Tuesday, 29 March 2016

My Top 10 Favourite Series

This is a list of my top 10 favourite series as of right now (March 2016). This list will more than likely change over time so I will do an updated list in the future. All the series on this list I have finished or I have read all the books that are currently out. It's list is in no particular order because it's to difficult to put them in an order, I love them all. I have read every book on this list multiple times!
(Also I've added links to Goodreads for the first book in the series in case you want to add them to your ever growing TBR.)

1. Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan
This is a given since Percy Jackson is probably my favorite character of all time. This series is just so much fun. It's a hilarious, action packed middle grade story that everyone will love regardless of how old they are. I learned so much about Greek Mythology from this series.

2. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
What's a favourites list if Harry Potter isn't mentioned?
3. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
My favourite trilogy of all time.I love the shadowhunter universe so it's no wonder The Infernal Devices is on my list. If you have tried to get into Cassandra Clare's other shadowhunter series but didn't like it try this one. Personally I think this trilogy is her best work to date. It has the best love triangle I've ever read. It's such an emotional series had me sobbing at some points and laughing so hard I couldn't breathe at other. Clockwork Princess is one of the best finales I've ever read!
Book 1: Clockwork Angel

4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
The word I use to describe this series is 'epic'. I loved book 1 but I know people have trouble getting into this series so push through book 1 and I promise you won't regret it. This one of those series that gets better with each book. It's full of badass characters that will steal your heart. The Assassins Blade is a bind up of prequel novellas. Personally I read it before reading Throne of Glass but it doesn't matter when you read it but I'd recommend you read it before reading Queen of Shadows!
Book 1: Throne of Glass

5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles is perfect for those who love fairytales and Disney movies. It's so much fun seeing the stories we know and love spun in such a creative way.This is a scifi, dystopian that has so many adorable ships it's ridiculous. its impossible to pick a favourite

6.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is on my list because it holds a special place in my heart; it was the first YA book I ever read and it sparked my love for reading. Since picking it up back in 2012 I haven't stopped reading.
7. Vampire Academy and Boodlines by Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy and Bloodlines are amazing books, don't let the awful covers put you off. Trust me both series are full of badass and hilarious characters. Book 1 isn't the best but after that it gets so good; especially the spin off series.
Book 1 of Vampire Academy: Vampire Academy

8.  The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments was one of the first big series I ever read. I love this series because it introduced me to fandom and ships and all that other fun stuff. Plus it's special to me because my sister and I read them together. I love the characters in this series so much; I don't even know how many times I've reread the books, at one point thy were all I read for months.
Book 1: City of Bones

9.  The Darkest Minds Trilogy by Alexandra Bracken
This series made the list because it has characters I love. That's really the only reason. Ruby and the gang are all favourites of mine. I could read books about them forever.

10. The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Heroes Of Olympus is the spin off series of Percy Jackson and The Olympians. The main characters are older so the series is aimed more at a YA audience. It's hilarious and action packed like all of Riordan's books.
Book 1: The Lost Hero

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Series: The Dark Artifices,#1

Publication: 8th March 2016, Simon and Schuster

Goodreads description:
The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

My spoiler free thoughts:
Lady Midnight tore my heart into a million pieces, stuck it back together and then broke it apart again and d'you know what? I loved every minute of the emotional rollarcoster that was the first book in Cassandra Clare's newest series.Fantastic start to what I know is going to be a great series.

Before reading Lady Midnight I would strongly recommend picking up The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and the novellas, Tales from Shadowhunter Academy unless you want to be spoiled. Cassandra Clare has created this huge universe were all the stories are intertwined and woven perfectly. It would be a shame to miss out. By reading the other series you will appreciate Lady Midnight even more.

Lady Midnight is intense and dark. There isn't as much comedic relief as Cassie's other books, but there are still some very funny lines. There was a perfect balance of being a plot and character driven story.

Cassie's writing has improved so much over the years. The writing in Lady Midnight is so much more sophisticated than her earlier books. I have really enjoyed seeing her writing improve over the years and can't wait to see how it changes over the course of the next few books.

Cassandra Clare has a flare for creating characters that will steal your heart and Lady Midnight did not disappoint in that department. We became familiar with the some of the characters in City of Heavenly Fire  and Tale from Shadowhunter Academy, but they're all grown up now in Lady Midnight. I think these characters are the most realistic of Cassie's to date. Each one has a distinct personality. And there is lots of diversity! I love 'em all to death, I can't pick a favourite!

Emma is smart, witty, loyal and badass. She's kind of reckless but I forgave her actions because sh
e is absoluty hilarious. I think she has some of the best lines in the book. I loved how driven she was. She's determined to get her revenge on the one who killed her parents. Her relationship with Julian and the Blackthorns really showed how much she was willing to do anything for those she loved and I really liked that about her character.

Julian is such a complex interesting character. He is both similar and different from Clare's other love interests Jace and Will. He is so loving and protective of those he loves, his family and Emma. He's dealing with a lot of responsibility as he is essentially acting as a father to 4 children (well 2,Ty and Livvy are getting older). He's kind of lost his identity as a brother and is seen as a parent figure. Jules keeps secrets but I could completely understand why and I enjoyed watching him struggle with if he should share his secrets or not.

I love all the Blackthorns: Mark, TY, Livvy, Dru and Tavvy. Livvy and Dru could have been fleshed out a bit more but I completely understand why we could spend more time with them because we have such a big cast of characters. I'm excited to get to know them more in the next book. Tavvy is so adorable. I loved reading about Ty. He's such an interesting character. I loved how he really liked detectives and wanted to be part of the investigation. Family is obviously a big theme in Lady Midnight. Cassie explores both sibling/sibling relationships and child/ parent relationships very well.

Friendship is also a big theme in Lady Midnight I especially loved reading the friendship between Cristina and Emma. I love how they complement each other so well. Cristina is very cool and collected compared to Emma with her fiery nature.

Then there is obviously Julian and Emma's friendship since they are parabatai.We got a good insight into the parabatai bond in this book which I really liked. We've been exposed to it before with Jace and Alec and then again with Will and Jem but Emma and Julian's bond surpasses the other pairings. We learn so much new things surrounding the bond and it's all so fascinating.

Just so you know, yes, characters we know and love from The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices pop up! In present day, in flashback and in the Blackthorns conversations.

The plot of Lady Midnight is very engaging. I couldn't stop reading and didn't want to put the book down. I was never bored. The shadowhunters are carrying out an investigation to find out who's murdering people/fey in LA. So there was lot of clues and theorising going on. There's lots of action to keep the plot rolling. Emma and Julian are such a badass team, as well as all the other shadowhunters. There is lots of twists and turns too!

The ending was full of Oh My God! moments. I seriously need Lord of Shadows ASAP!!

I also read A Long Conversation which is the short story printed in first editions of the book. There's a reason it's printed at the back of the book. Spoilers guys! I know it's tempting but don't read it before Lady Midnight!

All in all Lady Midnight did not disappoint, it was amazing and I can't wait to see where Cassie brings the series in future books. I'm so excited for Lord of Shadows!

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Power by Jennifer L Armentrout

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the first book in the series, The Return. You've been warned!*

Series: Titan, #2

Publication: February 23rd 2016 by Spencer Hill Press

Goodreads description:
With any great change, there is always strife, and the Covenant University has become the frontline between pure-bloods who want the Breed Order reinstated and the half-bloods who want the right to control their own destinies.
Fate has other plans.

The violence is escalating and war between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Hyperion may be out of commission, but Josie and Seth know they have only earned a reprieve. Seth must get Josie fully prepared, which means controlling her newfound abilities, and they need to find the other demigods before the Titans do.
But the gods are sensing a greater threat.

Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that’s an out-of-control Apollyon. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is not only dangerous to her, but to everyone around them, but letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn’t Seth’s style.

The paths taken in the past are becoming the roads of the future.

Just as chaos breaks out, familiar faces from the past return, complicating the already strained bond between Josie and Seth, and when the danger from the Titans erupts with devastating consequences, the dark allure of power calls to Seth again, but this time Josie might not be able to pull him back.

And when the struggle between power and love becomes the deadliest battleground, there may be no salvation.

My spoiler free thoughts:

The Power was amazing, as all Jennifer L. Armentrout's books are. It is hilarious and has loads of lovable characters! I thoroughly enjoyed the books!

I love all the characters even more than I did after The Return. Josie has developed into a lovely character. The Power we focus more on her training. I really enjoyed watching her learn how to control her new demigod abilities. I loved getting to spend more time with Luke and Deacon. I love those guys if there was a book solely about them I'd read it for sure. And of course I love Seth.

The book opens with Seth and Josie settling into their relationship. I loved reading the ups and downs of their relationship; and there definitely highs and lows in The Power. I will say that there was a good bit of drama which made me a little bit frustrated with Seth, but I could understand why he was acting the way he was.

The plot took a little bit to get rolling but once it did I couldn't put it down. I think there was a little less action in The Power than The Returned because there was such a focus on Josie and Seth's relationship. There was loads of action at the end though. And that cliffhanger. I need the next book now!

Jennifer L. Armentrout knows how to write duel POV. I never got confused who's head I was in. I could distinguish between Seth and Josie quite easily which I think is something very important when I'm reading a book with multiple POVS.

For those of you who have read the Covenant Series I'd definitely pick up The Power because some of the characters from that series make an appearance. The Power is worth the read even just for the two who pop in.

I really enjoyed The Power. All of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books are hilarious and full of such vivid charcters you can't help but fall in love with! 

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Author Interview with Joel Lawrence

Todays post is a little bit different than usual. It's my first author interview on my blog. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview author of Tears of Time, Joel Lawrence.

Here's the Goodreads description of Tears of Time for those of you who don't know what it's about! Be sure to add Tears of Time to your TBR!

Cal State freshman Eden Ellis feels like a stranger in time, and her dreams are growing more dangerous each night. Is she really the reincarnation of a Bronze Age princess, or is that just the medication talking?

Eden's new telekinetic powers feel real enough, the same abilities used to wage an apocalyptic war in the dream world, where an ancient kingdom struggles to survive the wrath of a fallen priest. When Eden's friends start having similar nightmares and developing powers of their own, she realizes one of them may be the reborn soul of the villain from the dreams who nearly shattered the world—a madman, a traitor, and the lover of Eden's past self.

When a government experiment using the same powers that started the ancient war goes disastrously wrong, Eden's dreams hold the key to saving the future—if she can accept her dual identity and defeat the reincarnation of the man she used to love.

Now onto the interview:

1. What inspired you to want to be an author? Any particular people or books?

I’d say Robert Jordan and JK Rowling were the greatest influences. Tolkien inspired me to write short stories, but the Wheel of Time and Harry Potter series really got me into world building and mapmaking and dreaming of doing a full length novel one day. As far as moving from hard fantasy stories to the YA contemporary fantasy ideas found in Tears of Time, I give some inspirational credit to the Lux Series, the Mortal Instruments, Throne of Glass, Twilight, and many many more.

2. Eden has telekinetic powers, if you could have any power what would you like it to be and why?

Cool question. If I could choose any power from the Tears of Time universe, it would probably be foresight, the ability to see the future to a limited extent. If I could choose between any common superhero power, it might be regeneration, so I’d have unlimited energy, never lose productivity due to being tired or sick or sore. Think of everything you could accomplish!

3. Which of your characters do you relate to the most? Did you base your characters on people you know in real life?

I like this question too. I would say I relate to them all, because by their very nature they have small elements of me in them. But the most, I’d say would be Eden, just because she’s the POV character, and that means I’m inside her head every step of the way. You can’t get much closer than that.

I do sometimes base characters off of real life people, and I try always to start with composites. For example, Eden was initially based off of two girls, and that helps form an initial foundation, then once I start writing she kind of becomes her own character, and by the time I’m done with the first draft I just think of her as Eden. I used this technique in the first two novels I wrote to learn the writing craft, and it’s worked out very well for me.

4. How do you decide on names for characters?

Ah, names. Both fun and sometimes hair-tuggingly stressful haha. For the Bronze Age scenes in Tears of Time, the character names were formed from a combination of the mythology of the region and the ancient language of the region, then I changed them up a bit. For the modern day characters, the main cast has first names chosen from the Old Testament, which I tried to link to the character’s arc somewhat. For last names and other character names, my sister Emily helped brainstorm and find names that just fit so well. She’s a huge reader and a poetry writer and has been an important resource for me every step of this journey! (She’s also one of the two girls who Eden is based on.)

5. Did you do much research for the Bronze Age? Did you find out anything really interesting or cool?

Yes, I learned lots of cool stuff, and luckily I’ve always been a fan of ancient history, so reading those books and articles and watching all the documentaries never felt too much like work. I can’t go into too much detail for risk of spoilers, but the setting the ancient part of the novel takes place in, which some readers may guess fairly quickly, is a composite of a real historical culture and Atlantis mythology. I learned a great deal about how sophisticated they were technologically and architecturally, and I tried to include some of that in the background of the novel, and will expand on that in the two sequels for sure. I also learned that even the most “progressive” ancient culture has certain dark secrets, in this case possible human sacrifice, and that’s an important plot point to the series.

6. What are some of your favorite books?

Recently probably Red Queen, Alienated, Under the Never Sky, Hunger Games, The Reckoners series, and Game of Thrones. There are so many. My favorite all time book is Contact, by Carl Sagan.

7. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Anything not involving screens. Writing can be a pain on the eyes, so I like to step away from all screens period and do things outside when the weather cooperates. I think that’s why my video game time has become almost non existent now, and I lean toward games you can play for twenty minutes and be done, like Mario Kart instead of 70 hour long RPGS like Fallout. Plus it’s important for a writer to stay healthy, stay energetic, and get out and experience life. Some writers are natural introverts, but the best subject material is found in every day experiences.

8. What's the biggest challenge of writing a novel? Drafting? Editing?

For me, editing. Drafting and creation are fun. Writing the first draft is mostly fun. Editing feels more like work, but fulfilling work. There’s no greater high than reading an awesome scene and blowing yourself away, then realizing, “Wow, I wrote that.” That being said, part of editing is finding the wisdom to cut those potentially great scenes that bog down pace or repeat information the reader already knows. The cutting part can be especially challenging, but in the end it’s all worth it.

Thanks to Joel for answering my questions I really appreciate it! And thank you to Oftomes publishing for giving me the opportunity to do the interview!

I can't wait to read Tears of Time later this year when it's released!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the first book in the series, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard*

Series: Red Queen, #2

Publication: February 9th 2016 by HarperTeen

Goodreads description:
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

My spoiler free thoughts:
I wasn't the biggest fan of Red Queen. I gave it 3 stars. I felt like there was too similarities with other books I'd read, so I went into Glass Sword with low expectations and I was pleasantly  surprised. I enjoyed Glass Sword more than Red Queen so I've decided I will be continuing on with the series. There's so much potential, that this could be one of those series that gets better and better as the books go on.

Before I actually get to talking about Glass Sword can we just take a minute to admire the beautiful cover. Victoria Aveyard is blessed to have such stunning covers. They're beautiful.

Firstly, I had no idea what was going on or who was who when I started Glass Sword because I read Red Queen as soon as it came out last year. I just went with it and eventually it all came back to me but I'd advise rereading Red Queen before jumping into Glass Sword if you can't remember it very well. Also marathoning the two books would be a good idea because Glass Sword picks up right were Red Queen left off.

Glass Sword was full of plot twists and surprises. It keeps the reader in the edge of their seat. Aveyard messes with her readers heads that's for sure. I was shocked on numerous occasions while reading.

I really appreciated the continuity of Mare's character. She was obviously going to have trust issues considering what happened with Maven in Red Queen. So I'm glad they were included in Glass Sword. There's a reason behind her actions. She feels like she can't trust anyone or anything. So in Glass Sword she's very withdrawn and finds it hard to connect with people.

Cal plays a bigger role in Glass Sword. Obviously he's dealing with a lot- with his father being killed and then everything with Maven and the queen. I would have liken to see from his POV. I still have trouble connecting with him but I did like what he brought to the storyline.

In Glass Sword we are introduced to new characters but I felt like that was it, we were introduced. We get a few back stories but I still feel like I don't know them. The new abilities that are explore in this book are so cool though. There's everything from gravity control to changing appearance. One of my favourite parts was learning about all the new powers.

There was so many great action sequences which I loved. They really pushed the plot forward and quickened the pace. Aveyard definitely knows how to write an ending that makes readers want the next book immediately. The finale to this book. I can't even. So good! I need the next book!

My rating: 3.5