Category Archives: 52 Books in 52 Weeks

The Beauty of Darkness

The Beauty of Darkness is book 3 in The Remnant Chronicles saga and is my book number 2 for 52 books in 52 weeks.I talked about the second book in a recent post and was looking forward to reading the final installment. I will be as vague as possible, but some might consider what I will write slight spoilers πŸ™‚

This was a thick book at 679 pages, so if you are someone who cannot commit to long books you might struggle, but I don’t mind them personally and I felt it was worth the read. When the story is good I don’t generally notice how long it is. Plus I was already two books in, I wasn’t about to stop now πŸ™‚

book-the-beauty-of-darkness

Love the cover art for this series!!!

There was this really interesting message through this whole story that I felt repeated over and over again through different storylines and that was that ‘no one is too great to fall’. This is SUCH a true message in day to day life for every person as well as in this book and I think that is why I appreciated it. It also shows how those that fall respond, do they become desperate and cruel or evil, or do they have an inner strength and sense of self that sustains them through the harshest of times. Let’s not mince words, these characters went through some hellish ordeals, particularly the female protagonist Lia. From a waited on princess to someone’s prisoner covered in filth and blood wearing a hessian sack, Lia’s resolve never faulted and her inner strength and leadership qualities just grew. Everything was taken from her and she didn’t crumble. This is a great book for young women to read for this message alone.

The other thing I liked about Lia and some of the other main characters is that they often didn’t make the popular choice. They were not afraid to make the difficult choice that would be immensely harder and possibly end in death because ultimately it was the right thing to do and could save many lives. Too often you read books where people throw the lives of thousands out to dry in the name of love and whilst I understand that being an impossible choice I do get frustrated by the sheer amount of these type of novels – like the Fallen series for example (not that I didn’t enjoy it – you can tell here and here).

Relationships were so interesting in this book. To be honest it didn’t end the way I wished it had. The ending I wanted wouldn’t be the popular version, but to me it was more realistic and I cannot say much more about how I felt about this without spoiling things so I will stop here.

I was a fan of the overall ending and was definitely a fan of many of the messages in the book. I was a particular fan of the women in this book. There is a strength to the women in this book that you cannot help but admire. Seriously SUCH a great read for young women today.


52 books in 52 weeks is back!

Wayyyy back in 2014 as one of my New Year’s goals I decided to undertake a 52 books in 52 weeks challenge (52b52w). Though I am a librarian and surrounded by books everyday I found that I rarely had time to read anymore. As it was my favourite past time I decided to find a way to get it back into my life.

My chill out time used to include a cup of tea a couple of smokes and a good read. Last year on Feb 15 I decided to put the gaspers down for good, in one more month it will be a year since my last cigarette. To be honest giving up smoking after a decade of doing it has made me probably the most proud of myself I have ever been, even more than graduating after 4 years of Uni haha. However, it did mean that I avoided reading. I realised that when I read I would sometimes crave so I stopped, this means I did not read much in 2016. Thankfully I am now over this phase and am ready to get back into reading big time!

So I thought I would start with book 2 and 3 in the Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson. I have been waiting to read these since I read the first book in the series The Kiss of Deception in November 2015. I really enjoyed the first installment and couldn’t wait to get into the second. However, knowing the cliffhanger I was left at the end of the first I decided to wait until both books came out so I could read them one after the other. LOVE me some binge reading!

So my first read for this year is The Heart of Betrayal book #2 in the Remnant Chronicles series.

heart-of-betrayal

I really enjoyed the first book in this series. It was very well written.

This second installment was written in a different manner and you were able to see the story from more points of view. Whilst I loved the first book and the fact you didn’t know who was who until the final curtain call this book felt like a step forward. It felt more adult. The development of the characters in this book was wonderful, often coming from witnessing or being subjected to brutal incidents.

I loved Lia’s development through this book. She really came into her own and I love her backbone. I really liked how I could see her love of the people and her gift growing, her sense of self was in constant development throughout this book.

This ended almost exactly the way I wanted. I have an idea of where I would like the next installment to go, but I feel it is unlikely the ending I will get.

I have already started on the third book and so far it is exciting too πŸ™‚

Library lovers day in Australia is fast approaching on the 14 February. In support I am currently borrowing all of my books from the library and sharing them on my instagram with the hashtag #librarylove Feel free to do the same πŸ™‚

library-lovers-day


52 Books in 52 Weeks – Harry Potter cont…

Fair warning… it’s all about Harry Potter πŸ™‚

41. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling

Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets

I won’t lie, the movie of this book is my least favourite in the series. Having now read the book I think the movie cheated it. There was so much more depth in a variety of characters that was erased from the film.

I really enjoyed this second book. Loved that Dobby threw Lucius down some stairs at the end and that the flying car was an actual character that was self-aware and had feelings and went wild in the forest. I also liked that nearly headless Nick was a much bigger character in the book than I expected having seen the film first.

I do love the relationships in this book and if I were in need of a family I would wish with all my heart that the Weasley’s were real and looking to adopt!

Great book, can’t wait for the next one πŸ™‚

42. Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

Harry-Potter-And-The-Prisoner-Of-Azkaban_novelI am loving how my appreciation of this series is getting deeper as I go on. At this point I am pretty much tearing through these books.

I love Ron attempting to use the phone and very much wish that was in the movie. I also found the character of Crookshanks very interesting, in the film he is just a cat, but in the books he is so much more.

Sirius and Lupin were some of my favourite characters from the films and Lupin was definitely my favourite Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher, so I am glad that my love for them was only made bigger by reading the actual book πŸ™‚

43. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling

Harry_Potter_and_the_Goblet_of_FireOh Cedric, Cedric. He was such a good and wonderful person. Sorry, it’s all just so much more real when you are reading the book, you feel like you really got to know him and then… well… all the feels.

I love the Weasley’s rocking up through the fireplace and the Dursley’s just not know knowing what to do about it hahaha.

I did feel like a lot of the descriptions of Krum were quite negative, maybe it is just me, but that’s how I was left feeling about him which I think was unfair because there is nothing wrong with him.

There was more Dobby in this book, I was kind of surprised by that because Dobby didn’t show up at all really between the Chamber of Secrets and Deathly Hallows. Poor Dobby. I actually really liked him as a character in the book. Hermione trying to save all the house elves that don’t want to be saved gave me a giggle too.

44. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling

harry-potter-coverI have so many evilish feelings and thoughts about Umbridge. She really is the Antichrist! What a truly evil woman.

I have noticed (maybe because I know what is coming from the movies) that Rowling has little hints in earlier books of things to come which is pretty awesome. It certainly shows that she had this whole story and world planned out completely.

Fred + George Weasley Forever! Those boys are something else and I just love it!

I feel like A LOT was missed out from the book to the film and that makes me sad. For starters in the film didn’t Bellatrix “kill” Neville’s parents rather than just drive them batty? Why? St Mungo’s isn’t even shown in the films which means we never see loopy Lockhart again. Harry felt a lot of angst around the fact that Hermione and Ron were made prefects and he wasn’t, I thought it was great they were made prefects and interesting that this was not in the film.

45. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling

coverI think this was my favourite book so far. The back story into Voldemort was colourful, clever, well-rounded and very informative without giving too much away.The book is FAR better than the movie and I feel as though I have a much greater understanding of Voldemort now.

The way the characters are developed through this series is very well orchestrated and I can only applaud Rowling’s brain for that. Every character is so well thought out and carefully built and true to their nature in the way that they react and interact within the story.

Every chapter with adventures using the Half-Blood Prince’s potions book was fascinating and Harry’s internal thoughts and emotions whilst the story unravels are fascinating. Definitely my favourite so far!

46. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows

Nooooo….. it can’t be the last one already! I have read these way too fast!

I can certainly understand why they split this into 2 films, there is an immense amount that occurs in this book. In the final book of this wondrous and now quite beloved (for me anyway) series Rowling brilliantly and tear-jerkingly ties up all the little fragments she has planted over the years throughout the books. This final volume is an absolute triumph and this along with the Half-Blood Prince are absolutely 2 of the best junior fiction novels I have EVER read.

I laughed and shed tears reading this book. A favourite part was hearing Fred and George Weasley on the radio station ‘Pottermore’ hosted by Lee Jordan, I literally laughed out loud during this part of the book. I can’t for the life of me imagine why they wouldn’t have included this part in the first Deathly Hallows film instead of just watching them camp for the majority of it.

I adore how intricately interwoven this series is, the story of which spans literally two generations (more if you include the Dumbledore back story). I know I have mentioned my adoration of the effort that has gone into the characters, but honestly I don’t feel I can state enough how impressed I was with the development of the characters. Harry and Ginny’s relationship was so well done in the books, I really feel it suffered in the films (emotion fueled teenage looks non-withstanding).

Also the end fight scene in this was SO much better than the film. I always liked the film’s final fight, but the book’s was amazing!

I do truly wish I could have experienced the series without having seen the movies, but let’s face it there are so many spoilers around it wouldn’t have mattered. What does matter is that I have finally read them and loved them and now I won’t cause shock by saying “I haven’t actually read Harry Potter”

 

I couldn’t believe it when I was reading these books and the last book almost coincided with the passing of Alan Rickman. I was so very sad to hear of his passing, he was a spectacularly talented man and I am a big fan of his work

What are you guys reading???


Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Harry Potter

2016

I have been a very, very naughty blogger. I have neglected you and I am sorry. Why have I abandoned you? Quite simply the crazy season was crazy and every minute I wasn’t committed to cooking, cleaning, celebrating, catching up or other such activities I was reading the Harry Potter series. I managed to finish the last book before the New Year.

I also realise I seriously owe you some 52 Books in 52 Weeks posts. I will get them done. Basically I am behind because I was reading too much and seriously surpassed my goal.

Let’s talk about resolutions… did you make any? I have done some over the past few years which were more like goals rather than resolutions and I will be keeping some of the ones from last year. So here are my goals for 2016…

  • 52 Books in 52 Weeks – yup, here we go again. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this, but I need to get better with my planning and posting. I was doing well last year until about half way through and then it all fell to pieces LOL.
  • Try new things – I have really enjoyed this and haven’t done as much of it in 2015 as I should have so I am bringing this back with a vengeance. I do often tie this in to trying new foods (particularly healthy foods) which is a great thing, but I want to get some more activity things in there too in 2016.
  • Healthy lifestyle – This is something that one constantly works towards I think. It is a choice you make each day. Hubby was good enough to gift me the Garmin tracker I asked for so my first goal for 2016 health wise is to keep my steps up each day. I have also been chatting to a friend at work and may have talked her into joining the work gym and being my gym buddy… we’ll see what happens there. Sadly I gym better when my commitment has been made to someone else rather than myself. I am also going to explore more foods, ways of cooking and preparing and organising my meals better.
  • Get knocked up – This is probably my biggest goal for 2016. Someway, somehow I want to be knocked up by years end. I don’t think this is too much to ask really is it? This means more to me than pretty much everything apart from my family. Please let this be my year. Fingers crossed.

What goals have you set yourself this year?


52 Books in 52 Weeks – September

Here is the September post… I realise that I skipped a couple of months there and I am truly sorry, but I have been extremely busy and to be honest the fatigue has been so bad and work/life so busy that I haven’t had the brain power to truly appreciate a book in awhile.

The one good thing about my surgery and the following infection was that I spent a lot of time off my feet with my head in books and I LOVED that part guys, it was so great!

So without further delay… here are Septembers reads…

34. Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

I know, I know, don’t start with me, but it is true, I have never read the Harry Potter books. So I decided to start working my way through them. I believe the books get more complex as we go along so that will be good. I quite liked this first book, I liked it different to the movie though, not necessarily better *she says whilst dodging rotten fruit and veg*.

I’m sorry you guys I think I had myself all worked up about how awesome it was going to be, but let’s be honest it is Junior Fiction and I am an adult. For JF I think it is AMAZING and great world building and I can really appreciate it for that.

I feel my appreciation is only going to grow and I move on through the series so I am looking forward to that πŸ™‚

35. Deception (Defiance #2) – CJ Redwine

deceptionI read the first of this series back in March and really liked it. I hope you guys read it because I try not to include spoilers, but it is hard not to when you are mentioning characters that were in life and death situations in the first book so if you don’t want to know skip the rest of this review and number 36 too πŸ™‚

This was pretty good for a middle book, it had its own challenges that were part of the bigger journey and there were some great twists in there. All up it was pretty good. Really I was expecting a LOT of relationship drama in this book because authors can’t seem to avoid putting it in, but there was a lot less than I expected. Logan really stepped up to being a leader and though he was dealt blow after blow I loved the strength of his character, getting back up, reassessing the situation and moving forward again.

Rachel’s character I found a little bit annoying at first – only for one area of her characters development though (man it’s going to take ages to pick this rotten fruit and veg out), to be honest I kinda understood her trying to delete her emotions and not feel and let’s face it it’s pretty realistic to what people do in real life *cough* I mean so I have heard anyways, but so much time was spent on this. This development in the character made more sense as the story went on though and dealing with it/working through it became pivotal to the characters persona so I get it now.

I really enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to start number 3… in fact I believe I started it the next morning. The only good thing about having surgery was all the downtime I had to attack my ‘to read’ pile.

36. Deliverance (Defiance #3) – CJ Redwine

Oompf this was a good end to the trilogy and parts of it hit you right in the feels.

I loved that the two main characters were split up having their own separate journeys in this book, it lifted the final novel to a new level. So many times I thought that Rachel was going to not rise to the occasion and then she did and I was almost proud of her. Which I admit sounds kinda strange, but she has come so far from the first book where she was a girl who wanted to (and in small doses did) rebel. I really liked where her character ended.

All the loose ends were tied up nicely, but the book didn’t feel rushed. The last battle scene is as ugly as it is awesome and not all will be left standing at the end. Very nice end to a series.

37. An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) – Sabaa Tahir

Gorramit! My friend at work the Youth Librarian keeps putting these good books on my desks that have a bitch of a cliffhanger at the end and then it turns out it is book bloody 1 and I have to wait a year for the 2nd installment.

This is a good YA book, I liked the development of both the main characters and enjoyed that we were able to spend time in both their worlds. Some of the things that were discussed happening to the slaves/women and families were quite confronting and mentions of rapes and whatnot leads me to say that this is not at the younger scale of YA Fiction. There were things described in this that mage me cringe.

I thought the trials were good and the plot well thought out. World building was pretty good as well, but realistically limited to what the two main characters would know/experience because the book was from their POVs. I REALLY enjoyed this book you guys and would definitely recommend it, just be prepared for the fact that there are some seriously confronting and ugly scenes in it. It is not a sparkly vampire book, there is some good grit in here!

38. Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) – Tamora Pierce

I haven’t read a Tamora Pierce series since high school so it was beyond time. I don’t know how I have previously missed this series, but that was an error I was happy to fix πŸ™‚

When I first started the book I think I actually groaned out loud and thought it’s in diary form, ugh I don’t think I will like this, just to be clear I do not hate all diary form books… Bridget Jones for instance is great :), but as a general rule I don’t usually enjoy them. Oh how wrong I was. As soon as I got to Beka’s “diary” (you’ll understand the parentheses if you read it) I was swept away. I read the first book in just over a day and couldn’t wait to tear into the second.

The character building is great. Beka’s back story is a good jumping off point and that explanation allows you to throw yourself into the story with her with total understanding of her character. I love the linguistic style of this book, the slang is fabulous and after being immersed in this world for a week I found myself almost dropping into it hahaha. Her informants are literally a different breed and I love the whodunnit style that emerges.

Favourite characters… well it is incredibly hard to choose, but aside from Beka I would have to say Pounce and Rosto. Hmm and many others. What can I say it was a great read.

39. Bloodhound (Beka Cooper #2) – Tamora Pierce

*WARNING – Read the first book before reading this review, there will be spoilers!!!*

This was a great follow up. I was worried it would traipse into “middle book” land, but my fears were completely unfounded. This book is a stand alone and very clever, who would have thought counterfeiting would be so interesting? My only complaint was that it was based away from Corus so we missed out on seeing a lot of the characters I loved from the first book, but I loved the addition of Achoo. Seriously, cats and dogs?! You know I am going to love that. I kind of wanted her to hurt Achoo’s old handler, but I guess as in the real world animal abusers get away with it.

Dale and his friends have an interesting relationship, they seem best of mates, but can they really be? I was into Goodwin and Cooper basically going undercover and found her trying to act the lady to be quite amusing, the addition of Dale as a love interest was interesting too, but I found him ultimately unsatisfying to be honest.

It was a bit of a different story to the first, you are well aware of who has done the crime by halfway through, but the frustration in major part comes from proving it, to be honest I thought this change worked and I enjoyed the book πŸ™‚

40. Mastiff (Beka Cooper #3) – Tamora Pierce

I am not going to lie, the cover of this book weirded me out for awhile, what is going on with her head? Lady is possessed! Call an exorcist!!!

Hmm… to be honest I am not sure how to review this book. I was right there with it the whole way, a solid 4.5/5 in my head. I pretty much tore through this in a day and I HAD to know what happened… and then it did… wtf?! 3/5

I still LOVED the story, it was so strong and the characters so awesome. Once again though it took part away from Corus so none of the characters from the first book are really in it which again is disappointing. Again I LOVE Pounce and Achoo, they are fabulous characters, Pounce was a particular favourite from this book.

Man I am pissed at the ending, let’s just say I felt a beloved character was given a serious injustice. It was BS and I still don’t believe it. In true tanty fashion I forced my Mum to read the series, which was kinda cool because we were both exploring the same world that was different from our own at the same time (cool concept) and she agreed it was BS. Please read the series so you can agree with my outrage hahaha.

What are you guys reading???


Book vs. Film: The Hobbit

the hobbit

# HUGE SPOILER WARNING!!! IΒ will discuss much of the plot in both the book ‘The Hobbit’ and associated movies.

This is my 33rd book read for the year πŸ™‚ I need to be clear upfront that I loved the book and really liked the movies so don’t think that all the negatives I am about to throw at you mean I didn’t like the movies. If I hadn’t read the book I would have loved them, but there were some changes made (especially a big one towards the end) that really p’d me off πŸ™‚

Here. We. Go.

Azog – You all remember Azog from the movies right, big white dude, missing part of his arm, very central to the entire plot of the movies? Well the thing is that apart from saying he died many years before (killed by Thorin), he wasn’t in the book. Whilst I agree that the constant threat of attack and pursuit from Azog did give a certain urgency to the plot it kind of stuck in my gullet a bit too because this role was really supposed to be for Bolg.

Galadriel – Gorgeously played by fellow Aussie Cate Blanchett, she was amazing and I love her in this role and I felt that this character was a good addition to the films, but she wasn’t in the books, at all. This is interesting when she was so integral to parts of the movie’s plot.
The character of Saruman was also not in the book, I didn’t really understand the point of him being in the movie apart from at one point being difficult and rude about Radagast and the next minute fighting like the dickens. I also was annoyed because I couldn’t figure out whether they were insinuating that he was already a bad guy when this took place… frustrating.
Legolas – Oh I feel bad even writing this part because who doesn’t love Legolas? He is a great character. He is also not in the book, at all. However if memory serves he is identified as the son of Thranduil in The Lord of the Rings so I suppose it is feasible that he was in Mirkwood, but there are whole extra side stories that are added here which were not in the book at all. They are nice and all and as I said before I enjoyed the films, but they are not true to the book.
Tauriel – This character does not exist in any Tolkien book I know of. I feel like this character was just added so there could be a love interest for Kili because apparently there has to be some kind of romance thing happening in all movies… sigh. Whilst the actress was good and the character was well written there was no need to add another character and it pissed me off because I felt that this character and the ensuing romance with Kili was the reason that they had to change the ending.
Another interesting change was how the group came to be captured by the elves in Mirkwood. In the book the group was drawn to the elves celebrations by laughter and music, in the movie the elves saved them from the spiders and then took them hostage. I guess doing it this way quickened things up, but considering they stretched the book out into three movies you wouldn’t really think there was a need for that. I also felt as though the elves in the films were portrayed very differently from in the book, whilst in the book they were warriors certainly they were also musical and the majority of interactions with them included them singing. This was never shown in the movie, not at Mirkwood or at Rivendell, their entrance to Rivendell was also very different from in the book. I do wonder why the writers wanted the elves to seem so serious, severe, unfriendly and apart from the rest of the world. Interesting.
What are ‘were-worms’? I honestly don’t remember Tolkien writing about them, they reminded me of the things from Dune. Am I wrong in not remembering these things from the books?
Fili and Kili, I felt like they were robbed of a warriors death and it pissed me off. Poor Fili is basically executed to hurt Thorin and Kili is only killed because he tried to stop Tauriel being killed. Grr. In the book these characters have a fine death, meeting their end protecting their king. I was really frustrated by this.
I thought Thorin’s death in the movie was crap too, at first I was yelling at him to just get off the ice and it would capsize then once he did that and Azog was ‘dead’ he slowly watched him float along under the ice… *GROAN* seriously?! What moron would do this. They always come back Peter Jackson, always! So then Thorin gets a crappy death because he didn’t stab twice. At least he gets to have the meaningful conversation with Bilbo and they renew their bromance πŸ™‚
This is hard because like I said in the beginning I liked both the books and the movies, but there was things that the movie changed that as a lover of the book I was disappointed in some parts. I also wanted to see more of the Green Dragon, which I am pretty sure all fans want.

52 Books in 52 Weeks – June

Here it is, the June post πŸ™‚ Like I said for May it has been a pretty busy time of late and remember I also discovered Netflix recently, so I have not been as good a reader as I normally am hahaha. But I am happy to say I am still ahead of schedule for my reading this year… just.

I know I normally do at least 4 books, but with everything else going on at the moment and some of the changes I have been making to my life I haven’t had as much time to get through the books. I also find myself with several books half read at present because I am the type of person that puts myself through that perverse torture. Two of them are bios, one is really heavy and the other couldn’t be more opposite, but both are interesting. I am trying to get through those asap. I am also working on another Book vs. Movie post because people seemed to enjoy my last one.

31. TheΒ Lie – C.L. Taylor

the lieInterestingly I came across this book completely by accident, I was teaching one of our casuals how to use BorrowBox and as part of that I logged into my account and we went through how to browse for, preview and borrow and item and this happened to be the item. Afterwards I was kind of intrigued and decided to read it.

It was pretty different and you were reading the story in a dual timeline which for the most part actually wasn’t confusing so kudos to the writer on that. As the cover states there was definitely some ‘dark and creepy’ going on and if a friend every asks me to go to Nepal on a whim I will think twice πŸ™‚

The vast changes in people some might say stretched the imagination a bit, but I actually didn’t feel that way at all, this is possibly because I have personally had a friend go from best friend of 11 years to completely withdrawn from me overnight because her fiance didn’t like me so obviously I find it more believeable. I guess I felt that this story was a good example of how much the influences of others can change someone even when they have a strong sense of self and to be honest when someone does get involved in a cult that is generally what happens, a complete personality overhaul overnight. Quite sad really.

The stand out character for me was Al, I really liked her and thought she was a great character. Emma/Jane was pretty good too and I really liked her boyfriend, he was lovely πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed it so if you are looking for a creepy mystery then check this book out.

 

32. Evil Librarian – Michelle Knudsen

evil librarianMy friend the YA Librarian handed me this book and suggested I give it a read. I later found out she was using me as a guinea pig to decide if she was going to read it haha sneaky, sneaky.

The best friend (Annie) of our main character Cynthia falls in immediate love with the new Librarian Mr. Gabriel and he is pretty handsome so at first Cyn understands her unrequited love, but then she starts to feel that something is quite off about Mr. Gabriel and she suspects that he is in fact a demon.

There is some swearing in it that does seem really random, not because the situation they are in doesn’t call for swearing, but because it doesn’t fit with the rest of the book’s tone. The other thing that bothered me a little was the main character, (I try not to include spoilers so I will be very vague) I wasn’t into her personality swings from meek to ferocious, they just seemed odd at times.

Overall, this is a really funny book and will be amusing for both adults and young adults.