Friday, 25 May 2018

Recent Reading Wrap-Up #1

I am powering through so many books at the moment and I love it. The thing with my new job is that I *have* to read, but I can read anything I want. Like what?! That is honestly just the dream. So, below are my small reviews of the books I have demolished in the past two weeks. I have given spoiler warnings before each book (and please be kind as these are my first mini reviews I’ve written in a while and I forgot how hard they are to write!) So grab a cup of tea/coffee/whatever takes your fancy and have a scroll.

A Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir 

Contains spoilers to An Ember in the Ashes, but not a Torch Against the Night. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy and Sarah J Mass or Victoria Aveyard’s book I’d definitely recommend this series. Go read the first novel then come back to this review!

I absolutely loved A Torch Against the Night. I’ve had these books on my bookshelf for two years and finally got around to starting the series in April. After not being entirely won over by the world in An Ember in the Ashes, I loved A Torch Against the Nightand the world Sabaa Tahir continues to build. In a journey to save Laia’s brother from Kauf prison, Elias and Laia meet lots of different characters and obstacles on the way, reuniting with old friends and finding new ones, all whilst having the trail of Martial Soldiers (and Elias’ former best friend, Helene Aquila) eager to catch them. Having the three points of view (Elia, Laia and Helene) made the story very well rounded and it flowed well. As I’m not the greatest fan of fantasy I still struggled with certain magical and otherworldliness elements of it but I learnt to get used to it – The Waiting Place was such an interesting concept. Both Elias and Laia are compelling characters in their own right, but as a pair, they are one of my favourites. Tahir doesn’t shy away from ensuring her characters have flaws and I really appreciated how those flaws impacted the characters.  This was a gripping page-turner with some twists and turns that I did not see coming. I didn’t want this book to be over, and am so glad I only have a few more months until the next one is released!

Clean, Juno Dawson

This review does not contain any spoilers, but TW of addiction and drugs (in the novel.)

This book took me by surprise, and I loved it. I’ve never actually read any of Juno Dawson’s books, but I’ve heard her speak many times at YALC and this book was just as amazing as her panels are. She takes on such a huge topic of addiction, but does it so well. There are so many great pop culture references that situate the novel in contemporary life - from youtubers to Gigi Hadid – this book feels real. But even more than these random references the topic of addiction, a subject rarely tackled in YA fiction, was tackled so well. The ups and downs were shown through all different types of addictions – drugs, sex, food, alcohol –through, what I thought, a realistic view. I loved the filthy rich element of the character’s lives – I’ve heard this novel been described as a mix between Gossip Girl and Girl, Interrupted. Read this book, it’s a fun, easy read, but also an important read, it’s definitely on my list of favourite YA contemporary novels

King’s Cage, Victoria Aveyard

Contains spoilers to all books in the Red Queen series (except War Storm) – honestly, just go and read Red Queen right now if you love any fantasy/dystopian YA series.

I unashamedly LOVED Red Queen (the first in this series) when I read it about three years ago. I loved the world, the characters, the twist and turns (that big one took me by surprise completely.) I still liked Glass Swordand King’s Cage, but perhaps not so much. As with a lot of series, the second and third books become a lot more political, and King’s Cage in particular was a bit too political for me. I understand that the book is about more than just Mare, Cal and Maven, but it’s the relationships between those three that interest me the most and make me continue reading, and I continued reading (in a haste – I read this hefty book in three days) in search for moments between Mare/Cal/Maven. I did love getting Evangeline’s POV (and hope there is more in War Storm) and although I did not find Cameron’s POV exciting, it was necessary to understand the plot. The end shocked me, but not a huge amount, I would love if we were able to read Cal’s POV as I just want to know what’s going on in his head! I’ll definitely be reading War Stormsoon, but mostly because I still love the first book so much that I’m intrigued to see how it all ends. I would love Mare and Cal to end up together, but I actually think it would be more of a statement if Mare ends up alone, and happy to be all on her own and not to rely on anyone – we shall see!

Hope you enjoyed reading the first of my ‘what I’ve been reading posts.’ I loved writing this post so am planning on posting these updates and reviews every two weeks. I shall also be putting these reviews on my Goodreads so be sure to check out my page for some sneak peeks. If you pick any of these books up let me know what you thought of them either in the comments or tweet me! 

Have a lovely weekend, 
Christina xox


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Here's another 'I'm back' post for you, but no seriously, I'm back for good now

Photo taken by the beaut Charlotte (at Roof East, Stratford) 

Remember me? It’s been (once again) a while since I’ve written here but, I’m definitely back. Throughout my last year of uni I had moments of motivation to come back to the blogging world, but they would disappear after one day due to so much going on. So, now I’ve finished with university back in the blogging world for more than just one post. 

It’s weird, I’ve had this blog for seven years now! I started it in 2011 (please don’t go back and read my first crappy posts) and a small part of me didn’t want to come back to it as I thought - what have I achieved with my blog in seven years? -  But then I realised that I would often lose myself reading posts from four years ago and found myself wishing I had kept up with this documenting of life. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to blog at uni if I’m honest. I wasn’t inspired, all my creative energy was zapped out of me by reading books I didn’t necessarily want to read and planning essays that I had little joy in writing. Not that I didn’t enjoy my course, I did, but academics is just not my passion (that’s a whole other blog post.) Now I’ve had a week and a half since I’ve handed in my dissertation, all my passion for books and writing has come flooding back. 

I’m moving back home to my parent’s house permanently in a couple of weeks, I’ve got a part-time job at Waterstones which is exactly what I wanted. I’m getting a foot into the book industry and five days of work into it, I’m absolutely loving it. I want to take full advantage of this by building up my online portfolio; I want to document what I’m reading, discuss my time at university and share some photography. I just want to read, write and take photos and share it with the world through this little website. 

So yes, my blog may not have achieved that much in the blogging world over the past seven years, but my blog is my way of documenting my life and expressing myself. I love taking photos, hence why I love Instagram so much, but I love writing about life and my blog is the way to do that. I’m planning on posting every Friday with fortnightly book updates and other fashion and lifestyle posts, so if you have any other blog posts you’d like to see please let me know! 

Whilst you’re here, why not go follow my other social media channels – I updated my Goodreads last night, my Instagram is my favourite thing and I’m slowly starting to tweet more! 

Talk soon, 
Christina xox
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