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Thursday, 30 June 2016

ARC Review: School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino


Book: School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino
Series: The Scyth Wielder's Secret #1
Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing
Release Date: May 2nd 2014

Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail. 

Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who subjugate a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.

As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn't an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she's been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Infinity Dreams Award!

Hi everyone!

First off, I want to apologise for taking so long to upload this award! I was tagged by Caroline at Just Another Bookish Blog yonks ago but I never got around to doing it until now. Oopsies! You should definitely follow her blog if you haven’t already.

This is for the Infinity Dreams Award:

1. Give 11 facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions set by the one who nominated you
3. Nominate 11 bloggers to get this award
4. Ask the bloggers you’ve nominated to answer your own 11 questions

11 Facts About Me:
  • I’m a bit of a video game nerd – I play all the Pokemon games and have recently started playing Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time again!
  • My absolute favourite author is Jennifer Armentrout.
  • I am normally very quiet in large groups and with people I don’t know, but get me alone or get to know me and you’ll find I'm one of the weirdest people you’ll ever meet!
  • My best feature is my long dark curly hair – there’s no straightening my hair in less than an hour and it’s halfway down my back right now.
  • I'm a night owl more than a morning person – I can’t get up before eleven on weekends and can stay up until two or three in the morning reading!
  • I'm a huge tea addict and I love having a cup of tea whenever I read.
  • I love watching cartoons and I'm re-watching Avatar: The Last Airbender AGAIN and loving it so much.
  • I have one more year left in college and then I plan on doing loads of travelling!
  • The book series that got me into reading was Twilight. It opened a whole world of authors and worlds and characters I’d have never known without first meeting Bella and Edward.
  • I own a small green car called Bella!
  • I have a tattoo on my inner wrist with the words “The Centre Will Hold.” It’s from The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead.

My Answers: 

1. Chocolate and what?
And tea! I need the chocolate to dip into my tea, haha!

2. What’s your favourite club at school/university?
I’ve joined the anime society last year and really liked it. We’d meet every week to watch a new anime and it was a great way to meet people as well as discover new anime shows!

3. Do you bake? What do you like baking?
I haven’t baked in ages but I used to make gingerbread men, cookies, cakes and cupcakes. I also love cooking macaroni and cheese from scratch!

4. Favourite ARC you’ve received?
The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout. Such an amazing book.

5. Favourite colour?
I like wearing bright colours like reds and blues and purples.

7. Sparkly water or still water?
Still water.

8. If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?
Somewhere hot! Summer in Ireland is terrible, it’s all cloudy. I want to go to Spain or Italy and bask in the sun.

9. Favourite line of the last movie/episode you watched of _____?
“Where’s the meat?!” – Sokka, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I laughed for a million years.

10. Outside or inside?
Inside, unless it’s gorgeously sunny outside.

11. Do you know what a blue raspberry JollyRancher is? If not, what do you think it is? Then, look it up and tell me your reaction! ^_^ (heheheh)
Is it a sweet? Let me check.. Ohh! That makes sense. I never had one though!

Sin a bhfuil! That’s all, in Irish. That was fun, and a nice change of pace from a review. I’m going to use the same 11 questions for you to answer in your award, and I nominate anyone who comments on this post to do the award! Have fun :)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

ARC Review: The Edge of Juniper by Lora Richardson


Book: The Edge of Juniper by Lora Richardson
Series: Stand alone
Publisher: Kindle Edition
Release Date: June 12th, 2016

Fay Whitaker, sixteen years old and yearning for adventure, is excited to spend the summer with her fearless cousin Celia in small-town Juniper, Indiana.

But Fay soon discovers that her summer home is not what she expected. She is alarmed by her uncle’s temper, and learns of the grudge he holds against the Dearing family. Celia handles the tension at home by escaping with her boyfriend, leaving Fay with time on her hands—time that leads her straight to Malcolm Dearing, off-limits because of his last name. Fay is captivated by Malcolm’s warmth and intensity. She finds that trying to stay away from him only makes her think of him more.

Fay and Celia are launched on a journey, and each must attempt to navigate the thrilling and unpredictable world of love. Everything Fay thinks she knows about love is put to the test, as relationships unfold and reveal themselves in ways she never before dreamed.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa


Book: Talon, Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon series #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: October 28th, 2014

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Top 10 Stereotypes in YA Books

Super attractive bad boys.  Love triangles. “My life sucks” mentality. Magical powers. Sound familiar? Yep. I just described the bulk of YA characters. I mean, hey, I love YA. I have a blog dedicated to it, after all! But with the amount of Young Adult books coming out recently, it's hard not to notice similarities between them, both good and bad. They can still be entertaining to read, but it can get a little tiring to read the same type of story over and over again. So I will be talking about top 10 stereotypes I've noticed in YA books, plus good examples of these tropes that I have read. So let's go!

#1 Undiscovered Powers

A lot of fantasy YA books start off their series with this. The main character starts off as just an ordinary girl, living her life, wishing it wasn’t so boring, when suddenly a mysterious boy appears, whom she’s instantly attracted to. Then, boom! He drops the bomb that no, in fact, she’s not ordinary. She’s extra special! She has powers! She’s actually a princess! Et cetera, et cetera. Remind you of pretty much every YA book series? Yeah, I thought so. 

Good examples:
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

#2 Love Triangle

Ugh, where do I begin? I think we can all agree that these are completely overused and quite predictable. We have a girl who loves two boys – the good boy and the bad boy. And the two boys both hate each other. Yet it’s completely obvious who she’ll pick in the end. I  can only think of two book series that had a decent love triangle and had me guessing who the main character would actually pick in the end.

Good examples: 
Clockwork  Angel by Cassandra Clare
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L Armentrout

#3 Loyal Best Friend

Every female protagonist has one of these. The best friend she’s known since birth, who knows her inside and out, and the hero either has to hide a secret from her to protect her or defies her new friend’s (cough cough love interest) orders to not to tell anyone and tells the best friend everything. What I would like to see is the protagonist only having acquaintances or else losing a friendship. Those things occur in real life and would be a lot more relatable.

Good example: 
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

#4 Non-Existent (Or Dead) Parents 

BASICALLY EVERY SINGLE YA BOOK IN EXISTANCE. The parents are dead or just died, and this pushes our main character to continue on with the plot of the book, or else they aren’t mentioned at all. Or else the character just always sneaks out and only mentions the parents when they’re hoping they won’t get caught. I can only think of one book where the parent (in this example a grandmother) is actually prominent in the plot of the story, is given a character arc and is actually really likable.

Good Example:
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter.

#5 Unknown Beauty

This is the stereotype where our main character is actually drop-dead gorgeous, but has such low self-esteem that she doesn’t see it. She’s then completely shocked when the love interest is attracted to her, and when he tells her she’s beautiful, she doesn’t believe him at all. I would really love a book where a girl discovers she’s beautiful BEFORE a boy tells her, or, even better, discovers it by herself. If a girl is that insecure about her looks, it’s going to take more than one boy to make her realise her beauty.

Good example: 
Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout

#6 Brooding Bad Boy/ Mr Tall, Dark and Perfect
These two are basically the same, so they get one category. The love interest is always one or the other, or both if you have a love triangle. You either get the brooding bad boy, who is supermodel hot but is tragically flawed. Maybe he’s the anti-hero! I’ll be honest, I love them. Fall for them every time, tragic flaws and all. They’re nearly always the most entertaining part of the book.

Good Examples:
Roth from White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L Armentrout
Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses

Then there’s Mr Tall Dark and Perfect. Also handsome. Also good. This love interest is flawless and is perfect for our main character in every way. Too perfect for me. I need flaws! There needs to be realism in these books too.

Good Examples:
Zayne from White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L Armentrout
Jem from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

#7 Shocking Revelation

Surprise! Who knew? EVERYONE EXCEPT THE MAIN CHARACTER. You know what’s worse than a shocking revelation, especially when it’s about the main character? When you can see it coming. It’s so much worse when the main character IS THE ONLY PERSON that is shocked by this revelation. It would’ve been a great plot twist if we hadn’t seen it coming.

Good examples:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

#8 Forbidden Love

The book I'm reading at the moment, Talon by Julie Kagawa, has forbidden love. Can we stop with this please? It’s so predictable. You know it’s going to end badly because hello, it’s forbidden, but the chemistry is always off the charts and you know they’re really destined to be together. it’s predictable, but oh so good to read.

Good examples:
Vampire Academy and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Covenant by Jennifer L Armentrout

#9 Strong, Stubborn Female Character
Most female protagonists I’ve read about lately all seem to have the same traits: stubborn, loud, reckless. Does what she wants when she wants, regardless of the consequences. Again, the book I’m reading at the moment? The main character is the epitome of stereotypical female character. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great character. I’ve just read it a million times! I could name you dozens of main characters in YA books who all act the same and have the same traits. It does get a little boring and predictable sometimes. The only good thing is that it allows those characters to develop, especially in a series.

Good examples:
Talon by Julie Kagawa
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Gravity by Melissa West

#10 Insta-love.

You know the drill. Boy sees girl. Girl sees boy. Their eyes meet and BAM! Their fates are sealed. Instant, undying love. They'll do anything to be together, anything to save the other, even if they've only known each other an hour. 

BAD example:
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

So those are my two cents. What YA stereotype do you often see in YA books that I may have missed? Or do you enjoy them? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Summer 2016 Review Train: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Hello everyone!

If ye all saw my previous post, I explained that I was part of the Summer 2016 Review Train hosted by Brittany from Space Between the Spines, to help start off the summer! 

Well, welcome to my stop on the train :) Before we get into this review, be sure to check out the previous stops:

Genni at Ready, Set, Read @ The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Lauren at Always Me Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs
Laura at Blue Eye Books @ The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Sam at Tsundoku Books @ Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia
The Blacksheep Project @ Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver 
Alicia at A Kernel of Nonsense @ The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Ashley at [Insert Title Here] @ Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Ashley at What's She Reading? will be reviewing Open Road Summer by Emery Lord tomorrow, and I can't wait to see her review! 

Also, be sure to call by Brittany's blog Space Between the Spines on June 8th for the final stop on the review train as well as a giveaway!



Book: The Square Root of Summer, Harriet Rooter Hapgood
Series: N/A
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It's a little bit like a black hole. It's a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.

With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

This book made me so, so confused. Which is making writing this review very difficult. Because this book was well written but so confusing! I can’t even tell if I liked it or not. It was just… so maths-y. Just physics and wormholes and equations and time jumps… And coming from someone who despised maths with a passion in school, it’s hard to enjoy a book that had that much maths in it.

So what’s the story? Seventeen-year-old Gottie has spent the entire school year living in a shroud of mourning. The end of the previous summer brought the death of her grandfather Grey, who practically raised her after her mother died. Jason, her first love, left for college shortly after the funeral without a word of goodbye, along with her brother. Alone with her grieving father, Gottie retreated inside herself, refusing to communicate with anyone. Now, with the start of another summer holiday, her brother and Jason are back, and the best friend who disappeared from her life five years ago has suddenly returned. That best friend, Thomas, and Gottie were inseparable when they were twelve but five years of non-contact means Gottie doesn’t know how to feel about his returning. And with the one year anniversary of her grandfather’s death approaching, and the reappearance of so many important people in her life, Gottie starts retreating into her mind, and physics, suddenly reliving important moments of her past.

Yet despite the amount of maths and wormholes and reliving the past, this book also had cakes, and tea, and fun, well-rounded characters. It’s set in England, which is always a nice aesthetic change from American settings, or fantasy settings. The characters are German and use German phrases and foods. Always a nice change! Our main characters are human, aka not perfect. They're selfish, and rude, and don’t always say the right thing. But that just made them that much more relatable. Gottie is only seventeen; she’s not supposed to have all of life’s answers, despite how great she is at maths. Her brother was in a band which is cool, her best friend Thomas bakes and because of this I fell in love instantly. And Gottie is falling out of a friendship with another girl, which is not something that happens a lot in YA, at least for me. The main character nearly always has a best friend that she can rely on, and seeing Gottie attempt to mend this friendship but know that that awkwardness will never really clear was quite refreshing.

Despite this, however, it was still quite confusing. All the maths made question marks appear constantly around my head! Hells, if you enjoy maths and understand it, then read this and explain it to me, because I certainly don’t get it. This book also featured dealing with grief, and I would’ve liked more scenes with the grandfather so we could get a better feel of his character and so I could grieve along with the characters.

All in all, this book is both good and bad, thus the 3.5 stars when I normally don’t do halves. I really liked the characters, and the way the author dealt with death was really well done. I just think if the maths element was better explained so I wasn’t as confused, it would’ve brought the rating up to a solid four.

ARC Double Reviews: The Magic Maker & The Time Breaker by Kate Harre


Book: The Magic Maker, Kate Harre
Series: The Guardians of Time #2
Publisher: Kindle Edition
Release Date: April 2nd, 2015

 Emilia has got the hang of the whole time travel thing and she’s managing to juggle it alongside a busy University schedule. She and Seb have formed a solid partnership and an even better friendship, although there are still some things both keep close to their chests. 

As Eddie makes his intentions clear and Justin tries to keep his hat in the ring, Seb has to battle his own jealousy and increasingly uncontrollable feelings for Emilia. Guarding his heart is proving to be his biggest challenge yet! 

Their adventures take them to India, China and the Ottoman Empire, where the dangers they face increase with every mission. 

But when tragedy strikes and turns Emilia’s world upside down, Seb may have left his run too late. 

What saved The Time Keeper, the first book in this trilogy, were the characters. I loved how independent, funny and stubborn they were. I loved Sebastian’s depth and looked forward to hearing more about his past in the sequel. The characters were enough to distract from the weak plot and cheesy writing.

However, the problem with The Magic Maker is the lack of plot. For the majority of the book we have Seb and Emilia simply living their lives – going to college, time travelling a bit, eating dinner. The author focused more on the relationship between Seb and Emilia rather than something actually happening to the characters. 

It wasn’t until the last thirty pages that the book got interesting and something actually happened, but it was so close to the end of the book that it was finished before it really began.

And while I enjoyed these characters, their relationship going back and forth constantly got quite repetitive VERY quickly and that soon got quite boring. We knew Seb had very low self-esteem and didn’t think he was good enough for Emilia, who he believed was perfect and flawless. But we never found out WHY he is that way, and got ZERO development from him. We just see dumb mistakes being made because of his low self-esteem which had terrible consequences for any kind of relationship between them.

Emilia was still a great character – independent and funny and I loved how much she cared for Seb and her father and was willing to give Seb space when he needed it because she knew he wasn’t ready for any kind of commitment. 

The time travelling is still interesting and I loved the worlds that the author created, it was so easy to imagine our characters trying to fit in and get used to the norms and cultures of that time period. I just really hope we get more character development from Seb and Emilia in the final book.



Book: The Time Breaker, Kate Harre
Series: The Guardians of Time #3
Publisher: Kindle Edition
Release Date: July 4th, 2015

It has been five months and Emilia has still not returned to Ithaca. Seb, floundering without her, finally decides it’s time to track her down and convince her to come home. But when he finds out just how badly he’s hurt her, he begins to doubt she will ever trust him again. 

Completely obsessed with finding David’s murderer, Emilia has neglected her friends, her health and her mental wellbeing in pursuit of her need for answers. When the answers don’t come and Seb eventually finds her, she reluctantly agrees to come home. 

But nothing is the same anymore. Damaged by what has passed between them, Emilia is determined to purge her feelings for Seb and sets about keeping him at an emotional distance. Seb desperately tries to break down her barriers, but before he has a chance to convince her he’s serious, David’s killer reveals himself… and his plan just might tear the world, and Seb and Emilia, apart for good.

**Yay development from Seb! That’s all I wanted from this book and I finally got it!!**

In this book, Emilia is still reeling from the sudden death of the only family she has left, and she deals with that death by running away and obsessing in finding the killer. Not the healthiest way to deal with it, but I can’t blame her. She and Seb’s relationship suffered greatly in the last book, and she struggles with finding forgiveness for him too. Either way, she’s been in a very bad place the last six months. But Seb’s love for her means he is willing to travel the globe and do whatever it takes to help her, and that’s exactly what he does. It’s really hard for him to see Emilia distance herself from him, but he loves her so much that he’ll do anything to help her deal with her grief. I wish I had someone that dedicated to me!

We see him attempt to fix their relationship and see Emilia attempt to break down her walls to let Seb back into the place he once occupied in her heart. Through unforeseen events and being forced to spend time together because of their work (aka time travelling), Emilia slowly but surely realises just how much Seb cares for her and what he’s willing to do for her. And she also can’t forget how much she loves him too.

The writing still hasn’t changed, it’s still quite cheesy, but I still really loved the characters and was so happy to finally get some development from Seb! We find out what happened to his family and see him realise that he can’t always be afraid of losing the people he loves. And he and Emilia love each other so much; you know they’re going to be together forever.

Overall, these books are good. If you can get past the writing, the characters are really great to read about, and the worlds that they visit while time travelling are really well described. I'd still pick these up if you're looking for a short book to read.