The Map of Bones – Francesca Haig

I fell in love with the first book in this series but when it came to the sequel, I was sadly disappointed and saw myself at times skim reading a few chapters, nevertheless, there were many parts of the novel that I enjoyed especially the fact that even from the first page we are thrown back into the action. Francesca Haig once again throws you into a world of conflict, betrayal, hope and despair and likes to keeps the reader on their toes as the plot thickens – every time I think I know what is coming she throws me a curveball. If you haven’t read the first book then I will link my review here!

Following on immediately in the aftermath of part one, we join up with Cass and the resistance for the next part of their intense and often emotional journey. Determined to stop her brother fulfilling his twisted plans for what is left of humanity, Cass must uncover the mysterious of the before whilst trying to prevent the plans of the Council. What really makes this series for me is the captivating writing, gorgeous yet sometimes haunting descriptions and the emotive storytelling that keeps me fully invest in our characters and their journey. Being able to see more of the post-apocalyptic world Haig ahs created was also interesting and enjoyable as well as learning more about the bleak history of the surviving generations of the before.

We are also introduced to a whole range and dynamic of new characters as well as learning more about ones we saw in the first book, especially my favourites Piper and Zoe. I loved them in the first book and I enjoyed the fact that we got to learn more about them and their past in the second book as well as seeing their relationship with Cass develop. I’ve warmed up to Cass more in this book and I still live for those confrontation scenes with her brother because they are so heart-stopping and suspenseful.

Once again I’ve reached the end of the book and found myself demanding what happens next and fearful for the unknown and the fate of these characters who I love! I am now left waiting in excitement the next book in the series because Haig has left us on a cliffhanger with so many possibilities and I can’t wait to see where Cass, Piper and Zoe all end up!

Authors I Want To Read More Of

Over the years I’ve read so many books by different authors and occasionally I find an author who I fall in love with which then leads me on a path where I have to read every book they’ve ever published, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites as well as recommending a few of my favourite books that they’ve written.

Stephanie Garber – I know she’s only written one, but I am obsessed with her writing and storytelling ability. If you haven’t yet read her first book ‘Caraval’ then I highly recommend you do, as it’s a magical, mystical adventure that I couldn’t put down and need more of!

Ryan Graudin – I am in love with Graudin’s ‘Wolf by Wolf’ series because they were full of action and adventure, plus I love anything to do with the War. I wish this series was longer, but I forgot that she’s realeasing a new book this year called ‘Invictus’ which sounds really intresting and will definetly be joining my ever growing TBR.

Sarah J Maas – Sarah could write anything and I will guarantee you that I will read it because I’m in love with her and her ability to create and tell wonderful stories. There’s just something about her writing which is just so captivating and magical and don’t get me started on her characters, all of which are powerful and loveable! I hope one day I can write like her. Her two series ‘Throne of Glass’ and ‘A Court of Thornes and Roses’ are just pure brilliance and need to be read by everyone who loves YA fiction.

Leigh Bardugo – Just like Sarah J Maas, I will read just about anything that Leigh Bardugo writes and I need more of her writing and characters because they are all incredible. The Grisha world she has created is a magical masterpiece which I could spend forever in, following the journey of her heroes and villains. I highly recommend if you haven’t yet read her ‘Shadow and Bone’ series or her ‘Six of Crows’ series because they are two of my favourites and if you love fantasy then you’ll love these.

Nicola Yoon – Nicola Yoon is the perfect contemporary author and her first two books had me in awe and I loved every minute of them. Her characters and storylines are what I love most about her books as they are all lovable, diverse and powerful. Her debut novel ‘Everything, Everything’ has been adapted for the big screen so this is the perfect opportunity to read the book before you watch the film.

Stephanie Perkins – Another great contempoary author who’s ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ Series introudeced me to contempoary fiction and is another series that I fell in love with. I know she’s co-written a few other novels but I need another fun and romantic series to fall in love with!

The Fire Sermon – Francesca Haig

I was given the honour of interviewing Francesca a few months ago but we mainly focused on her poetry which is absolutely stunning and I highly recommend you check out. Anyway, she used to be a senior lecturer at the University of Chester until she wrote her first YA dystopian novel ‘The Fire Sermon’! It was from meeting her and the fact that she used to teach at my university (I wish she still did) which encouraged me to pick up her book but that did mean I went in with high expectations!

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire and the effects of the radiation have caused every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha – physically perfect in every way and seen as superior in society – and the other an Omega burdened with deformity, small or large and branded as the lesser human. However, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other. Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality.

I found the concept of having an Alpha and Omega with the lifeline connection really interesting and made the plot and the relationship between characters more complex. As for Cass, I loved her relationship and constant fight with her brother but I wasn’t a fan of her and didn’t really see much character development, but hopefully, there will be more in the second book. I wasn’t much of a fan of the relationship between Cass and Kip either, just because I felt it was a bit forced and wasn’t very swoon worthy, nevertheless, they helped each other in numerous ways but I think they should have just stayed friends.

I’m in love with Haig’s writing which is just beautiful and I’m glad we get to see her gift of creating obscure but realistic and unique metaphors in her prose. When reading I picked up on a McCarthy ‘The Road’ vibe and influence because this world is dark but Haig portrays it in such a wonderful way with enough information to outline a scene but still leaving a few elements for our imagination to discover and create. If I’m being picky, I felt there were a couple of times where she could have shortened the prose as sometimes it dragged on and I reckon they would have been more effective if they were shorter.

The ending. Did I see it coming, well not all of it! I had a bit of an inkling at the beginning of the book but I dismissed the idea because it didn’t seem plausible but Haig cleverly made it work and left me in awe at the end of the first book, so much so I went and picked up the second book as soon as I finished; I’m now addicted to this series and these characters. When reading other reviews, many have commented on how everything just wraps up and the fact that we are given all the answers which I agree does ruin it a bit but I can guarantee that it by no means is it a dull ending.

All in all, this series has potential and I can’t wait to jump into the second book and I’m happy to give it 4/5 stars. If you’re looking for a unique dystopian novel then this one is just for you, as it’s got a really interesting storyline and character relationships that will hopefully keep you hooked.

5 Ways to Cure a Reading Slump and Book Recommendations

If you’ve read my April 2017 Wrap Up post then you’ll know that for the majority of the year so far I have been suffering from a major reading slump and am seriously behind on my Goodreads reading challenge! I think I’m 3/4 books behind schedule, whoops! Anyway, my book slump was cured by Lesley Livingston’s ‘The Valliant’ which was a fast paced adventure that I flew through and loved. Since then I’ve spent my Easter reading my heart out as I have exams in May which means my reading time will probably be taken over by work and revision! Nevertheless, I wanted to share different ways to cure your reading slump as well as recommending some books that might get rid of that slump!

Go to a bookshop or scroll through Amazon – By doing this hopefully you’ll find a book that you’ve forgotten and really want to read or just something different that sparks your interest! If you don’t want to spend anything then going to a library is a nice alternative.

Sort our your bookshelves – You’re killing two birds with one stone with this one! I usually find it really refreshing when organising my bookshelf and in doing so you might find a book you didn’t know you had or a book on your TBR that you have been dying to read!

Try a novella – Usually, it’s the size of a book that puts me off reading so a novella is a nice alternative because they’re shorter but you still get that sense of adventure and fix of some of your favourite characters!

Re-read a favourite – You can’t go wrong in re-reading one of your favourite books as you can guarantee that you will enjoy it and personally I find by re-reading a book you discover bits you missed the first time!

Try a different genre – Whether this is going back and reading something from your favourite genre or switching it up and reading something completely different. When reading grows tiresome, a switch in theme and style can be the exact palate cleanser you need to get back in the groove.

Recommendations:

  • I find that anything fast paced will instantly cure my reading slump as it throws you straight into the action and will keep you wanting to read on. Recently I read ‘The Valliant’ by Lesley Livingston and ‘The Murder Complex’ by Lindsey Cummings both of which were really fast paced and equally exciting reads!
  • Other easy reads include ‘The Selection’ by Kiera Cass which is a royal twist on the bachelor or ‘Cinder’ by Marisa Myers which is a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella!

 

 

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

I love this book and I will go as far to admit that it’s one of my favourites of the year so far. The magic, adventure, and mystery are what makes this story difficult to put down, and just like the Caraval, it sucks you in and invites you to loose yourself in its wonderful world. Garber makes it easy to fall in love with her characters and I can guarantee that it will have you on the edge of your seat through the entire story.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

This book loves to play with the reader as well as its characters and I felt that I was right there with Scarlett throughout the whole storyline. What shines in this book though is the action, as behind every chapter something exciting is thrown in our direction and mysteries are uncovered throwing us in a completely different direction to where we thought the story was taking us.

The developing and budding relationship between Julian and Scarlet has to be one of my favourite things about this book. Julian is rugged, bold and handsome and I think I could be in love with him! His banter with Scarlet and how he kept calling her ‘Crimson’ was just so darn cute. Sisterhood also played a massive role in this book with Scarlet risking everything she had to save her sister but I wish we got to see more of Tella as I really liked her character.

All in all, I loved this book and the mystery behind it and I need the second one asap! If you’re a fan of fantasy novels and thrilling and intellegent plots then I highly recommed you give this one a read, plus have a look at that cover isn’t it stunning and I’m sure it would look even better on your bookshelf!

 

Once Upon A Time: Musical Episode – Review

Once

*Spoiler Alert*

Oh, the feels! My heart burst at this episode and I will admit that I cried a lot because it was just so beautiful! Once Upon A Time is one of my all-time favourite TV shows and Sunday they aired their musical episode which was everything I imagined it would be and more; it was wonderful! I was worried that the musical episode wouldn’t fit in with the whole story, but writers made it fit perfectly and the balance between worlds and musical sequences again worked really well! I’m so impressed with everyone’s singing abilities, and I couldn’t pick a favourite song even if you forced me too and I enjoyed being able to see a variety of characters burst into song but it would have been nice to see Rumple sing a few notes!

The episode kicked off with your typical Dinsey bluebird singing, followed by Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas breaking in song! Both of their voices were incredible and my heart fluttered a bit when Charming strode into the room with his voice soaring! Swoon! If I’m being honest I felt Lana Parrilla’s voice suffered by following up after Goodwin and Dallas but I loved the Evil Queen spin she put on the song and dance routine which redeemed her by vamping it up.  Rebecca Mader’s “Wicked Always Wins” was a total surprise and I loved it, it was something about the lyrics and the performance that got me all excited. Colin O’Donoghue also fared well with his singing voice, and revenge song but I thought his song was too cheerful where it should have been menacing. The final number ‘Happy Beginnings’ see’s Emma and Hook unexpectedly burst into song after their wedding ceremony which was really cheesy but I didn’t care because my emotions were all over the place.

Anyway, I loved this episode and I enjoyed seeing something a bit different that worked well with the plot! I can’t wait for next week’s 2-hour finale episode because we get to see the effect of the Black Fairy’s curse but I don’t think I’m ready emotionally because this might be the end of Once Upon A Time and even if it is renewed for a Season 7 Jennifer Morrison won’t be returning and it wouldn’t be the same without her.

If you haven’t watched Once Upon A Time yet, stop what you’re doing and go and watch the first episode, I can guarantee that it will get you hooked! And if that’s not enough we wrote a list of reasons why you should watch it here! Let me know in the comments what you thought of the episode and I would love to know if there are any other ‘Oncers’ out there!

Popular Books I Haven’t Read Yet

BIHR

I’ve seen a few posts like this recently and it was nice to see that I’m not the only one who hasn’t yet read popular reads. So I thought, I’d share mine to not only to relate to others but hopefully to encourage me to read them soon! The reason I haven’t read them isn’t because I don’t like the book or other books in the series instead it’s probably because I’ve been so busy or the fact that they’re a bit daunting size wise! Anyway, let’s begin with a few of my shameful confessions….

  1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas – I know, I know I’m terrible! I really don’t have a reason why I haven’t read this yet as I adore Sarah J Maas and her new series and from what I’ve seen from the fan art etc. this book looks bloody amazing! This book is definitely on the top of my TBR and will certainly be read in June when I finish Uni and can have some me time!
  2. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – Another book I plan to read when I have more free time because I am in love with its characters and storyline; Leigh Bardugo has a gift!
  3. The Last Star by Rick Yancy – I enjoyed the first book in the series but the second one was so disappointing so I think that’s why I keep putting off reading it because I don’t think it will be able to redeem itself! If you have read it let me know what you thought of it!
  4. Kings Cage by Victoria Aveyard – I kind of forgot about this series and didn’t realise that the third book had been released! Unlike others I’ve really enjoyed this series and can’t wait to finally read this one because we were left on a serious cliffhanger at the end of book two!
  5. The Crown by Keira Cass – This one is down to my bank account and how empty it is! I have enjoyed this series and found them really easy to read but the only reason I haven’t yet bought it is because I’m very poor!
  6. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – A number of people have told me that I have to read this book but I still haven’t but I think it’s just because of the size of these books and the amount of time I have.