hartright finds his romantic desires thwarted by her previous engagement to Sir Percival Glyde. But all is not as it seems with Sir Percival, as becomes clear when he arrives with his eccentric friend Count Fosco. The mystery and intrigue are further deepened by the ghostly appearances of a woman in white, apparently harbouring a secret that concerns Sir Percival’s past.

A tale of love, madness, deceit and redemption, boasting sublime Gothic settings and pulse-quickening suspense, The Woman in White was the first best-selling Victorian sensation novel, sparking off a huge trend in the fiction of the time with its compulsive, fascinating narrative.

I'm back with another beautiful cover and wonderfully presented edition from Alma Classics! I think the thing I like most about the covers for these books is that while they're simple...they're eye catching and beautiful and I can't stop staring at them. I'm not trying to work out how to get the marks from my grubby fingerprints off the cover! 

I was never too sure what The Woman In White was all about, I'm well aware that Dickens and Collins where buddies, and that sparked my curiosity, but whenever seeing the book mentioned I wasn't entirely sure of it's genre. I for some reason thought it was a ghost story, it's not! It's a very early thriller/suspense novel as you will be told by, well, anywhere. God knows how I came up with ghost story! 

I'm not going to lie, while looking at the portraits in the front of this edition...I think the author looks a tad bit creepy! It was nice to see his lady friends though, seeing as they're mentioned in another part of the edition a fair bit! I also know what his house looks like when I go blue plaque hunting! Assuming, that there is actually a blue plaque on his house! We shall see! I would also like to mention that his handwriting was downright atrocious and I feel for anyone who had to decipher it! 

This edition informs me that the story in this particular edition is based on the earliest version of the book, when it was serialised in Dickens' All The Year Round, and collated with editions up to 1861 to make sure it's all up to date, which explained why there are two different prefaces, both of which are very interesting! I enjoyed reading the authors reaction to people's reaction to the story and his characters and how it was originally serialised and so on! I find it all kind of fascinating, to see what the sentiments where on the book! 

I eagerly dove in to the story, and I have to say...this may just be one of my favourite classics! Don't get me wrong, there where a couple of bits where not much was going on in the beginning..but once things got going the sense of foreboding builds up and you get such a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach when you're reading and then things happen, and then you're right there with one of the narrators on his quest for justice! The book ends so satisfyingly as well. I fully blame Game of Thrones for my insistence that bad guys get what's coming to them! Or maybe I should blame other novels for making it so that I expect baddies to get their comeuppance! 

The thing that hooked me first, was Walters friend Pesca. Purely because he was so dramatic/theatrical and kind of hilarious! He had me chuckling quite a bit and I was actually sad he wasn't in the book more! So he hooked me in, and then we have The Woman in White make her first appearance and my brain was like OMG ghost, but it swiftly became apparent that I actually know nothing about this book, and my brain needed to pipe down with what it thought it knew! Immediately I was invested in the book. It was a little bit daunting because it's just shy of 600 pages, but I had so many questions from the start that I needed to have answered...who is this woman? What's going on? How did she escape? Why was she there in the first place? 

There's intrigue from the start, and I found the writing to be very compelling, especially as certain narratives left you with a sense of impending doom, shall we say. Some more than others, anyway! Certain parts of the book gave me a creepy feeling, and there was mystery all over the place, not surprising considering that this is considered to be one of the very first detective stories! 

You may have noticed that I said narratives, plural. Yep. There's multiple narratives and I wasn't sure why at first, but as the book goes on, you start to realise something very bad is going to happen and that these narratives written after the fact, most likely are evidence or something. We mostly have Walter's narrative, he tells the story in the beginning and then at the end in a couple of different parts. I actually liked Walter, I felt for the poor guy, and I liked that he ended up investigating everything himself, something which he may not have usually done. His determination was admirable, as was his intelligence and cunning at the end, I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for him to be outwitted, but nope! He got him in the end! His narrative wasn't all thrills all the time, in the beginning, after the encounter with WIW, it's all him teaching the ladies, and the romance developing and so on, his later narrative is more action packed, and I felt like his character was a lot less....what's the word...I'm not sure, I just felt like his character had improved from his time away! 

The next narrative we had was the Fairlie Lawyer, Vincent Gilmore....his was efficient and to the point and left us with the chilling sentence, "No daughter of mine should have been married to any man alive under such a settlement as I was compelled to make for Laura Fairlie"considering he repeated that.....oooomminouuuuusss! 

Next up we have Marian Halcombe's narrative, she is the half sister of Laura, her narrative is told through her diary and this is the narrative when things really start to happen. They take a rather chilling turn, and I was on the edge of my seat at multiple points. Things really started to go wrong and I was just as frustrated as Marian was, a lot of things where happening and I was like "oh no, not good....really not good" and I was just as in the dark as Marian herself! From this point...the plot thickens and the intricacies start to show themselves. 

Mr Fairlies narrative...dear lord. It was kind of funny to be honest, because his character is so ridiculous, or so I think. It was funny right up until the end when it got so foreboding. We then go to Eliza, the housekeeper at Blackwater's narrative. Hers was my least favourite I have to say, "my husband this" "my husband that", she went off on one once or twice and kept quoting the Bible and so  on. I kinda didn't like her because she defended Fosco and the characters clearly up to no good as well, but she did take a stand against Percival and she stuck with Marian and Laura. She also left us with an even more ominous feeling. I didn't trust the narrative of Fosco's cook at all. At this point my brain was reverting back to history classes and assessing the narratives as if they where sources, working out which where reliable and which where not, and why and so on. Mostly because at this point it became obvious that they where related to some sort of legal thing, whether a trial or something else. Fosco's narrative? Just as infuriating and flamboyant as the man himself. 

There are a couple of other narratives but spoilers! Plus they where totally reliable. So as you see we have a fair few narratives, and I loved the changes between them, each narrative handed off to the next narrator perfectly, at the right time! The story was continued when another character had left the situation, or gaps where filled in where one narrator didn't know something and so on. It created the story fantastically, as well as building up the suspense and the intrigue and at times confusing you as much as the characters so you weren't entirely sure what, exactly, had gone on! 

I liked that each narrative had a very distinct voice that stuck out from the others. Fosco for example, had a very flamboyant way of narrating. Marian was intelligent and logical but hampered by being female, Walter could do what she could not in a lot of cases, and was just as intelligent. You got a feel for the character and what they where like through their narrative, as well as through the eyes of the others. 

As you can probably guess, we have a fantastic cast of characters and each of them is quite lively! I will admit, I enjoyed reading about all of the characters...including the bad ones! They where all just written so well, and even the ones you hated you had to admit...they where brilliantly written. 

I liked Laura and I had the most horrible feeling that something bad was going to happen to her that just got worse and worse over the course of the book, mostly because Percival was so freaking shady! I was mentally shouting at her not to do it, because I figured I knew what he was going to do. I mean...I wasn't far off, but I was still surprised! I was hoping for a happy ending for her, and not entirely sure she'd get it! Although, I didn't really understand her logic with the whole engagement thing. 

Marian was one of my favourite characters, I loved her! She was a female, but she was a lot more outspoken than most females of the time. I loved reading about her stating her opinions and chattering to Walter or other characters. She was so fiercely intelligent and brave, and determined to save her sister no matter what. She was quite the detective herself, actually! 

I need to mention Mr. Fairlie because....what even?! He has to be read to be believed. I still can't quite decide if he's just over dramatic or incredibly weird. He's very selfish though, and I rolled my eyes so many times whenever he was in a scene, and half the time had to laugh at his ridiculousness. I'm surprised no-one had bumped him off. 

On to Sir Percival Glyde, the shadiest of the shady. I knew he was shady as soon as the dog growled at him and wouldn't go near him. I don't trust anyone that a dog doesn't like. I really didn't like him at all, he was so slimy, and has his whole gentlemanly facade up to get what he wanted. There was something not right about him and then his true colours are revealed, and what a bad guy. I really thought he was an incredibly terrible baddie until it became evident he was actually kind of pathetic and a little bit stupid. 

Fosco, clearly the brains behind everything. Constantly having to reign in Percival. I wasn't sure of him at first, he knows how to talk his way around things, he's super intelligent and even I was a bit taken in by him at first. I mean...he was doing all those nice things...his true nature is revealed more and more as it is to the narrators, and he is SUCH a nasty piece of work. 

Like I said, the sense of foreboding builds more and more as you read, and the book gets more and more chilling. As you're reading each new narrative, you're making more and more connections and putting the pieces together, but still missing a few. I actually found the book scary at one point, because I started to think about being a woman in that time period, and everything that would have entailed, and reading about what happened to Laura..I mean..I wouldn't be entirely surprised if similar circumstances had actually happened in the past. Women where so powerless in that time, it's scary. Anyway, I had a few ideas of what was going to happen, but the closest I came to being right was to only being half right! I ended up being surprised so many times, except with Anne! 

The thing that strikes me about the book, is that usually this time period is really romanticised, and I'm not entirely sure why. When you read other books such as Austen and it's all romance and everything is great and okay maybe you might be inclined to romanticise the time period. But then if you read a book like this...hell no. You have a woman who has to marry a man over 20 years older than her, who in order to marry him has to agree to his terms which means leaving her money to him when she dies instead of who she wanted because her Uncle said so. You then see how she's treated by said husband, how she and Marian are thwarted at every turn in getting the help they seek. I felt so frustrated on their behalf because there where a lot of things they couldn't do, and more things they couldn't do because they where female, and he was SIR Percival. Honestly, it makes me think that I am SO GLAD I didn't live in that time! 

Once again Alma have saved me, and made reading a classic super easy! The notes on the text are a GODSEND. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I would have understood a lot of it without the notes, but with the notes, I felt like I could fully comprehend everything that was being said or implied. I got the references and so on. I feel like if I hadn't had the notes to help me understand some of the phrases and references, I would have stumbled through some of it missing the point! I am I supposed to know about bathing machines or what exactly bills at three months means?! Thank you Alma! 

I particularly enjoyed reading all of the information on the author at the back of the book. I knew even less about this author than I did about Austen or Bronte! All I knew was that he was friends with Dickens because I'd stumbled across a book called Drood! This edition provides you with all the information you could want on the guy, and he was certainly unusual. His situation with his lady friends in particular! I wouldn't be pleased if I was Martha! I also winced and was glad I was eating while reading about his illness and his "agonised shrieks" *shudder* 

I also loved the section on his works, that summarised each novel of his! I enjoyed this one so much that I'm thinking I should probably check out The Moonstone next! Although, I ended up totally spoiling The Woman In White for myself. It was like 1am, and I'd been reading it and reading it and finally managed to tear myself away and was kind of absent-mindedly browsing the back of the book, and then ya know...accidentally read the synopsis for The Woman in White and found out what was going to happen. I mean..maybe it was a win because instead of picking it back up like I was debating, I did the right thing and went to sleep, safe in the knowledge that justice would be served! Although, when I read the rest of the book I was kinda like....but whyyyyy did they get off so easy! No-one ever found out about "Sir" Percival and his little secret! 

The Woman in White is a fantastically gripping story, that pulls you in with the growing sense of foreboding and the narrative style. The plot is incredibly intricate, and very well thought out and executed on the authors part! I enjoyed reading about the characters both good and bad, and ya know..ridiculous in one case! Despite being an intimidating near 600 forget about all of that as you're reading and working out what's actually going on, and trying to guess what will happen next. This edition makes the book easy to read, and easy to understand the context of the book and the time it was written, as well as allowing you to get to know the author of the book a little better too! 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Review: World Mythology in Bite-Sized Chunks

World Mythology in Bite-Sized Chunks
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Michael O'Mara Books!

A masterful introduction to world mythology, shedding light on the impact it has had on cultures past and present and untangling the complex web of deities, monsters and myths. From the signs of the zodiac to literature and art, the influence of world mythology can still be seen in everyday life. With a stunning array of fascinating tales, World Mythology in Bite-sized Chunks gets to grips with the ancient stories of Aboriginal, Sumerian, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Maori, Greek, Roman, Indian, Norse and Japanese cultures, encompassing legends from the most diverse societies and the most ancient cultures from across the globe. Learn about why Odin, the Father of the Gods in Norse mythology, was so keen to lose an eye, the importance of the Osiris myth of Ancient Egypt, and much more besides. Entertaining, authoritative and incisive, this is an enlightening journey into the fascinating world of mythology.

I am completely obsessed with mythology and eager to learn as much as I can about it, but sometimes reading a huge book with pages of very tiny writing is a bit off putting no matter how interesting you find the subject matter! This book is most definitely the best way to do it! You learn all of the important bits of information in a paragraph or so! Not to mention that it had all the bits I'm most interested in, like the author knew which bits of mythology people would be most interested in, from the well known to the slightly lesser known! 

Each section for each country tells you where the stories came from/where they are rooted, as well as more about the people of the time the stories, and more about the time in general! So you get way more information than just the mythology, you get a context to it, and some of the meaning behind the stories is explained in with the mythology itself. It really helps you to understand the people and their legends, as well as pointing out links between similar stories in different cultures, which I thought was a nice touch as some of them where very similar! 

There's some illustrations to break up the text, showing you the Mayan calendar and tablets and so on, which added a nice visual aspect to it so you could fully picture what was being described in the book accurately. 

The book is very easy to read, and it's laid out nicely, with a country, information on the people, and then different sections for different parts of the mythology, all comprised of a paragraph or two. Each section concisely gives you the story and manages to evoke a feel and mental image to go with it, each has all you need to know about the fascinating mythology mentioned. It was genuinely interesting to see how different cultures had similar gods, but different stories. Some of the stories actually could make sense and you kinda wished was the real story, others where a little bit silly! 

The narrative was entertaining, the author isn't afraid to make a witty remark to give the text a more fun feel and keep it interesting! He also doesn't pull any punches, and tells it like it is! Now I've said my thoughts on the book in general, but I thought I'd give you a bit more information on each section! 

Australian Mythology
This section is Aboriginal, and mostly creation stories, as well as having information on the Maori Gods! There's even a handy chart! I've never really known much about Aboriginal mythology let alone Maori, so I found all of this information fantastic! 

The mythology in this section has been pieced together from fragments of text, and had some very interesting information on their tablets, as well as Gods! 

To be honest, there's not much I don't know about Egyptian mythology and what I do know about it was present in this book...along with some of the few bits I had no idea about! The creation story for example. Yes I'm surprised I haven't come across it before either. There's a family tree of the Gods which was a nice touch, and it was brilliant to see it all laid out. I really didn't know Egyptians thought writing down bad things may bring them to life, that was an interesting little tidbit and explained a lot about some things. I enjoyed reading the authors narrative on Set and Osiris's spat, followed swiftly by round two with Horus subbing in for Osiris. 

Another area of mythology I know a fair bit about, but not as much as I would like! There's lots of fables in here, there's a bit about dragons (I love dragons okay!), we learn more about the Chinese New Year! I knew some of the information about it but not all, and certainly not much about what each Zodiac sign means! 

American Indian
I've picked up bits of American Indian mythology here and there, but there was plenty in this section I didn't know as well as some cutting and validated remarks from the author. I found the significance of circles particularly interesting, as well as their creation story! As well as The Sun Dance...considering a festival stole that title! I liked the brief section on it in modern culture, the author really doesn't pull  his punches here! 

South and Central America
Another source of fascination for me, this section is divided in to Mayans, Aztecs and Inca's and pretty much had the sum of what I knew, plus a couple of other bits, the World Tree and all of the Gods in more detail, sacrifices, and the creation story. 

And we come to the other section that, alongside Ancient Egypt, I know the most about! This was the biggest section of the book, and there's nothing left untold! The Gods and Goddesses....thank GOD there was a family tree, because even I get confused sometimes! I knew next to nothing about the Muses, so it was nice to see them get a mention. I didn't know all of Hercules's Twelve Labours either, or if I did, I didn't know much detail! There's also plenty on various monsters and heroes and so on. If you loved the Disney movie as much as I did, or reading any other book with greek mythology in it, you might recognise some things, although this is the proper version, not the Disney kid friendly version.

I never quite realised how much the Romans had pinched from the Greeks, not going to lie! I enjoyed learning about the Romans, because I often get things muddled with them, and I've realised there's two creation stories...which is probably why! As well as the pinching of Greek Gods and Goddesses. This had a lot that I didn't know!

Norse mythology is a recent fascination to me, courtesy of ya know...Thor...and Magnus Chase. Magnus Chase had a lot of information about it, and sparked my interest and this section told me everything I need to know! We have another handy family tree, and tonnes of information on the Gods and Goddesses, and ya know....the end of the world! 

As you can see, each section has much the same, gods, goddesses, creation stories and so on, but it's all laid out in an appealing and easy to read format, you'll see some things you know, have other things expanded on, and learn new things. For such a small book there is so much information crammed in here, without the need for tiny type! 

Wishing For Wednesday #83

Hey guys!
Welcome to another WFW! This week I have more exciting reads to share with you guys!
First up I've got a new book, the first in a new series actually, from an author I love, and it sounds completely brilliant! I'm sure you'll all agree! 
Second is a novella bind up I think we've all been waiting for eagerly! I can't wait to get my hands on it and learn more about Farley in particular, it was one of my wishes after reading Red Queen! 

The Veil 

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

The Veil is out April 14th, pre-order your
Add it to your

Cruel Crown

Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Queen Song

Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars

Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

Cruel Crown is out April 21st, pre-order your
Add it to your!
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