Wednesday, 18 July 2018

IT, by Stephen King

My god how am I going to get all these thoughts out?

Oh, hey guys! This is Abi here,
And enough is enough, I have to get to this.
I owe it to myself, I owe it you guys, so we can talk about all the things that we loved or hated in the story of IT.

Okay, let's get to it.

Title: IT
Author: Stephen King (first Stephen King book)
Genre: Horror
Release date: 15th September, 1986
Status: Standalone
Pages: 1166
Blurb: "Derry, Maine is just an ordinary town: familiar well-
ordered for the most place, a good place to live.

It is a group of children who see-and feel- what makes
Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the
sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare,
each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT appears as an
evil clown named Pennywise and sometimes IT reaches
up, seizing, tearing, killing...

Time passes and the children grow up, move away
and forget. Until they are called back, once more to
confront IT as IT stirs and coils in the sudden depths
of their memories, emerging again to make their
past nightmares a terrible present reality."

My Thoughts
When I first read the first 20 or so pages of this, I closed the book and thought
"How am I going to read this thing?" Because of how detailed and intense it was.
I'll tell you how. Don't put pressure on yourself to read.

And then I got into it. And I'll tell you, with this book, the mood to read 150 pages for like 3 days in a row was a thing. I went days without reading a single word, and then I'd read 150 pages a day for 3 days.
But what I found with this book is that you have to read when you want to, and not put pressure on yourself to read this book by a certain date. Because it will not work.

I'll tell you, what the deal was with this book. It takes place in two different timelines, when seven characters are eleven, and then 27 years later, when they return to the town of Derry to rid the world of IT once and for all.
I have to say, as much as I liked when they returned as adults, I much preferred when reading the point of views of the children, watching them come together as a team, as well as individuals, in a world where they're discovering themselves and learning to be independent.
Don't get me wrong, it was interesting to see how the lives of the characters had changed from the time that they were children, but I preferred reading about them as kids.

Also, none of them were the type that you typically see. They each have something that renders them an outsider to what the school almost expected. It was easy to fall into the perspective of every single one of them, and not so much relate to what they went through when it came to IT, but their home lives in general. It was amazing for them to see the way that these seven characters came together to make the club that would eventually brave the sewers and IT.

Also, this book was very clever. It was very smart about when the clown/nightmare emerged. It wasn't like a constant scare, there were so many other things that were included in this book, it wasn't just a constant nightmare, I promise. A couple of things that I wish there was less of was the cursing and from some of the side characters, that was a bit of a bad point, having to read through some of the things that they say throughout the book, as well as the character development. Although I enjoyed the fact that the characters were super fleshed out, getting to the point of when the adults would eventually meet took a whole 450 pages, and it was a bit long, in my opinion.

What I liked about this book was despite how simple the concept was, it was crafted so well together, I was never bored. The gruesome undertones to the book made you shiver with unpleasantness, the lives that these characters lead too, it was all so carefully constructed to weave a perfect horror story.

Overall, such an amazing read. It may not be for everyone, but if you are a horror fanatic, I have to say that this is a must read. It went as the largest book I've ever read, and the scariest too!
After this experience, I'm happy to say that I will be picking up another Stephen King book in the very near future!

Okay, so that is my review of IT, by Stephen King! I hope you enjoyed it and I will see you all on Friday, with my review of The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern!

-Abi xxxx

Monday, 16 July 2018

An Update on "TBR Jar for 2018"

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And for the past couple of years I've done like updates on my reading challenges for Goodreads and my writing, but it seems to have gone out the window this year!
So I thought it time that I do an update on my TBR jar! (And also because I'm still intimidated by the IT review I have left to do.)

Which goals I have Achieved
1. A Stephen King book-IT
So I completed this last month, and to god am I glad I did! Not only was it a gripping and super creepy novel, but boy did it take me a while to get through it! There is a review coming, I promise that, because there is no way that I can pass up the opportunity to share my thoughts for this amazing book!

2. Graphic Novel/Manga
I flew through this in 24 hours, not even. It was the first one that I chose to accomplish, especially as the film had recently come out, and it had sounded interesting. Even though its the only graphic novel that I've picked up this year, it is a goal that I would like to keep doing. If anybody has any suggestions as to what I should pick up, I'd love to hear them!

3. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
I think this is the one that I picked up straight after finishing A Wrinkle In Time, because I didn't want to start a book that I didn't own when I could have been diminishing my TBR from a book that I already had. I've said this before, but I believe that this is a book that every person should read because not only will it help to show how bad it used to be, that this is a part of American history, but to show the difference between today and that time. It was certainly a book that made me think differently about how cruel society can be.

What I'm Definitely Going To Accomplish
1. VE Schwab
After Children of Blood and Bone, these are the only two remaining two books on my TBR. So completing this challenge is kind of a given. And I can't wait to complete it.

2. The Dark Artifices trilogy, by Cassandra Clare
I haven't got to this challenge yet because my main goal was always to complete my TBR before buying any more books. But as soon as I finish everything (so Children of Blood and Bone, and the Monsters of Verity duology) Lord of Shadows will be one of the first books that I pick up (though I might need to reread Lady Midnight first.)

Changes I Would Like To Make
Basically, the other two:
-The Witchlands trilogy, by Susan Dennard
-A Shadow Bright & Burning & A Poison Dark & Drowning, by Jessica Cluess
There are just some other series that are a bit more on my Want to read list than these two.
Who knows, I may actually get to these! I'm going to keep them on my TBR Jar because I don't want to give up on them completely, but if I don't then it won't be such a disappointment.
(Though maybe just with The Witchlands trilogy, because the two by Jessica Cluess, I don't seem to be able to order them anywhere.)

So that is my update on my TBR Jar for 2018! I hope you enjoyed it!
Let me know on how you are doing with your own goals for this year! I'd love to see what everyone is trying to achieve!

So that's all I have for you today! I hope you have a wonderful day, or what's left of it, depending on where you are in the world.

-Abi xxxxxx

Friday, 13 July 2018

Summer READING Book Tag

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And even though I've done a book tag with a similar name to this one, it is not actually the same.
With 3 books currently left over on my TBR, it seems about the perfect time to talk about what I would like to read this summer!

1. What are three books you want to get to this summer?
At the moment my top three that I want to get to as soon as I finish my TBR are:
-The Exact Opposite of Okay, by Laura Steven
-The Astonishing Colour of After, by Emily X.R Pan
-Songs About A Boy, by Chris Russell
They are all contemporaries, funny enough. Whether they're hard hitting or fluffy, they are absolutely up there on potential five star reads for this year.

2. What book character most embodies the feeling of summer?
I don't know why, but the character that springs to mind is Levi, from Fangirl. He's just this social butterfly, he's polite to everybody, and even though he isn't the type to do the crazy things that everybody seems to associate with summer, I actually think that he fits the bill. Just picture Cath reading him a story in the park with a picnic.

3. What type of books do you like to read on holiday? And is there a particular books that evokes memories on holiday?
I honestly just go with the books that I most want to read. And depending on how long I'm going for, determines how large they are, and how many I take.
The last time I went on holiday where I could get some solid reading time was Lido de Jesolo, (not far from Venice), and I took a magical realism book (On the Other Side, by Carrie Hope Fletcher); a Sci-fi (Chasing the Stars, by Malorie Blackman); and a contemporary (Since You've Been Gone, by Morgan Matson). The memory is when I just sat and read Since You've Been Gone in a single seating. And it was epic.

4. If you could go on holiday with any author, who would it be and why?
I'm thinking Carrie Hope Fletcher, just because it would be so fun! We both love theatre to bits, and books and writing, and it would just be so much fun!

5. What is the best book you've so far this year?
I did answer this question in one of my last tags, and my answer was Tiny Pretty Things, by Sona Charaipotra! That book was on another level of insane, with so many different issues discussed, also because of the pressure! It perfectly portrays what the life of a ballet dancer is, and I wish more people would read this trilogy!

6. How did you spend your summer holidays as a child and what are your plans for this summer?
Just going to the library! My summers consisted of the summer reading challenges at the library from the time that I could read! (Honestly I swear I was carrying the school with the amount of books that I used to read for those challenges!)
But I would go on holiday for the first week of the hols and then I would spend the rest of the days reading!

As for my plans this summer: work!
(So I can pay for driving lessons.)

Alright so that is all I have for you today!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I will see you all on Monday with my review of IT!

-Abi xxxxx

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

21-30 Books of 2018

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And it's been a while, but today I am talking about the books that I have read recently this year!

Although I was happy to get to the second instalment of this series, I was somewhat underwhelmed by this novel. From a sensational ending hanging on a knife-edge of the first book, I was eagerly anticipating (and simultaneously nervous) this next book to didn't live up to the standard of the first book. Don't get me wrong, once I hit a certain point in the story, I flew through the second half of the book, but it took a while to get started. The second half was amazing, it was just the first half, that's all. I'm eagerly awaiting the second half of the series.

This was absolutely my favourite read of the month. I feel like it was better than the predecessors combined. It's been my favourite so far and I cannot wait to read War Storm after finishing my current TBR this month! The characters are super kick-ass, ready to take on everything they can after Mare is taken by Maven. What I found interesting was the complex relationship these two had in the first chunk of the book. We found out some hard truths in this book and it's set everything up for an epic finale, which came out a couple months back. Review in the title link.  
23. The Host, by Stephenie Meyer
This would probably be my longest book of the year if I hadn't obtained some insanely long books this year. 650 odd pages, and surprisingly, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The only complaint I have is that it's been forgettable. Even know, it's been a book that I tend to forget about once I completed it and moved onto the next one. It was an interesting book, and I'll be sure to pick up the film when I have a spare moment, but it was a book that I doubt I'll pick up again.

How amazing this trilogy is I cannot begin to describe. Out of the three, I think that the second book is perhaps my favourite, though all three were absolutely incredible. Although I typically love all the trilogy's that I read, this is up there on one of my favourites. Maybe my top 5. I have reviews on all three of them, which you can check out if you want to.
I loved these novels.

Another review! I've been on point for these reviews! Anyway. I read this in under two days. Spontaneous decision to pick it up and I LOVED IT. So many things discussed, which I listed in my review, and which I am not going to list now. Sorry. Anyway. One word that I will use to describe this is honest. Like this novel does not sugar-coat the issues that it discusses. Also, I loved the characters that I got to meet in this story, the story of finding yourself again after a huge knock. I highly recommend this if you think you might be interested in it.

The books out in this trilogy are such a juxtaposition. I loved the first one, and I felt like the second could have been better. I'm intrigued for Finale, the third and final book in the trilogy, and I hope that something amazing happens because I am going to pick it up regardless of whether I love it, hate it, or somewhere in between. Full reviews on the titles above.

30. IT, by Stephen King
Okay, I don't want to go into too much detail about this book because I haven't posted my review on this yet. It's coming, I promise! I have way too many thoughts on this book not to post a review on it. The synopsis is about a bunch of characters, kids in the first instance, adults in the second (the book jumps back and forth constantly) that are plotting to take down IT, after they make a promise (when they were children) that if IT comes back, they will return to the town of Derry, to take down IT once and for all. This is the largest, creepiest book I have ever read and even though it took me 16 days, I'm happy I was able to read it.

Okay! So those are the books that I have read recently (books 21-30 of 2018!) Let me know in the comments if you like any of these, if you are thinking of picking up any of these, or even if you absolutely hated some of these! (So we can debate, I guess?)

So yeah! That's all I have, and that's gonna do it for this post!
I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you all on Friday!

-Abi xxxxx

Friday, 6 July 2018

Legendary (Caraval #2), by Stephanie Garber

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And I seem to have read some books recently, so I need to get back on track with reviewing them!
This is my review on Legendary!
I hope you enjoy it!

Title: Legendary
Author: Stephanie Garher
Genre: Fantasy
Release date: 29th May, 2017
Status: Book 2 in the Caraval trilogy
Pages: 416
Blurb: "WELCOME TO Caraval...

After being swept up in the magical
world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has
finally escaped her father and saved her
sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged
marriage. The girls should be celebrating,
but Tella isn't yet free. She made a
desperate bargain with a mysterious
criminal, and what Tella owes him no one
has ever been able to deliver: Caraval
Master Legend's true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend's
identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws
herself into the legendary competition
once more- and into the path of the
murderous heir to the throne, a doomed
love story, and a web of secrets...
including her sister's. Caraval has always
demanded bravery, cunning and sacrifice.
But now the game is asking for more. If
Tella can't fulfil her bargain and deliver
Legend's name, she'll lose everything-
maybe even her life.

But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will
be destroyed forever."

My Thoughts
Okay, so I knew I had to write this review eventually. Which I've been dreading. But sometimes writing a review where you didn't like the book particularly can be interesting. So let's do this.

Okay, my overall impression: Disappointing. I was expecting so much more. The concept was interesting, I liked the ideas of the storyline, but I was bored for large parts of the book. Truthfully, I enjoyed Caraval more.
Whether it was second book syndrome, or something else, I do not know. But I thought it could have been better.

I'll start with the positives:
-It was interesting reading from Tella's perspective, she was more adventurous than her sister. Though I have to say, I was more in line with Scarlett, because she was able to prioritise what her goal was. I'm not saying that wasn't the same for Tella, but I just related to Scarlett just that bit more.
I liked finding out a bit more about Tella, instead of what I saw in Caraval though.  

-There were actually some parts that I liked. Like when Tella gets a run in with the deck of cards, I was actually worried about what was going to happen.
-I also liked the plotline with Tella and her mother. There's nothing that I liked more than a character trying to find something that's been seemingly lost, without even the possibility of finding them, suddenly able to. It makes for a more fleshed out character in my opinion.
-The 'who the hell is Legend' plotline. I had my suspicions, and honestly I was surprised as to who it turned out to be.

Now, the not so good:
-There was barely any magic. I liked the never being able to tell what was real and what was fake feeling of the first book! That's what made the first book great!
-Even though I liked finding about Tella a little bit more, I thought she was... a bit bland. She spent the whole time searching for her idea of Caraval, what she thought it was.
-I felt that Garber's writing must have been different this time around.

So overall, even though the number of good points outweighs the bad, I still think that there shouldn't be as many bad points as there are.
I'm not going to give up on the trilogy, especially as there is only one book left. But my expectations has definitely lowered by this sequel.
I hope Finale is good.

Anyway! That was my review of Legendary, the second book in the Caraval trilogy! I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you all on Monday!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

-Abi xxxxx

Monday, 2 July 2018

July TBR (2018)

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And we're now half-way through 2018, can you believe it?
We're closer to 2019 than New Year! That's crazy!
But with another month, comes another TBR!

Now, for those that follow my twitter, you will know that I have been trying to read all the books I own but haven't read yet before I read any more books! It's been going well, and I'm hoping to finish them all this month!
Here are the books on my TBR for this month!

1. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
After a bunch of people telling me to read this, I have finally picked it up. The only thing that I know about this book is that it contains a romance, and it's about magic, and a contest (I'm about 55 pages into it so I have no idea how much of the story this contest includes.) I know this has some mixed reviews, but that the majority love this novel to pieces. And I cannot wait to (hopefully) join them.

2. This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1), by Victoria Schwab
3. Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2), by Victoria Schwab
These aren't the covers that I have, I have the UK paperback copies, which are different to these, but in my opinion they're both beautiful. For some reason, these two are left on my TBR until the very end, although I've had them for months. The time for me to read a V.E. Schwab book is long overdue and I'm glad that I will definitely get to these at some point this month. Again, I don't know a whole lot about this duology, except that it's about two characters, Kate and August, that want to be different things, and that there's a curse, and a truce between the two characters. ( I really hope that I enjoy this duology.)

4. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1), by Tomi Adeyemi

The amount of people that love this book! I cannot wait to get to this one! I wish it wasn't my last read of the four, but I've had the others for WAY longer, and it's also my most recent buy. From what I know, it's about a rebellion against the people that removed magic from the land. There is a protagonist who is left without a mother and hope, who has powers, who is trying to overthrow the monarchy, with the help of a runaway princess. It sounds amazing, fantasy, and I cannot wait to read it!
Alright, there you have it! That is my TBR for the month of July! I would maybe tack on an extra one or two books this month but that is literally all I own at the moment, so I'll be happy if I can get through these four!

That is all I have for you today! I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you all on Wednesday!

-Abi xxxxx

Friday, 29 June 2018

June Wrap Up (2018)

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And it is the end of yet another month! Who would have thought?
And with the end of the month comes another wrap up!

So I read a total of three books this month (and a book that I finished during the last ten minutes of last month so I'm including it in this wrap up.)

I absolutely loved this book. It's very realistic and honest about a number of different topics, it's about a socialite called Lexi that thinks she's hit rock bottom when she nearly overdoses, but what she doesn't know is that it's about to get ten times worse, when she's shipped off to residential rehab. I flew through this novel, I read it in under two days and it is such a gripping read. Review linked into the title.

I re-read this so that I could refresh my memory on what happened in the first book before I jumped into the second (I had recently bought Legendary because it was signed), so that was the reason that I decided to pick it up. I read this book as soon as it was released last year, and truthfully, I thought that I enjoyed it a bit better this time around.

3. Legendary (Caraval #2), by Stephanie Garber
Frankly, a disappointment. I will go into more detail with my review, but for a lot of the book, there wasn't a lot going on. I liked that I got to see more of Tella, and read from her perspective, but I just feel like it could have been better.

4. It, by Stephen King
I'm so happy I get to include this in this wrap up! It took me 16 days but I finally got through it. Saying that, it is the longest book that I have read. Ever. Did I think it could be shorter? Yes. But the characters were super fleshed out, there were just enough creepy moments that I was scared enough, but not to the point where I didn't want to pick it up for fear of being scarred for life. I was maybe a bit quicker in the bathroom, but that's it. If I'm honest, my only critique was how long all the backstories were and how long it took them to get back to Derry (the two were mixed together). I wish that were shorter. But overall, a pretty amazing book.

1. Brain on Fire

I have been super busy this month, so there hasn't been a lot of time to watch much. I haven't watched any TV shows, and only one film. That film was Brain on Fire, starring Chloe Grace Moretz. It's based on a true story, and it's about a girl that starts having blurred vision, hallucinations and seizures, though all her scans appear normal. When the stakes start to rise, will they find out what the problem is, or will it be too late? It was a good film, not my favourite, but I tend to enjoy these types of films, and this one was no different.

Overall, I've got a decent amount of writing done. Maybe 25 pages, and I will have to fit in more if I want to finish my third draft before 2019, but I'm happy with how much I got done this month.
I'm going to keep on keeping on.

Okay, so that was my June Wrap Up! I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you also had a good month!
Let me know if you got up to anything!

So that is all I have for you all today! I will see you all on Monday with my TBR for July!

-Abi xxxxx