Monday, 30 March 2015

February/March Wrap-Up and April TBR Pile!

HELLO! I hope you guys have all had a fantastic March and that you'll have an even fantasticer April! Yes, I am aware that fantasticer isn't necessarily a word but it should be. 

I haven't read much lately because of studying, so the amount of books that shall be in this post is pitiful but once my exams are over I shall commence to read ALL THE BOOKS. 

I've  read some pretty good books the last 2 months. I LOVED the books I read in February, except for Northanger Abbey as I found it very boring. I was expecting a Gothic novel but it was a parody of a Gothic novel, so it wasn't what I expected. I loved Crescendo and Would the Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand UP? and I quite enjoyed The Forbidden Library and Little Celeste!

The books I read in February are:
You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space StationThe Naughtiest Girl in the School (Naughtiest Girl Series, Book 1)The Naughtiest Girl Again (The Naughtiest Girl #2)Colonial MadnessLast Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant, #8)Northanger AbbeyThe Dying of the Light (Skulduggery Pleasant, #9)

The books I read in March:
Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)Would the Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand Up?The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)Little Celeste

Books I hope to read next month:
Summer by SummerThe Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)Joe All Alone

Ta-da! Not that many but at least it's something!

Leave links to your wrap-ups and let me know which of these you've read, whether or not you enjoyed them and if you're planning to read them!

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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Review - The Forbidden Library - Django Wexler

The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)Title: The Forbidden Library
Series: The Forbidden Library #1
Author: Django Wexler
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy
Publication: April 1st 2014, Kathy Dawson Books
Pages: 376 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Penguin Random House South Africa for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! 
The Forbidden Library kicks off a brand new classic fantasy series perfect for fans of CoralineInkheart, and The Books of Elsewhere
Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy
When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.
It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice. 

 When I received this book to review, I was beyond ecstatic. I absolutely adore middle-grade novels, especially ones that feature an admirable heroine with an insatiable passion for books. Although I mainly enjoyed this book, there was something lacking, however, after endless struggle and debate, I still can't pinpoint what exactly. It might be that my interest wavered at points because I went through a mild slump during the middle of the novel, I'm not exactly sure? However, despite my slight disinterest in the middle I overall thoroughly enjoyed this book and I look forward to the next instalment!

The Forbidden Library is centered around smart, brave little Alice whose father tragically dies in a boating accident, and she's shipped off to live with her Uncle Geryon who she didn't even know existed. He lives in a massive house where mysterious happenings occur. The house is devoid of any servants, however, at each meal time the table is ladled with food (even though she's the only one at the table) and when she turns around, the next second all the dishes have been cleared away! One day she sneaks into the forbidden library after talking cat, Ashes, helps her find a way. Once in the library, all kinds of mysterious things start to happen. She senses movement in her peripheral vision, she feels the shelves moving behind her back and then there's the several talking cats that lie tangled up on the bookshelves. But the strangest thing is when she meets Isaac, a boy a few years older than her, and he dares her to open a book and read it. However, this is no ordinary book, as soon Alice finds herself in the actual world and she has to defeat the monster allocated to that book in order to free herself. Alice quickly learns that she isn't who she thought she was and that nobody is who they say they are.

I loved the main character and I loved the idea behind the book and I loved the writing. The characters are fantastic. Alice is awesome! She actually reminded me slightly of Hermione, and as you know, that's quite a comparison to make. She's academic, hard-working, follows the rules (well, most of the time) and she loves reading and she is incredibly brave and resourceful. She's always coming up with a plan to save herself in a problematic situation and she's fiercely courageous. I also admire her for never just accepting things and always questioning what people have told her and wondering whether it's true or false, and then making a plan to find out. She's also quite funny and bold and I absolutely adore her character!
"'Want me to go through first?' Isaac said. 'To make sure it's safe?'
Alice snorted. She shoved her fingers into the crack between the shelves and pushed, wedging herself little by little into a space that seemed much to small to hold her."
"'Somebody has to get us out of here, doesn't she?' Alice said, with more bravado than she felt. 'You can just wait here.'
'Don't be stupid.' He sat up, wincing. 'You can't-'
'I can't do it? I'm at least going to try. You're welcome to sit around under these rocks until you starve.'"
Do you see? Do you see how awesome she is?

I also loved Ashes, the talking cat. He was incredibly funny and quite sarcastic as well and I loved the whole idea of talking cats, especially snarky ones. I hope his and Alice's friendship develop in the later books as I don't think she fully trusts anyone at the house yet, but I really hope it does.
"'I still say they're creepy," Ashes said.
'I don't think you get to decide what's creepy,' Alice said. 'You're a talking cat. You're creepy. This whole place is creepy.'
'Hmph.' Ashes' fur bristled with indignation."
The other characters didn't particularly stand out to me, though. Isaac was quite dull and he didn't have any admirable qualities and he wasn't particularly interesting. It's not that he was two-dimensional, more like he just seemed like quite a bland person. I do kind of ship him in Alice in a way though, but I hope he becomes more interesting throughout the rest of the trilogy.

Then there was Geryon and Mr. Black. I do think Mr. Black is quite frightening and I think Geryon has many secrets and I don't quite deem him as trustworthy. So I'm interested to see what further developments will take place with those characters as I do believe they have their fair share of skeletons in their closets.

I also find Emma quite a peculiar character, as if she were devoid of soul and I'd like to know what her back story is as I'm sure it must be quite fascinating to see how she became like she is.

I loved the writing in this book! It was quaint and charming and resembled writing that is often used in classics, it was peaceful and gentle and such an inviting type of writing! I will definitely be reading more of Wexler's books as I am utterly captivated by his unique writing style.

I love the whole idea behind this book, of literally being able to enter a book and live in it, but you have to fight the monsters inside of it in order to escape alive. I think I would've preferred it though if there weren't monsters you had to fight in the book in order to escape, I think if they could live in the book and do certain adventures there it would've perhaps made it more interesting, in my opinion.

The pacing was steady for most of the book, however, at some point in the middle I lost interest slightly. That was probably due to the mild reading slump I hit at that point though! After that, I flew through the book. The part with Alice, Isaac (who acted like such a wimp, by the way - well done, Alice, for taking charge like that!) and the dragon was utterly enthralling and I couldn't put the book down - before I knew it, I'd read 40 pages in an incredibly short amount of time, so the last few chapters were exhilarating.

However, like I said, I felt like there was something missing and I finally figured out what it was - this book wasn't what I expected and I therefore I got disappointed and secondly, The Forbidden Library didn't evoke passionate emotions in me - which is what I like to happen when I read a book. I want to cry and I want to scream and I want to laugh and I want to smack the book repeatedly and curse the characters. I want to feel, and I, unfortunately, didn't feel that much during this book. I laughed and I felt exhilaration at times and sometimes even fear, but there weren't any major plot twists or happenings that had me resembling a crying, emotional wreck or a goofy, smiling being of happiness and sunshine. If something shocking had happened it would've been perfect. There was definitely conflict but not the kind that made me have feels. This is a middle-grade though, so perhaps that's why there weren't many shocking plot twists?

Overall, I really enjoyed this despite a few minor issues! I absolutely loved the writing and I wanted to completely devour it as it had such a glorious feel about it. I also adored Alice, she was so headstrong, resourceful and kind and I can't wait to become even better acquainted with her in the following books. The secondary characters weren't as lovable or interesting as Alice, but I know they're hiding secrets so I'm intrigued to find out what they are. I loved the whole idea of this book and I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel! If you're a beginner to fantasy or you feel like reading a light novel that involves magic, spunky heroines and talking cats, this book would be perfect for you!

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!






Quotes:
'Indeed, books. They are the ocean in which magic swims.'"
"'A friend of mine once told me that you can find practically anything, if you know which book to look in.'"
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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Review - Confessions: The Paris Mysteries - James Patterson

Confessions: The Paris Mysteries (Confessions, #3)Title: The Paris Mysteries
Series: Confessions #3
Author: James Patterson
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Publication: October 6th 2014, Arrow (Young)
Pages: 320 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank to RandomStruik for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! This has in no way influenced my review.
Rating: 3/5 CUPCAKES!
The City of Lights sets the stage for romance, drama and intrigue in the latest Confessions novel from the world's bestselling mystery writer!
After investigating multiple homicides and her family's decades-old skeletons in the closet, Tandy Angel is finally reunited with her lost love in Paris. But as he grows increasingly distant, Tandy is confronted with disturbing questions about him, as well as what really happened to her long-dead sister. With no way to tell anymore who in her life she can trust, how will Tandy ever get to the bottom of the countless secrets her parents kept from her? James Patterson leads this brilliant teenage detective through Paris on a trail of lies years in the making, with shocking revelations around every corner.
*There are spoilers for the first two books in this review!*
**There are spoilers which you can highlight to read, if you want to.**

I never know how I feel about James Patterson's books. On one hand they have something about them that makes me want to keep reading and reach the conclusion (that may be because I fly through the short chapters), and other times I wonder why I read them as they're not books I love, but like I said, there is something gripping about them. While I enjoyed this third instalment, I found it was lacking in certain departments, it was slightly cheesy at times as well as predictable - which is something I really don't like when reading a book. Despite this, I will probably read the rest of the series because I'm a very curious person and I want answers, which seem to never be in answered in this series, which is very frustrating.

In The Paris Mysteries, Tandy and her three siblings as well as their new found uncle (and guardian) Jacob, head to the City of Love to secure the Angel siblings' financial status and find them a place to stay that is secure and will keep the siblings safe. In the famous city, Tandy is reunited with her long-lost boyfriend James, who for a few months she forgot existed as her parents tried to numb her feelings and sent her to be brainwashed because they were highly bizarra. When James is ripped from her grasp again, she's determined to find a way to be with him. That's not the only thing on Tandy's mind however, when she discovers boxes of her dead sister's in their new home (which they inherited from their grandma) and Tandy reaches several startling conclusions. However, someone knows that Tandy is discovering secrets that they want hidden and they will try to do everything in their power to stop her.

This is a three star book and, as you know, they are the hardest to review and I'm still not particularly sure what my thoughts are towards this book. I liked it, I didn't hate it and it didn't blow my mind either. I cared for the characters but not very deeply, I didn't care for the romance but I did want to know what more Tandy found out about her sinister family and I think if it weren't for all the secrets I wouldn't be interested to keep reading as they're not particularly characters that I want to spend all my time with, like with the Harry Potter books or the Percy Jackson books.

There were several things I didn't like about this book and I shall list them because I am trying to be more organised and lists seem to be the way of Organised People.

1) The romance. I don't understand this supposed "romance" between Tandy and James. It wasn't authentic and it didn't make sense to me. It was kind of a form of instalove and I found myself not caring for James at all because I'd only seen a couple of scenes with him and Tandy in and he didn't give me any incentive to swoon over him. I didn't actually know him, I only knew things about him from what Tandy had told the readers. I like a romance in a book that makes me feel something, that makes me ship the characters, here I just felt nothing for them because I really didn't care for James.

Like I previously stated, I also found the romance incredibly cheesy. These are two sixteen year olds who claimed they loved each other and they would do anything to be together and practically saying they would die (figuratively or literally, I'm not sure) if they didn't have the other. For example they were at the Bridge of Locks in Paris and they lock a padlock and throw away the keys, which is the procedure when one visits the area. Here is a quote from that part that made me severely roll my eyes because it was silly and bleurgh:
"The moment was both joyous and solemn , as if we were taking vows that could never be broken. James Rampling and Tandy Angel together in perpetuity."
Now, if you've read these books, you will understand when I say that we literally don't actually know James. He's just someone who Tandy claims to absolutely love, even though she only knew him for a couple of months and they weren't even properly dating. Perhaps I'm just cynical, but it's a pet peeve of mine when people who have been dating for only three months or less claim they are in love and that person is everything and then they break up anyway and fall in love with someone else. I just really, really dislike it when people claim these things (like Tandy) when she actually barely knew him. *Spoiler* It was such a rotten thing of James to abandon her and for him to cheat with C.P., Tandy's supposed best friend. When he left her I knew he was actually a jerk and that he didn't have her best interests at heart yet she still claimed he loved her and would do anything for her and I'm just like TANDY YOU BARELY KNOW THE GUY, WOULD YOU SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY?!*Spoiler*

2) The excessive amounts of words in italics. Now, don't get me wrong, I myself am a fan of putting words in italics. But there were so many words in this form for no obvious reason which immensely frustrated me as he was emphasizing words that didn't need to be emphasized.

3) Lack of plot/lack of answers. I feel like in every book more questions are left unanswered and sometimes I feel like there's no plot structure. For this book I feel like it was just haphazardly thrown together and no care was really put into it. It was a very short book, the actual story was 293 pages (the other 27 pages was an extract from his other book) and I feel like not many questions were answered. There's actually not any other questions that are important enough to be answered besides the whole thing with their uncle Peter, but other than that there isn't actually that much mystery occurring in the series anymore and I feel as if the author is just drawing it out, even though it doesn't need to be drawn out. All questions could have been answered in this book actually, if the book were made slightly longer, perhaps 400 pages like most novels. There wasn't much mystery and there wasn't much action and there just wasn't much of a plot, to be honest. There was a large "plot twist" which I actually guessed when Tandy was going through Katherine's reports and I was just like "I knew it" because I did and it seemed blindingly obvious, There was nothing about this book that surprised or shocked me.

4) Some characters weren't very consistent. Take Harry, for an instance - Tandy's music prodigy twin brother, who in the previous books was kind, compassionate, sensible and caring and he was anything BUT sensible in this book. He's stoned for half the book and doesn't take anything seriously. *Spoiler* He also becomes some kind of musical sensation but then towards the end of the book when they have to return to America and Tandy thinks Harry will be upset they don't show his reaction at ALL and he doesn't seem to care and I just found that highly unlikely, especially because he came across as super-bratty in this instalment.*Spoiler* He just didn't act like the same character and the author didn't give him a reason to act like this, it was incredibly random and I couldn't comprehend this sudden change in character. There needed to be more details in this book.

Now, there were things I did like. I liked that the book made me ask questions about the Angel family and I liked that I was solving things with Tandy even though I had generally predicted the events from the beginning of the book, ahead of her. I liked that Tandy was showing more emotions and becoming even more human now that she was (mainly) off the pills her parents had fed her. I could understand the emotional trauma and stress she was feeling because she had experienced a lot, and her grief over the death of her sister was the one thing in the book that felt truly authentic and I felt really sad for her, as I could see how she adored her sister and how she needed her in her life. Despite that, Tandy annoyed me with her declarations of love for James, I do like her character. She's very smart, she's logical and she tries to be practical and serve justice and I admire her for that. The only thing I don't like about her is the instalove situation, but she is only sixteen and most of my friends have had boyfriends and acted like that, so I credit Patterson for painting the situation realistically. 

I liked Jacob and I appreciated how he wanted to protect the Angel kids and prevent anyone from harming them. I think he really wants to help them and I hope he hasn't been involved in any sinister things in the past, which Tandy originally suspected. I love Hugo and Matty's brotherly relationship, which was another thing that felt authentic as you could see they genuinely cared about and adored each other. I liked Harry but his character wasn't the same as in the previous books. He became careless and reckless and turned to drugs and I don't understand why he did because everything was going well in his life and he went off the track during a time where things were the least tragic. I don't understand why this occurred now and I felt like it was just a random ploy to add more "excitement" to the story. Some of the "bigger events" didn't really add up and they just seemed randomly placed and sometimes nothing came of it and I wondered what was the point of putting it in if it would be forgotten immediately after and wouldn't affect the story in the slightest. I would like to see more family dynamics, however, as I feel as if a lot of the time Tandy doesn't actually spend that much time with her siblings and aimlessly wonders around and I think a stronger sibling bond should feature especially since at the end she states that:
"...we share the strongest possible bonds siblings could have.
I feel as if she doesn't spend that much time with her family and after seeing what they've been through, I thought she would. I hope that in the next books I'd be able to become better acquainted with the other Angel siblings and see even more family dynamics.

Like I previously said, there wasn't much of a plot and not much actually happened, just Tandy asking more questions and not getting a lot of answers. She did discover quite a few things, but like I said I predicted what would happen during the middle of the book and there wasn't as much suspense as the first two books. This book felt very rushed and there could seriously have been more added to this book. It wasn't even 300 pages and as it was a young adult thriller/mystery book, it needed to be longer. I also feel like a lot of the things that happened was just randomly placed to add a "twist" to the story, but it wasn't shocking or surprising and I felt like I was reading a condensed version of the previous two books. They got accused of more murder for stupid reasons that if cops actually thought like that in real life, there would be plenty of criminals in the street and plenty of innocent people in jail. They were nearly killed again, like in the previous books. Tandy learnt about more emotions. Again. It just seemed like I'd read a lot of the story in the previous books and that disappointed me. It was mainly predictable, aside from the video email thing she receives in the end, which I wasn't expecting and which I also didn't think added up to the plot, as the person stated that they wanted to be discreet but then their face appears in the video. *Spoiler* When Tandy was going through Katherine's papers and her personal things and she mentioned that she thought her other uncle was hiding things I knew, I just knew that Katherine was alive. So when I read that in the book I wasn't surprised at all as I had seen it coming. I was quite surprised, however, that she sent Tandy an email (not sure how she got her email address and why she was sending emails with her face in it when someone else might be able to see it) and that she had a baby. Who's the father, I wonder?*Spoiler* So it ended on a sort-of cliffhanger and I hope that Patterson will deliver in the next book which I will be reading because now I have more unanswered questions. To be honest, I wish the author would stop putting all these little mysteries into the books without the larger mysteries being solved (the Angel pharmacy company, why their parents created the pills, her sister's death, James) or why he didn't solve the mysteries in the first book (as I thought he would) and have Tandy solve other mysteries in the following books, one of the two. The first book consisted of personal problems, then the second book consisted of Tandy solving other mysteries and this book consisted of her solving personal problems again, so I don't know if James is going to turn it into just an Angel Family Mysteries series or if he's going to turn it into a series where Tandy solves other peoples' mysteries, so far it looks like the former, but I do wish he would make up his mind.

The writing was also quite simple, but I liked it. It wasn't overly descriptive and the pace flowed smoothly. I didn't like the way the romance was written as it was very cheesy, but otherwise I liked the writing style, even though the plot was weak.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed with The Paris Mysteries. It was predictable, the romance was awkward and seemed insincere, some of the characters didn't seem consistent and there wasn't a cunning, twist-y plot. I did, however, enjoy discovering things with Tandy and I did enjoy the fast pace and the mystery surrounding her family. I also highly appreciate that this book wasn't as grisly as the previous one was as I hate grisly books as they often freak me out, so if you're into books like that, you won't enjoy this one as much as the previous ones (which were quite gory). I did enjoy reading it though and I will be continuing the series as I have unanswered questions and I am interested to see what Tandy uncovers next. Filled with family secrets, the heartbreak of first love and a girl's determined quest to uncover the skeletons in her family's closet, thriller lovers will enjoy this series, however they may be disappointed with this instalment as it is quite easy to predict the outcome. The overall series is still gripping, though.

I give it: 3/5 CUPCAKES!

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Top Ten Tuesday #30 - Top Ten Books from my Childhood I'd Like to Revisit


This lovely meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This post is going to make me incredibly nostalgic, isn't it? Better go get some tissues and cake, I suppose. I've been reading since I was around 5 or so and I still have the journal I have from when I was 7 or 8, recording all the books I'd read and there's quite a few I absolutely loved! Here they are!

1. The Babysitters Club - Ann M. Martin
THESE WERE MY LIFE. I've always loved reading about books with little children and babysitting as I've always wanted a little brother or sister, so these books were perfect for me! I want to complete the collection (I think there's over 100 books in it!) to read again.


2. The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

Enid freaking Blyton was my hero. I loved all her books. These were the first mystery books I read - I wanted to become a detective after reading them!

3. St. Clares by Enid Blyton
The Twins at St. Clare's (St Clare's, #1)

My gran still bought me this set and I completely devoured them. I've reread them since but I'd quite like to reread them again!

4. Hawkeye Collins and Amy Adams by M. Masters
Hawkeye Collins & Amy Adams in The Secret of the Long-Lost Cousin & Other Mysteries (Can You Solve the Mystery?, #1)
DUDE. I would get so excited reading these books! They had all these little mysteries in them that you had to solve alongside the characters and it was SO FREAKING FANTASTIC.

5. Sammy Keyes by Wendelin van Draanen
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

I think I first read this book when I was around seven or eight years old? After I read it I wanted to solve mysteries and wear converses and ride skateboards. I wear converses, but I don't ride skateboards because they move and I am a klutz.

6. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickets

Ahh, I'll never forget this series. We used to live next door to an artist and she loaned me the first book in this series. I was around 5 years old at the time and I LOVED it! I still haven't read them all but I've read most of them and I'm waiting until I've completed my collection before reading them all over again!

7. Mary-Kate and Ashley by various authors
Mary-Kate and Ashley Starring in The Challenge

I would collect ALL these books and read 3 a day or whatever. They were so much fun to read and I absolutely loved them! I sadly gave all of them away a couple of months back (I had around 40 of them) and it was like giving away a fragment of my childhood. I kind of regret it now.

8. The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston
The Children of Green Knowe

 I remember they had this book in my school library and I fell in love with this book, I think it was the first book that had me completely mesmerized and haunted me, in a way.

9. Tales of the Frog Princess by E.D. Baker

I think I first discovered these on Ebay! It looked interesting so I asked my dad to buy it for me (I must've been around 9 or so) and I would devour it and then ask my dad to order the next one! I would then receive it from the postman's daily rounds either before school (where I would then proceed to take it with me to school and begin reading it there) or after where I would squeal with excitement and promptly start it. I've read the first 3 and I've been wanting to complete the series for the last 7 years so that I can marathon them. It hasn't happened yet BUT IT WILL.

10. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda

This book and I have a special relationship. It was the book that I found myself in and it resonated deeply within my core. Matilda loved reading, she loved books, they were her life, and little 8 year old me could relate to this wholly and completely, I still can. I was like her in the sense that I would cart home so many books, almost more than I could carry and I would read and read and take the next book from the pile next to my chair! I've read this book 3 times yet I still don't have my own copy and I need it in my life. I never reread books but this book is one that I will reread forever.

Ah, this post has now brought on a strong wave of nostalgia. SUCH WONDERFUL MEMORIES I CAN'T EVEN.

*Edit - I just had to include this book as well!
11. The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton
The Magical Adventures of the Wishing Chair (The Adventures of the Wishing Chair, The Wishing Chair Again)

I can't believe I actually forgot to include this! This book and its sequel were amazing and I think I reread them when I was smaller as Enid Blyton didn't write a whole series of them! These were books that made me honestly feel as if I were living inside the book, as if I were experiencing those adventures. A part of me wished so very badly that I could have my own wishing chair and go on all sorts of adventures! THESE BOOKS ARE SO AMAZING READ THEM.
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Monday, 23 March 2015

Personal Post: Studying, Stress and Similes


HELLO, my lovely bookish friends! I feel so incredibly guilty for not posting lately but exams are detrimental to my time on my precious laptop and my precious books. I thought I'd just write a catch-up post so that you can understand why I have had to abandon the sanctuary that is the blogosphere.

As you know, I have exams coming up, in fact, my first exam is in 44 days and I am FREAKING. OUT. It's my geography and English exam (I think...) and I am utterly terrified. I was feeling calm and confident about it but then I started panicking. I have had heart palpitations now for the last 5 days and it is not fun. But I'm trying to keep calm and relax but it's not going very well. BUT I'M TRYING TO BE POSITIVE. So I'm sure it'll go fine. Hopefully.

I also haven't really had time to read recently and I've only read two books the past month and this saddens me. I study a lot and when I'm not, I'm either with my friends or scrolling Tumblr or stressing about exams, it's tiring, I tell you. It's just I'm one of those people that doesn't like reading for a short amount of time, I want to know I have several hours to read not just an hour or so, so then I put off reading till I know I'll have a lot of time to read. However, yesterday I managed to read almost half of my current read which I'm really enjoying so far (The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler) and I'm hoping to finish it sometime this week!

Also, I completely forgot due to my head being fully immersed in the studying of the themes and motifs that occur throughout Northanger Abbey as well as the similes and metaphors that occur throughout Songs of Ourselves, that yesterday was my blogoversary. Yep, yesterday my blog turned THREE YEARS OLD. I will write up a full post when I have time, but I want to say thank you to all the blogging friends I've made and to all the publishers who have sent me books and to all the wonderful people who read what I have to say. YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME. <3 I will be holding an international giveaway, so you guys can look forward to that! 


So yep, I haven't been blogging that much lately but I'm hoping once exams are done that I'll be able to! I'll have a week and a half's holiday after exams and so I'll spend that time catching up on all your glorious blogs and reading ALL THE BOOKS. 

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Review - Would the Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand Up? - Rob Stevens

Would the Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand Up?Title: Would the Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand Up?
Series: N/A
Author: Rob Stevens
Genre: Middle-Grade, Contemporary
Publication: February 5th 2015, Anderson Press Ltd.
Pages: 272 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Penguin Random House South Africa for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
Stanley 'Carrot' Harris is ginger, tubby and definitely not cool. And he has a secret: he's adopted, and this makes him feel like he's never quite fitted in.
On his thirteenth birthday, he receives the one thing he's been waiting his whole life for: a card from his long-lost birth mother, asking to meet up. But Stanley isn't sure: what if he's a big disappointment to her? So he hatches a plan - and he's going to need a stand-in Stanley, someone who is handsome, sporty and God's Gift to Mothers.
What Stanley doesn't realise is he's about to have the most confusing time of his life . . . just who is the real Stanley Carrot? 


I loved it. I absolutely freaking loved this book. It was heart-warming and charming and funny and hopeful and original and just utterly perfect in every single possible way. I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did and it far exceeded my expectations. It has most definitely earned a place on my list of top favourite middle-grades and I absolutely can't wait to read more from this clearly talented author!

Would the Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand Up? is about thirteen year old Stanley. Stanley is adopted and he feels quite insecure about that and often struggles with obdurate thoughts about whether or not his family loves him more or less than his little brother Bruno (who his parents miraculously had a few years after adopting Stanley) and whether or not his birth mother would be glad she gave him up as he isn't athletically gifted, nor is he considered "cool" due to his penchant for writing poems, having ginger hair, being slightly tubby and for being a sensitive soul. Stanley has always wondered about why exactly his mom gave him up and when, or even if, she'll ever get in contact with him.

And then it happens.

Stanley receives a birthday card from his birth mother, Emma, asking if he would perhaps like to meet up for a once-off meeting. And he wants to. He has a feverish longing to know why his mother abandoned him and he needs to know the answers to all those doubtful, persistent thoughts that fire through his mind daily. But the problem is, Stanley doesn't want his mother to feel relieved that she doesn't have to sit with a child that isn't gifted in the mainstream areas such as looks and sporting talent - he wants her to regret ever giving him up. So Stanley decides to advertise for a boy of around thirteen years of age who is good-looking, confident and "cool" to act as him when he meets his mother for the first and last time. However, things don't go to plan and things aren't all as they seem in this wonderful novel about acceptance, family, friendship and being who you truly are.

Like I said, I LOVED this book. The combination of the excellent plot, characters, writing and the themes that featured throughout, resulted in a spectacular story that will wrench at your heartstrings, bring tears to your eyes and laughter to your lips.

The plot was fantastic! I haven't read many adoption books and I loved how it brought some originality to the middle-grade/YA genre. I could fully emphasize with Stanley and imagine how disheartening it would feel at times to know that you're adopted and how you might often harbor feelings of being a misfit and an outcast and not feeling like you belong. I loved the whole idea behind Stanley hiring another teenager to be him and I knew it was going to lead to some intriguing things happening as well as complications, of course. I would absolutely love to see this made into a movie as I think it would look fantastic on the big screen! I didn't expect that twist at the end at all and I think it was fantastic how Stevens added it to the story and the irony in the situation.

The characters, ah, the characters were so delightful! I absolutely adore Stanley! He has such a sweet, kind disposition and he's artistic and funny and so thoughtful but he doesn't see any of this, he's completely blind to all the wonderful traits he obtains and instead thinks about all the things he hasn't got. I found this extremely sad because it's so true. None of us are capable of seeing all the wonderful things about ourselves, even when everybody else can. We can always list the hundreds of things we hate about ourselves in a couple of seconds but it takes us minutes to think of one singular thing that we love about ourselves. Stanley is a clear example of that. He's sensitive and can write gorgeous poetry and he respects people and he's so incredibly kind but instead he thinks about the fact that he's slightly larger than the "cool kids", has ginger hair and can't kick a football. He's courageous and decides to face the things that terrify him, he decides to run towards those challenges he used to cower from, instead of running away from them but he doesn't acknowledge his bravery. I just wanted to wrap him in a big hug and help him see his worth. I was so happy at the end when he finally started seeing his potential and realising how important he is. It made my heart smile. This whole book made my heart smile.  
"I've spent too long watching life from the sidelines. Now it's time to get in the game."
The other characters were wonderful too, I loved his adoptive family. I loved his mom and dad and little brother, they were supportive and they were funny and caring and you could really see how much they really loved Stanley. There's a part in the book where the dad is telling Stanley about how, when he was sick in hospital, his mom would sit by him day and night and will him to get better and how broken-hearted she was when he had to leave her to start going to school. That part really brought tears to my eyes as you could clearly see just how much she loves and cares for Stanley. His dad was epic too and he made me laugh on several occasions, especially towards the end when he started showing an interest in rap music.

I loved Chloe and Aggie as well! Chloe is Stanley's sixteen year old cousin and Aggie is her best friend. I loved how kind they were to Stanley and how they tried to help him and show him just how wonderful and talented he truly is. I loved Chloe's character, she was a "typical teenager" but she had such a kind heart, both her and Aggie did, their personalities definitely shone through the pages. The part at the end with Aggie and Stanley and the rap, it was just so utterly perfect and I honestly thought that tears would be spilled. The last few chapters were absolutely magnificent and they gave me warm, fuzzy feelings in my heart.
"I've learned that families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes - like people - and there isn't a right or wrong arrangement."
I loved Isabella and Emma too. *Spoiler*I totally wasn't expecting Isabella to be Emma - that was so clever of Stevens to do! I absolutely adored Emma and she was so sweet!*Spoiler* I thought the author wrote Stanley and Emma's relationship in an honest way, there was some tension but there was mostly sweetness and I completely adored that. I loved their connection and I loved that they were able to get along after all these years. It was written beautifully.

The pacing and writing was perfect too. I never for one singular moment wanted to be torn away from this book. I would wake up early just to read it and start school half an hour later to read as much as possible, then reluctantly turn to my studies while I looked in feverish anticipation at the clock to see when next I'd be able to continue living in the enchanting story Rob Stevens had created. This book was addictive and my heart sunk when I saw there were only a few more pages left. In fact, I even reread the last few chapters twice again because I wasn't yet ready to release my hold on the story. I shall keep it locked in my heart, those precious 272 pages, even though I wish for it to have an infinite amount of pages so I could read it forever.

Would the Real Stanley Please Carrot Stand Up? was a heartfelt novel that featured doubts and fears of one that has been adopted and the insecurities that result from those apprehensions. It revealed the wonder of redemption and second chances, of belonging, of family and friends. It showed us that we all have our flaws and we all have our quirks but it's those beautiful differences that makes us so incredibly unique. I absolutely adored this book and I advise you to pick it up, as I guarantee that you'll most probably love it too!

I give it: 5/5 Cupcakes!
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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Discussion Post: Why I don't read gritty books


I have a confession to make:

I don't read gritty books.

Well, not often.

I don't like reading books that involve mental illnesses (except anxiety, as I can relate to that), illnesses, sexual abuse, death and other difficult topics that many people have to face in this day and age. I know many people will disagree with me but this is how I personally feel towards this subject. 

Reading is something I've always enjoyed. It allows me to be people I could never be and go to places that I could never visit. It's a way to enter a new world and befriend incredible people. I feel as if I don't want to read books dealing with such "gritty" subjects as there's so many of these tragic happenings occurring in the world every single day. If you switch on the news there's things on wars and illnesses and all kinds of tragic things that make me sad because I can just imagine how terrible and horrible it must be for these people experiencing it. I think that's why we find reading so appealing, it helps block out the painful predicaments that often occur in reality.

It makes me sad to think that the aforementioned things actually happen. And no, I'm not turning a blind eye to it, I'm acknowledging it and I know about these things, but that's why when I pick up a book, I don't want to be reading about the horrible things that frighten me about this world, I want to be reading about beautiful things and worlds with minor problems. I want to visit fairyland, camp-halfblood and Narnia, where the terrifying things happen to be facing monsters which isn't nearly as scary as some of the events taking place in reality. It gives me a chance to focus on fictional things instead of realistic things, even it just for an hour a day.

Like I said, don't think I'm ignoring these problems. I will, at times, read books that deal with real life problems (take The Fault in Our Stars, for example) and you know, it's good to read books like that as it helps us empathise with people going through those situations and if we are going through a similar situation it makes us feel as if we're not as alone. It helps us develop compassion and understanding and makes us grateful for what we have. I have panic disorder and sometimes it helps reading a book where the character also experiences that as it makes me feel as if they understand. Even though I know they're fictional, they feel real and I know that the author must have some understanding of it to write such an accurate book about the subject, which makes me feel better as I know there are actually people who have experienced this before or can imagine (accurately) how it is to have said issues.

I know that there are people out there whose houses have been bombed or they have been sexually abused or lost someone close to them and these people find books written on this topic and it helps them feel as if it will be okay as the characters in the book are eventually okay. It helps them feel as if somebody understands and I think we all need that. So although I may not read those particular books, there are people who find them incredibly helpful and nourishing as it feels like what they are experiencing isn't just happening to them. Even people who aren't experiencing these things like reading them as it gives them an insight into how and why these certain things happen. Books help us understand things and books dealing with "heavy" matters are no exception. They help us learn about these issues and how we can help ourselves and others.

It's a good thing to read books dealing with heavy subject matter and sometimes I do read a book like that, if it comes highly recommended and if it won't worry me too much (I'm a hypochondriac. If I read a book about an illness I start worrying I have that illness, quite ridiculous but unfortunately that is the way my brain works), there are definitely some exceptions and it's good to read these books to be aware of the things happening in our world and how we can try to improve the situation. However, I prefer reading books that don't contain too much heavy matter because it gets me down, although the reading experience is often enriching. I mainly like reading fantasy and contemporary books that aren't too dark for this reason.

So, that is my opinion. I think many people will probably disagree with me, but that's my feelings on the subject. What do YOU think?
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Friday, 6 March 2015

Stacking the Shelves #77 - A.K.A.The edition where I requested Netgalley titles when I really shouldn't have

Stacking the Shelves

HELLO. It's March, it's actually March, can you believe it? I know you're probably aware that it's March since we're practically a week in, but since my head has been immersed in school textbooks for the last couple of weeks I haven't really noticed that but now I have and I'm rambling and I'm sorry, it's just I've really missed blogging and I've missed speaking to you guys but stupid studying has taken over my life! *cries forever*

Anyway! I got some books this week! I went on Netgalley and there were SO MANY PRETTIES so I kind of accidentally on purpose went on a requesting frenzy and I actually got accepted for some of them and I'm SUPER DUPER excited to read them all!

Netgalley Books to Review:
How to Fly with Broken WingsBook ScavengerThe Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)The DUFFHalf Dead & Fully BrokenPerfect TimingCharlie, Presumed Dead

HOW GOOD DO THESE LOOK?! I KNOW RIGHT. The Duff is available to "Read Now" on Netgalley, so if you want to read it you can! I got accepted to review Book Scavenger, Girl at Midnight and Charlie, Presumed Dead!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW EXCITED I AM?! When I got the emails I was like "YAAASSS"!

So yep, I'm really looking forward to reading these! I'm currently reading Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick and I'm enjoying it so far but Nora makes some stupid decisions at times.

ALSO, one of my favorite authors (Derek Landy) retweeted me and he's never retweeted any of the tweets I've mentioned him in before and I've always hoped he would retweet/tweet me and I started crying and it was just freaking awesome because he wrote the Skulduggery Pleasant books and it's my favorite series at the moment and I WAS SO HAPPY I JUST ASDFGHJKL.

And I finally got TUMBLR! I feel like the last person on earth to get it haha! If you, ya know, want to give me a follow *WINK*, It's called Books Are Best, here's the link: http://booksarebest007.tumblr.com/ If you want to, like, click on it and check out mah Tumblr and ya know, stuff. 

So, that's my haul for the week! Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? Are you going to be reading any of these? Let me know and leave comments to your book haul posts below!
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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review - The Dying of the Light - Derek Landy

The Dying of the Light (Skulduggery Pleasant, #9)Title: The Dying of the Light
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #9
Author: Derek Landy
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy
Publication: August 28th 2014, HarperCollins Children's Books
Pages: 605 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Jonathan Ball Publishers for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
The War of the Sanctuaries has been won, but it was not without its casualties. Following the loss of Valkyrie Cain, Skulduggery Pleasant must use any and all means to track down and stop Darquesse before she turns the world into a charred, lifeless cinder.
And so he draws together a team of soldiers, monster hunters, killers, criminals… and Valkyrie’s own murderous reflection.
The war may be over, but the final battle is about to begin. And not everyone gets out of here alive…

*This is the last book in the series and it has spoilers for the previous books, so don't read if you haven't read the previous books! However, you may read the paragraph below.*

But if you'd like to know what I thought of this and you haven't read the books and you want to, just know it was perfection. This series is perfection. There's fire-wielding skeletons dressed in impeccable suits and finely tailored hats, there's a sarcastic eighteen year old girl who also wields fire and some other powers and helps with saving the world. There's sarcasm, humor, shocking plot twists and TEARS. Because you will cry. There's friendship, beautiful friendship, where the characters will do anything to save the other. There's adventure and magic and it's utterly enchanting and you're not allowed to read this review if you haven't read the books because you can't be spoiled because you NEED TO READ THIS SERIES. Okay? Thank you.

**Quotes taken from Goodreads and are from all the books, not specifically TDOTL**
***Tumblr pictures aren't mine. I linked the pictures to their source.***

Warning: This will be more like a love letter to the Skulduggery series instead of a review because I'm worryingly obsessed with the series.

Okay, where do I begin? I just read the last book in one of my favorite series ever and I'm basically just a melting puddle of emotions. I just want to say thank you to Nkanyezi, the lovely publicist at Jonathan & Ball Publishers, for sending me this book so that I had to pick up the rest of the books, as if I hadn't gotten the last book I may not have picked up the series anytime soon and that, my friends, is a terrifying thought. 

I started reading this series around Christmas time with my dad and this series now holds such wonderful memories for me. Of rainy days sitting in the lounge with my parents and making my way through the Skulduggery series, of taking pictures of The Faceless Ones perched in my Christmas tree, surrounded by tinsel, of eating mince pies and Christmas cake while laughing at the sarcastic banter and then shortly after crying as one of my favorite characters was ruthlessly killed, of going to bed and reading and then looking up and realising the rest of the house was dark and my family was sleeping but I was completely oblivious as I was so entranced in this magical world that Derek Landy artistically created. 

Memories of going to three different libraries just so I could get all the books out, of going to public places or social events and managing to escape the situation by delving into a world filled with sarcastic skeletons, magic, laughter and heartbreak. Memories of laughter, wit, sarcasm and shredded hearts, of sore teeth from slapping my hand against my mouth as I was hit with a plot twist that I could never have guessed in a hundred years (because Derek Landy is a brilliant and horribly evil genius). Thank you, Derek, for being such an amazing author and for bringing such spectacular characters into my life and making the world I live in magical due to my reading of your books. Thank you.

Heartfelt thanks aside, I should probably stop gushing and write an actual review. Right. Okay.

The Dying of the Light was one of my favorites and one of the most heart-breaking (I just realised now that me sound like a complete masochist) of the Skulduggery series. This book twisted my emotions, leaving me breathless and disorientated. It had me crying and punching pillows and walking dejectedly around the house thinking about my precious characters. It had me laughing, squealing and shipping. This book made me feel and it takes a truly magnificent author to make one feel so many emotions.

There's quite a bit I need to talk about and it's extremely spoilery so there'll be a lot of spoiler tags (highlight the white space between the spoiler indicators) - DON'T highlight
 if you haven't read this book as you need to read this series. Like, seriously. Go get the books now.

Okay, like I said before, Derek Landy totally messes with our feelings. Technically he does that in all his books, but especially in this one. It already starts at the beginning of the book when we're introduced to Danny and we hear about the Irish-speaking girl who lives up on the hill away from everyone else and who is the talk of the town due to living all by herself in a big house. Immediately questions started firing through my head. Is it Darquesse? Is it Stephanie? Valkyrie? Some random girl that lives by herself and happens to have an Irish accent? *Spoiler* When they said she was 24 years old, I thought...wait...could it possibly be too hopeful that it's Valkyrie? And then it was revealed to us that it was Stephanie and I think WAIT AGAIN, is it Stephanie Stephanie or Valkyrie Stephanie? *Spoiler* And then later on in the book, Skulduggery and the crew were talking about how they could perhaps completely write Valkyrie's identity to kind of "squash" Darquesse's voice in Valkyrie's head so that Valkyrie could be the dominant personality again and I thought "What if Danny's girl is actually Valkyrie but she's the rewritten version? So that aspect of the book kept me guessing the whole way through but I think it was perfection how Derek incorporated that into the book.

He messes with us again when *Spoiler*Valkyrie comes back and then it turns out it was freaking Darquesse pretending extremely well to be Valkyrie.*Spoiler* I...I slammed my head against the book in frustration and cursed myself for allowing myself to hope because I mean, this is Derek Landy we're talking about. Then later on *Spoiler*they cornered Darquesse a second time and Darquesse had just decided to go easy on the world and be kind and then they captured her and I just thought "Oh my gosh, if they don't kill her now she's going to wreak even more havoc" because she finally started seeing how much better it is to be kind and well-liked when she was impersonating 
Valkyrie than to be a completely psychotic murderer. Then they captured her and she escaped and then she was really peeved off because she probably felt some sort of betrayal in a way? And I just thought ahh...this isn't going to end well. Luckily it didn't end too badly except I was SO SAD when Stephanie died and I teared up slightly because she had really become her own person and she really grew on me. She did some terrible things, but then, haven't we all? In this book we also just realise that all Stephanie ever wanted was to have a family and to keep them safe and out of harm's way. I really grew to like Stephanie and I could see Valkyrie did too. I'm going to miss their banter and sarcastic chats. Stephanie definitely grew to be her own person and became Stephanie not Valkyrie's reflection, but an individual Stephanie.*Spoiler*

The third time he tore our fangirl hearts apart was when *Spoiler*Darquesse "killed" Valkyrie's parents, Valkyrie, Fletcher, Skulduggery, Tanith, China and everybody else in the entire world and and all the alien forms in outer space before going on to join the Faceless Ones*Spoiler* and all that time I'm just thinking NO no no no nononononono. Surely, surely Derek Landy couldn't be that evil. But then I thought "Eh, he probably could." and thought back to all the characters he killed. Anyway, so I - naturally - started crying and Derek was probably siting in his lair where he forms his dastardly schemes and chuckling but seriously, DON'T DO THAT. It's evil.


*Spoiler*Oh, at one point, he made my think sweet, stupid, lovable Thrasher had died...Scapegrace's words to him were so lovely*Spoiler* I started crying. Again. Which seems a frequent action when reading a Derek Landy book. Luckily I didn't cry too long as Derek didn't actually kill the person. Well, he did, but he didn't leave the person dead which is GOOD. He should perform the art of resurrection more often. After that I thought to myself, maybe Landy ain't such a bad guy after all (Pfft. Who am I kidding?) BUT THEN he makes me think *Spoiler*Skulduggery died! He writes this beautiful, heart-wrenching scene between Skulduggery and Valkyrie that made me sob.*Spoiler* That scene perfectly conveyed Skulduggery and Valkyrie's friendship and how they make each other better people. They are both emotionally scarred by the tragic things that they've done and things where they've had no choice but to do. It tore at my heart to think how awful it would be if they didn't have each other. They need each other to help them get through the things they've done. It has been such an extraordinary thing to see their friendship evolve in the way it did. All the jokes and the sarcasm and the loving "I hate yous" to the sacrificing everything to save the other. IT'S JUST SO BEAUTIFUL. I hope that in all of our lives that we will one day have a relationship like Skulduggery and Valkyrie's. We all need someone who would be willing the risk the world when we plummet into the blackened abyss within ourselves. Honestly, I can't describe my love for those two. Skulduggery is so wise and sarcastic and has such fabulous comebacks and even more fabulous plans. He has these genius solutions for everything and I'm sure even more people would be dead if it weren't for Skulduggery's ingenious thinking.

I adore Valkyrie too. Her character development throughout this series has been truly magical. She went from an oblivious 12 year old to a strong warrior, assassin of the world as well as savior of the world. She's so strong and courageous. She's done some really bad things (most weren't entirely her fault) and she's made so many friends but lost so many as well, it was awful seeing her lose some of the people closest to her. She's grown into a wonderful person that will do anything to ensure the safety of those she loves. Also, her sarcasm is perfect.

The other characters are freaking awesome too. China Sorrows is queen. Seriously. I liked her from the start and although I wasn't sure she could be trusted at times, she definitely proved her allegiance to Skulduggery and the others. She cheated death a few times and even when she's bruised, battered and nearly dead, she'll still do everything she can to emerge alive from the situation. Also, she collects books and is a librarian which just shows that she is the best.
'“Oh, China. How I have missed you.'' "And I have missed you, Eliza. But don't worry, next time my aim will be better.”'
'“It's not that I want you to go, it's just that I don't want you to stay."' 
I love Tanith too! *Spoiler*SHE CAME BACK I'M SO HAPPY I COULD DIE. A part of me never truly believed she was ever gone and when she came back I was like yesyesyesyesyes!*Spoiler* I really admire Tanith, she's been stabbed in the back (literally, not figuratively), had nails hammered through her hands, been poisoned, was possessed by a remnant yet she always continued fighting and she never gave up. She kept on going and I love that about her.
“I wouldn't mind a sister either.""Any chance of that happening?""I can't see what would be in it for my parents. I mean, they have the perfect daughter already - what more could they want?"Tanith laughed, then tried to cover it up with a cough."Found something?" Skulduggery asked from behind them. Tanith turned, looking serious. "No, sorry. I thought I had, but, no, it turned out to be, uh... more floor."Stephanie hugged herself, trying to stop her shoulders shaking from laughter.”  
“He laughed and was about to retort when she grabbed his collar and pulled him into her. She clamped her lips around his mouth and mashed her face into his. He took a step back in surprise and she went with him, stepping in a patch of wet floor. Her legs went out from under her and flailed as she fell, whacking him in the throat on the way down. She looked up at him as he gagged and coughed, and from across the corridor she could hear Tanith laughing hysterically. "I think I need practice," Valkyrie muttered.” 
Fletcher. Fletcher is amazing and he's definitely one of my book boyfriends. He's got hair that reaches the sky, he knows he's handsome and important but he's so kind and lovely and wonderful and I completely adore him. I still ship him and Valkyrie, but Derek blew holes in that ship and it never reemerged, so I suppose it's officially sunk? I'll keep on denying it though because they're so adorable together. *wipes away tear*


Vaurien Scapegrace, Thrasher and Clarabelle are just adorable. It's funny how Scapegrace started out as wanting to be The Killer Supreme and "turn murder into an art form" - even though he'd never killed anyone - and at first I was like "Holy cow, this guy is a psychopath" but turns out he isn't such a bad guy after all. From the moment I met him he made me laugh. He was so bad at being bad it was hilarious. But in the last books, he started wanting to become a hero, he wanted to be a good guy. He became one of my favorite characters and he never failed to make me laugh. Thrasher as well, Thrasher's ignorance and kindness melted my heart! They're a dynamic duo and I adore them so much. It was also so adorable seeing Clarabelle become friends with them, too. They were all misfits, but they found each other and it made them feel like they'd found somewhere where they actually belonged. I loved the trio's dynamics!

Another character that I grew to like, not love, not even like, actually, but form some kind of attachment to, I guess? Billy-Ray Sanguine. I hated him for most of this series because he was always messing things up for Skulduggery and the rest and he was, ya know, evil, but when I saw him with remnant-possessed Tanith, it made me see that he actually cared about her and he seemed genuinely disappointed when she didn't return his affection and was repulsed by him *Spoiler*after she'd got the remnant out*Spoiler*. I really find it amazing how Landy makes us even feel some kind of sympathy for the villains.*Spoiler*When Sanguine died to protect Tanith, I was amazed.*Spoiler* And I actually felt a touch of sadness for him, that the person he loved didn't love him back and didn't even recall the times they spent together. Sanguine did help Skulduggery and them when Tanith asked him to because he knew it would make her happy. He stopped being evil occasionally just to please Tanith. *Spoiler*He died saving her even when he knew she didn't - and never would - feel the same way. *Spoiler*It made me feel some kind of admiration to him, something I never thought I'd feel for Sanguine.

We were also introduced to Danny, Jeremiah and Gant. Danny was fantastic and in a way I kind of shipped him and the girl whose name I shan't mention it. Jeremiah and Gant were evil. Seriously, seriously evil. They freaked me out, they really did. *Shudders*

As you can see, that characters are all amazing and I love them all so much and want to wrap them in a blanket and keep them safe from the evil author. I've grown attached to most of the characters in the book and so many of them died tragically and were tortured throughout the book. The amount of tears I've shed while reading this series would probably be enough to fill a lake, due to all my favorite characters being killed off. But really, I feel like I've made best friends with the characters and I love it when that happens.

The plot was genius and there's not much else I can say about that. There's plot twists.

There's deaths.

There's sarcasm.

There's friendship.
\
This book was perfect. This whole series was perfect. You have to do yourself a favor and read it, because it truly is amazing. There's such amazing character development, witty writing, writing that makes you feel all kinds of emotions. It's action-packed, it teaches life lessons, like people who use doors have no imagination and that the sparrow flies south for winter. IF YOU GET THAT, YOU'RE AWESOME. But seriously, this book was fantastic, this series was amazing and I'm really, really sad to say bye to it. Well, not an official goodbye, I've kept all the novellas to read. Ha, I'm so clever. *coughs* Jokes aside, read this series. It's spectacular and magical and exhilarating and one of the best. I will love this series forever, and it will always have a piece of my heart. Until the end. Just read it. 

I give it: 5/5 Cupcakes!
    

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