Saturday, 1 August 2015

My Weekly Recap: 01/08/2015

This week has seen me do nothing but work and read. That has been my life this week and one part has sucked - the work - and the other has been amazing - the reading. I have managed to get through a lot of books in the last week, which makes me very happy. And I read two top reads of the year, which makes 4 so far this year out of a large 79! I've received some truly amazing review copies that I am very excited to get to as well.

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan 4/5 ¦ Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan 4/5 ¦ Love Bomb by Jenny McLachlan 4/5 ¦ Sunkissed by Jenny McLachlan 4/5 ¦ Night Owls by Jenn Bennett 5/5 ¦ Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa 5/5

Magnus Chase was such a great read and I rushed through that one, even though it's a huge book! I loved Magnus as a character, he's absolutely hilarious and had me in stitches. I got into this way easier than I did the first Percy Jackson book. That's probably because this one is much more YA, where as the PJ series was more MG. The Ladybirds books were so much fun to read, and very quick to get through - I read all 3 in 2 days and thoroughly enjoyed them. Night Owls and Fans of the Impossible Life both BLEW ME AWAY, so be expecting some glowing/gushing/fangirling reviews for those very soon. And, spoiler, Jenn Bennett agreed to an author interview!!! CAN'T WAIT!!!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston: Review

Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pre-order this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository 
Releases: 22nd October 2015
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.
And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the peace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.
Far away, in their village, her sister is in mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air. 
Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster. 

Disney Aladdin animated GIF
This book, with it's wonderfully beautiful purple cover, is an exquisitely written retelling of Arabian Nights. The retelling part meant very little to me, considering the fact I didn't know the main story of Arabian Nights. My knowledge of that went as far as what I learnt from watching Aladdin as a child. I looked up the story after finishing the book, which now seems like it would have been better to do before I read the book - also helped understand the title, as Arabian Nights is also known as One Thousand and One Nights. You definitely don't need to know the story of Shahryar and Scheherazade to enjoy this story, as they are different in so many ways. But it did help me understand the story and appreciate this story more.

The back of my proof copy came with these words written on the back:
The most dangerous love story ever told.
Before the book arrived, I hadn't been expecting a love story after reading the synopsis for the book. Seeing those words written on the back had me thinking that I had been wrong, and that this was going to be more love story than anything else. It was not. That really threw me off and kept doing so the longer the book went on without there even being one little whiff of a love story. It's not a bad thing, in fact it makes a nice change to read a YA book that doesn't contain a romance storyline taking over the plot. It did mean that I was completely confused as to why they decided to print that on the back of the book. 

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough: Review, Author Interview & Giveaway

Title: The Game of Love and Death
Author: Martha Brockenbrough
Publisher: Scholastic
Buy this book: Amazon (UK) /  Amazon (US) / Book Depository
Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now... Henry and Flora.
For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.
Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?
Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured-a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.
The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone's guess. 

The first I heard of this book was at the Scholastic Blogger Brunch, I was instantly intrigued and eager to read it. I was fascinated by the idea of Love and Death battling for centuries, in a game where death always wins. I wanted to meet these two characters, see what motivated them to play their game, especially Love who was playing a game he had always lost. Love and Death choose their players, and this is where Henry and Flora enter. The game is simple, for Love to win, the two must choose each other over the cost of everything else. If they don't, Death wins, and that will not bode well for either of them.
Someday, everyone you love will die. Everything you love will crumble to ruin. This is the price of life. This is the price of love. It is the only ending for every true story.

When I was offered the chance to review this book I jumped at it. It seemed like it was going to be such a wonderfully unique read and unlike anything I had really read before. And yet it also seemed to have elements to the story that reminded me of other books I had read and absolutely loved. I started the book with a little trepidation, I was excited but had really high hopes and really didn't want to end up disappointed. I am so pleased that I can say that this has been one of my top reads of the year so far, maybe even THE top read of the year so far. And I will start my review by apologising, I have no doubt that this will be a gushy, fangirling type review - I will spew words of love and beg you all to read it. So, if you were hoping for a well written, wonderfully articulated review, look away now!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

My Weekly Recap: YALC Edition

The last week has been very hectic because I spent three days attending YALC, which was crazy and wonderful, and totally wiped out my bank balance!!! YALC is the UKs first Young Adult Literary Convention and it is amazing and I will be sure to attend every year they do it. It's filled with amazing panels, great workshops and more authors than I can name, who all signed their books whilst there.

I attended all three days. Friday is where I had to bring the most books with me, then ended up buying the most books whilst there. Getting it all home was hard as hell and I really struggled. I attended some great panels that day and had my books signed by some of my favourite authors. You can read my recap of that day here/

Saturday didn't go as well because I was so exhausted after the day before. I lasted about 2 hours and then decided to go home. I did pick up all the Harry Potter POP! Vinyls though, so it was worth it. I then went home and got some much needed sleep, as I had to be up again at 5am the following day. Sunday was much more successful, as I had finally got a decent nights sleep. I went to two workshops, which I will do individual posts on. I went to a few of the panels, and then I managed to get all the books signed that I had planned to. A SUCCESSFUL DAY!!!

Then I had only two days to recover from my YALC filled weekend until it was time to return to work. It was not fun! I work in a college library now and it is far too quiet right now as it's the summer holidays, and I will be working by my own. I might end up going a little bit crazy, which is worrying. I hope to get some reading done starting from next week, right now I am piled under with trying to write up posts, be a social human being for once (doesn't go well for me!) and see family.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

YALC Recap: Friday

The second Young Adult Literary Convention (YALC) took place on the 17th, 18th and 19th July, as part of the London Film and Comic Con. I attended last year and had such an amazing time, I knew I would have to go again this year. I bought my YALC tickets as soon as the announcement was made, and then spent months and months impatiently waiting for July to roll around. 

All the books I took with me
over the 3 days to get signed.
The preparation for YALC actually started way before the event even took place. It started with me ordering the books I wanted to get signed, but didn't already own, in advance before I attended YALC. This was to save me money and also to curb my spending over the weekend while I was there (HAHAHAHAHA!!! Yeah, that did not work!) And then I had to look at the schedules for all the days and decide on what signing, workshops and talks I wanted to attend - it's impossible to do everything, so you have to plan in advance. Then the night before, which just so happened to be my birthday, was when I packed up my suitcase filled with books, got my packed lunch ready and got everything charged and ready to go for the morning.