The Year of Slumps [A 2014 Round Up of Sorts]

Sunday, 28 December 2014
Unfortunately, 2014 hasn't been my best year for blogging and reading. I was pretty much in reading and blogging slumps periodically throughout the year and if I wasn't in a blogging slump, then I'd be in a reading slump and vice versa. Bleugh. I also had some bad anxiety issues - struggling with exam stress and stuff - but let's not get in to that.

However, 2015 is looking up already and I'm planning on diving into it head first! I received an unconditional for the university I was most wanting to get in to (which will alleviate some exam stress when the time comes, I'm sure!), got a job which will hopefully help me get through said university and there's a puppy on the way to join my family! Though I'm excited for all these things, I'm also very anxious. I hope I'll be able to juggle everything!

I will also be leaving school in 2015 (seeing as I'm in the last year of secondary school right now) and that, in itself, is absolutely terrifying. I'M JUST NOT READY.

Anyway, moving on.

I've read 29 books and (counting this one) written 56 blog posts so far this year. However, I still have time to get these pitiful numbers up in the remaining few days. ;) I'm only one book away from reaching my Goodreads goal after all (yes, I only aimed to read 30 books this year 'cause I knew it'd be a stressful year). However, even though I'm 'on track', my current read is a chunky one so I don't know if I'll have it finished in time!

Out of these 29 books, only 2 received a full five stars from me. The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood and Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud and City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare. I think I've become incredibly stingy with dishing out five star ratings.

Click HERE to view my favourite post I wrote this year and HERE to view my most viewed post of 2014.

Okay, so I'm not very good at these round up posts. Maybe 'cause this year's just been such a flop in terms of reading and blogging so... yeah, I'm gonna go.

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: Any name suggestions for this puppy?!

How Reading Has Impacted My Life...

Wednesday, 24 December 2014
It's going to be hard for me to express how much reading has impacted my life but, in this post, I'll try my best.

My mum introduced me to books at a very young age and I quickly fell in love with the pastime. I was quite an independent child in the way that, when I was old enough to hold a book, I wanted to read it by myself. The same way I had wanted to hold my own fork and feed myself when I was still in a high chair.

The earliest books I can remember reading are the Rainbow Fairies books. It was through these books that I first realised how absorbed you could become in a story. The two main characters in these stories were named Rachel and Kirsty, and, at that time, it was very easy for me to become a part of the story because, hey, my name's Rachel. And guess what? My big cousin (only older than me by about three years) is called Kirsty. I found it very easy to imagine myself into the pages because of that reason. I was Rachel and Kirsty was Kirsty - easy. These books truly introduced me to the extent of which you could immerse yourself in to a completely different world.

As I grew up and grew out of the Rainbow Fairies series, I progressed on to the Nancy Drew books, the Alex Rider novels, Eva Ibbotson's works and Harry Potter. Not only did these fuel my passion even more for reading but they introduced me to brave and curious characters. Characters who helped me align my own morals and never failed to empower me during the time I was reading their stories.

When I was about nine years old, I became quite ill. I missed about six weeks of school. The doctors weren't sure what was up with me - I was never diagnosed with anything. I was constantly feeling unwell and had no energy. For someone who was quite outgoing and always on the look out for adventure, it wasn't fun. During the time I was ill, I started suffering from anxiety. So my outgoing nature became timid, and I was scared of a lot of things. When my mum and dad tried to send me to school, I'd only be sent home again - half because of how ill I felt and half because I had an anxiety episode over it. I developed a fear of being sick and was too scared to go to school. I very much lived at both my grans' houses during this period.

I started reading a lot during this time. I wanted to lose myself completely in different worlds and not think about my current situation and anxiety. I was more or less too scared to even leave the house (even being without my mum or going to either of my grans' houses at the beginning was too hard) and I replaced real life adventures with fictional ones. It soon dawned on me how timid and scared I was in comparison to the characters I read about. They were all so fearless. It saddened me when I compared myself to them. I wanted nothing more than to be like them but it just felt impossible to me then. Looking back now, I will always be thankful to books for helping me to escape my situation at that time.

I truly believe that reading has made me who I am today. It was very hard transitioning from primary school to secondary school with my anxiety (let's just say I missed a lot of secondary school in the first two years) but I feel like books and characters empowered me and encouraged me to discover my own bravery. Now I look back and see how far I've come and it makes me smile. Everything seemed impossible back then but, with the help of inked pages and strong characters, everything seems possible to me now. These days, when I'm faced with a situation, I don't shy away like I once did. I ask myself, what would Tris do?

Sure my anxiety is still with me and I'm not as Dauntless as I'd like to be at times but I know now, with the help of books, I'm strong enough to overcome it.

On another note, I also wouldn't have created this blog if I didn't read. I mean, it is a book blog after all. And book blogging has affected my life in its own ways too.

I'll forever be thankful for books and reading.

Huge thank you to Cambrie from ...and so the book begins for tagging me to share my own story about how reading has impacted my life. I'd now like to tag Holly, Cat and Vivian to share theirs. :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: I hope you have a wonderful Christmas tomorrow, everyone!

Review: The Kneebone Boy

Sunday, 21 December 2014
Author: Ellen Potter
Edition: Square Fish Paperback
Released: 20th December 2011
Series: n/a (standalone)
Pages: 280 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

Some say he’s part animal, covered with hair, with claws for hands and ears like a bat's. When his mother first laid eyes on him she fainted dead away...

Life in a small town isn’t any fun for the Hardscrabble children; their father is always leaving them home while he travels and people in town avoid them for being peculiar. When their father inadvertently sends them to London to stay with an aunt who’s away on holiday in Germany, the children are presented with a rare opportunity for adventure — all by themselves. The streets of London are fascinating, but not so great for sleeping. So the Hardscrabbles make their way to another small town — but this one has a mystery. Legend has it, there’s a monstrous creature roaming the woods, half boy and half animal. Surely such nonsense couldn’t possibly be true, could it? 

The Kneebone Boy is an unusual book. When I read the synopsis all those years back, it really struck me. The premise of it sits parallel with the kinds-of books I loved the sound of when I was a kid. I unearthed it from the back of a bookshelf a few days ago more or less* on a whim (*less referring to the idea I had that, because of it's short length, there was a slightly above average chance it could get me out of my reading slump). Though I'd say it certainly gave me a one-off reading experience, it didn't quite connect with me the way I'd hoped, or expected, maybe.

We all know by now that at the mention of the word adventure, you've got me. I live for adventure - whether in the printed world or the real one. I truly adore the way Lucia holds on to the idea of adventure in this book. It reminds me of myself and the way I held on to the concept of it as a child, especially. As a whole, the siblings in The Kneebone Boy are perfectly imperfectly child-like. Potter hasn't created characters who read like adults. Otto, Lucia and Max read like children. Children who are too big for their boots and don't know what they want aside from storming a castle and saving the distressed captives. They're so realistic. You don't need to love them - I've not yet formed my own opinions on them - but their child-like flaws and objectives will make you come around to them by the end.

I can't mention too much about why this book didn't quite connect with me as I'd have to go into spoilers, but I can say they're pretty plot related. Had I been younger and not so set in my ways with requiring a strong storyline like I do now, I wouldn't have felt as (albeit, slightly) deflated as I did reading the last paragraph. (Let's just leave it at that.)

Overall, The Kneebone Boy is a hard one for me to express my feelings on. Though the characters intrigued me and the child-likeness of this book kept some part of me hooked, the (let's say) climax/resolution of it caused me some confusion in my feelings towards it. However, I feel like, in this case, the fact my feelings are confused adds to the endearment of this novel. Not every book is written to be the next bestseller, some are simply written because the tale is just too much of an odd one not to be shared. Though I didn't love it, I sure do want other people to read it because it truly is something.


Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

My No. #1 Underrated Book Recommendation!

Friday, 19 December 2014
I'm really in the mood to spotlight one of my favourite books right now and, heck, I'm going to do it! Though I love this book to pieces, when I think about it, it makes me just a little bit sad. Why? It is so underrated. There aren't many people out there that have read it - not enough, anyway! - and I really feel like everyone is truly missing out on something. This book, to me, is incredible. I really want it to get the recognition it deserves!

Also, since Christmas is coming up, you could always just add it on as a last minute addition to your Christmas list (pfft, your parents won't mind!) or use some of the money you'll receive from relatives to buy it!

The book in question?

Welcome to Tamarind, where fish can fly, pirates control the waters, jaguars lurk, the islanders are at war, and an evil, child-stealing enchantress rules the jungle. Thirteen-year-old Maya, her younger brother, Simon, and her baby sister, Penny, have just landed their boat here after a terrible storm washed their parents overboard. After spending their entire lives at sea, it's a relief just to be on dry land. But Tamarind is unlike anything Maya could have imagined - a place both magical and terrifying. Now Maya will be lucky just to make it to tomorrow.

I can't help but feel so strongly about this book. I seriously just want everyone to buy it. If you love being fully whisked up and immersed in a completely different world full of endless possibilities and a breathless adventure, read this. It is literally the definition of a hidden gem. It's priceless and amazing and fast paced and entrancing and perfect.

Do NOT be put off by the fact Maya is 13. She does not come across as that horrible childish character.

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Book Spotlight & Excerpt: The Duchess Quest

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Today I have a very exciting post for you all! A book spotlight and excerpt of The Duchess Quest by C.K. Brooke - which sounds fantastic!

Love is destined to find her...

Dainy doesn’t know that she is the lost Duchess of Jordinia, believed to have been assassinated fifteen years ago. Nor does she know that her uncle has implemented an illegal contest to seek her, offering her marriage hand as the reward!

Though at odds, three clashing rivals – including a noble giant, a forest dweller and a thieving rake – voyage together by woodland, prairie and sea to recover the lost royal, notwithstanding the assassins and spies at their tail. Soon, young Dainy is swept into a comically complex romantic quadrangle as each suitor competes to capture her heart.

Charmingly romantic and bursting with political intrigue, startling twists and vivid characters, readers of romance and fantasy alike will adore this original yet timeless tale of swashbuckling adventure and unlikely love.


The skin on Dainy’s legs hardened with gooseflesh, and she forced herself to retain her grin. “Well then.” She folded her arms, although her heart thudded. “Give to me your definition of possible.”
“Possible?” repeated Cosmith, stroking his chin thoughtfully. Dainy gazed upon his elegant throat in the moonlight, feeling a sudden, overpowering yearning to trace her fingertips along the perfectly defined line of his jaw. This longing was all too unfamiliar to her, and made her feel strangely feral, like some sort of wild animal.

“Possible, according to my definition,” began the exquisite man, in a sultry tone to match the evening’s air, “is a life of freedom, dreams manifesting.” He gazed upon her intently, inching closer.
Dainy stood still, willing him nearer, not daring to back away.

“Answering to no one,” he went on, taking yet another step. “Possessing everything one desires. Fantasies,” he added, dropping his voice to an alluring whisper, “fulfilled.” He stopped just short of their noses touching, his eyes locked into hers. “All of these things,” he murmured, his breath lingering tantalizingly against her cheek, “and more, are possible.”

Author Bio:

C.K. Brooke is a fantasy/romance writer. She is the author of The Duchess Quest (Jordinia: Book 1), now available in paperback and e-book. Her next two novels, The Duchess Inheritance (Jordinia: Book 2) and The Red Pearl, are coming soon to 48fourteen Publishing. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and son. Visit her at

Find Brooke on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress and Amazon!

Is it just me who thinks this sounds so good?! And look at that cover! It's gorgeous!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Review: Northern Lights (aka. The Golden Compass)

Friday, 14 November 2014
Author: Philip Pullman
Edition: Scholastic Paperback
Released: 1st March 2011
Series: His Dark Materials #1
Pages: 413 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

"Without this child, we shall all die"

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. But the destiny that has awaited her since birth takes her on a dangerous journey to the frozen North in search of a kidnapped friend. It is a journey that will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world...

I'd wanted to read this book ever since I'd learnt that The Golden Compass movie was based off of it. I loved the movie and really wanted to know if the book was just as good and hopefully re-experience the same feeling I felt whilst watching the movie when reading the book. Luckily, I did and really enjoyed it!

This is one of those books where you couldn't help but acknowledge the fact that you'd probably have loved it more if you were younger. Don't get me wrong, I did still thoroughly enjoy it (and I'm not saying anyone older shouldn't read it) but as a child, I always craved a fantastical adventure and a good, old-fashioned quest, and this book provided just that. I would have loved it so, so, so much was I 11, 12 or 13 but, as it stands, I did still adore it a lot because of these things! (I do still crave adventure. A lot, by the way.)

Not only did I love the fact Lyra was on a quest, of sorts, I also loved how a lot of different characters were introduced to us along the way and all the hiccups that occurred on the journey. I just love it when you're introduced to a good bunch of varying characters! I was unsure of Lyra to begin with - I thought she was going to be a really selfish, self-centred character who was almost too childish for my liking but she developed throughout the course of the novel and I really adored her by the end! Pan, Lyra's daemon, was also a great character. Loyal and, though similar to Lyra in some respects, slightly different. I liked how they balanced each other out. I just basically loved how people in this world had daemons. It made me want a daemon so bad! I also loved Ireuk (the bear) and the way his relationship with Lyra developed.

If there's something I could say about it that falls on the negative side, it would be that it's a little slow-going. Not in the way that it was slow-paced - something was always happening - but in the way that it just felt like I wasn't getting through it as speedily as I should have been. Agh, I don't know. I don't really know how to explain it. Maybe there was just so much to process? I'm not quite sure.

In conclusion, Northern Lights ended up being a delightful read that still managed to capture and interest fragments of my imagination, although maybe not as much as it would have had I been slightly younger, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I adored the array of characters and the relationships that cultivated between them. I hope to pick up the sequel at a later date!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Fangirling Over Here... The Heir by Kiera Cass!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014
Fangirling Over Here is basically going to be a feature on the blog anytime I really need to fangirl over something book related. Warning: these posts will be gushy.

Okay, so, uhm, remember when Kiera Cass announced how there would be two more Selection books?!?! If not:

Well, at the time I watched it, I got just a *little* excited. I mean, more Selection books?! From a different perspective?!?! Sure, I might not have loved America as a character and there were some times where I didn't get what the plot was doing, but the premise was a whole different thing. I loved the whole premise of the (then) trilogy - a Selection wear someone was chosen to be princess at the end of it?! Come on, that's pretty fantastic! Plus, the protagonist wasn't going to be America, so I thought, well, you never know, I could maybe LOVE this new main character.

Then the cover was revealed a couple weeks ago and I looked it up on goodreads and discovered there was a synopsis and, OH MY GOD, I am beyond excited now!!!

SPOILER ALERT! Do NOT read the following synopsis if you haven't finished the first three books in the series as it drops the biggest spoiler ever from it! Only read the following part in italics if you have read all the Selection books up until now! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

The Heir will be published 5th May 2015. Here's the video revealing the cover (no spoilers!):

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Just me who's so damn excited?!?!?! Anyone?! You! What about you?! Are YOU excited?! Tell me!!

Check out the short post Kiera Cass, the author, wrote about some stuff you should know about The Heir HERE!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Author, Sherry Soule, on Paranormal Fiction in YA!

Friday, 7 November 2014
Hello all! I'd like to welcome author, Sherry Soule, to the blog today! The latest book in her Spellbound series, Destiny Disrupted, is being published later this month (November 28th!) and, in honour of the release, Soule's here with a great guest post on the paranormal genre in YA fiction! Enjoy!

Don’t you wish you could have a fairy godmother to grant your wishes?

I did and would’ve told her: Forget—fame and fortune!

Everyone has dreams. Since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to see my work in print, and read by the general public. See my book on a library or on a bookstore shelf. I wanted to wake every morning and get to do what I love—writing. So I decided to write a novel that I would enjoy reading. Not for Fame. Not for fortune. Nope. I wrote for readers.

I knew that the paranormal romance genre in both adult and YA novels was one of the fastest growing genres in fiction, but it may not be what you think it is. In standard publishing terminology, “paranormal romance” is a subgenre of romance. But paranormal novels don’t mainly focus on romance, and they include elements beyond the range of scientific explanation by blending together themes from the genres of traditional fantasy, science fiction, and even horror.

As a writer, using aspects of the paranormal in my storyline adds so many more exciting possibilities to my stories. I love that extra element of danger and suspense. And I’ve always had a morbid fascination with ghosts and haunted houses.

Since I love all things supernatural, and I knew the young adult fiction market was flooded with vampires, fairies, angels, and werewolves, I decided to make the heroine of my debut novel a sassy witch, who has kick butt magical abilities. So I wrote a story that entwined all the things I loved: romance, epic family drama, mystery, and suspense. And thus, my YA paranormal romance novel, BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN was birthed.

Basically, the premise of the Spellbound Series that I created involved a teenage girl named Shiloh Trudell, who is chosen by an ancient prophecy (like a modern-day Buffy) to have supernatural powers to defeat paranormals and other evils in the cursed town of Fallen Oaks. She accomplishes this with the assistance of her friends and family. During the series, Shiloh discovers that, she comes from a long line of heritage witches. The first in the line, Rowena Brossard, prophesized that one day the “Thirteenth Daughter” would be produced from her lineage. A force of good, she would be gifted with magick to battle the forces of evil.

In closing, I believe that novels with paranormal aspects will still hold a lot of appeal for teens and tweens (even adults too!). Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance novels continue to be a favorite among readers of young adult fiction.

It was my honor to be your guest today. Thank you so much for allowing me to chat up my new series. I sincerely hope you guys enjoyed this post. Now go feed your mind and read a book. Preferably one of mine. :-D

Find Sherry Soule on her blog, official Spellbound series website, Twitter (@SherrySoule), Youtube (watch the book trailer for the series!) and Goodreads! GO STALK, GUYS!

Destiny Disrupted (Spellbound #5)
Sherry Soule, Publishing 28th November 2014

Following synopsis may contain minor spoilers for the series.

Hunting Demons is One Thing... Dating Them is Another.

Life sucks for Shiloh Trudell. And being a demon hunter who’s in love with a cocky half-demon makes things even suckier. Especially when she discovers that Trent, her sinfully hot boyfriend, is hiding a few dangerous secrets. Like the fact that he’s losing his humanity.

To complicate matters, witches from the local coven are mysteriously turning up dead, and as Shiloh searches for answers, she confronts her worst nightmare... Trent is being blackmailed into becoming the next leader of the Underworld.

But Shiloh is still convinced that she can save him, even after the impossibly gorgeous, fallen angel Raze tells her that a relationship with Trent is forbidden now. Warned to stay away from the only boy she’s ever loved, she can’t ignore the sizzling attraction that ignites whenever they’re around one another. Especially after a swoon-inducing night of stolen passion.

As Shiloh’s world begins to unravel around her, it soon becomes obvious that her destiny lies in one of two choices: vanquish Trent or join him in the Underworld.

**Pre-order Destiny Disrupted on Amazon US, Amazon UKKoboApple iTunes & Barnes and Noble**
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo 
PS: GUESS WHOSE BIRTHDAY IT IS TODAY?! *points to self* I'm 17! xD *dances*

Review: Waistcoats and Weaponry

Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Author: Gail Carriger
Edition: Atom Paperback
Released: 4th November 2014 (today!!)
Series: Finishing School #3
Pages: 298 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

**The following synopsis and review do NOT contain spoilers for the series!**

It's one thing to waltz properly. It's quite another to waltz properly with a bladed fan stitched into one's corset.

Sophronia continues finishing school in style – with a range of deadly defences secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Her fashionable choice of weapons comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap and the charming Lord Felix Mersey hijack a suspiciously empty train to return their chum Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland.

But when Sophronia discovers they are being trailed by a dirigible of Picklemen and flywaymen, she unearths a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos. With her friends in mortal danger, Sophronia must sacrifice what she holds most dear – her freedom.

This series is shaping up to be one of my favourites, for sure! Each instalment is a whole lot of fun, and too soon you find yourself reading the last page - each story never failing to be a whirlwind of intrigue, action and adventure. The lives of Sophronia, Dimity and the gang are too colourful for you not to get caught up in!

It's hard to describe the adoration I feel toward this series. These books are just so much fun. As soon as you close one of the books, all you want is an exciting, adventurous life like Sophronia. I've still got the yearning to be a Mademoiselle Geraldine's intelligencer fever right now as I'm typing this! How boring my life is in comparison with Sophronia's and Dimity's! The third instalment, Waistcoats and Weaponry, was no less than what I expected. A fun, quick read leaving me wanting more, more, more.

Seriously. A few more hundred pages with these characters would do me fine! I hate coming to the last page. Especially with this instalment as I knew I'd have to wait AGES for the next one! And here I am, just having finished the book today, and knowing I'll have to wait at least a year before Manners and Mutiny is out. It's a horrible feeling. Horrible!

Anyway. *takes deep breath* *plays calming music* Let me talk about the characters. If I had only half loved them before, my love solidified for them in this book. Each character within the group is so different from the next that you can't help but love them all (or, at the very least, love something about each individual) and the relationships that cultivate between them. I love Sophronia for her head strong, empathetic, leader-like ways. I love Dimity for her loyalty, hesitance and even her moans and groans. Felix for his ever-changing, always-keeping-you-on-your-toes personality. Sidheag for her determination and strength. Soap for wanting something more. Though, honestly, maybe Soap grates on me at times because I just love Felix a lot. Like, a lot. A lot, a lot. I can't help but do that thing where if I love one (as much as I do Felix), I just can't fully love the other.

The only thing I could say against this series is sometimes I get a little confused about the politics of it all and the *scheme* going on that plays a part in each book. But I usually begin to understand something sooner or later.

To conclude, Waistcoats and Weaponry, adds another delightful edition to the Finishing School series. If I haven't got across how much I enjoy these books through this review then I don't know how else I can! They're just the perfect light, fun, rainy day reads. I urge you to go and pick up the first book if you haven't already. This series doesn't have nearly as much credit as it deserves!

Huge thanks to the publishers, Atom, for sending me out an early copy of this book to review!
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

The Bedtime Book Tag!

Friday, 31 October 2014
So I was browsing away on Youtube when I came across the Bedtime Book tag (click HERE to see the original video and creator). It was posted up not too long ago so I'm not sure if someone has already brought it to the bookblogosphere or not, but it looks like a whole lot of fun and I want to make sure it's brought to the attention of book bloggers and not just booktubers!

Without further-a-do, on to the questions! *squeals*

1. What book kept you up all night reading?

My memory is rather shocking so I can't really remember what books I've read during the night (though there are many and a few I'm pretty sure were recent *facepalm*) but one that I can put my finger on totally because I did not just search for books I've read late at night on my blog is Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon. I read it a couple years ago and loved it.

2. What book made you scared to go to sleep?

I'm pretty sure The Boo Hag by David Morgan and The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson had me freaking out when I was lying in my bed with the light turned off.

3. What book almost put you to sleep?

There's one book that really stands out to me for this and that's Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I just couldn't get into it at all. The storyline wasn't the most action-packed, the characters were... alright but, the biggest thing? The pacing! It was so slow. Just not for me, I'm afraid. However, I know a lot of people who LOVED it.

4. What book has you tossing and turning in anticipation of its release?

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard has peeked my fancy (releasing in January of next year). Also, Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (the first in her new series) releasing September 2015 and Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly releasing January 2015!

5. What book has your dream girlfriend/boyfriend?

The Infernal Devices books. Will Herondale. Should I go into it? Yeah, why not! He's strong, courageous, great with words, loyal, sarcastic, witty, romantic and just a little flawed.

6. What book world would be your worst nightmare to live in?

Probably the world in The 5th Wave. I know I like my solitude sometimes, but I actually like human contact and interaction and not being scared that aliens are going to send another wave out that's going to kill me.

7. What book cover reminds you of night time?

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence does a little bit.

The shadows on the cover sure add to the effect but I also think the atmosphere this cover gives off is rather night time-esque.

8. What book has a nightmarish cliffhanger?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth certainly has a big cliffhanger! And A Million Suns by Beth Revis certainly has a huge cliffhanger too. (Still haven't got on to Shades of Earth! Can you believe it?!)

9. What book have you actually dreamed about?

I've had two bookish dreams that I can recall. One was during the time I was reading Wither by Lauren DeStefano. In this dream, just after I woke up and sat up in bed, Linden came in and sat on the edge of the bed and talked to me. It was so strange! My room in the dream was my real room - so I seriously wondered if I hadn't dreamt it and it had really happened. The other dream I can remember was Harry Potter related. Of course. The dream started with me running down the stairs in my school. I couldn't have told you, at the time, why I was running, but all I knew was I needed to get away. I was throwing myself over the railings to land on the floor below and, when I got to the bottom, I bolted for the emergency exit. I started sprinting across the playground but Bellatrix Lestrange (the entity I realised I was running from) appeared outside the emergency exit and started sending lightning bolts across the ground at me. The last thing I can remember is jumping up to avoid the bolts clipping my heels and then my legs slowing down because they couldn't run any longer - I was too out of breath.

My dreams are usually pretty scary if they're like this because I'm awake in them. I control my actions and where I go and what I do and, sometimes, I'll change the location of my dream, but I don't usually think to do that when I'm running for my life. :3

10. What book monster would you not want to find under your bed?

I certainly would not want that... thing from The Boo Hag under my bed. Or one of those Grievers from The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

I now tag Sunny from A Sunny Spot, Francoise from My Crazy Bookish World, Hawwa from It Was Lovely Reading You, Fi and/or Zoe from Books for Birds and Rita from Weaving Pages!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone [Spoilers Inc.]

Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Author: Laini Taylor
Edition: Hodder & Stoughton Paperback
Released: 5th August 2012
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Pages: 418 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

This review contains SPOILERS! If you have not read this book and want to, do NOT read on! SPOILERS are discussed! You have been warned!

It's very unusual for me to do a spoiler review on a first book in a series, but this is one of the rare occasions where I really need to discuss my thoughts. And I have a lot of thoughts.

Going into this book, I was as excited as can be. It'd been on my wishlist for ages. YEARS even. Everyone had raved about it, recommended it to me, and it was finally in my hands. I was internally screaming. I wouldn't say I'd overhyped it in my head though. During the time I was reading it, I'd convinced myself to forget about all the glowing reviews and just read it like it was a book I'd never heard anyone talk about before.

It seemed my approach was working out just fine.

I loved, loved, loved the first part of the book. Like, a whole lot. Like, unbelievably so. You can even ask Cat. I was raving about it so damn much. Being with Brimstone and Issa and Yasri in the shop, being with Karou in her art class and with Zuzanna, and just getting to know Akiva and seeing his and Karou's first interactions (or, well, fights, really), I was loving it.

Up until Elsewhere was cut off that is.

Afterwards, I just started not enjoying the book as much. And I have no clue why. Maybe I just loved the storyline when Brimstone and the other chimaera were a big part of the story, and so was his shop, and we were just beginning to find out about what was through the door...

It got worse when I found out that Karou was Madrigal. I just didn't like that. I've read books before where the main characters have been reincarnated and I've loved it but, for some reason, I really didn't like that Karou was a reincarnation (of sorts) in this book. I wanted nothing more than for Karou to be Karou, and no one else. Ugh, I don't know, I just didn't feel it was the best way to take the story. But, obviously, since everyone else loves this book, I'm alone in this! I really have no idea why I think that way about it, but I do.

Then, the very ending. At the mention of Brimstone and the others, I perked up a little. Then Akiva tells us his secret and I just... AGHHHHHHHH.

What would be the point in continuing with a series where the part of it I loved the most is meant to be no more? I don't want to believe it. I may pick up the sequel sometime or another, as it does intrigue me that she's going into Eretz, but... who knows. I probably will because I want to know what's really happened but... *wails*

I don't know if you can class this as a review really, more a ramble or stream of consciousness. But I'm distressed and confused and... ALL THE THINGS!


Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Bookish First Impressions... Am I Turned On or Off?

Friday, 24 October 2014
We all have our preferences when it comes to books. Most of us will borrow/buy a book in a library or bookshop because the blurb has peeked our interest. So, somewhere in those ten or so lines, we've liked the sound of something. Today, I'm going to list the things that make me yell:

And the things that make me:

Okay, so the turn ons (ignores immature mind):
  1. Mention of a fantasy setting (another completely different world) or fantastical elements.
  2. Mention of an adventure or quest.
  3. Mention of the characters having magical powers/living in a world where there's magical powers.
  4. Something hinting at action/thrilling moments.
  5. The main character's a princess.
  6. The main character's 16 or 17 (is it just me who likes screaming out SAME AGE BUDDIES!!)
  7. Mention of a boarding school.
  8. Mention of the main character having to travel to a foreign country to live with their aunt or something.
  9. The setting of the book is in space/on a spaceship.
  10. The setting is in the Victorian era/big dresses era.
  11. Mention of a classic battle of good vs. evil.
  12. Mention of faeries or mermaids.
  13. Mention of an animal/mythical beast that plays a part in the storyline.
  14. Hint at a romance.
  15. Mention of siblings (because I love reading about familial relationships)!
  16. Mention of the setting being in my part of the UK (Scotland) - especially if it's in a castle in the country in Scotland.
  17. Or in a castle, period.
  18. Sometimes a love triangle - if I'm in the mood for it.
If any of these things (or, even better, a few of these things together) are mentioned in the synopsis, I want, want, need.

Okay, now the turn offs:
  1. The main character's a boy. (I really don't mean to, it's just... I've not really got along with most of the boy protagonists I've read about before)!
  2. The main character's a witch/it's a witchy book.
  3. There's mention of angels and demons (too overused for me now)! Even just paranormal type sounding books... I'm turned off.
  4. There's something in the synopsis like 'All I wanted to be was popular...'
  5. The book's contemporary and sounds very stereotypically same-y same-y.
  6. And the main character is that whiny, stereotypical 'teenage' girl.
  7. And her big 'problems' aren't real problems.
  8. The book involves dragons (what can I say, past experience has tainted it for me)!
  9. There's a hint that the best friend is in love with the MC.
If any of these things are in the blurb then:

What about you? When you read a blurb, what turns you on and off?

*tries to hold in laughter* *fails* PAHAHAHAHA

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Let's Discuss... Other Reading Material!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Okay, so I was thinking. You don't just read books. (WOO, well done, Rachel, glad you finally figured that out!) There are many other things we read. Sheet music, poems, plays, essays, reports... Loads of different things.

It got me thinking.

Apart from books, what else do you enjoy reading?

For me, it's probably plays. Poetry from time to time too. But there's just something about plays that I love. Or, more accurately, something about Shakespeare's plays that I love. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed other plays by other playwrights, but there's just something about Shakespeare's plays that I adore. They're all so dramatic and tragic and there's always a vast array of characters you come to love or hate (or simply, at the very least, form a concrete, strong opinion on). I love debating about storylines and characters and all the different literary devices used in literature and Shakespeare's plays provide you with a lot to go on! I love feeling as passionate as I do about them!

Up to now, I've only ever read plays for school, but I really want to start reading them for my own leisure at home. Right now (in Advanced Higher English) we're reading Antony and Cleopatra (by Shakespeare, of course) and I'm adoring it - I'm beyond passionate about it and have very strong, passionate opinions on the main characters! We're almost finished and I can't wait to move on to Othello later in the year. I've also read Hamlet, which I loved a whole lot as well. There's just something about these plays, the way Shakespeare's written them, that really resonates with me.

I do also enjoy the odd poem. But I'm very picky when it comes to poetry and very hard to please. I don't really connect with a lot of poems so the ones I do connect with I love a whole lot. I can fall in love with individual rhyming couplets though. For instance, in Robert Frost's, Fire and Ice, I love the start of it because of the rhyming couplet:

"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those that favour fire..."

There's just something there that strikes a nerve in me. I don't know why!

Just because this post has been quite text heavy, here's a video relating to Antony and Cleopatra my English teacher is obsessed with. Enjoy!

So, apart from books, what else do you enjoy reading? Do you read plays or poetry? Any favourites/recommendations?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Review: The Great Gatsby

Friday, 17 October 2014
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Edition: Penguin Classics Paperback
Released: 24th February 2000
Series: n/a (standalone)
Pages: 177 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Publishers' Page | Buy the book!

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald brilliantly captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. But he does more than render the essence of a particular time and place, for in chronicling Gatsby's tragic pursuit of his dream, Fitzgerald re-creates the universal conflict between illusion and reality.

Is it just me who feels like you can't necessarily 'review' a classic? Like it's not meant to be held up to the same standards as books of today so the word 'review' doesn't look right beside it because it's too... normal, too modern. But I've used the word 'review' in the title of this post because I guess this is what this is (or will be).

So I read The Great Gatsby last year in my Higher English course. So I didn't pick it up out of choice or because I wanted to, we needed to study it, simple as. I wasn't too fussed going into it though. At that time I was still pretty much against the idea of classics (I'd resigned myself to the fact they weren't for me) but it wasn't bothering me for the simple reason we would be taking it step by step and it was quite a short book overall.

I ended up coming out of the book without a very well-formed, passionate opinion. All that I knew for sure was that I loved one thing in particular, and that was the symbolism. The Great Gatsby is rich in symbolism, and I know that if I hadn't studied it I wouldn't have appreciated it as much as I did. I'm a real fan of symbolism in stories (I feel like they give the story some more depth and a little something extra) so I rather adored that about the book.

As for the characters, Gatsby intrigued me and, more or less, had my favour. As for Daisy, I didn't like her one bit. And I loved disliking her, which was the fun part. I've never really loved to dislike a character before, but I certainly did with Daisy. I just didn't fall for her fa├žade and everything about her just seemed questionable and screamed iffy to me. I know a few people in my class had a soft spot for her, but I couldn't even empathise with her. I didn't mind Nick though, surprisingly. There's a lot of different opinions on him, to be sure!

Overall, though The Great Gatsby didn't hit a home run with me, I loved, loved, loved the perfectly executed symbolism and the way you formed strong opinions on the different characters because of how well developed Fitzgerald made them. I won't be rating this book because, as you probably know, I find it very hard to rate classics, but I will say don't fear this book if you need to study it for English - it sparks many lively and fun debates!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Blogovesary Time! FOUR YEARS OLD?!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014
This little blog o' mine turned four years old yesterday! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

My brain is failing me. FAILING me. I just can't find the right words to express how proud I am of this blog and of how far it's come. I wish I could string together a few coherent and poetic sentences but I'm coming up with nothing. NOTHING.


Without all of you (yes, YOU, right there! you reading this!) this blog would not be where it is today and blogging wouldn't be the same!

To those of you who have been there since the beginning, those of you who may have just stumbled upon this blog today and those of you who I've gotten so close to because of blogging - thank you for EVERYTHING and for being SO awesome! Of course thank you to all the authors and publishing companies that have given me review books over the years too! ALL OF YOU ARE SO AMAZING AND DESERVE ALL THE BOOKS! (and unicorns and rainbows and chocolate)!


Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

The TBR Tag!

Friday, 10 October 2014
The wonderful Francoise from My Crazy Bookish World recently tagged me to do the TBR tag so...

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

The top shelf of my book case is where I store all my TBR books and I also have a goodreads shelf which I always try to keep updated.

Is your TBR mostly printed or eBook?

Printed, for sure. Though there is an alarming amount of eBooks on my goodreads shelf!

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I have a long, hard think about what I'm in the mood for and then, if something stands out to me, choose that one. I love the idea of writing all the titles of your TBR books on bits of paper and pulling one out of a jar each month but I'd probably just not be in the mood for the one that'd be picked so... *shrugs*

A book that's been on your TBR list the longest?

The Hobbit is probably one of the longest ones.

A book on your TBR strictly because of it's beautiful cover?

Probably This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel (the plot does sound fascinating though)!

However, it doesn't look as nice in picture as it does in real life!

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

Probably Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy. Simply because it doesn't really catch my eye and I've not kept up with the original series it spawns off.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you're excited for?

Right, so in my head and on goodreads, I have two separate lists. The one I call my TBR contains only books I already own and have yet to read and all the unpublished books I can't wait to read fall into my wishlist. So my number one unpublished wishlist read at the moment would have to be Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger, book number three in the Finishing School series!

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you?

Probably The Hobbit.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends you?

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield I'd say. There was a stage where EVERYONE was recommending that book to me! Unfortunately, I've just not been in the mood/had time to read it yet!

A book on your TBR that you're dying to read?

Northern Lights (aka. The Golden Compass) by Philip Pullman!!

How many books on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

On my to-read shelf I have only 29 books, but on my wishlist-reads shelf I have 211!

I now tag Holly from Lost in a Library, Cat from Through a Cat's Eyes, Lucy from Queen of Contemporary and Ruby from Feed Me Books Now! :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

My Thoughts in Bullet Points... Take Back the Skies

Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Author: Lucy Saxon
Edition: Bloomsbury Paperback
Released: 5th June 2014
Series: Take Back the Skies #1
Pages: 378 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

The storms will set her free. Freedom will set her world on fire...

Catherine Hunter is one of the lucky ones. Fourteen years old, a daughter of privilege, she doesn't need to fear the Collections which rip other Anglyan families apart. But she longs for escape - before her dad can marry her off to a rich government brat and imprison her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. But the ship's small, courageous crew have secrets of their own. As they brave the storms that fill the skies between islands, Cat must choose: loyalty or freedom; family or truth; love or battle? Let the skies decide.

I've decided to spice things up today and give you a shorter, and hopefully sweeter, review. My reviews usually turn out awful heavy (even if I don't always mean them to!) so what better way than to break up my usual chunks of text and give you something quicker to read for a change?

Let's get right down to it!

  The book was a breath of fresh air. The premise was so unique and I fell in love with it.
  Skyships are just the coolest thing to put in a book. K?
  I adored the main character, Cat. She was relatable and courageous, not to be walked over.
  I LOVED the group of people on the Stormdancer. The relationship dynamics were just the best.
  I am SO excited for the rest of the series.
  It's going to follow different characters from the same world. How cool is that?! And so awesome!

X  Sometimes there was too much arguing (and apologising afterward) between the same characters.
X  The ending didn't get that much of a rise out of me.


So, there we go. What do you think? Is this a format you'd like to see more often? I think I'd be happy to use it again! ^^

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

How About a Good Quote? [Format w/ a Twist!]

Friday, 3 October 2014
I rather like my book quotes, so I do. So, today, I thought I'd share a few with you. cringy rhyme, go with it

What are some of your favourite quotes?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Autumnal Reading!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

This Autumn I'm in the mood for fantasy. I know I've been in a fantasy kick for a while now, but it's really not letting up, and I feel Autumn is probably the most perfect time for it. There's a slight nip in the air that prevents you from being outside the whole day, you're wearing a warm, cosy jumper... Doesn't it make sense to nestle into the side of the couch and travel into a world you can explore (one where you don't get cold after a few minutes)? Thought so.

Here's the books I'm planning on (hopefully) reading this wonderful season!

I'm currently reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone (after having been wanting to read it for EONS!) and so far, so good. I still don't have a clue what to expect because I'm not that far in, but I'm excited to continue. Who knows, by the time this post is up, I might have finished it. I started reading The Hobbit a while ago but due to life and school and stress, I put it down. I really want to finish it though because I was rather enjoying it and it is, after all, a fantasy classic. I've also had The Kneebone Boy sitting on my shelf collecting dust for quite some time now. It looks so good and I really hope I can get on to it soon!

What genre are you going for this Autumn? Are there any books you particularly want to read?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Review: Deep Blue

Friday, 26 September 2014
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Edition: Hodder Children's Books Hardback
Released: 1st May 2014
Series: Waterfire Saga #1
Pages: 336 approx.
Links: Author's Website | Goodreads | Buy the book!

On the morning of her betrothal, Seraphina's biggest worry should be about her reunion with Prince Mahdi, her childhood crush. Instead she is haunted by strange dreams foretelling the return of an ancient evil, and the city is stormed by assassins.

Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend Neela embark on a quest to find the army's leader and prevent a war between the mer nations. They must search for four other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas.

Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

Mermaids have always held a special place in my imagination. As a child, I loved swimming underwater and pretending I was one. I would basically only ever resurface every few seconds to catch my breath and then I'd be back under. I wished more than anything to be a mermaid and even convinced myself at one point in my teenage years someone would tell me I was (still waiting, human/mermaid hybrid decide-y people, still waiting). So when I read the back of this book, my nostalgia and inner kid kicked in and I was basically sold. To this day, underwater swimming is still my favourite (probably because that was all I ever did).

I can't even put into words how childishly excited I was to start this book. I'd basically fallen in love with the world before even reading the first page. So, though I was pretty much entranced with the world the entire way through, I can see how it could take someone else maybe a little longer to get to that stage. After all, not everybody gets completely obsessed with a book before going into it. *chokes out nervous laughter*

As for the plot, I do admit I didn't feel it was the most solidified. The 'ancient evil' felt a little random and unrealistic - almost as if it didn't fit in with the story and the tone of it, and this is taking into account that this book is a fantasy novel. So I really have no idea why I thought it felt so out of place, considering mostly anything goes in these types of books. But, again, I feel like my obsession with the world pretty much cancelled out this issue. I can't even explain to you (in a coherent manner, anyway) how mesmerised I was with this world. This gif pretty much sums it up well enough though:

I also love how the author has decided friendship will play an important part in the series. Since this is the first book, we don't really see many bonds develop but there's just so much potential and it's looking promising. So much could be done in relation to the 'sisterhood' and I'm sure there will be a few heart warming moments up ahead! The only relationship we ever really see play out in Deep Blue is Sera and Neela's. I really liked Seraphina's character and, though I felt Neela could be a bit superficial at times, I liked seeing the effect she had on Sera.

In conclusion, I ended up really enjoying Deep Blue. The world was fantastic, the characters added different dimensions and the plotline was enjoyable enough, even if it felt a tad weak for my liking. However, there's so much potential for this series so I'm eagerly anticipating the next instalment coming out next year!


How do you feel about mermaids? Got any favourite mermaid books?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

The British Tag!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Okay, so I've been tagged by Amber (The Mile Long Bookshelf) and Holly (Lost in a Library) to do the British tag. Now, we all know how I love my tags, so let's get right down to it!

How many cups of tea do you have a day? How many sugars?

None. I don't like tea. Off to a great start, eh? I've tried a few cuppas, each with a different combination of milk/no milk, sugar/no sugar but, each time, I react the same way:

Favourite part of your roast?

YES, here's a question I like. My favourite part is definitely the mashed potato (especially if it's my mum's homemade)... followed closely by the Yorkshire puddings.

Favourite dunking biscuit?

My favourite biscuit is probably a digestive. The kind with the layer of chocolate on top. But I don't dunk it into anything, I just eat it the way it is in all it's delicious glory.

Favourite quintessentially British pastime?

Reading, probably. If that's quintessentially British, anyway.

Favourite word?

Whimsical (for its meaning), translucent (for its gorgeous 's' sounds) and equinox (cause it sounds so damn magical).

Cockney rhyme slang?

I know none. *headdesk*

Favourite sweet?

I like a lot of sweets. Like, a whole lot. I was a veggie for so long and, even though I don't eat proper meat (and probably never will again), I eat sweets. Yes, it's confusing when I have to tell people this. I've come down to classing myself as a 'non-strict vegetarian' to save everyone the hassle. Anyways, off topic. My favourites include Haribo, fizzy strawberry/apple laces, fun gums, rainbow belts and rainbow twists.

What would your pub be called?

The Dusky Pony. Or The Weeping Dragon. But probably the first one.

No. 1 British person?

Lily Collins (she half counts, right?) and Emma Watson. Lily is just so inspiring and has such a great outlook on life (follow her Instagram, you'll get what I mean) and Emma Watson is just Emma Watson. Any explanation needed?

Favourite shop?

I literally only found out about this shop on a school trip last week. I can't even remember the name of it but it's a little (and when I say little, I mean little) hidden book shop with stacks and stacks and stacks of books, and at really cheap prices. It's actually about full to bursting with books. You can barely make your way through them and, if you pull out one, a whole load are sure to fall on top of you. They're everywhere. On the shelves, stacked in front of the shelves, balancing in piles, stacked on stacks... I love it.

What British song pops into your head?

The only song that literally pops into my head when I think about Britain is Caledonia (the Leon Jackson version). Not as much British-y as it is Scottish-y. But my brain can literally think up nothing else. -.-


Never tried it.

I know I'm pretty late on the band wagon with this, so I'm not going to bother tagging anyone specifically. But if you haven't been tagged yet and want to do this, I tag you!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo