February Wrap Up

February Wrap Up 

Hello everybody, it is the end of the month and that can only mean one thing in the Book Blogging and Book Tube community. Monthly wrap ups. In the month of February I went above and beyond and read a total of…. are you ready for it?… 13 BOOKS!!!!!!!! Wow, I couldn’t believe it myself when I tallied them up.

So, I’m going to give a brief run down of each book and my feelings on it.

In order of when I read them:

A Whole New World – By Liz Braswell

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I saw this book and was immediately interested. I had never really read a book based in the desert. This is a twist on the tale of Aladdin. I have a book review posted for this book. A really good read.

Rebel Belle – By Rachel Hawkins

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This book had been making it’s way around book tube. A really good book combining Greek Mythology, southern charm and high school drama.

Dorothy Must Die – By Danielle Paige

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Another hyped up book, and another retelling. Follow Amy down the Yellow Brick Road to hep save Oz from the evil Dorothy.

Beautiful Secret – By Christina Lauren

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It was time for a contemporary. Now, Christina’s books are definitely adult in content. They are a fun read. Just what I needed. I like reading these books after a in-depth fantasy.

Curse of the Sphinx – By Raye Wagner

curse of the sphinx

This is the Pursuetopia Book of the Month for February. I enjoyed this book. I appreciated the mixture of mythology and high school drama. The transformation scenes were very well fleshed out and I really enjoyed the romance.

Maybe Not – By Colleen Hoover

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I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Colleen Hoover lately and decided to give her books a go. I started off with a novella and can definitely say that I will be picking up more of her books.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

pride and prejudice and zombies

I read this because the book-to-movie adaptation came out at the end of the month. It was a good book, I did not love it but I did like it. There is a review posted on my page.

Breathe – By Abbi Glines

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Another contemporary read for this month. A nice light-hearted romantic story. Don’t get me wrong, the protagonist has had some hard yards and is very relatable to me. I enjoyed this book immensely.

Divergent – By Veronica Roth

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This book was a re-read for me in preparation for the Allegiant movie that comes out in April. I already knew that I love this book and Veronica Roth’s writing. It was good to be able to revisit this world. This book also counted towards my monthly reading challenge – where in February I had to re-read a book.

Glass Sword – By Victoria Aveyard

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This was my most anticipated read of February 2016 and I must say I was not disappointed. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next instalment in this series. I have a review posted on my blog.

Anna and the French Kiss – By Stephanie Perkins

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This was another hyped book I had been hearing about and I was in the mood for a contemporary romance. This book provided that in buckets. It was just what I needed.

Rebel of the Sands – By Alwyn Hamilton

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I got this book from the YA Chronicles Subscription Box for February. It was a little slow to start for me, but really kicked off from the train scene. I enjoyed this book to no end.

Undead and Unwed – By Mary-Janice Davidson

undead and unwed

I finished this book this morning. This is an Adult Fantasy book based on a girl who is hit by a truck and wakes up in a coffin to find out she is now a Vampire. It is part of a series that I have wanted to pick up for a while now. I loved the snarky dialogue and the story flowed effortlessly.

There you go, that is the books I read this month. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any of them and what you thought. Or even, any recommendations of what I should read next.

 

 

 

 

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Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard

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Publisher: Orion

Date Published: February 9th 2016

Pages: 444

Blurb: 

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

 

 

Review: 

I’m going to start by saying wow… just wow. This book has been one of my Most Anticipated Reads for 2016. After reading the first book in this series, “Red Queen” I could not wait to get my hands on the sequel.

I recommend if you have not  read “Red Queen” to go and read it now then read “Glass Sword” and you will know what I am talking about.

This story followed on directly from where “Red Queen” left off. Cal, Mare and the ragtag team of the Rebellion set off to find other Newbloods, like Mare. I was quite surprised at the amount of Maven we saw in this book. I thought scenes with Maven would be few and far between. However, I was delightfully surprised.

I was also happy to see that the events of the previous book weighed on Mare and the readers got to experience her remorse, guilt and grief over this. It made Mare’s character much more relatable.

We cannot forget the variety of other characters in this book. I was utterly impressed with the range of Newblood characters that were introduced as well as their powers. Also, the different scenes and situations these characters get into, particularly the prison scene were a treat to read.

I am absolutely loving this series and cannot wait to see what Victoria Aveyard has in store for us next. A well deserved rating of 4.5/5.

February Reading Challenge

February Reading Challenge

 

It’s coming up to the end of the month and it is almost time for my wrap up and March TBR. But, before then, the Feburary  Reading Challenge.

The challenge I had set this month was to Re-read a book.

 

For this challenge I decided to  re-read – Divergent by Veronica Roth.

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If you are not aware that the third film in the Divergent series – Allegiant – is coming out in April, then now you are. I decided that I would re-read the entire series prior to seeing this series.

Blurb:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

 

Review:

Of course I love this series. That’s one of the reasons that I am re-reading it. This is definitely one of my favourite series of all time. I can basically sum up my love of this book in three points.

 

The world building:

A dystopian Chicago with five factions that turn against each other… The way Veronica Roth explains and describes this world so well. I would never want to actually live there but you feel like you’ve been sucked into this world with Tris and Four.

The character development:

These characters are very flawed, true. But that is why you love to follow their story. Tris starts in a place of inner turmoil and while she works through this complicated and dangerous world, trying to find her place. Four’s story is nothing to be scoffed at either. As the story moves on you get to see his vulnerabilities and flaws come to like making this character so relatable.

The pace of the plot:

At one point the story does lag slightly during Tris’s training. Otherwise, this book is fast paced and keeps you enthralled in the story these characters story until the last page.

Some people comment on flaws that they have found in this series. This does not detract from the book for me. This book is definitely worthy of the rating of 5/5 that I am giving this book.

YA Chronicles February Unboxing

Unboxing – YA Chronicles February Box

I’ve been seeing everyone posting and vlogging about Subscription Boxes. So, I surfed the web, looking for subscription boxes. I found a Subscription Box offered out of Australia, which ticked my fancy, called The YA Chronicles.

ya chronicles

This is a monthly subscription box that comes with a book and 2-5 bookish items according to a theme.

The February theme was “Rebel With A Cause”. Look at all these lovely items.

 

The book for this month was Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.

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It’s definitely a beautiful little box and I am very happy I decided to give it a go. Go have a look at their website:

http://www.theyachronicles.com.au

The theme for March is “Made in Australia.

Reading Challenge Update: January

JANUARY READING CHALLENGE

 

I have posted earlier regarding the reading challenges I have set for myself. In the month to month challenge I have set myself a different goal to achieve each month.

For the month of January the challenge I set was to read a library book.

I completed this challenge. I was at the library looking around for a book that may catch my interest. When I came across this beauty:

 

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Now I know we’re always told not to judge a book by its cover, but look at this. This cover is what originally drew me to this book. It is magnificent. Sometimes you look at a cover to a book and it’s just not right. But, this cover is perfection, the mix of colours, the intrigue displayed from the girl inside the bottle…

 

Blurb:

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it’s price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girls she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen’s, some truths should not be told…

 

Review:

So, this book was selected to meet my reading challenge for January. However, it was an utter delight to read. I kept turning the pages just to see what would happen to Twylla next.

The horror of knowing that with a touch you can kill everyone you love or be used as a weapon against others is a torture that was perfectly displayed through the writing in this book.

The world building lagged a little bit for me, but that just gave room for further character development. Now, I have to give honourable mention to the Queen here. It takes quite a bit to make an utterly despicable character and it done so well with the Queen. All the characters are well developed and there are plenty of intriguing plot points to keep you reading by torch light.

I give this book a rating of 4.5/5. Such an intriguing concept that kept you reading well into the twilight hours. I guarantee, if you love Y.A, and fantasy genres you will not be disappointed picking up this book.

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Publisher: Quirk Classics pride and prejudice and zombies

Date  Published: May 1st 2016

Pages: 319

Blurb: 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

Review: 

The movie adaptation to this book is coming out at the end of February. That meant that it had to come off of the To Be Read pile. Since it had been announced that a movie adaptation had been in the making I decided to procure this book.

It is written in the same prose as the original material. This took me a while to get back in the swing of things as it feels like an eon ago when I read Jane Austen’s work. Now, I went into this book expecting blood and guts and gore. While there is mention of all of these the prose of the book stops it from being the gruesome blood fest I was expecting.

This book had all the elements that made Pride and Prejudice a classic. Adding in some zombies just to keep it current and interesting. It was good to revisit the old tale with one obvious twist.

I am exceedingly interested to see how the movie adaptation with Lily James and Sam Riley compares to Seth Grahame Smith’s retelling on a tale of a headstrong girl and a man with too much pride.

I have rated this book a 3.5/5. An original idea well carried out. I was a little let down as my expectations of a bloodbath were not met. However, after reading the book and reflecting on it I can see that this work was carried out with great care for the original piece of literature.

2016 Reading Challenges

2016 Reading Challenges 

 

I thought I’d update my blog and let you know that I have set myself some reading challenges for 2016… Well 3.

1. The first reading challenge I have set is the Goodreads Challenge:

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I have nominated myself to read a minimum of 70 books in 2016.

 

2. The A to Z Challenge:

 

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Within 2016 I will aim to read a book titled from A to Z. For example: A – Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter.

 

And finally,

 

3. The Monthly Challenge:

 

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Each month I have set myself a different challenge to complete.

 

January: Read a library book.

February: Re-read a book.

March: Read a book about books.

April: Read a book being adapted in 2016.

May: Start a book series.

June: Read a book from an author you haven’t read before.

July: Read a fairytale retelling.

August: Read the last book you have acquired.

September: Read a book beginning with the first letter of your first name.

October: Read a book with a beautiful cover.

November: Read a book published in 2016.

December: Read a book that is over 500 pages.

 

What do you think of these challenges? Anyone is welcome to join in any challenge. Let me know what you think. I will update about these challenges.

 

 

Dorothy Must Die – By Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die – By Danielle Paige

 

 

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Publisher: Harper Collins

Date Published: April 1st 2014

Pages: 452

 

 

 

Blurb:

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

Review:

This book has been out a while now and I’ve only heard good things about it. With glowing recommendations from the book blog, book tube, and general community, how could I not give this book a shot?

We all know the classic tale of Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road… Well this book takes that story, throws it in a big Tornado and spits it out all topsy turvy. Years after the classic tale took place, Amy Gumm  and her trailer lands smack bang in Oz.

The title of this book intrigued me to no end, we all remember Dorothy as the cute little Judy Garland character who is as sweet as sugarplums. Well, the new Dorothy is nothing like that. She is mean, vindictive, and well, must die.

Wicked is good and good is wicked… and you just don’t know who Amy should trust in this crazy little world. The world building is fantastic, and it is so interesting reading about the wasteland that Oz has become.

I give this book a 4.5/5 stars, go out and pick up this book now… It will change your perspective on the magical land of Oz.

Rebel Belle – By Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle – By Rachel Hawkins

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Publisher: Putnam

Date Published: 8th April 2014

Pages: 345

 

Blurb:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

 

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

 

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

 

Review:

 

As sassy as it is kickass.

 

This book has been sitting on my TBR pile for a while now. I originally purchased it with the promise of kickass Southern women in cotillion dresses. I found that this book piqued my interest at the beginning,then took a while to explain why the protagonist was now able to knockout burly men whilst in heels.

 

However, the mythology in this book was spot on. Just enough to explain what I wanted to know without needing in depth diagrams explaining character relationships. The high school drama was on point with our main protagonist trying to mix high school, relationships and fighting evil. (Buffy anyone…).  Evil mages, seers, and the Paladin which reminds me a little of the slayer.

 

This is a fun book which can be misconstrued as girly, but it is action-packed. The dialogue and character development in this book is outstanding. The dialogue these characters have is absolutely hilarious. I found myself rolling around hardly able to breathe as I have been laughing so hard. There is a love triangle that is a little cliche but works.

 

I’m giving this book a 4/5 rating and cannot wait to read the sequel Miss Mayhem.

A Whole New World – By Liz Braswell

A Whole New World – By Liz Braswell

A magical retelling of a Disney classic

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Publisher: Disney Press

Date Published: 1st September 2015

Pages: 376

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Aladdin is a street rat. There’s really no getting around that. Like most, he’s trying to survive another day in the impoverished Agrabah.

Jasmine is a princess, one who is about to enter into an arranged marriage. All she wants is to escape her fate, to see what lies beyond the palace walls.

But everything changes when the Sultan’s trusted adviser, Jafar, suddenly rises to power. With the help of an ancient lamp, Jafar becomes determined to break the laws of magic and gain control over love and death. Soon Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion to stop the power-mad ruler. But their fight for freedom grows costly when it threatens to tear the kingdom apart.

This isn’t the story you already know. This is a story about power. About revolutionaries. About love. And about one moment changing everything.

Review: 

I must start by saying that I devoured this book within a single day. I love Disney movies and fairy tales. So when I saw this book it went straight on my “To Be Read” pile.
The story answers the question: What would happen if Jafar got a hold of the magic lamp? All the classic characters from the tale are present with some new faces to keep the tale alive.

 
The world building within this book is astounding and so vivid you will feel as if you are in the desert city of Agrabah. A boy, a girl, a lamp, a genie, and a revolution to take back her land from an evil ruler.

 

The prose is quite wordy and descriptive and it takes a while to get into the meat of the story. This does not particularly appeal to me but as the book moved along I enjoyed the story more and more.

 
If you enjoy Fairy Tales, Fantasy Worlds or Y.A. Fiction I highly recommend you pick up this book and give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

 

Please comment below and leave feedback if you found this review useful or if you’ve read the book and have an opinion.