Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

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| Princess Diana is desperate to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. But Alia is a Warbringer, a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Together they will face an army of enemies, both mortal and divine, who are determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. |

Rating: 2/5

Favourite Quote: “Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.”

Review: Before watching the 2017 Wonder Woman film I knew nothing about Princess Diana of Themyscira. Wonder Woman was never on tv whilst I was growing up and I didn’t, and still don’t, read comics. But the recent WW film meant that I could now declare I had a favourite superhero!

So imagine how excited I was, as a self proclaimed #bookworm, to learn there would be a whole book dedicated to Diana’s story. One that would reveal what Diana was like when she was a teenager.

Then imagine my disappointment when I slowly realised this isn’t even really a Wonder Woman story. At all. It should have just been called Warbringer and then Wonder Woman being in it would have been a nice little extra.

The first and last chapters are Diana’s, I’ll admit, but everything in between is about Alia, who is the “Warbringer” from the title. And even though roughly every other chapter is from Diana’s perspective, she’s definitely a background character. Very nice to everyone, but with an incredibly bland personality. Life on Themyscira is barely touched on and we get no sense of who Diana is as either a person or a teenager.

Instead what we get is every detail of Alia’s school and romantic life, her wants and ambitions. We meet Alia’s friends and brother. A huge section of the story is wasted by being set in New York, Alia’s home town. This would be completely fine…if I wasn’t lured in to reading this book because it promised Wonder Woman!

And whilst Alia did grow on me (eventually). I couldn’t really get past her judgmental attitude from right at the beginning. Diana had just saved her from drowning a few hours earlier and had come back to try and help Alia off of the island, when Alia starts labeling Themyscira “cult island” and a “radical feminist cult” and the women who live there “paranoid survivalists”, “delusional”, “hippies” and “socialists”.  And at one point decides Diana is “queen loon”.

All these labels and insults are thought up by Alia in the space of just 5 pages btw!

Alia is much nicer to her best friend, Nim, though. And Nim is an amazing character. She’s herself and unapologetic about it! So this meant I started to warm up to Alia as well. But then Alia’s arsehole brother, Jason, keeps coming back in to the story and I’m back to loathing everyone and everything again.

But really neither lovely Nim or nice Diana could save this book for me. Which was overall a real hard slog. It felt too much like a slow contemporary ya. The characters say they are in a rush a lot but there’s an awful lot of hanging around, jumping in pools and going to parties. Oh and best of all (not) there’s a bit of romance thrown in, for no reason, between Diana and someone I won’t name. Completely unnecessary!

Basically this was a huge let down after the fantastic 2017 Wonder Woman film. I thought I was getting more of film Diana but instead got Diana relegated to the role of glorified bodyguard for a rich girl with a private plane. And see at the top of this post where I’ve written some of the synopsis from the back of the book? It says Diana is “desperate to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters”. SPOILER ALERT She doesn’t…!

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Book Series I Won’t Be Finishing

A few days ago I finally decided I needed to get rid of some of the books on my shelves. *shocked gasping* I know! But it has to be done because I have so little room these days for new books. And tbh I’m getting to the point where I would like my shelves to reflect my taste a bit more. So here is a list of 8 series I have officially removed from my shelves (and tbr list). I’ve read the first book in all these series and they were all a bit (or a lot) crap so honestly there’s no sad feels here. Feel free to comment below why I’m wrong though haha!

1) The Devil Wears Prada series by Lauren Weisberger

| A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses.|

Honestly…just watch the film. Even if you wouldn’t normally like this kind of thing it’s worth it to witness both Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep being super snobby.

2) Geek Girl series by Holly Smale

| Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. |

Harriet is a typical protagonist that doesn’t realise she’s beautiful and special until one day she finds out that actually, surprise! (not really), she was model beautiful and special all along. It’s all a bit sickening really.

3) Fifty Shades of Grey series by E L James

| When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. |

I usually enjoy reading the odd smutty book but this just wasn’t sexy in my opinion. The story in between the cringy sex was boring as well, and without a good story what’s the point?!

4) Lorien Legacy series by Pittacus Lore

| Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books–but we are real. |

Again, like with The Devil Wears Prada, just watch the film. It’s kind decent and is less than two hours long. Unlike the book which must have taken me weeks to get myself to finish.

5) Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

| In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. |

This must have been the slowest book I’ve ever read! The premise, I thought, was fascinating but the writing style just kills any mystery and intrigue. I just did not care about any of it by about the half way point.

6) The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater

| For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. |

I read Shiver so long ago now that I honestly can’t seem to remember anything particularly exciting happening in this book. I want to say there was a drama at a hospital…? Or something. Anyway I remember it took me forever to finish which I wasn’t happy about.

7) The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano

| By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. |

Wither is another example of me being excited by a premise but then finding the writing style has slowed down the story too much. So much of the book was set in this massive luxurious mansion and I just didn’t care about anyone in it.

8) Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J R Ward

| In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood. |

I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned this before on my blog but I really only gave the first book in this series, Dark Lover, a go because Sarah J Maas said it was one of her favourites. But I just thought it was kind of meh and boring. I think vampires just aren’t my thing anymore?

Soooo apparently I have something against authors with the name Lauren?! And I don’t know why because I don’t think I’ve ever known a Lauren in real life. But anyway, there’s the 8 series I won’t be continuing. Let me know if there’s a series you’ve decided you just can’t bring yourself to finish!

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You by Caroline Kepnes | Book Review

Image result for you caroline kepnes

Rating: 3/5

Favourite Quote: “The only thing crueler than a cage so small that a bird can’t fly is a cage so large that a bird thinks it can fly.”  

Review: This book was like nothing I’ve ever read before. It was frustrating, repetitive at times and a little dull. But overall I can’t deny that it was, to quote You back at itself, “different, hot”.

Joe Goldberg, our protagonist and stalker, is actually the one described as “different, hot” in the book. But really he’s neither. He works in a bookshop. He’s not interesting. He’s bland. And he’s oblivious.

I started to realise early on that Joe lives his life outside of himself, if that even makes sense. His whole internal monologue is him thinking about other people. Judging them and making up excuses for their actions. He’s not self aware at all.

Beck, the writer who is being stalked by Joe, on the other hand lives entirely within herself. She only thinks of herself and what she can get out of people and how they make her feel. She’s completely self absorbed.

Both Joe and Beck’s behaviour gets more annoying as the book goes on. All the lying and cheating and stalking and killing couldn’t make them interesting people to me. In fact, I felt sad for them. They obviously suffer from various mental illnesses.

Though I’m not saying any of the above makes the book bad. The characters are not interesting (to me) but the overall storyline is. I found it fascinating how Joe would use email, Facebook and Twitter to stalk Beck and also to cover his tracks. It really highlighted the power of social media to me. And how one tweet, that kind of sounds like something you would write, will make everyone think you’re ok. A scary thought.

Also You highlighted how manipulative people can be. Even, perhaps unintentionally, to those they’ve just met. Another scary thought.

So really You is a bit like watching some weird reality tv show. It’s not amazing or anything but it reveals a lot about humanity. And it is fun because it’s not you dealing with all this rubbish, it’s someone else.

And as with most books I rate 3/5 I found that the last several chapters were some of the best of the whole story. Which means I’m left wanting more. And *SPOILER* I’m definitely intrigued to know about Joe’s new obsession in the next book which Caroline has described as “every bit as terrifying…”.

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My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick | Book Review

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Rating: 2/5

Favourite Quote: “Maybe if I can just sleep for a hundred years, I’ll wake up in a better story.”

Review: So this book angered me. A lot. Nothing happens until page 320. Before that it’s just about a 17 year old girl who works two jobs, but has a trust fund, and her relationships with her grouchy best friend and the hot boy next door.

Then after page 320 we get the drama. And this is the part that really angered me! Because something awful happens and no one does the right thing. No. One. Instead someone gets hurt and someone gets blackmailed and a whole family is left to suffer and yet not a single person involved does the right thing. And I find it hard to believe that in this case people would act in this way.

*SPOILERS START HERE*

Oh and we never get to find out what was up with the best friend. It was hinted at that she was cheating by getting her brother to write her essays and speeches and it was shown that she was cheating in exams. And yet nothing happens! Nothing is confirmed. It was made out to be one of the main story lines and yet Nan, the best friend, just suddenly decides being friends with Sam, the main character, is “too much work”. What?! No explanation. Nothing. And Nan never appears again.

It was nice to see Tim, Nan’s twin brother (the one who does Nan’s school work) who was struggling with drink and drugs, get better though. His character developed a lot and he went from a nasty, spiteful guy to the type that brings ice cream round to the kids he babysits. This story line was one of the only reasons I gave this book a 2 star rating and not a 1 star.

The only other reason it got a 2 star rating was because I liked it when Sam finally stands up to her mother, towards the end of the book, and starts trying to make things right. Because before this Sam just let everyone walk all over her. She let Tim steal money from her and drive drunk and just stands there whilst Nan criticises her for being too rich and beautiful. But then finally she speaks up! And about the thing that really mattered.

*SPOILERS END HERE*

Overall an incredibly slow and frustrating plot with very angering characters. I didn’t like the chain of events at all. And I didn’t like any of the characters. And I didn’t like that one of the plot lines, the state of Nan and Sam’s friendship, is not resolved or even explained.

Basically I wasn’t impressed. It gets a 2 star rating because it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read and it does illustrate how out of control an accident can get if you don’t tell the truth. But even with these couple of good points I would not recommend My Life Next Door and I won’t be continuing with this series any time soon.

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The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas | Book Review

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Rating: 5/5

Favourite Quotes: “Life isn’t easy, no matter where you are. You’ll make choices you think are right, and then suffer for them.” 

“She would tuck Sam into her heart, a bright light for her to take out whenever things were darkest.” (*sobs*)

Review: If only every great series came with a whole 450 pages worth of short stories! And not pointless “filler” stories either but ones that actually add to the overall plot and reveal plenty of important back story. This is exactly what we get from The Assassin’s Blade. Because not only is it full of information on Celaena’s past but every story is well written, is full of interesting new characters and follows on from the previous one.

And I think with collections like The Assassin’s Blade it’s easy to go wrong. The lack of our favourite characters can sometimes make the stories feel empty or not worth bothering with. Not the case here at all though.

The Assassin and the Desert was easily my favourite of the five short stories because of Ansel, one of the awesome new characters, who is also an assassin. She has a complicated past, much like Celaena, so it was great to witness this friendship between two assassins. And of course I’m dying to know what happened to her!

My second favourite story was The Assassin and the Healer because we get to see Celaena through the eyes of a stranger, and not someone who is falling in love with her! And again it introduced another great new character, Yrene. Yrene is the healer from the title and she works in a pub. She’s not treated well by her boss or the patrons but she’s still kind and she has ambition! I like that in characters. And like Ansel, I’m really hoping we get to see more of Yrene.

The real highlight of all five stories though is getting to see what 16 year old Celaena was like. We see her making mistakes and being knocked back, being abused and betrayed. All of which helps me to understand her better.

She’s had an extremely hard life. I mean it’s revealed she had to learn how to torture someone for goodness sake and that is one of the least awful things she had to go through in this book! If I was in her position I would be absolutely foul to be around. I’d be in a horrendously bad mood all the time! So now I can be far more sympathetic to her attitude and actions in the rest of the Throne of Glass series.

Overall I could not get enough of these stories. I love the Throne of Glass world and I don’t think Sarah J Maas could ever produce enough content to truly satiate me!

I’m currently reading Empire of Storms, the 5th book in the series, and I read The Assassin’s Blade after reading Heir of Fire. However, I believe Sarah J Maas recommends you read The Assassin’s Blade before Throne of Glass. I definitely wish I had anyway. So if you’re thinking of starting this series, start here, with The Assassin’s Blade.

If you’ve already read some/all the books out so far though, i’d be interested to know after which book you decided to pick up The Assassin’s Blade?

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In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware | Book Review

Rating: 5/5

Favourite Quote: “It was growing dark, and somehow the shadows made it feel as if all the trees had taken a collective step towards the house, edging in to shut out the sky.”

Review: This. Book. I started reading it late last night thinking I’d just check out a couple chapters before bed…and then ended up staying up till 4.30am to finish it! I just HAD to know what was going on. And not many storylines have grabbed me in that way before. I mean I’ve stayed up all night reading before but I don’t usually finish a book in one sitting.

I think it might have been the fun, and kind of tense, beginning where everything was still ok that really pulled me in. It was just like the start of my favourite type of horror film. Everyone’s smoking and drinking and playing games and catching up. Only us as the reader/watcher know this is just the calm before the storm.

And what a storm it was! I really felt for Nora, the protagonist, who I liked because she was always in the moment. Nina aswell, who was Nora’s old school friend, who was constantly coming out with shocking or hilarious (sometimes both) comments. Well actually all the characters were good. I never once got confused or forgot who was who. They all had such clearly different personalities.

Oh and the setting! I personally love being in the woods and find being surrounded by trees very calming. But Ruth Ware managed to make me uneasy about all the trees surrounding the glass house that the characters are staying in. One of the characters even says something about feeling like he’s on stage and the trees are watching and another describes how she feels the trees have moved in closer. Both comments got to me and made me feel thoroughly creeped out!

SPOILERS START HERE

The creepiness was kept up throughout the whole book and really kept me guessing what was going on. When the footprints were discovered I thought this was going to be a typical home invasion thriller. Wrong! Then the Ouija board was brought out and I thought this was going to take a supernatural turn. Wrong again!

And I really loved this. I was constantly trying to guess what was going on and where the story was going. I don’t usually read thrillers so this was all very new and exciting to me. I must have made a hundred wrong guesses though!

The only thing I got right is that James didn’t send that awful text, which honestly made me feel a bit ill, 10 years earlier. It was ground into us throughout the book that Nora wanted to be called Nora now and not Lee like her old school friends used to call her. And Nora mentioned at some point that only one person ever called her Lea which I guessed straight away was James. And then that horrible text started “Lee” and I had a *shock/gasp* moment!

SPOILERS END HERE

Overall I can’t fault anything with this book or it’s characters or storyline or the big reveals. I found the whole thing immensely entertaining and my heart was pounding so hard through the middle/end!

So now I’m off to see if Ruth Ware has written anything else!

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik | Book Review

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Rating: 2/5

Favourite Quote: “There’s no kindness in offering false hope”

Review: Uprooted was simply terrible. It had all the ingredients to make it wonderful; magic, witches, wizards and an enchanted forest full of horrible creatures. But all this falls flat and the author has somehow managed to make all these elements boring.

We’ve got the characters, all flat and boring. Agnieszka, our protagonist who claims to be ever so plain and ordinary, of course turns out to be ever so special. The usual. She faces no true hardships, easily overcomes everything thrown at her and goes through no character development at all. And what annoyed me most was that she never questioned anything! She never asked why am I here? What is my purpose?

Then there’s the Dragon. To him the girl he kidnapped is “tedious” and “horsefaced” (though SPOILER he has no problem with said horseface towards the end in one of the most unnecessary and out of place sex scenes ever). And worse he calls her an “idiot” for defending herself when a Prince tries to assault her. Asking her if she’d like to “try and persuade the King that your virtue was worth the life of his son”. The sexism then continues a few pages later when he asks her; “Don’t all peasant girls dream of Princes and ball gowns?”.

The rest of the characters are not worth mentioning. They’re almost like cardboard cut outs that follow Agnieszka around and are only there because at some point they will need to be saved or will have some problem that needs to be solved. None of them have a personality and they barely interact with Agnieszka or each other.

Then there’s the storyline. The author skips ahead a lot by saying “a week later” or “a few days passed” but then spends pages and pages describing surroundings in tedious detail. The following is an actual sentence from Uprooted: “Trees and brush overhung the water, willows trailing long weedy branches into the reeds that clustered thickly at the water’s edge, between the pale tangle of exposed tree roots against the wet dirt”. How is this sentence even allowed? It doesn’t move the story forward and doesn’t add to the current event being portrayed. It’s simply boring.

So basically Uprooted becomes this horrific mix of slow paced but technically faced paced. As if a child is trying to tell you a story with just the good bits but gets distracted constantly and goes off on a tangent.

Oh and don’t get me started on how the magic was written. It was either in great long sentences consisting of the most annoying made up language ever. Or it was vaguely brushed over and we’d just be told that Agnieszka was currently singing a song of magic. The words to these songs were never revealed and instead we’d be told how the magic felt or tasted or how it looked.

Overall nothing is really explained properly and I was left with a lot of unanswered questions. The characters were all miserable and one dimensional and didn’t interact enough. And the story was just one long winded bore, that consisted of different people being saved, and that was hard to force myself to finish. I would not recommend this to anyone.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J K Rowling | Book Review

Review

Rating: 5/5

Favourite Quote: “The world changes and we change with it”

Review: I honestly don’t know where to begin! I guess I could start by saying that if you grew up with Harry Potter, if you’re a huge fan, if you reread the books every year, you will adore Cursed Child. And if you’re worried about the script format being distracting, don’t, because luckily we don’t need all the description of people and places because we already know all that. So if you haven’t read it yet then what are you waiting for?!

MILD SPOILERS FROM HERE

Firstly I have to say I adored the way Cursed Child is so entangled with the original seven books. We get to see all our favourite, and not so favourite, characters again. We also get to experience parts of the Triwizard Tournament from Goblet Of Fire all over again, but from different perspectives! And those who know me know that Goblet Of Fire is my favourite book in the Harry Potter series.

Though I have admit that, like others have said, it is written a bit like a fanfiction. But I’m guessing that feel perhaps comes from other writers being involved. But I didn’t mind (I actually enjoy reading fanfiction, shhh, and have read tons of Harry Potter stuff).

Looking at the characters Harry was as irritating as ever. Still VERY rude and if I was Albus, Harry’s son, I don’t know that I could ever forgive a certain thing he blurts out no matter how many apologies I got. Dumbledore was as vague as ever with his advice. Completely useless and merely causes more drama and heartache. I was cheering out loud when Harry finally told him, “You were absent every time it really counted. I fought him three times without you”. But then I’ve always not liked these two. And before anyone says anything, no, it does not stop the Harry Potter series being one of my all time favourites.

Snape was as brave as always. Willing to lay down his life again for the greater good. For a world without Voldemort. Scorpius and Albus, the new main characters, were also very brave and made great additions. Scorpius is probably the stand out character of the whole of Cursed Child. He’s faced with a lot of negativity and judgement and yet still continues to remain happy and light hearted and level headed. And his adoration for Rose is very cute.

SPOILERS END HERE

Overall, whilst it is a very quick read and I would have preferred a proper full length novel, I enjoyed both the plot and characters immensely. I even caught myself tearing up a few times so it must have gotten to me quite a bit. And I think this expands that awkward and out of place epilogue at the end of Deathly Hallows very nicely. I definitely recommend this to all Harry Potter fans!

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