REVIEW: RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW


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Title: Rarity from the Hollow

Author: Robert Eggleton

Length: 284

Source: Received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

I’ve read some books with pretty strange concepts, but this honestly has to top that list. I’ll just let the synopsis summarise this story because honestly I couldn’t:

‘Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.’

I’ll start by saying this was a book I couldn’t finish, I got about 40% through and it was just too confusing for me to carry on. It felt like I had to put SO much effort just to read each page. The concept was bizarre but that wasn’t the problem, I personally think it was the world building and character development that were the problem.

If the story has concepts that are difficult for the reader to grasp easily, I feel like usually the character or the setting tend to compensate for that. If I can somewhat relate to the main character, or even just understand them that’s enough for me to finish any book. For me this story just didn’t give me enough to carry on reading through the weirdness, the main character felt a bit distant, and the familial relationships weren’t really developed.

There are talking trees, a creepy alien, and a main character with a mission to save the universe. If reading stories with weird concepts is something you enjoy, this  is definitely out there.

Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.

NOTE: The character mentioned above (Faith) is a victim of sexual abuse. Sexual content is present in this novel.

Update Post!

Well, it’s been a while… I was doing well up until the posts I made in advance were all posted and I had to sit down and make new ones. A LOT has happened, but I feel like I’ll just be listing more excuses as to why I was slacking in posting (once again!). So instead I just wanted to make an update post on what I’ve been up to whilst I was gone and (few!) books I’ve read!

All in all I think I read maybe 5/6 books whilst I was off blogging, probably another reason why I didn’t blog much. When I stop reading I feel like I’m out of the book blogging loop. I have no idea what’s been going on, what new releases have come out and what books have been doing really well!

Some of the books I’ve read:

  • Tokyo Ghoulby by Sui Ishida
  • Glitter by Aprilynne Pike
  • Rarity of the Hollow by Robert Eggleton
  • Miss Christie Regrets by Guy Fraser-Sampson

I think this list pretty much highlights how diverse my reads are!

I also decided to start learning Korean. I’ve always had an interest in learning languages but I never follow through with what I started! Spanish and French were the two languages I started self studying, but kind of just forgot about them… I feel like the same is happening with Korean, just after teaching myself how to read it I kind of just felt meh about the whole thing.

I know for the most part this blog post has been everywhere, it’s always hard making a blog post after being out of it for a while, it all feels a little awkward. I’ll be posting reviews starting next week, and on that note I’m currently NOT accepting any more books for review for a little while. When it gets to a point where I have more books that I own that I haven’t read, I’m forcing myself to get through what I’ve accumulated rather let that pile get bigger!

Let me know in the comments what posts you would like to see from this blog, what should be my topics for my next discussion posts?

MG Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold.

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Title: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold.

Author: Terry Maggert

Length: 238

Source: Received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

I have always enjoyed reading middle grade novels, even if I may not necessarily fall in the age group they’re aimed at! I feel like they don’t tend to contain as many cliché’s as young-adult novels tend to.  After reading the synopsis I thought this was definitely something worth checking out! I’m going to try and review it from the perspective of the target audience.

This story took a little too long to get ‘started’. Had I read this when I 12, I don’t think I would’ve made it past around 40% of the book. I understand the importance of world-building and developing the characters, but at the same time it felt like the beginning dragged on a little too much. That was one of the reasons it took me so long to get through this book despite it being 248 pages long.

The character was your average middle grade protagonist, but nonetheless fun to read about. She had a goal throughout this story, and also acted FAIRLY realistically for the most part of this story. However, for some situations she was put in, I really struggled to believe that a 16/17 year old would react in the way she did.

I’m honestly struggling to write a review for this book, not because I disliked it, but because after I finished reading it nothing really stood out to me. Maybe because I’m comparing my experience of reading this middle grade book to previous one’s I had enjoyed but I just found it a little anticlimactic.

If you’re interested in reading about a book set in Alaska, and have an interest in humpback whales you might want to give this a try. Also if you’re looking for a middle grade book that is a more focused on world-building, I would recommend reading this.

Discussion post: Bad Reviews.

This is a sensitive topic amongst the book blogging community, but it’s something most bloggers have to go through when writing a bad review. UNLESS they are lucky enough to never read a book they dislike!

At some point in time we come across a book we didn’t enjoy, I feel like it’s easier to review it when you paid for the book yourself rather than received it for review! Writing these reviews are never enjoyable, but at the same time I feel like as a book blogger it is my duty to inform readers of my opinion. Sometimes people read my reviews, go on to read the book and find they have a completely different experience, which is absolutely normal! We all have different preferences, something I enjoy is not going to necessarily mean the next person would have enjoyed it just as much.

However I do take extra care when writing bad reviews, and I’ve noticed that when I approach it from an objective viewpoint, as someone just critiquing the story it’s much easier. I think it’s because it makes it less personal and a little more technical.

I’ve been on Goodreads and come across a few reviews that look something like this:

OH WOW this book was a disaster, it made me want to RIP MY EYES out!

Here’s the thing, I enjoy reading entertaining reviews just as much as anyone else, but sometimes I feel like people do toooooo much. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I’m not saying my way is the right way to review. But I particularly find reviews like this unhelpful and frankly a little rude. The worst thing about it is some people won’t even say what particular aspect or what it was about the book they didn’t really enjoy. Someone slaved away for months, even years to produce something they were genuinely proud of. The least I can as a reviewer, is point out perhaps what concepts/characters I thought weren’t written well. Or provide constructive criticism, so that the author can perhaps pick up on this and might even agree!

Let me know what you guys think down in the comments! What is your approach to writing reviews for books you didn’t like? By the way I wanted to make some posts that are not book related, e.g. study tips or favourite movies would y’all still be interested in reading these kind of posts?

REVIEW: The Crystal Crux by A.M. Werner

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Title: The Crystal Crux

Author: A.M Werner

Published: January 11th 2016

Length: 352

Source: I got this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I haven’t read a high fantasy in a fairly long time so I was really excited to accept this for review! Here’s the synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)

‘Once you get past the Greek warrior Bellerophon and his esoteric-laced crystals, past the menacing black dragon Ophis, past the sinister giant Sinibaldus, past the black-heart Castellan, Rugerius, past the enchanted creatures haunting Eagles Pass and the treacherous Fabbro family ruling Parthenope, you’ll discover that “The Crystal Crux – Betrayal” is a love story, a tale of light and faith in a land of darkness, war and hopelessness.
Pero de Alava has sinned against the powers-that-be. His elevated paranoia has made him indecisive and given life to frequent hallucinations and troubling visions. The supernatural is colliding with reality and the caballero fears he is losing his mind. His plans to wed Anthea Manikos unravel quickly. His best friend, Francis Whitehall, the Griffin, can’t reach him. He accepts no advice from anyone. He curses God because he has seen the prosperity of the wicked and envied them. Will his quest into hell help him right his mind again or will his jealousy drive him to be as unjust as those he despises?
Emperor Henry VI has died. He can no longer protect his pawns. Brother betrays brother, friend betrays friend. As Zor always says, “Bravest blood flows first.” The heart has been struck. It is only DAY ONE and the leaves are falling, snapping off at the stems, missed opportunities drifting away, swirling in the breeze towards the coldness of the grave. So many regrets.
“Every malevolent act you henceforth commit in the name of justice, will only disconnect you from the greater good you are swearing to perform. You will be broken and become the evil thing you loathe.”‘

I think I should preface this review by saying this. If you’re someone who enjoys heavy-world building and historical fiction you will love this book! The majority of it is world building, which was absolutely amazing, because it made me think about how much research went into actually writing about this time so accurately!

This story had characters from a wide range of backgrounds, all battling their own demons and all developing through this story. But it also had some interesting relationships and in my opinion had the perfect amount of romance for a fantasy/historical fiction. I prefer having a relationship that feels more realistic, rather than having love triangles and clichèd romantic scenarios. The relationship between Anthea and Pero De Alva is one I loved reading about and I think it gives this story a sort of relief from all the darkness surrounding these characters.

This was a great fantasy/historical fiction but in all honesty it took me a while to get through, simply because of the intense world building! However the way A.M. Werner developed this complex world and made it feel familiar to the reader is one of the reasons I had to keep reading!

My Bullet Journal!

So this year I decided to start bullet journaling! I’ve always liked the idea, but it looked too high maintenance to be sustainable! But a friend showed me a more simplistic approach and so I decided to give it a try too.

Why?

Why would I bullet journal in the first place? Towards the beginning it felt a little like a waste of time, I’m someone who doesn’t struggle finding ways to procrastinate, so I knew there was a chance I would spent so much time trying to make it look pretty ( emphasis on TRYING)! But for someone like me, actually writing down what I plan to do that day, kind of motivates me, and I know that if I don’t do it I can’t tick it off. I know that is sounds quite ridiculous, the one thing motivating me to complete a task is the fact that I can tick a box when I’m done! But sometimes when I lack motivation, that is literally the only thing that keeps me going, I know if I don’t tick it it’ll have to be passed on to the next day’s list, and I’ll regret it later on!

What I used to do before is literally just grab a random sheet of paper, write down a checklist and just throw it away when I’m done. But that way I couldn’t keep track of my progress/productivity. There are some days where you feel like you’ve achieved so much, but when you look back you realised you actually wasted a lot of time! This journal kind of helped me look back and confront the days where I just felt productive but didn’t actually do anything!

Sample:

I am by no means artistic or creative in any way! But I thought I might show you just what some of the pages look like. WARNING: these pages are really simple, like literally some of them just have titles, lower your expectations for what’s to come!

The pages I’ve included in mine were based on watching 100 million different Youtube videos, finding what suits me, and adding pages that I might find useful. Of course this is not some guideline, so if you choose to make one, it could be personalised to your daily needs!

What is your method of staying organised? Comment down below!

 

 

Beta-Reading: My Experience

To be completely honest I don’t know if people are interested in this post, but I would’ve like to find a post like this when considering beta-reading so maybe it’ll be helpful to some?

I had expressed interested in monetising my blog and one of the methods I’d listed had been beta-reading! This was one that felt like I would actually enjoy doing, and wouldn’t have affected my blog or readers in any way! If you want to know a little more about beta-reading I’ve previously made a post about this so check it out!

When I did my free trial and accepted manuscripts (MS) I honestly felt excited, overwhelmed but at the same time intimidated. Authors provide you their MS in the hopes that your feedback will be useful to them and help them during their revisions. I’m not the most confident person you’ll find, so my first worry was what if my feedback is absolutely useless? These authors might have high expectations about my feedback and I really didn’t want to disappoint anyone.

It took me about 2-3 weeks to actually pluck up the courage and start on the MS. Partially because of my uni workload, but frankly I was just nervous to get into it and make a mistake! Having said that, once I actually took that step and got on with it, as lame as it sounds, it was actually fun… When reading books I’ve always been a little critical, not particularly looking for aspects I didn’t like/enjoy as the reader, but just noticing them. So I kind of naturally progressed through the MS.

HOWEVER don’t interpret this as beta reading is easy! My approach to beta reading is providing comments after each chapter, whilst annotating the chapters themselves, and finally writing up a full feedback report when I’m done. Now it might just be that I’ve assigned myself more work load, but beta reading is TIME CONSUMING. It’s definitely not something that you can just whizz through, accepting dozens of MS each month. Usually I’d go through chapters perhaps three times, if it’s a little dense. My point here is, I underestimated the amount of time it would take to read through a MS. I thought, well it would take me around 15 hours of straight reading to finish a book, so it would be the same for beta reading. Yeahhh, that wasn’t really the case…

Another difficulty I came across was actually finding authors! Understandably when I was holding the free trial, I received quite a few MS. However once I started charging, *tumble weed*. From this I decided to offer a trial of 1000 words for free, just so that the author got a sense of what to expect for the full MS.

All in all, I’ve had a great experience so far, and definitely will continue to provide this service as long as I have the time for it! I’ve rambled on in this post (AGAIN), but if you have any questions about this service, or beta reading in general leave a comment below!

The Mystery Blogger Tag!

I haven’t taken part in a tag in a LONG time, so thank you Tavleen from Travelling Through Words for tagging me! Be sure to check out the original creator of this tag Okoto Enigma and Tavleen!

RULES

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Things About Me

  1. According to Pottermore I’m a Ravenclaw? Honestly I still haven’t read this series yet so I don’t exactly know what that means!
  2. When I fall into a reading slump, it can take me literally MONTHS to get out of it!
  3. I have to listen to music when doing absolutely anything, cleaning, studying, on my way to uni. You’ll always see me with my headphones…

Questions Given From Travelling Through Words

  1. If you could kill one fictional character , who would it be?

I’m struggling with this one because it has a huge spoiler, so I’m just going to say someone from Red Queen. If you’ve read the book you can probably guess!

      2. What is an unpopular bookish opinion of yours?

I know I keep coming back to this one but it would have to be Throne of Glass, I think that’s probably one of the only books that I had such a different opinion of!

      3.Which song is your current favorite?

So John Mayer recently release his second EP, so it’s basically ALL my favourite. IF I had to choose one it would be Still Feel Like Your Man! (Listened to it about 100 times since it’s release!

      4.How many books do you want to read in 2017?

My target for last year was about 70, which I failed miserably. So this year I’m going to try and be a little more realistic and go for maybe 50? I haven’t even logged this on Goodreads yet!

     5.If you had to live in a house built from books, which books will you choose to have the roof made from? (Weird Question)

Probably Beverley Barton, she’s my favourite crime thriller author! But I just might be tempted to pick one up!

I Nominate:

Questions For My Nominees:

  1. What is your favourite book of 2017?
  2. If you had super power from a fictional character, what character would that be? And what is their power?
  3. What is one book you think everyone should read in their lifetime?
  4. You’re stuck in a lift with three fictional characters. Who would you choose to be with?
  5. What is a popular series/book that you haven’t read yet?

Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

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Title: A Gentleman in Moscow

Author: Amor Towles

Published: February 9th 2017

Length: 480

Source: I got this copy from Hutchinson- Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

It comes as no shock that I’ve been in a reading slump for the past 2 months, so here’s my first review this year!

I love historical fiction, and so I was a big fan of the TV adaptation of War and Peace, I still haven’t gotten to the actual book yet! So when this was recommended to people who enjoyed W&P you already know I had to get a copy of this… Here’s the blurb: (taken from goodreads)

‘With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style.

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.’

This is definitely a more slow paced, self-discovery read. You follow this journey of this Count who lived such a lavish life, suddenly confined the the smallest room in the Metropol. How he manages to stay sane, and his coping mechanisms with this situation is something that really interested me! It also portrayed that a lot of things are dependent on perspective. Initially being confined to this small space gave made him feel claustrophobic, no matter what activity he tried to pursue (within the Metropol) it could never match the satisfaction he would get from freely strolling down the street! However once he changed his viewpoint, began discovering and inspecting the hotel he was trapped in, as the reader you realise that it’s all your mindset!

In honesty this was a DNF for me, not because I didn’t enjoy, but because it had a lot of world-building and character development and not much actually going on for about the first half of the book. With me already being in a reading slump I found it hard to finish it! I do know that this is a book  will definitely come back to!

Feb TBR and Update!

So I haven’t read a single book last month, and by the looks of it this month is heading the same direction… As a motivational thing I decided to post a Feb TBR, even if it’s like three books! Just so that I know that I have to write a wrap-up, which means I have to read something! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and frankly I think you’re all bored of my excuses so I’m just going to get on with the post!

I’ve actually received quite a few review books over the past month and some I’m REALLY excited for! Instead of making a haul I’m just going to list a few of them below:

  • Wayfarer by Alexander Bracken (I still can’t believe I have a copy of this and haven’t read it yet!)
  • Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (If you’ve been following me for a while you know I LOVED Wolf by Wolf so I can’t wait to start this!).
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. I’ve heard quite a lot about this one so I’m interested to how it weighs up to the hype!)
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. This is one I started last month, it’s actually quite good! But I think because I’m in a bit of a slump, this historical fiction is a little slow paced, taking me longer to get through it.

So for Feb here’s my TBR:

  1. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  2. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
  3. Rarity of the Hollow by Robert Eggleton.
  4. The Crystal Crux by A.M Werner

In completely unrelated news, Hamilton is coming to London and guess who got tickets! That had to be one of the most stressful experiences of my life! I knew Hamilton was quite popular in the US but I honestly underestimated their fan base in the UK, because trying to get tickets was CRAZY. Also they introduced this system, to prevent people from buying bulk tickets and reselling them. So when you buy seats, you don’t actually get admission tickets. Instead you’re asked to bring the card you paid with on the day, and you’ll be issued tickets literally right before you go in! No one probably even cares about this, but I thought it was so smart!

Anyways, thank you for bearing with me during this hiatus! I’m thinking of having a series of guest posts, I’ve always wanted to host one but just wasn’t sure if people would be interested enough to take part! Let me know in the comments if you would consider guest posting on my blog! Depending on the response, I might start organising one!