My Reading Wrap Up | May 2017

As I’ve said, I’m currently slap bang in the middle of my exams and sadly I haven’t had all that much time for reading. But, as I love reading so much, I make sure to read some pages when I wake up and before I go to sleep, so I’ve managed to complete a couple of books this month.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

So, I tried to read this book a while ago and couldn’t get past the first three pages. I started panicking that all the hype surrounding this book had killed it for me but I calmed myself, put it down and then, a while later, I picked it up again. And there was obviously something wrong with my mindset at the time because reading it now, I absolutely loved every single aspect about it! I adore all the characters and the humour and the complex plot and I can’t wait to read the sequel. Leigh Bardugo has obviously improved so much as a writer and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

23006119

Cat’s Cradle by Julia Golding

I’ve finally finished my task in re-reading this series that I was absolutely enamored with when I was a few years younger. This definitely isn’t my favourite book in the series, mainly because it is away from the thriving and amazing city of London, but I still enjoyed the writing and the characters and seeing how far they’ve developed since the beginning of the series. I’m sad that it’s over!

4455195

Doing It by Hannah Witton

32181998

The Middle Passage by Julia Golding | Mini Review

Image result

I almost forgot that there’s a novella to go alongside this series that takes place between the fifth and sixth book so when I dug out my kindle for the first time in probably a year, I decided to re-read it because it perfectly aligned to where I was up to in reading the main series. While this novella might be really short, it is still exactly the same lively tone and engaging characters that we’re used to in the main books and has a small mystery to solve as well which keeps the plot moving. This definitely isn’t required reading and the series can be read perfectly well without ever reading this novella but I do think that is another bonus to this series.

Summer 1792. Our favourite adventurer, Cat Royal, is sailing home from the Caribbean in the company of Billy Shepherd. They stumble into a mystery in the Azores involving stargazers, thieves and far too many wasps that force her to reconsider the life she’s always known, her true position in the world and the relationships she has with those closest to her.

The fifth book really marks a turning point for Cat and Billy’s relationship and that is further cemented in this short novella. The development between them is so evidently clear looking between this book and the first book and that’s something that I really love about series – you get to see so much more character development and world building than just in a single book. There’s also quite a lot of new characters introduced in the book and while none of them felt very relatable and could have used a bit more developing, the basis of the book was there.

This book was extremely engaging and enjoyable and fun to read and I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 stars. I’m not even more excited to read the final book in this series because I can remember practically no other details apart from some of it takes place in Scotland.

Black Heart of Jamaica by Julia Golding | Review

32768493

I’ve been making my way through re-reading this series, one that I heartily enjoyed as young teen and I wanted to re-read it and see what I thought about it some years later. And, as I found with the former books in this series, I’m still enjoying them just as much as I did when I first read them. I also recently learned that this series is actually marketed as young adult whereas I always considered it to be middle grade. But, in this book in particular, you can really see why this book series is young adult because this book does have a lot of serious themes, such as piracy, slavery and some serious illnesses such as malaria. However, this book also carries the same humour and wit as the other novels and the same engaging and interesting characters too. I’m intrigued to see where this series finishes up because I can’t actually remember what happens!

In Jamaica, Cat and Pedro are disgusted to learn that slavery is still common and both are frightened and horrified when they discover that Pedro’s former owner, Mr Hawkins is in Jamaica. Mr Hawkins thinks that slavery is lawful and fair, and he still believes that Pedro belongs to him. He taunts Cat after her performance on stage and then finally kidnaps her. At his plantation Cat falls ill with malaria and while she is still delusional and sick Billy rescues her. He forces her to buy a slave which Pedro is disgusted at, but he soon learns to forgive Cat. In the end Cat gets involved in a slave revolt but Pedro tells her to leave, while he will stay and help his fellow men gain their rights of freedom and equality. Cat is heartbroken to leave Pedro alone but she knows she must, so she and Billy leave together.

Something that I’ve noticed about these books is that each one of the books takes place in a different place and all of the different places reflect some of the messages and tones within the book. So, of course, the extremely important part of history such as slavery is going to be discussed in Jamaica. I really enjoyed, as I always do, Julia Golding’s writing style because it is so engaging and vivid and realistic and you are able to truly immerse yourself in the world that she’s writing about. And even though these books are works of historical fiction, the feelings of the characters and their motives are still modern and real today and that is what makes the story seem so realistic. And, of course, you get to learn some new historical facts which, as a history buff, I always enjoy doing.

I can go on about the characters in this series until I’m blue in the face so I’m not going to labour the point that I really, really like all of the characters in this book. Of course, some of the characters are terrible people and you definitely wouldn’t want to come across them in an alley way on a dark night because you’d probably leave with a knife in your back. But all of the characters are complex and interesting and engaging and I particularly enjoyed the banter between Cat and Billy in this book. You can really see their emerging relationship in this book and how it’s changed from the beginning of the series where they were hard-out enemies. It’s the character development and relationship growth that really make these books entertaining, as well as the humour and historical references too.

I’d give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars because it was very entertaining and enjoyable to read, but the plot did lack a little bit sometimes and some of the scenes seemed to be a tad bit unrealistic.

Reading Wrap Up | December 2016

It’s the end of December! It’s the end of the year! Aah!

Cat O’ Nine Tails by Julia Golding

In my quest to re-read this series, I turned my attentions to the 4th book out of the 6th. It’s amazing really, re-reading a book when you’re a few years older because you see so many details that you didn’t pick up on the first time. The characters are so engaging and funny and I love all the historical details that I now know are actually really accurate because the make the world feel so much more realistic and vivid.

6375439

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

It really is unbelievable how a re-read can open so many things that you didn’t see the first time and it gives you an entirely new perspective on the book. Those things in this book were shockingly obvious the second time and I can’t believe I actually missed them. This is a very interesting book with a very unique writing style but it is very gripping and heart-wrenching and different. It’s also very short, so while I may not have loved this book, it’s a good one to pick up if you find yourself in a book rut.

18249519

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This is a book that I had to read for school but was a book that I was actually quite looking forward to reading. It was literally the perfect book to read around this time of year because it perfectly captures the spirit of Christmas and what Christmas is all about. I really liked the characters in this book and I also liked how there were several female characters who were all quite strong-willed. This book was funny and thought-provoking and moving and I would really recommend it.

15994514

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

This was a re-read for me but seeing as I hadn’t read it for a while, I wanted to give it another read. I know this book is compared to The Perks of Being a Wallflower fairly often but I actually prefer this to that book. Maybe it’s because I read this book first or because this book has a female protagonist but I just vastly prefer this book to The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s interesting and thought-provoking and funny and I always forget just how much I enjoy it.

20703051

Cat O’Nine Tails by Julia Golding | Review

6375439

You might know that I am currently working my way through this series which was one of my absolute favourites when I was a young teen and on my journey to re-read the six books, I turned my attention to the fourth in the series. In my mind, it is the first four that stick most vividly in my mind but even saying that, there were many things that I had forgotten happened in this book. I find it really fascinating to be reading a book again a few years later because there are so many details that I didn’t really understand the meaning of or importance of back then and just skimmed over that I appreciate much more now. I love how the world is so historically accurate as it makes it seem all the more vivid and vibrant. I am very intrigued to re-read the next book in this series because I really can’t remember much!

As an orphan brought up in the attic room of theatre, Cat could not have imagined leaving London, let alone Europe. But when you rub shoulders with both the highest and lowest of society – as she has – you can never be sure where the winds will take you.Cat is living in the lap of luxury – and so bored she’s out of her mind. But when she and her friends are captured and forced to work on a boat bound for the New World, Cat may finally be in over her head. Sail with Cat to America, to explore the wilds of a new frontier and maybe even find a place where she is finally free to be herself.

Like I’ve said in the past, Cat is one of those characters that you can really get on board with. You want her to succeed. You want her to do well. She’s so stubborn and loyal and determined throughout the entirety of this series, and especially during this book, even when things get incredibly tough and challenging. I’d actually forgotten the majority of the hardships that Cat endures in this book. The one thing that I’m always harping on about is that I wish we got to see more about the other characters, rather than just Cat. I particularly love Frank, Lizzie and Johnny and I wish we got to see some more scenes of them being their wonderfully witty selves. I’d also like to see some more of the romance between Lizzie and Johnny and some of their everyday lives as they are given a 20 page slot at the end of this book to fit everything in.

I really like this book as the format goes back to that of the first book – there’s a mystery and the entirety of the book is spent trying to solve it but obviously, things keep getting in the way. Something else I’d also forgotten about this book was just how funny it is. There are some hilarious one-liners and conversations between the characters that I just wish we got more of throughout the series. The books are only 350+ pages because the font size is massive and I do think the overall story arc could have benefited with an extra 50 pages or so. There were also a couple of occasions in this book where I thought some of the characters other than Cat could have been developed a bit more. Some of the time I think that the author spends so much time on Cat, which is great because she’s a fantastic character, that the rest of the characters get pushed to the side a little. I know that there is never going to be enough time to mention every single character in exuberant detail but maybe just a little bit more?

Overall, this was an extremely entertaining, funny and actually quite dramatic book that I am very glad to have re-read. I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 stars and I am super intrigued to continue the series!

Reading Wrap Up | November 2016

These are all the brilliant books that I managed to read in the month of November!

Den of Thieves by Julia Golding

I’m in the process of re-reading the Cat Royal series and this is the third installment in the series and the book that stuck in my brain as my favourite book in the series. This book, like the previous two in the series, was filled with humour and wit and was extremely fast paced. The world building was so vibrant and vivid that you could really imagine yourself there and I also really appreciated all the accurate historical details were included, especially the addition of a certain Lafayette.

18745211

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This is a book that I had heard a lot about and when I saw it in a book shop with this gorgeous cover, I couldn’t help not buy it. But, it was a very different book to what I was expecting. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters, and I wish they had been developed that little bit more to make them feel more realistic and relatable. I really liked the description and Morgenstern’s writing style because it was so intoxicating and captivating but I also felt like the story was very slow and didn’t really make much sense – it was like there was a lot of information that was still being kept from the reader, despite it being the end of the book.

31114367

The Glam Guide by Fleur de Force

This was a re-read for me, having read this book earlier this year, and this is definitely one of those books that you don’t have to read cover to cover; you can dip in and out of it and just read the sections that you’re interested in if you want to. I really liked the layout of this book because everything is colourful and vibrant and I love the whole design of the book. Some of the writing is a bit on the cheesy side but there are some genuinely useful chapters of information and I think this is just a great book to own.

23596874

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

This, the fifth book in the six part Throne of Glass series, was an absolutely brilliant book. It was near perfect. The world Sarah J Maas has crafted is just so rich and detailed and in this book all the different worlds and stories just collided in a massive way. I also love the characters – even though I hate them at times – in this book and how they’re all so flawed and interesting and engaging. There’s a lot of couple pushing in this book too, which makes my hopelessly romantic heart very happy despite their also being a lot of angst between said couples. The ending was painful in so many different ways and now I am beyond excited, and also a bit scared, at the prospect of the final book.

29559052

Den of Thieves by Julia Golding | Review

18745211

In my quest to re-read this entire series – which was one of my favourites a few years ago – I decided to pick up the third installment in the Cat Royal series. This book had lodged in my brain as my favourite of the entire series – but considering as I love all the books in this series I can only think this was the case because it is set mainly in Paris and I have an obsession with anything remotely Parisian. As per usual, this book was an extremely quick read despite being over 400 pages. The writing is lively and engaging and very easy to read and understand. I adore the dialogue and humour that is weaved through this book because it’s all so witty and humorous and even though some of the events in this book are quite dark and serious, it completely lifted the tone of the book. I can’t wait to carry on my re-read of this series because it’s just so fun.

In Cat Royal’s third thrilling adventure, the Theater Royal is closed for renovations. Cat’s friends plan to spend the summer in France, leaving her homeless and alone. But Mr. Sheridan, the theater owner and Cat’s guardian, commissions Cat to act as his spy in the French Revolution. Disguised as a member of a dance troupe, Cat infiltrates the front lines, but when her friends are captured as traitors, her mission becomes perilous. Will Cat be able to save them all from certain death? Travel with Cat from London to Paris, as she braves dungeons, revolutionaries, ballerinas, and numerous suitors, all in the name of freedom!

Cat Royal is one of those characters that you can’t help but root for and want to win. She’s so strong-willed and determined and quick-thinking as well as being extremely loyal and stubborn. Through this series, you form an extremely strong emotional attachment to her character because of all the things that she goes through in the course of the books. Another character I love is Johnny (I’m borderline obsessed with the man) because he’s just so charming and dedicated and dashing. I also love the character of Frank and, out of everyone, I think he undergoes the most development throughout the course of this book. His world is blown wide open and he experiences things that he’s never even thought about before. I also do love the character of Elizabeth but I also wish that she was given a little more development a chance to see other aspects of her personality as well as some humour.

You guys know that I am an avid fan of historical fiction novels and another thing that I love about this series, and especially this book, is that so much effort is put into making it as historically accurate as possible. The world building is extremely detailed and the writing is so vivid that you can really imagine yourself there and can be completely swept away in the story. I also love that there are some real life figures in this book – and on this reading I had been obsessed with Hamilton for long enough that I could appreciate the Lafayette reference. The pace of this book is incredibly fast but that doesn’t mean there is no tension or suspense in this books because there is. New characters are being introduced all the time as well as new things being discovered so there’s really never a dull moment, even if the scene as a poignant and emotional one.

These books really remind me why I love historical fiction so much and I can remember why this book sticks into my mind as my favourite. I’d give this book a 5 out of 5 stars because it’s so fun and witty and enjoyable and I can’t wait to read the other 3 books in this series.