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. 

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!


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

London Film and Comic Con and YALC Roundup!

A third YALC at LFCC is done and dusted, which naturally means I will be locked up in my room reading all the books I acquired, for the next foreseeable future. Once again the publisher stands were filled with proofs, merchandise and tote bags to satisfy my fangirl desires and hoard them like there's no tomorrow. 

Over the weekend I had acquired some very anticipated reads, my most faint worthy was of course Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was released on the final day of the convention. As well as that, I couldn't resist adding new books to my never ending tbr and so I bought And I Darken and Black Arts. By some miracle, I also got my hands on a signed proof of Gilded Cage! 

The most surreal part of the weekend was seeing my favorite authors face to face, some I have had the pleasure of meeting before and it was awesome catching up.  

Sally Green, VE Schwab, 
Samantha Shannon and David Levithan!
James Smythe, Sophie Kinsella, 
Dawn Kurtagich and Cat Doyle!

Chris Vick, Taran Matharu and
 Nina LaCour!

One of the highlights from the weekend was fulfilling my long life aspiration of sitting on the iron throne, ready to rule Winterfell. It is needless to say that I felt like a badass empress about to take on the world, my reaction to it fulfilling the definition of fangirl, recorded in the Day 2 Vlog for your viewing pleasure.

Over the weekend, the main hall stools offered a range of merchandise from books, film and tv, which led to me becoming the proud owner of a Slytherin mug, a Game of Thrones notebook and two newspaper prints from Harry Potter and Daredevil. 

 It's always difficult to pick which panels to attend due to the sheer amount of signings I write into my schedule but "Behind the Magic" could not be missed, fantasy is my favorite genre and it was fascinating learning how different authors come up with their own magical systems. The line up was made up of the wonderful Taran Matharu, Victoria Schwab, Sally Green and Malinda Salisbury and they each discussed what it's like to not overhwelm a reader with too much information about the magical rules in their respectvive series or how much planning goes into writing a plotline with complicated magical systems. 

While my main goal for attending the convention is to meet authors, I am also a massive comic book fan and so I love venturing out to the main LFCC floor. The highlight of this year was definitely the display of Suicide Squad costumes, which are the originals worn by the cast in the movie. Check them out in the Day 1 vlog!

Already counting the days for next year!




Thursday, 4 August 2016

Review: The Dead House

It is not everyday that you can say a book has left you speechless and confounded at the same time, intrigued by the intricacy of the human mind and how it can affect everyday life. The Dead House is one of those books.

The novel follows the uncovering of a tragedy that occurred twenty five years ago at Elmbridge High School, after it was burned down, during which a number of students were killed. Nobody knows why or how it happened until the police discover the diary of the main protagonist, Carly, who went missing after the  fire. The story is told through numerous media, namely news reports, video footage and interviews as we discover how each of the characters has played a role in the  infinite ending. The main premise allows us to witness the story through different perspectives due to Carly suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, as we see Kaitlin make appearances during the night.

Being the first horror novel that I have dived into, I expected to have the same reaction as I do to horror films, which rarely leave me with paranoid thoughts and an inability to sleep. How wrong my naive hard-ass self was. Numerous times, I was left freaked out beyond belief at the eerie chapters full of gory faces in mirrors or sounds of breathing down a phone, having to halt my reading to reassure myself that there was no one grinning at me through my window.

The plot twists throughout the story were cleverly written and as the investigation unfolds, we see the contrast of how Kaitlin was affected by only living in the night as apposed to Carly, who experienced a different type of life in the day.

The novel is compelling throughout and you can't help but be invested in all the supporting characters, as they each have intricate back stories, which is rare for most books. It is particularly a kick in the face, when we learn about the betrayals and deceptions, as they threw me completely, and consisted of feelings of bewilderment that I did not see them coming.

Check out my video review for further discussion!