Saturday, 4 July 2015

Going on Hiatus

Hey there everyone! I know I haven't posted here in a long while. I've been super busy with final exams, graduation and prom. I'm super sorry for disappearing without much of an explanation. Anyways, I'm going to be super busy this summer preparing for university in the fall so I've decided to go on a sort of hiatus until September when I'll be settled into my new home. I'll definitely still be on Goodreads frequently, but I probably won't have time to post here regularly over the next two months. I hope everyone is having an amazing summer and that people are finally getting the time to relax and crush their to-be-read piles. Thanks. See you all soon!

Love,
Michelle

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

He can run faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo.

Synopsis:

Harry Potter is preparing to leave the Dursleys and Privet Drive for the last time. But the future that awaits him is full of danger, not only for him, but for anyone close to him – and Harry has already lost so much. Only by destroying Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes can Harry free himself and overcome the Dark Lord’s forces of evil.
In this dramatic conclusion to the Harry Potter series, Harry must leave his most loyal friends behind, and in a final perilous journey find the strength and the will to face his terrifying destiny: a deadly confrontation that is his alone to fight.

My Initial Expectations:

Since I started this series I knew exactly how it would end. However, this book was actually the one I knew least about. I knew the end and almost every minor detail of it: who died and how, who married and how many children they had, who won (though that one is kind of obvious whether you are spoiled or not) But I didn't have a single clue of how the Golden Trio would get to that end and the struggles they would face on the way. Like for all the other books in this series, my expectations were exceptionally high.

My Thoughts:  WARNING, CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Where do I even start? There was so much about this final book that captivated me like never before. This series has evidently stolen a huge chunk of my heart and soul that I will never be able to get back. Hell, I don't want it back because these books and the amazing author behind them deserve it much more than I do. Nevertheless, I was not satisfied.

Yes, J.K. Rowling, like always, made sure to cover everything involving the Golden Trio's quest to find the Horcruxes and the Hallows. There was a complexity to the setting, plot and characters that somehow never managed to overwhelm me (and I am easily overwhelmed when it comes to sci-fi and/or fantasy).
Yes, her story made me cry into my chest hurt and bite my nails with anticipation until they bled. It kept me up late into the night and was convincing enough to get me (little miss goody two shoes) to skip class in order to get in just a few more chapters one day.

There was nothing wrong with the ending. Loose ends were tied, the world was saved and they all lived happily ever after. The seemingly perfect ending to a perfect book. Emphasis on the "seemingly".

All I wanted was for the spotlight to be on someone else besides Harry for a change. Sure everyone, even the Malfoys, got their moment in the sun. But the moments were brief and hardly expanded on. All that seemed to matter was Harry and how he felt. While there was definitely nothing wrong with that, I would've loved a little more insight into the many subplots. Like Neville and Dumbledore's Army. They had this whole bad-ass rebellion building right under the Death Eaters' noses and all they get is a pat on the back when Harry turns up and rains on their parade. This brought, though thankfully only for an instant, the immature Harry that I'd hated for the majority of the series.

And then there was Fred's death. That was what really got me. Not the death itself, but the fact that J.K. Rowling gave readers only the slightest glimpse of how people were dealing with such a tragic event and then moved back to Harry with barely a second thought. I understand that she probably needed to keep the plot moving and all, but I felt that a character that important to the series should've had more than just a mention here and there after his passing.

Maybe I'm the problem. Maybe I'm too nit-picky and demanding. Either way that is how I felt.

On a positive note, I really enjoyed the change in scenery. Though I love Hogwarts and everyone in it, I was getting a bit tired of entire chapters of Harry and his friends attending class after class after class. I also really liked how the plot was spread out over almost an entire year. It was much more enjoyable and logical then some of the young adult books I read nowadays where teens on a quest somehow manage to get halfway across the continent within a week or so.

Overall, I loved this book. It had its flaws and not every story got to be told in full detail. I'm sad about that, but I accept it. No book can cover everything at once. J.K. Rowling's series, in its entirety, went way beyond my expectations, especially in this final installment. It has been about a week and I'm still crying about it being over on a regular basis. That's how much it has impacted me.

I gave this book all the effing stars on Goodreads (5/5)!

Would I recommend it? I think the answer to this is obvious. Still, if you're one of those people who have never read or seen the Harry Potter series and choose not to try it out just because you think it's cool going against the hype or because you're "too old for kid books" (I've met a lot of people like this), just shut up and pick up this goddamn beautiful series. Sometimes hype can be a wonderful thing.

Would I re-read it? Yes. Absolutely. I've already marked my favourite scenes in this for whenever I'm in the mood for an emotional rollercoaster. As for the other books, I may only read some and skip others. I didn't necessarily enjoy the first three books so I'll just skip ahead to when Harry is no longer an insufferable and immature brat.

My Reading Progress:





Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Unpopular Opinion Tag

Hey there lovelies! I'm stuck in bed for the day with a fever and I thought I'd use this free time to do something fun. To be honest, nobody has tagged me yet, but I'm going to do it anyway.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts. I'd also love to see you guys try this fun tag out as well. If you end up doing this tag (or already have), feel free to post a link to it in the comment section below.

I hope I don't offend anyone with my unpopular opinions. Everyone has different tastes, so don't take it personally.

A popular book or series that you didn't like:

  

The Hunger Games...While I won't go into my usual long rant about why I didn't like this series, I will defend my position as best as I can in a single paragraph. First of all, I see the Hunger Games as a complete rip-off of Battle Royale. Secondly, the author's use of fragmented sentences in a weak and ineffective attempt to be profound made me roll my eyes every other page. Thirdly, Katniss Everdeen is nothing close to the strong female protagonist that the plot and the readers of this series deserve. The way she consistently let her love life get in the way of the actual plot quickly swept away the last remaining bit of respect I had for her.

Shatter Me...I honestly love the writing style. It's unique and beautiful and I've yet to read anything like it. However, it gets a bit tiring after the first 50 pages or so. Therefore I found it somewhat tortuous to read 300+ pages, let alone a whole series. 

Angelfall...It's not that this book was bad. It just wasn't for me. I'm not that into anything involving angels and apocalypses. I felt no connection to the characters and their romance was a bit to quick and cliche for my tastes. In the end I was forcing myself to finish it and I don't plan on reading the rest of the series.

A book or series that everyone seems to hate but you love:



No One Else Can Have You...There's been a lot of controversy surrounding this book and its author. However, that hasn't changed my opinion since I first read it over a year ago. I hadn't read many mystery novels before this and so I didn't have much to base my judgments on. Still, I thought it was an exciting and fast-paced thriller capable of getting me out of one of my worst reading slumps.

Icons...I can understand why a lot of people hated this book/series. The female protagonist is admittedly annoying as hell and the romance lacks luster. Nevertheless, I felt that the other characters, the plot and the action made up for this book's many downfalls. I wasn't expecting to love this series and I definitely wasn't planning on crying my eyes out towards the end.

A love triangle that didn't end the way you wanted it to:






The Steampunk Chronicles...(Finley Jayne, Griffin King, Jack Dandy) Obviously I can't say much because I don't want to spoil anyone. However, I thought Finley was better suited for *****. They would have made the most amazing power couple. Of course the choice Finley made was a reasonable one, but I still would've preferred the alternative.

A book genre you hardly reach for:



Contemporary/Romance...I already have enough drama in my life; therefore, I prefer not to read about similarly depressing or cringe-worthy situations. Additionally, it seems to me that it is more likely that an annoying cliche (love triangle, jerk that turns out to be a softy, all the pretty girls are mean as hell, etc) will show up in a contemporary/romance book than a fantasy/science fiction book. I also find that many books in the contemporary genre tend to romanticize things like suicide, depression and other physical/mental/emotional issues (which I see as very inappropriate because they send the wrong message).


A popular or beloved character that you do not like:






Dobby (Harry Potter)...It's not that I hate Dobby. I just don't love him to the same extent that many Harry Potter fans do. He's cute and sweet, but he isn't cute enough for me to care whether he lives or dies. I actually loved Kreacher more.

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)...Katniss was my biggest issue when reading The Hunger Games series. In my opinion, she was never the strong female role model that everyone claimed she was. She was motivated more by her personal relationships rather the plot itself. If Prim hadn't been chosen I bet she would've never done anything about the games and would've just moved on with her life.

A popular author you just can't seem to enjoy:



Lauren Oliver...I've tried multiple times to read the many books written by Lauren Oliver in the past few years. Only once I've been able to finish one of her books and that was because I had no other books with me during one of my many stays in the hospital last year. Her books have so much potential but every single time the plots and the characters fall flat.

A popular trope you're tired of seeing:












The Pretty Girls Are Always Mean (And Stupid)...You're almost guaranteed to come across this trope in any young adult book with a school and or small town setting. The main character is misfit who seems to think she has the right to judge other girls her age by what they wear. A girl doesn't even have to speak to show you she's a bitch; all she has to do is be wearing lots of makeup and glittery high heels. I hate this trope because it makes fun of girls who like to dress up on a regular basis. I am one of those girls. But just because I love to dress up and look my best every single day doesn't mean I'm out to get you or that I have an IQ in the single digits.

A popular series you have no interest in reading:













Pretty Little Liars...I had had enough of this story in its television adaption form by its second season. That being so, I can not even fathom committing myself to the books from beginning to end. I sometimes wonder what this series contains (other than the obvious mystery of A) in order to take up 16 full lengths novels, but I'm not curious enough to actually waste my time and money on it all.

A movie or TV show that was better than the book:





Flashforward...This was one of my favourite TV shows when I was younger. I was devastated when it got cancelled and I was left with so many unanswered questions. Nevertheless, the television adaptation was much better than the novel. The novel was so confusing I could barely keep up. I also had to continuously google countless scientific terms and concepts mentioned in the book that were much easier to understand when adapted.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

4 (Hopefully) Helpful Tips For Getting Out Of A Reading Slump

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've had a lot going on in and out of school that's got in the way of both my reading and my blogging.

For those of you that are friends with me on Goodreads, you may have noticed that I haven't gotten a lot of reading done in the past week or so. This was because I had fallen into an unforeseen reading slump that I thought I would never get out of. Thankfully, I have miraculously found my way out of that pit of despair and loneliness. But before I get back to reading into the early hours of the morning, I thought I would share with you some (hopefully) helpful tips for getting out of a reading slump if are ever unfortunate enough to fall into its clutches.

Tip #1: Change your reading environment. 

Do you usually read inside? Try an hour or two in the sun or under the comforting shade of a tree. If the weather outside isn't suitable for you or your book, sit by a window or in another room.
Do you usually listen to music while you read? Try a new playlist or turn it off for a while. The silence may seem daunting at first, but it can sometimes help you get more immersed in the story.
(Try typing the name of the book you're reading into 8tracks. Chances are someone has already made a playlist specifically for the book/series)

Tip #2: Change book genres. 

Trying something new and unfamiliar can give your brain the boost you desperately need. Who knows, you may also awaken a passion for a genre, series or author you never expected to love. (While trying to get out of my most recent reading slump, I took a break from fantasy and dabbled in some Canadian classics that my teacher recommended. I didn't necessarily love them, but their complexity encouraged me to focus more on what I was reading and I managed to get much more invested in what I was reading than I was before.)

Tip #3: Change the medium on which you read. 

Do you usually read on your ereader? Try switching to something physical. Maybe even experiment with audiobooks. (Get audiobooks from your local library on find them for free online. I suggest trying theaudiobookbay.) If you usually read physical books, try ebooks. Whether you have an ereader doesn't matter. You can always download ereader apps on your phone or iPod.

Tip #4: Step away from books for a while. 

Gasp. While saying that may be considered to be an act of heresy to some, it has to be said. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about a reading slump. Just step away from the books for a day or two and try not to worry. Reading isn't a race or any other sort of competition. The books will always be there for you when you get back. I promise.

Hopefully you find one or more of these tips to be helpful whether you or someone you love is suffering the affliction that is a reading slump. Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump that isn't mentioned above? If so, comment down below!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Review: Unmarked by Kami Garcia (The Legion #2)

I realized that sometimes we have to step outside the walls and fight. Sometimes the armor we thought was protecting us was actually weighing us down.

Synopsis:
Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengeance spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us–a demon she accidentally set free.

Now Kennedy and the other Legion members–Alara, Priest, Lukas, and Jared–have to hunt him down. As they learn more about the history of the Legion and the Illuminati, Kennedy realizes that the greatest mystery of all does not belong to any secret order, but to her own family. With the clock ticking and the life of someone she loves hanging in the balance, Kennedy has to ask the question she fears most: what is it about her past that has left her Unmarked?

My Initial Expectations:

I had a very strong love-hate relationship with the first book in this series. I loved it paranormal aspects; but I also hated it for how similar said paranormal aspects mirrored those in the hit television series Supernatural. Not only that, but two brothers travelling around the country fighting ghosts and demons was a bit too on the nose. To be honest, I had picked up the sequel before I even finished the first book. That being so, I was determined not to let twenty bucks go to waste. 

What I Liked About The Book:

This book made up for a lot of the resentments I had previously developed towards the characters. For starters, the members of the Legion were much more mature. No longer were they a bunch of annoying cliches (with the exception of Jared, but I'll get to that later). The brief insight into each characters lives outside of the Legion finally removed the uncaring distance that I had felt towards them all during much of the first book. 

Thankfully, Garcia eliminated the much despised love triangle, and in the best way. There was no drama or long-lasting awkwardness. The characters moved on and focused on more important things like mature teenagers are supposed to do. I also loved that Elle was a constant presence. She brought a well needed lightheartedness to the doomsday atmosphere and made sure that Kennedy's attention wasn't always on the hot guy. 

Surprisingly, this book creeped me out. Of course I'm already easily freaked out because of my ever-present paranoia; but this level of creep was a big step from the almost nonexistent gloom of the first book. 

What I Didn't Like About The Book:

Jared was one of my favourite characters in the first book. Now he makes me gag. He went from a tough and determined hero to a lovesick puppy with little reason. Sure, Kennedy's a nice girl, but he's known her less than two months. Take it down a notch. 

I didn't think this book could copy Supernatural any more than it already had. I was wrong. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil it for people who haven't read this one yet; but I can tell you it involves rogue angels, demonic possession and daddy issues. 

My Overall Thoughts: 

Rarely do I come across a sequel that is better than its predecessor. While it has one of the cheesiest romances in YA, it's still super cute and not entirely cringe-worthy. I'm very relieved that author has begun to eliminate some of the distasteful cliches that made the first book so disappointing. Additionally, I'm blown away by the detail included in regards to history and demonology (and all those other paranormal terms I can't for the life of me spell). I always can appreciate well-researched information. 

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads!
Would I recommend it? Yes. Even if you hated the first book, you should give this series a second chance! 
Would I re-read it? Nah.

What did you guys think? Do you think there was significant improvement between the first and second books? Have you ever come across a sequel that was better than/made up for its predecessor?