Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas: BOOK REVIEW

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THE DETAILS:

Book: Crown of Midnight

Authors: Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 417

Reading Format: Physical

Read: 18th March, 2017

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Crowned by Evil.
Bound by Duty.
Divided by Love.

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan’s deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies’ blood – but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors – a captain and a prince – and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom…


REVIEW:

Plot: 4.5/5

Characters: 5/5

Writing: 4.8/5

“Some things you hear with your ears. Others, you hear with your heart.”

Ahhh, Crown of Midnight. I loved this book!
It was so much better than Throne of Glass, in my opinion.

I felt like I connected a lot more to the characters, the world, and even just the story line in this instalment, rather than the first. It was fantastic.

“It was like coming home or being born or suddenly finding an entire half of herself that had been missing.”

There was so much that happened throughout this book that writing this review a day after finishing it is proving difficult, because I can’t entirely remember/separate everything that went down.

Usually, with Fantasy’s, they get a little boring for me because of all the world building, and lack of ‘action’ until the end, but there was no boringness in this!
It constantly had me on edge, wondering what was going to happen, plotting my own ideas, and trying failing to come up with theories about where it was all going.

“Then Celaena and the King of Adarlan smiled at each other, and it was the most terrifying thing Dorian had ever seen.”

I loved the characters in this novel, I really connected and understood them more, discovering who I like and don’t like. As for the Dorian/Chaol dilemma, I really enjoyed Chaol and Celaena’s time together throughout majority of the book, but kind of… maybe… sort of… found myself still falling for Dorian!
I think I’ll have to continue on with the series to truly decide what team I’m on once and for all.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the multiple perspectives. Sometimes in books that can be annoying, or just downright pointless, but I loved reading from all these different POV’s, especially in this crazy world Sarah J. Maas thought up.

“To escape death, she'd become death.”

The action scenes were crazy in this book! I just loved the assassination scenes (as weird and wrong as that may sound) haha, and the scene in the library, which if you’ve read this, you know what I’m talking about.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic instalment in the Throne of Glass series, and I can’t wait to see what happens from here! Especially with how Crown of Midnight ended (shocker!)

That’s all,

Kate :)

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins – BOOK REVIEW

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THE DETAILS:

Book: Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me

Authors: Lily Collins

Pages: 256

Reading Format: Physical

Read: 16th March, 2017

Rating: 5/5 Stars


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins―star of Mortal Instruments and Rules Don’t Apply―is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating and so much more.

For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, proving that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She’s learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realise they’re not alone.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.


REVIEW:

I guess I’ll start this review off by saying Unfiltered went straight on the favourites shelf.

Yep, I loved it.

“Choosing how and when to admit my truths allows me to take back the power that my insecurities had once stolen"

I’ve always admired Lily Collins, always loved her movies/acting abilities, so when I saw that she was coming out with a book I,
1. freaked out.
2. knew there was no chance I wouldn’t be buying it.
3. had to patiently or not so patiently wait for it to come out.

This collection of essays really was something special. You know when you’re reading a book and you can literally feel how important it is in the moment, and is going to be to you in the future. That’s how I felt with this. Only bookworms (which you probably are if you’re reading this) would understand how every once in a while, if you have the right book, the turn of each new page signifies a new beginning. Changing your life in different ways, no matter how small, with every word read.

I know I’m personally going to re read this book over and over again, I don’t even know how many times a year, to keep me grounded, and remind me of the important things in life. I even want to re read it already and I just put it down :’)

“Sources of weakness can transform into your most important and influential sources of inner strength"

Lily Collins really knows how to express herself, she is such a fantastic writer.
It didn’t feel like some random celebrity wanted to write a book just for the status of having written a book, no. You can 10000% tell how much this book means to Lily, and how much effort she put into making it the best she possibly could.

One of the things I appreciated the most about this, was how raw and honest Lily was about everything that she went through. It was just so interesting, and in a way, comforting to see that celebrities really are just like us.

Almost every issue that was discussed throughout the book, I have encountered (except the relationship issues, because, well, I’ve never had one. And I’m okay with that). Anyway, specifically one topic that was thoroughly talked about, I related to so so much. It was crazy to see the similarities between both of our issues, and how it effects individuals in certain ways.

One chapter that also stood out to me was the cooking chapter, it really inspired me, and made me want to try harder with the foods I make. Also to try out baking for my family and friends, which I’ve always enjoyed, but never really made time to do often.

I also really loved the chapter explaining all Lily’s tattoos, and her deeper meanings behind each one.

“I will never need anyone to complete me. I am enough on my own"

 I think you can probably tell from this review, that I suggest this book to each and every one of you. Whether you’re a fan of Lily or not, because you really don’t have to be.

Honestly, I think this book is less focused on being about Lily’s life, and more focused on her sharing her stories in order to inspire and encourage others to both do the same, and get the most they possibly can out of their own lives.

I have a vision of reading this collection of essays until the end of time, and maybe even annotating/highlighting as I go… which scares me so much, but you’ve gotta remember, you own your books, so make them yours, allow them to be a reflection of you.

That’s all,

Kate :)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: BOOK REVIEW

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THE DETAILS:

Book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Authors: Stephen Chbosky

Pages: 213

Reading Format: Kindle

Read: 17th February, 2017

Rating: 2.8/5 Stars


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Read the cult-favorite coming of age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Now a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic.

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

 


REVIEW:

Plot: 2.5/5

Characters: 2.8/5

Writing: 3/5

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

This review is probably going to be my shortest review ever, and that mightttt be because I read this book days ago and forgot to write my review, oops. But, let’s try this.

The low rating is based a lot on enjoyment level in this case, because I felt like I both enjoyed and got annoyed at this book. There would be really great moments and then long stretches of, just kinda, boringness.

I truly think having seen the movie many years ago, that effected my view on the novel a lot, in terms of knowing what was going to happen, and having preconceived thoughts about the characters.

However, I also think the book was quite a lot different than the movie. I’m not sure if that’s because I haven’t watched the movie in so long, and I was much younger when I did watch it. Orrr simply because it actually was different. I’m really excited to be able to re-watch the movie now.

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.”

The characters, I found were, ummm, less dimensional than I went into the book expecting them to be. I don’t know, I just feel like I didn’t really connect with the characters how I normally would in books, or how I wanted to. Even though I related to some of their feelings and issues, that still didn’t make me feel closer to them, unfortunately.

My feelings towards this book are very strange in a way because I both enjoyed it, and didn’t. I’d say maybe 40% / 60%, respectively.

“I would die for you. But I won't live for you.”

The writing, more so to do with all the wonderful quotes, and passages from this novel, were by farrrr the best parts! I highlighted so much, and definitely did feel enlightened and connected to Chbosky’s own thoughts that were so beautifully written down on the page.

If I could take one thing out of this book that I truly loved, it would definitely be the ‘quoteworthy’ aspect, but sadly, I didn’t really fully enjoy too much else.

That’s all,

Kate :)

All in Pieces by Suzanne Young: BOOK REVIEW

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THE DETAILS:

Book: All in Pieces

Authors: Suzanne Young

Pages: 272

Reading Format: Kindle

Read: 8th February, 2017

Rating: 4/5 Stars

**Possible trigger warning for sexual assault**


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

From New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young comes a heartrending new novel about a girl struggling to deal with anger issues while taking care of her younger brother with special needs.

“Anger-management issues.”

That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.

The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.

Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own; a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself, except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.

And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.


REVIEW:

Plot: 4.5/5

Characters: 5/5

Writing: 3.8/5

“I hate the silence right now. It makes me think too much.”

All in Pieces, although a little slow at the start, was fantastic.

I thought for sure I was going to rate this a 3 star book, but the middle and the end, just wow, it really picked up!

Seriously, I finished it at 2am. Does that need more explanation? *heart eyes*

“I want to feel the pain because it's better to feel it in my arm than in my heart”

There were so many different aspects and things that were dealt with in this novel, and I believe they were done really well.

When Savannah felt heartbreak, so did I. When she felt helpless, I did too. When she swooned over Cameron, boy did I swoon with her.

Young did so well in terms of characters. I loved (and loved to hate) them.
You know that an author has built characters really well, when you put yourself in their shoes, which is what I did.

The characters were definitely the biggest highlight of the novel for me, I loved it.

Savannah was just so interesting, and although a little…um… testy at times, I found myself not minding because you gradually discover and come to understand why she is like that. I really enjoyed her character, I admire her for her bravery, and ability to persevere when literally everything (except my baby Cameron) has turned to crap.

Also, sidenote: I think Cameron may be my #1 book boyfriend now, I mean, if you’ve read the book, you wouldn’t ask me why. He is definitely at the top, if not the first on that list now. I loved love him.

Another character related aspect I really enjoyed was Cameron’s parents, especially his mother, it was just so great to see her helping out when some other particular characters needed it the most.

“No, I don't have a boyfriend. I stabbed the last one.””

I found it so interesting to see how people live when faced with such devastating life events, including poverty, and how that contrast with say, people who are more well off.

This is yet another book I went into having no idea at all of what it was about, and I truly think that’s such a great way to read. If I knew what it was about, who knows if I would’ve picked it up, but I consider myself lucky I did.

That’s all,

Kate :)

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: Book Review

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THE DETAILS:

Book: Made You Up

Authors: Francesca Zappia

Pages: 448

Reading Format: Kindle

Read: 31st January, 2017

Rating: 4.8/5 Stars


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Uptells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.


REVIEW:

Plot: 4.8/5

Characters: 4.5/5

Writing: 5/5

“Sometimes I think people take reality for granted.”

This was the first full book I’ve read on my kindle, without having it in physical form also, (I kinda want it in physical now though, *sigh*, can’t escape being ‘real’ book obsessed).

Quite plainly…

I loved this book.

Although I feel like it took a few chapters to really get into (but that could’ve been me because I was distracted), the two times I read it after that, yes only two, I got really into it and couldn’t put this book down!

To think this is Zappia’s debut novel, I have to give her major props for how fantastic this book was! I will definitely be reading her future work.

“Believing something existed and then finding out it didn't was like reaching the top of the stairs and thinking there was one more step.”

I really enjoyed reading from Alex’s point of view, it was so interesting to see how she viewed the world, and what was going on inside her head. I cannot wait to read more novels from the p.o.v of people with mental illness, it’s so fascinating to me. I feel like I’m being educated on ‘normal’ people with mental illness, as they’re so often depicted as ‘inhumane’ in the media, especially in relation to schizophrenia, like in this novel.

“No, you're not a bad person," he said. "And Richter isn't a bad person, and I'm not a bad person. We're just people, and people sometimes do stupid things.”

Other than Alex, I loved the characters of Alex’s friends, especially one certain ‘friend’ 😉
Each one was so interesting, and each had problems of their own that were equally explored. I especially loved seeing Mile’s background, and what made him the person he is.

I basically just loved Miles, and his relationship with Alex. It was one of the best aspects of the novel, and I could read it over and over again. (even more reason to buy it in physical form, right?)

There was one thing that happened in the book that made me just go whattttttt. I think it was a real turning point for Alex.

“People say teenagers think they're immortal, and I agree with that. But I think there's a difference between thinking you're immortal and knowing you can survive.”

In my opinion, the ending/last section of the novel was so, what I’d expect to be, realistic. I just believe it was really well done by Zappia.

I don’t want to say much else because I feel like you should go into this book not knowing anything, like I did.

So, all I’ll say is, read this book.

You will not regret it.

That’s all,

Kate :)

2016: A Reading Year in Review

Hey guys!
I hope you all had a wonderful 2016, although it’s been a tough year for I’d say, 98% of the population, we got through it, and heres to a much better, and more positive 2017.

2016 was a tough year for me in regards to undertaking my final year of schooling, which meant endless nights of study, and stress. So, if you compare my 2015 reading year (https://passthefeels.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/2015-a-reading-year-in-review/) to this one, you’ll notice a significant decrease in read books, but hey, I’m lucky I even managed this many.

So, enjoy this little yearly wrap up from me! Please let me know how your year went!

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Photo from my instagram: @thebookgram

List of Books read in 2016:

January:
Anna and the French Kiss
Alison’s Pretty Little Diary
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Clockwork Princess
The Darkest Minds

February:
Sister of Blood and Spirit
You

March:
Life Of Galileo (school)
City of Glass
Never Never: Part 3
Maybe Not
City of Fallen Angels

April:
The List
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

May:
The 100
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This Boy’s Life (school)

June:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

July:
Pretty Baby
Every Man in this Village Is A Liar (school)

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:
The Amateurs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
It Ends With Us


2016 Reading Stats:

Read:
24 books – 8,869 pages

Best Month:                                                      Worst Months:
January, 5 books                                        Aug-Nov, 0 books

Shortest:                                                            Longest:
Alison’s Pretty Little Diary                   Order of the Phoenix

Avg. Length:                                                    Avg. Rating:
370 pages                                                    4.1 Stars

No. of series completed:
2

Favourite Reads:                                               Least Favourite Reads:
1. HP Half Blood Prince                              1. Life of Galileo
2. HP Deathly Hallows                               2. Every Man (…)
3. Anna and the French Kiss                    3. This Boys Life
4. To all the Boys (….)                                4. Sister of Blood and Spirit
5. It Ends With Us                                        5. Maybe Not


So, as you can see, I had an extremely long break in the middle of the year from reading to due school and exams…

Buttt I will say the other differences between this year and last year, is that I read a lot more large books this year, completed my goal of finishing the Harry Potter series, and read more books that I enjoyed rather than simply reading because I felt pressured too.

So it’s not all bad!

That’s all,

Kate 🙂

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover: BOOK REVIEW

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THE DETAILS:

Book: It Ends With Us

Authors: Colleen Hoover

Pages: 375

Reading Format: Kindle and Paperback

Read: 30th December, 2016

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.


REVIEW:

Plot: 4.5/5

Characters: 5/5

Writing: 4.8/5

“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”

Well, Well, Well. Queen Hoover has done it again. Not that I ever doubted her.
Another masterpiece to add to the shelves.

It Ends With Us is quite a different story for Hoover, but still had the unmistakable essence of her beautifully poetic writing, and brilliantly written characters.

First of all, I applaud Colleen on her risk of branching out and tackling an issue that can be quite controversial. I feel extremely strongly about domestic violence, not that I have ever experienced it myself, but I have always, for whatever reason, felt the need to care a lot about it. I hope one day, that I can play my part in prevention of such horror, in some way.

Anyway, back to the novel…

“I feel like everyone fakes who they really are, when deep down we're all equal amounts of screwed up. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.”

Apart from the writing, the one thing I love the most about Colleens books are the incredibly vivid characters she creates. They all leave an imprint in some way, from Layken and Will, to Tate and Miles, Fallon and Ben, Auburn and Owen, Sydney and Ridge,  you name it. Now, I have Lily, Ryle and Atlas to add to that ever growing list. Not to mention the amazing side characters, but lets leave that for another day.

loved this book, so much. It was raw, unapologetic and heart wrenching.
The characters were some of the best yet, from the main characters, to Lily’s mum, Atlas’s friends, Allysa and Marshall, they were all brilliant, each bringing their own uniqueness to the story.

“And as hard as this choice is, we break the pattern before the pattern breaks us.”

I felt like I was Lily at times, that’s how good this writing is. I put myself in her shoes, and was transported into her world. Beyond that, this book really made me understand the struggles that domestic violence victims have. I even felt the ‘oh, but what if…no he’s good, no he’s bad,’ feelings that Lily went through. I was just as conflicted as her, yet ultimately wanting her to come to the same decision as I did, which happened. Yes.

Ryle, oh Ryle. He has got to be one of Hoovers most confusing and emotion inducing character to date. Half the time I couldn’t figure out if I loved him or hated him, pitied him, or wanting to scream at him. However, I was extremely happy with the way in which the story ended in regards to his character.

Atlas! I love him! He added such substance and longing to the story. Ahh, it wouldn’t have been the same without him. I really wish we got to see more of him. Some sort of mini sequel, please Colleen?

“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”

Every Hoover book seems to have an extra sort of content, and in this novel, it was the letters to Ellen. I loved that aspect of the story, and as always, those extra bits are just what make Colleens books that much better.

I don’t really know what else to say, except I loved it. I loved it from the very first sentence, I loved Lily, I loved the career aspects of all the characters, friendships, the different paths in which the story went, deviating from the ‘normal’ Colleen stories.

However, may favourite part may just be the final sentence…

“You can stop swimming now, Lily. We finally reached the shore.”

That’s all,

Kate :)