Wrap Up| Jun / Emojiathon

Usually I would put a a wrap that covers three months, but I thought considering I was doing a read-a-thon throughout the whole of June it would only be fair for it be a separate post entirely.

Reading has been all over the place this month. I started out at University, spending the majority of my time reading along with the sprints. Then I came home for my birthday. And then David Tennant happened -check out my post- then my birthday, then Evanescence, then my brother's birthday, then my incapable ability to stay away for sprints and it just went still...




Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2)
Cassandra Clare


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Pages: 449

Emoji: 
👶 - read a 2016/2017 release
🎁 - read a book given to you


Unconventional
Maggie Harcourt


Pages: 464
Emoji: 
❤️ - read a romance or contemporary
🍬 - read a book that's like a guilty pleasure to you
Torchwood Tales (#8-9)
Various Authors

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Hours: 2.9
Emoji:
🤖 -  read a futuristic/sci-fi books
📚 -  freebie! read any book you fancy


False Hearts

Laura Lam
⭐⭐





Pages: 384

Emoji:
😱 -  read a thriller or horror
🤖 -  read a futuristic/sci-fi book
👬 - read a book about a marginalized group


Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)
Alwyn Hamilton


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Pages: 358
Emoji:
😍 - read a book you bought for its cover



Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4)
Marissa Meyer
No rating

Pages: ??? / 823
Emoji: 
🤖 -  read a futuristic/sci-fi book






WRAP UP| Apr-May '17

I've had quite a good reading quarter, even with deadlines around every corner (promise, this is the last time I'll mention it).

I am in a current state of writing reviews for most of the books I've read over the last three months. 

April



The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3)
Samantha Shannon


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I made the mistake of reading this the day before leaving Uni. I was emotionally wrecked. So good! 


I spoke to Samantha Shannon about this, and she said why I might not have liked it as much as I LOVED The Mime Order. If her theory is true, then I am going to be OBSESSED with book 4.



Strange the Dreamer (Muse of Nightmares #1)
Laini Taylor
⭐+

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This might just be a new favourite of mine. Everything that I wanted this to be it became. And more.

If you love myths, fairy tales, lost tales, heart-wrenching stories and lyrical writing- get to this one, and quick!


Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood
Hollie McNish


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Required reading for University.

This one took me by surprise. Why were we being made to read a book about parenthood and children?




Torchwood Tales (Audible Exclusives #1-7)
Various Authors
- The Sin Eaters
- In the Shadows 
- Hidden
- Department X
- Everyone Says Hello
- Ghost Train
- Army of One

Torchwood: World Without End
John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman


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This was written by the man who knows the characters, arguably, the best. Captain Jack Harkness. So, why did this suck?

This needed to be longer, a graphic novel rather than a bind up of a few issues. This one will definitely have a review coming up soon- my most disappointing read of the year so far.

May


A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)
Sarah J. Maas


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Well, this conclusion has been rather polarizing. A lot of people loving it and others that just hated it. I was- meh?

The first half was fantastic, and then it went to shit. Again, another one where I'm in the middle of editing a review for this. But, I'm indifferent to it. It wasn't going to live up to ACOMAF, was it?


Champion
Marie Lu


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Its been about a over a year since I started Legend, just under a year since I read prodigy, so why did I think it a good idea to read the final book in the trilogy? Who knows?

I was lost for most of this story, to be honest. That was a given. The only thing that gave this book the rating I did was the fact that it was a unique ending to a dystopia. One that I haven't read before in YA.

A Dance with Dragons 2: After the Feast (A Song of Ice and Fire #5.2)
George R.R. Martin


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I've had this on my "Currently Reading" tab on Goodreads for probably 18 months, and I was just sick of seeing it on there. I read it. Pushed myself to read it as fast as I could. It was like Hell- all my least favourite POVs. 

Where was Dany? Arya? Sansa? Cersei? I needed my woman!

Stardust
Neil Gaiman


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I listened to the audiobook for this one. Read by Neil Gaiman.

I think it would have been interesting if the movie kept the intended audience for the film as much as the book. The good ol' tradition that fairy tales are for children only.

I really did like this one. 




REVIEW| A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shade of Magic #1)
V.E. Schwab

⭐⭐⭐⭐


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Synopsis:


Kell is one of the last travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. 


There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King--George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered--and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London--a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.


Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.


Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. 


Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.


Review


The Cover

UK cover

I've made reference to Schwab's UK covers before in my review for This Savage Song. Simply, I think the Shades of Magic trilogy have stronger covers over in the States.  These are more urban in design; graphic, bold and growing on me. 

I do love how the artist incorporates the four colours that indicate the various versions of London that we learn of in A Darker Shade of Magic- Grey, Red, White and Black

The Content

Let us begin on our protagonists: Kell and Lila. 


I have dreams of writing a character like Delilah Bard. Ambitious and cut throat, all she desires is the ability to travel beyond her cut off point - to explore the sea. If that mean piracy, I'm sold. Anyone else? 


And Kell? Oh, how I just wanted to scoop Kell into a bear hug; I don't think he would appreciate it that much though. It wasn't until his interactions with his adoptive brother, Rhy (pronounced like rye, not Reece) that I truly fell in love with him. That fierce need to protect being integral to understand Kell as a character in ADSOM going on to continue the series.



I've always found it interesting how Schwab reverts gender stereotypes in her books. Male characters are empathetic and sweet where as, her female characters are cut throat and bad ass. Granted that there are exceptions. 
I loved the world that Schwab builds. Every time. They are unique and interesting and there are just so many possibilities that come with them. Her books are ones that I genuinely loose myself in. I read A Darker Shade of Magic in less than five hours. 


I never, ever do that. 


So, why did I knock of a star?

I think it was just because I felt it lacked something in the plot- there wasn't enough substance. This is more character driven and a lot of things need to be established. I needed more from it. I feel like I was just getting used to the four different parallel Londons, I was invested and then it ended. I'm ready and waiting to land my feet straight into A Gathering of Shadows.

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Blog Tour| Shattered Mind [Extract]

Shattered Minds
Laura Lam

UK Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Release date: 15th June, 2017

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Synopsis:


She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons.


Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill.  She satisfies her craving in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug 'Zeal'. Now she's heading for self-destruction - until she has a vision of a dead girl.


Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl ws a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he's probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis - or she's next. 


To unlock the secrets Mark has hid in her mind, she'll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary - before it changes us and our society, forever.



Extract:



PROLOGUE
THE GIRL
SIX MONTHS AGO

Sudice headquarters, San Francisco,
California, Pacifica

‘What do you see?’ the doctor asks.

‘It’s a bee on a rose, just like before. And the time before that. And the time before that.’ The girl leans back in her Chair, crossing her arms over her chest.

‘And how does it make you feel?’ the doctor nudges.

‘Bored.’
The girl glances away from the rose and the bee. Her brain map floats above them, translucent and pink as candyfloss. That’s me, the girl thinks. She sees the brighter spots of the neural dust of her brain implants, sparkling deep in her cortex like stars. Within those pink-grey whorls are her thoughts, her dreams, her memories.
The doctor looks at the brain map and the waves on various machines dotted about the lab. The woman is trying to solve a puzzle about her mind, but the girl has no idea what the woman is searching for or how she’ll find it.
The girl has done this exact appointment five times before, though she usually sees the male doctor. She likes him, and wishes he were here instead. The girl has only met this doctor once before, at the first session. She can’t remember the woman’s name and is too embarrassed to ask. Being able to visit Sudice has been excellent extra credit for her senior project on neuroscience. Yet each time, she wonders about the point of this experiment. Perhaps she should simply stand up, shake the woman’s hand, thank her for her time and inform her she’s changed her mind.
‘I’m going to try something a little different today,’ the doctor says, her lips curling up at the corners. The girl does not like her smile.
‘Where’s Dr Teague?’ she asks.
‘He’s unavailable.’
‘I think I might just go,’ the girl says, making to stand. ‘I’m not feeling well. Maybe I can meet with Dr Teague when he’s back.’
‘I know these appointments are tedious, but the work you’re doing is going to change the world,’ the doctor says. ‘Don’t you want to be right at the forefront of that?’
The girl hesitates. The doctor stands, moves closer. ‘I’m going to dose you with our new compound, and then we’ll look at the images again, see if your emotional responses differ at all.’
Before the girl can respond, the doctor takes her arm and presses a syringe into her skin, just below her elbow. The girl startles and cries out at the pain.
‘All done,’ the doctor says, her eyes bright and unblinking.
The girl’s arm burns. The world goes soft and fuzzy around the edges. The doctor settles the girl back in the Chair, lays the back down flat. She fits restraints around the girl’s arms and legs.
‘Wh-what?’ the girl asks, words slurred.
‘Don’t worry. It’s just a partial sedative mixed with Verve.’ Another sharp smile. ‘With a little paralytic thrown in for good measure.’
‘V-Verve?’ the girl asks, a thrum of fear going through her. Verve is a drug the San Francisco mob, the Ratel, created; it was all over the news feeds for weeks last year. It was meant to be like Zeal, but so much worse. Not a dream you wake up from, your frustrations spent cathartically. Instead you emerge hungry for violence. Pacifica promised they’d destroyed it. What will it do to her? Her limbs are heavy. She tries to move a finger. Nothing.
Time fractures and grows strange. The girl feels a faint tickling along her skull, a strange release of pressure.
‘Look at the images again,’ the doctor instructs.
The girl’s eyes move to the wallscreen, as if she can’t help it. There is the bee, its segmented eyes staring at her, its pollen dusting the blood-red petals of the rose. Its stinger is as sharp as the thorns on the stem. Something new appears – a drop of blood drips from one thorn. Above the rose, two eyes open. One is blue, one is green. Heterochromic, just like hers. There’s something odd about the images. As if they’re more than they appear. As if she could fall into them.
‘How do the images make you feel?’ The pictures segment and flash before her. A bee. A rose. A thorn. A drop of blood. Mismatched eyes. Over and over, until they blur together.
‘I don’t feel anything,’ the girl says. And it’s true. All her emotions are just . . . gone. As if they’ve never existed.
‘I see.’ The doctor is excited, but trying to hide it. The top of the girl’s head tickles again. She looks away from the images, back to her brain scan.
It looks different. There are darker specks scattered throughout her brain, moving around like busy ants. It takes her a moment to figure out what they are.
‘Nanobots,’ the doctor answers for her. ‘They’ll help the code settle in quickly.’
‘How . . . ?’ the girl asks. Then she realizes why her skull itches. All her pain sensors are turned off, and the doctor has opened up her skull. A piece rests on the tray next to the Chair. The girl can just see it out of the corner of her eye.
The doctor holds up the blood-slicked bone.
‘It’s a barbaric approach these days, to actually open up a subject like this, but there’s no risk of infection. And there’s something about seeing the brain right there before you as the nanites do their work. It’s more . . . visceral.’ The doctor sets the bone aside. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll put it back where it belongs when we’re done.’
The girl should feel fear, but there is nothing. Nothing.
Until there is.
The nanobots converge in her brain, digging deeper, down into the very core of her. The girl’s emotions switch on. She feels everything – the pain in her skull, in her brain, the full horror of what’s happening to her.
She opens her mouth and screams. Alarms blare and beep in the room. She can smell blood, thick and coppery, and the taste hits the back of her throat.
‘You will change the world, my girl,’ the doctor says, leaning over her.
The world blinks out.

SHATTERED MINDS by Laura Lam is published by Pan Macmillan, 15 June, £12.99 Hardback.
Visit www.curiositykilledthebookworm.net tomorrow to read the next instalment… 

About the author:





Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by her former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her finger-paint to her heart's desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams. She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but s glad she didn't. At times she misses the sunshine.








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I Did a Thing| Don Juan in Soho

DISCLAIMER: Don Juan in Soho is a strictly 18+ show. This theatre may reference sex, drugs, alcohol, violence (?) and smoking.

Here's the thing.

I was going to write this post as a way to celebrate going out, without friends... and family. Because, most instances when I go out to events, I go at it alone. I understand why; not many of my real life friends celebrate their interests the same way I do.

But, then David Tennant was cast in Don Juan in Soho.

David Tennant. On stage. 

Then it happened. And something else happened. Sprinkled with a dash of something blog related (I know, very vague). So I thought I would type up this lengthy af post, detailing as much as I can, so I can look back at in a years time. 

I don't ever get to go to the theatre! Unless there is some ulterior motive, like the study of the play in a teaching environment. Don't get me wrong. I love it every time I go, but I could never really afford a ticket outside of academic prerogatives- even for the lower priced tickets. And yes, that's exactly the type of ticket I had- the cheapest. (Student remember. Budgets and things.) 

I tried asking around before booking my ticket back in February, but no one was interested in. 


Which I'm gutted about, because of how fantastic it was! - 

I had to do it. I had to see David Tennant on stage, just this once. Otherwise, 7-year-old-me would find a way to time travel and find a way to cause me physical harm if I didn't do it. The timing was perfect. I had just submitted my final assignment, prospects of getting a house is high and just this once I felt excited and the best version of myself.

I bought a ticket for a date, a week or so after finishing my first year at University:

May 27th, 2017.


Well... I went. 

To the theatre. 

On my own. 

It's weird to admit this.

I'm so proud of myself. Just for going on my own. Essentially, I did an activity that usually my anxiety would mean I could never do on my own. That my background would not normally let me do.

Okay... I went twice. I got a ticket for the 10th June, 2017.  The penultimate performance and the day before my 19th birthday.

Childhood dreams where met that night, but I'll talk about that after, when I finish my babble about the play.


* * *

The way I want to approach this is by adding as much detail as I can remember- for future me... Hi, future me. 

Now onto the bit we all want to hear: Don Juan in Soho.

Short version: Crude, rude, hilarious, topical, morals, brilliant. David Tennant, Tennant, Tennant.

Long version: 

I'll start with this- I was laughing right off the back. As soon as the curtain pulled up and Stan (Adrian Scarborough) to the stage. Alluding to the man himself, building expectation and exposition of character before we have a chance to meet the man of the moment: Don Juan or DJ, for short. 
Stan: He's Satan in a suit from Savile Row.
A man with no morals, no warrant of love, but I think we can all agree on his own flippance that he is "magnificently fuckable".
Stan: Forgive my discretion, but the man is a slag.
 Each one-liner stuck, and left me breathless after great belly laughs. Whether they were topical or political observations, or puns, or for just being good ol' plain crude.
Stan: Wh... What are you? 
DJ: Oh, just a cunt with an eye for one.
This incarnation of the play had been updated to meet the constant changing "news" climate. The UK has been experiencing a lot of things that laughter is all we are left, over the recent weeks. From terrorist attacks, a general election, Trump and other political exports (like the ever coming closer Brexit negotiations- send help). For example, lines like this:
DJ: I'm not a rapist. I don't grab pussy.
... got a massive laughing response. The timing was exact as to when and how the lines were delivered. The onstage 'chemistry' between Scarborough and Tennant was electrifying- a bromance that DJ wouldn't let himself admit. From the lengthy 'kiss' in the opening act to having his face pressed into Tennant's nether regions. And yes, I am laughing just typing this out. Who da faq says nether regions?!
DJ: Oh... I'm swooning.
Should we talk about the blowjob? There's not much to say, but to reiterate the quote just above. Cause, we were all swooning. 

The thin blanket - for suspension of belief- the careful placing of a bag of washing, hiding not so subtle movements, all while DJ hit on the "fox". And those oh-so-smooth excuses during the building orgasm- I AM OZYMANDIAS! being randomly quoted by Stan, being one of the best wingmen going, honestly. Just brilliant!! Fantastic! (... Sorry, not sorry.)

And then onto Sooooo-Hooooo!! 

What to say. What to say. 

Lot's of recreational drug usage in this scene. And conversation on religion- not wholly complicit. Rather the exploitation of a Muslim homeless man, or "Vagabond", to call Allah multiple insults.in order to gain a six grand watch. Strip religon from it and you are left to what our country was and continues to be- the exploitation of the lower class, in order to gain for themselves and stroke their egos. How people like myself, must throw away our morals and beliefs in order to make ends meet. And maybe, I'm just talking bollocks.

One line that did stick out was:
DJ: Twenty years ago I could get stoned, blown and a cab home and still have change from a tenner. Where did it all go?
Apart from the humorous nature, it was just so brilliantly topical. The evolution of inflation and the sort. 

The scene in Soho, concludes the first part. Before the curtains fall for the interval. Take it back a bit- I just have to mention the singing and dancing. I'm annoyed, cause I can see it, yet not fully hear the words, just Tennant's voice- not terrible- thinking back on it. Just like the rest of the play it still held good humour. 

Both times, I had a bit of ice cream. No photo ID, no booze. And £3.00 is not the most I've spent on ice cream either. 

Alright. ALRIGHT, I've rambled a lot so here is the part that I have mentioned everywhere that I can spew my opinion on: 

The Monologue. 

Using the script... and memory, I have managed to transcribe what was performed during the 14:30 matinee performance- June 10th, 2017. It may not be 1000% accurate, it is just as close as I can get it without a recording.
DJ: I won't pretend to love you when I don't. The honesty is a compliment. You're the only person I don't lie to. We live in an age of apology, don't confuse it for authenticity. At least my lies are honest- at least I know when I'm lying and why. Would you prefer me to be a hypocrite? Well it's easily done and terribly vogue - oh yeah, look around you; hypocrisy is both vice and virtue - it doesn't even shock us. The bankers rob banks, governments don't govern - strong and stable is all weak and wobbly. Peace-preaching rulers wage war. It's everywhere! Holy writ perverted to murder, billionaire tax dodgers, pension fund plunderers, racists posing as patriots, judges with no judgement, priests who prey (with an 'e'). Global poverty, insane famine, a planet  burning itself to hell - and the most powerful man upon it? A charlatan, a fake tan, a climate change denying, orang-utan!
And the people? Corrupted, broken-hearted, clinging to whatever floats a boat in this ocean of injustice: every second sucker with a story to sell - memoirs, confessions - a deluge of diaries for a world of professional weepers. Family histories - ooh, my ancestry - here's a gif of my first little poo. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. You're a chef - cook - SHUT UP! You're a gardener - garden - SHUT UP! You're an actor - uh. We pimp our precious lives to this infernal gnashing babble - Follow me! Friend me! Like me! But don't ever know me.
(- Laugh while you can. -)  
Every tedious twot in Christendom vomiting opinions - LEAVE ME ALONE! BE QUIET!
A million years ago - some hairy bastard daubed a horse on the wall of his cave, he saw it, he drew it - well done! Flash forward: 'Hello, welcome to my vlog. Today I bought a plum.' You cunt! You dozy twit, you've forgotten HOW TO LIVE! Whatever happened to privacy? To grace and decorum? Elegance? To life as we knew it? Hmm? Oh, dear sweet Stan, Darwin got it wrong; man didn't evolve, he just got nicer tools. From a lump of charcoal to the iPhone - whoosh - history.
Where's the poetry, hmm? Where's the soul?
Isn't it a thing of beauty? The "Laugh while you can" that's been inserted was when David Tennant broke scripture entirely, broke the fourth wall and addressed a laughing man in the audience. It was smooth, and he managed to slide straight back into character. 

I'd go as far to say THIS is the climax of the play. Not his descent to his death. 


Climax- the speech about not feeling guilty about the way he lives. About the current climate- topical. Strong and stable, tanning culture, internet culture. The response from the audience, myself included was mindblowing. I forgot how good it was to be able to laugh at all this, and how ridiculously trivial it is.

And the after?

Stage door- of course!!

I went to an afternoon matinee performance, thinking that I'd go in the afternoon and head back home, see my mum and get an early night before my birthday.

HA HA HA HA HA HA-

I ended up at stage door for like five hours. FIVE!

But, I did meet these lovely lot!

- Guys, we really do need to meet up, again, just spring me a message!!! -




I can't really add much?

About an hour and forty minutes before midnight, I met and got the autograph that basically sums up both my childhood and adolescence.

The blurry picture on the left (not taken by me- credit to Julie) shows just how close we were to stage door. And how much he was still bouncing on his toes even after signing his name fifty times over. We got prime seats and the most Tennant viewing honestly. I'm making him sound like an exhibit, honestly.

I've always heard good thing from people that have met him before. And I can only back up their claims. He is so lovely to fans and such a genuine, warm, friendly, nice human being. So much energy for a man who's been on stage for 11 weeks and just finished his second performance for the night.

I may not have got a picture with the man, myself. I did get the one autograph I've always wanted. The one small, short memory that I now have.

Besides, I think there will be other occasions where I might get lucky enough for a photo... and not shed out a butt ton of money to do so.

And if you're wondering, here is my programme:


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