Sunday, 1 June 2014

May Reading Wrap-up

            (Bad lighting, I know. Sorry!) 

May has officially ended so I thought I would share with you all the books I read in May, along with a brief synopsis and a mini review.
I managed to complete 8 books this month and a total of 3682 pages so it was quite a good reading month for me. 

More Than This    by Patrick Ness            (3 stars)
The story starts off with a boy named Seth, drowning- he dies. But then he wakes in an abandoned but familiar place. He wants answers- Is it real? Has he woke up in his own personalised hell?
I thought that Patrick Ness really portrayed his fantastic writing skills and ability to create a story that leaves impact, so in that sense I enjoyed this book. However, at the beginning it felt like there was no story, yet too many twists that had been crammed in an effort to make it interesting. About a third of the way through, it did get better and more exciting- the story was actually going somewhere and I was interested in what would happen. 
Saying that, while I enjoyed parts of it and appreciated the essence and idea of the story, it is not something I plan to re-read or would reccomend to a friend. The story felt slightly non-existence and slow despite the twists that continued to occur. I do, however think that some people would love this book, especially if you are already a fan of Patrick Ness.

Talented    by Sophie Davis            (3.5 stars)
~This book is currently free as an ebook, I downloaded it onto my kindle app~

Years ago, there was a nuclear explosion which caused certain people to possess special abilities (such as mind manipulation and shape shifting), making them "talented". Talia Lyons was born with the gift to read and influence minds. When she was just her child, her parents were murdered before her eyes. She was given a choice: to walk away or to get revenge. Talia trains to become one of the most deadly assassins in the country, in order to kill the man responsible for her parents death. She has learnt to control her gift, is ready to graduate and there is only one thing standing in her way of retribution...the feelings and distractions of a normal teenage girl.
If Sookie and 007 had a love child with a yearning for vengeance, her story would be TALENTED. That's how this book was described which, of course, sounds amazing. I have to say, it is a fitting description for this book. Fast-moving, dangerous and adventurous story line with lots of romance thrown in, I enjoyed this book a lot. It was easy to read and fun which was exactly what I needed after the heavy plot of More Than This. For me, it felt like there was too much focus on the romance side of things and not enough focus on the action, world building and character development which I felt this book lacked. 
I still really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a well paced, easy to read and exciting story. I think I will continue the series because I wnat to know what happens but it won't be something that I will be desperate to read as soon as possible.

The Fault in Our Stars    by John Green            (5 stars)
(I don't really think I need to give a synopsis for this book as I am sure most people have either read it or know what it is but I will just in case.) 
Hazel Grace Lancaster has terminal cancer and she is suffering from the side-effects of dying. Forced into going to a teenage cancer support group by her mum, she meets Augustus Waters (who lost a leg to cancer), there so to support his friend who is about to lose his sight. It completely changes her life in a whirlwind of humor, love and emotion.
This was a re-read before the movie comes out (so excited for it) and it is one of my favourite books of all time. John Green has a fantastic writing style. It can be deep but is also really witty, clever and funny which I love. This book doesn't gloss over difficult issues and teenage experiences but shows a very insightful understanding. The characters are real- I love smart, awkward Hazel and funny, slightly obnoxious Augustus. The story is gripping, raw and one of the books I have cried at the most. It is truly a beautiful story. Everyone should read this book.

The Cuckoos Calling    by Robert Galbraith.           (4.5 stars)
                               (AKA JK Rowling)
Comoran Strike is a slightly unconventional private detective who is struggling to keep his business open and pay off the debts that he owes. John Bristow, a lawyer, is the adopted brother of supermodel Lula Landry who was thought to committed suicide and is adamant that it was murder. He takes it upon himself to hire Strike to investigate. With the help of Robin, the perceptive and smart temporary secretary that he can hardly afford, the detective begins to unravel the mystery that plunges him into a world far from his own.
I was really skeptical about this book, being that JK Rowling- whom I love- had written it. I didn't want to be disappointed, I didn't want the magic to get a little bit ruined. Needless to say, there was no reason to be worried. JK Rowling, yet again, has crafted a brilliant and gripping story with a genius plot line. She is such a clever writer- every detail is thought through, every little thing pinpointed so that it is impossible to find any mistakes. Her writing style is funny and interesting and just as fluent as it is in her famous children's series. It was exciting and unexpected and best of all, the characters were real. They were flawed and complicated and interesting- beautifully developed. It was an amazing crime novel that I would reccomend to anyone who enjoys older books and likes a little mystery.

City of Fallen Angels    by Cassandra Clare            (5 stars)
(The mortal instruments #4)
I am sure you all know what the mortal instruments series is and if you don't then I really don't know where you have been. Obviously I can't give a synopsis because it's the fourth in the series and wouldn't want to risk giving away any spoilers so all I will say is:
It is set in a world of shadowhunters and demoms, vampires and werewolves, fairies and warlocks and centres around the struggle for power, the battle vs good and evil and the need to eradicate demoms from the world. 
As always, it was a fantastic instalment in the series. The characters that were introduced were all brilliant and I love the relationships between the characters that we see. It was hilarious and emotional and, yet again an extremely gripping and exciting story line. My one criticism would be that Cassandra Clare sometimes includes too much description that is not needed and does not add to the story. However that did not stop me from giving it 5 stars.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets    by JK Rowling            (5 stars)
Obviously this is a re-read and of course there is nothing I need to say in terms of the synopsis. Even if you haven't read it (which you absolutely should do) I am sure you have most likely seen the films, or at the very least know what it is about.
It was amazing as always. Such an exciting, fun adventure with humor, beautiful relationships, amazing character development and a world that I wished I lived in. No words can describe how amazing this series is and how much I love it.

City of Lost Souls    by Cassandra Clare            (5 stars)
(the mortal instruments #5)
As you can see I went on a bit of a TMI fest in preparation for the final book. Again. The same goes for this one in terms of the synopsis as it did for City of Fallen Angels.
This is definitely my second favourite book in the series. Cassandra Clare's writing improved a lot in this one and I really enjoyed it. I loved some of the humor and Simon has finally convinced me to kind of love him (although not in the same way as Jace who is amazing) and Isabelle is completely, utterly fantastic. One of my favourite female characters ever. I couldn't put this book down and the story felt so much more dangerous and interesting than ever before. There were seriously so many feels!

City of Heavenly Fire    by Cassandra Clare            (5 stars)
The final book, where it all ended. I have barely even gathered my thoughts for this one, I don't know if I can handle it. It was amazing, my favourite by far and such a fantastic end to a fantastic series. Parts of it were so funny and I laughed out loud many times- I love Cassandra Clares humor. It was so intense and stressful and there were so many feels. I actually think I cried for like half of the book. I really don't want to give any spoilers away so all I will say is that there were almost as many happy tears as there were sad tears, but then maybe I just cry more at sad things. It was so good- if you haven't read it yet then WHY? You need to get it finished now.
Also just a quick mention that there is currently a read-along for this book happening. There is a group on GoodReads and it is being hosted by Sarah Churchill (I think?) from youtube. It started today and ends on the 28th of June when there will be a liveshow discussing it (which I will definitely be watching) if anyone is interested in that.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I know it was a pretty long one but I had quite a bit to say. What did you read this month? Have you read any books mentioned? 
Love Ellen xxx