Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Book Review | The Martian by Andy Weir

Released: 11th February 2014
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 369 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

The Martian is one of the funniest books I have read which is quite surprising considering it's an insanely intense story about an astronaut stranded and struggling to stay alive on Mars. This book is written in diary entries from the main character, Mark Watney, as well as some parts which are written in third person about the people at NASA and the Hermes' crew members in space. I loved the whole premise of this book and it was really interesting to read all about all the ways that Watney managed to survive on a planet all by himself. His sarcastic remarks and random jokes were also a highlight of the book for me.

“They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially ‘colonised’ it. So technically, I colonised Mars.In your face, Neil Armstrong!” 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Top Ten Favourite Stand-Alone Books

A whole lot of YA books that are really popular and hyped up on the interweb are part of trilogies and series and while I love all those books sometimes what I really need is a quick stand-alone book to read in between all these huge series. Here are my top ten favourite stand-alone novels, most of them are contemporary/realistic fiction but I tried to include some fantasy/dystopian books as well :)

#10 Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis

Stitching Snow is a science fiction, fairy tale retelling of Snow White set in a completely different world where there are three planets governed by the corrupt and violent King Matthias. The main character Essie just happens to be the long lost daughter of the king and wants revenge. Other than the fact that this book has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen, the book itself is really imaginative and so much fun!

#9 It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

It's Kind of a Funny Story deals with some heavy topics following a main character dealing with depression and many side characters with other mental illnesses but it does a really good job of exploring these themes but still have a whole lot of really funny scenes along with the emotional ones.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

How To Read More

I am by no means a very fast reader and don't always get to read my book every single day, but somehow I still do manage to read quite a few books overall each year. Sometimes however I just find myself not reading that much or getting into a reading slump after finishing a particularly intense book (*cough* Sarah J Maas *cough*). And while it's fine to take a break from reading from time to time, I just wanted to share a couple of tips to help you get back into reading or just read more often.

#1 Always keep a book with you 

I mean it, carry your book with you everywhere. While you might not always have a lot of time to read you might get a couple pages in while you wait in line for something or while you travel to school or work. Most of the time this works for me but because sometimes I just won't be in the mood to read when I'm very stressed during the day I'll just leave it in my bag. But noticing the book there does make me want to pick it up and continue later on. It's always better to read a little than nothing and if you read a few pages during your day they might get you pulled into the story and interest you enough to start you reading the book the second you get some free time. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Book Review | One by Sarah Crossan

Released: 27th August 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 448 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins. 
And their lives are about to change.
No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?
But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…
From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate?

To be perfectly honest I randomly picked this book up because of the super pretty cover while I was in the bookstore. After reading the blurb and the first few pages I was completely engrossed in the story and finished the whole thing in one sitting. Sarah Crossan has written One in free verse so it is technically quite a short book even with 400+ pages but it was an absolutely wonderful read from start to finish. I am nowhere near an expert in poetry/free verse or anything of the sort but really enjoyed this style of writing. The free verse helped to draw attention to certain dramatic moments and made the main character Grace's emotions that much more real and helped me to sympathize with her.

“I read all these books,

so many words,

but I don't own any.

I don't know what's happening

inside me.

I can't get it out.” 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Autumn YA Releases

It's September 23rd and that means autumn is finally here! Wizards and witches are boarding the
Hogwarts Express back to school while muggles are trying their hardest to create their own Butterbeer. I love autumn, the pretty leaves, pumpkin spiced everything but also the whole bunch of new books that get released so I thought I would make a list of the most interesting and most anticipated YA novels that come out in the next three months.

Y       The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan

Release date: 6th October

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.


Y       Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Release date: 6th October

Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Carry On
 is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Allegiant 'Beyond The Wall' | Teaser Trailer Discussion

Watch the teaser trailer first!

The first teaser trailer for Allegiant was released this weekend! To be fair half of the 1 minute and 50 seconds of the trailer was just scenes from Divergent and Insurgent (I have read and watched these thanks) but we did get some cool scenes of Tris and the group escaping the city, running around on the weird Mars-like place and later talking to David in the headquarter area.

Now Allegiant is definitely my least favourite book from this series so naturally I don't think it was a great idea to split the movie into two parts since not a lot actually happens in this book. However it seems that the movies might make some changes to the plot since in the end of Insurgent Jeanine was cut out of the story and some characters who have important storylines in Allegiant (*cough* Uriah and Zeke *cough*) weren't introduced or barely given a backstory in the movie adaptations.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Book Haul #1 | Fantasy and Fashion

Here is my very first book haul for this blog! Since I didn't buy that many books so far this month alone I decided to haul all my new books from August and September together. 

So first of all I have two graphic novels; In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang and Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. (If Noelle Stevenson's artwork looks really familiar to you its because she was also the illustrator for Fangirl's cover art and comic strip☺). These are my first graphic novels and I've already read and loved In Real Life. Both these books have really pretty artwork and some awesome female main characters.

Next I have two books that I got on a huge sale called ABC Treehouse sale where I paid €5 per kilogram of books. The two books I got from this sale were The Dress by Megan Hess and Fearless by Francine Pascal. The Dress is something I would never normally buy because it's wayyy too expensive considering its hardback with colour illustrations on each page but since it was on sale I had to have it. This book has the 100 most iconic dresses according to the author/fashion illustrator and they are so gorgeous, I couldn't stop staring at them.   

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Book Review | Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Series: Rebel Belle #1
Released: 8th April 2014 
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 345 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.
Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
After having this book recommended to me over and over by one of my friends I did have quite high expectations for it and I was not disappointedRebel Belle is one of the funniest YA books I have read in a long time. Although technically fantasy the book was written in a way that makes it read almost like a contemporary but with some mythology mixed in. Whilst being quite action-packed it had a whole lot of funny moments, a cute love story, and a wide cast of quirky characters that I really grew to care for. If you weren't aware Rachel Hawkins is also the author behind the Hex Hall series and the spin-off series School Spirits which were both quite popular three or four years ago. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

First Steps into the Forest

My first blog post! I've finally made my very own blog, my own magical forest filled with my musings on books, authors, characters and so on. I'm sure there are others just like me who are obsessed with escaping the world and finding a home in books. If you happen to stick around I hope I'll be able to inspire you to pick up a new book, discover a different author or explore a new genre. Over the next few weeks you might see a couple discussions growing around the forest and I hope you will all join in and share your thoughts as well.