The Hay Festival – Meeting Sarah J Maas

It was this weekend when my co-blogger and I took a spontaneous trip to the ‘Hay Festival’ in Hay-On-Wye not only to experience the festival itself but to also meet one of my favourite authors, Sarah J Maas!!! For those who don’t know what the Hay festival is a literacy festival which celebrates great writing from poets, lyricists, comedians, novelists and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking. For 10 days in May, The Hay Festival is full of stories, ideas, laughter, and music.

For those interested the Hay Festival is running from 21st – 31st May 2015 and for more information check out the website here!

The Book Talk

For both of us, the talk was a great experience as we were able to not only find out more about her wonderful characters but her writing process and her journey to becoming an author. As expected she was such a lovely, down to earth person who made us laugh as well as inspiring us! I loved the fact she too was a fangirl like her readers and kept making ‘Lord of The Rings’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ references which too made me fangirl!

Sarah is such a passionate writer and her love for her books and characters are really inspiring! I loved hearing about her journey to becoming a writer and that numerous people had tried to discourage the idea of writing as a profession but she made it clear never to give up and just to block out the haters. To her, writing was a way with coping with difficult situations and something she turned to in times of need which I thought truly showed her love for writing! She said the best moment in her career was getting that call saying she was a New York Times Best Selling Author!!

The main topic of the book talk was her new release ‘A Court Of Thorns and Roses’ which I had not yet read but I loved finding out more about the characters. Learning more about the characters was really interesting and I can’t wait to start reading it!! She talked a lot about Feyre the protagonist and her characteristics and how she thought it was important for her to have the passion for art as well as being illiterate! She also made it clear how important it was for her to have a strong female protagonist which I too find very important!

Again she briefly talked about the sequel to ‘A Court Of Thorns and Roses’ and how it will be about the aftermath of the events in the first book! And you’ll also be pleased to hear that in the second book there are more gorgeous shirtless men!!

The thing I loved the most is the fact that she talks about her characters as if they are real and sitting in the audience next to her which I loved and showed she had as much passion for her characters as we as the readers do! I loved it!! We also talked about the Throne of Glass series and that she too cried when writing ‘Heir of Fire’ so much that it almost broke her! Authors aren’t as cruel as we thought!

Again I loved hearing about her writing process and when writing she tends to listen to films scores which I thought was fab as I do the same! However recently she said she had been listening to Kayne West when writing ‘Queen of Shadows’ to help get into the character of Celaena which is certainly very different!

Being able to meet one of my idols was absolutely amazing and an experience I certainly will never forget! I will treasure my signed copy of ‘A Court Of Thorns and Roses’ forever!! And to top my day off Sarah J Mass has just retweeted and replied to my tweet!! (I am currently fangirling!!)


Heir Of Fire – Sarah J Maas

Warning: Expect a lot of exclamation marks and fangirling!!!!

I am a fool for not reading this book earlier and I don’t think I will be able to wait till September for the next instalment ‘Queen Of Shadows’. Once again Sarah J Mass has produced a gripping and adventurous tale which I couldn’t put down. With new characters left, right and centre this book never left a dull moment!!!!

‘Heir Of Fire’ again follows the journey of Celaena Sardothian as she tries to discover who she really is as well as trying to uncover the mystery behind the Wydkeys. At the same till we again follow the storyline of Chaol, Dorian and the new girl on the scene, Manon, a witch!

Like I have said, there are so many new characters all which we are able to experience their point of view on different events. In my opinion, the different perspectives worked really well in this book as the different character voices were clear and allowed us as the reader to discover more of the wonderful world Sarah J Mass has created. Again, it also added great depth to the plot and I can’t wait till all these perspectives collide!

The addition of the character, Manon a witch, at first I thought was a bit odd and I thought her chapters and perspectives were a bit dull but soon, it was her chapters I was looking forward to the most! They became more exciting and I loved seeing her character develop; I look forward to seeing more of her in ‘Queen Of Shadows’!!

Rowan was another new and important character, who in my opinion was again brilliant. His character development was also perfect and I really enjoyed his relationship with Celaena. When we are first introduced to him he is infuriatingly patient and stubborn but as the novel continued he begins to open up and becomes such an amazing character; he is quickly becoming one of my favourite characters in the book!

Celaena’s character development was also phenomenal as in this book we see her broken, relentlessly blaming herself for the fates and deaths of her beloved ones. Her fierceness was once again awe-inspiring and I loved that she’s still the same stubborn, snarky and brave young woman!!

As for the storyline, I thought it was actioned packed and never left a dull moment; It was very hard to put down! Mass transports you in to her fantasy world and you honestly begin to feel part of the action and journey! Personally, I think that 500 pages was a bit too much but I’m not complaining as it meant more for me to read!! The writing is also just perfect. I can’t describe how much I love her writing and the multiple points of views all with their own character voice adds to this!!!

Words cant express my excitement for ‘Queen Of Shadows’ and ‘A Court Of Thorns and Roses’ as she is such an amazing author which I can’t wait to meet at the Hay Festival this year!!!! Overall, I give this book 5/5 stars, another amazing book to add to this equally amazing series! If you haven’t yet read this series *cough* Eleanor *cough* I highly recommend that you do and don’t forget to take a look at our reviews on ‘Throne Of Glass’ and ‘Crown Of Midnight’!!

What did you think of the book? Are you excited for the release of ‘Queen Of Shadows’ and ‘A Court Of Thorns and Roses’??

Crown Of Midnight – Sarah J Maas

Oh my Gosh, Oh my Gosh! This series just keeps getting better and better! The storyline and the characters were just once again perfect and the book held so many twists and turns! This ladies and gentlemen is how to write a sequel!!

Crown of Midnight carries on from the first book as we follow our Campion Celaena Sardothien as she takes up her role as the Kings Assassin. However, it isn’t that simple. In her most recent task, Celaena must uncover a rebel group as well as uncovering the mysteries around her…

With that said, I guess you’d probably like to know why I love Crown Of Midnight so much. I loved this second installment even more than I did the enthralling Throne of Glass, though it was a close call! Crown Of Midnight is a classic good old fashioned fiction and a must read for all!! There was so much action and adventure packed into this book, never leaving a dull moment!! And I am very very excited for ‘Heir of Fire’ (it’s on my Christmas List!) What did I love the most about Crown Of Midnight?! Everything!! I loved loved loved the writing style as the description and detail included help makes the world and the characters more convincing and believable!

Oh, the characters! In Crown of Midnight we still have our main characters from Throne of Glass; Celaena, Chaol, Dorian, and Nehelemia! But we are also introduced to so many more – I never knew who to trust, who was good, who was bad, making the book so much more addictive!

Sarah J Mass has created a perfect combination of original characters that you can root for as well as despise, unpredictable mysteries, plenty of romance, action and adventure and so much more. Certainly 5/5 Stars!!!!

For those new to the series, I have also written a spoiler free review of Throne Of Glass

The Infinite Sea – Rick Yancy

I was a huge fan of the first book and I’m still a fan of the series but this book in my eyes wasn’t anything special. The writing, world, and characters were all fantastic, but the story was hard for me to get into, especially in the first 100 pages as i felt it just dragged on and on. But the story did once again leave me on a cliff hanger ending which in some ways I loved but at sometimes it left me thinking Why!!?!

The Infinite Sea picks up not long after The 5th Wave and we join the group in fighting for survival against the alien attack. However my only criticism is that this book dragged on, as we spent half of it in the same hotel fussing over injuries and aliens. Even though so much happened in the hotel i just wished that they would get up and move! Invariably, I was gutted when, something or should i say someone – stopped them and the plot from properly kicking off. The pace, was all over the place.

Several false starts in, many things start to happen. A certain dead dude is resurrected; a new recruit inspires paranoia; whilst one of said survivors, sick and tired of waiting for the hammer to fall, strikes out on her own – Ringer. She is what makes this book and I’m so glad we learn more about her past and her character. Everything about her makes her a loveable character; how badass yet caring she is, the fact we don’t know her name (but we do find out!!) and finally how deep down inside she is really just a young scared girl in the midst of an alien invasion! She’s just so cool!

It’s not only Ringer we learn more about and experience most of the book through as we also briefly learn more about Poundcake. From the first book we all knew Poundcake as just another member of the team who hasn’t died yet but in this book he starts to become a real character.

Overall this book wasn’t the best (well sequels aren’t normally that great!) but this book is filled with action and plot twists always keeping you on the edge of your seat. Character development is really what makes this book and I am defiantly looking forward to both the movie and the next book!! I give this book 3.5/5 and I would certainly recommend this series!

I also did a spoiler free book review on The 5th Wave a few months ago for those of you thinking about reading it!!

The Giver – Lois Lowry

Unfortunately I never got to read this book when I was in school (as I’m told most people living in the US did) I’m also afraid to say, I hadn’t heard of it until all the hype about the film. But if any UK government officials working in education are reading this (very doubtful there) WHY? PLEASE GET THIS BOOK ON THE LIST! It’s literally the most perfect book for a twelve year old to study! I would have adored this when I was in year 7 or 8 (not that I didn’t now) and I’m sure it would encourage more youngsters to pick up a book!

For the people who have been living under somewhat of a rock (as had I until about two weeks ago) this book is about a futuristic world where everything is controlled, your age, your job, your spouse, your children and your occupation. There is no free will, in return there is no conflict, disagreement or war. Sounds pretty perfect except for the whole “control” thing… At the end of the year the elevens (the name given to all eleven year olds) become twelves, where they are given their final assignment or as we would call it their job, however unlike the rest of his year Jonas (the main protagonist) is given an honourable, yet obscure assignment in which he learns secrets kept buried and previous lives lost. With help from the Giver, he is assigned to be the Receiver of Memories.

I absolutely loved this book! Although when I first saw how small it was (just under 200 pages) I was confused as to how an actual plot line could exist in so few pages, but let me tell you my friends, a plot line is possible and a very good plot line it is indeed! I can’t really praise this book enough, it was fast pace, exciting and interesting, everything I look for in a book was staring me in the face and because of this I finished it in a day…

I can’t recommend it more for anyone of any age, a bundle of joy that will make you realise all the good things we take for granted. I’m going to award it a massive five out of five stars! * * * * *

The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

Aliens, Aliens and more Aliens! I really enjoyed this book, the concept was really interesting as well as the way it was written! I love this book so much and I’m really excited to hear it’s been turned into a movie with Chloe Grace Mortez as the lead! Eeeeek!

This book if you haven’t guessed is all about aliens! It mainly follows a young girl called Cassie fighting for survival during the invasion as well as trying to save her younger brother. A long the way she faces many different challenges and begins to uncover the mystery of what is the invasion which has been split into 5 different waves each destroying the human population. Now the time has come for Cassie and the 5th wave is drawing closer…

I love the style of writing in this book and how it starts off as a diary entry as we look back on Cassies life and discover what has happens! But not only do we see Cassies point of view we also see points of views from other characters who too play an important role in the storyline and help the reader uncover the mystery of the alien invasion! I thought this was really clever and enjoyed how each person’s storyline linked together.

I thought Cassie, the main protagonist was a brilliant character! You really saw her develop from a young care free teenager to some badass survivor making her so brilliant! It’s not just Cassie you see develop almost all the characters do making the reader feel as if they too have been caught in the invasion and begin to understand how bad the situation is!  This being a young adult novel there of course has to be a love triangle and we being to see it develop at the end of the book. But this isn’t any love triangle it is one with a twist…

Personally I really do recommend this book, even if your not a fan of aliens just give this book a try; I think you might like it! It is jam packed with adventure and action never leaving a dull moment as well as having awesome characters! I would give this book 4.5/5 stars and if I were you I would start reading now as the second book is coming out in September 2014 and you will definitely want to carry on the story; I know I did!

if i stay – Gayle Forman

Wow. That is my opinion. Wow. I’m honestly speechless about this book, however I have to somehow string a sentence together that not only makes sense but is cleverly constructed and slightly witty…so this should be fun…hang in there… I’ll get there in the end… 

This book is honestly stunning. Although back in those early book shop days when I first picked up this little paper gem, admittedly I was only really attracted to this book because I knew it was soon to be released into the cinemas as a film, so
of course being the fangirl that I am, I just had to read the book before I saw the film…obviously. Also I had no idea what this book was about which I think added so much more emotion as everything that happened, every twist and turn was a complete surprise, and trust me I was surprised… 

For the people who don’t know this book follows a young 17 year old girl, Mia, who is recounting all the highlights of her life whilst in a coma after a severe car accident. To be honest that’s all i can say without giving too much away… 

Yeah. I don’t know what else to say… read the book. It’s fantastic, you won’t regret it… I wizzed through it in a day…Also, if you can, read it before the film, although the film does come out late this month so i’d be speedy if I were you! 

This book is perfect for everyone but especially for those who live for gorgeous love stories! I am, without a doubt, going to rate this book 5 stars * * * * * . Amazing. Beautiful. Wonderful. Haunting. Stunning.   

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowel

I could say that I originally bought this book because I love the author or I had heard such good things about this book… all of this was indeed a contributing factor for my purchase, however it wasn’t my precise reason for buying the book… the actual reason was…it had my name in the title, and I’ve got to be honest, it really stood out to me…

Enough about my trials in Waterstones… this book was flippin’ amazing. I absolutely adored the characters, the story and the challenges that they both face. I thought that it was a breath of fresh air to fiction and was brutally honest on the way love works.

If you didn’t already know this book follows two protagonists Eleanor and Park (which is pretty self-explanatory from the title). However, Park comes from a much more privileged background compared to Eleanor who has battles to fight on a daily basis. They eventually (and slowly) meet through a love of comic books and the fortunate convenience of a school bus… the rest is a spoiler alert that I don’t want to be responsible for…

When I read books I discuss them with my friends (as so many do) and often they say ‘well that is obviously never going to happen!’ which is true for some books, that the love story is so up in the clouds that it will never come down and face reality. What makes this book such a story is that it shows that anyone can be loved, no matter what you look like it damn well is possible, for everyone and this book gives hope that even if you aren’t the prettiest or the skinniest person someone somewhere loves you and that is what I, personally, will take away from this book.

If you love beautiful love stories that literally make you ‘awwww’ out loud this is certainly a great book for you and will maybe you will even shed a tear or two. Overall I rate this book 4.5/5! A great read, I highly recommend!