Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Top Ten Owned Authors

I was scrolling through the booktube the other day and I came across an old video by Katytastic in which she talked about her top ten owned authors and well .... I decided to steal this idea.
Sorry Kat .... not that you'll ever read this or anything but still. Sorry for being a thief.

These books actually make up 108 of my total books which is kind of impressive really. And some of these books aren't even my favourite authors too. Some of my favourite authors I don't actually own that many copies of books of. But I know i'm going to be picking up some more because I want to take them with me to uni and not damage my precious hardbacks in the process. Hehe, see what I did there? Please tell me someone noticed my little pun!

Anyway, on with the post.

1. The author whom I own the most books of (who may just be one of my favourite authors) is the Late, Great Terry Pratchett. I own an astonishing 38 books of his. These books include the majority of his Discworld series novels. As well as a few companion novels to this about the world. One stand alone book called Johnny and the Dead and a novel that he did with Neil Gaiman called Good Omens. The reason that I own so many of his books is actually because they belonged to my dad; because he is his favourite author. I have now taken proud ownership of them and I will continue to expand the collection until we own every book that he wrote.

2. The author whom I own the second largest amount of books is ..... J K Rowling. I own 22 of her books. Now I know what you are thinking. Alisha, she hasn't published 22 books. But there is a reason for this. I have the first editions of Harry Potter in hardback as well as books 1 to 4 in paperback and an extra copy of Order of the Phoenix in Hardback. They were left for me by a relative because she knew I loved them so much. I also own her three companion novels; Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beadle the Bard (which I have two copies of). As well as this I have a book which she co wrote about the film series called Film Wizardry. I also have a copy of the Casual Vacancy. And a hardback and paperback of A Cuckoos Calling as well as a hardback copy of The Silkworm.

3. My third most owned author is actually my favourite author. Can you guess who it is?
J R R Tolkien.
I have 9 copies of his books and I'm going to buy some more because there are actually a few that I do not own and I want to keep my rather rare hardbacks at home. Well I say that they're mine, they were my dad's but he has entrusted them into me.
I have two copies of the complete editions of The Lord of the Rings. Both of which contain all three 'books' and the appendices. One in hardback and one in paperback. I then have two copies of the Hobbit. One in hardback, one in paperback. Next I have paperbacks of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I also have a copy of Tales from the Perilous Realm in paperback and The Silmarillion in Hardback.

4. You may think I'm a bit of a horror fan for this, but the most of these books were my dad's that he has now given to me. I have 8 different books all by Stephen King. I have IT, Rose Madder, Bag of Bones, Insomnia, Four Past Midnight, Needful Things, Doctor Sleep and Dolores Claiborne.

5. After this comes Bali Rai, good old Bali Rai. And I can proudly say that all 7 Bali Rai books are in fact signed. I have two copies of Rani and Sukh. The copies of (Un)arranged Marriage, Killing Honour, City of Ghosts, Angel Collector and Fire City.

6. Even though I am not her biggest fan, next on this list comes Cassandra Clare as I own 7 of her books. I have two copies of City of Bones (one in e-reader form and then a paperback) and then copies of the rest of the Mortal Instruments series.

7. No matter how hard I try, I still can't get through this series because the books are just so huge! But  that doesn't mean that I don't own 6 of this authors books. I own: Rogue; A Game of Thrones; A Clash of Kings; A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow; A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold; and A Feast of Crows all by George R. R. Martin.

8. These 6 books actually belong to my Mum but she doesn't have a bookshelf so I thought I'd put them on my shelf and now they're mine. By Dan Brown I own Angels and Demons, Digital Fortress, The Da Vinci Code, Deception Point, The Lost Symbol and Inferno.

9. Now on to a lady who is swiftly becoming one of my favourite authors. She's never going to take over from Tolkien but she wrote a pretty amazing series known as The Lunar Chronicles. Hence why I open 6 copies of her works. This lady is Marissa Meyer and I own copies of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter and Stars Above.

10. Although I really really dislike this author, for some reason I own 5 different copies of his works. This author is John Green and I own copies of Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

So there are the top ten authors that I own. Anything you find surprising in this mix?

Book Total of 2016 - 48

Top 5 Wednesday: Settings I Want To See More Of

So this is my first Top Five Wednesday and I'm rather excited to be apart of it. I've been umming and ahhhing on whether I should do this, but I finally gave in and just thought 'why not!' After all, it is a great way to meet so many other readers!

Something that has long been on my mind is places that I adore, both fictional and nonfictional, that are barely mentioned in literature. So I thought I would mention the top five settings that I want to see more of.

Sorrento, Italy. I had the pleasure of getting to going to Italy a few years ago and for the first four days of the trip I stayed in a place called Sorento which is in the Bay of Naples. It's the home of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, well that area in Italy anyway. I fell in love with this place yet I haven't actually read a book that is set there. Someone please recommend some book that is set in this beautiful place. Then finally I will be at pease.

Iceland. Earlier this year I was able to go to Iceland and it is such a beautiful place. So untouched by pollution and modernisation. It was just breathtaking and it is the sort of place that I could see a fantastic book being written. Some sort of fairy tale considering the mythology and beliefs that the country has. To be able to explore that further would be just amazing. Surely there must be some books about it out there?

New York, America. Another place that I have been to and fallen in love with for a completely different reason. It was the business of the city, the claustrophobic sense to it with the thousands of people pushing against one another to get to places. I loved that. And though I have seen many TV shows set in New York, I can't think of a book. I'm sure I've read many but none seem to spring to mind. How odd is that?

Ireland. One of my favourite book series for a very long time was based in Ireland and although it was only a back drop for the events that took place. I fell in love with some of the imagery created and I just feel that so few books are actually set in this country, a country that has such a ripe history and beautiful surroundings that I'm sure could easily help sculpture an amazing book.

New Zealand. This is final setting is one that I have wanted to go to for a long time, primarily because of the beauty of the scenes that could easily be Middle Earth. Since I'll never be able to physically step into the breathtaking world that was created by Tolkien, I need to read more things set in New Zealand just so I can see the landscapes and fully feel as though I was in Lothlorien or Erebor with some of the best characters I've had the pleasure to read.

So, there is my list. Do we share some of the same settings? What top five places do you want to see more of in Literature? Feel free to let me know.

Book Total of 2016 - 48

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Review | Diary of Anne Green the Girl Witch: Foundling Witch, by Max Candee

What You Need To Know:
Title: Diary of Anne Green the Girl Witch: Foundling Witch
Author: Max Candee
Number of Pages: 159
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure  
Series/Standalone: Diary of Anne the Girl Witch
Publisher: Independent Books
Publication Date: 7th December 2014

The Plot:
Anna Sophia has always known she was different. But it wasn't until now that she knew how different she was.

The night of her 13th birthday, Anna wonders about her past in the impossible circumstances that she was found: a baby, tucked among a pack of bear cubs in the wilds of Russia. And then she receives a letter from her mother that reveals a whole new world to her. And as she learns more about her secret abilities, she finds out that her neighbours are hiding something of their own: a plot to harm Anna and her friends.

My Thoughts:
This was a short read that should have passed relatively quickly; sucking me into a world of magic and tragedy that didn't take me through some of the twists that I first thought of. Initially it had the innocent light, airy voice that would have been perfect for younger readers. All I felt was that it was a little bit slow. I know its a Middle Grade books but that doesn't have to mean that it's slow initially.

Anna was supposed to be thirteen years old but once again the voice was much much older. Yes, it could have been the hint of maturity that was supposed to be given to a girl growing up in an orphanage; someone who has to act older than they actually are. But it was just a bit odd really. She had this gut instinct that wasn't easily fooled that would not exist in a girl that young. Sometimes she acted in a childish way and then she was almost an adult again. It would have been a lot better if she had been about fifteen or sixteen years old. Then she would have been a far more believable character.

This story turned on its tail and suddenly became a thriller. A very loosely cut thriller. So many of the plot points were washed over far too quickly and they were loosely sown together. Sure it would work for kids, but the equivalent of the writing would have suited only the youngest kids in the Middle Grade category. Sure it was a good idea but wasn't executed well.

I'm not going to gush over it, it was okay but not wonderful. It's not something that I could see my self recommending to others but well, it could be something that could kick someone into reading. It wasn't amazing but I'm sure that there are some people out there that this really appeals to. I'm just not one of them. Hence why I gave it ***

Book Total of 2016 - 47

Monday, 27 June 2016

Recommendations | Dystopian

Dystopia – noun
An imaginary place where people lead dehumanised and often fearful lives

A favourite genre of mine for many years has been Dystopian. Yet so few people actually read a lot of these books. There are a few obvious numbers that I am going to mention but so many of these only a small number know about so, here are some of my favourite young adult dystopian novels.

Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Panem is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Once there had been 13 but a rebellion early in Panem’s history resulted in its destruction and the creation of The Hunger Games. This is a televised event that takes place each year and stands as a punishment. One boy and one girl from each district between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen through a lottery system. These ‘tributes’ are forced to fight to the death, leaving one surviving victor.
When Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister, Prim, was selected to be a part of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss volunteered to take her place. Really, it is a death sentence but, for Katniss, survival is second nature and with Peeta, her male counterpart, alongside her, things will not be as hard as they first believed.

I’m sure that most people will have at least watched the films for these books but I thought I would mention them anyway. Although I didn’t like the trilogy as a whole, I was impressed with the first book and I know that it got a lot of people into reading. Therefore, The Hunger Games is a notable mention.

Divergent, by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions which is dedicated to one particular virtue. Candor (the Honest), Abnegation (the Selfless), Dauntless (the Brave), Amity (the Peaceful), and Erudite (the Intelligent). Once a year, all sixteen year olds must select the faction that they will remain in for the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, she has a choice to stay with her family or discovering who she really is.

By doing this, Tris has to undertake her trials, decide who she can truly trust and hide a secret that could result in her death. Not to mention that she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society.

Another relatively obvious option and although the rest of the trilogy are fairly bad, I did like this when I first read it. For a young reader, this opened a whole new genre and although it has its flaws, it is an interesting read. If you haven’t and you want something that’ll open this genre to you, then pick up Divergent.

Maze Runner, by James Dashner
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember in his name. He’s surrounded by strangers, all of which are boys whose memory is also gone. To make matters worse, surrounding the Glade that they are in is an ever changing maze that holds these vile robotic creatures known as the Grievers. They only come out at night but if they find you in the Maze then you’re all but dead.

Then one day, everything in the maze changes forever for the lift brings a girl.

This is a book that is once again relatively well known but has a lot of mixed reviews. Some people love it, some people hate it. I have to say that although it took forever to get into, this book was suspenseful and took a turn that I wasn’t expecting. If you can stick it out for the first thirty pages or so, you are going to love the twists and turns that this book takes.

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld
In this world, when a teenager turns sixteen they turn from ugly to stunningly pretty. They are given an operation which rids them of all their flaws and then can live in a high tech paradise where the only job is to have fun.

For Tally, this is all she has waiting for. But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure that she wants to be Pretty. And when Shay runs away to live in a wild with a group called the Smokies, Tally learns a whole new side to the pretty world – and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities give Tally one choice: find her friend and turn her in, or remain ugly. And Tally’s choice will change her world forever.

I read this book before I knew about Booktube, it was recommended to me by a friend and I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. This really opened my eyes to how beauty can actually be a weapon. I was young when I read this, like 12 or 13 and I wasn’t a particularly popular because of the way that I looked. So by reading this I could really relate to the dilemma that Tally was feeling and it opened my eyes to fact that you don’t have to be conventionally pretty to be beautiful. And I think that that is an amazing life lesson that everybody should learn.

Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
This is a world divided by blood. The Reds are commoners, ruled over by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And for Mare Barrow, a 17 year old Red girl from the poverty stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. And then she finds herself working inside the Silver Palace, surrounded by the people she hates most. It is this hatred that reveals she possesses a deadly power of her own, despite her red blood. One that threatens to destroy the balance power completely. 

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain sight. But this is a dangerous dance that Mare has entered, one of lies and deceit – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

Now for some reason people seem to hate this book, I really don’t know why. I adored it. It was different to anything else in YA that I’d read and it kept hooked until the final page. It was brilliant. I need to read the next book to know what happens and trust me when I say that this is awesome. Even if some people don’t agree.

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. All the women were wiped out thirteen years ago and everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never ending stream of Noise. Todd is the only boy left. In Prentisstown, when you turn thirteen you become a man and you aren’t allowed to play with boys anymore. So for Todd, life has been a little bit lonely. Thankfully, Todd has Manchee, a dog whose thoughts you can hear too, but he’s a bit of pain really.

Yet, just a month away from the birthday that will turn him into a man, Todd and Manchee stumble upon an area of complete silence. Something that has never happened before. They find in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden. A secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how can you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

I read this for a national book award called the Carnegie Awards a few years ago. Patrick Ness is an amazing author who is the only person to have every single one of his books nominated for the Carnegie Awards. Which I think is pretty amazing. This was one of the first YA books I ever read and it still sticks in my mind to this day. I often go back to reread it because it is so good. It really does surprise me how few people know of Patrick Ness and his brilliant works so I will suggest this book to everyone. It is addictively good.  

The Selection, by Keira Cass
The Selection could be the change of a lifetime for thirty five girls. They have the opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. They are swept into the glamourous life of the palace to try to compete to win the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

This isn’t the case for America Singer. Being Selected means turning her back on her secret love for Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home and living in the Palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. And then America meets Prince Maxon and she realises that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

When I think about this book, I don’t always think of dystopian but it is. It is a world ruled over by a vile King and tormented by two different groups of Rebels. I couldn’t put this trilogy down, even though originally I doubted that I would like it. Yes, it’s not usually my cup of tea but I thoroughly enjoyed this and I hope that others will as well.

Legend, by Marie Lu
June and Day are from completely different worlds. June is a prodigy, born from an elite family, who has been groomed for success. Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. It is only when June’s brother, Metias is murdered and Day is made the Prime Suspect that they meet.

But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Now this is actually classed as a retelling, which I don’t see at all. I see it as a dystopia since it’s set into a war torn world under a controlling Government. The first book was interesting and I flew through it in one sitting.

Gone, by Michael Grant
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappeared. All gone. Except for the young. There are teens, but no adults at all. No phones, internet or televisions. No way to get help or figure out what happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies reign. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents that grow stronger every day. But their time is running out: on your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else …

Although this book took over too much plot; Grant could have ended it half way through so that the plot could continue for the next book. But other than that it was a rather gripping read. The plot immediately held my attention and even though there were dual personalities, I didn’t care that much because of the addictive writing style.

The Enemy, by Charlie Higson
When the sickness came, every adult fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others turned crazed, hungry and confused. Only children under fourteen remain and they’re fighting to survive.

There are rumours of a safe place to hide. Somewhere that these zombies can’t get. So a gang of children begin their quest across London, where the adults life in wait wherever they go. The question is, can they make it there – alive?

I didn’t expect to love this as much as I do, as a fan of the Walking Dead I’m used to zombies and thought I’d be immune to them, but that was not the case in this novel. This was literally a mix of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games with children surviving in a horrific world. You never think of the children in a zombie apocalypse but them having to survive, by themselves, it’s truly horrific. In an enjoyable way.

Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in 264 days. She was locked up for murder by The Reestablishment when she did last time. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, it just is and the world is too busy with its own problems to care. Disease, food shortages and pollution.

But The Reestablishment isn’t as perfect as it would like people to believe and so many people are dead that survivors are whispering war. So Juliette has to make a choice: be a weapon or be a warrior.

Now this book wasn’t perfect. I listen to the audiobook of this so I didn’t absorb all of it straight away and having a love triangle is just cliché and tacky. But the story behind this is intriguing. I know that I want to read it properly when I get the chance because I’ll be able to absorb it better. But it was good to listen to and it’s a slightly different type of dystopia.

Noughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman
White Naughts and black Crosses never mix – and they certainly don’t fall in love. Callum is a Naught – a second class citizen in a society run by Crosses. Sephy is a Cross, daughter to the man who’ll likely be the next Prime Minister. When they were younger, they played together. Now they meet in secret.

But when Sephy and her mother are nearly caught in a terrorist attack, Callum’s father becomes the Prime Suspect and the blood hunt that ensues will not only threatens their love for one another. But their very lives.

The thing that always brings me back to this book is the fact that it’s about racial discrimination but the opposite way round. Which never happens. It’s always black people are discriminated by white people. But in this case, the black people are the higher race which really opened my eyes to discrimination when I first read this book several years ago. I think I was in my first year of high school so yeah, that was a long time ago. This is a true Dystopian novel and one that so few people have read considering how brilliant it is. I can’t go into much detail because of spoilers but I highly suggest that people read this book!

Procession of the Dead, by Darren Shan
Capac Raimi arrives in the City, determined to make his mark. Yet as he begins to learn the tricks of the trade from his Uncle Theo, he swiftly finds his way to becoming a promising new gangster.

But his life changes forever when he meets The Cardinal.

This was my second favourite book of 2014 and I cannot stop thinking about it, even two years later. This twists that took place were breath taking and I hate that nobody knows about this book. No one talks about it on booktube and none of my reader friends know about it either. The world is so twisted and I wouldn’t suggest reading it if you’re a sensitive person because of some of the content. But it was so good. I didn’t expect it to take the path that it did which is a real compliment because I can usually predict things. This was an amazing read and people need to read it now.

I hope that people will read these books since some of these are amazing. I know I’ve said that word a lot in this post but they are amazing. If there are any dystopian books out there that you think I should read, feel free to let me know in the comments. Also do you want me to do more recommendations?

Book Total of 2016 – 47


Saturday, 25 June 2016

Reading More Than One Book At Once

Okay, I'm guilty. Arrest me if you must but I know that I'm not the only one guilty of this crime. So I'm ready to say it ..... I read more than one book at once.

It feels good to get that off of my chest.

I've never really know a time when I haven't read more than one book at once. When I was younger I used to constantly read the Harry Potter series on repeat. Hence why I'm so obsessed with it. But whilst I was reading them I would have a knew book going on at the same time.It was just something that felt natural so I thought why not do it. I find myself still doing it today. If I'm having to read something for College then I will continue to read something else for pleasure at the same time. Or I may just pick up two books and start reading them around the same time. I was doing that at the start of the year because of how big Winter, by Marissa Meyer was that I knew that I would need something else on the side to top me up on my train journeys since I wasn't going to take that beast into College with me.

Surely I can't be the only one who does this?

Now one thing that people always say to me when they see that I'm reading more than one book at once is "don't you get confused?"
Usually, no. I'm used to learning lines for scripts or songs so I have the sort of brain that can remember the difference between two books if I'm reading them at the same time. But if I'm reading something that's very similar then, in the long run, I may get a bit confused. A prime example of this being The Hunger Games trilogy, I was reading something else at the same time as I was reading this trilogy and truthfully I can't remember what happened. That might be because it wasn't something I adored but it could also because I was reading something at the same time.

But that's the only case I can actually think of in which that has happened.

What do you think? Please tell me that I'm not the only one who reads more than one book at once.

Book Total of 2016 - 47

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

What's With All These Cover Changes?

All books get different covers at some point in time - it's something that happens. Publishers think that a series needs to revamped or a new publisher will pick up a book and redesign it for them. Sometimes it takes a book with an ugly cover and turns it into something beautiful. And hey, we all know that we really do pick books by their cover, even if we say that we don't. But why do publishers feel the need to change a cover half way through an uncompleted series? 

This is one of my biggest bookish pet peeves. I get that after a certain amount of time there is a need for new covers to be released. The Harry Potter Series must have a dozen different covers in the UK alone. But why not wait until a book series has finished. I can’t count the number of series that will release a cover for the first three books in the series and then will randomly change it to something completely unrelated for the final book. No, that should not happen!

I can’t be the only person who gets so annoyed with this, can I? If you are going to change the covers of a series then just change all the series. Like with The Throne of Glass series, when it was first released the cover was not the greatest but people still bought it. For those who don’t know it was Celaena but as an actual person instead of a drawing. Yeah, not the greatest ever but it could have been a lot worse. Because it took so long for Crown of Midnight to be released they revamped the cover, but not long after this they released the same cover for Throne of Glass meaning that they all matched.

Yet this is not the case for so many series, particularly trilogies, and to be honest it puts me off buying the books individually. I don’t know what the rest of the series will look like and that scares me. One example of this will be the first book in the Gone Series, by Michael Grant. Now I wasn’t thrilled by this series anyway, but that’s another story. But the copy of the first book in this series that I own is from the original print which they now don’t sell anymore. So there are at least ten other books in this series with mix-match covers because of how long they were being written for. Do you know how annoying that is? I really wanted to complete this series but now I’ll have to buy the first book again so that it matches the rest of the covers and that’s money that I really can’t waste!

Why do you do this to me publishers?

Another example is more to do with the print of the book. I have the first and second book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy, by Ransom Riggs in paperback form. Now the covers match those in the hardbacks so I wasn’t too bothered about them only releasing the final book in Hardback over here. But the thing that annoyed me was that they said it would be another six months or so before the paperback of Library of Souls was released so I bit the bullet and bought the hardback since I was so desperate to know how it finished. Two days later it was released in the UK. Two days! Why do you do this to me? Now I’m faced with another series that doesn’t match! Why!!!!!

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who is so annoyed at the release of new covers or editions of books in the middle of a series, please tell me that someone else shares this burning anger!

Book Total of 2016 – 43