Blogger Recognition Award!

A big, big THANK YOU to Cindy for nominating me for this! (Go check out her blog My Book File)

The Rules:
1) Write a post to show your award
2) Give a brief story of how your blog started
3) Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers
4) Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
5) Select up to 10 other blogs you want to give the award to

Sooo…the story of my blog
To be honest, there isn’t much of a story to my blog. I love reading books and ranting about my opinions on them to anyone who will listen, so why not? There are always plenty of people looking for an opinion or advice on what books to read, so I thought ‘Hey, let’s try helping them!’

I started this blog only a couple of months ago, mainly to get some experience with writing and developing my own style, so not much has happened yet, but I do love it!

My advice to new bloggers:
-Nothing has to be perfect. Everything takes time and patience! I’ve been here two months and yeah, none of my posts have been overwhelmingly popular but that’s okay.
-Try to develop your own style of posts and writing voice, rather than trying to copy someone elses. Let the words come naturally (and try not to use an online thesaurus).
-Pictures are fun! Add pictures to your posts!

Nominations
I don’t know loads of people on this site, but these are the ones who pop up often and who I like reading:
1) The Critiquing Chemist
2) Young Adult Lit Reviews
3) Hit or Miss Books
4) onturningpages
5) Words Read and Written
6) Pretty Books
7) Carlie Noël Sorosiak

Marked (House of Night) – Book Review

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Title: Marked (House of Night #1)
Author: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Paperback: 306 pages
Published: May 1st 2007 by St. Martin’s Griffin
My Rating: 0/5 Stars

Summary (From Goodreads):
After a Vampire Tracker Marks her with a crescent moon on her forehead, 16-year-old Zoey Redbird enters the House of Night and learns that she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx and has affinities for all five elements: Air, Fire Water, Earth and Spirit. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is mis-using her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny – with a little help from her new vampyre friends (or Nerd Herd, as Aphrodite calls them)

Crikey.
As you can probably tell from the rating, I am less than impressed with this book. The writing style, the Mary Sue-ness of the main characters, the attempts at bringing in mythology – they all failed.

Trouble is, the concept is amazing. I genuinely love the idea of a vampire boarding school and the fact that they may not survive the Change is something I like. The whole ‘Cats choose you’ feels a little like ‘The wand chooses the wizard, Mr Potter’, but I’ll take it.

So my first problem: The vamps are not explained. It seems like they are just there and society hates them, but nothing is ever done about it. If it was:
a) That they were loved or
b) They were hated and thrown out of society completely, it might be more believable, but there is a really odd relationship between ‘Everyone hates us’ and ‘We’re all famous’. I really don’t understand the relationship between humans and vampires in this book and it’s annoying.

Also, why do people randomly get marked in the middle of the day? Why not be sent to the school as soon as you’re born and people figure that you’re not human? Beats me, I tell ya.

The next problem: Zoey. Blooming. Redbird. Enough said.

Actually, not enough said because oh dear lord is she annoying.

Stereotypical ‘Bad Girl’, yet we see absolutely no evidence to support this. In fact, until she informed us of this, I was under the impression that she was the good kid at school. Apparently not.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Zoey is also STUNNINGLY good looking and being a vamp just brings out her BEAUTY. Did I mention that she has been gifted with special powers by the GODDESS NYX HERSELF?
Everyone falls over their feet to help Zoey and anyone who potentially doesn’t (Aphrodite – seriously, what a name) is automatically a bad person and shouldn’t be trusted.

I could forgive all of the above if Zoe was even the tiniest bit likeable. But no, she’s stupid, immature and all-round detestable. For example:

She wasn’t thin like the freak girls who puked and starved themselves into what they thought was Paris Hilton chic. (“That’s hott.” Yeah, okay, whatever, Paris.)

Eating disorders are NOT a laughing matter and I don’t care whether it is the authors or the character who are misinformed, that is disgraceful. These books are in school libraries and plenty of children who potentially have eating disorders could pick them up and feel ashamed of themselves for an illness that is out of their control.

Worse, they may feel that it is a ‘cool’ thing to do, which is awful. Considering the series is aimed at ‘tweens’, that is a terrible message to be giving out.

There is also something that I would consider inappropriate for the age range in the book; however others may disagree, so I’ll leave that part out.

And the slut-shaming is uncalled for and unnecessary. Apparently wearing tight clothes, having blonde hair and wearing lots of makeup make you a tramp. God forbid you want to kiss a guy in public!

You would also never catch Zoey saying ‘S**t’ either, because only losers say that. Instead she says ‘Poopie’.
Now, in my experience as a living, breathing, teenagers: all of them say ‘S**t’. No one, and I mean no one would be caught dead saying that. It’s embarrassing.

Insta-love is yet another huge problem. Sure, I can understand Zoey and Erik falling in love SLOWLY over the course of the book series, but they kiss within a week of knowing each other (which, btw, makes Zoey think that she’s a slut). Just…no.
Love triangles are overdone as it is. We do not need the Aphrodite/Erik/Zoey love triangle, nor do we need the Erik/Zoey/Heath love triangle.

Whilst we’re on the subject of love, I understand that the authors are trying to be diverse by including Damien the gay vampire, but he feels like a token and that’s not okay.

And now, the names.
The mythology references were cringeworthy. Starting with the worst:
Aphrodite – The Greek goddess of beauty and love has been demoted to a highschool bitch
Erik Night – We do not need a cliché vampire metaphor, thank you very much
Damien – Very close to Damon. As in Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. Just a thought
Thor – What.

Did any of you hate this book as much as I did?

Holly xx

P.s. Who the heck spells it vampyre anyway?

June Recommendations – Fantasy

Everywhere I turn, new books seem to be sitting proudly on shelves, clamouring for attention. Their covers are shiny and new. People are giving them glowing (and sometimes not) reviews.

But what about the books that have been out for a while? The books that have long been read and are no longer being recommended? Or maybe books that just haven’t been read enough to be well known?

My point is that each month, I’m going to try (try being the operative word) and recommend a few books of a particular genre that aren’t quite as well known as they should be. This month: Fantasy.

Without further ado!

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Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (2012)
Peter Pan adaptation, beautiful imagery and a captivating tale. If you love Peter Pan stories, then this one is a must.

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The Night of the Solstice/Heart of Valour by L.J. Smith (1987/1990)
Okay, so these ones are actually pretty old but they create a good story. I’d recommend them to younger people on the YA spectrum.

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Briar Rose by Jana Oliver (2013)
A lot of people dislike this book. I, on the other hand, love it. Try it if you like weird fairy tale retellings in nightmare universes.

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His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman (1995/1996/2000)
You have probably heard of The Golden Compass which is the film of the first of these books, Northern Lights. This trilogy is pretty heavy going, but it’s worth it. (Actually, the last page confused the daylights out of me, so maybe not. The world building is incredible though.)

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The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (1950-56)
Okay, so maybe a little young, but these are high fantasy books and they’re all relatively short. Some are better than others, I’ve got to admit.

So there we have it! A bunch of oldish (and a couple of newish) books that nobody really talks about.

Are there any other books that aren’t talked about enough?

Holly xx