Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Mental Illness and Books

Hi All,

I appeared to have fallen off the face of The Earth for many, many months, and that feels very true in the sense that I have recently felt like I fell of the face of my world, my Earth. I haven't posted on here in really long time because I've been struggling, and it's been hard enough to convince myself to go out into public, to eat and to sleep; let alone pick up a book and read or try to write a blog post about something.

When I was 14 I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Emetophobia (which is common to be paired with anxiety), I've previously gone through therapy into attempt to treat both of these, and whilst it worked for a while it didn't last. Autumn of 2016 I  had what I would call a complete breakdown in my mental health.

My mental health and my ability to manage it has been an increasing problem over the last year, and I found myself losing more battles than I was winning. In Autumn this developed into me missing school and having to cancel social events simply because I was too unwell to attend, but somehow I maintained this belief within me that I was still - as okay as one can be; but this perception of myself was shattered in November.

In November I suffered from what I would call a complete breakdown in my mental health, it was like I stopped functioning and I didn't know how to take care of myself any longer. I stopped eating, I no longer slept and I didn't dare venture beyond the limits of my very isolated village. I no longer attended school full time - I still don't now, and I found it hard to do anything because I no longer had the energy to even sit and read for ten minutes. November was the hardest month of my life, it was like I had fallen down a well and I couldn't climb back up and out; I was having panic attacks three to five times a day and I lost weight drastically.

Considering the state I was in in November it is amazing that how I am doing now in late March. My diet has improved considerably and I'm attending my school with the intention to attempt one of my A Levels this year. My sleeping patterns are still a bit fucked, but at least now I have enough energy to workout and go about my day to day life. This has also allowed me to return to reading, and even though progress is slow and the pace at which I read is considerably slower than before it is still such a relief to be able to concentrate on a book again.

After spending my last few months in this state it made me consider the representation of mental health within Literature. I think it's rather lacking, and the most well known book that has prominently featured mental health problems that I've read is All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, which I have developed very conflicting feelings about. I have seen many people say the representation of Bipolar Disorder through Finch was accurate and that Niven encapsulated what that means well within the narrative, and I think that she represented how hopeless those with mental illnesses can feel; however I take problem with the representation of help offered in this book. I believe if you're going to write a novel heavily featuring mental illness it needs to be constructive and informative, and All The Bright Places is not, it lacks information on how to reach out for help and how it is okay to do so - mentioning school counselors and showing going on dates can help SOME people is not enough.

Within literature, particularly YA literature, we need more books representing a constructive view of mental health. We need books that show us it's okay to reach out for help, and that there are multiple ways of 'getting better' because everyone is different. Whilst I appreciate novels that prompt discussions on mental as All The Bright Places do, we need to take up responsibilities as readers and authors to recognize opening discussions and spreading awareness for mental health is not enough anymore. We need to take an active role in presenting narratives that could help people and be constructive to people who have mental illnesses, not just those who know people who do.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this, and if anyone who has any further thoughts on this I would love to hear them (even if they conflict with me own). What's more, I was largely prompted to write this because of Katytastic's recent video which I will link below.

Katytastic's recent video 

This is compiled list of mental health helplines by The NHS: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/mental-health-helplines.aspx



Sunday, 13 November 2016

Popular books I have no interest in reading...

Hey, long time no see, hope everyone is doing okay and is enjoying this beautiful Fall (definitely my favourite time of year). I'm sorry for my long absent but life has been busy and one large rollercoaster for me recently, but i'm back now (at least for now). Today I wanted to right about popular books that I just can't bring myself to read, if you've read any of these and enjoyed them then great, but they're just not for me.

1. The Vampire Academy by Richele Mead (the whole series)

I don't know if this is because I didn't hear about these
during my vampire phase (dark times people), but I just genuinely have no interest in picking this up. I know people say the name lets the book down and it's so much better than what you expect it to be, but I just can't bring myself to read about vampires in school; as well as this from what I have heard that occurs in this series, I just don't think I could be invested in that storyline ever.

2. Four by Veronica Roth

So like most people I loved Divergent and the other two book in the trilogy were eh, so why would I want to pick this up? I found Four to be quite annoying in the two installments after Divergent and I never truly was invested in him as a character, it just feels like an add on to that universe that I don't really need. I mean it has a beautiful cover, and it would look very nice on my shelves, but I have to stop buying books for that reason alone.



3. Game of Thrones by George. R. R. Martin (the whole se
ries)

I KNOW I KNOW this is so bad but I just can't bring myself to commit to a series this long, especially when I don't watch the tv series (don't yell at me, I know it's bad). I do think I would enjoy this if I ever did pick it up, but I can't bear the thought of spending so much time reading one series when I have so many other books to read; plus I am so bad with gory stuff it's shameful.

4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (the whole series)

Considering this is set in Scotland and there is so much hype around it I should really want to read this, but much like Game of Thrones I just can't bring myself to commit to this series for that long. As well as this I just don't think I would enjoy it considering what I've heard about it already, and the fact that I can't even bring myself to watch the tv show (which takes a lot less commitment) I just know I will never read this series.


5. The Raven Boys (the whole trilogy)

So back in that Vampire phase I had (I was Team Edward btw because apperently I wanted a creepy guy to watch me sleep) I also picked up Shiver and that trilogy by Maggie Steifvater, and I'm afraid to say that has put me off her books for a while. For some reason I really struggle to pick up anything else she's written, and I'm not sure why - maybe it's because it reminds me of my past self (old twihards colletcively cringe together always); but really, I can't bring myself to be interest in The Raven Boys and I'm sorry for that.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Conversion by Katherine Howe review

Hey! So as you can probably seem my blog looks completely different and yay! I love it! I hope you like it too. So a big thanks to my friend who helped me to do this, and by helped I mean he wrote all the code for me because I'm useless with computers, if you guys have any advice on how to improve it or if you just love it let me know.

When I picked up this book it was something like £2.50 on amazon, so to be honest I just noticed the mention of witches/the supernatural and the price I just immediately bought it and jumped in without knowing anything; due to this I had no idea this was based off true events which makes this book slightly better.

'It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t. First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.  Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . . Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Timesbestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?'

The only thing that kept my reading this book was the amazing premise and plot behind it. I mean, mysterious behaviour in modern times being linked to witchcraft from the 1700s - yes please, more of that please. I loved how this was written in the sense that you never really knew what was going on, which made you want to keep going and not put it down; within each chapter something new was discovered or a new link made between the past or the present. It was smart of Howe to switch the narrative between two girls in different times whom experienced this 'illness' in different ways, it me interested and invested in the narrative. 

The actual events taking place were amazing too because the illness interacted with everyone in different ways, and it was just so freaky. I loved how throughout the book we were kept guessing at what was causing this illness, and I made several guesses throughout the book that just weren't accurate at all.  Also there were some really interesting mentions of how stress can affect young people's lives, and as a 17 year old student going into year 13 I can strongly relate to all of this, I work so hard sometimes I make myself ill and it was good to see that an author recognised that students face real problem with their work and expectations. But, enough of the present, the events that took place in the past in this novel were spectacular, and I loved reading about how people's beliefs at the time impacted their view/outlook on the story being told. It was done in a really smart way as well as an account of one of those at the centre of the story. 

Now, the thing that let this book down for me was the characters and the unnecessary romances, I loved all the characters that were introduced to us in the 1700s; but those in present time were just annoying. Colleen, our main protagonist, I found whiny and confusing at times - her outlook on situations seemed to continually change and I couldn't keep up with the inconsistency with this character. Furthermore, she had an abysmal romance with a character in this book that just wasn't necessary, I understand that as teenagers we fall in love quickly - but there was just no chemistry between them and it was difficult to read. Another unnecessary romance in this book was Emma and their teacher - look I understand if she was going for the whole Aria/Ezra thing, but it didn't really help the plot move along at all, it was just a kinda weird subplot the book could have done without. I just can't stand romances/relationships that are badly written, or characters that are badly written - it almost made me put this down. 

Now the ending of this book when the whole mystery illness was solved was weird, I think it's great that this book mentioned how stress can impact people's health and all of that, and I know this is based on a true story; BUT, but, what was the point of the symbolism of the yellow bird at the end then?! I'm all for a book leaving a mystery open for us, but here the yellow bird felt like more of an afterthought from the author, if you're gonna base an ending/wrap up to a mystery on true events, it's normally best to stick to those true events and not mix supernatural premises with it otherwise it's just weird. 

Overall this book was okay, Howe totally nailed the narrative and plot of Conversion, but the characters and romances? Not so much. Which is a massive shame really because it pulled the whole book down for me, and stopped it from reaching it's full potential. Howe needs to step up her game in regards to the last two factors to write a truly good book. 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

A few thoughts on The Silver Star by Jeannette Wells

This was one of the few (well, it was more like many) books I stole from my parent's bookshelf and it was the first I read from that selection. This was one my mum personally recommended as she was throwing books away, and I now trust her with book recommendations more after reading this.


'It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.  An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart--an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist, but when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox. Jeannette Walls has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.'

The plot of the book is fairly simple. Two young girls are practically left to raise themselves due to their mother's own inability to let go of her childhood dreams, as she constantly leaves them to go and explore how she can find fame. It was really interesting to see how that concept could make the girls so independent yet so vulnerable in society, it was a shock to see them go from being really strong to very weak, and it was fascinating to have that bit of insight into that sort of life. I really enjoyed the two protagonist in this book, Bean and Liz, the two sisters were really captivating and different obviously due to their upbringing, yet they were very real. Bean was a brilliant narrator as she's quite outgoing and daring, even though as a child she has a slight warped view of justice and social issues.

This book covers a range of sensitive issues from race to rape, and it's not a book that glosses over this either and pretends these problems can be solved easily by the protagonist - it faces the harsh reality of how these problems are often due to corruption in the social sector, and they can't be solved so easily. Due to this, I wouldn't recommend this book to young readers despite it's lack of graphic content, it's still not a YA novel. One of the protagonists faces the social injustices in rape culture  that was present in the time the book was set, and the scary thing is that I found that the problem in the novel it's still present in our time - even if it is not as prominent as it was then; and that scared me a lot and made me appreciate this books so much more, because I still found the message relatable. Another social issue was dressed in this book when the two girls arrived two schools in the district merged and there were quite a few racial clashes, but the end of the book it seems that society has learnt how to be tolerable of each other and how to try to understand/appreciate other people, a message that is still needed in many areas of the world today.

The symbolism of the Emus in this book was lovely, because it showed the two girls despite not fitting in and being a bit of an oddity, where beautiful and all they wanted was to be free. I think that's quite an important symbolism to have present in a novel too, that you can beautiful and wonderful without needing to be like everyone else - you don't need to conform. Naturally, with their upbringing Bean and her sisiter were never going to completely fit in and they introduce an idea that even though being different is hard, it is a thing no one should be ashamed of.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick and easy read with characters that I wanted to know more about as they grew older, and I was really pleased to find it dealt with a lot of social issues, even though they weren't fully resolved due to the character being young. I know a lot of people don't think much of this as they believe the protagonists were flat characters, and prefer Well's other books, however I've not read anything else by her and I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J.Maas (ACOTAR #2)

This book is great - BUT I STILL DON'T KNOW HOW TO PRONOUNCE ANYONE'S NAMES. Sarah J. Maas you are fantastic, but please publish something that tells me how to pronounce these names - I feel so bad that I can't. I've heard everyone pronounce them in different ways and I'm just very confused. Besides that, this book was amazing, I genuinely have no words for how amazing it was with all it's little twists and turns and ugh - I need the next one right now. This book was so long that I can't talk about everything though, so I'm just going to mention a few points,

'Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.'

So first off, we're going to talk about Feyre because little Feyre at the beginning of the book broke my heart, she was wasting away so badly and it's tough as a reader to see a strong character like that diminish before your eyes. I really loved how her two separate romantic relationships were explored, and I think Maas did a very good job at illustrating what an unhealthy relationship may look like - and how those like Feyre, the victim, may sometimes not realise this without some help. This was really well explored but I know there's going to be someone out there somewhere whose going to say she's weak because Rhysand 'fixed' her, but he just helped her - which we all need sometimes, and really I think she save herself. On a different note, I don't think this happened in the last book, but I also found Feyre quite funny in this one and her exchanges with Rhysand were so funny (true OTP guys). But despite all that you know what's the best thing about Feyre is? She's sexy and powerful and feminine and SHE KNOWS THAT, she refuses to feel bad about that and uses all her strengths to her advantage; we need to see that more in female protagonist, and Feyre is a perfect example of how it should be done. BE SEXY AND FEARLESS PEOPLE. BE FEYRE.

Now we're going to talk about Tamilin, because that douchebag needs to be dragged through the mud a bit. So, I've got to admit in ACOTAR I had a bit of a crush on this guy, it wasn't too serious I wasn't completely invested, but it was still a crush - oh, how wrong I was. This guy just needs to stop. Just stop existing would be great. The biggest surprise of this novel is that you didn't realise in the first book that Tamilin is a massive, sexist pig, and it hurts when he announces there can't be any High Ladies; but the best thing is how it's a massive middle finger to him when Feyre does become one. Tamilin becomes the unexpected villain in this book with him keeping Feyre in an abusive relationship, and his pursuit of her after she's told him she's left - and oh boy he's a good villain, he gets your blood boiling. He's like a pethtic, whiny Umbridge. I hope in the next book both Feyre and Lucian make him suffer, also I'm looking forward for a Rhysand and Tamilin fight that seems to be just over the horizon.

And our little, beautiful, special Rhysand who I've completely fallen in love with. So in ACTOR we got a sense Rhysand wasn't all bad, and he became this beautiful mysterious creature who I had a slight crush on - despite my denial of this. Rhysand as a character is explored far more in this sequel and it was really nice to learn of his background and understand him more, especially as we discovered it with Feyre whilst their relationship developed. He still kept his dark humour throughout the novel, and his dark manipulated side was still present; however this was partnered with softer sides of him such as his love for his family and home - he became a fully rounded character and it was lovely. Rhysand became this beautiful, caring and sensitive, yet still deadly person in front of my very own eyes and I love him - not as much as Baz, but still. He's such a fictional husband, and Feyre is such a fictional wife.

Now lets get down to the wonderful romance in this book between all the brilliant action and plot (which I won't talk about, I wouldn't be able to do it justice in a little review like this). So in this book we're shown a very stark contrast between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy relationship, and I think Maas accurately portrayed how victims like Feyre may not realise just how controlling a partner can be until it's almost too late. And then came along Rhysand and Feyre and wow, just wow, just please give me more than that Maas. Between them they built a strong, endearing, and relatable romance which made you feel a whole range of things, they were funny and cute, they were daring and sexy, and they fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle; but the best thing about this relationship is how it's just one big middle finger to Tamilin - especially after Feyre was named High Lady of their court (it was seriously the best). Oh, how I wished Feyre had been with him along, she would have been so happy. The other great thing about the romance in this book is that a female feeling good about having sex was presented, and Feyre was not ashamed to have it and you know she wouldn't take anyone shaming her for it - we do not see this enough in YA. There are sex scenes in this book, and a fair few there are, I personally don't enjoy reading sex scenes but I understood the statement these scenes were making so I didn't mind it as much.

Now the ending of this book, oh my god the ending. I can't believe the ending of this book, so much happened right at the end: the human queens being traitors, Feyre messing up the plan (really Feyre?! Really?!), Tamilin being a traitor and partnering with The King to get Feyre back (I hate him), Feyre's sisters becoming elves (oh my god the King is going to regret turning Nesta, ya'll better pray for him), Lucien imprinting on Elain (Maas just gave everyone mates didn't she?), Feyre and Rhysand having their mind link thing broken, Feyre pretending to have forgotten Rhysand and going back to Tamilin to save Rhysand, Lucien knowing Feyre is lying about forgetting about Rhysand, Rhysand revealing Feyre is the High Lady of their court - I CANNOT DEAL. So much happened in the last few chapters that I don't even know how process all of it, I just know I need the sequel ASAP.

Overall, an amazing, emotional and completely frustrating read at the end, because really, who doesn't want to kill that King? Maas has certainly knocked it out of the park again, and this is one of my favourite read of the year so far.

Monday, 1 August 2016

A few thoughts on Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings (a quick little review)

So during my holiday I read the short ebook Zenith; Part 1 of The Androma Saga, and enjoyed it more than I thought I would despite it being so very, very short. Sasha (abookutopia) has been one of my favourite booktubers for a very long time, and I was so excited to finally read some of her work, and for her first writing piece I don't feel like it's half bad - especially with everything else she does on the side. Lindsay Cummings on the other hand I don't know very well, but I've heard about The Murder Complex and the premise always intrigued me, so I'm excited I was able to get a chance to read some of her stuff.

'Most know her as the Bloody Baroness, the captain of a fearsome glass starship called The Marauder. Androma and her crew strike terror in the hearts of those who cross them amongst the many corners of the Mirabel Galaxy. When a routine mission goes rogue, the all-female crew is captured by a bounty hunter from Andi’s past and forced into a job that could, quite literally, start a war that will devour worlds. Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, the ruthless ruler Nor waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time. The final pieces are about to fall into place, liberating a plan that will tear Mirabel in two. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, there is one lesson that proves to be true: No one can be trusted in a galaxy that runs on lies and illusion. From internet sensation Sasha Alsberg and multi-genre author Lindsay Cummings comes a new serialized space opera, full of action, intrigue, and steamy star-crossed romance.'

First of, I really loved how this started,the first part was really intriguing and captured my attention straight away, it was a shame we didn't get have a chance to see from this narrative perspective again - it was such a tease. But I wasn't kept disappointed for too long because I was straight away introduced to some kickass female pirates - by the way how great is it that the whole pirate crew are female? I love the fact we were given the descriptions of ruthless, bloodthirsty pirates and none of them were male - we do not see that enough; plus you got to love some pirates no matter what their gender is, especially if their space pirates.

The action sequences/fights in this were great because I just love a good fight scene, and we had all the different types of fight scenes. We had space guns exploding other spaceships, we had the typical pirate cutting off heads with knives, guns, good old fashion beating... the list goes on.

The thing that personally brings this down for me is a few tropes that are just becoming a bit too common for me today: the archenemy reunion and then forced to work together (there also seems to be a possibility of romance - I bloody hope I'm wrong), a death that plagues the protagonist, etc. They don't at all make the story bad in anyway, it's just that you become aware that the authors need to be careful with how they address these topics to keep our attention.

There have been a lot of critics for this, and a lot of lovers for this. At the moment I'm a cautious lover, this was an easy read for me and it has the potential to be great - but only if it's executed in the right way from now on. I found most of those who have criticised it have mentioned how they don't like the length of this ebook, or how it ended when it's meant to be part of a saga; I am also concerned about the authors being able to execute this well with further installments since it ended with an epilogue feel - they can end every part with an epilogue it won't flow right when you put it together, but I won't let that ruin the first installment for me - if it becomes a problem later I probably won't enjoy further installments as much. However, I understand many have different reasons for not liking it and that's fine.

Overall, I found this to be an easy read and I've enjoyed it enough to know I'll buy the next installment, however I will see how they deal with adding further installments and keep a flowing narrative with this story before I fully commit.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Books I Took On Holiday (2016)

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while, life has been a bit busy with exams, work experience and life in general; but here I am! I thought I'd share with you the books I took on holiday with me, and I'll probably post reviews of most of these soon.

1.  Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

First of all can we please just appreciate the beauty of this book cover, just look at it, doesn't that just make you happy? This ebook is co written by booktuber Sasha Alsberg (who you should subscribe to if you haven't already), and booktuber and author Lindsay Cummings who previously wrote The Murder Complex - something I still want to read. This ebook was a lot shorter than I expected it to be to be honest with you, I knew it was going to be short as it was always marketed that way, but my gosh my kindle told me it took me 52 minutes to read - it's that short. But, despite it being short and a quick read it's a surprisingly good one packed full of kickass female characters and space action (who doesn't love space action - lets be real here), I really enjoyed this as a quick pick up read and recommend it. I'm looking forward to seeing where the plot goes in the next book.

2. The Humans by Matt Haig

I've never heard of Matt Haig before but this was one of my charity shop finds back in Autumn and I took it with me because it's quite a light paperback, but oh boy am I glad I did both of those things. This kept me quite happy throughout my flight to Spain and it was a lovely quick read, it's not at all what you expect - it's certainly defies all expectations. This book is heartwarming and a brilliant laugh at times, it makes you realise just how weird humans are and it pokes fun at that really well. However, the book does have some serious tones to it as well, and I think that's explored quite well - however I can't fully state this as I have never suffered from depression which is addressed in the book. I think this is a book that suits most ages, ranging from teens to adults as a good summer read.

3. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Is it bad I haven't watched the film yet? Should I be ashamed? Well, I'm not going to be because I read the book which I enjoyed more than I thought. Usually, I struggle with classics, especially one I've something labelled as 'pretentious' somewhere along the line. Admittedly, the book is a little bit pretentious but it is a good  kind of pretentious (if you know what I mean) so I didn't care. It's a quick and a good read, and even though I've heard the film is better I still think you should read this if you have watched the movie. With my copy I also got a few of his short stories which were just nice to read as a little quick break from intense books *cough* I'm look at you An Ember In The Ashes *cough*.

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabbaa Tahir

So I finally decided it was time to pick this up because all I ever hear about this is just praise, and now I understand why - what a beautiful book. I LOVED THIS. This was such an engaging read and I became very invested with the two protagonists straight away, I really loved them with their flaws and their struggles and I just connected with them.The writing style was easy to follow as well, and despite creating anew world Tahir was able to keep it clear, and I was never confused over certain aspects. We have to wait until January for the next book, and it's going to be a struggle guys, I just hope there isn't another love triangle - but there are signs for one.

5. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

So this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2016 and I finally got around to it!!! I was so thrilled when this went down to a cheap price on kindle, and I spent far too long sat by the pool reading this in over 30 degrees heat. - bad idea, but such a good idea. To be honest I didn't know loads about this book even when I wrote that post in December, I just knew there were parts/tropes in it that I loved - and oh my god, did it exceed my expectations. It was so great to have a female character that excelled in something and had a vicious mother who was just brilliant and strong. You know what else I really loved all the characters in the book, there were good villains, and good good guys and it wads just brilliant. I literally can't wait for the sequel, and I may be buying more of Bracken's books soon...

6. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

This is one that I'm about halfway through reading on my kindle, and I bought it mainly due to the talk surrounding this trilogy, and so far I'm not disappointed. I'm already sensing some character development, and the major plot points at the beginning of this book have set it up so well for a brilliant story. I'm not going to rave about it yet, because there's still time for things to go wrong - but I'm loving it so far.

7. The Queen's Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler

I'm not going to lie, I've never heard of Jeff Wheeler before and I mainly bought this book because of the title and cover - BUT JUST LOOK AT IT, ISN'T THAT JUST BEAUTIFUL. I'm about 25% of the way through this read and so far it's okay, I'm not loving it but it's not hard to continue reading, and I'm hoping the plot becomes more complex and interesting throughout the novel, because it has the potential to be amazing.