The Dream Thieves

Title: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Year: 2013
Genre: Fantasy | YA | Romance
Rating: 5

And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) review

I JUST CAN’T WITH THIS SERIES. I thought that the first book was amazing and within minutes of turning that last page I was scrambling to order the rest so that I could continue reading. Then I read this one and how is it even possible that this was better than the first? How? Everything I hated in the first book (namely Ronan and how useless and annoying he was) literally turned on head and showed me just how wrong I’d been. And boy was I wrong! Trust me no one is more surprised with me that I actually like this stupid idiot but this was the book that I fell for Ronan Lynch and I’m now clinging onto him for dear life as my fingers inch towards the next book. How is it possible to care this much about a character?

But enough about Ronan. This book was almost everything that I wanted it to be but at times I felt like it was dragging it’s feet to stop getting to the actual plot. One of the things I did realise shortly after going into these books was that the entire series takes space over a year. That’s about 3 months per book, which could be a lot of time but given book terms isn’t really that long at all. So yes, I did feel like this book dragged a bit but that might just be because I was mainly in it for the Glendower plot and there wasn’t much of that in this.

What there was a lot of was character development. There was a heck of a lot of that. There were so many gasp moments when you discover things about the characters and so many moments where I just had to sit back and take in what I’d just read because it was so beautifully thought out and it just took that last push for all the dots to join together and it was so fricking well-thought out. I didn’t even see it coming until it happened and then it seemed so obvious! Stiefvater is so good at this thing, man. These characters were like a mystery onion with so many layers of secrets and lies and discoveries about themselves! I have no idea where half of these things are leading to but I have my ideas and I pray that some of them come true!

Also in my last review for this series I said I wasn’t a fan of love stories and that I was pleased when Stiefvater didn’t really involve romance in her book (despite the blurb). Then I read this one and I’m on the train, I’m on all the ship trains! Stiefvater manages to write so many amazing relationships without them even needing to kiss and I’m just reading all of them and they’re so amazing. And Ronan is so so so subtle and I love him for it! This had to be one of my favourite quotes:

She wore a dress Ronan thought looked like a lampshade. Whatever sort of lamp it belonged on, Gansey clearly wished he had one.
Ronan wasn’t a fan of lamps.

And after that my ships were sailing. I’m so invested in these books. I’m invested in Gansey finding his Glendower and Ronan finding himself and Blue saving her true love and Adam getting to the person that he wants to be and Noah finally being able to look at all of his group and finally being at ease enough to take the next step. This series has gotten me hooked and I am literally picking up the next book now to start reading and see what happens to his bunch of misfits!

P.S Where’s Nevee? I expected her to come back but she’s still MIA. I’m sure she’s going to come back and mess things up.

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I See You

Title: I See You
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Year: 2016
Genre: Thriller | Mystery | Crime
Rating: 5

It doesn’t matter how fast. Because there’s always someone who can run faster.

I just had to pre-order this one when I heard that Mackintosh was releasing her second book and I am so so glad that I did. I admit that I was on the I Let You Go train and I can understand why it was the crime novel of the year last year but, personally, I think that I See You was even better. I admit that when I first heard about it I was a tad worried that the second book wouldn’t live up to the first but I actually found this book really good. If you were thinking the same thing, then you have nothing to worry about! Panic over!

It’s probably a good idea to start by saying that I’m not a commuter. However this did nothing to impact my reaction to the novel. In fact I ended up putting it down one night in fear of triggering bad dreams. I See You was definitely creepy and at 1am I didn’t think it was a good idea to keep going. Having said that I devoured the rest of it the next morning and the only reason it’s taken me this long to write the review is because I don’t know just how to sing the praises for this one without giving away too much of the plot! 

Although it mainly focuses on commuters I can promise you that even if you’re not a commuter you will still get a chill from this. I See You is also about daily routine. It’s about that trip to the shop you take every morning to get the paper or the route where you walk the dog, you know the one – along the river and through the park. It’s about the times where you’re alone. When you’re oblivious. That’s when they’ll come for you. It doesn’t matter to them who you are, what your ethnicity is or even your age. All that matter is your routine. And that you’re alone.

This book was brilliant, perhaps my favourite crime novel of all time. Zoe is such an ordinary character, making her story that more relatable. She’s no one special; she could be anyone that you pass on the street or sit next to on the sub. She could be anyone. She could be you. Then there’s Kelly, who is a bit too independent and brash but can also hold her own when it comes to it. With a hard past that leaves her dragged down by an invisible weight, she’s yet another great character and really adds a little extra to the story.

Altogether I really enjoyed this one. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good crime novel and I know that Paige is going to delve into it soon. Seriously Mackintosh’s writing performs at a high-standard yet again, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Once

Title: Once
Author: Morris Gleitzman
Publisher: The Penguin Group
Publication Year: 2006
Genre: Historical Fiction | YA
Rating: 5

Suddenly I’m thinking of another story. The one Mum and Dad told me about why I had to stay at the orphanage. They said it was so I could go to  school there while they travelled to fix up their business. They told it so well, that story, I believed it for three years and eight months. That story saved my life.

If you don’t know by now, I am a big history lover. So, when I came across this book I brought it without a second thought and I have to say I’m glad I did. I loved, loved, loved this book! It was the title of the book that first drew me in, normally I pick a book up based on the front cover, and if I’m honest the front cover was nothing special but the title stood out like a sore thumb. The book itself was quite short, I picked up thinking ‘was it worth writing it’ and by gosh was it. There are certain books that once you’ve read them, just stick with you. This is one of those books.

I think I picked it up for the general fiction section, but after reading it I realised it was for younger readers. I think I read somewhere that the author is a children’s author, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. The book was probably a bit simple when it came to sentence structure and wording but with the content of the book, as in the actual story itself, I don’t think it needed complex words and such – in fact I’d even go as far as saying I think that would distract the reader from the actual story itself.

Without wishing to give too many spoilers away, the book is about a young Jewish boy, who lived in Poland, and his journey to find his parents during the Holocaust. Just from the information I’ve given you, you can probably imagine it’s not going to be easy.

The narrator is a young boy called Felix. Personally I find child narrators fascinating, they come with an innocence, a type of naivety that we can’t get from adult narrators. It’s refreshing. I mean, obviously this isn’t always the case but it was in the book. Felix was so naive to what was happening, I think this made the book more hard hitting, because you realise this would have been the case for most of the children during the war. They wouldn’t have understood what was happening or why it was happening. As we went on this journey with Felix though, we watched as his innocence and naivety started to fade away. He started taking on tasks that no child should have to do, but again it made you realise, well this probably actually happened.

It’s definitely different to your average book. There was times Felix had me laughing and times (more times than I’d like to admit) where he had me crying. I still don’t really know what age range the book is aimed for but I’m 19 and I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and can’t wait to read the next book.

The Martian

Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication Year: 2011
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 5

“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”  

It’s easy to fall in love with books because there are so many perfect books out there and trust me, it’s happened to me a lot. But I’ve never encountered a book that I want to share as much as I do this one. Everyone who asks me if I have any book recommendations will have praises for this book brought down upon them.

I loved the Martian.

This book became my drug for the three days it took me to read it. I was reading it every second that I could get and every second I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it . Mark Watney became my cinnamon roll and I needed to find out if this sarcastic idiot made it off of Mars alive. The worst best thing about this was that it was so believable. I became completely obsessed with Mark’s story and when things went wrong, I could feel the sinking feeling in my chest as if he were an actual human rather than just a character in a book. The human aspects of this novel – the feelings, the pain and the terrible humour – were all so realistic. My only fault would be that I wished some of the secondary characters could have had a bigger part. I loved Mark’s crew and wanted to know more about them. But I found it great how often Mark referenced them, and how much we learnt about them as a result.

The best thing about it was how fast-paced it was. There are changes of point of view quite often, in order to show the comparison between Earth and Mars, but it’s easy to follow and doesn’t disrupt the story. The plot was aware of the time limit on Mark’s life and I felt like the pace was perfect to really explain everything the way it needed to be. I never felt like anything was dragging, or was too rushed, and like I said earlier, the only thing I’d improve would be more on the Ares 3 crew!

The science parts are admittedly a little hard-going; for people that don’t understand a lot of the theories and explanations behind the science, this could get a little boring. Although I found them incredibly interesting myself.  If I ever get stranded on Mars, I know exactly what not to do when trying to create more water!

If you came to science fiction expecting actual Maritans, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. But if you love adventure stories or a Castaway-esque novel on a much larger scale, then this will be the book for you. I was completely enraptured by his world and I’m sure you will be as well. And the film was just as good.

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2)

Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK
Publication Year: 2015
Genre: Paranormal | Horror | Fantasy | Historical Fiction | Young Adult | Mystery
Rating: 5

You’re as free as you decide to be.’”

Why have I not read Libba Bray before? More importantly why is this the first I’ve heard of this series? Lair of Dreams is nothing short of magical. It has made me reconsider all of my previous ratings, wondering how anything can even begin to compare to this read. Truthfully there are parts of this that could annoy some readers, like the multiple view points and occasional unnecessary characters as well as many unanswered questions, which have been left for the remainder of the series, but I could not get enough of this. Unfortunately I apparently have a bad habit of reading the sequels before the prequels so I’ll be returning from Lair of Dreams to go and tackle the Diviners and I hope it will be just as beautiful.

There are so many different genres combined in this one novel, so many that when I saw the list on Goodreads I could only imagine the horror story that would unfold as Bray tried to cram every one of these aspects into the 600 pages. But she manages it. Heck- she crushes it! Bray’s plot is the perfect blend with just enough of each to make the relevant without becoming overwhelming. In fact, the supernatural themes have been weaved so artfully into the 20’s that it’s beyond believable and the hilarious slang and realistic settings created the perfect atmosphere. Bray’s New York was so authentic and her characters fitted in perfectly.

I don’t think I can even begin to talk about how much I have fallen in love with the characters in this story either. There is so much depth and back-story behind each of them and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many conflicting personalities in one place, especially not ones so well written with multiple positive and negative attributes. There’s so many secrets as well and a multitude of romantic relationships. Despite my review so far, this book isn’t completely focused around the nightmare woman and her army of monsters, but it lends time as well to building friendships, to exploring emotions and to developing characters.

I think there was very little I disliked about this story. My main issue is probably that there isn’t a third book yet! For all those wondering, despite my tag there wasn’t much horror in this, outside of a few gory scenes. If there’s anything you want to talk over then let me know and I’ll offer you advice if you need it

Those late hours were definitely well spent. I would pos-i-tutely recommed this one!

I received this in return for an honest review from Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton. Thank you for this opportunity.

I Let You Go

Author: Clare Mackintosh
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Year: 2014
Genre: Mystery | Romance | Thriller | Crime

Rating: 5

I never thought I would run away. I never thought I would need to.”

What was this? Seriously! Because this should not have been a debut novel. It’s so rare that I find a book that really captivates me as much as this one did, and I doubt any of them were an author’s first attempt. But Clare Mackintosh has done it. I Let You Go, astounded in every way possible. I don’t usually like cliché phrases, but I Let You Go was like a roller-coaster, always spiralling into a new twist. No- In fact it was more like the Yorkshire country roads where I grew up; it is a winding tale that will take you on an adventure, throwing twists at you when you least expect it. And there’s no way of predicting them.

I was already a huge fan of crime thrillers before I stumbled across this, but I Let You Go has just left me craving for more amazing fiction that I don’t think I’ll be able to find. The first chapter hit me hard, would hit anyone hard really, and after that I was caught up in the book and was unable to put it down for more than an hour in my need to find out what happened. Clare Mackintosh has truly created something extraordinary here, one that I think any crime lover will adore.

Not only has she managed to create extraordinary characters, with exceptional attention to personalities and motives, but she’s also managed to maintain their individualities across three different view points. Normally having multiple view points alternating between chapters (and ranging from third, to first person) would be slow and uninteresting. Usually it would completely jolt the reader from the book with each switch, but it didn’t feel like that here. Mackintosh manages to write, and successfully write, both the first and third person with a flowing grace. It’s enchanting. It’s probably one of the reason that the books works as well as it does. The writing is designed to lead you astray because, most of the time, the protagonists know even less than the reader.

It was a gripping book that I couldn’t bear to let go of and I was truly sad to turn the last page and end it (especially given the ending!). However I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something addictive. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

A Work in Progress

 

Author: Connor Franta
Publisher: Keywords Press
Publication Year: 2015
Genre: biography, memoir, non-fiction
Rating: 5

“Who are you? Answer: You are who you are in this given moment. Label-less. Limitless. Remember that from this day forward.”

Although I do subscribe to Connor’s youtube channel, I didn’t want to read his book. At the end of the day Connor was a YouTuber, was always going tobe a YouTuber to me, and I didn’t want my image of Connor to be ruined by watching him attempting the same thing that every YouTuber is attempting at the moment. After the blow-up about Zoella’s ghost writer, I was afraid that I would read Connor’s book and be sorely disappointed.

I now sincerely regret that decision.

Connor’s book isn’t just a book, it’s a work of art that reflects him perfectly. Usually I wouldn’t class books as art. The covers, maybe, but the books themselves are pages filled with black ink in straight lines – I didn’t think it would be any different from what I’d seen before. But Connor, Connor has broken the laws with what a book should be. His book isn’t a book but more like a scrapbook, a scrapbook of his personal life, chock-a-block with family photos, intimate childhood letters, drawings and more.

This book truly is beautiful and it’s a book that I have started recommending to all of my friends, regardless of whether they’ve heard of Connor Franta or not. The writing is reflective of the YouTuber’s vlogging style and maintains his typical casual, down-to-Earth style that I feared he would lose when putting his words down on paper. Despite it being a book instead of his typical uploads, it’s easy to see that friendly, chatty Youtuber behind the words – it was like meeting a friend within the pages, when I hadn’t expected to find him there. Yet it still manages to be professional; it’s the perfect mix of the two.

The overall result is a truly inspirational book, filled with with advice that I’m certain will stick with me. You don’t need to have heard of Connor to read this. You don’t need to watch his videos or follow his twitter (lthough you might want to after this), but if you’re looking for an uplifting book that will leave you feeling happy then I really recommend this. Despite being a memoir, it’s mainly filled with the things he’s learned and the advice he’d like to pass on to the people who haven’t had the chance to discover them yet.

So take a chance, I promise you won’t regret it.