Reading Round-up: March 2017 #BookReviews #MarchReleases

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Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t warrant a full review. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

The only book I read this month and didn’t feel like reviewing in full was….

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King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) ~ Victoria Aveyard

I think I’m pretty much done with this series. I really loved the first book, and the second one was OK, and then this one was even less OK. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it but I don’t really feel the need to continue reading if that’s what’s happening. The ending made me think that it’s just going to go on and on.

I liked seeing Mare and Cal back together again in King’s Cage (not much of a spoiler I don’t think!), but the whole red/silver war thing just felt so samey. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

unicorn rating 3

Other Reviews

This Month in Books: March 2017 #TMIB #MarchReleases

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March has been a weird month. I spent most of it in a reading slump and watched a lot of TV instead. Bad Book Blogger! IRL I went home for a weekend to surprise my mum for Mother’s Day which made her happy, won tickets to a 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer party sponsored by the Syfy channel and Fandom which made me very happy (I was in heaven), and took a few days off work which was nice.

March 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 14 (+ 3 from previous month)

Books Read: 4 (-1)
All the Good Things ~ Clare Fisher
Girl in Disguise ~ Greer Macallister
The Invisible Hand ~ James Hartley
King’s Cage ~ Victoria Aveyard

 
The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (2/4); Crime/Thriller (2/4); Fantasy (2/4)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (2/4); Digital (1/4); Hardback (0/4); Paperback (3/4) / Owned (1/4); Borrowed (0/4); For Review/proofs (3/4)

Most Surprising: All the Good Things
Most Disappointing: King’s Cage
Most Exciting: Girl in Disguise
Most Swoon-worthy:  Hmm…King’s Cage I guess…
Most Beautifully Written: All the Good Things

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 22.03.17
  2. This Week in Books 15.03.17
  3. Lazy Saturday Review: The Rest of us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Promos, Guest Posts and other Highlights

Awards

 

 

 

TBR Shelf Update

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Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my physical TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 85

Books Added: 0!

Books Read: 1

Remaining: 84

That was my month, how was yours?

The Invisible Hand by James Hartley #BookReview #YA

 

Title: The Invisible Hand theinvis
Author:
 James Hartley
Series: Shakespeare’s Moon #1
Format: Paperback, 168 pages
Publication Details: February 22nd 2017 by Lodestone Books

Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

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The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in /Macbeth/, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school. The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeares Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play.

Review

I’ve always really liked Shakespeare – even at school – which is strange because I remember hating most things I was forced to read for school. Shakespeare always seemed more interesting though. I enjoyed having to decipher the language to discover the meaning, but I also totally understand why people dislike it, and why children and young adults find it difficult.

I’m therefore always pleased to see more accessible books based on Shakespeare, and its modern-day retellings. The Invisible Hand is the first in a new series to be set in the same boarding school, with each book based upon a different Shakespeare play. In this case it’s Macbeth.

In this short novel, Sam is quite perturbed about his strange, vivid dreams where he finds himself in Scotland in what seems like medieval times. Whilst trying to make sense of the dreams, he’s also trying to keep his head down at the boarding school but is finding it increasingly harder to concentrate in the present day. Especially when the girl he has a crush on in his dreams starts to turning up at school.

Things get even weirder when Sam starts studying Macbeth in English and the events of the play bear more than a passing resemblance to Sam’s dreams that may not be dreams after all.

The Invisible Hand was a great introduction to Macbeth. It was a simple but action-packed story which uses some of the events in Macbeth and gives them a modern relevance. I enjoyed it a lot. It was fun and speedy. If I had one thing to criticise though, it would be that I wished Hartley had taken it further. I wanted more Shakespeare, more detail. It was too short!

The Invisible Hand has certainly piqued my interest however, and I would love to see what they do with other Shakespeare plays. I definitely think there is room for more Shakespeare inspired YA novels like this to show that it’s not all about archaic language and ruffled collars.

unicorn rating 4

 

This Week in Books 15.03.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Hope you’re all having a great week!  Here’s what mine has looked like:

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Now: King’s Cage ~ Victoria Aveyard // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’ve not made much of a start on King’s Cage yet but so far so good.  I’m also stiiiiiiiiiiill going on The Time Machine at lunch-times.

Then:  The Invisible Hand ~ James Hartley // Girl in Disguise ~ Greer Macallister

I really enjoyed both of these. I’ve just finished The Invisible Hand which is part of a new series with each book based on a different Shakespeare play. I think it’s a great way to get kids and young adults interested in Shakespeare. My review will be up soon. Girl in Disguise was a fun book about the first female Pinkerton detective. My review went up yesterday.

Next: ??? 

Definitely something from my physical TBR shelf again. Six of Crows and The Chemist are still at the top of my pile or I might go for something completely different like Misery by Stephen King.

New on the Shelves

I haven’t bought or requested any books this week. Pat on the back for me! 😮

I’m Waiting On…

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

Because, the cover is so stunning, and it sounds great too. A bit similar to The Space Between Us perhaps, but I only saw the movie!? There’s quite a wait til September though…boo!

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 Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . .

Expected Publication: September 7th 2017 by Walker Books

 

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

Coming Up: March TBR (and beyond)! #TBR #NewReleases

I like to have an idea of what I’m going to try and read in the month ahead, but it’s certainly not set in stone. Here are some of the most likely books you can expect to see on the blog in the next month or so….[links go to Goodreads]. 🙂

ARCS / Proofs

 

All the Good Things ~ Clare Fisher

 

I’ve just finished this… it was gooood!

allthegood Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?

Expected publication: June 1st 2017 by Viking, Penguin UK

Girl in Disguise ~ Greer Macallister

 

I’ve just started this one. The early reviews were a bit hit and miss but I’m looking forward to it.

girlindisguiseFor the first female Pinkerton detective, respect is hard to come by. Danger, however, is not.

In the tumultuous years of the Civil War, the streets of Chicago offer a woman mostly danger and ruin-unless that woman is Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective and a desperate widow with a knack for manipulation.

Descending into undercover operations, Kate is able to infiltrate the seedy side of the city in ways her fellow detectives can’t. She’s a seductress, an exotic foreign medium, or a rich train passenger, all depending on the day and the robber, thief, or murderer she’s been assigned to nab.

Inspired by the real story of Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective’s rise during one of the nation’s greatest times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.

Expected publication: March 21st 2017 by Sourcebooks Landmark

The Invisible Hand ~ James Hartley

 

I love modern day Shakespeare retellings so looking forward to this.

img_0186The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland.

There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in Macbeth, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school.

The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeares Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play.

Published February 22nd 2017 by Lodestone Books

From the TBR Shelf

Six of Crows ~ Leigh Bardugo

 

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Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Published September 29th 2015 by Indigo

King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) ~ Victoria Aveyard

 

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 In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Published February 7th 2017 by HarperTeen
Any of these take your fancy?
Or let me know if you’ve already read any and recommend them.
 

Lazy Saturday Review: Manga Shakespeare – Hamlet

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Title: Hamlet
Author: Richard Appignanesi (Adaptor), William Shakespeare (Original), Emma Vieceli (Illustrator)
Series: The Managa Shakespeare Collection
Edition: Paperback, 208 pages
Publication Details: April 1st 2007 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): Classics; Graphic Novels
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

Part of ‘Manga Shakespeare’, a series of graphic novel adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays. Prince Hamlet is depressed. Having been summoned home to Denmark from school in Germany to attend his father’s funeral, he is shocked to find his mother Gertrude already remarried. The Queen has wed Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius, the dead king’s brother. To Hamlet, the marriage is “foul incest.” Worse still, Claudius has had himself crowned King despite the fact that Hamlet was his father’s heir to the throne. Hamlet suspects foul play.

Review


I love that this series exists! I always enjoyed studying Shakespeare but reading his plays outright can be a bit of a chore, so what better way to combat that than read a short, sharp Manga version instead?

I enjoyed this a lot, but it wasn’t without its flaws. I found the illustrations both beautiful and sinister, and loved the way they included a Sci-Fi, futuristic element, yet stayed true to the text. I felt like I could follow the story relatively easily, but then, Hamlet has always been a favourite of mine so I know the story pretty well anyway.

I did think it was sometimes hard to tell who was who, and who was talking, but maybe that’s just because I’m a Manga-amateur, I don’t know. I think some of the characters looked a little too similar, but Emma Vieceli did a great job (yesIprettymuchfanciedthemallOK), especially with Ophelia who was just as beautiful and haunting as she should be.

I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to edit such a huge play- Shakespeare’s longest no less- down to so little text, and so I was really impressed. I’d love to collect the whole series, and see if I can follow one of the ones I’m not so familiar with.

unicorn rating 4

Once Upon a Time: Join the Quest!

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Yesterday I came across a new challenge on the lovely Lynn’s blog, and while I have done pretty rubbish in the challenges I set myself at the start of the year, I’m signing up.

But it’s OK, because Once Upon a Time uses the term ‘challenge’ pretty loosely and you can sign up just for ‘The Journey’….

Once Upon a Time is brought to us by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings, and is in its 8th year. It’s ‘a reading and viewing event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum.’ It runs from March 21st to June 21st and you can sign up for minimal participation (1 book) in ‘The Journey’ or five other quests. Check out the original post on Stainless Steel Droppings for more info or to sign up.

I’m going for Quest the Third because I’ve been wanting to reread some Shakespeare for some time, and this is the perfect encouragement.

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Fulfill the requirements for The Journey or Quest the First or Quest the Second AND top it off with a June reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream OR a viewing of one of the many theatrical versions of the play.

So I’ll be doing The Journey (1 book min.) – even though I have quite a few books that would fall into these categories on my TBR list – because I just don’t want to commit to more given my bad start to the year where other challenges are concerned, and reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream in June. Fun!

Be one of us…

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Was *Forced* to Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them). This week the theme is Top Ten books you were ‘forced’ to read, whether it’s required reading or books that friends or family have encouraged you to read.

I was never big on required reading, and would usually just pretend that I’d read the books I was supposed to at school. Such a rebel, yeah. But I did read some of the ones I was supposed to, and here are my favourites. Followed by the books I read, or was read to as a child…no forcing necessary there; they are all awesome!

Top 5 Books I had to read to for school

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  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: I would love to read this again. It was very affecting.
  • Hamlet: Probably my favourite Shakespeare play.  I can still remember the first time I was introduced to Ophelia!
  • Of Mice and Men: I haven’t read this for years. So heartbreaking!
  • The Bloody Chamber: I’m not sure if I had to read this for college or Uni, but either way I’m glad I did.
  • Enduring Love: This was one of the stand-out books I read for my Eng Lit class in college.

Top 5 Books from Childhood

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  • The Twits: This is the most memorable Dahl book for me. I still love it.
  • Naughty Amelia Jane: I read A LOT of Enid Blyton when I was little. This series was my fave though, closely followed by The Faraway Tree books.
  • Silly Verse for Kids: I did a Favourites Friday post on this here. Love love love. RIP Spike Milligan
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: I actually saw the BBC adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe before I read these books. Words cannot express how much I love this series. In all its forms.
  • Green Eggs and Ham: I can remember loving this book so much, and thinking how gross green eggs sounded! I would love to read this again.