Thursday, 12 April 2018

Book Review: Milk & Honey; Rupi Kaur.

Many thanks to some recent acquaintances for introducing me to this book! I don't read a lot of poetry as I've mentioned before, but many of my blogging friends have told me to read this one and I have finally had the opportunity.

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Milk & Honey
AUTHOR: Rupi Kaur
Andrews McMeel
PAGES: 208
GENRE: Poetry, Feminism

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

What I Liked:
  • A lot of the poems really packed a punch and were so emotive! Especially in the first section. Kaur takes a 'no holds barred' approach with tackling some pretty sensitive subjects and though for me it had a bigger impact, I would definitely put a trigger warning on this for sexual abuse and violence. My favourite section was the last because it was filled with a sense of sisterhood and hope which spoke to me.
  • I really loved the drawings that accompanied a lot of the poems. They were so effortlessly beautiful, and fit the tone of the poems perfectly too! Kaur is really talented at illustration as well as poetry, and I admired them more than anything in this book.
What I Disliked:
  • I almost cried for the trees that must have gone into the thousands of books this sold. Why? Because some of those poems were two lines long and took a whole page. The format for each poem grew a little tiresome too, as they were all written in the same way. While I loved the point behind each poem, I felt that it was the thought and emotion more than any kind of structure that I liked.
Overall Conclusion:
In a lot of ways this felt more like a collection of thoughts than poems. And I liked elements of that, mostly because Kaur's words were emotive and powerful. I felt myself agreeing with her sentiments and inspired by her musings. I also adored her artwork! I wish there had been more in the way of longer poems, as I tend to prefer those, but I still liked this book a lot. I don't know if I'll read her next collection, 'The Sun & Her Flowers', just yet but I certainly won't discount it.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (2nd April - 8th April)...

I can't believe we are already past Easter? After the longest January ever, doesn't this year seem to be going mighty quick? This was a pretty busy week for me - I had Easter Monday off and I did at least get to spend a day relaxing then. Mat and I played Dungeon Siege III all day which is an awesome game if anyone is considering it! I then worked up until Thursday, which was my Mum's birthday. I didn't actually get to see her but Mat and I did go to the cinema to watch A Wrinkle In Time, a film full of big visuals and representation but really lacking in terms of the script and plot development.

On Saturday night after work, Mat and I went back to visit my parents and in preparation for a big wedding planning trip around Kent on Sunday! It was lovely to see everyone again, and on Sunday we drove around with my sister, stopping off at a Florist, a cake makers and our venue for their open day to talk to the DJ. All were really productive outings and I have a great weight off of my mind about a lot of things now! Phew! We also did find time to stop off for a delicious brunch, and I had myself a homemade, rustic cream tea which I strongly recommend!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Gentleman's Guide To Vice & Virtue' by Mackenzi Lee: Bought (03/04)
- 'Elefant' by Martin Suter: Netgalley (04/04)
- 'The Penelopiad' by Margaret Atwood: Netgalley (05/04)
- 'White Privilege' by Kalwant Bhopal: Netgalley (05/04)
- 'Women Of Resistance' by Danielle Barnhart & Iris Mahan: Netgalley (05/04)
- 'An Ember In The Ashes' by Sabaa Tahir: Bought (05/04)
- 'Steelheart' by Brandon Sanderson: Bought (05/04)
- 'Legion' by Brandon Sanderson: Bought (05/04)

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Book Review: Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them; J.K. Rowling.

Yes, yes. I know. This was not on my April list. But I really couldn't resist anymore? Those animated illustrations looked SO cool and once I started reading, I just couldn't stop!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
AUTHOR: J.K. Rowling (as Newt Scamander)
SERIES: Hogwarts Library (#1)
Hodder Children's Books
PAGES: 160
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Reference

RATING: 4/5 Stars

This glorious new Kindle in Motion edition of Newt Scamander's 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' (considered a classic throughout the wizarding world) features an extraordinary array of magical creatures, from Acromantula to Yeti via ten different breeds of dragon – all beautifully illustrated in full colour in a beautifully designed digital reading experience by the brilliantly inventive, Greenaway Medal-shortlisted Olivia Lomenech Gill.

The artist’s interpretations of these creatures and their habitats are newly animated to come alive on your device. Cower at the terrifying transformation of a werewolf, and regard the power and grace of a grazing Erumpent. Discover a Niffler snuffling out some valuables, and a fierce Griffin guarding some treasure. Keep an eye on the famously cautious Hippogriff burrowing alongside its fledgling, and marvel at the splendour of a combusting phoenix.

Famed Magizoologist Newt Scamander's years of adventure and exploration have yielded a work of unparalleled importance, admired by scholars, devoured by young witches and wizards, and even made available to Muggles in the early years of this century. With this dazzling Kindle in Motion edition, readers can explore the magical fauna of five continents from the comfort of their own armchairs. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is essential reading at Hogwarts.

What I Liked:

  • The art in this book is incredible. Honestly, Olivia Lomenech Gill did herself proud with both the still pieces and especially the animations! I bought the book particularly for this reading experience, as the moving images would certainly add to the magic of it all, and I'm so glad I wasn't disappointed on this front!
  • I thought that Rowling did a great job at giving Newt a lot of personality in his writing! He was very serious about the topic at hand, passionate about magizoology and a little eccentric at the same time. It certainly gave me a new appreciation for Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of him in the movies (the plots of which are not referenced in this book, which I'm saying in order to prevent confusion). I particularly loved the essay at the beginning on the classification of beasts and beings. Fascinating!
What I Disliked:
  • I would have liked more beasts. Rowling included a large variety of course, and there's no doubt that a lot of work was involved in coming up with them. I do understand that this is not designed to be a record of every magical beast in existence. That being said, I would have liked to have seen more because I'm a completionist! Where were the three-headed dogs? The dementors? That is literally my only complaint though.
Overall Conclusion:
I really liked this a lot! Those looking for the plot of the movies or a 'story' will be disappointed as this is designed as if it were a school text book containing information, probably for a Care Of Magical Creatures class. This is the end product of Newt Scamander's study of magical beings. Nevertheless, it adds so much into the lore of the Harry Potter universe. Rowling did such a great job building the wizarding world and this answers a lot of questions regarding exactly how some of the 'beasts' have remained hidden.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (26th March - 1st April)...Happy Easter!

This year is actually starting to go pretty quickly now! We are already in April! Thanks to Easter celebrations, I had a little bit of time off work (Good Friday and Easter Sunday) which was nice! What made it even lovelier was that Mat had the Easter weekend off too, meaning we could spend it together. We had a lovely time too, spending Friday evening with our friends for a roast dinner at our place, and all of Sunday playing games and watching TV together. I also managed to get a lot of reading done on Sunday and it's the first day in a long time that I can remember being able to just sit and read for a long time.

I hope everyone else had a lovely Easter too!

I Read...

I Received...


I Posted...

March Wrap-Up
Planned Reads For April

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Planned Reads for April.

So, a lot of these are going to be repeats from last month. I want to read those books so badly, and I'm a bit gutted that I couldn't get to them!

I am currently reading Adam Silvera's 'They Both Die At the End' and although the way this book finishes is somewhat inevitable, I am loving it so far! I should have read this book sooner.

I have been dying to read the last book in Danielle L. Jensen's fantasy series, 'Warrior Witch', and I will certainly do so this month. I so badly want to progress in a series, and here's my chance to finally get through one once and for all!

I'm pretty heavily invested in getting through some of these gorgeous-looking 2018 releases too. 'The Belles' by Dhonielle Clayton is one such release and looks to be a diverse read with great world-building and a fun plot. I'm looking forward to it!

Don't think I've forgotten my favourite female superhero of last year! I'm an even bigger fan of Leigh Bardugo now that I've started her 'Six Of Crows' series and so 'Wonder Woman: Warbringer' is top of the priority list. I'm excited to see what she does with such an iconic character!

'The Astonishing Colour Of After' by Emily X.R. Pan is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 and when you look at that cover, you see why! Grief, loss and suicide are prevalent themes, and the book gives me a chance to read about a new culture!

Yet another month goes by and I still haven't read 'The Outliers' by Kimberly McCreight. It looks like a great thriller, a genre that doesn't normally appeal to me, and that cover is stunning. I hope I get to it this month without distractions!

While 'Orangeboy' was a book I liked, I'm hoping that Patrice Lawrence's 'Indigo Donut' will blow me away! I adore the covers for her books and it's another book set in London which I always appreciate. I'm hoping for more East London references because that's where I'm currently living!

I've been debating where to start in C.S. Lewis' classic series (hence why it's taken me so long to get to) hut I've finally decided on 'The Magician's Nephew'. It might not be the publishing order but the particular set I own places it first and I can't stand to read them out of order.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

March Wrap-Up.

This has definitely been a month for straying off the path. I set myself a list of things I'd love to read (still do want to) but ended up delving into a few other titles instead. Only two of this month's four reads were from the reads I planned! That's how I like to do my reading though! I'll aim for better in April.

  1. 'Spectacle' by Megan Rose Gedris. My first read of the month was not originally planned at all. I took a break about halfway through the 600 page long epic 'Children Of Blood & Bone' and wanted something easy and relatively short - a graphic novel being the perfect solution! I loved the characters, magic and inclusion of a circus in this one. Plus, the art style was gorgeous! 4/5 Stars.
  2. 'Children Of Blood & Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi. This is probably my favourite read of the year so far. It was long but so worth it! Great characters, a wonderful setting and everything I could ever want in a fantasy! I'm all about diversity in books too, and this one basically had me weeping. 5/5 Stars.
  3. 'bone' by Yrsa Daley-Ward. I don't read poetry a lot, but when I do, I want to be blown away! And I really liked this collection from Daley-Ward a lot. Captivatingly honest, vulnerable and filled with raw emotion, she proved that you only need twenty words to tell a story and make a person reflect. 4/5 Stars.
  4. 'The Novice' by Taran Matharu. Not a great closing read for the month I'm afraid, it took me a long time to get through this book. The pop culture inspiration that it took was almost overbearingly similar, the world-building was a little vague, the middle section of the book really dipped and I felt that the writing wasn't all that impressive. I've heard book two picks up a lot so will give that a try. If not, I won't continue this series. 2.5/5 Stars.

This month I read two books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total so far nine.

- bone
- The Novice

This month I read zero books for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total so far zero.

I read two books for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total so far four.

- Spectacle
- Children Of Blood & Bone

I read four books for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, making my yearly total so far nine.

- Spectacle
- Children Of Blood & Bone
- bone
- The Novice

Here is the end result for Pretty Deadly Blog's Bookish Bingo card.

Part Of A Series: The Novice; Taran Matharu
Spring Release: Children Of Blood & Bone; Tomi Adeyemi
Freebie: --
Intersectional Diversity: bone; Yrsa Daley-Ward
Family: Spectacle; Megan Rose Gedris

Book Review: The Novice; Taran Matharu.

It took me a long time to (a) get round to reading this and (b) actually get through it! Some of that is definitely my fault...but some of it is also not. I hate synopsises that take three well known pop culture references and announce that 'THIS BOOK IS '1' MEETS '2' AND '3''. I think it's lazy. I gave this one a chance but it didn't fully meet my expectations...

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Novice
AUTHOR: Taran Matharu
SERIES: Summoner (#1)
Hodder Children's Books
PAGES: 400
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure

RATING: 2.5/5 Stars

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through gruelling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board manoeuvre for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

What I Liked:
  • Yes, let's start with the good. I thought that this book started fairly well! Not amazingly but definitely enough to make me go 'yeah, I'm liking this'. It had a good setting, characters were likeable and I was intrigued by the lore. I also thought that (after a dip in the middle) the book ended pretty well too. There were definitely some interesting fight scenes that I've not read before, especially between the creatures/imps/demons/whatever they are called. It rounded off nicely with the perfect 'amount' of cliffhanger.
What I Disliked:
  • So, the previously mentioned pop culture references that the synopsis refers to? I can definitely see them. Sometimes, just a little too much. The middle part of this book (my least favourite bit) felt like pretty much a replica of Rowling's characters and vision for the 'Harry Potter' series, except poorly executed. I could see Harry in Fletcher, definitely Malfoy in Tarquin and Isadora and certainly Othello and Sylva made for a convincing Ron & Hermione. The similarities were a little too much at times. Let's not get started on the Pok√©mon references. The demons themselves were interesting but I couldn't stand that they were referred to as being a particular 'level' or that summoners could go and 'catch' more. And of course, what fantasy world would be complete without the tropey Tolkien lore to make up a vague attempt at world-building.
  • All of the above wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't have been for the mediocre writing. Plenty of novels borrow inspiration from other sources, and some do it better, but this was not the case here. The dialogue between characters felt forced, the language was basic and a little unedited, the descriptions unnecessary and the whole story filled with so much info-dumping. I honestly found myself skimming chunks to get back to the story.
Overall Conclusion:
I really thought that this gave a pretty strong start. It's problem was comparing itself to famous pop culture because with that in mind, the copying was kind of obvious. I would have liked to have seen a little more originality in this series taking only inspiration from those things. There's definitely potential here though, and the end was actually pretty good! If the next book shows off a stronger writing technique and delves into it's own plot a little more then I'll definitely enjoy this series but if it is equally as unimpressive as this one then I won't be continuing.