Saturday, 14 February 2015

Back On Active Roster

Hello to you.

Yes. Right. I know. I've not posted since 8th January. But hark, what is that? Unlike following normal hiatuses, I have a valid excuse.

Shocking, yes, but listen: I've not had internet for a month.

I hear the sound of your jaws dropping. It has been a struggle, certainly. I missed blogging, and you (and Pinterest and Spotify), but here I am, back. What has been going on in the blogosphere/your life? Please share! 

I have not done any reviews for a while, so ... quick sharp!

Book #4 in the Department 19 series. Followed in the footsteps of its predecessors: gripping, thrilling, brilliant.

Have you read this?  I know no one else who has, so if you're fangirling along silently out there 
(and noticing my sneaky fan reference in the post title), please tell me! This is in fact a call to all silent followers. I want 2015 to be the year where my followers are vocal, so if you're there, say hi ... please?
So, Zero Hour. The character development ticked along nicely. The plot was superb. I nearly had a heart attack several times.
That twist, though. Will Hill, what are you doing to me?? I also developed a huge crush on ancient and kinda evil vampire Valentin Rusmanov (appropriate for Valentine's Day, I think as I type this ... cause his name is Valentin ... get it?). There was also a definite, frightening sense of things reaching a head. I don't know how many more books there are going to be. Excitement is reaching breaking point.
The bottom line:
I really, really recommend this series, and if you've read them, please share!

The Catcher in the Rye

What is
The Catcher in the Rye? The ultimate coming-of-age novel, some say; one of the great American classics, up there with Gatsby. I'd been told this book "would change my life" and that wasn't half wrong.
Catcher was a portrayal of adolescence beautiful and heartbreaking by turn. There was so much to relate to in the character of Holden (the seventeen-year-old narrator): he was a confused teenager, always grasping for truth and integrity, obsessed with the idea that the world he lived in was a complexity of layers and shallow falsehood, drowning in his own attempts to work out what he believed and who he was.
If you've not read this book I urge you to do so now (don't wait until you're an adult!). It will stay with you. 

I think that this picture sums up my feelings:

A Song of Ice and Fire book 3, part 1. 

It's no secret how I feel about this series. The intensity has been gathering. I am traumatised. And obsessed. 

This book was incredible in its scope. Without hesitation I give to GRR Martin the award for worldbuidling: the complexity of the world, the universe he has created, surpasses anything I have ever read (and that includes Tolkien). He has dreamed new countries, cultures, religions, dialects, and still the thread of humanity glares full throughout his books, making them always relatable, keeping the reader's interest gripped from page to page. His characters quiver on the page, absolutely 3D and wonderfully developed, and the themes of the series are so so interesting: a quest for honour, an exploration of rights, the search for what is and isn't true.

There were plot twists that floored me and action that stunned me and deaths that broke me, and generally I was left parched and enraptured and desperate for more. I've not yet read book 4, but soon. It is always Game of Thrones time in my life.

The Raven Cycle, book #3

Right, because I just needed another book in another fantasy series that would also slash my feels and generally be amazing.

The truth: Blue Lily, Lily Blue was wonderful.

What did we expect though, really? This series. This series is incredible. Have you read this series? You should have read this series. What did I love? I loved everything.

The plot, the characters, the magic. The bromance and the romance and everything to ship. The stunning writing (Maggie Stiefvater is basically a prose genius). Blue's extreme shortness. Jesse Dittley. The Pig, the Dog. The way that Adam became loveable again after his Dream Thieves low point. You know what? I want to write an entire post about this book. Would you like that? Would you read it? Please tell me. If even one of you wants my (developed thoughts) I will give them.

The Cry of the Icemark

OK, so, I have a lil bit of a Christmas tradition of fantasy rereads (dear new followers, I love fantasy. Can you tell?). The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill are a trilogy I loved when I was younger, and I revisited the first one.

Initially, I was dubious. I was noticing the flaws in the writing - the extreme adverbs, mainly, the things that should never have got past the editor - but then just like that, I was utterly gripped. 

I'd forgotten most of the plot (it has been a few years) and it swept me up. There were so many things that shouldn't have worked - the slightly implausible magical creatures, MC Thirrin's exceptionally bossy and annoying personality - but somehow, they did.

Also: I was shipping so hard. The first time I read this - a pre-teen sprog - the romance failed to have an effect on me (no romance had an effect on me) but this time? Wonderful. Perfect. All in all, Icemark is sort of a book for children but very much enjoyed by me (a so-called Young Adult), and I would thoroughly recommend.

BUT TELL ME: what have you been reading? Any of these? Please tell! What is the best thing you've read so far in 2015?

Pretty well, thanks. Guess what! Pretty soon after this hiatus began, I reached 50k - so that's official novel territory. Exciting, right? Right.

Unfortunately, I'm literally losing the plot. Like, I'm writing this scene at the moment and I know what's going to happen for about the next day (novel time) but after that? Who knows what's happening?? I certainly don't! Oh well. Impromptu plot twists, let's go. 

As for you, how's your novel going?

This is the bit where I coast for things I've done outside of reading, school, church, and realise that in fact, I've not done many. 

I saw the Punch Brothers! They are an INCREDIBLE five-piece bluegrass band from New York. Every member is an amazing virtuoso player and seeing them live was actually stunning. They were great at playing to the crowd, if you know what I mean (I feel a bit in love with the lead singer, Chris Thile), and just, ugh. 

My favourite song from the new album.

There's another new world at the top of the world for the first one to break through the ice.

Apart from that, I've generally been doing school - I made it through my exams! - and lifey stuff. 

Films? I saw The Theory of Everything, which was really brilliant; Into the Woods, with which I was unimpressed; Boyhood, which was fantastic. You should definitely see it if you can. In my opinion, well deserving of the Bafta. 

And that, friends, is a potted history of my life in the past month. See, it's like I wasn't even gone. I am anticipating some changes on this blog: namely, changing the url (I need to think of something good!), designing a proper header, and hopefully doing some polls and working out what you actually like to read/see on here. I'll keep you posted! (A pun, haha.)

So, please tell me: what have you been up to? Books, films, writing, life? Spill. I've missed you. 

And also: happy Valentine's Day!*

Emily x

*did you know that 14th of February 273 AD is the day St Valentine was imprisoned and tortured? If you didn't ... you're welcome.


  1. I want to read the Game of Thrones series so bad! Every time I see it in the store, I'm thinking, "It's THE book. I need it. But no, Ashley, you have to do other things with your money, remember? But THE book!" So I haven't read it yet.

    But I bet I could find Catcher in the Rye at the library.

    I read The False Prince! It is amazing. Just I am in awe (I've been saying that for a week, but it's true. The book is just that good, I'm still in awe). Have you read it? If so, we must talk. ;)

    I saw the movie Earth to Echo, which I rather liked. I'm not normally into movies like that, but it was cute and well done, I think at least. I also saw The Identical, which was very meh. I finished watching it and wished I had spent my time reading a book.

    1. THEY'RE SO GOOD! Sometimes in life you just have to throw up your hands and buy a book firsthand (even if you a dedicated charity shopper). That's what I did for Blue Lily, Lily Blue - I just marched right into Waterstone's and paid my £7.99. Of course, I knew I was going to love it, it being #3 in the series ... but, Ashley, you have my sincere assurances that you will enjoy few books more than Game of Thrones. Incredible.


      THE FALSE PRINCE! I've heard a lot o' raving from the Delallo corner of the internet and I want to read it so badly ... I'm hoping the library has it, or that it turns up in a charity shop. I'm glad you love it too, that's yet another recommendation, making me even more excited! There are so many fantasy series in my life, though. Soon I'm actually going to read Throne of Glass, which I've not managed until now.

      I've not heard of either of those, but I'll look up Earth to Echo.

      ~interval of time~

      It looks kinda cute! Not very good reviews, but hey. :)

      Thanks for visiting, I'll be along to you soon.

  2. ooh, these are great reviews. I love people who give honest reviews on books that I'm not sure whether or not I should read. Keep it up!

    - Autumn

    1. Thanks! I would recommend all of these books (though be warned, half are not the first in the series).

      Thanks for stopping by, Autumn :)

  3. EMILY!!!
    First off a very vey welcome back ^_^. And that I really like the pictures you made with the really cool fonts. I think I am a little obsessed with font at the moment. No idea why. But I just keep googling it....
    Sadly, haven't read any of those books... but!... Department 19 is at the top of my "find that book in the library" list.
    I listened to the song and am now replaying because I think I may need to download the album. That song is just so good :)
    Yeah, I saw into the woods a few weeks ago and was very disappointed. Way too many characters and plot lines. I just couldn't connect with any one of them. Meh.
    Have you seen Budapest hotel (or something like that)? My friend is forcing me to watch it and I just want to see what others think before i set my expectations too high.

    Happy Valentine's! *virtual flowers, chocolates, gigantic teddy bear and some melted chocolate covered strawberries*

    1. MARIAN!!! Thanks! And thanks thanks thanks, I was worried everyone would hate them and laugh at my pathetic amateur graphic design skills (or should we say, lack of skills). I love fonts too. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I frequent and other such treasure troves.

      GOOD!!! It's soooo goooood aaaahhhh. Also Game of Thrones. Come on. Come on. Come on.

      Isn't it?? Aah I hope you get into Punch Brothers because I got into Hermitage Green via your blog and it would be like a circle of good-band-ness :3

      I agree. None of the characters were really developed, and that made the implausible plot seem kinda stupid, to me.

      No, I've heard it's good though ... ??

      Thanks! Chocolate strawberries nom nom nom. (Though I hope I never actually get given a giant teddy. I think they're creepy as.)

  4. I have so so so many feels for Blue Lily. fjkdalfsdfsd I CANNOT EVEN CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT UNTIL I GET TO READ THE RAVEN KING. *flails and dies*
    I don't really read classics, but I would like to try Catcher in the Rye, just because it's so famous, and it's still by a teenager, so what do I have to loose?!

    1. So so so so SO many feels. GET PUBLISHED FASTER, BOOK! ~flails and dies with you~
      I would 100% recommend it. It's written in first person in a totally non-"classic"-y style; you could practically imagine it to be YA, I mean, it kinda is!
      THANKS! :D

  5. Welcome back!

    I'm glad you got to see the Punch Brothers - those guys are fantastic!

    So far my favorite books of the year have been Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, Landline by Rainbow Rowell, The Girl from Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson, The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters, and The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.

    Oh and by the way, I found the first Department 19 book at a thrift store! I can't wait to read it after all of the good things I've heard from you! :)

    1. Thanks!

      Yes yes yes, soooo good. I love them. In love. Obsessed!

      I've not read any of those - though I have just entered a giveaway for The Darkest Part of the Forest ;)

      Aahhhh great!!! So exciting! I hope you like it after all my harping on! :L

  6. I absolutely loved "The Catcher In The Rye" and so many FEELS! I love your blog!

    1. I know I know I know ALL THE FEELS! Thanks so much! :)


Thanks for commenting! :)