Top 5 Wednesday| Bro? Bro.

Top 5 Wednesdays is a book meme that was started by Laini from GingerreadsLaini and is now hosted by Sam over at Thoughts on Tomes.

If you ever want to join the fun, join the Goodreads group- here.

Who doesn't love a good bromance?! I've tried not to include any biological brothers, on the basis that I think that that love is something else entirely. 

1. Kell and Rhy Maresh
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic

They're brothers, but not biologically. The relationship and the lengths that they go for each other in this series just make me all warm and gooey. A pleasure to read. Rhy and Kell being precious cinnamon buns, I couldn't include them on my list.

2.  Jaime Lannister and Bronn
Series: Game of Thrones (TV Adaption)

This one was so tricky! Do I go for Tyrion and Podrick? Tyrion, Podrick AND BRONN? Jaime and Tyrion? Tyrion and Jon Snow? Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly? The list for Game of Thrones is endless- instead I went for one we see on the show not in the books.

Instead of training with Bronn of the Blackwater, Jaime retrains with Ser Ilyn Payne in the books, in order to keep it on the down low. One of the greater things to come out of the butchering of Jaime Lannister in the show was the (paid) bromance, onwards from series 5.

3. Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs
Series: The Infernal Devices

I mean... duh?

4. Sirius Black and... Crookshanks?
Series: Harry Potter

This one is a weird one. And slightly obscure?

5. The Ninth/Tenth Doctor and Captain Jack Harkness
Series: Doctor Who (TV Show)

I would be stupid to say there wasn't some harmless flirting going on. And a well worth ship to go on too. But, I HAD to include these two-ish, three? I don't know. It's Doctor Who. When isn't it confusing and Timey-Wimey?

These two were just a joy to watch, as they grew to admire each other, love each other and look out for one another.. sort of?

REVIEW| Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
Laini Taylor
⭐+

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Synopsis:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.
 


Review

The Cover


Favourite cover of the year? 
Possibly? 

I will say that the picture above, really doesn't do the cover justice. The azure blue and gold, makes it something to full on display- like a peacock and his feathers. 

The moth taking center front, is brilliant spacing by the designer. Could this cover be considered book-cover-porn? Definitely.

The Content


This whole book is just quotable, but here a just a snippet few favourites:
"It was impossible, of course.But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?"
"He wasn't an alchemist, or a hero. He was a librarian, and a dreamer. He was a reader, and the unsung expert on a long-lost city no one cared a thing about."
"He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn't sleep at all."
"His nose was broken by a falling volume of fairy tales his first day on the job, and that, they said, told you everything you needed to know about Lazlo Strange" 
What more could I dream to receive from a new Laini Taylor book?
  • Long lost world? Tick.
  • A bibliophile? Tick.
  • Children of Gods? Tick.
  • Adventure? Tick.
  • Magic? Tick.
  • Laini Taylor's beautiful prose? Tick.
Trying to fully fathom and translate my thoughts and feelings into coherent words of phrases is really hard. Even months later looking at my notes, I still completely glaze over and drift back into the world of Weep. 

Unlike Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Strange the Dreamer is completely secondary world building and so lacks the touchstones that her previous work had. But, I feel like this made it more enjoyable to read. I could allow myself to completely drift off. A world with so many layers and depth that I just want to keep going back to reread, knowing that I will always find a new element to enjoy. And that's what you need in a favourite book. And this is definitely one reaching into my top ten.

This is a tale for not only the bibliophile, but for the imaginaries, the reachers, the fantasy-dwellers. It reaches and grasps at so many tangents that twine this story together. It left me heartbroken and wistful and desperate for my own long lost land. 

REVIEW| The Song Rising

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


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DISCLAIMER: This review might contain spoilers for both The Bone Season and The Mime Order due to the nature of this being a third book in a series. 

Synopsis:

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London's criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilizing the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it . . .

Review

The Cover
Alternate cover for The Song Rising.

I said this before in my review for The Bone Season, but I prefer the old covers. Bold, graphic and unique. These were the covers that I would pick and go "Ooo..." and go through that experience of reading the blurb and the first chapter.

Perhaps a new audience will pick up these books for their blander appeal and will enjoy them, but these books need a cover that is just as unique as the story inside.

The Content

I spoke to Samantha Shannon on my thoughts on The Song Rising, when we crossed paths at a Laini Taylor signing in April. She told me of a sort-of-theory on her books: people who loved book one will tend to love book three, and is sure people who loved book two will love book four. 

Although that isn't a guarantee, it sure does get me excited. This book just didn't reach that expectation (and ending) to The Mime Order. No book has, however The Song Rising still remains a strong book of a septology, showing examples of great writing.

The first half felt weaker than the second half. It was grappling to get the momentum going, starting at the point where Paige has settled into her position of power, if only a little unstably. Once the first act was read and over and new characters were introduced, that is when it felt like I had my feet firmly back in the world of Scion and the pace picked up again. Which is why I hold of from giving it five stars. It didn't hit the ground running like I had thought it would have.

This book. and series, is emotion as much as it is plot. The degree to which Samantha Shannon can convey Paige's emotions, her triumphs, her drawbacks and have my full empathy and heart, is what keeps me coming back to this story. 

Last of all, I'm enjoying how with every book, Shannon expands the boundaries of her world. From, London and Oxford, to Manchester and Edinburgh, and other places I won't name out of pure spoilers for the end. These branches keep pushing out as Paige learns of the scale of threat that she must soon face. And let's just say- I'm totally (not) ready!

Top 5 Wednesday| Books Before I Started Blogging

Top 5 Wednesdays is a book meme that was started by Laini from GingerreadsLaini and is now hosted by Sam over at Thoughts on Tomes.

If you ever want to join the fun, join the Goodreads group- here.


This one is a weird one because I slightly feel like I have already made a similar post back for my 18th birthday, last year. I took books from my childhood right the way through my adolescents. Also, a lot of my reading has happened during the two/three years I have been blogging. 


1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments


I read this waaaaaaay before I even knew what blogging was. It was just in the school library, sounded interesting and so I checked it out. It even had the cover before the one to the left came out! A copy I now own. A later learned that these were a pretty popular series- and I was obsessed!



2. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events



This was the biggest series I remember reading when I was in my final year of primary school. I was probably ten... Eleven. No. Ten. 

3. Magyk by Angie Sage
Series: Septimus Heap


I read these after The Mortal Instruments, looking for a new series to get obsessed about. This is a middle grade series that I never seemed to be able to get passed the third book in the series. This is one I would love to revisit and finish.



4. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Standalone


Gosh, Roald Dahl is the reason I still read to this day. And Quentin Blake was the reason I tried all my best to be an illustrator. Maybe. one day I'll write a children's book, and illustrate it like my idols.


5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter


What list wouldn't be complete without Harry Potter. A book series that really grew without bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers. And one that we all* love.

*Not entirely.


REVIEW| The Bone Season (#0.5-2)

The Bone Season series (#0.5-2)
Samantha Shannon

The Pale Dreamer

The Bone Season 

The Mime Order
⭐+


Synopsis for The Bone Season:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Review

The Cover


Oh, aren't cover changes fun? And one of the most disappointing changes may always be this series. The whole reason I found this series was seeing that bold graphic blue on a table at Waterstones, picking it up and just thinking: "Woah! I need this!" Now, they're generic. Bit dull? Meh-ish.

I'd pass these if I didn't know who Samantha Shannon was, or the book series.

Thank you to Samantha for fighting for the matching hardcovers. 

The Content


  • The Pale Dreamer (The Bone Season 0.5)

This is a little novella that was released back in December prior to the release of The Song Rising and can be bought either in ebook format or as bonus content in the new editions of The Bone Season. It follows Paige Mahoney during her early days at the Seven Dials and the tracking down of a rogue spirit.

This didn't really add anything to the main plot for me. I already knew the characters, who they were and how the Clairvoyant underworld worked in terms of Mime-Lord territory. I would recommend reading this novella prior to reading The Bone Season, it could help the info-dump nature of the first book. Just by establishing characters before starting Paige's story.



  • The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1)
I have reread this book three times. That may not seem a lot, but for me that's sure as hell rare.


The Bone Season, is set in 2059. In a futuristic, dystopian United Kingdom. After an uprising in the number of Clairvoyants during 1859, have meant that they have become shunned and Paige Mahoney belongs to the Seven Dials, a protegee to mime-lord Jaxon Hall under the nose of the government in the criminal underworld.


I find first person narratives very hard to read, there has to be a definitive voice other than my own internal voice that allows the character to breathe away from the page and into being. Shannon encapsulates that for me- I can hear the soft Irish lilt of Paige’s voice kept me engaged with her story to tell. As are the other cast of characters.


Trying to get into The Bone Season can be a bit arborous, with a tendency to infodump for large chunks of the opening story. Which is the reason I have to knock a star off, because I find that to be clumsy storytelling. And one that does stagger the pacing.


  • The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2)
Second book syndrome. 

Anyone know a few book series that suffers with it? What if I said that this book is the reason you should just make it to the end of The Bone Season

Could I convince you to read it then?

The crafting of The Mime Order is something I could only dream to achieve. JUST... THE ENDING?! It gets me every time. EVERY TIME. That's all I can say without spoiling anything. It just layers and layers of intricate plot webbing, peeling like fine cabbage leaves to get to the core center of everything: the government, the crime underworld, the Netherworld, the Rephaim, the Seven Dials, Nik, Jaxon, Warden... 

We get to see Paige in her common ground, Scion London, and I got that feeling of familiarity that Paige experience's, as well as the unfamiliarity from someone who has been away for any length of time. The kind where you move away, come back and everything is just on the cusp of being unrecognizable. 

This book is well-paced, gripping and worth getting to the end. 


BOOK TAG| The Ultimate Book Tag

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

No. But, I am rarely in a car? Do buses count too? 

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

Oosh, this one is a hard one! It could any and all of my favourite authors. Either Laini Taylor or Frances Hardinge. Their words bleed off the page and into reality, Beautiful, lyrical. 
Oh, and Victoria Schwab. No one creates worlds like V does.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.

Harry Potter. 

1. Intricate world, built further than the reaches of the books.
2. Non-elemental magic, with wands.
3. Bill Weasley. No? Fine, school in a Scottish castle.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is it in (besides books…)?

I mean I always carry a book in my rucksack, no matter where I'm going. But never a bag just dedicated to books? I don't have that. 

So, depending what part of the country and where I'm going means the other stuff changes. Usually- my purse, headphones and oyster card. I don't trust my pockets.

5. Do you smell your books?

There are people who don't?

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

Both? One of the reasons I love reading middle grades is the illustrations. 

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing? (Ex. I read Twilight before I read HP and thought the writing was amazing but read HP and now think Twilight is a little bit of a joke.)

I guess the earlier books in the Mortal Instruments series. Compared to Cassie's later books, they are a bit shit aren't they?

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

Not really? 

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley P. Beaulieu

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

Probably, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

Considering my current University degree, it would be pretty stupid if I didn't. I'm not sure if I would see myself as an author, but I would like to at least attempt that dream. 

12. When did you get into reading?

I'm not sure. I've always been a reader. 

13. What is your favorite classic book?

14. In school was your best subject Language Arts/English?


15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated…what would you do?


16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?


17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?


18. What is your favorite word?


19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?


20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?


21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?


22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?


23. Zombies or Vampires?


 24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?


25. AND FINALLY: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?


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