The Chocolate Book Tag

Friday, 25 April 2014

I came across this tag on booktube recently and thought 'why not give it a go?' Even though I don't make videos, I can still do that, right? Right. And seeing as it's about books and chocolate, I couldn't resist. So, here you go: The Chocolate Book Tag.

Dark Chocolate
A book that covers a dark topic (abuse, domestic violence, rape, loneliness, bullying, death, etc)

Stephen King isn't exactly known for writing 'nice' books, but I feel like Full Dark, No Stars covers a lot of dark topics in quite a short space.

Considering it's a collection of short stories, some of them being no longer than about 100 pages long, it's jam packed with things like death, rape, loneliness, revenge, and torture. The stories were compelling reads and, while not everyone's cup of tea, definitely worth a read.

Big Driver in particular, I found, was very well composed and creepy - there were several times where I had to stop reading because my hands were shaking so much

White Chocolate
Your favourite light-hearted/humorous read

I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of John Green's books or writing style, but combined with David Levithan, I found it to be bearable. I won't say enjoyable, because that's a lie - I found Green's chapters dragged in comparison to Levithan's, which just flew by for me.

That being said, Will Grayson, Will Grayson was one of the funniest - and most relatable - books I've read in a long time. While the subject matter could be considered quite heavy, I found it to be just the opposite. I will admit though, the plot seemed to be quite lacking, but that didn't diminish the fact that this was a quick, easy, and fun read. 

This is probably my second favourite or favourite John Green book, so you should definitely check it out.

Milk Chocolate
A book that has a lot of hype that you're dying to read

While I have heard mixed things about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I've heard more good than bad about it. Apparently, it's a psychological thriller about a girl who was in an accident, or caused an accident, and who has now lost her memories and all her friends are dead. Or something like that. I think.

Either way, I really want to pick this up, and soon if I can help it. The title (and the cover, which is stunning) have really intrigued me and I want to know more about this mysterious girl.

Hopefully I'll get the chance soon.

Chocolate with a caramel centre
Name a book that made you feel all gooey in the middle while you were reading it

Okay, I understand that this is a bit of a cliché choice, but can you blame me? I don't really go in for romance or nice, gooey stories, so Fangirl was an odd read for me. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it and there were several times where I was sat with the biggest grin on my face, mentally squealing at the characters.

Totally out of character for me - I know - but gosh darn it, this was so cute! I'll admit, I was rather let down by the ending, but I found that the majority of the story more than made up for that, and it didn't do anything to make me regret feeling all mushy or anything. 

I don't know. I just get rather smiley thinking about this book.

Wafer-free Kit-Kat
Name a book that surprised you lately

I'm a big fan of not only the TV show The Walking Dead, but the graphic novels as well. So when I saw this at my library I snatched it up, and boy am I glad I did!

I really had no idea what I'd be getting into when I started this, seeing as it's about the Governor before he became the Governor, and so far we've only seen Rick and his group's story, but this was very interesting and provides a much needed back story.

However, the surprise really lay in the twist at the end! I could already see it coming, thanks to the TV show (and I'm quite good at guessing plot twists anyway) but that didn't stop it from taking me aback. I'm very much looking forward to finishing this series.

A book that you are going nuts about

Why did I put off reading this for so long?! I'm so annoyed with myself because I couldn't remember anything from The Lost Hero or The Son of Neptune while reading this, ugh. And now I have to wait until October again for The House of Hades to be released in the matching paperback, so I'll have forgotten stuff again. Double ugh.

Annoyance at myself aside, I just... I cannot with this instalment. Rick Riordan is one of my favourite authors, and he did not disappoint with The Mark of Athena. It was action packed, character driven, made me wonder, made me mad, made me experience basically every emotion possible, and that ending! 

I just really need to read the next book before I go insane.

Hot Chocolate with cream and marshmallows
What book would you turn to for a comfort read?

Whenever I'm in need of a pick me up, or some comfort, or just a mindless read, I can always count on Katniss to be there for me. I owe her a lot, as well, as she's the one who really got me back into reading properly in my teenage years, so I think re-reading The Hunger Games countless times is the least I can do for her.

I feel like I have such a connection with this trilogy, and that I get it and that it gets me. Cheesy, I know, but it's true. These three books never let me down, never fail to amuse me, and never fail to have me on the edge of my seat. Combined with the films they're even better, and I really do owe the books (and Suzanne Collins) a lot. 

I'll stop before I get too far from the point and leave you with this: I love The Hunger Games an awful lot.

Box of chocolates
What series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and a little something for everyone?

Do I really need to say anything about Harry Potter? It has so many different elements that really do appeal to all sorts of people. In my family alone, I know of at least three generations that have all read and enjoyed Harry Potter's world multiple times. 

There's magic - obviously - but there's also mystery, action, romance, friendship, family, death, loneliness, comfort, sports, education, everything, all squeezed into seven books. I can't think of any reason why someone would not enjoy the series. 'There isn't enough action.' Um, battle of Hogwarts, anyone? 'It's too confusing.' If you continued reading you'd find things are actually explained rather well.

I just don't see how anyone could dislike Harry and everything that comes with him. It just... baffles me.

Book Review: The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Assassin's Blade
Sarah J. Maas
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young Adult, Short Stories
Published: March 13th 2014
Pages: 437
Rating: 4.5 stars

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

I feel like I can honestly say that The Assassin's Blade is better than Throne of Glass. And that's saying something, because Throne of Glass was very good, extremely well developed, and incredibly enjoyable. However, the novellas in The Assassin's Blade just sort of... overwhelmed me with even more fantastic story telling and additional (and much needed) character development. 

Throughout the book, I felt like I really knew Celaena and that I was in Erila with her. To say I was on the edge of my seat would be an understatement. I was constantly trying to figure out what was going on before I read it, working out who I cold trust, and just overall wanting more more more. As I stated, the characters were a lot more developed in The Assassin's Blade and you see more sides - and a lot of new faces - to the people you already know. 

Reading this after Throne of Glass was probably a good idea, as even though things aren't exactly complicated, it could get a little confusing trying to keep track of who as where in relation to everything else. That being said, I do feel that The Assassin's Blade could have been the first book in the series. Or maybe even the second, but I've yet to read Crown of Midnight and so cannot properly compare.

The world building was helped along greatly by the map at the front of the book and the descriptions and explanations given in Throne of Glass. I feel that it would be possible to understand without having read any of the other novels, but it would have required a little more work from the reader. Despite that, I still got the indescribable feeling of fantasy whilst reading about all the different locations, and I also felt that this did help acquaint the reader with the world of Erilea. Either way, the world was very enjoyable and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

On top of all that, the cover is stunning. 

While that's all well and good, there were a few things that pulled it back from having that perfect five star rating. Mainly, Celaena's habits and expensive tastes. I don't have a problem with wanting to look nice and have nice things, but it felt a little out of place for Adarlan's Assasin, and there were times when I wanted to shake Celaena and scream 'you kill people for a living! Is wearing plain, inexpensive clothing so terrible?!'

Overall, though, The Assassin's Blade was thoroughly enjoyable and an excellent addition to the series. Definitely a must read.

Book Talk: Cover vs Content

Friday, 11 April 2014

Over the past year and a bit, I've read, bought, and borrowed a lot of books. Some - like the one pictured - with amazing covers, some with amazing stories, some with both, and sadly some with neither. These encounters really got me thinking: what draws me to a new book?

I'll admit, I am a little biased when it comes to covers. Chances are, if a book has a nice, quality cover then what's inside will also be of a decent standard. But is it right for me to judge like that? I guess, if you come back to the age old saying 'never judge a book by its cover', then no, it's not okay. But surely if I'm sparing myself the trouble of reading a sub-standard book that I won't enjoy then it's acceptable? Rarely do I read the blurbs and summaries of a book any more, instead I'll take it at face value and hope that the people gushing about how amazing something is are right. It seems to be becoming a bit of a problem.

And it's all very well judging a book by its cover, but what happens when you get one with a beautiful cover but rubbish in its pages? An atrocious cover with beautifully flowing writing? It frustrates me to no end that these anomalies - as I see them, as I've yet to find many badly covered books that are actually worthy of three or more stars - are exactly that: anomalies. 

This has turned into more of a rambling mess of my thoughts than a structured discussion post, but I'm interested in everyone's thoughts. Do good covers equal good stories? Do you pick books based on their covers or on their content? Do you think covers should reflect the content of a book? Or do you just not care?

Recommendations: Fantasy

Friday, 4 April 2014

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
If you're looking for an mature, adult epic fantasy filled with action, romance, magic and intrigue then this is a bit of a no-brainer.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
I feel like this straddles the line between young adult and more grown up fantasy as, although it is childish in the fact that it has daemons and child protagonists, it does touch on some heavy subjects (religion, war, and politics being among them).

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Do I really need to say anything? Everyone loves a bit of Percy Jackson now and again, and if someone says they don't then they're lying or just haven't read Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Greek mythology is so interesting. Go and read this book now.
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