20 bullet points of hate for The Soul Thief: Angel of Death #1 by Majanka Verstraete

TST

Publication Date: November 10, 2014

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Targeted Audience: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Paranormal

 

[Note: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

I’m going to be honest- I HATED THIS BOOK! I hated it so much oh god! I should have DNF’ed it but NOPE being the idiot that I am, I read till the end. It was an absolute waste of my time!

*deep breaths*

Now that we have successfully established my hatred for this book. Let’s delve into the why’s.

*I hate in bullet points*

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The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell

29073922

Publication Date: April 14, 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Targeted Audience: Adult

Genre: Paranormal/Crime/Psychological thriller

 

[Note: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

I need to make it clear that I don’t read a lot of mystery novels, simply because they fail to interest me. (Maybe I haven’t found the right author yet, who knows?) This book felt the same. It didn’t intrigue as much as I had hoped it would.

While the writing had no issues, the plot felt dragged. We were constantly being led places and then being disappointed. The characters too were a roller coaster. At some point the finger points so glaringly at one person only to point at someone else the next minute.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books n’ Tunes

*clap clap*

Sometimes, as it happens, you’re listening to a song. And that song paints a lovely picture in your head. And sometimes, it happens to fit perfectly with the picture a book puts in your head. And then, ta-da, you get the song and the book married off!

I have wanted to do this type of a post for a while now. When a song fits for me, I have an intense need to tell people about it. Intense.
So, beware, for this post will be intense and, will not follow the first T5W rule (i.e. It’ll be above 5). Let’s bang on:

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Continue cruising >> >> >>

Beez’s Friday finds

Friday Finds is a meme hosted by Books and a Beat. It was created to showcase all the books we’ve added to our TBR piles in the past week.

FridayFinds

I’m going to let you in on all the books I’ve added on my TBR pile and reasons for hence. Be cautioned- I am bizarre and I like philosophy.

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#1 The killer next door by Alex Marwood

Beez: If you live in Dubai, and don’t know about the following piece of information, this is going to be your lucky day. Some metro stations allow you to borrow books and that’s amazing. So this is one book I picked up because well, it sounded hella interesting and creepy.

#2 The age of genius: The 17th century and the birth of the modern mind by A. C. Grayling

Beez: Basically, I’m interested in the evolution of human intelligence. And I also met this author and was extremely interested and flabbergasted by what he said. So there. Also, a book actually about the evolution of human intelligence is The dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan!

Continue reading

The Entertainer Blogger Award

We were nominated by Milou from Simplyabookdrunkardblog for the Entertainer Blogger Award. Thank you so much! Don’t forget to check out her awesome blog.

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The rules are:

  • Write a post with the award picture
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring, and most important of all, Entertaining
  • Add these rules to the post
  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  • Answer the questions down below

1. Why did you start a blog in the first place?

Well I don’t think we thought anything through before we decided to start one. It was a very on-the-spot decision. Beez just texted me one day, saying that she wanted us to start a book blog and I went okay! But I’m so glad we did because this is a wonderful place for us to meet amazing people with whom we can just relax and talk about books.

2. What is your favourite book?

THIS should NOT be a question for book nerds! I can’t possibly choose. But some of our favourites would be the Harry Potter series, The book thief, Fangirl, The raven cycle and recently, Mistborn.

3. What do you dislike the most?

In a book, it would be characters that are 2D or characters that are sexist or a plot that is so uninteresting that it makes me want to kill myself.

In general, it would be life…

4. What is your favourite food item from the mall?

BURGERS AND PIZZAS!

5. What is your favourite pastime activity?

Reading, colouring, painting, watching T.V. shows (Anyone here who has watched Merlin??) and for me (Raven) obsessing over everything my birdies do.

We nominate:

Thebookllama, Bookdrblog, Bookishregards, Bookhaunt, and Acciopadfoot

We have only nominated 5 people but if anyone out there wants this award then you are more than welcome to have it!

This is Raven and Beez,

Signing out~

 

Dustbin baby by Jacqueline Wilson

Dustbin BabyPublication Date: October 1, 2002

Publisher: Corgi Childrens

Pages: 160

Targeted Audience: Young Adult/Childrens

Genre: Contemporary/Realistic fiction

Blurb: April Showers (so called because of her birth date, April 1, and her tendency to burst into tears at the drop of a hat) was unceremoniously dumped in a rubbish bin when she was only a few hours old. Her young life has passed by in a blur of ever-changing foster homes but as she enters her teens she decides it is time to find out the truth about her real family.

This book was recommended to me by Beez.

She said it was a good read.

She said I would enjoy it…

I cried like a freaking baby.

This book is about a girl named April who is being fostered by an old-fashioned woman named Marion. On her 14th birthday (April 1, hence the name), she decides to go and finally dig deeper into her past, to finally find her real mother. And along with her we are taken into her past.

Jacqueline Wilson is an amazing woman. Whenever she wrote a flashback it didn’t FEEL like it was a flashback. It didn’t feel like there was past information being dumped on me. Everything felt right. Authors… THAT is how you do multiple flashbacks.

Now along April’s journey we meet her first “mummy” and “daddy”, a relationship that did not end well, we saw her being mentally bullied by another girl in another foster home, turn into a burglar in an orphanage of sorts and then finally be taken into care by Marion. In the middle of these flashbacks we meet the woman who first took care of her when she was a baby since her real mother had given birth to her behind a restaurant and dumped her in the dustbin (hence the title). We also meet the girl who had taken April under her wing for the burglaries and finally we come upon the very restaurant where she was born.

I don’t want to give away too much info about the plot of this book as almost everything is a spoiler. All I can say is that this book has some amazing character development and the plot moves in a way that it’s hard to put this book down. A definite page-turner. This is the first Jacqueline Wilson book I read and I would definitely read more of her amazing work.

Before I end this review, I just want to address the reason why I cried a lot during this book. It’s because of everything April went through at such a young age. It made me feel truly blessed. There have been countless moments where I have hated my parents or pondered upon the idea of running away from them but this book makes me appreciate the fact that I was AT LEAST born with parents who were willing and caring enough to contribute in my upbringing.

I have never been in April’s situation but I could still relate to her because it could have easily been me and that thought is scary. I have never read a book about orphans before (not including Harry Potter since the plot was not about him finding his parents) so I guess that’s partly the reason I cried so much and also because stories about child abuse of any kind make me cry a lot.

Recommendation: To anyone who wants to cry their eyes out and wants to appreciate their parents and upbringing. A book that you will relate to despite not having gone through anything similar.

Rating: 4/5 cupcakes (loses one cause it was a little slow in the beginning)

4 cupcakes

Lots of love,

Raven

Top 5 Wednesday: Least favourite book from our favourite series

There are so many series out there that we love as a whole but to be honest there is always that one book from your favourite series that was not as good as you would have liked it to be.

This is a list of 5 books from our favourite series that we didn’t like the most.

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#1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets from The Harry Potter series

Raven: This was a good book too I mean, I love ALL of Harry Potter but if I HAD to choose then this will be the one.

Beez: Yeah same as Raven. I think one of the reasons is that we didn’t know a lot about what it was building to, and we learnt about the significance later on. But it was still good.

#2 The Sea of Monsters from Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

Raven: Just like Harry Potter, I loved ALL of Percy Jackson but yeah…

Beez: I can’t remember what happened… I’m growing old.

#3 None from The Raven Cycle

Raven: Don’t question us.

Beez: Maggie Stiefvater is god.

#4 Crocodile Tears from Alex Rider series

Raven: I haven’t read the entire series yet.

Beez: I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much. I don’t remember it so clearly but I remember not being so attached while reading it.

#5 Mockingjay from The Hunger Games series

Raven: I loved Hunger games and Catching fire because there was so much going on! And I loved the ending of Mockingjay but the beginning felt sooo slow. That’s the only reason I chose this.

Beez: The starting of this book was getting nowhere. I still liked it very much but in comparison to the action packed blind racing other parts, this pales. The end was brilliant though.

That concludes our list of books we did not like as much as compared to the rest of the fabulous series. Tell us yours in the comment below or leave a link to your post so we can check it out!

This is Raven and Beez,

Signing out~

[Top 5 Wednesday was created by Booktuber named Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and you can find other T5W-ers, the topics and guidelines on the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads Group.]

Top 5 Wednesday: Books we DNF

Books are really good until they’re not.

After all we are human and we have likes and dislikes and sometimes we don’t like some books because they are too bad and that’s okay even though we sometimes go through an eternal debate about whether we should abandon the book or not…

So here is a list of 5 books that we Did Not Finish (DNF):

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#1 More than this by Patrick Ness

Raven: This book had a very interesting plot but I couldn’t make myself go through his writing. It wasn’t bad writing, it was just bland writing (at least according to me… *whispers* don’t hate on me)

Beez: I got through this book but I didn’t fancy the writing as well. The story too fell short of my interest. The possibility of what would happen kept me going. And I found it disappointing so I told Raven to not bother with it (I rule).

#2 We all looked up by Tommy Wallach

Raven: No.

Beez: This book was so bad. Bad bad bad. The characters sucked, the writing was meh, the story was bleh. I’m not even a little sad I didn’t complete this book. #noregrets #thuglife

#3 Horns by Joe Hill

Raven: This book had one of the most interesting plots I had read in a long while BUT I hated the writing!! I loved Iggy and all the characters but his writing seemed to drag everything and I didn’t have the patience to stick around till the end. This is literally the ONLY book that I went on Wiki to read about the rest of the plot.

#4 A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Beez: I didn’t not like this book but I was too lazy and I just didn’t put in the effort to finish this book so… (I know Raven is going to yell at me for this.)

Raven: I CAN’T BELIEVE I AGREED TO LET THIS BOOK BE ON THIS LIST!

#5 Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Raven: This book was just plain boring. The idea of having a story within a story was so unique, it was the reason I picked up the book but the main story as well as the story within just did not grab my interest and I did not give two shits for the characters. 

We would also like to mention some of the other books that we DNF’ed:

1. Matched by Ally Condie

2. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

3. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

4. The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

5. The beginning of everything by Rob Schnider

6. The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

That’s our top 5 (and a complementary 6) books that we DNF’ed. Tell us yours in the comments below!

This is Raven and Beez,

Signing out~

[Top 5 Wednesday was created by Booktuber named Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and you can find other T5W-ers, the topics and guidelines on the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads Group.]

Dreamwalking #1 by C.J. Burry

DreamwalkingPublication Date: August 4, 2015

Pages: 271 (print pages)

Targeted Audience: Young adult/Middle grade

Genre: Fantasy/Y.A.

Link to Amazon: Dreamwalking by C.J.Burry

Blurb: Ever since his twin brother’s death, Alex has curiously been unable to get a full-night’s sleep and has never been able to dream during those small hours of rest. One night, this all changes when he finds himself in a surreal world that he soon learns is known as “The Dreamscape.” Tasked with either learning to harness his abilities as a Dream Walker or fall into an eternal coma, Alex journeys to the Ruby Mansion with a Philosopher—member of a goodly group of Dream Walkers—to learn more of the dangerous race of Nightmares and the terrible purpose behind their machinations.
Meanwhile, the perpetually-stressed 13-year-old Ashlyn Cohn finds her dreams becoming more and more chaotic and frightening as she attends summer school and, for the first time, encounters a Dream Walker who would forever change the course of her life.
All the while, the plans of the mysterious “Tainted”, an order of turncoat Dream Walkers plot to destabilize the benevolent Philosophers for their own puzzling and reprehensible purposes. The mysterious Tainted agent known only as “Black” seeks to use the tumultuous Ashlyn as a pawn in their deadly plans, leaving Alex and his new Philosopher friends to contend with their perplexing conspiracy.

This book follows the story of a boy named Alex Stone. He is 13 years old and ever since his twin brother left him he has never been able to sleep peacefully. He has no idea about his parents and whenever he asks his uncle Yusuf and his daughter- Haylie about it, they seem to drift off to other topics of conversation.

His insomnia continues until one day when he drifts into a few minutes of sleep and meets a Dreamwalker -named Leopold Sapphire– in his dreams. Leo tells him that Alex is a Dreamwalker himself and is given the option to choose between leaving his uncle Yusuf and Haylie behind and learn the art of dreamwalking, or be sucked into an eternal coma.

Dreamwalkers are people who have been trained to fight Mares (I like that they are called Mares for nightmares). Mares are dark and evil creatures that scare a Sleeper (an ordinary human) awake so as to get pulled into the waking world with them. Once in the waking world they wreak havoc. Not only do Dreamwalkers fight with mares but also with an organization supporting and helping the mares, called the Tainted.

The Tainted is a group of people whose sole purpose is to make sure that mares pass into the waking world and to also disrupt the organization of the Dreamwalkers. We see the Tainted through the eyes of one of them, named only as Black. He is a young man, who is very conceited and thinks of himself as superior to everyone else.

We also meet an interesting young girl named Ashlyn Cohn. She is also only 13 years old and having two very educated parents who have high expectations from her academic results is a little too much of a stress. She loves art but her parents went her to excel in math and science, and math she cannot handle. Things start to change when she meets Alex in her mare infested dream. After that dream everything starts going downhill, she is kidnapped in one of her dreams and is kept prisoner since she is special too, but in a very different way.

Copy of Review bannerThis book had a very interesting plot, the dreamwalkers and the tainted had abilities that they could harness at the mention of particular words and even the idea of mares and having a job of protecting people in their sleep in very unique to me.

But this book lacked in world-building. I believe that the first book of a fantasy series should always have serious world-building because that decides if the fantasy book is amazing or not. The general things that were NEEDED to understand were more or less explained in a good way but I had so many more basic questions that were unanswered.

I thought that Leo teaching Alex about dreamwalking would have been an excellent opportunity for the author to explain to us about Dreamwalking (like how Kelsier explains allomancy to Vin) but unfortunately that wasn’t so. I really wanted to know how Leo taught Alex and how long did he learn? It was so weird that at one point he was just a trainee and the next moment (out of the blue) we are told that he was a rare gem… literally.

Also, I found the beginning to be very slow. Till chapter 6 or so it’s just us reading about Alex and Ashlyn doing mundane things with vague chapters about the Tainted. After the sixth chapter things start getting a little interesting with more information about the dream world and how things really work.

Now, Black -to me at least- seemed like an inconsistent character because at one point he kept stressing on how he was better than everyone and wanted to maintain an emotionless face at all times but around the end I think he showed way too many emotions for someone who is supposed to be so unsympathetic. However, to be honest I’m very interested in knowing more about this character.

By far my favorite character would be Ashlyn Cohn. She was so relatable with her not being able to understand the importance of selecting a college so early in her life and her being distracted by almost everything when it comes to learning math. She was also one of the most developed characters I believe. I really liked her when compared to Alex, who felt very 2D to me.

I felt that there were some parts of the book that was probably supposed to bring forth some kind of a reaction from the reader or something but that just didn’t work because we weren’t told about its importance at any part of the story. Specially the ending, which I think was supposed to be a cliffhanger but it wasn’t because… I didn’t know who the person was who made an appearance at the end.

There were also some typos and some loopholes around the end of the book.

*spoilerish*For example, the mockingjay was also called as the hummingbird… so what was it? A mockingbird or a hummingbird? Ashlyn threw her pencil at the beast but seemed to have it again in the next scene without ever picking it up again, and the part where Leo possessed the teddy bear and was said to not show any expressions (since it was non-living) and then suddenly he did start showing expressions?*spoilerish*

And the ending seemed a bit rushed, it would have been nice if the things that were revealed around the ending were a little longer (more explained and detailed) instead of just having them thrown at us. The pace at the beginning could have been fastened and around the end, when a lot of things were being revealed to us, we could have been given time to understand how the characters felt about the whole thing.

However, I did love the unique plot and the amazing imagery in the dreams. The curiosity to know more about the dreamscape is what kept me going till the end.

Overall, I believe that this book series has a LOT of potential and would love to see it get better in the next books.

Why would you want to read this book? If you think pencil forests, towers made of rubber ends, fleeing from college crazed crows, skeeing on mountains made of fruits, saving an anthropomorphic mouse-floating on a sponge- from two devil cats, running away from a crazed British tiger and altering dreams with pencils interests you then yes, I think you would like this book.

Ratings: 3/5 cupcakes

3 Cupcakes

3 cupcakes

Lots of love,

Raven

Volunteering at the Emirates Litfest 2016

litfestThe Emirates Airline Festival of Literature or EAFOL for short, is a yearly event that happens in Dubai for a week. It’s the perfect place to attend sessions where famous or upcoming authors of both English and Arabic language come to talk about their book and also sign them (it’s the latter that we’re most interested in but anyway).

We volunteered at this fabulous event this year. Note that we had never gone to this event (despite this being the 8th year because we always had finals during that week) and we had never ever volunteered anywhere before.

This was all so new to us! We had no idea what to expect and I (Raven) couldn’t even sleep the night before because I was soo nervous for absolutely no reason.

{The event began on the 5th of March and ended on the 12th.}

Raven: I volunteered at the event on the 10th, 11th and 12th as Room Crew and honestly… It was one of the best days of my life! I made sooo many great friends who loved books of so many different genres. I ate free food (cause volunteer duh!), I attended sessions by different authors, I watched little kids read books and run out of sessions screaming that they wanted to buy that authors book AND get it signed, and I got MY books signed too!

I felt so glad to have been a part of that fabulous event that everyone had worked so hard to put together. I loved watching kids waiting in lines, clutching their books and constantly jumping because they were so excited to finally meet their favourite author. I felt so happy when after a session got over, I would open the doors and watch a horde of kids running to the author panel to get their books signed. It was just amazing.

I met so many authors too. I met Lauren Child (the creator of one of my favourite cartoons Charlie and Lola), I met Chris Haughton (the author of A bit lost), Ian Rankin (a very well known British crime fiction writer), Anthony Horowitz (the writer of the Alex Rider series), Darren Shan (the cirque du freak and the Demonata series) AND I met Brandon Adorable Freaking Sanderson!!! (author of the fabulous Mistborn series and many more).

I attended loads of sessions but two of them really stuck with me. One was by Jonathan Meres, author of ‘The world of Norm’ series because it was soooo entertaining. I don’t think I’ll be reading his book because it’s too kiddish for me but I definitely loved that session and I bet the kids who attended it loved it too because I’ve never seen that many kids go cuckoo before.

The other session was by Anthony Horowitz. He was talking about his book Trigger Mortis (which I’m definitely going to read) and how violence that is doctored for kids should always talk about the after affects of such violence on the characters, which I thought was a very interesting topic to debate about. He also showed us an exclusive first look at the trailer for his upcoming T.V. show called New Blood and it just looks fabulous.

On another note, I didn’t get a signature from a lot of authors but I did get some of my favourite authors books signed. It felt so good to finally meet the creators of such wonderful books. To talk to them, take pictures with them and even discuss about the book (which I didn’t do much cause I was a nervous wreak).

One of the things that was really sad was that I had to stand at the end of the line for the author signing no matter how many people came behind me! It was my duty as volunteer apparently and I was so pissy about it because I almost lost my chance to meet Brandon Sanderson. I was behind two other people (also volunteers) when we were told to leave because Brandon (yes we are on first name basis) had to go for another session. But we almost cried and the panel manager let us stay and when I gave him my book to sign the first thing I said was “Thank you so much!” I did not say anything, just that. *so embarassed* and he was so sweet! Ugh I love that man.

Beez: I volunteered for only 2 shifts and yet I had loads of fun! Since I was room crew, I got to attend almost all the sessions that took place in the room I was in and I was so darn enlightened. Just like Raven, I met the writers of amazing books and got tons signed. And since I’ve never actually had signed books before, you bet I was happy.

I met Joe Wicks of the body coach, who was all muscle and fanfare. This is only my opinion but I didn’t get anything much from his session but some deep pocket filling plan. But I will admit that he is a pretty piece of ass (I smell sexist) and is very good a what he does (it just doesn’t cater to me).

Next I met Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson and although I didn’t get to attend the entirety of their session, the two poems I heard were quite funny and good.

The next session I attended turned out to be my favorite one. It had John McHugo, author of ‘A concise history of the Arabs’, and John Man, author of ‘Gengis Khan: Life, Death and resurrection’. Their session was about Arab history and common misconceptions and amazing things that I had no idea off. I was extremely enlightened and amazed and I loved every minute of it.

The next day, I had a session with A. C. Grayling (The 17th century and the birth of the modern mind) which was wonderful because the man started talking and did not stop in the slightest for an hour. He talked all about philosophy and history and the birth of the thinking age and it was amazing.

Then I attended an Alex Rider session with Anthony Horowitz and even though it was catered towards kids, I enjoyed it. Then I got to hear Jacqueline Wilson talk so wonderfully about her journey to becoming an author and creating characters and their place in her heart. And finally, I got to attend a Darren Shan session which was highly entertaining and has made me want to read his books.

All in all, volunteering at EAFOL was epic and sparked an awakening of love for history in me. I also loved the process of volunteering. I don’t know about Raven, but I’d do it over and over again. I loved having the authority and the view into the behind-the-scenes. It was fun and I met loads of interesting people and I even got a taste of taking responsibility on. Very very good.

I don’t think I’m sad about even one thing except maybe not volunteering more and attending more sessions and not going to a Brandon Sanderson session.

I got 5 of my books signed and Raven got me an adorable card signed by Brandon Sanderson which she refuses to give to me (such a good friend!) (I’m sorry, but the selfish side of me wants to smell it forever). I loved meeting the authors. I was in awe all the time. Aargh, they’re such wonderful people. And Brandon Sanderson is such a cutie-pie with his red cheeks. Anthony Horowitz and Darren Shan were dope too. And so were all of them.

In conclusion, I’ll be going for volunteering next time, even more enthusiastically.

This is Raven and Beez,

Signing out~