Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Hard Decisions

I've made quite a difficult decision. I think i'm going to move my blog from here to wordpress. I'm not sure whether this is going to be a long lasting change or not so for september I'm going to try out wordpress and see what I think of it as a sight; through the design and such. This will stay up and running but for the time being I want to see what wordpress is like. The link for my new blog is: please have a look and continue to support me.

Love you all

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Results Day

The time of the year that all students dread has passed, for A-Level students at least, once more. Today I got my A-Level results and even though my place at drama school was confirmed many moons ago; I could stop being nervous.

I want to break down what i've been doing for the past two years, now that it's over and I don't mind sharing that sort of information on the internet. In 2014 I auditioned to get into a specialist performing, creative and productive arts school called Birmingham Ormiston Academy. I took part in a two day audition with fifty other potentials who had all applied to get in, there had been another two days for the other sixty or so potentials. Those two days were incredibly tough. So tough that people would break down in tears and others would walk out the room and not come back. But even though it was incredibly difficult, and exhausting, I adored every minute of it. A few weeks later I found out that I had gotten in and could take a BTEC Level Three Extended Diploma in Musical Theatre, this is the equivalent to doing three A-Levels. My parents had one condition in allowing me to go. This was that I had to do two a-levels alongside, both because that's what I would be doing if i'd stayed at my old school and so that I had something to fall back on if I decided that I didn't want to do musical theatre any more.

Little did I know how tiring that would become, but i'll go into that later.

I got my GCSEs, a few minor disappoints but nothing that would stop me from doing what I loved, and then I was onto BOA. Walking through those doors that first day was absolutely terrifying. I have social anxiety, something that I didn't truly realise until I was flung head first into a school where I knew no one. Basically, I didn't talk to anyone but teachers for about six weeks (unless I was spoken to, of course, i'm awkward not ignorant). Alongside this I did something that only five percent of people in my whole year did ... two a-levels and our pathway. Musical Theatre is the longest pathway taking up 15 hours. On top of this I had two a-levels of five hours each. The school week at Boa is 28 hours long. If you're good at maths then you will have discovered that that gave me 3 hours of frees. That's it. Some of my friends had 13 hours to do nothing (additional A-leveld were not compulsory after all) and I had 3 hours to do work for at least five different units for MT and then work (and revision) for my additionals. You can imagine that I was extremely stressed when Christmas came. But I didn't even think about dropping either of my additionals. I love both English and Geography and although there were times when all I wanted to do was cry I knew that I couldn't give up.

Alongside all of this I was constantly preparing for the ever approaching auditions and possible working career. That meant that I attended both classical and musical theatre singing lessons for at least four hours, drama and dance lessons too. Not to mention all the practicing that had to be done outside of these commitments and through all this I was teaching my own classes at my dance school. Basically I had no time at all. Yet I some how managed to get every unit of work for all three on time, sometimes even early, without having to pull a single all-nighter. I started revising for all of my exams in the summer holidays last year (we did both our ASs and A2s at the end of Year 13) and I started to do research for the upcoming year too so that I would be as prepared as possible.

I worked my little arse off; giving myself very little free time for anything but reading and writing. But I didn't care. I'm not a party person, I don't drink so I wasn't bothered that I missed out on house parties or huge gigs or anything. I'd rather spend that time memories quotes or finally figuring that difficult section out in my latest solo. I didn't mind. People told me that I needed to socialise more. But, to be honest, I didn't care. I was sorting out my future which some people I know still haven't done.

My time at BOA changed me for the better. I've made friends there that I wouldn't have dared to talk to had I been at any other school. I cut my hair into a bob so that i'd have a whole new wave of confidence. I accepted myself as I am and that has made me into a much better person that I was too years ago. The staff there, at times, were more like friends than teachers and would help me out in anyway I needed and there are some people who I now view as family because of how close we've gotten and I'm terrified to think that I won't be seeing them again all the time (maybe not ever again). These are people that I would see every day without fault and worked in such close quarters with. they really are a family for me and I'm going to miss them like crazy. Not to mention that I was able to go on two once in a life time trips which just helped me relax before the stress of exams kicked in.

For me, academic exams are never the best experience. I can do amazingly in all the mocks that are thrown my way and then i'll sit down in that hall and suddenly something just goes *click* and everything in the world that could possibly go wrong does. I worked my arse off for months on end whilst some people would pick up a book a few hours before the exam and be sorted. I spent very little time with my friends and family and I opened that envelope this morning expecting to see it all being paid off. For my BTEC it did. I got D*D*D* which is the highest grade possible (the equivalent to three A*s) and I was over the moon. Though I've known that for a while because my place at drama school was firmly confirmed about a month and a half ago tell me these grades. But then I looked at my two A-levels. Two subjects that I had poured my blood, sweat and tears into over two years and I got two Cs.

Now I know that sees aren't a bad thing. In fact they are exceptionally good. They meant that i'd passed and could flaunt them with style. But I expected so much more. Yes, I got the equivalent of A*A*A*CC which is amazing but those two Cs just looked so horrible. I went into BOA by myself and grinned my way through it. Sure there was no hiding that I was disappointed to my teachers and friends, they could all see it and I think that maybe they too had been expecting something more, but none of them could see how much it affected me. On my way in I'd been seeing Facebook posts from friends at my old school on how they had gotten A*AAA or A*ABB and stuff like that and they released on the news that thousands of people had gotten high grades. It had blown up my expectations and then this envelope told me. No. You've gotten two Cs. I'd left the house every day at 6:30 and not gotten in till 7 at night. Some nights it'd be even later if I went to classes. I revised anywhere I could and did everything that I could possibly do so that I would be prepared for what was going to happen. And all that work counted for two Cs. I had a friend who didn't even bother revising for her final two exams because she knew she was probably going to fail who's now appealing her results since she's two marks off an A. How is any of that far?

But then I read something earlier. There are so many people who may have gotten higher or lower grades than me who can't go to uni because they don't fit the criteria. My place was unconditional from the start and I've know since November of last year. Yeah I could be disappointed but it wasn't going to mould my life like it would for so many others. I'm going to my dream drama school in September and that'll hopefully go onto a career where no one will even look at my results. They won't care all they will care about is the package in front of them; me.

So, for those of you out there who are reading this. Whether that be for future results days or the GCSE results that are just around the corner. Really it doesn't matter. You can work as hard as you possibly can and whether that means you come out with an A* or a U it doesn't matter. Because your life will find a way to go the path that it is supposed to and all you have to do is keep your eyes open and let it. These envelopes don't determine your life or who you are. Don't let how you were in that exam determine the rest of your future. If you're going for a job interview then be confident and give them a reason to love you so that they ignore those results. Find something you love doing and fight for everything you've got and I know that you will be able to have the best life possible!

Book Total of 2016 - 64

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A Little Update On Life and Stuff

I haven't sat down and just talked to you all for a while and I thought I would talk to you about the things going on in my life. Surprisingly, things haven't been all that hectic of late. My A-Levels are officially over and done with (though I still need to wait for my results with a week and a bit to go) meaning that I can just relax until I move to London for uni/drama school.

I'm going to do Musical Theatre at one of my dream schools and I am beyond ecstatic about everything that is going on. I've been getting my stuff from plates to bedding and it's really exciting. I'm getting to plan a whole life for myself which will hopefully fold out into an amazing career; as long as i'm prepared to work my arse off to do so.

This time last year I uploaded a post called 'Something Just Dawned On Me' and in that I talked about my stress towards the pending future and everything revolving around UCAS and me not actually wanting to grow up. Now I'm not the only person who has ever felt that way, I know. UCAS can be incredibly stressful from choosing the courses that are right for you to writing your personal statement. So I was wondering if people would mind me doing a little theme all about Uni. When I move in in September i'll talk about moving in and choosing rooms and societies and everything like that. They'll obviously be musical theatre themed in a way because that's what my degree is but other than that they'll be accessible to everyone. Is that something you'd all interested in? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Is anyone else going to uni or college this year and moving out? Please tell me that you're as nervous as I am!

Book Total of 2016 - 64

Monday, 1 August 2016

Reading Wrap Up | July 2016

I'm rather impressed with the amount of books that I've read this month. I've been on full holiday mode, hence the lack of updates, without even leaving my house, and I think that me getting to read 14 books in that time is rather impressive really. 

Some of the books this month we first time reads, some rereads. I loved some; I hated others. But I'm going to explore that in more detail .... now. 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by C.S. Lewis. 
I haven't picked this book up since I was about five years old but it was so wonderful to read it again. I felt like a little girl again, immersing myself in a world that I couldn't really remember. To follow Alice once more as she travelled down the rabbit hole to Wonderland was just brilliant. And I doubt I need to explain why I gave this *****

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, by C.S. Lewis. 
To be honest, I couldn't exactly remember what happened in this book. I know I read it when I was a little girl but the events didn't stick out in my mind. It actually felt like I was reading it for the first time; allowing me to view a story that I didn't know and it truly was beautiful. C.S. Lewis does have the whimsical writing style that is addictive no matter the reader's age. Hence why this also deserved *****

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Frank Baum
I didn't read this book as a child. Sure I knew the story, like everyone else in the world. But this was a first time read which I'm rather ashamed about. But I did adore this. I all but absorbed the tale of Dorothy and her adventures in Oz in a matter of hours. Also something that I really enjoyed reading aloud, it just has that effortless tone to it that has to be read to a group. For me, I read it to my dog and he seemed to enjoy it just as much as me. Another book that undoubtably needs *****

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
These are stories that I will come back to again and again and again but never have I listened to them in audiobook form. There were a few little pronunciations that annoyed me somewhat - although it was titled under the Philosopher's Stone, it actually was the Sorcerer's Stone (American Edition) so some words had been changed to suit a different audience as well as the narrator not knowing how to say some words. But I can get over that because of how wonderful the story is and the narrator's acting was just ... perfect. How could I give this anything less than *****

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
To have this on in the background whilst I was busy ironing and doing other tasks like this just made everything better. Some of the same grievances apply to this as with the previous book. But I can get over that because ... well because it's Harry Potter so it's going to get *****

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
As things begin to get darker, I can really appreciate hearing this out loud as it lets me see deeper into the world that our Queen created. I literally lay on my bed listening to this for hours on end; feeling the suspense and emotions of all the different characters, especially Sirius Black. The delivery alone deserved *****

Inferno, by Dan Brown 
The first of the ten books that I want to read this summer. This book is set in the heart of Italy and follows the story of Harvard Professor Robert Langdon as he is drawn into an ever-growing mystery surrounding on of history's most famous masterpieces .... Dante's Inferno. 
Once again, Dan Brown has received his writing peak, something that was slightly lacking in The Lost Symbol and I found myself guessing through every little twist and turn; wondering what was happening as the book progressed. Truly, I didn't understand it until that final twist and I'm still dumbstruck by it all. 
This has been the most realistic of all of Brown's works, something that could scarily happen at some point in the future. It was brilliant, but there were a few plot holes and it took a long time to get into, hence why I have given it ****

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
The second book to be read out of the ten reads for the summer. This follows the tale of people gifted with unlikely abilities known as Graces, inclu
ding one girl called Katsa. She can kill a man with her bare hands and has been used as the King's thug for a long time. But then something changes and Katsa decides that she must make her own choices; discovering the truth about her grace along the way. 
This wasn't my cup of tea. It was completely unique and I can understand why so many people adore it. But it just wasn't for me. I can appreciate the writing style and how much detail she placed in the world building. But I just couldn't love it. It's strange really. But I can see why people would like it as much as they do so I've given it ****, even though I couldn't grip it I can still see the amazing talent that it took to write it. 

Wandering Star, by Teri Sue Wood
This graphic novel was set in outer space and I thought I would fly through it. It sounded interesting what with the intergalactic war and the various alien races that were visible. But I DNFed it after about 50 pages. It was so dull and the graphics weren't even that great. Hence why I gave it *

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
Set in a world that has a near impenetrable darkness plagued with monsters that feast on man flesh that only one person can destroy; and she doesn't even know it yet. 

It took me a few tries to read this, I adored the 'before' chapter that was written in third person but I couldn't get into Alina's thoughts. I just didn't enjoy her as a character. There was no doubt that this book has a good plot line and I did sort of see it coming. Considering that this book was spoiled for me when I first read about it. The relationships seemed forced at times but some of the descriptions were quite amazing really; the different gifts that were created and the monsters I can appreciate them. But overall, I just really didn't love this book. Hence why I gave it ***

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
This has been my favourite book in the series for as long as I can remember and I was super excited to listen to someone performing it. They did not disappoint and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat and in tears for several parts. You know which ones I mean. This really does deserve all *****

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers
Everyone knows the story of Mary Poppins right? It's a classic. A classic that I'm ashamed to admit I hadn't read before. I flew through this book and it truly opened my eyes to Mary Poppins in a way that I hadn't considered before. She wasn't the sugary sweet character that is depicted by Disney and I'm actually glad that I hadn't read it until now because I think it would have hurt my childhood slightly. A perfect book that's brilliant for everyone, young and old. Definitely a ***** read. 

Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie 
What's more perfect that the boy who can never grow up. Another classic that I haven't read for the longest of time. Who doesn't love Peter Pan and the unforgettable narration of J.M. Barrie. Can't really say more about it other than it deserved *****

So that's my reading month. How many books did you read this month? Meet any new favourites? Feel free to let me know in the comments. 

Book Total of 2016 - 62

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Top Five Wednesday | Most Unlikeable Characters

Here it is, another top five wednesday but this week I'm going to talk about the top five characters that I hate even though they were not designed that way. These are not antagonists or anti heroes. Instead they are either the protagonist or a side character in a particular novel that I hated for some reason.

Cho Chang from Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
For some reason I have always hated Cho Chang. Maybe because she got in the way of Hinny but for me she was just so horrible. She is such a gold digger. She was only interested in Cedric because he was the Hogwarts Champion and then went for Harry because he could protect her. She was made to seem weak when really I felt that she was bale to manipulate anything to go her way. She just .... I don't know how to describe it really. But I feel as though I'm the only person who dislikes her in the world since people feel sorry for her.
Not me though. I just felt that she was a needy little girl who wanted to be the centre of attention all the time. I mean she doesn't even really apologise for revealing the information about Dumbledore's Army when everyone else was able to resist it.
In my opinion, she was just a selfish little girl who would do anything to get her way ... and I mean anything!

Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Clare
I can't explain why but I never clicked with Clary. I didn't feel sorry for her and I just felt that if she looked at the situation before making rash decisions half the things in the books wouldn't have happened. I mean, I haven't finished the series or anything because it's really not my cup of tea, but I just couldn't stand her as a protagonist at all.

Wolf from The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer 
Slightly controversial, I know, but this has always been a feeling of mine. There has always been something about Wolf that I didn't like. I don't know why but I just don't love him like the rest of the characters. Maybe because of how we were introduced to him as a character. He just seemed too bigheaded for me and even in Stars Above at the wedding I was just sat there thinking, there's something off about you. I can't explain it, but to me Wolf has always been a character I can't stand!

Newt from The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
Shots have definitely been fired! I'm sorry but for some reason I didn't ever click with Newt. Everyone in the world seemed to love him but I just didn't like him. I always felt like there was something in the background, that he was suddenly going to be the evil one in the group. Maybe that was an original plot line or something, but when I first started to read this series I just sort of sat there and thought 'I don't like you.'
Please don't kill me!

Dorien from Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
Now before you all scream at me, let me explain. This was my feeling before the end of Heir of Fire. Now I just feel sorry. If you've read the books you will understand. But up until that point I just didn't like his character. I felt like he was such a spoilt brat and that he had to get his way the whole time. I couldn't stand him. Hate is probably too strong a word for how I felt about him, but I just didn't like him.
Looking back I can see that it was difficult for him but that doesn't mean that I actually liked him. I certainly didn't like him with Celaena. I didn't like Celaena with Chaol either but that's another story.

In fact, I think it was these two gentlemen when they were infatuated with Celaena that made me not like them. Their relationship felt forced and that annoyed me ... so maybe that's why I didn't really like Dorien initially. Now I feel sorry for him (but he still isn't one of my favourite characters ever!)

And that's me done, what characters do you hate even though they are supposed to be completely loveable characters? Feel free to let me know!

Book Total of 2016 - 61

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Top Five Wednesday | Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist

Here I am back with another Top Five Wednesday and this week I'm going to talk about the five books that I really want to get my hands on; the ones I recently added to my wishlist. I'm doing the Read Five Before You Buy challenge to help me attempt to cut down my never ending tbr pile (and to help me save money, I'm a student after all) but that doesn't mean that there aren't so many books that I want to own. Most of the books that I'm so excited about are ones that aren't due to be released for a bit. So I thought I'd share those with you in no particular order.
  • The Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling. 
This is a play that is currently performing in two parts on the West End and talks place after the events of Harry Potter. I'm guessing about twenty years after, don't quote me on that please. I've purposefully ignored everything about this just so that I know find out what it is about for myself when I get chance to read it because I can't afford to actually go and see it because ... it's expensive and i'm a student. I feel like I'm repeating myself.
This comes out at the end of the month, on Mrs Rowling's and Harry's birthday and hopefully I will be able to get my hands on it as soon as possible.
  • Heartless, by Marissa Meyer. 
I believe that this is a standalone novel that is based around the backstory of the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Marissa Meyer is probably one of my favourite authors so I cannot wait for November to come along and I can get my hands on this beautiful piece of work!
  • Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Andrew Kristoff
My top read of last year was Illuminae which is a space opera of sorts that was written in a completely unique way, taken from email extracts and cctv recordings and I fell in love with the characters and the events. It was breathtaking. Especially since it distracted me from a lot of waiting in hospitals for different X-rays at that moment in time. Since then I've been waiting for Gemina so it is obviously going to be at the top of my waiting list. I'm just praying that I'm not overhyping it in my mind because then I might not enjoy it.
  • Empire of Storms, by Sarah J. Maas
Earlier this year I all but marathoned the Throne of Glass Series. Yes, I am ashamed that i've only just started reading this series but oh my god how I've loved it. And since I finished Queen of Shadows I just needed to get my hands on the next book and it looks so pretty! Ahh! Why is the release date so far away?
  • Tales of the Peculiar, by Ransom Riggs 
Another series that I was really late coming to read was Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Trilogy which I finished back in February and I adored it. Even though I'm annoyed that I got the hardback of Library of Souls, the final book, because they said that the paperback wouldn't be in the UK for a couple of months. They lied it was out like the next week. But hey, enough about that. The Tales of the Peculiar is a novel, I think, that contains the different stories in The Tales of the Peculiar which are mentioned in the trilogy so I'm dying to get my hands on this beautiful book which won't be out for a few months! Now that is a really reader problem!

What about you? What book are at the top of your wishlist?

Book Total of 2016 - 56

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Top Ten Books I Want To Read This Summer

My long summer has been underway for about two weeks now and that means one thing, reading. So I thought that I would share with you the top ten books that I want to get to this summer. This isn't a tbr because I can never ever stick to them but just a few books that are on my shelf that, so long as I don't get stuck in a reading slump, I want to read. Let's get started in no particular order.

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
This follows Katsa who has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Gravelling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. Even though she is the King's niece she is forced to work as a thug.

I picked this up when I was in a reading slump a few months ago but I was in a slump so I couldn't read it. But so many people love it and I really want to read it. Hence why it's on this list.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
This gigantic books is set in 1806, with the Napoleonic War as a backdrop, and most people believe that England is all but dead. That is until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers. Jonathan Strange, a practicing magician, becomes Norrell's student and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is ever drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

This is an enormous book that I've been putting off for some time just because of the immense size. It sounds really interesting and people who've read it always say that it is brilliant. But it is huge!

A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin 
Summers soon decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

Really I just want read the whole series, well the books that are out at the moment anyway. But I think that the first book is probably the best to get started. I have read a few of the books yet rereading them all with give me a broader insight on the world once more. I do adore the tv show anyway but I just want to see the tiny details that Martin is so famous for.

It, by Stephen King 
To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, it was just their home town: familiar, well ordered for the most part. A good place to live. But it was the children that saw and felt how horribly different Derry can be. In the drains, IT lurks and will take on the the shape of your deepest darkest fear.

I've wanted to read this for so long but every time I pick it up and my mind goes in a sort of fear; at both the immense size and the content. But I want to read it so that's not going to stop me!

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne 
My desire to read more classics this year is continued with Captain Nemo and the Nautilus. But Nemo is out for revenge and no one will get in his way.
This is something that I've wanted to read for so long and this time I'm actually going to read it.

Flowers in the Attic, by V. C. Andrews 
This thriller tells four children who are hidden away from the world in their grandmother's attic whilst their mother is away. But they soon realise that they may never be allowed out again.

I found this and immediately made it a part of my collection but this blurb has been stuck in my head for so long that I want to read it before this summer ends! It just sounds amazing.

The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes
Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future. Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbled on a House in the era of Depression Chicago that opens on to other times. Harper is the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable. That is until his last victim survives and Kirby must bring her would be killer to justice.

This was a book that I bought for about three pounds in hardback at the works, bargain, and I liked the sound of it. But it's just sat there on my shelf for ages until now. I am going to pick it up this summer!

Inferno, by Dan Brown
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centred around one of history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces ... Dante's Inferno.

It's been over a year since I read a Dan Brown book and, though they are hard to get into, I always find them extremely gripping and they do turn my head a bit. So, since they are fairly long, I know that a long summer holiday will be the best time to read one of these books.

A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
Eyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court - but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human and she can't forget what she had to do to survive. Not to mention the bargain she had made with the High Lord of the Night Court which she will be taken to so that she can spend part of the year with him.

I attempted to pick up a few months ago but I couldn't concentrate because of how much work I had to do. But now that I basically have nothing to do then I know that I'll definitely be able to read it at last!

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Not its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee; Alina Starkov.

When I picked this up originally I was entering a reading slump so I couldn't get into it at all. But so many people rave about this trilogy that I need to give it a go!

So there are the books that I want to read this summer. What about you? Anything fairly major that you feel like reading during the summer holidays this year?

Book Total of 2016 - 54

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Bye Bye Books | Book Unhaul

The other day I was looking up at my shelves and I realised something. There are so many books on my shelves that I either picked up and hated or I know i'll never actually read it. Some of the books were given to me by relatives or I picked up a few years ago in 'fill a bag for a pound' sale at either my school's or local library. A couple I actually own copies of and I just don't see the point in having too copies because I'm not that found of them. So I've been going through my books and I've decided to do an unhaul. Now these are my own opinions so I'm sorry if your favourite book is in this list but we are all entitled to our own opinions, right.

Right then, this list is made up of books and it really has shortened my tbr. Not by a lot but it does help a little bit. Shall we begin?
  • The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende 
  • Ten Days to Zero, by Richard Ashley 
  • The Princess Plot, by Richard Bole 
  • The Greatest Knight, by Elizabeth Chadwick 
  • The Sixth Wife, by Suzannah Dunn 
  • Jane Boleyn, by Julia Fox
  • When Christ and his Saints Slept, by Sharon Penman 
  • The Ruby in the Smoke, by Phillip Pullman
  • Secrets of the Tudor Court, by Darcy Bonnette
  • Death Force, by Matt Lynn 
  • The Healer's Keep, by Victoria Hanley
  • The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier 
  • Burning Bright, by Tracy Chevalier 
  • No Going Back, by Matt Hilton 
  • The Pleasure's of Men, by Kate Williams 
  • Dear Silvia, by Dawn French 
  • The Husband's Secret, by Liane Moriarty 
  • The Secret Countess, by Eva Ibbotson 
  • The Light of the Oracle, by Victoria Hanley
  • Night World, by L.J. Smith 
  • John Thomas and Jane, by D. H. Lawrence 
  • The Maze Runner, by James Dashner 
  • The Plumed Serpant, by D. H. Lawrence 
  • "Who Could That Be At This Hour?" - All The Wrong Questions, by Lemony Snicket
  • Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibson 
  • Heretic, by Bernard Cornwell
  • Devil's Own Daughter, by Meg Hutchinson 
  • The Horse Whisperer, by Nicholas Evans 
  • The Code of Romulus, by Caroline Lawrence 
  • Op-Centre: Divide and Conquer, by Tom Clancy 
  • Bread and Chocolate, by Phillipa Gregory 
  • Triptych, by Harin Slaughter 
  • Elegy For A Lost Star, by Elizabeth Haydon 
  • Payback, by James Barrington 
  • Spellbinder, by Mark Shirrefs and John Thomson 
  • Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Murder Bag, by Tony Parson 
  • Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Secrets of Vesuvius, by Caroline Lawrence 
  • Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins
  • Spy Girl: Once Upon A Time, by Carol Hedges 
  • The Queen's Fool, by Philippa Gregory 
  • The Boleyn Inheritance, by Philippa Gregory
  • Arbella: England's Lost Queen, by Sarah Gristwood
Time to say goodbye to 44 books. Rather sad but at least someone else will enjoy them when I know that I won't. 

Book Total of 2016 - 52

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Top Five Wednesday | Favourite Books Outside Your Comfort Zone


My second week of Top Five Wednesday and this week I'm going to talk about the five books that I loved that are taken from genres I don't usually read. Because of these books I've actually started to pick up more from their genres. Usually I go for either fantasy or science fiction but I like to change things up slightly at times.

Now, let's get started.

All I Know Now, by Carrie Hope Fletcher 
I hardly ever read non-fiction unless its to do with school but I picked this up because it's Carrie and I've loved her Youtube videos for as long as I can remember. This is a self help guide, once again something that I would never read, but I loved it. I really really did. It was just like having her talk to me. It was rather perfect.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
Contemporary books are something that I rarely read. Sure I'll pick them up occasionally but I've never really loved them. But Fangirl really sounded like something I could enjoy and relate to, even though I'm not at uni yet and I don't have a twin sister. It opened this whole new genre up to me and I know now that I want to read more of.

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken
Even though I adore science fiction and fantasy, one genre ... well sub genre ... that I never seem to read is time travel. I know that there are quiet a few genres out there that fit into this genre but it's something that I never read. In fact, I can't actually remember reading a time travel book before reading Passenger. It was so different to anything else that I know I'll probably pick up more. Not all the time but occasionally.

Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Graudin 
A couple of years ago I used to adore historical fiction, I'm a bit of a history geek so it was always something that i'd read but I hardly ever read it now. Especially not alternate universe historical novels. My knowledge of what happens usually causes me to hate it in some way and I just sit there thinking "why?"
But Wolf by Wolf drew me in immediately and I devoured it in a matter of days. It was beautiful and even though it is outside of my comfort zone, I know that it is something that I will think about for years.

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyles
I am not someone who enjoys reading a sob story. Chick lit has never been my thing. I'd rather read some space opera than sit sobbing in the corner about some doomed relationship, because that is how these books will usually go. I picked this up because of the film trailer and I thought it might be a quick read. Who would have known how many tears I shed over this. I'm not a crier so I don't know how that happened. Reading this, really took me out of my comfort zone .... in a good way.

So there we go, my top five books that took me out of my comfort zone. What books took you out of your comfort zone yet you loved them?

Book Total of 2016 - 51

Monday, 4 July 2016


I'm currently in the middle of writing my March to June Book haul because I haven't written one in forever! And I've just realised how much money I am spending on books when really I should be saving up considering that in a little over a month I move to London and will be completely independent so .... yeah .... I think I need to  go on a book buying ban.

Now I know that I'm not going to be able to stop buying books. The only time I was able to do that was from November till about February but I did buy a few in that time because it was christmas and I needed to save up for going to New York and Iceland but whilst I was away I did buy some books. But that was part of the money that I'd saved up so it was allowed .... yeah, it was. But since then I have been so stressed that I keep buying a load of books and yes, it makes me so happy to see all these beautiful books sitting on my shelves but I can't afford it so time to go on a book buying ban.

Yet I recently came across a new challenge called the Read Five Before You Buy. Basically, if you haven't heard of it, you read five books and then you can go and buy a new book. I think that this is something that will really motivate me to continue reading so that I know at some point I'll be able to buy a book! There are so many books coming out soon in the next few months that I will be buy no matter what, even if I am in a book buying ban, so by having this then I'll be able to save up some credit so that I can buy them and just not buy books for no real reason.

Now I'm not going to class any review copies that I've requested as buying books because I like doing this stuff for authors because it really can be so helpful for them to get honest opinions. But I won't buy anything! Deal? Deal!

Since I've just hit my original reading goal for the year I'm going to start this Read Five Before You Buy challenge starting from fifty and I think I'll save up the books that I've read for when I want a book really badly. That seems fair, right! Hopefully I'll be able to stick to this!

Please tell me that i'm not the only one who needs to go on a book buying ban. Let me know if you are!

Book Total of 2016 - 51

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Reading Wrap Up | June 2016

So, June has come and gone and that means that it's another month closer to me going off to Drama School!!!!!!!!! AHHH!!!! Excuse me whilst I silently die in the corner from excitement. This month I was able to get a surprising amount of reading done. No, I didn't complete my reading challenge for the year like I thought I would but that's fine by me. I'll do it next month.

This month I was able to read eight books and considering that I was revising and taking exams for the most of the month, I'm impressed with that. There was a mixture of good and bad books this month, I quite liked a few but others I was slightly put off by or they just weren't my cup of tea. So shall we get started?

The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries' seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. 

At the centre of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. 
Until one day, he does .... 

As the world turns upside down, Haze; tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
This book was different, completely unlike anything I've read revolving around Fae. It was set in the modern day but still had a hint of the old through the creative writing of Holly Black. The characters were believable and I fell in love. It was beautiful hence why I gave it *****

The Walking Dead, Volume One: Days Gone Bye, by Robert Kirkman 
The world we knew is gone. 
An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept through the world causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. 
In a matter of months society has crumbled. There is no more Government, television or sense of security. 
In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to truly start living. 

For me, this was a reread. Something short that allowed me to take a quick break from the endless amount of revision. It passed the time and fully immersed me into the world of The Walking Dead. Hence why I gave it ****

The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness
What if you aren't one of the chosen ones? The ones who fight the zombies, or soul eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? 
What if you're like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and finally have enough courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. 

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this weeks end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your life. 

I loved the fact that Patrick Ness was able to poke fun at the idea of the "chosen one" but it still had the usual flare of his writing. It was so good. Yes, the writing was  fairly simplistic in comparison to some of his works but it was lovely. Hence why I gave it ****

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black
Tana lives in a world where walled cities known as coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. And once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave. 

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her ex boyfriend who has now been infected and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana faces a race against the clock to save the three of them in the only way she knows; by going straight to wicked heart of Coldtown itself. 

There was something about this that sent thrills going down my spine. Holly Black's writing created this gripping world with a twist that I did not see coming. And then ending, it was left in such an open way in which I could interpret it however I wished. Truly it was a breathtaking piece of work that deserved *****

Queen of Hearts, by Colleen Oakes
As the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah's days are filled with an endless repetition of teas, tarts and humiliation at the hands of her cruel father, the King of Hearts. The one highlight coming from the future Knave of Hearts, Wardley, her childhood friend - and love of her life. 

Yet mere weeks before her coronation, Dinah's world is turned on its head and she is forced to unravel the tangled web of madness that is held before her before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe. 

I have to admit, this took a while to get into. But once I was past the first thirty pages or so, I found that I couldn't put it down. Really, I didn't expect to enjoy an Alice in Wonderland retelling as much as I did and that is why I gave it ****

The Walking Dead, Volume Two: Miles Behind Us, by Robert Kirkman 
An epidemic has spread rapidly across the world, causing the dead to rise and feed from the living. And Rick Grimes is discovering how difficult it is to keep those he loves safe from people he once new. Characters live and die as they brave a treacherous landscape filled with new villains. 

Another reread to pass the time when I felt like I was about to head into a reading slump. Surprisingly I didn't love this as much as I did the first time round. I don't know why, but I just didn't click with it Sure it was the same as before and expanded up the Walking Dead universe but it just didn't feel the same. Hence why I gave it ***

Rats, by James Herbert
It was only when the first bones were discovered, flesh picked clean, that people began to fear for their lives. For millions of years, rats and man have been enemies but it seems that now the scale has finally been tipped. 

This isn't something that I would immediately pick up but I wanted a change and I was surprised at how easily I found it to finish. The chapters were short and it wasn't too scary, just the right amount of suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat. And that's why I gave it ****

Kat in Zombieland, by Gena Showalter. 
A short story in the Alice in Zombieland series based around the character Kat and her time as a witness. 

I quite liked the first three books in the Alice in Zombieland series, it was interesting. Not a retelling like it claimed to be but still, interesting. I hatted this short though. Kat just isn't the sort of character that I could like, her personality was too in your face and the writing was just poor. And it didn't really add anything to the plot line either. Maybe it would fit in with the final book in the series but it was dull really and I wouldn't recommend it. Hence why I gave it **

What was your favourite thing you read in June? 

Book Total of 2016 - 48 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Top Ten Owned Authors

I was scrolling through the booktube the other day and I came across an old video by Katytastic in which she talked about her top ten owned authors and well .... I decided to steal this idea.
Sorry Kat .... not that you'll ever read this or anything but still. Sorry for being a thief.

These books actually make up 108 of my total books which is kind of impressive really. And some of these books aren't even my favourite authors too. Some of my favourite authors I don't actually own that many copies of books of. But I know i'm going to be picking up some more because I want to take them with me to uni and not damage my precious hardbacks in the process. Hehe, see what I did there? Please tell me someone noticed my little pun!

Anyway, on with the post.

1. The author whom I own the most books of (who may just be one of my favourite authors) is the Late, Great Terry Pratchett. I own an astonishing 38 books of his. These books include the majority of his Discworld series novels. As well as a few companion novels to this about the world. One stand alone book called Johnny and the Dead and a novel that he did with Neil Gaiman called Good Omens. The reason that I own so many of his books is actually because they belonged to my dad; because he is his favourite author. I have now taken proud ownership of them and I will continue to expand the collection until we own every book that he wrote.

2. The author whom I own the second largest amount of books is ..... J K Rowling. I own 22 of her books. Now I know what you are thinking. Alisha, she hasn't published 22 books. But there is a reason for this. I have the first editions of Harry Potter in hardback as well as books 1 to 4 in paperback and an extra copy of Order of the Phoenix in Hardback. They were left for me by a relative because she knew I loved them so much. I also own her three companion novels; Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beadle the Bard (which I have two copies of). As well as this I have a book which she co wrote about the film series called Film Wizardry. I also have a copy of the Casual Vacancy. And a hardback and paperback of A Cuckoos Calling as well as a hardback copy of The Silkworm.

3. My third most owned author is actually my favourite author. Can you guess who it is?
J R R Tolkien.
I have 9 copies of his books and I'm going to buy some more because there are actually a few that I do not own and I want to keep my rather rare hardbacks at home. Well I say that they're mine, they were my dad's but he has entrusted them into me.
I have two copies of the complete editions of The Lord of the Rings. Both of which contain all three 'books' and the appendices. One in hardback and one in paperback. I then have two copies of the Hobbit. One in hardback, one in paperback. Next I have paperbacks of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I also have a copy of Tales from the Perilous Realm in paperback and The Silmarillion in Hardback.

4. You may think I'm a bit of a horror fan for this, but the most of these books were my dad's that he has now given to me. I have 8 different books all by Stephen King. I have IT, Rose Madder, Bag of Bones, Insomnia, Four Past Midnight, Needful Things, Doctor Sleep and Dolores Claiborne.

5. After this comes Bali Rai, good old Bali Rai. And I can proudly say that all 7 Bali Rai books are in fact signed. I have two copies of Rani and Sukh. The copies of (Un)arranged Marriage, Killing Honour, City of Ghosts, Angel Collector and Fire City.

6. Even though I am not her biggest fan, next on this list comes Cassandra Clare as I own 7 of her books. I have two copies of City of Bones (one in e-reader form and then a paperback) and then copies of the rest of the Mortal Instruments series.

7. No matter how hard I try, I still can't get through this series because the books are just so huge! But  that doesn't mean that I don't own 6 of this authors books. I own: Rogue; A Game of Thrones; A Clash of Kings; A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow; A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold; and A Feast of Crows all by George R. R. Martin.

8. These 6 books actually belong to my Mum but she doesn't have a bookshelf so I thought I'd put them on my shelf and now they're mine. By Dan Brown I own Angels and Demons, Digital Fortress, The Da Vinci Code, Deception Point, The Lost Symbol and Inferno.

9. Now on to a lady who is swiftly becoming one of my favourite authors. She's never going to take over from Tolkien but she wrote a pretty amazing series known as The Lunar Chronicles. Hence why I open 6 copies of her works. This lady is Marissa Meyer and I own copies of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter and Stars Above.

10. Although I really really dislike this author, for some reason I own 5 different copies of his works. This author is John Green and I own copies of Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

So there are the top ten authors that I own. Anything you find surprising in this mix?

Book Total of 2016 - 48

Top 5 Wednesday: Settings I Want To See More Of

So this is my first Top Five Wednesday and I'm rather excited to be apart of it. I've been umming and ahhhing on whether I should do this, but I finally gave in and just thought 'why not!' After all, it is a great way to meet so many other readers!

Something that has long been on my mind is places that I adore, both fictional and nonfictional, that are barely mentioned in literature. So I thought I would mention the top five settings that I want to see more of.

Sorrento, Italy. I had the pleasure of getting to going to Italy a few years ago and for the first four days of the trip I stayed in a place called Sorento which is in the Bay of Naples. It's the home of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, well that area in Italy anyway. I fell in love with this place yet I haven't actually read a book that is set there. Someone please recommend some book that is set in this beautiful place. Then finally I will be at pease.

Iceland. Earlier this year I was able to go to Iceland and it is such a beautiful place. So untouched by pollution and modernisation. It was just breathtaking and it is the sort of place that I could see a fantastic book being written. Some sort of fairy tale considering the mythology and beliefs that the country has. To be able to explore that further would be just amazing. Surely there must be some books about it out there?

New York, America. Another place that I have been to and fallen in love with for a completely different reason. It was the business of the city, the claustrophobic sense to it with the thousands of people pushing against one another to get to places. I loved that. And though I have seen many TV shows set in New York, I can't think of a book. I'm sure I've read many but none seem to spring to mind. How odd is that?

Ireland. One of my favourite book series for a very long time was based in Ireland and although it was only a back drop for the events that took place. I fell in love with some of the imagery created and I just feel that so few books are actually set in this country, a country that has such a ripe history and beautiful surroundings that I'm sure could easily help sculpture an amazing book.

New Zealand. This is final setting is one that I have wanted to go to for a long time, primarily because of the beauty of the scenes that could easily be Middle Earth. Since I'll never be able to physically step into the breathtaking world that was created by Tolkien, I need to read more things set in New Zealand just so I can see the landscapes and fully feel as though I was in Lothlorien or Erebor with some of the best characters I've had the pleasure to read.

So, there is my list. Do we share some of the same settings? What top five places do you want to see more of in Literature? Feel free to let me know.

Book Total of 2016 - 48

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Review | Diary of Anne Green the Girl Witch: Foundling Witch, by Max Candee

What You Need To Know:
Title: Diary of Anne Green the Girl Witch: Foundling Witch
Author: Max Candee
Number of Pages: 159
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure  
Series/Standalone: Diary of Anne the Girl Witch
Publisher: Independent Books
Publication Date: 7th December 2014

The Plot:
Anna Sophia has always known she was different. But it wasn't until now that she knew how different she was.

The night of her 13th birthday, Anna wonders about her past in the impossible circumstances that she was found: a baby, tucked among a pack of bear cubs in the wilds of Russia. And then she receives a letter from her mother that reveals a whole new world to her. And as she learns more about her secret abilities, she finds out that her neighbours are hiding something of their own: a plot to harm Anna and her friends.

My Thoughts:
This was a short read that should have passed relatively quickly; sucking me into a world of magic and tragedy that didn't take me through some of the twists that I first thought of. Initially it had the innocent light, airy voice that would have been perfect for younger readers. All I felt was that it was a little bit slow. I know its a Middle Grade books but that doesn't have to mean that it's slow initially.

Anna was supposed to be thirteen years old but once again the voice was much much older. Yes, it could have been the hint of maturity that was supposed to be given to a girl growing up in an orphanage; someone who has to act older than they actually are. But it was just a bit odd really. She had this gut instinct that wasn't easily fooled that would not exist in a girl that young. Sometimes she acted in a childish way and then she was almost an adult again. It would have been a lot better if she had been about fifteen or sixteen years old. Then she would have been a far more believable character.

This story turned on its tail and suddenly became a thriller. A very loosely cut thriller. So many of the plot points were washed over far too quickly and they were loosely sown together. Sure it would work for kids, but the equivalent of the writing would have suited only the youngest kids in the Middle Grade category. Sure it was a good idea but wasn't executed well.

I'm not going to gush over it, it was okay but not wonderful. It's not something that I could see my self recommending to others but well, it could be something that could kick someone into reading. It wasn't amazing but I'm sure that there are some people out there that this really appeals to. I'm just not one of them. Hence why I gave it ***

Book Total of 2016 - 47

Monday, 27 June 2016

Recommendations | Dystopian

Dystopia – noun
An imaginary place where people lead dehumanised and often fearful lives

A favourite genre of mine for many years has been Dystopian. Yet so few people actually read a lot of these books. There are a few obvious numbers that I am going to mention but so many of these only a small number know about so, here are some of my favourite young adult dystopian novels.

Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Panem is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Once there had been 13 but a rebellion early in Panem’s history resulted in its destruction and the creation of The Hunger Games. This is a televised event that takes place each year and stands as a punishment. One boy and one girl from each district between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen through a lottery system. These ‘tributes’ are forced to fight to the death, leaving one surviving victor.
When Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister, Prim, was selected to be a part of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss volunteered to take her place. Really, it is a death sentence but, for Katniss, survival is second nature and with Peeta, her male counterpart, alongside her, things will not be as hard as they first believed.

I’m sure that most people will have at least watched the films for these books but I thought I would mention them anyway. Although I didn’t like the trilogy as a whole, I was impressed with the first book and I know that it got a lot of people into reading. Therefore, The Hunger Games is a notable mention.

Divergent, by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions which is dedicated to one particular virtue. Candor (the Honest), Abnegation (the Selfless), Dauntless (the Brave), Amity (the Peaceful), and Erudite (the Intelligent). Once a year, all sixteen year olds must select the faction that they will remain in for the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, she has a choice to stay with her family or discovering who she really is.

By doing this, Tris has to undertake her trials, decide who she can truly trust and hide a secret that could result in her death. Not to mention that she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society.

Another relatively obvious option and although the rest of the trilogy are fairly bad, I did like this when I first read it. For a young reader, this opened a whole new genre and although it has its flaws, it is an interesting read. If you haven’t and you want something that’ll open this genre to you, then pick up Divergent.

Maze Runner, by James Dashner
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember in his name. He’s surrounded by strangers, all of which are boys whose memory is also gone. To make matters worse, surrounding the Glade that they are in is an ever changing maze that holds these vile robotic creatures known as the Grievers. They only come out at night but if they find you in the Maze then you’re all but dead.

Then one day, everything in the maze changes forever for the lift brings a girl.

This is a book that is once again relatively well known but has a lot of mixed reviews. Some people love it, some people hate it. I have to say that although it took forever to get into, this book was suspenseful and took a turn that I wasn’t expecting. If you can stick it out for the first thirty pages or so, you are going to love the twists and turns that this book takes.

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld
In this world, when a teenager turns sixteen they turn from ugly to stunningly pretty. They are given an operation which rids them of all their flaws and then can live in a high tech paradise where the only job is to have fun.

For Tally, this is all she has waiting for. But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure that she wants to be Pretty. And when Shay runs away to live in a wild with a group called the Smokies, Tally learns a whole new side to the pretty world – and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities give Tally one choice: find her friend and turn her in, or remain ugly. And Tally’s choice will change her world forever.

I read this book before I knew about Booktube, it was recommended to me by a friend and I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. This really opened my eyes to how beauty can actually be a weapon. I was young when I read this, like 12 or 13 and I wasn’t a particularly popular because of the way that I looked. So by reading this I could really relate to the dilemma that Tally was feeling and it opened my eyes to fact that you don’t have to be conventionally pretty to be beautiful. And I think that that is an amazing life lesson that everybody should learn.

Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
This is a world divided by blood. The Reds are commoners, ruled over by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And for Mare Barrow, a 17 year old Red girl from the poverty stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. And then she finds herself working inside the Silver Palace, surrounded by the people she hates most. It is this hatred that reveals she possesses a deadly power of her own, despite her red blood. One that threatens to destroy the balance power completely. 

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain sight. But this is a dangerous dance that Mare has entered, one of lies and deceit – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

Now for some reason people seem to hate this book, I really don’t know why. I adored it. It was different to anything else in YA that I’d read and it kept hooked until the final page. It was brilliant. I need to read the next book to know what happens and trust me when I say that this is awesome. Even if some people don’t agree.

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. All the women were wiped out thirteen years ago and everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never ending stream of Noise. Todd is the only boy left. In Prentisstown, when you turn thirteen you become a man and you aren’t allowed to play with boys anymore. So for Todd, life has been a little bit lonely. Thankfully, Todd has Manchee, a dog whose thoughts you can hear too, but he’s a bit of pain really.

Yet, just a month away from the birthday that will turn him into a man, Todd and Manchee stumble upon an area of complete silence. Something that has never happened before. They find in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden. A secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how can you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

I read this for a national book award called the Carnegie Awards a few years ago. Patrick Ness is an amazing author who is the only person to have every single one of his books nominated for the Carnegie Awards. Which I think is pretty amazing. This was one of the first YA books I ever read and it still sticks in my mind to this day. I often go back to reread it because it is so good. It really does surprise me how few people know of Patrick Ness and his brilliant works so I will suggest this book to everyone. It is addictively good.  

The Selection, by Keira Cass
The Selection could be the change of a lifetime for thirty five girls. They have the opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. They are swept into the glamourous life of the palace to try to compete to win the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

This isn’t the case for America Singer. Being Selected means turning her back on her secret love for Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home and living in the Palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. And then America meets Prince Maxon and she realises that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

When I think about this book, I don’t always think of dystopian but it is. It is a world ruled over by a vile King and tormented by two different groups of Rebels. I couldn’t put this trilogy down, even though originally I doubted that I would like it. Yes, it’s not usually my cup of tea but I thoroughly enjoyed this and I hope that others will as well.

Legend, by Marie Lu
June and Day are from completely different worlds. June is a prodigy, born from an elite family, who has been groomed for success. Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. It is only when June’s brother, Metias is murdered and Day is made the Prime Suspect that they meet.

But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Now this is actually classed as a retelling, which I don’t see at all. I see it as a dystopia since it’s set into a war torn world under a controlling Government. The first book was interesting and I flew through it in one sitting.

Gone, by Michael Grant
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappeared. All gone. Except for the young. There are teens, but no adults at all. No phones, internet or televisions. No way to get help or figure out what happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies reign. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents that grow stronger every day. But their time is running out: on your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else …

Although this book took over too much plot; Grant could have ended it half way through so that the plot could continue for the next book. But other than that it was a rather gripping read. The plot immediately held my attention and even though there were dual personalities, I didn’t care that much because of the addictive writing style.

The Enemy, by Charlie Higson
When the sickness came, every adult fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others turned crazed, hungry and confused. Only children under fourteen remain and they’re fighting to survive.

There are rumours of a safe place to hide. Somewhere that these zombies can’t get. So a gang of children begin their quest across London, where the adults life in wait wherever they go. The question is, can they make it there – alive?

I didn’t expect to love this as much as I do, as a fan of the Walking Dead I’m used to zombies and thought I’d be immune to them, but that was not the case in this novel. This was literally a mix of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games with children surviving in a horrific world. You never think of the children in a zombie apocalypse but them having to survive, by themselves, it’s truly horrific. In an enjoyable way.

Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in 264 days. She was locked up for murder by The Reestablishment when she did last time. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, it just is and the world is too busy with its own problems to care. Disease, food shortages and pollution.

But The Reestablishment isn’t as perfect as it would like people to believe and so many people are dead that survivors are whispering war. So Juliette has to make a choice: be a weapon or be a warrior.

Now this book wasn’t perfect. I listen to the audiobook of this so I didn’t absorb all of it straight away and having a love triangle is just cliché and tacky. But the story behind this is intriguing. I know that I want to read it properly when I get the chance because I’ll be able to absorb it better. But it was good to listen to and it’s a slightly different type of dystopia.

Noughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman
White Naughts and black Crosses never mix – and they certainly don’t fall in love. Callum is a Naught – a second class citizen in a society run by Crosses. Sephy is a Cross, daughter to the man who’ll likely be the next Prime Minister. When they were younger, they played together. Now they meet in secret.

But when Sephy and her mother are nearly caught in a terrorist attack, Callum’s father becomes the Prime Suspect and the blood hunt that ensues will not only threatens their love for one another. But their very lives.

The thing that always brings me back to this book is the fact that it’s about racial discrimination but the opposite way round. Which never happens. It’s always black people are discriminated by white people. But in this case, the black people are the higher race which really opened my eyes to discrimination when I first read this book several years ago. I think I was in my first year of high school so yeah, that was a long time ago. This is a true Dystopian novel and one that so few people have read considering how brilliant it is. I can’t go into much detail because of spoilers but I highly suggest that people read this book!

Procession of the Dead, by Darren Shan
Capac Raimi arrives in the City, determined to make his mark. Yet as he begins to learn the tricks of the trade from his Uncle Theo, he swiftly finds his way to becoming a promising new gangster.

But his life changes forever when he meets The Cardinal.

This was my second favourite book of 2014 and I cannot stop thinking about it, even two years later. This twists that took place were breath taking and I hate that nobody knows about this book. No one talks about it on booktube and none of my reader friends know about it either. The world is so twisted and I wouldn’t suggest reading it if you’re a sensitive person because of some of the content. But it was so good. I didn’t expect it to take the path that it did which is a real compliment because I can usually predict things. This was an amazing read and people need to read it now.

I hope that people will read these books since some of these are amazing. I know I’ve said that word a lot in this post but they are amazing. If there are any dystopian books out there that you think I should read, feel free to let me know in the comments. Also do you want me to do more recommendations?

Book Total of 2016 – 47