Bookstagram account?

So before I started actively using my blog I actually started a bookstagram account. I’m pretty sure everyone knows what it is, but it’s basically an instagram account dedicated to everything and anything book related. I wanted to gain audience there first before I started blogging so I at least have some readers to start with! Over time I’ve realised it’s a LOT OF work! I’ve said this in a previous post but I’ve never been gifted in photography 😅, my pictures always turn out blurry and most times just pure shite! But if you take a look at some of the existing accounts on instagram all the pictures look so pretty and creative and, well… professional 😅.

At the same time, when I finally manage to get that half decent picure I feel so proud:’D. There’s pretty much no other reason for this post than to vent out my stress at maintaining a bookstagram account! Do you own a bookstagram account? Let me know in the comments of your experience!

And of course if you want to check mine out:

@abooknation

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Life Update & July Book Haul

It’s been a while since my last post (that’s a sentence I rarely use (!)) but it’s only because I’ve been travelling! My parents are originally from Morocco so it’s a bit of a tradition to spend the whole summer here. I live in London and every year we make the journey from there to Morocco, by car… It’s one hell of a journey taking a minimum of two days and includes getting on two different ferries, and that’s just on the way there! But the drive from the north of Spain to the South makes for some great pictures, it’s a shame I’ve never been gifted in photography. Insert a crappy picture that I barely managed to take and does no justice to the actual area:


One of the ferries has a little bookshop so you already know I couldn’t resist picking up a few things! It’s been a while since I’ve actually purchased a book so I think these few items were well deserved… Since it’s a little too late for a July TBR instead I’m going to include some books I’ve received for review at the bottom of this haul!
Books (and bookish things) I’ve purchased:

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Heart Sick by Chelsea Cain
  • Notebook
  • Bookmark

Books I’ve received for review:

  • Moral Dissipation by S. M. Jarvis
  • BoyzNite by Xane Fisher
  • Upon The Tide by Ryan Jo Summers
  • Toru by Stephanie Sorenson
  • Falling For The Chance by Kennedy L. Mitchell

Netgalley

  • The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent
  • Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Death Note (Vol.1): Review

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Title:Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom

By: Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata (Illustrator)

Published: September 2006

Length:  195 pages

Source: Bought

 

First of all I’d like to apologise for not posting this review sooner, I’ve actually finished reading Death Note Vol. 1 quite a while ago! I just started watching Outlander, and that kind of distracted me, because I’m kind of obsessed with it! I know I should’ve probably read the books first but I just couldn’t wait… So, Death Note…

I actually haven’t read a huge amount of Manga but this had been recommended to me quite a bit by a persistent friend! So I thought I’d take a bit of a break from reading novels and try a Manga. IT WAS SO GOOD! Initially the concept is what caught my attention, I’d never read anything that was a based on a premise even similar to this! Here’s the synopsis: (Taken from Goodreads)

‘Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami, a death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life?

Boredom
Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note’s powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily Light’s father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father’s files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn’t know?’

If that doesn’t drag you in I really don’t know what will! From the synopsis I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, there were a lot of concepts that were really bizarre. But throughout this volume we slowly find out a little more about the Shinigami and concept of the Death Note. At each chapter we are introduced to new rules of using this Death Note that were relevant to the previous chapter, so in other words they revealed enough to keep the reader engaged. However they also withheld enough to create a mysterious environment that keeps you flipping through ‘til the very end! This volume was also able to maintain an intense and actually quite sinister/creepy atmosphere throughout.

Characters: Our main character Light initially rejects the idea of using the Death Note and actually thinks that it’s a bit of a myth! Only after he’s actually used it does he begin to believe that maybe this isn’t absolute garbage… I think we’ve all come across a fictional character like Light, carrying out an action with good intentions, to rid the world of evil in his case. But it also raised the question, who gives him the right to control their lives, regardless of their crimes. Throughout this volume we see Light getting to grips with this notion and trying to convince himself that he’s not a monster. I enjoyed that we had a more complex main character, and that we were able to see his struggles for justifying his actions. We also see a little bit of a development of his character in this volume but as this is only the first the development is quite minimal.

As this is the first volume, other than talking about the characters and general concept I don’t really have much more to comment on. I do know that this is definitely a series I’m going to continue and I actually think it lives up to the hype it receives. With a great art style and an easy to follow layout, I would pretty much recommend this to anyone! I have watched the first two episodes of the anime and I think it’s actually a little creepier than the manga. It’s a bit of a unique concept but the first volume really helps set the tone and provide a foundation for the series to come! Have you read Death Note? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Currently reading…

I’ve had this manga on my shelf for ageeesssss…. But before reading it i wanted to make sure that I’d be able to watch the anime straight after! So I’ve finally picked it up, I know I only have the first volume but a friend told me the anime is just as good. So I’m just going to read the first volume and watch the anime after. I’ve heard GREAT things about this so I can’t wait to start it! Have you read Death Note?

Using a Rating System?

This has been a topic discussed quite a bit in the book blogging community, for good reason! A rating system is there to give a general impression to the reader what you thought of the book… Now, I read a lot of reviews for books online, as a reader that’s what we tend to do, to make sure the book your about to invest your time in is something you’d enjoy. What I realised was that once I saw the rating I kind of disregarded the review part. As someone who writes reviews I know how different my opinion of a book can be from someone else’s. An example would be my experience reading Throne of Glass, I weren’t particularly the biggest fan of the book and if I rated it I would’ve probably given it a 2/5. BUT that’s only because I felt like I was lead in a different direction in terms of who the main protagonists was going to  be and I didn’t particularly enjoy that version.

In my opinion if I would’ve plastered that rating at the top of the review I don’t know how many people are going to read on and see how I justify my opinion! I also feel like it’s a bit unfair to the author, to summarise their work into a few numbers and I want to do the book justice by highlighting what the author did very well. Again I seem to have started rambling so I’ll cut this post short.

At the time being I will stop rating my reviews and see how it goes, that may change in the future. Also if you’re really interested in seeing my ratings I might actually start to become a bit more active on my Goodreads account. I find Goodreads a bit daunting, I still haven’t figured my way around it yet but when I do write short reviews on there of course I have to include a rating. Anyway let me know what you think of a rating system down below! Is it something you use?

Wolf by Wolf: Review

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Title: Wolf by Wolf

Author: Ryan Grauding

Published: October 20th 2015

Length:  388 pages

Source: Received for review through Netgalley

 

 

Why is it that the books I always delay reading end up being the ones I enjoy the most? Wolf by Wolf is definitely not a light read which is why I think I kept pushing back reading it. It was so well written and managed to captivate my attention, I literally stayed up ‘til 4am reading it!

Here’s the synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)

‘Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.’

World Building: This book is set in a time where mankind arguably carried out one of the most horrific acts ever and I think that’s why I was intimated a bit by reading it. The world building in the novel is just fantastic. Our main character Yael takes part in the Axis tour where she travels across the world from ‘Germania’ to Tokyo and the way Ryan Graudin was able to portray these different regions, from Cairo to India was great! The way the book was structured was that it kept changing from a chapter from Yaels past to a chapter in her present. Her past was her growing up in a death camp and going through some things that no one should ever endure, these chapters really tore my soul out! At the same time I really appreciated that the author didn’t decide to base her novel on a ‘milder’ version of what happened but actually went into the details creating an atmosphere that genuinely made me shudder. Personally I think that the chapters interchanging between the two times worked really well, just when things got really dark for Yael we are sent back to the race. For me that made this book a little easier to read. When I read about fictional occurrences no matter how horrific they are at the end of the day I know they’re fake. However when reading about something where millions of innocent people were actually wiped out, it can get a little intense.

Characters: I don’t know if it’s just me but this character really resembled Arya Stark from GoT. She literally says ‘A girl without a face’ ‘The girl who was no one’, and she could also have many faces… just like Arya Stark. I don’t know that’s just something that stood out for me. I really loved Yael and the way she was portrayed . As someone with a purpose, but also at the end of the day human. Overestimating just how heartless she could be, and realising that things weren’t always black and white. She knew this better than most because she had to cross these boundaries many times… Sometimes I feel like the author tries to make a point of how ruthless and tough their protagonists are that sometimes it becomes unrealistic. This was definitely not the case with Yael, sometimes even she’s surprised for harbouring guilt for certain things she does (trying really hard to restrain myself from spoiling the book!) and it makes me as a reader able to connect with her. Another thing I notice in a lot of novels YA or others, is that they neglect to portray their characters as real human beings. Let me explain, when was the last time you read that a character needed the toilet, or needed tissue or something really mundane that would make them that much more realistic? Throughout this book Yael says things in brackets that make her that much more believable, even if it’s just talking about the road rash she got from her motorcycle.

Plot:

The main thing that motivates me as a reader to carry on is the plot, eventually we all want to know where this ends. What’s going to happen? Who ends up getting their way? The plot line developed at a steady pace in this novel that kept me both interested and intrigued to know what happened in Yaels past. I didn’t feel like at any point the race dragged on and the plot delayed because actually a lot of important things happen during it! There were a few plot twists that I genuinely didn’t see coming and by the end I was itching for the next book!

Overall a great book that I feel like not enough people have read. A great insight into what it would’ve been like to be a part of that time and really causes you to reflect on how privileged you are today. With some complex relatable characters and a plot line that kept me completely engaged the whole time. It also had a really interesting twist on how Hitler’s reign would end, I would definitely recommended this book!

 

 

Steel Victory: Review

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Title: Steel Victory

Author: J.LGribble

Published: July 2nd 2015

Length:  215 pages

Source: Received for review

 

It’s been a WHILE since I’ve done a review! There are many things that initially spark my interest in reading a book, and the promise of a strong female kick-ass protagonist is one of them.

The synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)

One hundred years ago, the vampire Victory retired from a centuries-long mercenary career. She settled in Limani, the independent city-state acting as a neutral zone between the British and Roman colonies on the New Continent.

Twenty years ago, Victory adopted a human baby girl, who soon showed signs of magical ability.

Today, Victory is a city councilwoman, balancing the human and supernatural populations within Limani. Her daughter Toria is a warrior-mage, balancing life as an apprentice mercenary with college chemistry courses.

Tomorrow, the Roman Empire invades.’

As someone who enjoys reading historical fiction and fantasy this seemed like the perfect match! This book has a fantastically diverse set of characters from wereleopards and weresnakes to vampires… However whenever I read a blurb like this and notice it’s a fantasy alarm bells ring. In my opinion fantasy relies heavily on the execution of many aspects (e.g. world building) to bring this fictional world to life, and I feel like to balance that with the development of an interesting and captivating plot line and to do it all in 215 pages… I have a few points I’d like to mention so, on with the review:

World Building: I generally enjoyed the premise of this book and the idea that we have a free city were different creatures are able to coexist sounded interesting. Now, the word building was there… but it came in chunks and got a bit difficult to get through at times. I also feel like we were given a lot of unnecessary information that didn’t deepen our understanding of the characters nor did it help understand the city’s current situation. Having said that I can’t deny that there was some form of world building, it did help to create a general picture and keep me somewhat interested.

Characters: There were some characters in this book that I appreciated whilst others that I thought were maybe a little irrelevant. Again I think that when writing a short story it’s difficult to include a lot of characters and allow each character to develop throughout the story. At some points I really couldn’t keep up with who is who. Maybe if there was less focus on some of the extra characters to provide development of Victory and most importantly Toria I would’ve been able to connect with these characters a little more.

Plot: I enjoyed that we had two different plot lines, we have the whole Humanists situation and we also have the impending Roman invasion. I also liked that the author linked these two towards the end of the book, the link made sense and felt realistic. I personally enjoy reading more about the military sort of battle aspects ( wow my English skills) that’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading historical fiction. The author was able to create tension and suspense in these scenes and actually, managed to fit in quite a bit of content into this story without making the reader feel like their lost.

Maybe one of my biggest problems with this book was that it didn’t really know what it was. Sometimes it read like a really dense historical fiction others it was an action packed fantasy and sometimes it slowed down to a contemporary feel. I’m not saying these genres do not belong together in a book but when it leaves me a little confused as to what tone the author wanted to set at that that particular scene the books’ not really coming together for me as a reader. It weren’t a particularly bad book but it also didn’t blow my mind…

In other news I wanted to post more of a discussion blog post and the topic is ‘rating reviews’. I initially started rating the books but recently decided against it and I wanted to elaborate on that in a little more detail. Let me know in the comments below what you think of a rating system!