Monday, 15 February 2016

Carry On - Rainbow Rowell (2015)

5 stars

Three different people bought me this book over the holidays, three, obviously my love for Rainbow Rowell is well known and after this book, so well deserved.

I loved this book, all anyone had to say was gay wizards and I would be interested but add Rainbow Rowell and it just became one of the funnest and cutest books I've read recently. It is told from alternating perspectives, but mostly Simon and Baz's and the whole book is very hard to put down, except for the first part in which Baz is missing from school and so we don't hear anything from him for about one hundred pages. Even though the main plot of the book is about defeating the Humdrum the relationship between Simon and Baz is really what drove me to keep reading the whole time, it was so well done and I had so much fun and anticipation reading it that it's basically all I can remember from most of the book. My favourite character was definitely Baz, there is no question about my undying love for the sassy, self-described queer boy who one summer tried to masturbate his crush away. His perspective was my favourite, he always made me laugh and I just can't even articulate why I love him so much but I do. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Rainbow's books, people who like a good adventure book with romance, or anyone looking for a good book with LGBTQ characters.

It's Simon Snow's last year at Watford's School of Magicks and once he arrives he is unnerved to learn that his roommate, Baz, hasn't arrived. He basically goes nuts wondering where he is for the first month of school or however long Baz is gone for, and while Baz is gone the ghost of his mother tells Simon that since she can't find Baz he has to give him a message, that her killer still walks and he should ask Nicodemus about it. Baz returns and you learn that he's been in love with Simon for years so when Simon tells him the message from his mother they make a deal to work together to find her killer. When Baz goes home for Christmas Simon learns who Nicodemus is and travels to Baz's house to tell him that he learned he's a vampire and is Ebeneza's brother. They go to find Nicodemus and when he won't tell them anything except that someone hired the vampires to attack the school when his mother died, Baz becomes frustrated and lights a forest on fire around him because he wants to die. Simon kisses him in the middle of the fire and Baz puts it out using Simon's magic and they basically start dating. They realize that the Humdrum is a vacuum of magic caused by Simon's own magic but the Mage is insane and wants to sacrifice someone with a lot of power to try to stop the Humdrum. He kills Ebeneza and tries to kill Simon but Simon gives all his magic to the Humdrum to fill the vacuum so when the Mage realizes he has no magic left he starts yelling at Simon, Simon and Penelope accidently kill him when she casts a "Simon says" spell and he says to stop hurting him. Simon is then stuck with no magic but with red wings and a tail from when he flew to the Mage and the Humdrum, he doesn't finish school but he goes to the graduation ball so he can dance with Baz. Simon and Penny end up sharing a flat in London while Baz lives nearby and he and Simon are cute as hell.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas (2012)

4.5 stars

I'd heard a lot about how good this book is online and then one of my friends was amazed when she found out I hadn't read it, I decided to eventually get around to it but when yet another friend just brought it to me one day when we were hanging out because she was sure I'd love it I finally read it.

This book is told mainly from Celaena's persective but it often has snippets from Chaol, Dorian and occaisonally Kaltain. This book actually took me a long time to get through which I think is weird because it was really good, I loved Celaena and I loved the plotline but for some reason in the middle of the book I found it pretty slow. This book does have a love triangle, and although Celaena is written as a strong individual who wants love rather than is fought over like an object (my favourite kind of love story), I also find both boys equally as loveable and I don't want either of them to be heartbroken (my least favourite kind of love triangle) so I ended up very conflicted and worried about who she will pick in the end. My favourite character in this book was Celaena, she was amazing, strong and independent but still lonely and in need of a friend, also she loves dogs. I also really enjoyed Chaol, I thought his slow development of feelings for Celaena was so well done and I found scenes he was in were always more fun with his wit. I would recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and to anyone who loves a stong female lead.

Celaena Sardothien is the most famous, and best, assassin in Erilea except she was caught and has been working in the dangerous salt mines for a year. Prince Dorian arrives and wants to sponsor her to become his father's, the King's, future champion. She must participate in tests and then win a final duel between her and the other possible champions and if she wins she will have to serve four years for the King and then she will be freed. She agrees because her only other option is the salt mines and once in Ardalan she develops a friendship with both Chaol, the captain of the guard, and Dorian, both of whom she starts to develop feelings for as well. She also has a develops a close friendship with Nehemia, the princess of Ellwye who is rumoured to be a rebel and who tells her that the strange marks around the castle are called wyrdmarks. Something in the castle is murdering champions in a very brutal way and after a while Celaena starts to suspect Nehemia. Celaena discovers a secret passage in her room that contains Elena's, the first Queen of Ardalan who was half fae, tomb among other passages including one that leads outside the castle past the gates. She chooses to stay because Elena's spirit tells her she must win and defeat the evil that is killing people in the castle, a few days before one of the last tests Celaena goes into the tunnels and finds Cain, the other champion who has been gaining strength the entire competition, summoning a ridderak, the creature that has been killing champions. Celaena defeats it but is wounded and when she returns to her room Nehemia saves her. She also starts kind of dating Dorian, who is madly in love with Celaena and can't see a future without her, so Kaltain poisons Calaena before her final battle with Cain. Calaena would have lost except Nehemia summons Elena who destroys all the spirits Cain has gathered to help him and all the extra strength he has gathered from them. Calaena then wins and Chaol stabs Cain after he tries to stab Calaena in the back after she's already won. Caleana then breaks up with Dorian as she doesn't think they can be together if she's the King's champion and she doesn't want to get attached to him because she's going to leave when she's granted her freedom.

Binge - Tyler Oakley (2015)

4 stars

I got this book for christmas after I put it on my list because Buck's review of it finally sold me on wanting to read it.

I haven't read any other youtuber books so I can't compare it to any of them in terms of how good it was, but it was definitely a fun read. The book is told through different short chapter stories that go in chronological order, from when his birth up to his 25th birthday, this order means that it kind of has most of it's heavier chapters pretty close to each other in the latter half of the book but it had enough funny chapters in it to make sure I didn't stay sad for long. Since this book is just Tyler's life I can't have a favourite character, but my favourite chapter, or at least most memorable, was definitely the hopeless toemantic chapter. If you only read one chapter of this book please make it this one and never stop laughing and being not at all surprised that Tyler both did that, and decided to share it with the world. I would recommend this book to any fan of Tyler's, even if you've only enjoyed one or two of his videos I'm sure there's at least some chapters that would appeal to you.

This book includes stories of Tyler's birthdays, his first experience finding porn, how he came out, his family, his experiences with both a closeted boyfriend and an abusive one, his experience with one direction, his grindr hookup with a guy that had a foot fetish, his near panic attack on his 25th birthday and plenty more fun life experiences he's had.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon (2015)

3.5 stars

I heard about this book because the movie rights had been bought before the book was even published so I really wanted to see why it was so popular.

This book is told from Maddy's perspective, often with pictures or poems from her diary or instant messaging or email records from her account. I thought this book was super cute, it was really easy to read and had a super surprising twist that had me freaking out over a book that for the majority had me just thinking it was a cute teen romance. My favourite character in this book was Maddy, I thought she was incredibly strong in every situation she had to go through and I found her quirkiness made this book really easy to read. I would recommend this to anyone who like YA romance and loves a good plot twist.

Maddy has a rare disease where she is allergic to everything and she has stayed inside her sealed house with only her mother and her nurse Carla who comes over every day since she was a baby and her father and brother died in a car accident. When they get some new neighbours she starts a friendship through her window with Olly who has the room opposite her, they exchange emails and message back and forth until Maddy convinces Carla to let him come in one day and meet her. One time when he's over they kiss and nothing bad happens to Maddy. Another night she is watching them from her window when Olly's abusive father tries to hit him when they're outside and Maddy runs to protect him. He makes her go back inside but she can't forget the experience. She then lies to him and tells him that she has some experimental pills that allow her to go outside so they take a trip to Hawaii together. She doesn't tell her mother and after a day in Hawaii together she wakes up in the middle of the night unable to breathe. Her mother then cuts off all contact between her and Olly and Olly convinces his mother to leave his father and they move. Maddy is too heartbroken to stay in contact even though he continues to message her. She then gets an email from her doctor in Hawaii who believes she was misdiagnosed and he says that she merely has a heart condition and an incredibly weakened immune system from living like she was allergic to the world her whole life. Maddy then looks up her medical records and sees that her mother diagnosed her without a second opinion, and when she confronts her mother she realized that she is psychologically damaged after the accident that killed her father and brother. She then goes to New York and finds Olly.

The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller (2011)

5 stars

I kept hearing about this book all over tumblr and when I saw it might be becoming a miniseries I decided to buy it to understand what all the love was about, I know absolutely get it.

This book is amazing, just so amazing, it is told from Patroclus' perspective from when he was a child up until his death and even afterwards. It chronicles his relationship with Achilles and it is written so beautifully that it made me emotional during the happy parts as well as the sad which is unusual for me. It's not like the plot is anything new or amazing, most people know what will happen in the end, it's really the way the author wrote it that makes it so engrossing and special. My favourite character was Patroclus, it was hard not to have an attachment to him when his perspective is so lovely and reveals so much about his emotions. I would recommend this to any romance fans, or anyone who likes greek mythology or the movie troy.

The book starts when Patroclus first sees Achilles when he is 5 and he comes to a competition his father is holding, even from that first childhood experience you learn that Patroclus is gay, and he thinks Achilles is amazing. You then learn about Patroclus being a suitor for Helen when he was younger than 10 years old and really just putting his father's name forth without him having to cheat on his simple wife, this means he has to agree to the oath to protect Helen is any harm ever comes to her. Patroclus accidently kills a nobleman's son when he is 10 and is then disowed and exiled to Pthia where he meets Achilles. Patroclus doesn't talk to any of the other orphan boys and he sits at a table by himself just looking at Achilles at every meal until one day Achilles sits at his table, they soon become the closest of friends and Patroclus becomes Achilles companion, a brother-in-arms type position. They kiss on the beach one day and Achilles mother, a sea goddess, basically threatens them in case they do it again. They ignore her and soon become lovers and Patroclus is heartbroken when Achilles must go off with Chiron to train to become a hero, he decides he will follow them as there is nothing for him in Pthia without Achilles. Achilles made his party stop in the forest as he knew Patroclus would follow and they go to Chiron's mountain together and stay there for many years. After they return to Pthia the Trojan war is just beginning and Achilles' father wants him to go and lead their army, Achilles refuses and soon after Patroclus can't find him after he didn't return from one morning with his mother. Patroclus learns that his mother has hid him on an island and he goes to find him to find he has been married and gotten Deidameia pregnant. Achilles regrets having to do it and Patroclus forgives him, they must then go to war as Odysseus and Menelaus come find Achilles and command him to come lead their army. The war rages on for ten years where Achilles refuses to kill Hector as his mother told him that he will die after Hector has died and Achilles is the only person skilled enough to kill him. It eventually comes to a point where they are about to lose if Achilles does not swallow his pride from an argument with Agamemmnon so Patroclus convinces him to let him wear his armor and fight the trojans to give hope back to their army. Patroclus is then killed by Hector which drives Achilles into a fury where he kills Hector and then everyone else until he is finally killed by Paris. Achilles' son Pyrrhus then arrives and wants to avenge his father, he refuses to let his father's honour be tarnished by being buried with Patroclus so even though their ashes are buried together the grave is only marked with Achilles' name and Patroclus can't find rest until his spirit convinces Thetis, Achilles' mother, to mark the grave with his name as well, then Achilles and Patroclus reunite in the afterlife.

Reason to Breathe - Rebecca Donovan (2012)

4 stars

I bought this book because my friend kept telling me how much I'd love it and then another friend told me they'd read it and I'd love it so I gave in.

This book is told from Emma's perspective which can be quite dark at times because she is being physically abused by her guardian. It was super engrossing I think because she is so sweet and it is hard to stop reading and not know whether or not she was going to be abused more or whether she could just be safe. I read this in two or three days because of how much I loved Emma, however I think it could be super hard for people to read if they don't deal well with abuse or are triggered by it. My favourite characters were probably Emma and Sara, I feel like if you enjoy this book it's because you love Emma as a character because it's kind of like Tully in a way that it is it's main character, and I liked Sara because she was always there for Emma and gave me peace of mind that Emma would be okay. I would recommend this book to any fans of teen romance and drama and can handle reading a book where the main character is physically abused pretty constantly.

Emma only has one friend, she doesn't want any attention drawn to her because her aunt physically abuses her and will use any excuse to do so. When Evan Matthews comes to her school he develops a crush on her he manages to become her friend and then once she realizes she likes him they start to date. Evan has trouble knowing that she is keeping a secret from him but he eventually works out what is going on and they continue on basically the same as Emma can't let any authorities know because she doesn't want anything to happen to her younger cousins if they do anything to Carol. After a particularly bad beating Evan wants Emma to run away with him, which she agrees to do until she goes home and her uncle, George, tells her that Carol is at her sister's for the night and that if she stays they can work something out and he won't let anything happen again. Emma wants to believe him so she calls Sara and tells her to talk to Evan because she wants to try and believe her uncle. She then wakes up in the middle of the night with her hands taped together, a pillow on her face and Carol trying to strangle her, she bangs her foot against the wall a few times and then blacks out.

The Indigo Spell - Richelle Mead (2013)

3.5 stars

My friend lent me this book after she learned that I hadn't read past The Golden Lily and I immediately remembered how easy this series was to get invested in and read.

This book is told from alternating perspectives of Adrian and Sydney, and reading Adrian's perspective is so much fun it was mainly what drove me to continue reading knowing that he had another chapter coming up. These books aren't anything super amazing or life changing, but they are always fun and I remembered that as soon as I started reading it. I'm not sure if it was because it had been so long since I'd read the last book but it seemed like the Adrian and Sydney romance was much more prominent in this book than the last, which I had no problem with. My favourite character was unsurprisingly Adrian, he just wants to be a good person and to be able to love Sydney without consequences and I find it very endearing and cute whenever he's around. I would recommend this series to anyone who just wants a fun easy read and like YA paranormal books.

The book starts with Sydney being woken by Ms Terwilliger because she says she's in danger and they must practice her magic more intensely than they had before. Sydney then goes to Sonya's wedding where she dances with Adrian in front of other alchemists and then uses her magic to find Marcus Finch, the name she heard from alchemists as someone who left the organization. When she finds Marcus she learns that he heads up a rebel organization for alchemists and warriors who want to leave their groups. Marcus says in order for Sydney to join she has to betray the alchemists in some way and he wants her to break into one of their facilities to get some information about the alchemists and the warriors working together. She uses one of the alchemist's crush on her to get him to let her into the facility. The danger that Ms Terwilliger was warning Sydney about was her sister Veronica who is also magical and finds young witches to steal youth and power from, Sydney uses her magic to find where Veronica is staying but her and Adrian only find a young receptionist who interrupts them when Adrian was about to get Sydney to confess her love for him in Veronica's old room. Sydney must then face off with the receptionist, Alicia, once she finds out that she stole Veronica's power and was going after Ms Terwilliger next. Sydney then decides to go with Marcus to Mexico to break her tattoo but Adrian leaves her coordinates if she decides to stay, she ends up going to find Adrian and profess her love for him and they decide to date in secret. They return to school and Zoe, Sydney's little sister, has arrived to stay with her.

The Martian - Andy Weir (2014)

4.5 stars

I bought this book because I saw so many good reviews of it and then when the trailer came out I decided I had to read it before I saw the movie, I was definitely not disappointed by all the hype.

This book is told mainly through journal entries from Mark, but it also has chapters that focuses on the people back at the NASA base, or wherever the relevant people are in each situation. The chapters from outside perspectives start once they realize that he is still alive which I thought was pretty cool, but it does take a good third or so of the book for the outside perspectives to start and it got kind of boring as Mark went on alone for so long which was really the only problem I had with this book. There is a lot of science in this book, which didn't bother me or was hard to understand in any way but I'm not sure if that's just because I was studying science at the time or because the author made it really engaging as part of the story and easy to understand in the context, I'm pretty sure it was the latter though. My favourite character in this was obviously Mark, his humour made the story compelling and easy to continue reading and everyone else was kind of just part of a huge ensemble that worked well together and made for a nice change from the stress that was Mark's everyday life. I would recommend this to anyone that enjoyed the movie, or to any sci-fi fans.

Mark Watney is left on Mars by his crew when they think he dies in a storm that caused them to evacuate the planet. He is in fact still alive and has to manage to stay alive until the next Mars mission arrives in approximately 4 years. He manages to grow potatoes and contact NASA who want to keep him alive until the next Mars mission picks him up, but in order to do that they have to send a supplies probe by a certain date which ends up failing. Mark's original crew ends up having to turn around and pick Mark up off of Mars which they manage to do after he'd been stuck 549 sols.