Saturday, 1 February 2014

January Reading Wrap Up

Hello everyone! I want to start doing posts at the end of the month where I talk a little bit about the books that I've read during the month and give you a little mini review. What do you think? I'm very excited about these posts. January was a really good month for me in terms of how many books I've read and how many of them were books that I enjoyed. I've not got so much high hopes for February however. I've got my prelim exams at the start of the month and have a deadline for my first draft of Chemistry and Physics investigations at the end of the month. So I'm going to be a busy bee. Have you heard of Grammarly? They're an online spelling, grammar and plagiarism checker. I've found it quite useful with my projects as I have to write 'underlying science' sections where I have to explain how the experiments work. It's really hard not to write something that someone's already said.  So try Grammarly's plagiarism online checker because it makes you feel very important when you copy and paste something from your blog and it tells you it's plagiarised. I don't know I guess that makes me feel really important. Anyway I'm rambling! I pledged to read 90 books in 2014 and in January I've read 9 meaning I'm off to a great start, I'm already 10% of the way there.


The first book I read was The Chess Men by Lewis May. This is the last book in a series which I enjoyed. It follows a detective in the Scottish islands. Being Scottish myself I really love reading books set in Scotland. If you've ever been to one of the islands you'll know that it's a completely different atmosphere there. I don't know how to explain it but Peter May manages to capture this feeling in these books which I think is the thing I like the most about these books. I don't want to say too much about this one as it's the last in a series so I don't want to spoil much. I did really like this but not as much as I liked the second book, The Lewis Man, there was something missing. It's 4/5 stars from me.



Then I read Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake. I'd heard a lot about this on YouTube and I was really intrigued. It's about a ghost hunter who sets out to kill this ghost, Anna Dressed In Blood, but soon discovers that she's actually a lot more powerful than he thought and he has to try all this new stuff to try and kill her. I was a little bit undecided as to whether it sounded really good or really corny but when my mum offered to buy me some books for Christmas I thought 'why not?' and asked for this. And I'm so glad I did because it's a great book. It's not going to win any literature awards but it was a great, easy read that had me sucked in right from the beginning. 4/5 stars.



Next up is Legend by Marie Lu which is the first book in a dystopian young adult series. I'm a big fan of dystopian novels so I went into this with really high hopes. Thankfully it didn't disappoint. Set in a future world, legend follows the path of Day and June. Day is a famous criminal and June is a genius who has been cuddled by the government. In reality the should hate each other but when they meet June begins to realise that everything she has been taught might not be true. There's some actiony bits, some romancy bits and some real tension. I was hooked. If you liked The Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogy then you'll also love this. The first 5/5 stars from me.



The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer is about a girl who survived in an accident that killed all of her friends and she can't remember any of it. Mara and her family move across the country as they believe it's best for her to start anew as she feels really guilty about her friends dying and her escaping harm free. But then she starts hallucinating and seeing her dead friends all over town. I really liked this book because it was spooky, but in a good way. It's really hard sometimes to distinguish between what is reality and what is her hallucination, I liked this a lot. However, towards the end of this book it got really confusing which is why I gave it 4/5 stars because I think a different ending would have been so much better. I still want to read the next book in the series and we'll see if things become clearer then.



The only book that I read this month and didn't enjoy was I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. It's the diaries of a young girl who lives in a castle with her family. Her father once was a famous writer but he hasn't been writing and the family are slowly slipping into poverty. Her sister decides she's going to try and get a rich boy from the village near the castle to fall in love with her so that she can marry him and get some of his money. The thing I disliked about this was it was really quite dull and so, so long. My copy was over 500 pages long when in reality it could have been less than half of that. I gave it 2/5 stars.



My favourite book of the month has to be I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. I can now say that he's one of my favourite authors after reading The Book Thief in the summer and loving it. This follows the story of Ed, an underage taxi driver in New York. It's pretty fair to say he isn't going very far in life until one day a bank he's at gets robbed. He gets the robbers gun and saves the day. This catches the attention of some secret group who start sending him messages on the back of playing cards. These all contain information about people he needs to help. This book made me smile and it made me sad and I absolutely loved it. The stories of all the people and how Ed was able to help them was really heart warming. At the same time it still managed to keep a really witty and sarcastic writing style which I like. 5/5 stars for sure.



The next book is something a little different. Geektastic: Stories From The Nerd Herd by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci. This book is actually edited by those writers. It's actually a collection of short stories about geeks by a whole range of authors. I was really liking this. Some of the stories weren't actually that great but some of them I really enjoyed. Then I got to the story 'The Truth About Dino Girl' by Barry Lyga. In this story a geeky girl decides to get revenge on a girl who picks on her by taking a naked photo of her in the locker rooms, editing it into a hotel room and putting up signs around the town to make her look like a prostitute. What a horrible thing to do. And the worst part? The girl was really happy with what she had done. I expected her to realise that what she'd done was horrible and it would be a big revelation and there would be a moral to the story. But no. That was it. This kind of ruined the book for me because I couldn't get past that. Not only am I annoyed at Barry Lyga for writing the story but for the other authors for not pulling him up on it. I gave it 3/5 stars. I would have loved to have given it 5 but I just couldn't. Read it, but skip that story. 



A book that I've been meaning to read for ages is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's narrated by 9 year old Oskar and is about how he's coping after losing his father in 9/11. It's not mentioned in the book but it's very obvious that Oskar has some form of autism and he's having a really hard time dealing with everything. This book gave me 'heavy boots' as Oskar would say. When I finished it I felt so sad and I couldn't help but imagine what my life would be like if I lost my family in a terrorist attack. This book nearly made me cry on the train to Glasgow. I'd recommend it but it's not an easy read. I have it 5/5 stars.


I did say that I LOVED Legend right? Wrong. Prodigy by Marie Lu is even better. The second book in a dystopian series is always my favourite. I find that the first book is mostly word building, which is good, but the second book is really where it's at. So much more plot and action than the first book. Gahhh. What I love about these books is that they aren't even that long, but I get so hooked on them. I've already got the third book, Champion, so I can't wait to see how the series ends. I really want to finish off more series this year so we'll see how it goes! I love these characters so much. 5/5 stars.



Oh wow that was a lot of writing! I hope you enjoyed this post and if you were considering reading any of these books it might have helped you decide whether you want to or not. I'm so happy with the amount of reading I got done. I'm feeling really optimistic about my reading challenge so far. If you'd like to add me on GoodReads and keep up with what I'm reading real time you can do so here. What was your favourite book you read this month?

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