Februrary Wrap Up


 
It is that time of year again to sum up what I have read in the month. This month – in 29 days – I have read 6 books. I’m quite happy with that!

I am carrying over two books to next month and they are both eBooks, and will take me ages to get through, as I struggle to read eBooks. Those books are:

-         A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham

-         Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

But without further ado, here are the books that I read in February:

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige – 3 Stars

&

Dorothy Must Die Stories Vol. 1-3 by Danielle Paige– 3 Stars

I’ve done a full review on the Dorothy Must Die series which I will link here, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it. I only gave these two books 3 stars as the pacing was almost irritating and I think there were some plot holes within the story but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I am looking forward to reading The Yellow Brick Wars and the next set of Dorothy Must Die Stories when they’re released in the next coming weeks, so that’s a sign of an enjoyable series.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – 5 Stars

 
This book has been on my wish list since before I started Book blogging. Probably from the moment I first watched the movie. It was the first movie to make me cry, ever, and I was so embarrassed by it but also so moved. I was expecting to find a lot of changes between the book and the film and to be disappointed because the movie had such an effect on me, but nope. The book was just as good, if not better, at creating the scene and solidifying the relationship between Jesse and Leslie. Such a beautiful young friendship between a boy and a girl, with such a tragic end. It still plays on my mind!

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – 3 Stars

 
I am currently writing a dystopian short story for my final piece at university, and I wanted to read this book, and several others, of that genre to inspire me in the art of writing realism and dystopian. This book is often described as a modern classic and I can understand why because of the story but I must admit to finding it a bit dull and lacklustre in places. There is never a real understanding of why all of these things are happening, but the structure of the piece reminded me a lot of Station Eleven with the constant flipping over time and space. The protagonist remains the narrator throughout but I actually found her quite annoying. Still well-written and an important book but not one I’d think I’d read again.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 4 Stars

 
Reader…I read it. I actually read this little novella! My friends convinced me to watch the movie – which in hindsight I wished I hadn’t done before reading the book – but because I did see the movie and I learnt about the characters – I really enjoyed Leonardo DiCaprio’s personification of Gatsby – I felt inclined to read the book, so I did.

It’s another one of those classics where I understand why it is, there are a lot of strong themes and moral codes, but I think what really makes it a classic is the characterisations that F. Scott Fitzgerald was able to write in such a short piece of writing. You can smell Gatsby’s expensive cologne, see Daisy’s charm dripping off the page and feel the sarcastic vulnerability of Jordan Baker in all of his words. It was a really fascinating read.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – 5 Stars

 
This was a re-read, and quite frankly it is one of my favourite books. Ever. The story is set in 1964 South Carolina, in the Boatwright sister’s home. Lily Owens, a white 14 year old girl, runs away with her black maid in search of answers to who her mother was, why she ‘left’ her as her father claims, and if Lily is worthy of forgiveness for shooting her mother dead. It is a really beautiful story filled with such oozing love it is hard not to full in love with the characters. Set in a time of great racial turmoil in America, Sue Monk Kidd effortlessly weaves together a story of family, race, friendship and religion into a 300 page story that I just love. It’s beautiful.

They are all of the books that I read this month and I enjoyed pretty much all of them. I am looking forward to getting through some more next month, maybe even reading my first proper eBook and another Ali Smith…we’ll see. Until then…

Happy Reading!

25 Bookish Facts About Me


 
This is a very popular list to complete on Booktube and I thought I would complete on my blog today...

 
25 Bookish Facts About Myself:

1.      I prefer reading Paperback books to Hardbacks, but I prefer buying Hardbacks.

2.      If I don’t read the sequel of a book, or the sequel of a sequel etc, within a few days of completing the 1st or 2nd book, I am really unlikely to finish the series!

3.      I have not not read a book straight after finishing another one since I was 6 years old.

4.      My name is Eleanor...and I am a book-buying addict.

5.      I have never listened to an audiobook
 

6.      I really struggle to read eBooks as I get distracted by other things on my iPad.

7.      I used to dog-ear the pages of my books when I finished reading for the night – Horror!

8.      I cannot stand film-cover books.

9.      I buy 90% of my books from Charity Shops

10. I am less likely to read a book with a broken spine then I am to read a book with a perfectly intact spine

11. I have a collection of bookmarks

12. I only own 2 signed books…

13. I have met 2 authors and been tweeted by 2 authors.

14. I have written 3 novels myself – and I want to be a published writer one day.

15. I work at a Literary Agency as an intern and I have the amazing job of getting to email and write notes to writers, including Giovanna Fletcher, Carrie-Hope Fletcher and Liz Trenow.

16. I hated The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
 

17. My favourite book genre is Historical Fiction – any period up until 1989.

18. I do not lend books to anyone. I had to steal a book back from my ‘friend’ after they ‘borrowed’ it for 2 years.

19. I always begin craving chocolate when I’m reading…

20. I prefer floppy books to stiff books (The innuendos of this sentence just kills me)
 

21. I rarely read Over-Hyped books. If someone tells me ‘You’ll love it’ I usually hate it.

22. This year I want to read 60 books for my 2016 Goodreads Challenge

23. I cannot listen to music whilst I’m reading.

24. I do judge a book by its cover…and its spine…and its size…

25. I will never read a bind-up because it feels like too much pressure.
 
 

Those are 25 bookish facts about me. It was a fairly easy list – believe it or not.
 
 I’d be really interested to read everyone else’s bookish facts about them!
Comment below or send me links to your own blogs!

Happy Reading!


10 Books I've Read Because of Booktubes


 
I mention ‘Booktube’ a lot on my blog and I’m going to talk about it some more! Booktube is a youtube community, in which everyone makes videos about/discussing/hauling books! There is controversy, fun, drama and great suggestions, and it is strangely addictive.

I follow about 50 Booktube Channels and get most of my book recommendations from this community and I love it!

Today I thought I would list the books that I picked up because of Booktube, and don’t think I would have picked up if it wasn’t for Booktube. So without further ado:

1.      Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

This was one of my favourite reads of 2014/2015! I had never heard of Rainbow Rowell or read much contemporary before I started this blog and watched Booktube channels. This story was amazeballs! I loved it. It made me cry, smile, cheer and high five the air. The characters are amazing – a plus sized ginger girl and a Korean-Asian boy fall in love! – It’s such a rare gem and it’s beautiful. I loved it.

2.      Weird Things Customer’s Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell (Actually everything by Jen Campbell)
 
Now Jen Campbell is an actual booktuber, but she is also a poet and writer. I picked up this book after seeing it on various ‘Bookish Gift’ videos and I loved it. I picked up the sequel, and then I picked up her poetry collections and quite frankly they’re some of my favourite Non-Fiction/Poetry Pamphlets ever! They’re so well written and Jen is just an amazing orator when it comes to Books as well as a wonderful writer.

3.      The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern
 
This was one of my favourite – if not my favourite! – book of 2015. It still gives my butterflies to think about this wonderful historical/fantasy/YA book! I heard about this quite a lot of Booktube, but mostly everyone was showing the cover as it is such a beautiful book! I am really, really happy I read this. I adore it.

4.      The Public Library by Ali Smith
I only read this book recently, it’s not my favourite book ever but it was good and I’m glad that Booktube has introduced me to Ali Smith’s writing. A lot of people rave about her and I have picked up two more her books to read in the next few weeks – How to Be Both & The Accidental – both of which are considered to be her best works. I can’t wait to find out if the reviews are true.

5.      Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
 
This is a series which I normally wouldn’t have touched with a barge pole, simply because it not a genre I would have ever read – Sci-Fi/Horror – but I thought it was really good! And I definitely need to pick up the sequel. This story is unique as it uses real-life photos to further the plot, but it was very well-done and incredibly compelling. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to read outside of their comfort zone.

6.      Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
 
I won’t go into too much detail on this book – I’ve just published a post on this book series – but this was one of the first books I heard about on Booktube. It was part of a controversy over Amazon for a while – just type in the book name in youtube to find out more – but I have really enjoyed this series. It’s one of my favourite story retellings ever.

7.      Cinder by Marissa Myer
 
Another series I was introduced to by Booktube. I don’t anyone who is not a part or an avid watcher of Booktube that has heard of this series, so I think it is very much a Booktube-Favourite. I did enjoy Cinder, but I don’t think it was ‘all-that’. I have the two sequels, which I hope to get to eventually, but they’re not as grabbing as I thought they would be. I don’t do well with ‘fairy-tale retellings’ it seems.

8.      Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue
 
Carrying on from the above post – I don’t do well with fairy-tale retellings. This is a short story collection of such tales with a lesbian theme throughout. It was a collection suggested by many, who wanted to spread Fairy-Tale love, but it wasn’t for me. However I’m glad I have read it and have explored more short-story collections over the years.

9.      We Were Liars by e.lockhart

 
I read this book early last year and I thought it was okay. It was quite hyped up a few years and divided Booktube. I was part of the ‘meh’ side of the divide. I saw the big twist coming within the book, but it was well-written and interesting story. This is a YA book for an audience who like mystery, friendships and a bit of romance. It supposed to be a bit of a weepy book, although I wasn’t that moved, unfortunately.

10. The Monsters Call by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd
 
It is a universal fact that all Booktubers have talked about Patrick Ness at least one point. Okay…I may be exaggerating, but it seems that way. He has a lot of well-respected books but this was the one that seemed to have the most praise. I picked it up and devoured it. It’s a short story but packs a punch. Incredibly moving, beautifully written and fascinatingly imaginative. I will cherish this novel.

There are 10 books that I have read because of Booktube. There are many more! And I will continue with these kinds of post if that is something you enjoy.

Let me know if you enjoy Booktube as much as I do, or think I should check out particular channels!

Happy Reading!

Dorothy Must Die Series Review


 
Author: Danielle Paige is the authoress of the Dorothy Must Die series, as well as part of the award writing team behind the Netflix series ‘Hemlock Grove’.

Rating: Dorothy Must Die #1 – ****

             The Wicked With Rise #2 - ***

              Dorothy Must Dies Stories (Prequel Novellas 1-3) - TBC

Review:

Dorothy Must Die:
 
Like most of my books I have had Dorothy Must Die on my bookcase for quite a while, and on a whim recently I picked it up.

At first I was really disappointed with the writing of the book. The first two chapters are set in modern Kansas and there were so many under-written stereotypes: The pregnant prom queen, the drunk-slutty mother, the trailer-trash daughter etc. The writing was basic and slow and I never really got a concise picture of what Kansas-life was like for the main character Amy Gunn.

Then the story transfer to Oz.

Oz was very well-written. Paige uses all of the characters from the original books by L Frank Baum, referencing even the smallest of characters and all of the places on the Oz map. It is really lovely.

I found the characters fascinating – Indigo, Ollie, Mombi, Gert…they border from Goth Munchkins to Wicked Witches who aren’t so wicked.

Amy Gunn takes over the role of Dorothy within the books. Arriving in Kansas by tornado and having to work out who she is and what she wants most of – but the main difference is that she has to become Wicked to destroy Dorothy, who, in the last 100 years, has become the most evil queen that Oz has ever known.

 
The story’s weakness is its pacing. It lingers to long in one place whilst being incredibly too short in others. Also, Paige reminds me of George R.R. Martin when it comes to characters – none are indispensable. You never know who’s going to die next. And pretty much as soon as you come to find a character interesting or think that they might hold the key to the next part of the story: they’re dead.

All in all this book is really interesting re-telling and is a fun read! By the end of the book I was gripped! I finished Dorothy Must Die during the first half of a train journey and was so annoyed at myself for not getting the sequel to it, in preparation to move on from the cliff-hanger at the end of the first book.

The Wicked Will Rise:
 
The first thing I noticed about this book was how much smaller it was to Dorothy Must Die. The first book was 452 pages whereas the sequel is only 293 pages. I don’t know about you, but to me a sequel is normally longer or at least a similar length. Because of the shortness of the book, in comparison to the first, it is a fairly quick read. As such I think was disappointed, as I didn’t get engrossed as much as I did the first.

Also, once again, there was a problem with pacing! Something massive happens in the first fifty pages and then the pace slips.  More big things happen, suddenly and without warning, yet they’re underwritten and so finish too quickly and mostly don’t give us the feelings that they should. It’s very odd.

The story, however, is nonetheless still gripping. Paige’s characters are definitely the saving grace of these books, I just love them! In this book we’re introduced to: the flying monkey queen with attitude, Polychrome, who’s the daughter of the rainbow and several other eccentric characters.

All the build-up of the major ‘evil’ characters in the first book is basically forgotten during this novel and I think the character of Dorothy becomes weaker over the course of this book. In the first she is a majorly evil character with a vindictive, jealous and abusive persona, whereas in the sequel she becomes a bit like a feeble follower – to who I won’t say.

That brings me on nicely to the Novellas that Paige has also published.

Dorothy Must Die Stories:
 
This collection holds three short stories called: ‘No Place Like Oz’, ‘The Witch Must Burn’ and ‘The Wizard Returns’.

The first story revolves around Dorothy, before she returned to Oz, when she’s 16 years old and living back in Kansas. Like Amy Gunn her life has taken a turn for the worst and she is really unhappy. Then, after her disastrous 16th birthday party, magical red shoes appear and she is able to send herself, and her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, too Oz.
 
This story shows the growth of Dorothy from the happy-go-lucky Kansas girl in the original series, into the evil queen of Paige’s sequels which is really interesting, and also explains why she is also such a push-over in The Wicked Will Rise. However, if I hadn’t have read this prequel then the story in The Wicked Will Rise would not have made sense.

I’m still working my way through the prequels: they’re interesting but not amazing. Like most prequel novellas you’re merely getting a look into what happened before the real story begins.

Overall I would recommend this series to people who enjoy re-telling’s and YA fantasy. I have enjoyed it, particularly the first book. But the series does have its weakness and the main one is just pacing. But that’s not the end of the world, it’s just odd.

The final book in the series: The Yellow Brick War, is being published by HarperCollins on the 15 March 2016 (dates vary according to country) – I will be purchasing it straight away – and, I’m happy to say, it is 432 pages! And introduces a very important character…think green ;)

 
Thanks for reading my review, and please do check out Dorothy Must Die and let me know what you think!

Happy Reading!

My Classics TBR


 
I realised, upon looking at my 2015 reading list, that I read only one classic last year. That is shameful, at least to me. So this year I've to remedy this!

I have chosen 5 classic books that I would like to get to in 2016. Hopefully I'll end up reading more, but here are the five that I have added to my To-Be-Read list:


1.      The Great Gatsby by F. Scott-Fitzgerald

 

The greatest American novel of all time, according to most websites. I have never had much interest in this novel, but on Valentine’s Day a few friends of mine made me watch the movie and it actually wasn’t that bad. Since the book is only about 160 pages long it’s a really short read, and since seeing the movie I’m actually quite intrigued to read the story…

2.      Emma by Jane Austen

 
I started this book about 3 years ago and got halfway through it before I (stupidly) leant it to friend and I lost interest. Why did I lend a book halfway through reading it? I don’t know! But still, I remember enjoying up until that point – falling in love with Mr Knightley 100% - so I would like to finish that book this year!

3.      Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

 
This is a children’s classic, and the first book in a series of 11, I believe. It’s quite a short read, which is always reassuring on these kinds of TBR’s, and I like the idea of the story. It is set in a fictional early-19th century era and a pack of wolves, recently emigrated from Russia to Britain, are terrorising the rural countryside. I don’t know much more than that but some people have described it to me as a Dickensian tale of villainy. That sounds quite appealing!

4.      Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I am not kidding when I say: at least one person reads this book on every train journey in Britain! I recently found the vintage classic, red-spine edition, of this  book and scooped it up just to see what all the fuss is about! I’ll be getting to this soon I feel. Most likely when I am on a train.

5.      Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

 
I have never read Catcher in the Rye, and I think it is so hyped that I don’t think I’ll ever read it…so, I’m going to attempt to get into Salinger’s writing through another book: Franny and Zooey. I have had this book for a while, again it is quite short book but supposedly a good read – and it is pink! – Hopefully I'll enjoy it!

So there are 5 classics I would like to get to this year. Hopefully I’ll read more classics on top of these, but we’ll see. It is only February so I’ve got time…just wait until October when I still haven’t read any of these…hmm…We’ll see.

Happy Reading!


The Book Lover's Tag


 
I have been a bit sparse with my book blogging lately, due to my going back and forth from home to university and leaving my laptop where I couldn’t get it to it, so first off: apologies.

Today post, however, is a book tag: The Book Lover’s Tag. A fairly simple yet fun tag that I thought I would do. I tag anyone who would like to do it also J

1.   Do you remember how you developed a love of reading?

 
I have always loved reading, even as a child I remember sitting on the landing when it was well-passed my bedtime, because it was the only place with a light on and I wanted to read for a little longerthose Mr Men books were just addictive! But my first love experience with reading: Year 8, in English silent reading,  I read ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson-Burnett, and I couldn’t wait to pick up another book and I read some more!

2.   Where you do usually read?
 
Normally in bed. I read every night before I go to sleep even if it just a page to wind down, and in the day I will usually read sitting on my bed. I do read a lot on trains too, because I do a lot of travelling to my internship and to my home every now and then.

3.   Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
I used to be very much a ‘one book at a time’ kind of girl, but with university and changing from home to uni a lot, I often end reading more than one. Also if I’m reading a series and I need a break I’ll carry on reading the series but I’ll read another stand-alone book at the same time.

4.   What is your favourite genre?
 
I cannot answer this question well. I don’t have a favourite I read what I fancy, be it Young Adult or Adult Dystopian or Historical or Classic!

5.   What genre will you not read?
Erotica. Perhaps Horror, although I’m starting to read a few horror books nowbut rarely. But never Erotica.

6.   Do you have a favourite book?
Yes. I have many. ErmApache by Tanya Landman, The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow RowellSO MANY!

7.  What is the worst book you’ve ever read?

 
The worst book I’ve ‘read’ would be one that I’ve not actually finished, in which case: Starshine, I believe it was called. It was World War One novel with a lovely cover and great blurb, truly terrible beyond terrible writing! The worst book I’ve completed isKetchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher. I really disliked this book!

8.   What is the biggest book you’ve ever read?

 
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I read this when I was 16 years old, for GCSE’s, and really enjoyed it! It was over 1000 pages long the movie is my favourite movie ever, and is 3.5 hours long (without the extras) it has a really intricate, detailed plot but the writing is very enjoyable also. A bit complicated if you don’t have a grasp of the characters, but I loved it.

9.   What was the last book you bought?

The last book I bought well I actually bought 4 today: ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham, Selected Poems of The Bronte’s & The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.

10. Which do you prefer: Library Books or Buying Books?
Oh buying books! I love to hoard books I want a library one day, that Belle from Beauty and the Beast would be jealous of! (high hopes!)

11. What are you reading now?

I finished ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood just now, so I will be moving onto ‘Dorothy Must Dies: Stories’ by Danielle Paige three of six prequels Danielle Paige has released for her ‘Dorothy Must Die’ series.

12. What are the disadvantage to being a book lover?

There are a few minor ones 1. Nothing ever lives up to the novels. 2. I spend a bit too long in my books instead of being elsewhere/doing other things i.e. eating, sleeping, and doing university work...

13. What are the advantages of being a book lover?
 
Each book has the power to change your perception of life. Magic.

There are my answers to the Book Lover’s Tag. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know some of your answers, or tag your own blogposts in the comments, I’d love to read them!

Happy Reading!