Friday, 24 February 2017

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Wing Jones is a debut novel, following 15 year old Wing as she discovers herself in a world where it's hard to find your own place. After an unexpected tragedy strikes the Jones family, Wing finds her love and skill for running. Often overshadowed by her sports star brother Marcus, she never thought it possible to be capable of such ability herself. A heartfelt and diverse read with a perfect blend of romance, friendship and family, a unique novel that the Young Adult genre desperately needed.

Genre: Contemporary

This is a very important book for the YA genre, exploring themes of family tensions, friendship and discovering what it means to believe in yourself. I have never felt so empowered after reading a book and Wing is a perfect role model to be inspired by, I am sure I was not the only one wanting to go for a run as soon as I put the book down! It is interesting that, in the beginning she uses her running as a distraction to the new chaotic atmosphere at home, which is a perfect example of how people deal with tragedy in different ways.

Even though sport was the main concept of this book, due to Wing's continuous training, the book was carefully balanced by never forgetting about the supporting characters and their respective plot lines. A key example is the tension that flows throughout between Wing's grandmothers. Coming from different cultures, one from Ghana and another from China, they often disagree, yet this book perfectly shows how important family can be and how deep down they are willing to do anything for each other. This made their dynamic so interesting to read, the story would not be the same without them.

This review wouldn't be complete without commenting on the romance, it was pleasantly age appropriate but still consumed my soul and gave me all sort of #goals. I find that YA books are prone to dramatising teenage relationships, often giving readers a sense of unrealistic hope but Wings' reaction to her first crush was totally me at her age, it was hilarious and heartwarming to read about!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Trapped In Silver By Emily Sowden

Trapped in Silver is an eerie fantasy that follows seventeen year old Ava as she becomes tangled in a centuries long war between creatures she believed to be merely myths and legends. After a dangerous encounter with the Berserkers, their leader develops an obsession with her and vows to hunt her down as Ava's ability to trust is put to the test and she forms an unlikely alliance with the Demons. After news spreads of her brother's disappearance, Ava becomes even more determined to learn more about these strange lands and monsters as she fights for her life. 

Genre: Fantasy

Such a breath of fresh air in the genre of high fantasy with a lot of suspense and haunting scenes. The writing was great and this may be an odd aspect to point out but I loved the descriptions about fear, they very eerie and well considered. Top favorites being:

  • "I was afraid of the dark once, but it was a fear I could not longer afford" 
  • "Fear made people corruptible"
  • "Fear should motivate you, not rule you
Ava's character is such a great protagonist for two key reasons:

1. She takes crap from nobody and isn't afraid to kick some ass to prove it, which I loved as she wasn't a stereotypical warrior character that can straight away beat everything in her way. No one is a perfect fighter from the get go, so I enjoyed seeing Ava's determination and watching (or rather reading) her grow in strength and ability. I mean she bloody walks around with a knife strapped to herself. Goals.

2. She's SASSY AND I LOVE IT. Speaking as an experienced sass monster, I was impressed. 

I did get frustrated with Ava's decisions sometimes as they came across a bit too reckless, as it's one thing to be determined but another to be unreasonable, which I felt sometimes did overrule.

I adored the classifications of the monsters in this book, as most high fantasies feature too many creatures and it gets hard to follow but here we got just the right amount. The types of Demons were particularly interesting and their different characteristics were so well thought out. Finally a high fantasy series that explored other beings that had very compelling histories, and this matched well with the individual characters' backgrounds. 

This being a first book in a series, I was pleasantly surprised at how intricate the relationships were between all the characters, my favorite interactions being that of Ava and Ethan. Their scenes were very suspenseful and even though they threw shade at each other, which added a lot of comedy, it was nicely balanced. 

Overall, thank you Emily for writing such a unique fantasy, I can't wait to read more of your work!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage is set in a world run by magically enhanced aristocrats, known as Equals, and where every citizen of Britain has to complete 10 years of 'Slavedays'. During this time you lose all your rights as a human and get given a job to fulfill for an entire decade. The plot follows a family that decide to do their Slavedays together but not all goes according to plan as they get split up, with one of them going to the most harshest labour camp. The rest get sent to work on the estate owned by the Equals, where they experience a very different life to that of their son. 

Genre: Urban Fantasy

This book is a perfect blend of two genres that do not often get paired together, fantasy and dystopian. I would also go as far as to say that it is a suspense novel due to the numerous plot twists that keep the plot engaging and addictive. What makes this a very unique dystopian is the fact that futuristic worlds are often created with a complete disregard for normalcy, especially when it comes to everyday practices such as hobbies that characters enjoy doing. James seems to keep reminding the reader that albeit this is a different world, the characters are not robots without personalities as small reminders of them talking about music or literature, make them relateable and real. 

In regards to the writing style, I often struggle with reading from multiple points of view, yet this book hits the jackpot by making each characters' perspective different from the others and you can clearly distinguish between all the chapters, which is rare *cough cough Allegiant*. I originally thought this many points of view (there are 7!) would discourage me but on the contrary, it felt like watching episodes of a TV show, filled with cliffhangers, which were answered later on in the story and this gave me time to process plot twists, which had me floored each time. 

This is a highly character driven book and each has a very well developed back story, which is surprising given that this is not a long book at all. Their clashing personalities add a lot of excitement to the plot and so there was never a dull moment, especially when dealing with the Estate, which was my favorite setting. The most interesting characters were the Jardines, the Equal family we follow throughout the story, in particular the three sons of a very power hungry noble. They are very intricate people that repel stereotypes, as I find normally with stories such as this, they would be expected to be disagreeing with their harsh father and following a common book trope that they are good people deep down. This is pleasantly not the case, as even when appearing to be showing a softer side there is always an ulterior motive, it keeps you guessing till the end. 

Throughout the story the main aim is to resolve a controversial proposal that is brought up in Parliament so there is a political aspect to this urban fantasy, which means it isn't overwhelmed by romance, quite rare for a Young Adult book. Essentially, James runs away from cliches and does the opposite by engaging the reader with themes other than stereotypical love triangles. Romance is used as a tiny (yet addictive) backdrop to the plot. 

If you are looking for a completely feels worthy, unforgettable story that plays host to an intriguing cast of characters, then Gilded Cage is a must read. 

No doubt a five star book. 

Check out my spoiler review of it below, if you've read it and wish to discuss! 

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Christmas Signed Giveaway- Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella! [CLOSED]

In honor of Christmas, I have decided to host another signed giveaway!

Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I had the pleasure of meeting her in the summer and I brought along an extra book to give away!

To enter simply follow the below rules! EUROPE ONLY

  • Sign up to the blog by email (on desktop its on the right hand side at the top- if using mobile click to 'view web version)
  • Comment on this post that you wish to enter
  • Share the post (on any social media)
*By entering, you confirm that you are over 18 or obtained parents/guardians permission*

This is also running on YouTube so enter on there too if you wish to increase your odds! Details are in my Wattpad Con vlog!

Ends 16th December

Friday, 11 November 2016

Steve Backshall's Wild World Tour

It's not everyday that a young adult, such as myself, gets excited about going to the theatre to watch a show by a children's nature presenter, yet the second Steve Backshall's name is brought up, I make whatever arrangements to be there. This is strongly evidenced by me travelling to Tunbridge Wells 3 years ago for a book signing for his latest book release, the journey for which was over 2 hours. It's safe to say I'm dedicated.

Two weeks ago I attended his Wild World tour and I can say hands down it was the best show that I've been to, purely because my expectations, which were very high to begin with, were exceeded immensely. Steve's stage presence and interaction with the audience was fantastic and it was a highly interactive show which allowed questions throughout but it was balanced with clips and photos from his travels. 

The most important aspect that resulted from the talk was hands down learning about the consequences of the shark trade. As the first part was about marine life, there was a focus on the different types of sharks and how little of a danger they are to humans, I was definitely surprised at how many species are virtually harmless and it is us that pose a big danger in regards to their extinction.

We were also introduced to Bite Back, a charity, which aims to protect sharks and conserve ocean life and the facts they produced were chilling to hear about. Who knew that if the trade of shark fins isn't abolished, sharks could become extinct by 2048, I couldn't even comprehend that. But on a happier note, it was awesome to contribute to such a cause and I walked away with a very fashionable luggage label which spreads the message of this wonderful charity. 

The rest of the show focused on other wildlife and having a live commentary to the videos of hiking and mountaineering definitely brought me back to when I first discovered Deadly 60, it was like seeing an episode in real life. My *non-existent* book buying self control of course possessed me to buy myself 'A Life on the Rocks' and can't wait to read about all the expeditions Steve has gone on. He was my original inspiration for starting climbing and so a more suitable book could not exist! 

I cannot recommend getting a ticket to a future Steve Backshall event enough, you will not be disappointed!

Till next time!

Liv xoxo

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Bookhaul Madness

Being an obsessive reader means that automatically you get no control over what you spend your money on. Your willpower dissolves and you keep buying books to no end. I have an entire bookshelf of books I haven't read, yet this bookhaul still happened...yes, I admit I have a problem! 

I could try and explain why I keep falling down this road but since I haven't got the slightest idea, enjoy the madness that is my addictive book buying instead! 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Harry Potter signing at Hatchards

When it was announced that Jim Kay, the illustrator responsible for the gorgeous drawings in the Harry Potter Illustrated editions, would be coming to London, I got freakishly excited. Every year new illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books are being published and this all started in 2015 with Philosophers Stone. Now in October 2016 we get to experience Chamber of Secrets in a whole new light. Therefore, on Saturday morning I boarded a train to London St Pancras...heavily wishing it was the Hogwarts Express. But one issue at a time.

After getting to the signing an hour early, I spent the waiting time browsing the shelves and being tempted with everything in the store as well as meeting other readers with whom I deliberated about various bookish topics. Put readers together in a room and the talking never ends, in particular as this was a Harry Potter event, we delved deep into Hogwarts discussions.

Slightly before 11 o'clock, Jim arrived and began signing and being fifth in line allowed me some time to prepare my mentality and open my book so I don't make a fool out of myself when it's my turn (which has happened, lets be real). Having met a range of authors and illustrators in my nineteen years of life, I was pleasantly surprised  by how open and chatty Jim was and I was barely able to get a greeting in before he dived into a story of why he decided to draw a toad as the introductory picture in the first book. Turns out, he had a pet toad that had an unusual mouth that looked like it was constantly sticking out its tongue, hence the curious illustration on the opening page. There you go, an exclusive sneak peak into the brain of the mastermind behind these gorgeous editions.

I can say without a doubt that these books are a necessity for all Potterheads, the drawings bring a new perspective to the story and having another medium to view it in, shows the story in a unique way. The illustrations have a very sophisticated feel to them and they embrace the plot perfectly, my favorites definitely being the interpretation of Diagon Alley, the detail of which is astonishing. Now it's time for me to purchase the newly released Chamber of Secrets to carry on the collection! I am hoping the next 5 years go by very fast, I can only imagine what they will all look like on my shelf lined up *heavy breathing*.

Somehow, I always have a crazy story that derives from a signing so I can't wait to attend another.

Till next time!