Wrap-Up| March 2019

Long time, no see. I'm going to try to catch up as much as I can, as I wait for my last essay and dissertation grade to drop. I've been gone a while; it's been about a month since I last posted on this blog and two months since I started writing this specific blog post. 
I've missed doing this. I missed talking about what I'm reading and sharing it with a community. 

 The Old Nurse's Story
  Elizabeth Gaskell
  My Thoughts:
  For a module, I had to respond to a Victorian source with a creative outcome and a commentary exploring why I responded the way I did. For this, I choose Gaskell's short story The Old Nurse's Story. I really enjoyed it, very typical of the Victorian 'ghost story' so I gave it three stars.
Heartstopper: Vol 1
Alice Oseman
My Thoughts:
Thank you, Hachette, for my copy, which I won in their Valentine's Giveaway.  I read this back when Alice first started posting this on Tumblr and unfortunately haven't been able to catch up, but I'm hoping that will change as they keep publishing them as volumes.
If you want soft gay vibes, this is one for you.

The Near Witch
V.E. Schwab

My Thoughts:
If you don't have a moment to spere to look at my review, here is The Near Witch in summary, 
A feast of atmospheric and beautifully crafted writing, characters that leap of the page and somehow perfects the strange and quiet storytelling that suitably fits this modern fairytale. 

The Ash-Born Boy (The Near Witch #0.5)
V.E. Schwab
My Thoughts:
This added to the backstory of Cole, whom we meet in The Near Witch and the events that have to lead him to be in Near. I wasn't particularly blown away by it, but really enjoyed it, all the same.

The Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe

My Thoughts:
Another one of those stories that I had to read for class - this one was in relation fo Del Toro's Crimson Peak. It was everything I would expect from Edgar Allen Poe, but I think I still prefer his Gothic poetry. 
The Essex Serpent
Sarah Perry
My Thoughts:

I ended up reading this on audiobook - which I really enjoyed! I'm really fussy about audiobook narrator, but I really liked Juanita McMahon and what she brought to the story. Not my typical cup-of-tea, The Essex Serpent still managed to have my attention whilst I tried to speed read before class. 

Big Bones
Laura Dockrill

My Thoughts:
A review was meant to go up for this at the start of April, but I just never got around to posting it due to a rush of deadlines that I hadn't prepared for. One will appear as soon as I start finding a sense of normality again. As I have quite a few thoughts on this one.
Hotel World
Ali Smith
My Thoughts:

This book inspired quite a bit of my dissertation, or at least the first 70-ish pages or so as it follows a homeless protagonist. I really loved the way that all these character's lives all interlinked with one another as we went from tense to tense. It was a wonderfully crafted story.

Vampire Academy (2014)
Dir. Mark Waters

This film literally sucks. And not just because it is a film about vampires. For a film that is actually quite close to a being a truthful adaptation based on plot, it does somehow miss the mark completely.  That being said, I still find myself going back to the story as a little blanket of comfort when things are not going to so well. 

American Gods (2017)
Dir. David Slade; Crobel Zobel; Vincenzo Natali; Adam Kane; Floria Sigismondi

March saw the return of the Amazon Prime/Starzz adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. 
This month I ended up rewatching Season One before heading into the week-by-week watch of Season 2. 
I really love Neil Gaiman adaptations, and this one is no exception. It adds a lot more to the original source material and adds to the multilayers of characters of human and Gods in a way that makes sense of who the characters are, and as we know them from the book. This one is definitely stylized and takes a lot to keep with it. But, if you do, you're sure in for a treat.
I went to some really interesting places, in the month of March, and even got to go home for a few days before spending the entirety of the Spring holiday on my own at University in April. 
You'll have to excuse how vague I'm about to be due to the nature of writing this up three months afterward. 

Chester Zoo
Flamingos!! They 
I barely even remember the last time I went to a zoo. I might have been three/four and all I remember is the journey back with my mum on the Tube.
This trip was courtesy of Abi giving me her Campus Life ticket for the mighty price of £15 (thank you!) and a day in the rain (not
so thank you). 

You bet we got on the soaking wet boat cruise.
From Lions to Penguins to Elephants to Bats flying over my head (it's as terrifying but incredible as it sounds). 


I didn't get much time to recover from our trip to Chester Zoo, as we were going straight on another Secret Adventure Society trip to Penmon Point. 

However, things didn't go the way that they had been planned and we ended up getting to Castell Aberlleiniog, spending some time totally not doing anything even remotely dangerous. 

Why didn't we get to Penmon Point? 

Rain! Typical UK weather. 

So we ended up heading straight back round and waited for a bus to Beaumaris to try and make the most of the day whilst we were already out of Bangor.

But, luck wasn't on our side. We were stranded for a solid 40 minutes while we had to wait for the next bus. 

I finally went to go see HAMILTON!

I came home for three days, risking a deadline on Thursday after I had to travel back to University. 

I booked my ticket maybe nine months in advance, and even though I only had a Slip ticket - the view was still brilliant!
I might have lost count of how many times I teared up watching the performance. Seriously, just hearing the opening lines brew tears. 

On my way to the Victoria Palace, I decided to take a detour due to how early I was. First heading to Covent Garden and Fopp, where I finally picked up a copy of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Quartet for £2 and then walked back to Trafalgar Square and through the Mall to pass Buckingham Palace. Considering I have lived in London for my (almost) whole 20-years of my existence on this planet, it is so very rare for me to witness Buckingham Palace in all its glory, to which I cannot deny it's beauty.

Top 5 Wednesday| The Joke's on You

I want to kick this blog post off with a little PSA: Keeping up with writing blog posts has become increasingly more difficult the closer I get to my dissertation deadline (just my 2,000-word commentary left to write!) and my last two essays. So, I want to focus on that while I can and give myself the best chance I can - I hope you understand. The rest of my T5W may be prewritten from now until the end of April until I am back mid-May, as well as some other book reviews and book tags. 

Now back to T5W: 

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that comes together to discuss that week's topic by putting together a list of five books, tropes, and characters. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha from ThoughtsonTomes.

This week it's all about our favourite 'Jokesters', which to be honest, was a really tough one - 'jokesters' don't typically stick in my mind, nor do I care for them very much.

1. Fred and George Weasley
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix
J.K. Rowling
Of course, these two were going to be on this list, and will probably be the most referred to on this week's lists. Their prank on Umbridge before leaving Hogwarts for the final time, was a great way of creating satisfaction for the reader because let's be honest, we all wanted something to happen to that pink cow.

2. The Fool
Royal Assassin
Robin Hobb
By definition, The Fool is a royal jester - jokester - but his role is more complicated in terms of his relationship to the main character, Fitz. Because of this, it makes his character intriguing enough for me to claim that he's one of my favourite characters in the Farseer Trilogy, and hope to continue on with their story soon.
3. Kitty Song-Covey
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Jenny Han
Once you get past what she did to Lara Jean (the letters), Kitty is the comedic humour that interjects itself during the conflicts of Lara Jean's relationships that keeps TATBILB on the fluffy side of cute contemporaries. 
4. Safi "Safiya" fon Hasstrel
Susan Dennard
At this point, I am yet to head back into the world of the Witchlands in Bloodwitch. That being said, I really miss Safi's sense of humour and everyone around rolling their eyes. She's the comedic one in the duo that is Safi and Iseult, full of great (semi-bad and cringe-worthy) puns, and I can't wait to read about her again!
5. Nikolaj Lanstov
Seige and Storm
Leigh Bardugo
After finishing the original trilogy last year, I still think back to Nikolaj and the genuine giggles I used to get when I read some of his lines. Perhaps, one day I'll get to read King of Scars... once, you know, I finally read Six of Crows.

Review| The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Holly Black

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UK Publisher: Hot Key Books

UK Release Date: July 28th, 2018
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 370

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Well, well, well... I finally gave in to the hype machine of the book community. And somehow, The Cruel Prince still somehow exceeded my expectations. 

I can be oddly specific I can be about the kind of fae I like to read about, I like dark, twisted and never really knowing where the main character or I stand in trying to figure them out to predict their next move. 

I wanted 'cruel', I wanted 'wicked', and I wanted 'intricate' and that's what Holly Black delivered in her A-game. 

I absolutely loved Jude as a first-person narrator and as the main character. She felt grounded, her motives and how she dealt with them were interesting and believable. I especially like the dynamic that was explored between Jude's sisters and how they have grown into the people they have because of the action's that happened before the events set in The Cruel Prince.

I have some issues with what everyone identifies this book with: the romance between Jude and Carden. On the one hand, I'm glad that the "hate-to-love" aspect wasn't solved within a chapter and seems to be ongoing onto the next book, The Wicked King. However, there are some early instances at the beginning of the book that left me with an unsavory taste in my mouth. For me, they weren't challenged enough to make me completely buy into this relationship set-up (and that's to assume that they will be endgame). Ultimately it was bullying, but I am hoping there is some set up for this to be resolved. 

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