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.

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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!

Errant Spark: Audiobook Tour

Author: Ronelle Antoinette

Narrator: Ginny Ross

Length: 10h 25m

Publisher: Ronelle Antoinette⎮2016

Series: The Elemental Trials (#1)

Genre: Romantic Fantasy

Release date: Nov. 01, 2016

synopsis

In Egalion’s Imperial court, there is splendor and luxury, but it’s also a realm of treachery. Cloak-and-dagger political maneuvering threatens to destroy the peace of two thousand years.

Battlemage Jex Xander has a mouth that gets him into trouble; while in contrast, Enari Namelum speaks not at all. Amidst the mounting chaos, passion and romance should be the last thing on their minds, but life and the Goddess seem to have other ideas.

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but at court you can’t tell one from the other…and they change at the flip of a coin.

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Buy on AudibleAmazon iTunes

 

author-bio

Ronelle Antoinette was born in Phoenix, AZ and raised in beautiful Colorado. She currently lives in Grand Junction with her husband, two sneaky cats, and one dog-who-believes-he’s-a-person. While she’s a mother to none, she’s an auntie to a small army…the newest recruit joined them in April 2016. Ronelle dabbled in creative writing for many years and even considered it as her major in college. (She ended up getting a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology.) She published her first novel, Errant Spark, in July of 2016. Dream. Come. True.

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narrator-bio

Ginny Ross was born and raised in England where she had a passion for Musical Theatre and Fantasy books. She loved spending time in the Theatre but found that she wanted to travel. After traveling around Europe she took a job as a nanny in Canada and continued her acting. Her love of children played a huge role in her life and became her career for the next several years. She married Clarence and moved to the States where she resides today. Her life is much less hectic than it was, as she is raising her two children and works for the local school district. Ginny was very excited when she was offered the opportunity to use her acting skills once again from the comfort of her home by narrating books.

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tour-schedule

Jan. 23: The Book Junkie (Spotlight)

Jan. 24: Buried Under Books (Spotlight)

Jan. 25: The Book Junkie (Review & Audio Excerpt)

Jan. 26: 2 Girls And A Book (Review)

Jan. 27: Lady With A Quill (Audio Excerpt)

Jan. 28: The Desert Bibliophile (Review, Spotlight, & Audio Excerpt)

Jan. 29: Hall Ways (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

Jan. 30: Carly’s Cozy Corner (Review)

Jan. 31: The Bookworm Lodge (Spotlight)

Feb. 1: Holed Up In A Book (Review)
Avid Book Collector (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 2: A Book Nation (Review)

Feb. 3: Gotalovebooks (Review & Spotlight)

Feb. 4: Lynn the Romance Enthusiast (Review, Spotlight, & Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 5: Collector of Book Boyfriends (Review & Audio Excerpt)

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Exciting 2017 Releases!

There are some AMAZING releases coming out this year so I thought it would be fun to post some of the releases I’m most looking forward to! Thanks to Netgalley I actually have quite a few of these as ARCs, the only problem is I still haven’t gotten around to reading them!!!

One of the top releases I can’t wait to get my hands on definitely has to beee……

  • Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

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Although I thought Passenger was a little overhyped I really enjoyed reading it and the ending of Passenger and me itching to get my hands on Wayfarer! Also the covers for this series are sooo pretty!

  • Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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Okay so I know I haven’t even read the first book in this series even though I purchased it the same week of its release, but I’m still pretty psyched for this release! who knows maybe it’ll motivate me to actually get on with the series?

  • King’s cage by Victoria Aveyard

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So if you’ve been with me for a bit you’ll remember my fangirling when writing the review for Red Queen, it got quite mixed opinions but I still LOVED it! Have I read Glass Sword do you ask? Nope… But again maybe I’ll be able to get back into this series once there’s a hype about the release of King’s Cage.

  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

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Initially I was pretty curious about the release of Carve the Mark, I can’t really say excited because I’ve only read Divergent. BUT nevertheless I still felt like it would be worth checking it out… Recently I read about a controversy surrounding the villanous characters in this book and I don’t really want to get into it here. Let’s just say I might skip this one…

  • Gilded Cage by Vic James

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The synopsis for this had me HOOKEEEEDD. It sounded like something RIGHT up my street.

Here’s the synopsis: (taken from Goodreads:

‘Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?’

I already have an ARC of this but surprise! I haven’t gotten to it yet…

  • The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

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This initially caught my attention because it’s a YA, steampunk which I haven’t seen in a WHILE. I also like the premise, the synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)

‘Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.’

( Received an ARC for this as well, good God this is getting ridiculous at this point :’s)

  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Everyone in the book blogging community has at least heard of Marissa Meyer or at least come across her Lunar Chronicles series! That series is still circling the book blogosphere, I really wanted to read it but I wanted to buy the whole series and marathon it. So I have yet to read it , but when I read the synopsis. To my understanding this is a Alice in Wonderland retelling focusing on The Queen of Hearts. Guess who already has an ARC of this on her Netgalley shelf… ME. I’m still yet to read it, but I should get to it soooooon!

This post was both exciting yet depressing to make! I realised I pretty much own half of the books on my list… Hopefully this will motivate me to get started on completing this list! By the way would you guys be interested in seeing what’s on my Netgalley shelf? I have over 50 books on there I think, but I’ve never hauled them.