Throne of Glass Review

So, another Sarah J. Maas. I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as A Court of Thorns and Roses.

It was good, but read a bit like books people update online – some of the chapters felt like fillers.

Celaena was annoying at times, but I loved how girly she was, as well as kick ass.

I didn’t really connect with the romance, but this has time to develop in the rest of the series.

I can’t say I enjoyed the ending much either – but I’m not really a big fan of demons etc.

I loved the begining though, so I’m hoping outside of the competition to be Champion, book 2 will be better.

Overall, definitely worth the read, but nothing stunning.

I will continue reading the series as I’m doing a readalong with my discord group.

Rebecca.

Moxie Review

Jennifer Mathieu is a genius. An actual genius.

So Moxie is started by a girl who is fed up of how sexist her school is. Everything from the uniform checks to the guys who get away with everything is just so damn accurate.

Even if you were pretty invisible at school you’ve probably had your bra strap pinged or had someone make inappropriate comments. Every woman knows someone who’s been harassed.

This book really highlights how the little things are actually a big deal and should be sanctioned even if your school just passes it off as boys being boys.

Even the way girls get in trouble for skirts above the knee, for wearing too much make up. Heck I know girls who weren’t even wearing any make up get handed wet wipes.

I wish every school had to read this book in citizenship or whatever because everyone can learn something from it.

On to the story – the main character, Vivian, is excellent. She’s a quiet, shy girl who decides she’s had enough of it all.

I loved how the girls all rallied together. The ending was perfect. The friendship was excellent.

I loved Vivian’s relationship with her Mum. It was endearing and her Mum was just the right balance of cool without being undrealistic.

I loved the romance and how it showed that guys aren’t all bad and can learn when they get things wrong.

I loved how to showed girls are often discouraged from leadership roles in school and encouraged to do more supportive things.

Basically, it was the best contemporary I’ve read in a while and didn’t even mind that it was predictable.

I’m just happy girls growing up have books like this to read!

Do you have any favourite contemporary YA books? Let me know in the comments!

Rebecca.

A Court of Wings and Ruin Review

So I finished off the trilogy!!! And it was super good – such a rollercoaster. The first half built slow, but the second half was just a whirlwind of feelings and I cried multiple times.

The book tied up so many endings. The Suriel, The Bone Carver, The Weaver…

I enjoyed the ending, and Elain and Nesta had perfect endings. I loved their touching moments with Feyre. And their father.

There were huge amounts of woman power, love and friendship. I’m glad that all the courts came together – something I really hoped would happen. It was good to see so much more of the world explored. The banter between the High Lords was excellent.

The setting reminds me of the woods where I live

I’m excited to read A Court of Frost and Starlight – a novella – but perhaps after a little break.

Rebecca

A Court Of Mist and Fury – Review

What can I say? This book was really long, and suffered a bit from classic middle of the trilogy not much action but lots of character development. Which I actually quite liked.

There was one particular character where I didn’t like what Sarah J. Maas did with him. Won’t spoil it but I’d rather he remained the same as the first book and didn’t just get made into a jerk with no development.

I enjoyed Feyre’s development. She’s a very strong character but still shows the feeling and empathy that I loved in the first book.

I loved the romance. So much romance. Looking forward to how that continues in book three. It’s better now it isn’t as love triangle like.

Again, I adored the scene setting – it’s a really beautiful fantasy world and I’m glad Sarah built on it from book one.

My sister took some photos at Arundel and it reminded me of Spring Court.

I’m not sure how I feel about the alternating points of view at the end so I’ll have to see how I find it in book three if it continues.

Rebecca

A Court of Thorns and Roses Review

So I’ve been putting off reading another fantasy series for a while – mostly because I like re-reading the same ones. But there’s been so much hype around Sarah J. Maas that I had to try ACOTAR or Throne of Glass. I went for ACOTAR first.

It’s one of those books that plays with all your senses. The description is simple but rich, making it easy to fly through the reading. Feyre is slightly less hardened than your usual fantasy heroine – her emotions are ever-present and she’s one of the most empathetic protagonists I’ve read for a while, which is definitely not a bad thing.

The romance was slightly disappointing, following a pattern that’s overdone in YA fantasy. But there are more books for that to change – I hope it surprises me.

I enjoyed the complexity of the characters – some of them are very grey. I loved the Court system and hope it is explored more in the rest of the series. I’d also like to see Feyre with her family again as I feel her sisters still have room to be developed.

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Now I’ve got a Kindle (thanks Dan), I’m hoping I can read more fantasy – though I’ll always adore Kristen Cashore, Trudi Canavan and Maria V Snyder.

Hoping the rest of the series doesn’t disappoint!

Rebecca

The Snow Child Review

Hi everyone!

I’ve had The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey downloaded for a while – and I kinda wish I’d read it over Winter because it has a really nice snowy theme to it. I’ve recently watched Wild Alaska and that helped me picture the setting so well.

It was an emotional story, related to a fairy-tale. Faina was a super character and I was left wondering if she was real or not for the beginning of the book. I loved how Mabel and Jack looked after her but let her be, and how they sort of became parents to Garrett too.

It built slowly, with the second half being a much faster read. It breaks your heart in many places, but also makes you smile and appreciate those you love. The relationships build beautifully. The imagery is perfect – you can really picture the wild, remote setting and feel how cold it is.

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The ending is bittersweet, both sad and happy. I enjoyed part 3 of the book the most. It was predictable / there is lots of foreshadowing, but this is the way it’s meant to be, and the sadness still hits you hard.

Definitely going to give it a re-read one winter.

Rebecca

 

Together Review

Hi there!

On my recent trip to Dartmoor I read Together by Julie Cohen.

It had one of the most unexpected twists I’ve read for a while.

The story went backwards, from a couple in their 80s to when they were 20. I’m glad it went backwards though because if the twist happened at the beginning I wouldn’t have been able to carry on.

I found myself disliking the characters more as they got younger, which I think was the point.

I liked the little hints in the future that got explained in previous decades.

I loved the romance, which is why I hated the twist.

I loved how Emily was the one with the successful career – and how Robbie didn’t care and loved her for it.

I’ve written spoilers below the picture .

Rebecca.

Spoilers:

I can’t write this review without spoilers. How were Robbie and Emily half siblings? How? How did they keep that a secret? I hated how Emily got swept away by this romance when she was 20 but loved how the romance was when they were older. I love how Robbie became a decent human being – but the reverse character development made the book get more difficult to enjoy.

 

I Was Born For This Review

Hey,

One of the books I read last week was one I’d pre-ordered. I’ve followed Alice Oseman since Solitaire (she’s my age), purely because the way she seems on her Tumblr chronicintrovert is really honest and truthful. You can also see aspects of her personality shine through in her characters which is really lovely to read.

Her book Radio Silence is one of my favourites because of all the messages and it’s unusual to see YA about academic stress despite it being prevalent.

So, onto I Was Born For This. Again, friendship is a great theme. Plus diversity (Alice consulted with both trans and Muslim people and gave them credit in the acknowledgements).

I like that Alice made Angel 18 years old. She went to meet one of her online friends so I’m glad she was an adult. I like how she also showed the upsides and downsides of online friendships – a good message for her younger audience. As always, she mastered character development (Angel learnt that The Ark boys aren’t living as perfect lives as she thought, and that she should love herself as much as she loves The Ark). I also loved how Angel showed some symptoms of anxiety but was also quite a chatty, sociable person at fan events. That was really good representation as it it’s usually the introverted characters that have anxiety.

The Ark boys were great. I love how Alice explored young musicians with anxiety. I loved how the boys learned that not all of their fans were crazy. I loved their friendship. I loved a scene with Jimmy’s Grandad so much that I cried a bit. I loved how each of the boys had a different personality.

I love how strong the character of Bliss was. She knew what she wanted in her future and put that above a relationship that wasn’t really working which was excellent to see.

At times I didn’t find Angel and Juliet particularly likeable – but I think that was the point. I did like who they became at the end and that’s the main thing.

Overall, I think Alice has written a very relevant novel. I hope this brings her more success, and more attention to her previous books. I would like book 4 very much!!

Rebecca.

Dartmoor Take Two – Live Blog

Hey everyone!
So we tried Dartmoor again to see if we could do a bit more walking than last time (and potentially camp for three nights). I thought I’d try something different and make notes of how I was feeling along the way. You’ll probably notice that I was quite miserable, but then it got better. I’m hoping when we do Fjallraven Classic Sweden 2018, I’ll feel a bit better after day 2 as I get used to the weight in my pack. This is also a record of things I’ll learn whilst practising.

Friday night
22:30 In the car, listening to the sounds of the trail podcast, wishing that Dartmoor wasn’t still an hour and a half away .

Dan started listening to the sounds of the trail podcast and finds it funny – I like it because there are lots of women and some of it is so relatable even though I don’t thru-hike yet.

Saturday
00:23 The tent is up, the stars are gorgeous, just inflating the mat and there we go. It is so much warmer than last time and nice to not be freezing. There’s a horse outside though (or two) and they’re creepy.

0:37 In my sleeping bag, warm, much happier than last time.

8:21 Awake and it’s warm!! Did get a little cold in the night.

I did get a little cold during the night – sleeping in trousers would probably be better given I’m a bit of a wimp.

10:21 we’ve put away the tent and been walking for 15 minutes or so. It really hurts and I hate this so much. But the little lambs were cute.

The first half an hour is always absolutely horrible.

11:01 Climbed up Bellever tor, no energy. Whyyyyy?

I forgot to mention that the view was beautiful.

11:39 So I hadn’t tightened my shoulder straps enough (urghhh) so that’s why the bag felt worse than last time. Still can’t say I’m feeling it yet.

Hadn’t adjusted it for just one layer – I had three last time I used it!

12:15 it’s lunch time – we made it to Postbridge – a pretty little village. Feel loads better (might be because we went downhill).

13:31 had a long reading break looking over the river. Very tired. We’ve only walked about 5km. 7 or 8 left.

14.38 Hartland Tor. It’s so hot today and I’m not feeling it. Urghhh. I want to feel it.

15:38 This is very hard today. But the sun’s gone in and we’re not too far off the forest…I’m just really tired.

16:07 Walked through a bog – can’t tell if my foot is wet from bog water or sweat. Probably both. Having to work out good crossing points distracted me from the fact this is hard.

It was good to have to think about foot placement instead of how warm it was.

16:23 There is just sodding brown everywhere.

Moorland – what can I say?

16:45 We are in the forest and I feel a bit better. Change of scenery is excellent because damn the Moors were getting boring.

17:27 Made it to the camping spot.

It was in a little wood just outside a reservoir area.

18:49 Just used the shewee. Love this adventure.

I bought a shewee because sometimes your legs hurt too much to squat. Was good to practise using it.

19:25 Tent is up, life is instantly better.

19:39 Even better, Daniel cooked dinner (I mean he does every day to be fair).

19:40 Ooooh pasta and weird french grains.

Total distance: 14.2km

Sunday
9:02 Slept okay but why do my arms and shoulders hurt and why are my legs fine?

12:12 Just been for a quick walk along the reservoir (bagless). I miss bagless walking…it’s too hot so saving the walking for later in the afternoon.

13:19 Note to self don’t take sleeping mat outside there are Ticks everywhere.

Fortunately didn’t get any bites, Dan can’t say the same. Little buggers.

14.19 Off we go, I really don’t wanna put this bag on.

14:59 A public loo! Just at the right time. Walking feels better today – I didn’t distribute the weight well yesterday which is why one of my hips hurt more than the other.

I put my clothes bag upright on one side meaning one side was much heavier than the other. Must learn to pack better.

15:36 Late afternoon is nice. Have a little headache though.

16:57 Uphill hurts. Bag feels better but the heat is relentless.

18:19 Walked through a forest, had a break and a read – back on the moorland but it’s cooler now. Enjoying myself again. It’s kinda beautiful.

20:04 Back at Postbridge, had dinner by the river (tuna and bean pasta). The ‘I’m doing cool stuff feeling’ has kicked in and I’m like yeeeeesss outdoors (also I saw a foal and some lambs which was awesome). I learned how to filter water.

Water filtering is actually easy. You just fill up a bag in the stream, attach this nozzle thing and squeeze the bag so the water goes into the container. Oh you can also drink from the nozzle – how cool is that? (It’s called the Sawyer Squeeze).

20:56 This is amazing. Up on a hill as it’s going dark. It is COOL and I’m not aaaah hot. Just gonna find a good camping spot.

21:21 Blessed with another public toilet! Tonight feels good. So so good. I’m so so happy.

Thanks Bellever Forest for leaving your loos open at night.

22:05 Ah it’s beautiful. The stars are out (maybe a couple of planets). There is no wind. It’s cool. It’s silent. I can see the car (we are going to the car now because I am totally on it). And I am enjoying night hiking.

22:36 Back at the car – 16.6km done today. Walking at night was soooo awesome.

03:15 I am home. Felt a bit sick in the car but so happy to have a bed.

Monday
13:04 I love Dan, he made me cheese and marmite on toast. Felt amazing to have a shower and sleep in a bed and urghhhhhhh it’s Tuesday tomorrow.

And there we have it, my second wild-camping adventure. Over in a flash (or not, it was a bit too hot to be happy sometimes!).

On to the next one….

Rebecca.

My First Wildcamp – Dartmoor

Back on Easter Bank Holiday weekend, I did my first wildcamp on Dartmoor (which also happened to be the first time I’ve had to carry my big 65L Osprey Aura backpack).

It was always going to be daunting – I’m not very strong and the bag was quite heavy (though in reality, no more than about 10kg).

The first battle was packing. My sleeping bag just about fits in the bottom of the backpack. I also find it really difficult to roll up my mat tight enough to fit in its case – but Dan was on hand to do it properly. I also carried water, snacks, clothes, waterproofs, toiletries and I think Dan had the rest (he’s good like that).

We arrived at Hound Tor on Saturday afternoon (we’d avoided the morning rain). The biggest challenge was picking the backpack up and trying to get it onto my back. Fortunately, once in place, the hip belt made and tightening the shoulder straps made it reasonably comfortable. Poles were lengthened and off we went.

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I can’t remember most of the route (I remember passing Widecombe-on-the-Moor at some point). And we went up a really big hill in the freezing wind. There was also some sort of trail race going on, but rather them than me. It was exhausting, cold and I was honestly a little miserable. But late in the afternoon, we started to go downhill again (and in my ‘I hurt so much and I’m so tired and bleeeeh’ state, started singing John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads).

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It felt good to take off my rucksack, but within a few minutes of stopping the walk I got really cold. I half-heartedly helped Dan put the tent up (it’s an easy tent to put up, but some of it is fiddly with thickish gloves on). By the time I could get inside, I was shivering and even more miserable and honestly had no desire to ever camp again. I think I even cried a little bit – yes, I’m a bit of a wimp. But Dan cooked us some pasta (mixed with John West packets of tuna or salmon and random cous-cous variations to add some flavour), and I ate it with my sleeping bag over my legs, with base layer, jumper, fleece and synthetic down jacket on. As I warmed up, I was lots happier.

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I slept reasonably well. Dan’s old inflatable mat was much more comfortable than the roll mat that I was using before. My sleeping bag was incredibly cosy. I slept in a hat. I woke up to the sound of sheep grazing. It was actually really peaceful.

Naturally, it was still cold in the morning. Naturally, I was too cold to change clothes (I did manage to change socks and wow it felt good). Naturally, I had to wee outside which was rather difficult with sore legs. But after that, we packed up and walked the last few kilometres back to Hound Tor. My collar bones ached a lot from the day before but everything felt better after the first half an hour or so. And it still hadn’t rained, which was awesome.

When we finished, we got celebratory cheeseburgers at the burger van, warmed up in the car, and drove home. And I actually felt really good. And I’d happily do it again (hopefully in slightly better weather). I’ve learned to put my thermals on before I get too cold to change clothes, to trust my sleeping bag which is warm even if it doesn’t look it, and that I can carry my big bag over a fair distance with hills in it.

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I can’t wait to give it a go again!

Rebecca.