Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon Book Review

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (a favourite author of mine), was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. It contains all my favourite things after all:

1) Lots and lots of pages…!
*My arms are so much stronger after reading this, no lie.*

2) DRAGONSSSSS!

3) Complex female character narrators (yay!) with the bonus of an f/f romance *fist pump for diversity!*

I counted down the months, weeks then days until I finally got my hands on this 830 paged beauty, and when its gorgeous cover was in my hands, I disappeared from the internet and dived in!

So, did it live up to my expectations? Eh, I’ll be honest with you – it didn’t. :/ Read on to find out why!

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Samatha Shannon in Conversation: London Launch of Priory + UK GIVEAWAY!

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Hello, book dragons!

I’m bringing this post to you a little later than intended because life has been super busy *SHAKES FIST*, however, I’m extremely excited to be giving you the inside scoop on the Samantha Shannon in conversation event I attended at the end of February, celebrating her new release The Priory of the Orange Tree!

For those of you that don’t know, Priory is a high fantasy standalone novel that’s loosely based around the myth of George and the dragon, which is pretty freakin’ awesome!

I’m still quite new to attending bookish events and I do get a little nervous about them, but the team at London Waterstones Picadilly made everyone SO welcome, even offering us a free glass of wine. Um, VIP TREATMENT OVER HERE!?!

My friend and I arrived pretty early but the room was already half full, buzzing with excitable energy. When Samantha walked onto the makeshift stage there was a large whoop and a round of applause. Joining her and chairing the interview was Alwyn Hamilton. While I haven’t read any of her novels, I really want to now because she was such a funny and vibrant speaker and really set the tone for the evening!

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My Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2019 in YA & Fantasy!

most anticipated book released 2019

Hello everyone! 

I hope 2019 is treating you kindly so far! We’re two weeks in now, and I kind of still feel like I’m living in some kind of post-celebrations fog??!?
THIS BOOKWORM IS NOT READY FOR THE REAL WORLD YET.

It seems fitting that my first blog post of the year is looking ahead at all the good things coming up in the book world. This is actually my first time doing one of these anticipated releases posts if you can believe it! This is mostly because I am a very unorganised lemon and I never get all my dragons in a row as it were.

However, this year, I seem to have amassed a rather significant list of amazing new titles that I’m desperate to get my hands on.

I’m so excited to discuss these with you so that we can be excited together! I’ve split my 2019 releases into fantasy and contemporary reads, and then within each section by publication date to make things fair.

I’m also pleased to say that my list is a mix of both hyped and lesser-known novels, so I’m hoping that there may be a few on here you haven’t heard of yet!

SO READ ON TO DISCOVER AWESOMENESS! 😀

***Note: Full blurbs can be read by clicking on the drop-down arrows!***

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Julie Kagawa Discusses her Favourite Creatures from Asian Folklore // Guest Post

Julie Kagawa guest post

To celebrate Julie Kagawa’s new YA release, the action-packed, fun-filled, Asian fantasy, Shadow of the Fox, I have a guest post today from the lovely lady herself!

Today, and on theme with Shadow of the Fox, I’ve asked Julie to chat with us about her favourite creatures from Asian folklore.

Personally, this is an area that fascinates me. I love fantasy and fairytale creatures with all my heart, but I especially like learning about new creatures or different cultural interpretations of famous creatures.

I don’t know much about Asian folklore, but I am desperate to explore it more because these tales are so filled with wonder, magic and fascination! I’m also making an active attempt to read more diverse fantasy reads based in different countries because I want to support Own Voice authors. So Bring. It On!

Julie, welcome to Blogs of a Bookaholic, it’s an absolute pleasure to spotlight you here today!

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Mini Reviews: A Song of George R.R. Martin’s Storytelling

Dunnnn, dunn, dun dun, dunnnn, dunn, dun, dun, dunn, dunn, dun, dun, dunn, dunn dun dun dunn dunn…
Yeahhh, I’ve pretty much had the Game of Thrones theme tune stuck in my head for the entire time it took me to write this post. I feel like I’m going slightly insane now! So yes, while Becky has been somewhat silent on the blog, in real life she has been busy, shifting through thousands of pages worth of Westeros, where dragons reign and people fight over a really uncomfortable chair. Woohoo! (Weirdos). After watching the season 5 shocker finale on TV, I was a little distraught and desperate for more George R.R. Martin, not to mention ANSWERS. I’ve also recently rewatched the entire show with the boyfriend because I am trying to educate him on all things nerdy (it’s working, slowly). All of this led to me feeling determined to try and catch up with the books in time for the release of season 6 and the next novel,Winds of Winter. So here are my reviews of books 3-5!

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A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R.R. Martin Review 4/5

Overall Impression: An entertaining read full of emotional, political and bloody battles.A Storm of Swords Steel and Snow

(To read my review of the previous book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Clash of Kings click here.)

This book was all kinds of awesome. George R. R. Martin, you’ve done it again!
For those who don’t know, the UK version of A Storm of Swords is split into two parts (I know, annoying right?) so I kind of feel weird reviewing a book when I’ve only read half of the originally intended material, like I might not be judging it fairly because it cut off before its intended finale. Having said that, I enjoyed book 3 part 1 immensely, and now I can’t wait to dive into part two!

Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the previous books, this review will contain spoilers about plots and characters from those books. However, this review will not contain any spoilers for A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow. Continue reading

Guilt Free Book Haul (In Which My Relatives Feed Me Pretty Books)

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There’s a lot of things I like about Christmas – the food, spending time with family, chilling out and watching lots of movies, but I have to say one of the biggest perks of all is being able to add a few more unexpected books to my shelves. And better yet – I don’t have to feel guilty about buying books when I have so many unread ones because other people have done it for me. Double win! I always tend to have a book wish list on the go so that if any of my relatives are stuck for present ideas, they can randomly pick something off it. This way, it’s always a surprise and I never have any clue which books I’m going to get. And I have to say, this year I was ecstatic with some of their choices! So, without further ado, allow me to present you with lots of bookish pictures and nerdy goodness, mwuhuhuuuu. 🙂 Continue reading

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Film Review

The Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies Poster

It’s the end of an era. *Sniff, sniff.*
I can’t believe that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will be the last new Middle Earth film I’ll ever see. Sure, I’ll rewatch them (probably numerous times) on DVD, but I’ll never feel that same rush of awe as I did seeing them the first time, nor the nervous anticipation. I felt collected when I first entered the cinema and found my seat, but half an hour in I felt a sudden, overwhelming panic about how NOT READY I was for shizz to go down, and for this to be the final part… and for all the feels about to descend…!
As the film ended and the credits began to roll to the beautiful melancholy song The Last Goodbye by Billy Boyd (mirroring his previous haunting song Edge of Night from Return of the King) my friend and I, as well as the other people in the cinema, all sat in complete silence for a good 3 minutes as if suspended in the moment, awed, with our hearts just a tad broken, not quite ready to let go of the hobbits dwarves and elves that had been our companions and friends for so many years. Continue reading

Mini Film Reviews: Divergent, Catching Fire and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Hello peeps. 🙂 This blog post is wayyyyy overdue, you have no idea how long I’ve wanted to write it! Divergent, Catching Fire and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug were all films I was insanely excited to see when they first came out. I counted down the months, weeks and then days until their release and ran into the cinema flailing my arms with the enthusiasm only a true fangirl could muster. Afterwards, I had so many thoughts that I wanted to write about but it never happened because the films were all released during semesters when I was struggling to find blogging time. However, I don’t want to let the films pass by completely without acknowledging their existence because I was SO excited to see them, yet I don’t really feel they warrant individual blogs. So instead (taking inspiration from Emma’s lovely posts) I thought I would write some mini-reviews as a way of summarising my thoughts. 🙂

Divergent Movie Poster

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A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin Review 4/5

Overall Impression: An action-packed gritty adventure with vivid characters.
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

(To read my review of the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Game of Thrones click here.)

After devouring the first book in this series I vowed that I would take a decent break before tackling the second novel, A Clash of Kings. Partly so I could recover from the immense page length but also so that I would appreciate the story more. However, after reading only two other books I soon found myself yearning for more of the world of Westeros. Instead of forcing myself to read other books when I wasn’t in the mood for them I decided to give into the inevitable, and thus began my journey though this 708-paged beast of a book!

Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the previous book A Game of Thrones, this review will contain spoilers about plots and characters from that book in the first two paragraphs only. However, this review will not contain any spoilers for A Clash of Kings. Continue reading

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin Review 5/5

Overall Impression: A bloody battle of wits, armour and cunning, but not everyone is playing fair.A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I am desperately in love with all things A Game of Thrones. As an avid follower of the TV series and a big fan of fantasy novels, I couldn’t not read this book. I have been looking longingly towards its place on my bookshelf for months. (Well, actually it was on top of my bookshelf because there’s no shelf space left, oops.) I love what this series has done in terms of making high fantasy more mainstream. There are many discerning people who look down on the genre, so I think it’s great that so many people have gotten behind this series. With the summer months spiraling out before me, I finally felt like it was time to pick up the 803 page doorstop and get lost within its pages!

In the game of thrones, you win or you die.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must… and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, a vengeance-mad boy has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities beyond the sea. Heir of the mad Dragon King deposed by Robert, he claims the Iron Throne.

This is an intimidating book to review, its sheer length, complexity and endless characters make it difficult to summarise in a way that promotes its awesomeness but prevents giving away spoilers. Plus, I think the less you know the more intense the reading experience is. Essentially the one sentence version is that a bunch of power hungry people are fighting over the Iron Throne that rules over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and some of them have more legitimate claims than others. Continue reading

Freedom from the Institution that is University, Huzzar!

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I’m Freeeeeeeeee!!! *Waves Hands Energetically.*

I felt like it was about time I did another one of these update rambly post thingies. As of last week I handed in the last of my coursework, grumbled and complained through torturous exams (in my head of course, or I would have been disqualified) and packed up the last of my things and headed for home. My second year of university is officially over and I can for the most part, breathe a sigh of relief! At least until I get my results or start having to think about my dissertation (gulp).
I’m currently in denial.
To say work has been full on the last few months would be an understatement, but as a reward I now have a long, hopefully hot summer of reading and home comforts ahead. Woohoo! Most importantly, my cat will no longer have to make complex, life changing decisions without me like whether to go for the fish or chicken chunks in jelly.
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Day 4: Book Turned Into a Movie & Completely Desecrated.

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When I saw this on the challenge I didn’t even have to think about the answer. One book to film adaption specifically popped straight into the forefront of my mind. When I think back on all the adaptations I’ve nervously committed to seeing over the years, this is the one I was most disappointed by; a book they totally wrecked. I remembered bobbing up and down at the young age of 12 along with several of my relatives also of a similar age. We had all read and loved the book and were so excited to see it transferred to the big screen.

So, does anyone remember this atrocity?

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Film Review

SDC13786Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! It’s here! It’s here! EVERYBODY CELEBRATE. The Hobbit is finally out in cinemas!!
Ahem. I’m calm, I’m calm.
BUT SERIOUSLY!!! 😀
Sorry.

I have been waiting impatiently for this film… well, pretty much since I first watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy and fell hopelessly in love with it, but I thought it would never happen. Then, when I heard the news that The Hobbit was going to be made I could barely contain my excitement. After, as if fate was somehow in my favour, my dream film suddenly turned into three films! Curse or blessing? I wasn’t sure, but since seeing the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I am almost certain that Peter Jackson made the right decision.

I’m utterly horrified by the idea that some people out there might not know the plot, but just in case…

The Plot
‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit…’
Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is a Baggins, and Baggins’ are respectable Hobbits; they never do anything unexpected or go on any adventures. That is, until one fine day Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) shows up with an unusual proposal. To Bilbo’s dismay a party of 13 dwarves ransack his home, getting mud on the carpet, eating everything in his parlour and drinking all his mead. They talk of dragons, stolen treasure and a kingdom lost; Lonely Mountain.
It just so happens that they need a burglar, one agile and small enough to sneak past the dragon Smaug to reclaim their home.
Three guesses who.
Bilbo, Gandalf and the thirteen dwarves must embark on the journey of a lifetime across Middle-earth, but will they ever return?

The Hobbit Bilbo
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Inheritance by Christopher Paolini Review 5/5

Overall Impression: Wow, wow, wow! An emotional and fitting end to the wonderful Inheritance Cycle. I didn’t want it to end. Can we have another Cycle? Pretty please?

(To read my review of the previous book from the Inheritance Cycle, Brisingr click here.)
Inheritance by christopher-paolini
This book was read as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge for the favourite genre category.
Ohhh how I have been dreading writing this review. It had actually gotten to the point where I was having full on staring contests with my computer. It’s a typical example of when you read a fantastic book, and afterwards have an inability to form any coherent thoughts and your vocabulary flies off the face of the Earth and is replaced with simplistic “EEEEEEP” “EEEEEK” “OOOH” “AHHHH” syllables. Sure, this series has flaws as most do, but this book series has spanned eight years of my life. I remember the first time I laid eyes on it in Waterstones, the excitement that Christmas when I received it, and the next when I received the second book. I guess you would say it has sentimental value. The characters have grown and evolved parallel to my own life. It’s sad to have to say goodbye to them… and yet, at the same time there is something rather satisfying about seeing their stories finally completed. It may have been a long journey, but good things come to those who wait!

Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the rest of the Inheritance Cycle this review may contain spoilers about previous plots and characters from past books in the series. However, for those of you who have read the previous books, this review will not contain any major spoilers about the book Inheritance.

It began with Eragon . . .
It ends with Inheritance. Continue reading