reading

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 :)

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard: BOOK REVIEW

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THE DETAILS:

Book: The Amateurs

Authors: Sara Shepard

Pages: 307

Reading Format: Paperback

Read: 11th December, 2016

Rating: 4.25/5 Stars


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold.


REVIEW:

Plot: 4.89/5

Characters: 4/5

Writing: 4.5/5

Well, I think it’s fair to say that Sara Shepard, aka. mystery/thriller/murder mystery goddess, has done it again with her latest novel, The Amateurs.

This novel was my most highly anticipated read of 2016, and I’m so glad it did not disappoint, even though I knew there was no chance it would.

It was crazy, exhilarating, and packed with mystery. It really got me being an investigator alongside our main clan of protagonists.

I love how this book was told from such an array of different characters, we really got to see how everything went down for everyone, and the ways in which they went about things. I found it so interesting to be able to assess each character as they were seen from their own points of view.

However, the characters did fall sort of flat-ish for me at times.
Usually, the characters are one of my favourite parts of (well any novel), but especially Shepard’s books. Even more so, the friendships between her characters draw me in the most, and I feel this book didn’t quite have that same feeling as her other series, say like Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game.
But, I do think that is simply because it’s the first instalment in a series, and I have absolutely no doubt that both the characters, and their friendships will only grow immensely from this novel forwards.

I also cannot wait to see more of the side characters in future instalments *cough* Thomas *Cough*.

The concept of this novel, and the ‘Case Not Closed’ situation, I found to be so entertaining, and it certainly kept me on my feet throughout the course of it.

I loved the nature of the book. It was just such an enjoyable read, whilst still making me nervous and skeptical of every corner I turned… oh, and every page too…
Shepard always imagines the best settings/scenery, and immerses the characters, as well as the reader, into her fictional world, and makes it feel a little less like fiction.

The ending made me simultaneously go crazy, and think “really, the only person I didn’t suspect was found to be the murderer, seriously”. AAAAND they also happened to be one of my favourite characters in the whole book!!
However, that made me love it even more. I don’t quite know how but Shepard manages to fool me with every.single.new.story she comes out with. Seriously, my jaw always ends up on the floor.

I can’t quite believe that we found out the murderer in the first book! (Unless theres some twist put on it and it isn’t really who it is, but it is, but it isn’t…) Yep, that would only make sense to Shepard’s long-time reader fans.
It worked though! I am barely able to contain myself for the next book, I just need to see what happens to the squad (and to the murderer).

I cannot wait for the next instalment to come out in this crazy new series by my favourite author. I wonder if it’ll be another 16 book series. I don’t think I’d oppose.

Bring on more sleuthing, sneaking, and mystery, because no one does that better than Sara Shepard!

That’s all,

Kate :)

Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Book Review

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THE DETAILS:

Book: Heartless

Authors: Marissa Meyer

Pages: 464

Read: 18th November, 2016

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

*I received this novel from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review on the Heartless blog tour*


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


REVIEW:

Plot: 3/5

Characters: 3/5

Writing: 4/5

“But hoping,” he said, “is how the impossible can be possible after all.”

 

Heartless is a fantastic Alice in Wonderland retelling, centring around the significance of the Queen of Hearts.

Cath is a driven and intelligent character, who captures the attention of the reader from the first page, with her love for baking, and lets be real. The description of the food she was making made me hungry just reading about it! I’ll hire you, Cath. The gradual changes, and development we see within her character were intricately woven into the story in such a way that left me both excited to see where it was going, and also a little apprehensive at times (due to the obvious impending doom) *winces*

Jest was such a great addition to the story, his humour and wit provided such substance, and I really loved reading about him, as well as the obvious connection to Cath. Can you say cute? ahh. However, I did find the relationship a little, uhm, strange? at times, but nevertheless, it was still an adorable arc, especially their first meeting *swoon*

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

The stories behind Cath’s origins and the build up to her becoming who she ends up as, were so magical, and beautifully done. I found myself wanting to know more and more, it was just so interesting, and Meyer’s execution was brilliant.

Heartless felt more like an actual fairy tale, rather than simply a retelling of events. I applaud Meyer in her ability to make the novel feel so…real, of sorts. It really was well done.

One of the aspects I loved most about this book were the descriptions of Wonderland, everything just felt so vivid and bold, without feeling overdone (like the toast I literally just burnt). Oops. I felt like I was in their world, and that’s what I personally need from a novel, to be completely enriched and taken by the story, to put myself in the position of the characters (even though that’s probably not the best idea in… basically every YA book ever.) It all just felt so magical, and special.

“Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.”

Heartless is a riveting retelling of the famous Alice in Wonderland that cannot be missed. If you don’t mind a kind of slowish paced novel in parts, this is the one for you.

Delve deeper into the world of the Evil Queen, and learn a little more about how she got to that point, Meyer’s done it all.

That’s all,

Kate :)

Life After Exams: Film Edition

Hey, my loves!

This is my last “Life after exams” post, if you haven’t seen the other two, here are the links:
https://passthefeels.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/life-after-exams-book-edition/
https://passthefeels.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/life-after-exams-tvfilm-edition/

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little section of my life! Can’t wait to start posting new book reviews soon (when I’ll actually have time to read again!) haha

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    Allegiant: Yes, I still have not watched this film! Still! I’m bracing myself for what it’s going to be like. Who knows, it may surprise me, but we’ll see, I guess… Miles Teller saved Insurgent for me, so I’m ready to see more of him in this instalment!

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    Thor (and all the Marvel movies, ever): I’ve been wanting to watch this movie, and it’s sequel for the longest time. Who wouldn’t want to watch hunky Chris Hemsworth throw around a hammer? Idk. Can’t wait to see this one!

  3. ice-age-one-sheet-running

    Ice Age Collision Course: Okay, come on. I love the ice age films. I grew up with them, and continue to love them. Sid is my spirit animal, okay? So excited to see where this one takes my crazy animal childhood loves.

  4. room

    Room: This one has intrigued me since I read what it was about, saw the trailer, and of course, Brie Larson’s Oscar win. Cannot wait to see what takes place in this film. It seems so unique.

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    Gone Girl: Still haven’t read the book, oops. But I love a good mystery! Can’t wait to see the craziness that is this movie. I’ve heard so much about the amount of twists and turns, and I do love a good plot twist.

  6. girl-train-poster

    The Girl On The Train: Knowing this film is a book, (yet, not having read it), I was intrigued by the trailer. The trailer looks so good, I really hope I can see this one in cinemas before it leaves!

  7. suicide-squad-movie-2016-poster

    Suicide Squad: Well, everyone and their dogs have seen this movie, even in my family. I feel like I’m the only one who hasn’t, and that I’m missing out. Although I’ve heard this one doesn’t have the best story line/plot, I’m still looking forward to watching it and seeing what all the hype it about!

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    Deadpool: Hmmm, this is a stretch for me. I’m not quite sure what this movie even is, well I do, but I don’t… you get me? But it’s Ryan Reynolds, so I gotta give it a try!

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    The Shallows: Blake Lively. Do I have to say anymore? I love her, and cannot wait to see what she did with this little movie. Looking forward to a good old shark/person war.

And that’s all I can come up with, not even 10 *sigh*.
I’m a much bigger TV person than I am movie, but I’m hoping to change that soon!
If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Until Next Time,

Kate 🙂