Sunday 30 November 2014

stasialikesbooks | Book review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater.

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third in Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Boys trilogy, which follows the story of Blue Sargent and the Raven Boys on their search for the ancient Welsh king Glendower.

I loved the first two books in the series, The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, and I can't recommend the series enough. Maggie Stiefvater's writing style is so immersive I always feel like I can't read her books quick enough and she writes teenagers who really act and sound like teenagers, which is always a plus in YA. I enjoyed Blue Lily, Lily Blue because of Stiefvater's style, because of the characters, because of the world, but honestly I felt like not much really happened. I mean, of course things happened, but I spent pretty much the whole book waiting for something big to happen. Waiting for the story to really start.

There are new characters who don't really do anything and a plan that never actually takes place and even the things that did happen didn't really make as much of an impact as the events of the first two books. But this is a Raven Boys book so I did really enjoy it and I would still absolutely recommend the series, even if you aren't normally a fan of fantasy.

One thing Blue Lily, Lily Blue did do fantastically well was to set up the story for the next book in the series and I can't wait to read that one.

3/5 stars

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Friday 28 November 2014

stasialikesbooks | Would you rather: book edition.

I already typed up this entire post once and then accidentally deleted it and I am Not Happy about it, but anyway... I recently saw this tag on The Book Journal and thought it seemed like a fun bunch of questions. So let's get started! (Again!)

Would you rather read only trilogies or only stand alone novels?
Definitely stand alone novels. One really good book is always better than a trilogy where the story's been all stretched out to fit the extra books in.

Would you rather read only male or female authors?
Female authors. There's still one Raven Boys book to be released and I am not missing out on that!

Would you rather shop at Barnes & Noble Waterstones or Amazon?
I would rather shop at Waterstones but when you buy as many books as I do sometimes you have to go for the cheaper option, you know? I do prefer a proper bookshop though. Especially because there isn't one where I live.

Would you rather books became films or TV shows?
I love TV but thinking about it, if a book is made into a film then yes some things will have to be left out but if it's made into a TV show then eventually whoever is making it is going to run out of source material and have to add things and make up extra story lines and I think for a book I really love I'd prefer having things cut out for a film than have that happen. So I'll say film. Unless we're talking about a one off mini-series... This is a very complicated decision.

Would you rather read 5 pages a day or 5 books a week?
Definitely 5 books a week!

Would you rather be a professional reviewer or an author?

Would you rather read your favourite 20 books over and over or only read books you've never read before?
I'll say books I've never read before because I may miss my old faves but maybe I would find some new ones??

Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?
A bookseller. Think of me as the female Bernard Black.

Would you rather only read your favourite genre or every genre except your favourite?
Only my favourite genre because my favourite genre is probably contemporary YA and there is a pretty good variety in that genre, I think. I could probably deal with that.

Would you rather read only physical books or ebooks?
My heart says physical books but my rapidly overflowing bookcases say ebooks. (It's physical books though. It's always physical books.)

Tuesday 25 November 2014

stasialikesbooks | Book review: Love in the Gilded Age by Saruuh Kelsey.

Once in a hidden queendom...

There is an ocean: In the infinite distance, between one hidden world and the next, is an unmeasurable expanse of twenty seas. One sprawling edge of the world to another is filled with waters as beautiful as they are deadly, as miraculous as they are fraught. Treasure and treachery litter their ocean beds, sleeping side by side with adventurers whose travels ended abruptly, lives caught and held under a wave until all breaths fled.

There is a land: Tucked into a corner where four oceans fold together, land rises up illustrious in a jagged slash of mountains and forests, with secrets and wonders as plentiful as any water.

There are chronicles: Not of the twenty savage seas but of the fissure of land and the people who sigh life into it.

Love in the Gilded Age is the first collection of stories in a series called The Fissure Chronicles, of stories which all take place in the same universe. The stories are all based on classic fairy tales and in this first collection we have; 'Love in the Gilded Age', based on 'Rumpelstiltskin'; 'Xanna', based on 'Little Red Cap'; and 'A Fortress of Thorns', based on 'Brier Rose'.

Each of the three stories takes the source material and turns it on its head. The stories all stray from their original fairy tales but they also all contain enough of those fairy tales to be recognisable. 'Love in the Gilded Age', for example, tells the story of a girl who must spin straw into gold for a king who keeps her locked in a tower, however this is pretty much where the similarities to 'Rumpelstiltskin' end. She does promise her first born child to someone but there's a very clever twist to that promise that I won't spoil for you.

All three of these stories are about young heroines who must save themselves, someone, or something else and although they all need help from time to time that is never portrayed as a weakness. They all remain the heroes of their own stories. The stories also feature characters with disabilities, characters of colour, and LGBTQ characters, which is a lot more diversity than you'll find in most YA books right now.

These stories are all really interesting and unique takes on some of the most famous fairy tales. They're all entertaining and full of adventure and I can't wait to read the next collection!

5/5 stars

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Friday 21 November 2014

stasialikesbooks | Book review: The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude.

The Reverend Dodd, vicar of the quiet Cornish village of Boscawen, spends his evenings reading detective stories by the fireside - but heaven forbid that the shadow of any real crime should ever fall across his seaside parish. But the vicar's peace is shattered one stormy night when Julius Tregarthan, a secretive and ill-tempered magistrate, is found at his house in Boscawen with a bullet through his head.

The local police inspector is baffled by the complete absence of clues. Luckily for Inspector Bigswell, the Reverend Dodd is on hand, and ready to put his keen understanding of the criminal mind to the test.

The Cornish Coast Murder was everything I wanted The Norfolk Mystery to be with the added bonus of it being set in my home region (I'll read pretty much anything set in Cornwall.) There's a murder (obvs), a clandestine romance, baffled policemen, a vicar with a keen interest in Agatha Christie novels (why is there always a vicar?), and plenty of suspects. I don't know about you, but that's pretty much everything I would think to ask for from a murder mystery novel.

The Cornish Coast Murder is a little dated in some aspects but I found that kind of endearing in a charming, old fashioned, sort of a way.  The story takes its time as the inspector and the vicar move from theory to theory and dead end to dead end so I wouldn't recommend it if you like your novels fast paced as it's definitely a slow one. It's a very atmospheric read though, perfect for this time of year when the nights are getting longer.

If you're the kind of person who really likes to figure out the murderer for yourself before the detectives do then you might get a little frustrated at just how many red herrings Bude throws into the mix before the murderer is finally discovered but I personally really liked this. I like to be surprised and the nature of the murder in this story lends itself to all sorts of theories.

I've said before that I'm pretty new to the murder mystery genre but The Cornish Coast Murder is pretty much exactly what I expected from it and I wasn't disappointed at all. If you're a fan of early 20th century crime novels then it's a safe bet that you'll enjoy this one.

4/5 stars.

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Wednesday 19 November 2014

Nothing Much To Do.

I made cheesecake brownies yesterday but I don't think they turned out quite right. The brownie part is more melted chocolate than brownie, which you might think would be okay but there's just something not quite right about it...

Anyway, while I was making said cheesecake brownies I also watched the entire of the webseries linked above, Nothing Much To Do, and it turned out to be infinitely better than the brownies so let's talk about that instead.

Nothing Much To Do is a modern vlog style adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing set in New Zealand with an all teenaged character sheet. I did study Much Ado About Nothing in my first year of uni but I'm certain that even if you've never read or seen or even heard of Much Ado About Nothing you'll still enjoy Nothing Much To Do.

In the screenshots at the top of this post you can see our main players, Hero and Beatrice and Benedick and Claudio, who are all wonderfully cast. We also have, among others, 'all round great guy' Pedro and his musical friend Balthazar (who records lovely covers of Mumford and Sons songs and quietly smiles his way through most of the videos he features in) and the young wannabe Sherlocks, Dogberry and Verges (whose videos track them looking for a lost cat and accidentally discovering everyone else's secrets instead.)

The whole series is comprised of 76 videos on three different channels, all clocking in together at around 4 hours, which may sound like a lot to those of you less familiar with the practice of binge watching than myself but trust me when I say it will fly by. Before you know it you'll find yourself looking back over the past four hours of your life and wishing you had made it last a little while longer. Then you'll be pleased to know that the creators of this series are working on a sequel! Lovely Little Losers is to feature a few characters from Nothing Much To Do, along with some newcomers, and it's loosely based on Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, which is one I know nothing about so excuse me while I get reading...

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