#54 A Court of Thorns and Roses (#29)

This morning I finished reading my 29th book of the year, but I still remain stuck on 25 for the 2015 Reading Challenge. No matter.

Next week I’m meeting my newest favourite author, Sarah J Maas, on her UK tour of “A Court of Thorns and Roses”, dubbed ACOTAR, which I devoured. Yet again, I had to make up my own category, so I went with #54 A fairy-tale retelling.

My Goodreads Review
“‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ is the first novel in a new fantasy trilogy by ‘Throne of Glass’ author, Sarah J Maas. It is a fairy-tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with shape-shifting faerie lords, curses and trials. It follows Feyre, a human huntress and painter, who ruthlessly slays a faerie, and is taken from her homeland and family by Beast, Tamlin.
The novel follows Feyre’s experiences living with a High Fae in his Court, and her plans to flee, before she unexpectedly falls in love with her captor. It is leaning more towards the New Adult genre, as opposed to Young Adult, but the content wasn’t overly-mature.
The main characters (Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien, Rhysand, Amarantha and Alis) are well developed, and the novel flows well. It is not especially fast-paced, (with the exception of the last 100 pages) but I loved the build up, getting to know the world and the characters in such depth.
I can’t wait for the 2nd book!”

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I absolutely loved the story and the world Sarah created – and this is the problem with being on top of series, I now have to wait a year for the second book! (Thankfully I’ve got a couple of the ‘Throne of Glass’ books to tide me over until ‘Queen of Shadows’ comes out in the autumn) – I just can’t get enough of Sarah’s writing!

#54 A fairy-tale retelling – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (8/10)

Twenty-five down, twenty-five to go. (Twenty-nine read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Want On A Desert Island

May 19Top Ten Books I’d Want On A Desert Island
This week for Top Ten Tuesday we were given a lifeline in the form of a freebie. With the UK being on the cusp of “summer”, I’ve decided to list the ten books I’d take with me (as if I’d ever be afforded the choice) if I were stranded on a desert island: some I’ve previously read, others I’ve yet to delve into. A good mixture, I think.

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1. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
As dark and depressing as this book is, I never get bored of reading it, and I always gain some new insight into human character. It’s a book that stays with you for long after reading it.

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
I do things properly – there’s no evading the ten books by quoting ten series – so I’ve chosen my favourite of the Potter novels (thankfully it’s a long one), which I never get tired of re-reading.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I think ‘The Hungers Games’ may prove useful to my survival, at least in terms of the most important factors to remember when exposed to the elements. If nothing else, it is an incredibly exciting read.

4. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
A mystery/thriller novel is a must. Since I’ve only read the book once, it would be great to revisit it and see whether (knowing the outcome) I pick up on the hints dropped throughout the novel.

5. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
As my current favourite of the ‘Twilight Saga’, it’d be nice to bring Bella, Edward and Jake with me to the middle of nowhere. I really love this book, it is thoroughly entertaining (I’m not sure if it’s in all the wrong way though?!)

6. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
As my favourite stand-alone novel, ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ was a must. It is a beautifully told sci-fi love story, which fills me with every emotion under the sun.

7. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
I’ve not as yet managed to venture into this epic literary work, but being stuck on an island would at least afford me the time to delve into Middle Earth.

8. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
I’m told that this is one of the best of the bunch, and coincidentally is the next one in the series that I have to read. Since it took me approximately 18 months to read ‘A Clash Of Kings’, I’m have a great deal of hope that this book would take me a long time to plod through!

9. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
I’d better have some sort of idea about how to survive on a desert island, so I’m hoping this will be helpful?! It must be, surely?

10. The Bible
I’ve never attempted to read any part of The Bible, but being stuck on a desert island would surely provide me with opportunities to turn to it. I also think it would be rather interesting to study, and I’d certainly have plenty of time for that.

Have I missed any obvious choices? Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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Bring It All Back

Yesterday (16/05/15), after approximately 15 years of waiting, I finally got to see my favourite childhood band, S Club 7, live in concert.

The particular package I purchased for the show (which was ridiculously expensive) included a Meet and Greet with the band, so after two hours of queuing to collect my ticket, register as a VIP, and collecting my signed lanyard and a keyring, I was finally in the queue to meet S Club 7. Whilst in the first queue, I unexpectedly bumped into a friend from school, Melissa, who was on the same package (along with her Mum) as I was. Considering I was on my own, and I hadn’t seen her in about a year, it was nice to catch up (and have someone to talk to through all the queuing!

When my turn finally came around to meet them, I went in for a group hug with Bradley, Jo and Tina, but since I’m not very tall, my armspan is not very wide, so I ended up catching Tina in the face – sorry about that. After basically punching a minor celebrity, I hugged Hannah, who said “she’s very excited” and Rachel, had my photos taken and then hugged Jon and Paul – so yeah, I hugged every member of S Club 7! I totally fangirled.

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Meet and Greet over, we were shepherded into the arena, where we had about an hour and a half to wait until the support act, AJ Lehrman. He had a DJ who “performed” for about ten minutes prior to AJ, and he was absolutely one of the worst support acts I’ve ever seen! Thankfully AJ was better – and pretty darn cute too!

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Then at 8.45pm, S Club 7 took the stage to the wild screams and applause (though not as loud as some gigs I’ve been to – I expect that was because I was in the front row, rather than immersed in the crowd) of their 20+ year old fans!

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They performed all their hits, along with elaborate dance routines, and each member individually (or dually) took to the stage to perform a solo (or duet) during the middle of the concert – these included songs from when members went solo after the band broke up. Of course, the biggest cheers went to the likes of “Reach”, “Bring It All Back” and “Don’t Stop Movin'”.

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I had an unobstructed view – except for the infrequent camera as is panned across to film for the big screens – which was unbelievable! I was surprised that they didn’t utilise the B stage as most artists do, but perhaps it didn’t afford them the required space (I’m not complaining – it meant that they were right in front of me the entire time, it was just unexpected).

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The whole show was full of good-old gooey cheese, exactly what I expected from my childhood heroes of the late 90s/early 00s. One thing’s for sure, it was worth the 15 year wait!

#4 S Club 7 (16/05/15) *****

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#53 The Disappointment of a Bad Book (#28)

Becoming more and more prominent in my 2015 Reading Challenge are books that no longer fit into any leftover category. No matter. It just means I’ve got to read a few more books than anticipated to complete the challenge.

Today I finished my 28th read of the year: “All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully” by Carrie Hope Fletcher. Carrie is a YouTuber/West End star, thus I placed this book into my third made-up category: #53 A book written by a YouTuber. I was extremely excited going into this book, but it’s fair to say that I was more than a little disappointed.

My Goodreads Review
“‘All I Know Now’ is an advice filled memoir, written by YouTuber/West End star Carrie Hope Fletcher, who shares her 22 years of life experience. Whilst in theory, the premise was good, I think I am at least half a dozen years too old to appreciate the content (I’m 21, I’d estimate the ideal target audience age is 11-14).
Carrie shares her experiences on a variety of topics, including love, bullying and friendships. As I was reading the first third of the book I wished it was available ten years ago, as I found some of the advice may have been helpful to my tween/teen self, but as the book went on, the content (unfortunately) gradually deteriorated – I’m saying nothing bad about Carrie whatsoever, she seems like a lovely person, but as she confesses, she is not a professional. I actually found myself struggling through the last half of the book (it was not edited well – partly because of lack of punctuation – and it felt like a chore reading it at times).
That being said, I think there are positives younger audiences would find in this book – I just didn’t think it lived up to its potential.”

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I always feel terrible when I rate a book badly, especially if the author seems like a genuinely lovely person, but I’m nothing if not honest when it comes to my reviews. I was just expected much more – and a better editor! On a positive note, I liked the layout (it was as though the book was a stage show) and the Props section at the end with relevant contact and help numbers for vulnerable readers was an excellent addition. I probably would recommend the book to younger audiences, as I’m sure there are things they could learn from this book, however it just didn’t cut it for me.

#53 A book written by a YouTuber – All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully by Carrie Hope Fletcher (4/10)

Twenty-five down, twenty-five to go. (Twenty-eight read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I Really Want To Meet

May 12Top Ten Authors I Really Want To Meet
I absolutely love meeting authors, but unfortunately for one reason or another, I don’t do it as often as I’d like – that reason is usually because meetups and discussions usually happen in big UK cities like London and Birmingham, which are far from next door, and it’s thoroughly impractical. I swear though, if I lived in a city, I’d be meeting as many as possible! Without further ado, here’s my list.

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1. Malorie Blackman
I would love to meet Malorie just to say thank you for writing the ‘Noughts and Crosses’ series. It remains one of my very favourite series of all time, and unfortunately it’s one that too few people have read (outside of the UK at least).

2. Stephenie Meyer
Controversial perhaps, but after years of not connecting with the ‘Twilight Saga’, I’ve finally fallen in love with it. I’d love to hear her give a talk on the vampires and werewolves, and especially where they ended up after the culmination of the series.

3. Anthony Horowitz
I loved the ‘Alex Rider’ series when I was a child, and every now and again I still feel the urge to re-read one of Alex’s adventures. I also adore the fact that they were written primarily for a male audience, as any book that excites young boys is amazing!

4. Sarah J. Maas
I’m actually going to be meeting Sarah for the first time (all being well) in two weeks, on her ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ UK tour! I believe the event is “a conversation with Sarah J. Maas”, in that there is a Q&A before the book signing, which should be really interesting! I’ll be sure to write a review of the event, so look out for that.

5. Cecelia Ahern
Whenever I’m in the mood for an adult contemporary, Cecelia Ahern is my go-to author. I love the stories and characters she creates, and her books are just fun, quick and easy reads. I think she’d be pretty chilled out, hosting a discussion about her novels.

6. Suzanne Collins
As the author of my favourite trilogy, ‘The Hunger Games’, I’d love to meet Suzanne and have my books signed. I’m eagerly awaiting any future YA dystopian books she writes, as her characters are so developed and the scenarios are intricate, believable and harrowing.

7. Rick Riordan
I love mythology, and despite only having read (at present) the first two Percy Jackson novels, I thoroughly enjoyed them. I think he’d be very interesting to listen to, discussing Greek, Roman, Egyptian mythology or whatever else he writes about in the future.

8. Lee Child
I absolutely love mysteries and thrillers, especially Jack Reacher books, although at the rate Lee puts new novels out compared to the rate I read them, I’ve got enough to last me a lifetime! Every Reacher book I read I know I’m not going to be disappointed!

9. Robert Galbraith
Technically I’ve met Robert at an event in Harrogate in 2014, but any and all appearances he makes are welcomed by myself and countless others! I’m crossing my fingers for an event to promote ‘Career of Evil’ – the third Cormoran Strike book, due to be published this autumn – but I’m not holding my breath. Please, Jo?!

10. J.K. Rowling
Despite having met JKR once already (twice if you count her appearance as RG), she will always remain the author I most want to meet. I expect I will go to as many events as I can within the UK (which are few and far between) for as long as she continues writing books.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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#52 In a Well-Ordered Universe (#27)

For the second time in my 2015 Reading Challenge, I have read a book that does not fit in one of the categories (it would have done, but as with last time, I’ve already used the relevant categories for other books). No matter. I’ve made my own category: #52 A book about self-discovery.

I think Emily, from “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson, goes through a journey of self-discovery over the duration of this novel that is almost unrivaled by other YA contemporaries. She begins as a shy teenage girl, living (happily) in the shadow of her best friend, but by the end of the novel, she’s a completely different person – for the better. I didn’t really like her at the beginning of the novel, but by a third of the way through the book I was backing her completely! And that cute ending…

My Goodreads Review
“It’s summer, and best friends Emily and Sloane have three months to spend hanging out and making memories, but when Sloane disappears without warning, leaving only a list of 13 things for Emily to complete over the course of the summer, Emily’s summer takes an unexpected turn.
The book begins with Emily living in Sloane’s shadow, and follows her journey of self-discovery, making new friends and memories along the way, until she is a more confident individual in her own right.
Whilst I disliked Sloane’s character until the conclusion of the novel, I saw something of myself in Emily (this seems to be a recurring theme amongst female YA readers of this book). I loved Frank from the beginning, and grew to love the majority of the supporting characters.
This was a fun, quick contemporary read, which I would thoroughly recommend. The whole plot was believable and I bought into the relationships between the characters – I may have even been a little emotional at the end!”

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I enjoyed this book so much that I’ve just ordered “Second Chance Summer” and “Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” by Morgan Matson, which I’m looking forward to reading over the summer! If “Since You’ve Been Gone” was anything to go by, they should be YA contemporary at its best.

#52 A book about self-discovery – Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (7/10)

Twenty-five down, twenty-five to go. (Twenty-seven read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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#16 A New Favourite (#26)

It’s been two weeks since I finished a book – I think that’s the longest it’s been between books all year – but I’m ok with that since I knew this month was going to be a little slower for me in terms of reading, and subsequently, blogging.

Regardless, today I finished my 26th book of the 2015 Reading Challenge: #16 A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet. Last month I read my first Sarah J. Maas book, “Throne of Glass”, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s ‘Hunger Games’ cross ‘Game of Thrones’-esque style was instantly appealing, and that explains why Sarah J. Maas shot onto the list of my favourite authors. This month I continued with the series, by reading “Crown of Midnight”, the second in the epic six-part bookbuster (think blockbuster, but with books!)

My Goodreads Review
“‘Crown of Midnight’ is the second book in the ‘Throne of Glass’ series. It follows newly crowned Kings-champion Celaena, who is sent on missions to retrieve information about individuals against the King, before assassinating them. It simultaneously follows Celaena’s personal mission to discover why the King is so powerful. This second installment contains magic, which is outlawed in the world, and is possessed by the most unlikely of characters.
This book is filled with twists and turns, murders and lies, and there are some major revelations about who Celaena is and the power she potentially holds. However, the book does jump around a lot rather unexpectedly, in relation to the point of view of the narrator, which can be slightly confusing. As with ‘Throne of Glass’, there is a love triangle between the three main characters: Celaena, the Crown Prince Dorian, and the Captain of the Guard Chaol, but Celaena is much more certain of what she does and doesn’t want in this book.”

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There’s really not a lot else I can say without stating major spoilers about either this book or the previous book. Once again I did thoroughly enjoy this book, and as with last time I listened to the audiobook, which was great but I don’t think I paid enough attention to the little details, thus I think my overall experience wasn’t as good as it would have been had I simply read the book (noted: I will read the “Heir of Fire” novel, but I will probably listen to the audiobook of “The Assassins Blade” first).

After reading this book, it just confirms Sarah J. Maas’s place on my favourite authors list!

#16 A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet – Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (7/10)

Twenty-five down, twenty-five to go. (Twenty-six read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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