30 books 30 days: Week One

This is my wrap up of the first week in my April TBR challenge. I think it was around the third or fourth day in April I decided to do this challenge having thankfully already read two manga collections and a short novel which helped my number count from the beginning. In the first week of the challenge I have read seven books!

1: Deathnote Vol II by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

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Read: April  3rd making it the fourth of April when I started this challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed this volume and hope to do a series review once I’ve read the subsequent volumes. Doing a review in this way will allow me to give an honest review without being concerned with spoilers etc.

 

 

2: Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

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Tsukiko is in her late 30s and living alone when one night she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, ‘Sensei’, in a bar. He is at least thirty years her senior, retired and, she presumes, a widower. After this initial encounter, the pair continue to meet occasionally to share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass – from spring cherry blossom to autumnal mushrooms – Tsukiko and Sensei come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly into love.

Perfectly constructed, funny, and moving, Strange Weather in Tokyo is a tale of modern Japan and old-fashioned romance.

Also read on April 3rd.  This is a slow paced romance which I did enjoy however this one was just an average read in my opinion. I did not particularly love any of Kawakami’s characters although I did find the writing beautiful and appreciated the added Haiku study.

 

 

3: Orange The Complete Collection 1 by  Ichigo Takano

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On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan!

Again read on April 3rd. This manga series is unlike any I’ve read before (although I have only ever tried four different series excluding this one) and while I know some people believe it has no staying power, I think it has a sort of subtle brilliance. The storyline is sad and juggles both reality and science fiction. I like the cast of characters and will be continuing with the series.

 

 

4: The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

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Having sifted through everything I have heard about the tiger and his wife, I can tell you that this much is fact: in April of 1941, without declaration or warning, the German bombs started falling over the city and did not stop for three days. The tiger did not know that they were bombs…

A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic – Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book.

Natalia is the granddaughter of that boy. Now a doctor, she is visiting orphanages after another war has devastated the Balkans. On this journey, she receives word of her beloved grandfather’s death, far from their home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery.

From fragments of stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia realizes he may have died searching for ‘the deathless man’, a vagabond who was said to be immortal. Struggling to understand why a man of science would undertake such a quest, she stumbles upon a clue that will lead her to a tattered copy of The Jungle Book, and then to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.

Read on April 5th. I may end up writing a review for one book per week of this challenge. You can find my review in two parts: (Part One)  (Part Two)

 

 

5: A Streetcat named Bob by James Bowen

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When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet.
Yet James couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.

Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts.

A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it.

I believe this was my first non-fiction book of the year which I finished reading yesterday, April 6th. Bowen’s story made me laugh and very nearly cry. I thought it was fast-paced and easy to read. However, I feel like the book did not have a conclusive ending, it seemed as though the book was ended on a whim.

 

6: Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

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At age 19 Anne Brontë left home and worked as a governess for a few years before becoming a writer. Agnes Grey was an 1847 novel based on her experience as a governess. Bronte depicts the precarious position of a governess and how that can affect a young woman. Agnes was the daughter of a minister whose family was in financial difficulty. She has only a few choices for employment. Agnes experiences the difficulty of reining in spoiled children and how wealth can corrupt morals.

Also read yesterday, April 6th. I had several problems with this novel. The first being that Agnes Grey is supposed to be a loveable and moral character. Personally, I did not like Brontë’s protagonist who, in my opinion, made no real, honest human connection after leaving her family’s home. It’s fair to say from the last statement that I was not a fan of the romance either. That being said I am more than happy to acknowledge that Agnes Grey is, for its time, a feminist novel and is therefore indisputably of high importance. I realise when writing this that I will have to write a separate review of this novel as I clearly have more to say than I had initially thought, which is also a good thing, if you are interested this review will be up over the weekend.

 

7: The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka, translated by Joyce Crick

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‘When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into some kind of monstrous vermin.’

With a bewildering blend of the everyday and the fantastical, Kafka thus begins his most famous short story, The Metamorphosis. A commercial traveller is unexpectedly freed from his dreary job by his inexplicable transformation into an insect, which drastically alters his relationship with his family. Kafka considered publishing it with two of the stories included here in a volume to be called Punishments. The Judgement also concerns family tensions, when a power struggle between father and son ends with the father passing an enigmatic judgement on the helpless son. The third story, In the Penal Colony, explores questions of power, justice, punishment, and the meaning of pain in a colonial setting. These three stories are flanked by two very different works. Meditation, the first book Kafka published, consists of light, whimsical, often poignant mood-pictures, while in the autobiographical Letter to his Father, Kafka analyses his difficult relationship in forensic and devastating detail.

For the 125th anniversary of Kafka’s birth comes an astonishing new translation of his best-known stories, in a spectacular graphic package.

Table of contents:

Meditation
The Judgement
The Metamorphosis
In the Penal Colony
(Autobiographical) Letter to his Father

I finished reading this collection today. After reading The Trial a couple of years ago I was really excited to read more Kafka, my favourite part of this collection was the letter he wrote to his father. While I did not enjoy this collection as much as I hoped, or as much as I enjoyed The Trial, I still find Kafka’s writing beautiful.

 

 

Sophie

The Reasons I read…

I was not the most academically minded at primary and secondary school, in fact I didn’t get very good grades in English for a long time. It was my weak link, and I went to extra curriculum classes in primary to catch up. I felt bad about this and as a result shied away from reading or anything really school related. I managed to get good enough results to go to college where I met Sophie who quite honestly turned my ambitions around. I then started working harder and aspired to more than before. As a result I managed to get into university and then get my degree. I have lot to thank Sophie for. I also always wanted to read thanks to my parents who have always read a little here and there.

My Dad is very much into Jack Higgins and James Patterson or any Spy Thrillers really whilst my Mum has always been more likely to read Jodi Picoult or romance although she does like the odd mystery novel. Sam, my crazy sister, likes to read almost everything but her favourite is John Green (eugh) haha. Overall my family read more than average I would say and as a result I am a keen reader.

Finally, you all know how much Sophie reads (a crazy amount) her enthusiasm has definitely worn off on me. My favourite genre would probably be Thrillers, however I do enjoy the odd Classic too such as Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

Why do I read?

  1. Getting taken to a different world and seeing things from a different person’s perspective.
  2. Expanding my knowledge
  3. Help relating to others
  4. To get better at writing
  5. To share thoughts and have discussions with people, specifically those close to me
  6. Because Books, right?

That’s just a little insight into me.

 

Danny

March Wrap Up

In total last month I read seven novels and six graphic novels. I only read one classic which will hopefully never happen again for the remainder of 2017. My book of the month was Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which is in fact the one classic of March. You can find a review of my book of the month here. My favourite graphic novel was Sex Criminals Volume One: One Weird Trick by Fraction and Zdarsky as it was the most original of the six. The Honourable mention of March goes to Cress by Marissa Meyer which I can’t say much about as it is the third book in a series.

 

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Since its publication in 2003, nearly 7 million readers have discovered “The Kite Runner.” Through Khaled Hosseini’s brilliant writing, a previously unknown part of the world was brought to vivid life for readers. Now, in this beautifully illustrated graphic novel adaptation, Hosseini brings his compelling story to a new generation of readers 

The Kite Runner Graphic Novel by Hosseini, Andolfo, Valsecchi and Celoni. I have previously read the original novel which is one of my all time favourites so this was a reread for me. It was adapted well although it took a while to get into as I felt that in the beginning too much of the story was missed and it felt patchy. This is of course not a problem readers who haven’t previously read the novel would have. I really enjoyed the artist’s interpretation of the characters and liked the colour palette.

 

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“Y” is none other than unemployed escape artist Yorick Brown (his father was a Shakespeare buff), and he’s seemingly the only male human left alive after a mysterious plague kills all Y-chromosome carriers on earth. But why are he and his faithful companion, the often testy male monkey Ampersand, still alive? He sets out to find the answer (and his girlfriend), while running from angry female Republicans (now running the government), Amazon wannabes that include his own sister (seemingly brainwashed), and other threats.

Y: The Last Man by Vaughan, Guerra and Marzán Jr. This was my first Vaughan graphic novel and while I know it won’t be my last I don’t think this one is outstanding. Nevertheless it was entertaining and I enjoyed the art therefore I will be continuing with the series. That being said, having only read this volume I cannot see myself buying the series, I will try and request Volume Two from my local library.

 

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‘Elizabeth is missing.’ Maud keeps finding notes in her pockets with this message scrawled on it, but she can’t remember writing it. That said, she can’t remember much these days: the time of day, whether she’s eaten lunch, if her daughter’s come to visit, how much toast she’s eaten. Still, the notes about Elizabeth nag at her. When was the last time she spoke with her best friend? It feels like ages ago…

Frustratingly, no one seems willing to help Maud find her: not the police nor Elizabeth’s son – not even Maud’s own daughter or granddaughter. It’s like they’re hiding something.

Maud resolves to take matters into her own hands, and begins digging for the truth. There are many clues, but unhelpfully, they all seem to point to another unsolved disappearance: that of Maud’s sister Sukey just after the war.

Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance lead Maud to the truth about Elizabeth? As Maud’s mind retreats into the past at a frightening pace, alienating her from her family and carers, vivid memories of what happened over fifty years ago come flooding back to give her quest new momentum.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. This is a book that had lots of hype. I enjoyed the novel although perhaps enjoyed its sub-plot the most. The characters are memorable and while it will not be making my 2017 favourites I would recommend this book to others. Especially those who enjoy unreliable narrators. It was a fast and entertaining read.

 

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Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children’s festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…

While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.

The Girl in the Red Coatby Kate Hamer. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Healey’s crime novel. I found the characters less memorable and while Hamer’s novel was entertaining overall, I found myself getting bored about halfway through.

 

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The classic bestselling book the subject of a play, a movie, and a song that tells the darkly fascinating story of a young, unorthodox teacher and her special, and ultimately dangerous, relationship with six of her students.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. Read more here!

 

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Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Another hyped novel, this book read like a classic and has some memorable characters, although in my opinion Chbosky’s novel has stronger male characters than female. Nevertheless The Perks of Being a Wallflower made my list of Top 10 YA novels.  You can read more about my thoughts of the novel by clicking the title link. I also watched the movie adaptation this month which I also really enjoyed, especially the dance floor scene.

 

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From the author of The Sky Is Every­where, a radiant novel that will leave you laughing and crying – all at once. For fans of John Green, Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver. Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. If only I’d read that Goodreads blurb before reading, “For fans of John Green” I agree with this comparison. This was a hyped novel that I honestly found underwhelming, I found it full of clichés, I did not like the relationship between the two main characters or even the characters themselves. While I did enjoy Noah’s narrative more I still did not particularly enjoy Nelson’s YA novel. It is also really long so overall an unfortunately disappointing read.

 

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Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, another book I did not enjoy this month which I’m deeply disappointed by as it is one of my reading goals to read more non-fiction, memoirs included. However I will not be reading any of Moran’s other works, the humour was not for me.

 

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The Definitive Deadpool by  Fabian NiciezaJoe MadureiraJoe KellyTony MooreDaniel WayRob LiefeldPaco MedinaAlé Garza , Brian PosehnGerry Duggan

This was as I expected it to be, some of it was entertaining and witty and other parts I found boring. The problem probably stemmed from the fact that while I enjoy certain superheroes I am more a fan of X-Men and Batman than other Marvel characters or in this case individual Marvel characters. I am not an Avengers fan for instance as I think they always try too hard to be funny. Therefore I guess I’m trying to say take my words with a pinch of salt.

 

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Callum is a nought – an inferior white citizen in a society controlled by the black Crosses.
Sephy is a Cross – and the daughter of one of the most powerful, ruthless men in the country.
In their hostile, violent world, noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. But when Sephy and Callum’s childhood friendship grows into love, they’re determined to find a way to be together.
And then the bomb explodes . . .

The long-awaited graphic novel adaptation of one of the most influential, critically acclaimed and original novels of all time, from multi-award-winning Malorie Blackman

Noughts and Crosses Graphic Novel by Blackman and John Aggs, another reread for me. I enjoyed the graphic novel and found that the story flowed better in this adaptation than it did in The Kite Runner: A Graphic Novel however I liked the art less. I would recommend the novel over the graphic novel. 

 

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Suzie’s just a regular gal with an irregular gift: when she has sex, she stops time. One day she meets Jon and it turns out he has the same ability. And sooner or later they get around to using their gifts to do what we’d ALL do: rob a couple banks. A bawdy and brazen sex comedy for comics begins here!

Sex Criminals Volume One: One Weird Trick by Fraction and Zdarsky, a highly original and funny graphic novel. I can’t go into it without spoilers but I will vaguely say that I had an issue with the characters introduced at the end of the novel and what they were there for. I will also try to request Volume Two from my local library.

 

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Cress by Marissa Meyer. I can’t insert a blurb for this one as it is the third in a series. However, I will be doing a spoiler review of The Lunar Chronicles once I have read the final novel Winter.

 

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Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman, a family history of the holocaust. This graphic novel is deeply effecting and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Review – ASOUE Netflix Series

Last year I was challenged to read The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket the first part in a 13 book series known as A Series Of Unfortunate Events (ASOUE). I had watched the movie starring Jim Carey and was optimistic at the prospect of the book. After reading the first book as part of the challenge I enjoyed it so much that I read the following 3 books in the series and will continue to finish them all.

Lemony Snicket the narrator of the books and also stars in the new series on Netflix is hilariously gloomy and admirably witty. The casting of Patrick Warburton as Lemony was on point, his ability to keep a straight face and his stern voice brought the Narrator in the books to life perfectly. I thought the casting of Jim Carey in the 2004 movie was good, however after reading the books I believe Neil Patrick Harris to be a more resembling fit for the character. He has an ability to pull of being an absolutely horrifying person as well as being incredibly amusing to watch and sometimes, just downright creepy (yeah I am talking about Stefano).

The Netflix Series covers the first 4 books, 2 episodes per book. This made it very good for me to binge as I have only read the first 4 books so far. I was a little confused, as it appears that plots in which you do not learn about until the 5th book run parallel to the story knew and loved. I thoroughly enjoyed the series from the catchy opening theme music which changed per book to the little hint that would come to light in the next series of which I can only assume will cover the next 4 books. I will definitely aim to finish reading all 13 books before series 2.

I can say with absolute certainty that the new series is infinitely better than the 2004 movie. Sorry Jim. The story is portrayed in a lot more detail and the little things that make the book so great do not disappoint. The series is about the Baudelaire Orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny. As you can probably guess from the title they do not have the most fortunate upbringing. There will be spoilers from now on so please proceed with caution. It all starts on an overcast deserted beach where the 3 Baudelaire’s are making sand castles but mainly experimenting with Violets newest invention. Meanwhile whilst they are away their parents are perishing in a fire. It is at this stage where Mr Poe enters the equation, my least favourite character. He is full of patronising idiocy that never fails to annoy. He is the Bank Manager in charge of the Baudelaire fortune and the welfare of the now orphaned trio.

As I do not want to give too much away the general gist of the series is about the orphans being put with various so called ‘family members’ namely Count Olaf who is out to steal their fortune, so far from what I have read the Orphans use their intelligence and wit to save themselves from being caught in his clutches. Count Olaf tricks Mr Poe, which is way too easy into giving him rights of guardianship over the Baudelaire’s, the children see Count Olaf for who he is, a terrible actor trying to get his hands on their parents fortune. This again is where it starts, when his initial plan is foiled the children are moved to different family member away from Count Olaf. This issue being that he does not leave them be and follows them to each of their new guardians causing mayhem along the way.

My favourite character in the series is Klaus Baudelaire as he is known for reading himself out of a problem. This appeals to me partly down to be job and also down to my passion for reading.

I can only assume that the series will continue in the same vain in that Count Olaf keeps on pursuing the children using his manipulating charm and charismatic evil-ness (haha) and the children continue to outwit him, what I am more intrigued by is how the series ends. Do the Baudelaire’s finally find peace or is it as unfortunate as the rest?

Anyway one last note, if you have read the books then watch the series. If you are thinking about reading the books then stop thinking and get reading!

 

Danny

April Wrap-Up

Yes, this post is very late, forgive me. I feel like I have been in a reading slump for a long time although I have read 65 books so far in 2016 therefore I’m not actually reading less than usual I am just in an odd mind-set that often makes me reluctant to pick up my current reads. Nevertheless here is an account of the books I read throughout April…

The Radio by M.Jonathan Lee- I hope to read the other books in this trilogy and post a series review.

Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 3 by Sui Ishida- Another terrific volume, I highly recommend this Manga series.

Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan- I recently posted a review of The Darren Shan Saga books 1-6 that you can read here.

The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan (2)

Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan (3)

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll- my first ever graphic novel! I enjoyed this collection of short stories although it was not as good as I had hoped it would be. My favourite story was the one with the creepy song.

Fairest Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham- I enjoyed this read too and will definitely be reading Fables, the series that inspired this spin-off series, soon. The artwork was fantastic and very colourful which only added to the fantasy world in which our story is set.

Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan (4)

Trials of Death by Darren Shan (5)

American Vampire by Scott Snyder- This was an interesting read with a refreshing take on Vampirism. The dialogue was fantastic (as expected with King’s input) it was both dark and comical. While I may not purchase the series I would read the next instalment if I found it at my local library.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- I gave this book three stars, it was what I expected it to be, an easy-read with an interesting protagonist who has a bigger persona online than in real life. I did not appreciate the patronising boy-drama that seems crucial to any teenage girl centred YA novel. I did appreciate the fact that this novel shows a teenage girl who suffers from anxiety as well liked despite the fact she is an introvert. It chronicles some major struggles anxiety sufferers face. The family relationships portrayed in the novel were also generally well done.

The Vampire Prince by Darren Shan (6)

Gate 7 Vol.1 by CLAMP- In all honesty I just did not understand this one. Perhaps there is more plot in the continuations? this seemed to very vaguely introduce you to three supernatural beings and a parallel dimension without giving you any real information of who they are, why the parallel dimension exists, or why the seemingly normal protagonist has stumbled upon it. Instead the basis of the plot was look one of these supernatural beings- the only girl in the whole manga- is cute. That was her main characteristic.

Wolverine and the X-Men Vol. 1 by Jason Aaron- This was my first Marvel read and I really enjoyed it, it was quirky and fun and the artwork was good. I will be reading more.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo- This book started out well for me and then I found myself, at times, getting a little bored. A tale of national identity and immigration the plot centres around some very important issues and does this well. I do not believe Darling to be a very likeable character and find her reactions to American culture interesting but her actions unforgivably selfish. I thought the friendships depicted in the novel were one of the books major strengths.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Vol. 1 by Denise Mina- I have never read the Millennium Trilogy before so went into this graphic novel blind. I loved it, the artwork was incredible and the colour pallet very appropriate to the general mood of the story and was very intrigued by the plot, I will be reading Volume 2 as soon as possible, which I expect to be better than the first due to the continuation of the plot.

Hunters of the Dusk by Darren Shan (7)

Allies of the Night by Darren Shan (8)

Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan (9)

Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 4 by Sui Ishida-This series is consistently entertaining and each volume is inarguably purposeful. I will definitely be continuing with the series and hope to read Volume 5 in May.

Therefore I read three Mangas, 12 novels and five graphic novels which was really exciting as I had never read any graphic novels before, I will definitely continue reading this genre. I hope to read more Classic Lit throughout May.

 

February Wrap-Up

Sophie: I managed to read 15 books this month which is the same as in January. The books I read are as follows

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: 3/5, you can see my review here

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey: 4/5, you can see my review here

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 5/5

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 5/5

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 4/5

A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway: 5/5

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: 4/5, you can see my review here

The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt- 4/5

The Revenant by Michael Punke- 2/5

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling- 5/5, you can see my review here

A Tiny Feeling of Fear by M. Jonathan Lee: 5/5, you can see my mini review here

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler: 3/5

Sky Burial by Xinran: 4/5

The Old Man and the Moon by Shen Fu – 3/5

A Young Sherlock Holmes:Death Cloud by Andrew Lane – 3/5

Danny: This February I have read a total of 7 books, I have not been able to read as much as I would have liked due to work commitments. I have however managed to take get 10% through my Goodreads challenge for 2016, though I am apparently 9 books being schedule, I guess that is what happens when you set your challenge at 146 books. The books I read in February are as follows:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K.Rowling – 4/5 Brilliant but not my favourite Harry Potter book.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling – 4/5

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K.Rowling – 5/5 Probably in my top 2

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami – 5/5 see my review here

The Nightmare before Christmas by Tim Burton – 4/5

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling – 5/5

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 4/5

We are going to London this weekend as we have tickets to go to Harry Potter Studios, we can’t wait! We will definitely be writing a post about our trip and hope to come back home with a lot of Harry Potter goodies.

Sophie’s January Wrap Up!

To mark the first day of February we are back with our first readathon results and our January wrap-ups!

Our January readathon was a challenge to see who could read the most pages in a fortnight. This challenge was done between ourselves and Danny’s sister Sam

And the results are as follows……

In 1st Place with a total of 3,996 pages….ME!

In 2nd Place with a total of 1,567 pages….Danny

In 3rd Place with a total of 1,551 pages….Sam

Now would be a good time to explain that out of the three of us I had the most free time. Although I also believe Danny will never let Sam live her defeat down.

Now to begin the Wrap Ups  

In January I read a total of 15 books including a YA series, a Fantasy series, the first book of a Children’s series (re-read) and a Classic novel I began in December. Overall it proved a very successful and diverse reading month. Here’s hoping I accomplish as much in February. My reads and ratings are below.

City of Bones:  3/5

It’s always harder to enjoy a novel if you have already seen a screen adaptation­. This was the case with City of Bones. I am aware of the controversy over the series and the author but am holding judgement on that as I do not know the facts. I love the shadow hunter world and I believe it to be original.

City of Ashes: 3/5

The second instalment was enjoyable although I believe it was mainly world building and showing character development. This plot was romance-focused with the plot and character development centred around a love triangle which may be why it is probably my least favourite of the series.

City of Glass:  5/5

The third book in the series finished as it started, with a bombshell. This book was probably my favourite of The Mortal Instruments as it proved to be a turning point for the whole novel.

City of Fallen Angels: 4/5

This novel did not match up to the previous though the tension building was good and I liked the ending.

City of Lost Souls: 5/5

This one matched City of Glass in terms of quality and was fast paced & jam-packed from beginning to end.

City of Heavenly Fire: 4/5

I was disappointed with the ending of the series! It was an enjoyable read but the ending was not all I was hoping it would be.

The Magician’s Nephew:  5/5

This was a re-read and though I remember it being my favourite of the series I forgot how funny it was. I co-read this with Danny and we both laughed a lot. It was sweet and magical and witty. I loved it and can’t wait to finish reading the rest of the series.

A Game of Thrones: 4/5

Here I had the same problem that I had with City of Bones. Being a huge fan of the show I found the book to be an exact match of the first season. Nevertheless this was obviously no fault of George R R Martin and as I love the story/stories I felt it necessary to give this four out of five stars.

A Clash of Kings: 5/5

In A Game of Thrones’ sequel we get to know of a few added extras that are not shown in HBO’s series. This book is a lot bigger than the previous and is crammed with excitement.

A Storm of Swords:  3/5

Every time I rate a book five stars it’s hard for the next book to match my expectations. I was also wary that this was part one of two for the first time, all the excitement must have been left for the second instalment of A Storm Of Swords.

A Storm of Swords:Blood&Gold: 5/5

I will forever refer to this book as ‘the one where everyone dies’ and though it is heart-wrenchingly tragic it is also so so good. This instalment was fast-paced and may have given me heart palpitations. I recommend having a medically trained professional close by at all times when reading this book. Blood&Gold makes the whole series worth reading.

A Feast for Crows: 4/5

Again, the last book was hard to out-do. This book seemed slower paced than the last. Although it too was captivating, its very easy to get lost in Martin’s world.

A Dance with Dragons:Dreams&Dust: 4/5

I loved the storylines of characters who are not in the show! This made the series so much more exciting for me and left me eager for the seventh book.

A Dance with Dragons:After the Feast:  5/5

This ending was so good! Now I join Martin’s league of fans in wait for the next instalment!

My Antonia: 3/5

I enjoyed this book though it took me a long time to finish reading. Both the beginning and the ending will stay with me for a long time, which is impressive in itself. I love Cather’s main characters Antonia&Jim. It lost stars purely because in my opinion it was not gripping, it’s definitely a slow-burner.

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