Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Review

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I first gave this book a shot what must be almost a year ago and I couldn’t even get past the first few pages. Terrified that all the hype surrounding the book had ruined it for me, I put it down and didn’t touch it for a while. I recently gave it another try and I honestly have absolutely no idea what was wrong with me. I absolutely adored this book this time around and now I can fully understand why there was so much hype surrounding this book when it came out. It’s worlds away from the Shadow and Bone series and it’s amazing how much she’s improved as an author in just a few years, which alone makes me excited about her future books. I absolutely adored the characters in this book as they are all so unique and not characters that I’ve ever read about before. Their dynamic is fantastic and the way they joke around and yet still care deeply about each other is something I loved reading about. I loved the plot because who doesn’t live a heist and all the political commentary that was hiding under the surface. I thought that this book was absolutely amazing and now I need the sequel because this ended on the biggest cliffhanger ever!

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.

First, let’s talk characters because the characters in this book are amazing. I have a new all-time favourite character in the form of Nina Zenik. She is exactly what I adore in a character: she’s confident and sassy and intelligent and vivacious and I absolutely love her to pieces. I also love Inej because I could really relate to her on a lot of grounds – particularly her relationship and her thoughts on religion which is something that I’ve never been able to see in a character before. All of the characters are so complex and interesting and all have their unique pasts and flaws and quirks which I’m really looking forward to exploring more of in the next book. For the majority of the book, our 6 main characters are stuck with each other and their joking, sarcastic conversations made me so happy because I love witty conversations between witty characters.

Who doesn’t love a heist novel? And this book is pretty much entirely a heist novel. Obviously, there is a lot more to the plot but the basis is that our fabulous main characters have to pull off a heist. It’s fast and action-packed with twists and turns around every corner and because the story switches between each characters perspective you never really get the full story meaning there are lots of gaps and unanswered questions and as you don’t fully trust any of the characters, it makes everything a lot more interesting. I understand that the switching POVs could be hassle for some people but I thought they really added another layer to the story and made everything more interesting. The world is also wonderfully complex and layered and so vivid and I love it!

This book was engaging and heartbreaking and moving and it’s definitely a 5 star read for me. Now I need to read the next book!

The Be, Room, Cliff Tag #4

I haven’t done one of these tags for quite a while and seeing as I love celebrating strong female characters, I thought I’d do another!

1) Agnes Towler (Mr. Selfridge) v Lysandra (Queen of Shadows) v Elektra (Daredevil)

This is quite a hard one because each of these characters goes through a lot of terrible stuff in their lives but I think ultimately I’d…

Be: Agnes Towler – that way I get my hands on an attractive Frenchman and get to work at Selfridges
Room: Lysandra – she’s such a badass and I’d also get to interact with all the other Throne of Glass characters
Cliff: Elektra – she’s great but I’d never be able to fully trust her.

2) Morrigan (A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas) v Karen Page (Daredevil) v Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)

Man, this is hard! I love all these ladies so much! Grr…I don’t know! This is too difficult…*cries*…okay, fine…

Be: Morrigan – I’d get to have magical powers and hang out with Rhys, Feyre and Azriel (swoon) even though I’d have suffered through some horrendous things
Room: Elle Woods – I love her so much! She’s so fun and strong-willed and doesn’t let anyone stand in her way and I think having her as a best friend would be pretty incredible.
Cliff – I’m so, so sorry Karen! I love her determination and her resilience and the way she always views the best in people. I’m sure that Matt would save her though…right?

3) Nina Zenik (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo) v Tina Goldstein (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) v Josie Mardle (Mr. Selfridge)

Again, this is a super tough one because all of these ladies are incredibly strong and powerful and don’t let anybody stand in their way. Hmm….okay…

Be: Nina Zenik – Nina is my favourite character out of Six of Crows and I love her to pieces and I would love to have her abilities and get to hang out with Matthias (swoon)
Room: Tina Goldstein – Tina would always have my back and be looking out for me as well as being really fun to hang out with.
Cliff: Josie Mardle – I refuse to believe that Josie would die in the fall because she’s survived so much hardship in her life that she would probably kill the cliff on the way down!

4) Andie (An Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson) v Amren (A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas) v Inej Ghafa (Six of Crows)

Okay, so this one is pretty easy…

Be: Amren – Not only would I get to hang out with the crew, I’d also get to be whatever majestic creature she really is.
Room: Inej Ghafa – Inej is such a strong and intelligent character and I just love her.
Cliff: Andie – Sorry Andie! But you just don’t live up to the others!

5) Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy) v Belle (Beauty and the Beast) v Queenie Goldstein (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them)

Aah, this is so hard! I love these ladies all to much…

Be: Belle – She’s my joint favourite Disney princess and one of my favourite characters ever so I have to be her, don’t I?
Room: Queenie Goldstein – I adore Queenie and I think she’d be a joy to live with!
Cliff: Gamora – Let’s face it, it would take more than this to kill of Gamora!

6) Palmer (An Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson) v Uhura (Star Trek) v Christine (Dr. Strange)

Okay, this is another easy one to finish…

Be: Christine – I love Christine and how strong and intelligent she is and I’d also get to hang out with Stephen (swoon)
Room: Uhura – While I might not be a fan of heights, I’d put up with them for Uhura because she’s such an amazing character.
Cliff: Palmer – Okay, I love Palmer but she sadly just doesn’t live up to the others!

And that was the Be, Room, Cliff Tag! I hope you enjoyed it and tell me what some of your answers would have been!

Doctor Strange | Movie Review

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Release date: 24 October 2016 (United Kingdom)
Director: Scott Derrickson
Box office: 677.4 million USD
Budget: 165 million USD
Music composed by: Michael Giacchino

If you know anything about me, then you know that I am an absolutely massive, humongous Marvel fanatic. This film came out at the latter end of last year and, come the middle of March, I was still yet to see it. And this didn’t sit right with me and I desperately needed to give it a watch, so I did. And while it may not be my new favourite Marvel film, it still made extremely enjoyable viewing and was definitely a very different film to what is currently out in the Marvel universe. I really loved the main character Stephen Strange and his partner in crime Christine and the bantering, almost sibling-like relationship like they had with each. The visual effects were also stunning and, as per usual, there was plenty of humour as well as some really deep and powerful messages about time and the meaning of life. This was a really fun, moving and unique film with some strong scientific elements that I think is a must-see for any movie fan.

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Dr. Stephen Strange’s – played by Benedict Cumberbatch – life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

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Going into this film I was slightly apprehensive about Benedict Cumberbatch playing the main role. This wasn’t because I doubt him as an actor – I think he’s an absolutely fantastic actor – but I was slightly wary if he would be too famous and well recognized from other roles such as Sherlock for me to be fully immersed in his portrayal of Stephen Strange. But I really had nothing to worry about because within the first five minutes I was completely engaged in his character. I think that his American accent helped too for me to be completely immersed in the character of Stephen Strange. He is at the beginning of the film an arrogant idiot but he goes through a lot of character development throughout the film and by the end he still has his incredibly sarcastic humour that is part of his character but is a much nicer guy. My favourite character in the whole film was probably that of his partner-in-crime Christine who, at least in my opinion, deserved a heck of a lot more screen time. She was really kind and considerate but was definitely not a pushover and wasn’t afraid to stand up to Stephen and was probably the most realistic character in the film. I really enjoyed their chemistry because it was believable and still very entertaining.

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As I’ve already said, this film was very mind-bendy and that is the only way that I can really describe it. There are so many colourful special effects that are quite overwhelming at first, mainly because it is very unlike the rest of the Marvel films that are currently out there, but once you get into the film and understand the tone and style of the film then it’s something that really makes this film stand out. The plot of this film was fairly straight-forward and not exactly original but it was executed very well and particularly the end third of this film is extremely action-packed and fast-paced. It wouldn’t be a Marvel film if it wasn’t jam-packed with humour and this film certainly was, with lots of sassy comments and pop-culture references as well.

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This definitely isn’t your typical Marvel movie but did a great job of setting up some future movies with a little bit of history and backstory. It was engaging and entertaining, while maybe being a little too crazy for some viewers, but I immensely enjoyed myself regardless.

Top 5 May Releases

I am super, duper excited for this month (even though I have a shedload of school exams and am freaking out big time) because one of my most anticipated releases of this year is being released and I can’t wait!

1) A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
Release Date: May 2nd

I was excited about this book at the start of the year anyway but since re-reading the first two books in this trilogy very recently, I am beyond excited for it. The second book left on a massive cliffhanger with lots of unanswered questions and question marks hanging over characters heads. I really want all of the characters to have happy endings (particularly my baby Mor) and for the evil douchey guys (cough Tamlin cough) to get what’s coming to them. I’M SO EXCITED FOR THIS!

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2) The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
Release Date: May 16th

You guys know how much I adore romance and the romance genre as a whole and this book is taking some of the main features of the romance genre and is taking them and shifting them into a totally new kind of story. This book is an action, thriller and almost dystopian novel where a secret organization takes teenagers and gives them the skills to retrieve information. This book just sounds fascinating and I’m really interested in reading it.

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3) One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus
Release Date: May 30th

I adore suspense and mystery novels – anything akin to How To Get Away With Murder is right up my alley – and this book is literally dripping with suspense. 5 complete strangers meet and then one of them dies suddenly. If that doesn’t sound intense, then I don’t want to know what you’ve been reading! I don’t want to know anything else about this book and go into it completely blind because that way I feel I’ll have the most exciting reading experience.

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4) Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Release Date: May 2nd

For some reason I keep forgetting that this book is coming out but I’m so excited to read this book. I love this series because it’s so cute and uplifting and happy and seeing as I haven’t read any Jenny Han for quite a while, I’m really excited to get back into this world again and say goodbye to these characters that I love!

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My Reading Wrap Up | April 2017

This month was the month of re-reads for me as I was feeling particularly nostalgic (and I had to re-read some things for school).

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

I really fancied re-reading some Sarah J Maas this month and since it had been a pretty long time since I’d read this series – and because the final book in the trilogy comes out in May – I decided to give this one a re-read. It isn’t my favourite book that Sarah J Maas has ever written but I know why that is now – because Tamlin is a tool but he’s supposed to be a tool so that’s okay. Aside from that, I really enjoyed this book which I completely expected because I love Sarah J Maas.

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An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley

I then had to give this one a re-read for school, which I didn’t really mind because it’s pretty short and like most of the books I have to read for school I actually really like this book. I really love the character development and the themes that are explored in this play as well as all of the historical and social context behind the story.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

I’m really glad that I decided to re-read this book recently because it definitely reminded me of how much I love this series and how highly I’m anticipating the third book in the trilogy which is being released in a matter of days now! The characters are all so engaging and complex and while this series is definitely more adult than the Throne of Glass series (despite the last few books definitely heading in that direction) I still absolutely love it and am super, duper excited to read the final book and catch up with Mor and Nesta (who are my favourites) and see them all get their happy endings – hopefully!

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This was another school re-read and while it did feel quite strange reading this book in the middle of Spring and I definitely think this is more of a wintery read, I still enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. This is the only Dickens book that I’ve read but I definitey want to remedy that in the future by reading more of his works and checking out some more of his famous characters.

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My TV Listings | April 2017

Over Easter break, I actually ended up getting quite a lot of TV watching done, which made me very, very happy.

Daredevil

I managed to finish series 2 of this show this month and I really, really enjoyed it. I definitely preferred it to the first series and while there were still some things I didn’t completely get on board with, I think this show is fantastic. It’s gritty and realistic and moving and compelling with some fabulous characters and I can’t wait for the next series.

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Only Connect

The current series of this show ended this month and that makes me sad. Not only will I not have my weekly dose of the fantastic Victoria Coren-Mitchell, I won’t be able to grasp onto that sense of pride I get when I manage to answer one question right. Because, let’s face it, the questions are border-line impossible.

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Mr. Selfridge

I’ve been rattling through this show this month (I managed to watch the first two series in the space of a week) after I had a random moment of inspiration and wanted to watch the whole thing. I’m now completely swept up in the world of this show and I love all of the characters and their backstories – I have a particular soft spot for Agnes, Henri and Miss Mardle. I know that this show has only 4 series so I’m thinking that I’ll be able to fly through the whole thing quite quickly.

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The Graham Norton Show

I’m so happy that my favourite chat show has returned this month because it makes me feel so happy and is such an entertaining show. You’ve heard me babble on about this show for long enough but all you need to know is that I love it!

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I’m so, so happy that this show returned this month because it made me realize just how much I love it. The characters are all so diverse and interesting with their own distinct personalities and quirks. This show is also absolutely hilarious but doesn’t make any jokes at anyone else’s expense – it is funny without being rude or offensive and I really do love it and I’m super excited to see the new episodes!

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Mid-April Favourites

This month was a pretty productive month for me and particularly because I managed to consume a lot of different stories and discovered some new ones that I am wholly and completely obsessed with.

Film:
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Director: Bill Condon

Was it ever going to be any other film? This film was basically made for me: it includes all of my favourite actors, it is a musical, it’s set in France and it is based of my joint favourite Disney film of all time. So there was no question that this was my most anticipated film of the year and I absolutely adored every single second of it. It’s now my favourite film of all time (was there any question about it?) and I can’t stop thinking about it. I know that I am rather biased seeing as I have such a strong childhood connection to this story but I think that if you see one film in the cinema this year, make it this one.

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Song:
Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now (2016)
Artist: Original Television Cast of Hairspray! Live

If you guys know me at all, then you know that I am full-on obsessed with musicals and am also full-on obsessed with Hairspray. So, naturally, I am in love with Hairspray! Live. And this month, this song has been constantly stuck in my head and I’ve been playing on repeat. This isn’t even one of my favourite songs in the musical of Hairspray! but for some reason I was just obsessed with it this month.

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Book:
A Court of Mist and Fury (2016)
Author: Sarah J Maas

I fancied reading some Sarah J Maas this month so I decided to re-read the first two books of her A Court of Thorns and Roses series. And while I like the first book a lot more now I can see Sarah J Maas’s true intentions (those who have read both books will not what I mean), I like the characters from the second book a lot more and I loved having the chance to re-read it again.

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TV Show:
Mr. Selfridge (2013)
Creator: Andrew Davies

This is a show that I started a very long time ago but then for reasons that I don’t wholly know stopped watching it. But I decided to remedy that this month, having a random spark to start it again, and I’ve been absolutely loving it. I’ve been flying through episodes and I’ve become completely swept up in the story and I love all of the characters, particularly Agnes, Henri and Miss Mardle.

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Album:
Beauty and the Beast Official Soundtrack (2017)

As I said, I’ve been having something of an obsession this month so it should come at no surprise that this is my most listened to soundtrack of the month. All of the actors can sing amazingly well and the modern adaptations really add another layer to the classic songs that everybody loves so much.

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