Books reviews: Red Queen, Thirteen Reasons Why and The One Memory of Flora Banks.

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Publication: 10th February  2015 by HarperTeen
Genre: YAFantasy.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge –  A book where one of the main characters is royalty.


This is a book that you’ve read before. Many times. It’s just a mash up of lots of popular books. This left it being highly predictable and, for me, disappointing.

There are Reds and Silvers. Silvers have special powers (think X-Men) and therefore rule the Reds and send them off to war at 17 to fight their battles. Throughout the book, the Reds do very little escape their living state.

And then Mare comes along. Like most YA heroines,  she is the reckless Saviour, who is unlike all the others and powers. Again, think any YA heroine, she is also sassy but makes silly choices. When she gets two love interests come along she thinks about them both obsessively. On the bright side, the love triangle isn’t dominating of the book.

I loved Queen Elara. Manipulative, ruthless and malicious, she was something fresh in the book as she provided twists. Although, again, the character was a lot like Cersei from Game of Thrones as she had a fierce love for her children and was ruthless in getting them, and herself, power.

For me, the major saving grace of this book was the ending.

I know lots of people loved this book and they can get over the fact that it’s basically a mash up of other books because they get investing in the characters but for me it was too similar to other books, making it predictable and lacking in originality.

3-stars

Thirteen Reasons Why

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Series: N/A
Publication: 18th October 2007 by Razorbill
Genre: YA

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – An epistolary fiction


Wow.

I read this book just after the TV series had been released on Netflix. I went in knowing nothing other than it was about suicide. I was completely hooked.

This is Hannah’s story, even though she has already killed herself. Before she committed suicide, she recorded 13 cassette tapes which are passed on to 13 people to say how they had an impact her decision to end her life.

I was so captivated by what Hannah was saying. It was just so eerie and powerful. I sped read Clay’s bits, as really he was just a mediator as he listens to the tapes, just so I could listen to what she was saying.

Whether you like the book or not, it still has a powerful message which really makes you think about how our words and actions have an impact on other’s lives.

5-stars

The One Memory of Flora Banks

Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Series: N/A
Publication: 12th January 2017 by Penguin
Genre: YA

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)


This review contains some minor spoilers

I received a few chapters of this book in one of my Illumicrate boxes. Then I started seeing it everywhere. So when it came down to being 99p on kindle, I had to buy it. I’m glad it was only 99p.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day, and writes things on her arm to help her remember. Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t have and the next day she begins remembering things for the first time since she was ten. Then the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic…

I haven’t read many books about anterograde amnesia but all the ones I have read have the same “twist” that someone is not telling them something. So when the twist came up, it wasn’t a surprise, it was a groan that emerged from me.

This whole book just screamed unbelievable to me. Not only the twist but her making her way to Norway on her own without raising any suspicion.

The one thing I did like is that the synopsis suggested that her amnesia could be cured by the kiss, but luckily (for the plot) it wasn’t.

2-stars


Have you read, or are you going to read, any of these books? What did you think?

ARC August

ARC August begins! graphic

ARC August is a challenge hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. During August you try and read all those ARCs that you have been neglecting.


Rules

  • Any Advanced Reading Copy counts as part of this reading challenge; your backlist books count.
  • No blog necessary to participate but you’ll need to include some form of social media as part of your sign up
  • Use the #ARCAugust on social media to check-in

Twitter Chat

There will be two twitter chats; one on August 7th and one August 28th. Both chats will start at 8pm EST and will be using the #ARCAugust tag.

Don’t forget to sign up: here.


My Goals

My Netgalley rating is really low at 66% and I have a huge backpile of unread ARCs so hopefully this challenge will help me get through some of the books and up to that magical 80%.

Here are my ARCs in no particular order.

  1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  2. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  3. The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
  4. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
  5. Ensared by Rita Stradling
  6. The Neverland Wars by Audreg Greathouse
  7. Once Upon a Fairy tale: A Collection of 11 Fairy Tale Inspired Romances by various authors.
  8. Allegent by Veronica Roth
  9. Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black
  10. This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done
  11. My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan
  12. Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu
  13. The Jack of Souls by Stephen C Merlino
  14. Of Shadow and Stone by Michelle Muto
  15. Now That I’ve Found You by Ciara Geraghty
  16. Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman
  17. The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg
  18. The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen
  19. Mr Katz is a Zombie by M.C. Lesh

This is obviously way more than I would ever be able to read in a month (especially as it’s been whittled down).

Have you read any of these books?

Will you be joining in with ARC August?

My Top Ten Favourite TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. It’s a great way to learn more about the bloggers you follow and to find lots of new books. They’re currently on a break until mid-August so I’m choosing some past topics I missed out on in the meantime. This week I’ve chosen “ Top Ten Favourite TV Shows”

In now particular order, TV shows I’ve been obsessed with are….

Hannibal 

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Will Graham is recruited by Jack to help investigate serial killers with the FBI. With a lot of presure on him, Jack hires psychologist, and unknown cannibal,  Dr Hannibal Lecture to supervise Will.

I binge watched this in about 2 weeks. I recently re-watched the first episode with my friend and it reminded me just how much I loved it. The food is insane.

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Game of Thrones

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Season 7 baby! and winter is finally here.

Game of Thrones, simply is, people fighting to be sitting on the Iron Throne to be ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. It’s a show in which no one is safe, there is sex, hotness, incest, death and sass. It’s amazing.

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Dexter

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Being orphaned at 3 when your mother is brutally murdered is going to have an affect on anyone. Turns out it affected Dexter in a way that only his adopted father, and policeman, Harry knows. Working with the police as a blood splatter analysis, Dexter is able to hunt down criminals who have escaped the police’s justice system and give them his own justice.

Is it weird to be supporting a serial killer? By the end of it I was totally rooting for him.

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The Mentalist

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After Red John murdered his family,  ex “Psychic” Patrick Jane works as a consultant for the CBI to read people and catch killers.

An amazing show, with people who are very easy on the eye.


Bones

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Forensic anthropologist Dr Brennan and FBI Agent Booth collaborate to solve people’s deaths.

It’s also a lot funnier than it sounds…Image result for bones quotes


Grey’s Anatomy

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They’re currently filming their 14th season and I’m proud to say I’ve seen very episode to date and I wish I could wipe my memory so I could re-watch it again not knowing anything.

It is set in a hospital and focuses on Meredith Grey and her fellow intern’s personal and professional lives. It’s a bit like a soap drama but I am so obsessed with it.

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Broadchurch

Series titles over a coastal scene

A crime drama in which Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller investigate a murder of a young boy in a close-knit town in Dorset.

It stars a lot of Doctor Who actors including; David Tennant, the new doctor Jodie Whittaker and Arthur Darvill, as well as the amazing Olivia Colman. The whole show just keeps you on the edge of your seat and hooked the entire time.

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Gossip Girl

The words "gossip girl" written in light yellow on a black background. The letters are lowercase and the letter "p" has an extended descender.

Basically just rich teens and their drama but my goodness it’s gripping!

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House M.D.

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House, the sarcy Doctor you go to when no other Doctor can solve your illness. Honestly, it’s probably not lupus…

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Most recently… I’m slightly addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race and Suits.

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What TV series are you obsessed with?

July 2017 Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up (1)

July has been such a long month for me. I’ve finally finished work for the summer but it was a very stressful few weeks as I had to completely pack down my classroom, which took forever. Since breaking up, I’ve literally just slept. I’ve been really rubbish for blogging this month (SORRY!) – I’ve bought a load of books in anticipation of getting back into the swing of things now I have free time. So, without further ado…

Books Read in July

Red Queen  by Victoria Aveyard

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Thirteen Reasons WhyThe One Memory of Flora Banks


Blog Posts

sunday smiles

Sunday Smiles – Last week of school.

Sunday Smiles – New car

35fed-toptentuesday

TTT – Books I’ve read due to the blogging community

TTT – Books that tackle tough issues

TTT – Favourite non-reading summer activities


Books I Bought In July.

I went a bit crazy this month…

Kindle:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabrield Garcia Marquez

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Red Queen (Red Queen 1) by Victoria Aveyard

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot Series #10)  by Agatha Christie

Lyrebird: An uplifting, summer read by the Sunday Times bestseller by [Ahern, Cecelia]Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Penguin Modern Classics) by [Süskind, Patrick]

Books:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Crooked Kingdoms (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Effective Transition into Year One by Alistair Bryce-Clegg


Currently Reading

1984 by George Orwell (Still…)

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind 

Nineteen Eighty-FourImage result for perfume: story of a murderer book


Looking Forward To In August…

We’ve just got a car! So we’ve planned lots of road trips all over England (post) – hopefully I’ll get round to putting up a post about some of our adventures. We’ve planned: Leeds castle, Dover castle, Cambridge, Canterbury, hopefully York or Bath, Hasting, plus more!

Hamlet starring Andrew Scott.

Family BBQ – we always do a theme, this year is Jazz themed.

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How was your July?

Sunday Smiles

sunday smiles

Sunday Smiles is a weekly meme created by me at Tumbling into Wonderland Books. It runs every Sunday. Want to find out more or join in the fun? Check out the details here.

My Sunday Smiles

  • My wonderful fiancé passed his friving test 2 weeks ago. In that time we’ve got a car! She’s called Florence. Along with our trusty SatNav (Phillip) we’ve driven to Kent and back and done a few trips in the car, just because we can. One of these was a trip to Leeds castle.
  • We went to a petting zoo. I love anything where I can touch animals. There were some very pretty cows, cute little piglets and I got to hold a snake!
  • I decided to make a change and my hair is now purple. I like it.

Micro Pigs

 


What made you smile this week?

School’s Out For Summer!

Second year of teaching completed. Woop Woop. It went surprisingly quickly and had lots of high and low points.

High points: Seeing their progress, especially their independence. Having at least 3 hugs a day and laughing on a daily basis.

Low points: A child throwing up on the carpet and down the back of a child but helpfully trying to catch it in their hands.

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A ‘butterfly’

Funny points: Their drawings – I have a load of photos on my phone of their drawings that look like penis’. Equally, they can’t spell “can’t” or “country”. A child asking Vince Cable what the fastest dog in the world is. A child falling asleep in the middle of church, whilst on the stage, during the Carol Concert.

Summer 2017

We haven’t booked a holiday this year, instead we’re planning lots of day trips and days out around England. Here are our plans so far (crossed out are the ones I’ve already done):

  • Dover castle
  • Make a flower box for the balcony
  • Climb Mt. Snowdon
  • Kew Gardens

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    Purple hair

  • Go to an open air cinema
  • Visit Cambridge
  • See Hamlet staring Andrew Scott
  • Help my friends move house
  • Go to an animal sanctuary / zoo
  • Dye my hair
  • Read at least 5 books
  • Visit Cornwall
  • Plan some of my wedding
  • Go bowling
  • Go trampolining
  • Visit Bath
  • Visit York

I had to laugh as last Summer I posted my list of books I had intended to read. A year later, here is the same list with the books I’ve read crossed out:

Maybe I’ll manage to cross a few more off by the end of summer?


What have you got planned this summer?

What do you recommend me doing this summer?

 

Top Ten Favorite Summer Activities That Aren’t Reading

35fed-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. They’re currently on a break until mid-August so I’m choosing some past topics I missed out on in the meantime. As it’s my last week before summer, this week I’ve chosen “ Top Ten Favorite Summer Activities That Aren’t Reading”

Travelling

I love going new places, both in the UK and abroad. Here’s a link to my reviews of my travels abroad, including Paris, Barcelona and Rome.

BBQs

My family host a themed BBQ every year and this is one of the highlights of my summer – full of yummy food, cocktails and events. Last year we did a circus themed one where everyone did a circus act, the year before was a teddy bear’s picnic.

Drinking by the river

I love walking along the river and them sitting, watching the sunset and drinking cider. yum.

Ice cream

I particularly love gelato. Especially cherry gelato. yum!

Pimms

I sense a theme of food and drink… When ever I think of summer I think of sitting on the garden patio and drinking Pimms.

Sleeping In

I don’t get to do this normally so summer is a perfect time for me to catch up on sleep.

 


What activities do you enjoy doing during summer?

Sunday Smiles

sunday smiles

Sunday Smiles is a weekly meme created by me at Tumbling into Wonderland Books. It runs every Sunday. Want to find out more or join in the fun? Check out the details here.

My Sunday Smiles

  • Our local MP visited our school this week. I audibly laughed when he asked my shiny faced 5 year olds if they knew about Brexit. We also learnt not to let them ask their own questions that hadn’t been pre-planned as one of them, confident as you like, asked: “What’s the fastest dog in the world?”
  • This time next week I’ll be on my summer holidays, my energy levels are very grateful for that!
  • I had a wonderful meet up with lots of university friends which is always lots and lots of fun!
  • After my reading slump, I’ve completed THREE books this week! (round of applause for me) I just haven’t been motivated to write the reviews for them yet!

What made you smile this week?

Top Ten Books That Tackle Tough Issues

35fed-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. They’re currently on a break until mid-August so I’m choosing some past topics I missed out on in the meantime. This week I’ve chosen “ Top Ten Books That Tackle Tough Issues”.

Emily’s Books

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – I’ve literally just finished this one. It covers rape and suicide. It’s pretty amazing.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma – An amazing book that covers the taboo subject of incest. It delicately approaches it, not glorifying it or condone it, but suggests how it may be lead to.

Me and Mr J by Rachel McIntyre (my review– tackling the issue of student/teacher relationship. It was, like Forbidden, not condoning it but suggesting how it could happen. It was a very interesting but difficult read. It also covered bullying too.

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey – About death and suicide of a sibling. It also deals with grief, drugs, sex and friendship issues. (my review)

Lets Get Lost by Sarra Manning – I adore this book. It mainly deals with grief of a close relative and the feelings of guilt. It also touches on bullying.

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer – A terrifying story because it’s true. About an emotionally and physically abusive mother.

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (my review)– It wasn’t light and fluffy as I first would have expected for a Dessen book. I’m reluctant to say the issue as it would ruin the book but a very, very good read.

Image result for thirteen reasons whyMe and Mr JLet's Get LostForbiddenThe Sister PactImage result for a child called itDreamland

Alex’s Books

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell – A children’s book about gay penguins.

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy – It deals with forbidden love, reconciliation of faith and suicide. It was so controversial that he never wrote another novel afterwards.

Heretic by Ayaaan Hirsi Ali – A non-fiction book about the need for an Islamic reformation to make it more compatible with modern Western society.

Image result for and tango makes threeImage result for jude the obscureImage result for Heretic by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Top Ten Books I’ve Read Due To The Blogging Community

35fed-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. They’re currently on a break until mid-August so I’m choosing some past topics I missed out on in the meantime. This week I’ve chosen “ Top Ten Books I’ve Read Due To The Blogging Community”.

Some of these I loved and others not so much….

Click on the book cover to see my reviews!

 

When Dimple Met RishiLady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1)One Of Us Is LyingAnna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Holding Up the UniverseEverything, EverythingAll the Bright PlacesCarry OnWhen We CollidedHarry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)


Which of these books have you read?

What books have you read because of the blogging community?