Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Review: The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 2nd March 2017
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person.
(from Goodreads)

While I did enjoy The Ship Beyond Time overall, I have to admit that at times, I found it confusing and a bit difficult to follow. As a result, I don’t think it was as good as The Girl from Everywhere, but I have liked reading this series as a whole and would still recommend it to fans of time travel and adventures on ships.

Nix was one of the reasons I kept on with this book even when I found it a bit unclear at times. I really liked her character, and her relationship with her father was very interesting in this book. In book one, I really didn’t like Slate, and to be honest, I still wasn’t his biggest fan in this book either, but I did like seeing how the relationship between father and daughter had changed and how Nix was adapting to this. One thing that I will point out is that I predicted the meaning of Joss’s fortune (Nix losing the one she loves) from the start, so the ending wasn’t really a surprise to me. While this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book as a whole, I did kind of spent the whole time waiting for Nix to realise what was going to happen.

Kashmir got his own point of view in this book, and while it was nice to see from his POV, I felt his character wasn’t really as developed as he could be. I really wanted to know more about Kashmir but I felt like this book was all about his relationship with Nix and whether or not he could be saved and I don’t know. He got a bit cheesy at times, and I would have loved to explore his backstory more and what that meant in relation to his feelings for Nix (he touched on this in his own chapters, expressing his concerns about it, but I would have liked more detail). He was a great character though, and continued to be that voice of reason who always offered good advice.

Blake was Blake. I didn’t really like him in the first book, and I didn’t much like him in this book either. I understood why he was there though, and it was actually a bit sad to see that he was really similar to Nix and they could have been close friends in another life, if things had been different.

Plot-wise, this is where I was confused. I really struggled with the mythical places and travelling there by map, the whole Ancient Greece debacle, how they somehow managed to change the past but people retained memories in dreams (and there were all these alternate universes they could see in dreams - what?! This never came up in the first book!) and how [spoiler, highlight to read]Nix’s mother was somehow saved with no consequences. How? Plus, whatever happened to Dahut? I liked her[end of spoiler]. Navigation was also never fully explained and in the end I was just reading without understanding because I was too confused by it all. I doubt everyone will have the same problem, but I’ve always needed really clear explanations when it comes to books like this; I don’t like being forced to fill in blanks myself or pick up on really subtle hints or metaphors or whatever. It gets lost on me. I also found the ending a bit abrupt, especially since there’s not going to be another book.

Overall, while I did like this book, I did have a few problems with it. It’s a good read to pass the time, but I found it too confusing to fully appreciate (perhaps if I were more familiar with the myths in question, I’d be less puzzled everything).

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Confession: I Like Spoilers

I've been blogging for almost seven years now, and I think it's about time I shared one of my deepest, darkest secrets: I like spoilers. I know. I am a terrible person. I scroll through Tumblr and Twitter and Goodreads, actively trying to find spoilers for books.

It's now gotten to the point where, for some (not all) books, I go through spoilers first, and then decide whether to read the book or not. It's kind of ridiculous, but I think it's because I have found so many books disappointing (especially last books in series - I have so many unfinished series right now) that at this stage, I'd rather not waste my time on a book if I know I really really won't like what happens/how it ends.

So, yes. I go looking for spoilers, and I get really annoyed when I can't find any. I want to know if my ship is endgame, damn it! I want to know if a stupid love triangle is going to be introduced! I want to know if the main characters die! Because if I don't know, I'm not prepared, and I'll end up being hugely disappointed if the book takes a route I reeeally don't want it to take. I rarely ever pick up a book without doing thorough research on it first. I will very occasionally, or if I really like the author, but in general, I look into every book beforehand. And I am very reliant on reviews. I will read dozens before I decide on which book to pick up. If it's a series, and I'm waiting for a new book to be released, I'll generally buy the book on release day unless there are already reviews out that convince me otherwise (yes, I will even abandon a series I am highly invested in if I don't like what the spoilers tell me. Doesn't happen often, and doesn't mean I won't ever pick it back up again, but I am not truly loyal to anything. Does this make me a terrible human being? Probably).

Basically, I have trust issues, and I hate being unexpectedly disappointed. If I KNOW I'll be disappointed, then I won't be as disappointed as if I hadn't known...you know?

Obviously, I do still pick up books I'm not certain I'll like, and sometimes I'll think they're rubbish, and sometimes I'll be pleasantly surprised. It's only when I'm very sure that I will really dislike a book that I let the spoilers prevent me from picking it up at all. Usually, I just read the spoilers, and then prepare myself for what will happen (and it's mainly for already established series - I'm much less likely to search for spoilers for standalones or first books in series, and even if I do, I won't want as much depth as I would for series I've already started).

(I feel like I am really not explaining myself well.)

Also, I am just really impatient. I want to know what happens and I can't actually wait until I read the book. And it's not just books! It's TV shows and films as well. For example, we don't get season 4 of The 100 in the UK for another few months. But I can't NOT know what's happening...so I just read all the recaps media outlets post after the episodes air in the US. Keeps me going until I can actually watch the episodes myself.

I completely understand that a lot of people don't like spoilers and I of course wouldn't ever want to spoil anything for people who don't want to know (this is why you always need to tag your spoilers!). But I can't deny that I am a person who likes knowing things. I don't generally like surprises. I don't like being unprepared. And I am too curious to avoid searching for answers...

What are your thoughts on spoilers? Are you like me? Do you hate them? Did this post mortally offend you (I'm sorry!). I really hope I'm not alone in this...

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February Wrap Up

Books I Read This Month:

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt
The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman
A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
The Next Together by Lauren James
The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari*
By Your Side by Kasie West
King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Broken Sky by L. A. Weatherly
Frostblood by Elly Blake*

All links lead to Goodreads. Reviews to come for starred books! I read eleven books in February, so I'm actually a bit ahead of my Goodreads challenge, which is nice! I read a lot of cute contemps this month; I think By Your Side was probably my favourite (it's Kasie West, and it's a book about two people locked in a library, what's not to like?). The Next Together was really disappointing because it started off fairly good and then just went downhill [spoiler, highlight to read]I remember basically cracking up laughing because a character randomly finds out she's pregnant, expresses no feelings on the matter and then gives birth like, five pages later because the plot just skips ahead. It was hilariously bad[end of spoiler] so I think that was probably my worst read of the month.

Blog Posts:


TV Shows I Watched/Started:

Supergirl season 2 (currently airing on Sky1)
The Flash season 3 (currently airing Sky1)
Legends of Tomorrow season 2 (currently airing on Sky1)
Scorpion season 3 (currently airing on ITV2)
Brookyln Nine-Nine season 4 (E4)
Timeless (currently airing on E4)
Emerald City (currently airing on 5STAR)
The Magicians season 2 (currently airing on 5STAR)
Shadowhunters season 2 (weekly on Netflix)
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD season 4 (currently airing E4)
Legion (currently airing on FOX)
Riverdale (weekly on Netflix)
Legend Quest (Netflix)

I'm still watching Riverdale. Mostly for Jughead, who is by far the best character (I am already so tired of Archie and his drama). Brookyln Nine-Nine is now on a mid-season break and isn't back until April (nooo) and I've started Emerald City and it's very...weird? Like, really weird. I don't know whether I like it or not. Legion is probably my favourite show at the moment, it's so good and I never have any idea what's going to happen!

Timeless has sort of grown on me over the past few weeks; it's still full of plot holes and time paradoxes, but I don't know, I kind of like it anyway. And while I'm glad we're getting the second season of The Magicians in the UK, I am so annoyed that season 4 of The 100 probably won't air until April/May time. WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG? I read all the episode recaps because I have no willpower and need the spoilers. My biggest fear is that The 100 will be cancelled before Bellarke ever happens...

Films I Watched:

Tangled (for the billionth time)

Music I Listened to:

The Wicked soundtrack (For Good is still my favourite)
Bands from the early 2000s
Belle from Beauty and the Beast (preparing for the movie release - I am simultaneously excited and terrified)
StarKid musicals (especially Status Quo from Starship, and The Coolest Girl from A Very Potter Sequel - they have been stuck in my head!)
Kyle XY soundtrack (don't judge me okay, I am STILL upset that show was cancelled and ended on a cliffhanger)
Marceline singing the Mr Belvedere theme in Adventure Time (yep, that carried over from January, what can I say)
All those variations of All Star by Smashmouth, because I find them hilarious. My favourite is the one with Windows notifications...

Notable Events:

It's been quite a month. I mean, first of all, Philip Pullman just dropped on us that he's writing an ENTIRE NEW TRILOGY about Lyra. The first book is out in OCTOBER OF THIS YEAR. Were any of us expecting this?! I have been waiting for The Book of Dust for years, I thought at best it would be an encyclopaedia, but no, a WHOLE NEW TRILOGY. My blog post goes into more detail.

Next I found out there's going to be another book in the Alex Rider series and bigfhjdwv. I loved that series when I was younger. I was such a huge fan, I had NO IDEA there was going to be another book?! I only found at this month, and I am beyond excited. It's called Never Say Die and is out in June in the UK.

It was also my birthday this month, so among my presents were a few books (see below), and an Amazon gift card! I picked all the books myself; I was originally going to choose some different ones...but with the news about The Book of Dust, I decided it was high time I reread the His Dark Materials trilogy, so I chose a really beautiful gift bind up of all three books. I also couldn't resist Hamilton: The Revolution, especially since I'm actually going to see it soon!



Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter | His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman | Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan | Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

I have yet to spend the gift card, but I have my eye on a few books...

And that is my month in a nutshell! I have no idea what March will bring, but I'm hoping to keep up the reading, and blog consistently! What are your bookish (and non-bookish) goals for next month?

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Three Mini Reviews

The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone #2) by Lori M. Lee
Publisher: Skyscape
Released: March 10th 2015
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.

Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.


To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.


In this thrilling sequel to
Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known. (from Goodreads)

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and while this one was good, I didn’t like it quite as much. 

Kai was struggling with several things in this book; after the end of book one, she was feeling guilty and unsure of herself. There was also the fact that she couldn’t seem to use her powers, which was highly concerning. I so wanted her to tell someone but she wouldn’t and I was worrying the whole time what this would mean for. As the book went on, Kai became more assertive and I appreciated her character development.

Avan wasn’t in this book as much as, and when he was, he was very different (as to be expected after the end of book one). I wanted him to get his memories back so much, and even though I knew there would be a love triangle in this book (the typical “the first guy isn’t here so let’s give this other guy a chance”) I couldn't get behind it because I still remembered how Avan was in book one and couldn’t properly root for the other love interest (even though he was actually really nice).

I loved that we got to find out more about the world in this book, and explored different places. The writing was really engaging and I liked reading about the new characters that were introduced.

The ending was another huge cliffhanger and I have no idea if we’re getting a book three, so I am left with many, many questions. I really am hoping for another book, because I’ve enjoyed this series overall and would like to see how it all ends!

---

The Inquisition (Summoner #2) by Taran Matharu
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Released: May 5th 2016
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future - the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher's tragic origins.

But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE.

With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there's a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire.

With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory.
(from Goodreads)

This is another book that, while still good, I didn’t enjoy as much as the first in the series. I did really like seeing all the characters again and jumping back into the world, and it was great to learn more about the magic system, which is one of the main reasons these books are so appealing. At the same time, however I had a few issues. Mostly I was left a little confused at how some things occurred and I questioned the reason behind certain events [spoiler, highlight to view] I couldn’t get behind making Fletcher a noble, wasn’t the point that he didn’t have to be? To me, it kind of undermined the message of the last book, though that is of course just my opinion[end of spoiler]. I also wanted to spend more time at Vocans, but I could understand why this didn’t happen and there was a lot of other exciting stuff going on that made up for it. One thing I really would have liked to have seen was how Fletcher recovered; he spent a year locked up in a cell, isolated from the rest of the world, and yet he seemed to get over it pretty quickly. I wish we could have had more insight into his thoughts. I did like this book overall, though, the plot was interesting, and Fletcher was a compelling main character that you couldn’t help but root for. I will definitely be reading the next book, and look forward to finding out what will happen next!

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The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Released: March 24th 2016
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
10 parts 12 hours 1 minute

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.


At least, that’s what he thinks.


In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.


But no one gets what they want just by wishing.


As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?
(from Goodreads)

The Winner’s Kiss was a really satisfying conclusion to the series, and I am very much looking forward to whatever Marie Rutkoski writes next.

If we were to compare the Kestrel and Arin from this book to the Kestrel and Arin in book one, the differences would obvious. The character development for these two has been excellent; in this book, they were older and wiser. They had both been through so much, and had both changed in different ways. Kestrel’s final confrontation with the emperor was one example of how she had grown. She had always had a brilliant mind but this just showed what she willing to do now that she wouldn’t have done before. Arin played an important role as well, he was less reckless, and I really enjoyed getting to know him more in this book. Their relationship was never going to be smooth sailing, but I liked that it wasn’t easy, that they had to work hard for it, and I actually really appreciated that we got a happily ever after, because these characters deserved to be happy! I would have been devastated if it ended any other way.

There were some intense twists in this book and I think I finished the whole thing in one day because I was desperate to find out what would happen. The writing was as compelling as ever and while I’m sad this series is over, I am now eagerly awaiting Marie Rutkoski's next book.