Monday, 31 March 2014

March Wrap Up

March Wrap Up
I seem to be stuck in the pattern of reading 3 books a month but I've got some cool books lined up when I finish my current reads and Bird After Bird will be in my inbox today or tomorrow so I can't wait for that either.

Women Author Challenge
4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Total: 5 / 20

Indie Fever Challenge
Total: 4 / 24

TBR Pile Challenge
3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
4. All He Saw Was the Girl by Peter Leonard
Total: 4 / 24

(Ongoing) Millionaire Challenge
30,700 (+ 11 unknowns) / 1,000,000 pages

Shelf Stacking:
Um, I'll do better and not buy any books next month as I'm going to Insomnia Festival which will be time consuming and expensive too! (Its a long weekend of gaming). But heck, I'm excited about these books!Uzumaki Deluxe Edition (1-3)Chameleon (Supernaturals, #1)Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)KindredInterview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)Half BadBattle Royale
FangirlReady Player OneOrigins (Zombie Games, #1)

Thursday, 27 March 2014

DNF Review: Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman

Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman

Published: 1st August 2011 by Braincandy
Genre: Non Fiction / Self Help
Page Count: 106
Format: eBook
Source: Won from a blog / Copy provided by author

Synopsis: Target big dreams and build a plan to achieve them! You've got one life, one shot, and all the power to make it happen. Get ready to dream big and live big. It's all up to you. And it starts now. 

Total Blueprint for World Domination (17,000 words) is a powerful life-planning book for teens that will inspire. The book lets readers: 
*Explore hidden passions and find direction. 
*Create heart-pounding, toe-tingling goals. 
*Recruit an army for support. 
*Design a dream world and make it happen. 
*Achieve world domination step-by-step. 

Full of tips and tricks for tackling life's challenges, Total Blueprint for World Domination is a book that will motivate readers to take their life to the next level. 

Anything is possible. And anything is possible for you. Believe it. Total Blueprint for World Domination takes you from this very second to your greatest dreams. So, are you ready?

Purchase: Amazon UK* / Amazon US
Free: Smashwords / B&N

Jolene Stockman:
 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
*When purchasing through this link, I will receive a small amount, once I have enough saved up I will put it towards a giveaway.

3 / 5 stars
Did not finish

I believe that Total Blueprint for World Domination was one of the first ebooks I ever won and I'm pretty sure this was from a blog reviewing it, and the copy was then provided by the author, please excuse me if I am wrong because this was added to my Goodreads shelf in March 2012. However no matter how this book came to my kindle, it doesn't change my opinion.

I first started reading this book April 2012 and tried to fully invest myself into it, I made notes and took part with every aspect of it but ultimately I put it on hold and gave it the "its not you, its me" talk.

Finally last month I decided to take it off my on hold shelf and try and finish it, but as I'm slowly getting happier with did not finish books, I decided this was the best for this book.

But now I hear you ask, well why such a decent rating for a book you clearly didn't enjoy?

And its that simple, I didn't enjoy it.

Non fiction isn't my usual kind of reads, I figured I'd give it a go, how bad can a self help book be, and that's just it, it isn't bad.

But I am. I have too many issues with myself, too much anxiety and too much pessimism, to see how this book can be helpful for me.

Believe me I tried.

That is the whole point of the book after all, to better yourself and your life plans.

But all I could think was "ah yes, this could work, if I wasn't me".

So don't let me not finishing it put you off, because it is helpful, it has some very valid points.

However, I am not at a time in my life where I'm physically or mentally able to tackle my own problems just yet.

So all in all,, good book, just not for me.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged (63)

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged hosted by Talk Supe is a weekly meme where you can share your book haul, ongoing events and news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. Please Note: All images link back to their GR pages.
New Books
Uh oh, so did I ruin my book buying ban? Kind of. So my best friend came to visit last weekend and he'd won a £20 Waterstones voucher for this photography competition he entered, and he suggested I pick out some books that we'd both enjoy. Unfortunately I went over by £18 so... I owe him some money now. Anyway these are what I picked out. 
Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)Half BadBattle Royale
FangirlReady Player One
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice and Battle Royal by Koushun Takami are books I've been meaning to buy for ages, but they're also ones that I think he'd really enjoy.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline has been recommended to me by so many people and as we're both gamers I figured we'd both enjoy it, I'm still a little unsure but we will see.
Those were going to be the only books purchased, but heading to the till I saw Half Bad by Sally Green on buy one get one half price offer, so thats when Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was picked up too, as this has been highly recommended by so many of the tumblr community.
I also got a copy of Kindred by Octavia E. Butler which is being published by headline publishers later this month, this copy was from Bookbridgr and its the first book I got from them, pretty happy to be able to try the site out fully now!

Recently on Northern Plunder
Attempting University
Review: Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart
I'm really happy and proud with both of these posts so if you'd be as kind to check them out, it'd really mean a lot to me.
Upcoming on Northern Plunder
Review: Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman
March Wrap Up
Review: Uzumaki Vol 1-3
Lauren's Progress
Read in 2014: 8 / 70
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Currently Reading:
Memory's Wake by Selena Fenech
News from Lauren
So my University post is up and I have plenty of work there to share, pretty happy with how it turned out! I've also had another deadline pass which I got exactly the same result in so at least my work is at a constant (and better than average) level. I'm at home this weekend so no doubt this wont be updated before it goes live, but I'm probably having a really good time, there is actually a book waiting for me at home from BookBridgr which you may want to check out if you're from the UK or Northern Ireland. Anyway, I hope you've all had a lovely two weeks, and read some great books. If you've read anything breath taking, let me know! Shattered Veil definitely falls under that category for me.

Please note that I've implemented a new drop down menu at the top but some pages are still in progress so the links haven't been added yet!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Review: Shattered Veil by Tracy E Banghart

Shattered Veil by Tracy E Banghart

Published: 28th February 2014 by Tracy E Banghart
Genre: Young Adult / Science FictionSeries: The Diatous Wars #1
Page Count: 377
Format: eBook
Source: Author

Synopsis: When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?
For Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face—and the one promise she swore she’d never break.

In the small village of Lux, everyone flies wingjets, but nobody flies them like Aris Haan. When she’s not dancing through the skies, she’s spending every minute with Calix, whom she’s loved since childhood. They plan to Promise, but instead he is sent to defend their dominion against a bloody invasion. Determined not to lose him, Aris follows, joining an underground network of women inside the male-only military. Using secret technology that allows her to pass as a man, she becomes “Aristos”, a Flyer in a search-and-rescue unit. 

As Aris grows stronger on the battlefield and more comfortable in her guise as Aristos, her personal mission becomes less and less clear. When she and her enigmatic commander, Major Vidar, uncover an astonishing conspiracy that could destroy everything, she must make a choice that will determine not only the fate of her heart, but the future of her dominion.
Purchase: Amazon UK* / Amazon US / Smashwords / TBD / B&N

Tracy E. Banghart:
 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
*When purchasing through this link, I will receive a small amount, once I have enough saved up I will put it towards a giveaway.

5 / 5 stars

I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of Shattered Veil for review after being contacted by Tracy to see if I was interested, and with how her other books kept me so entertained I just had to agree. This will in no way effect my opinion of the book.

It took me a few days to find the time to fully invest into Shattered Veil but once I started I just couldn't stop.

Since finishing this book at almost 3am in late February I have written two short reviews, one an initial reaction to finishing the book on Goodreads which reads:

Oh my god. I love it. So much. 
I've enjoyed Tracys other books a great deal but I feel like this one just showed how much better she can write even though the others are great too but like woah okay it's 2:37am and I don't even want to sleep because this was just too good *squeals* I avoid war books because I don't like how real it is, which is why I enjoyed her paranormal-ish books so much but but but highly recommend."

The other I wrote on a tumblr to have it listed as my recommendation for next month that had to come under the genre of "New Beginnings" which we could interpret as we so wished, this read:

"Shattered Veil is a newly published book by Indie Author Tracy E Banghart, as well as the first in a new series, the story is about Aris as she makes some important decisions to follow the boy shes loves into a war to help defend her dominion - to do so she must start a new life disguised as a man. (#this is so much more than a love story #its about a strong female character who realises her new life #her new her #changes her for the better #and in result changes the world #changes her reason for fighting in the war #and just All round happy awesome powerful female characters #lots of feminism ideals here guys #super awesome)"

We have to keep our recommendation short so I went over into the tags to express how much I enjoyed this book.

(Once the post goes live with our New Beginnings recommendations I'll include a link here)

So now I'm sat here thinking I need to write an even better review that does this book even more justice for how much I adored it, but I'm afraid that I can't meet such a standard.

Aris is such a strong character from the very start, whether that is clear to all readers or not. Some may see her as naive and childish for having this perfect life planned out with her ~one true love~ when there is such a devastating war going on.

But isn't that how we all live before our eyes are opened?

And did you have to relearn to walk, and find a substitute for when you couldn't?

Well I don't know about you, but I didn't.

After facing reality that her and Calix couldn't be as perfect as they had hoped when he gets selected to head to fight the war as a Mender, she takes the only opportunity she has to be with him.

This means going under great training and secrecy to join the war efforts herself, as a flyer for search and rescue.

Only trouble, women aren't allowed to join the army but with cutting edge secret technology she is able to do just this, along with many other unknown women too.

So Aris becomes Aristos.

Whilst here she is faced with a lot changes in what she knows of the world, but also within herself. 

The development of Aris throughout the book is great and I love how true the whole word and scenarios feel!

An even greater plus is that Aris isn't the only strong female character, we also have part of the story told from another, older female character who is the leader of one of the dominions and has to go through a terrifying and painful ordeal too!

I can not express my love for this book enough, it just makes me so happy and excited to think back to every moment of it, that I can't wait to read it again in a few years but also that at some point we'll get a sequel where I can fall back in love with this world all over again.

I need to buy a copy to sit on my shelf amongst all my other favourite books.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Attempting University (2)

It's been over five months since I checked in with how University has been going for me. and that is because it's been going well.

I have now finished my first two modules and over Christmas I really wanted to update you on how those had been for me, but I was still waiting for my grades back and didn't want to say how whilst I'd found it challenging at times, I felt I'd done well and then get a rubbish grade as I'd be pretty pooped out to then  have to announce I didn't do well.

However, that is not the case!

I think its safe to say I did pretty damn great on both modules.

Living alone, well with four other students, is odd at times. I can have a week pass smoothly and its great, but then others I just can't wait to move out. at this moment you wouldn't even want to cook in the kitchen if you could see what it looked like.

I've already sorted out accommodation for next year and it'll be with a friend who I'll have known for almost five years by the time we move in, and one of her current flat mates too.

I think I'll enjoy living there a lot more, knowing I'll be comfortable around them.

As I promised last time, I'll share some of my work.

The first module title was Creative Narrative, we had to explore the city visually and eventually create a final outcome that related to both the city and a certain aspect of it, mine being nature.

One of the initial drawing exercises given was to draw ten aesthetically pleasing buildings, signs, statues or details of building. From the ten I drew my favourite are these Winged Lion statues, it was only a quick scribbley drawing but I was still really pleased with the outcome.

These next three are all from the same drawing exercise which I thought I'd hate but turned out to be pretty fun, first we had to spend an hour people watching and drawing them on squared paper, followed by using only 10 and then 5 lines to draw others, and lastly we had to enlarge a few and work into them.

These next five images are just my own exploration of the city with different materials and techniques, I've tried to share some of them that I had most fun with or found most visually pleasing.

Another given exercise, the opposite to drawing building we found aesthetically pleasing. Here we had to look at creating type we found ugly, though honestly, by the end of it I ended up enjoying most of the outcomes because I had a lot of fun getting messy and exploring with inks.

Okay, I'll stop here as I'm worried about over loading those of you with bad interwebs because these are fairly high quality images. I know I shouldn't have saved them so large but ah too pretty and I don't know what else I may use them for yet.

Anyway, I hope you liked seeing my work that you requested and there will be more next time I write a post like this.

The wait wont be as long next time!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged (62)

Sunday Post
Bought, Borrowed and Bagged hosted by Talk Supe and Sunday Post hosted byCaffeinated Book Reviewer are both weekly memes where you can share your book haul, ongoing events and news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. I take part with both of these hops fortnightly so I can be introduced to a range of blogs on the atmosphere. Please Note: All images link back to their GR pages.
New Books
So I slipped up a little and missed getting this post up this weekend as I spent it at my friends having a massive work session, which ties in nicely with the books I'm going to be sharing with you this week because they're all ones I forgot to add on to last weeks. 
Uzumaki Deluxe Edition (1-3)Chameleon (Supernaturals, #1)
Origins (Zombie Games, #1)Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)
I bought Uzumaki by Junji Ito, the deluxe edition, which is a hardcover of all three issues of the manga. It's such a pretty book to have on my shelf even if the inside is far from pretty. I read it all days after opening the package and its such an amazing horror/gore manga - totally worth checking out.
During the same purchase I grabbed Chameleon by Kelly Oram as she had the eBook version on sale but opted to spend a little more on the paperback seeing as though I loved her Jamie Baker series so much, and Origins: Zombie Games by Kristen Middleton is an amazon freebie!
Last but not least is Soulless by Gail Carriger, I've been dying to read this book for ages and ever since she wished me a happy birthday its been on the top of my "to buy" pile, luckily a friend heard this story and a few days later it was in my mailbox - thank you so much!
Recently on Northern Plunder
February Wrap Up
Review: Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen

Upcoming Northern Plunder
Attempting University
Review: Shattered Veil by Tracy E Banghart
Review: Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman

Lauren's Progress
Read in 2014: 7 / 70
Uzumaki Volume 2 by Junji Ito
Uzumaki Volume 3 by Junji Ito

Currently Reading:
Memory's Wake by Selena Fenech

News from Lauren
I can't wait for my Attempting University post to go live in a few days, and finally be able to share some of my work with you. I spent so long crafting that post, selecting what to share, photographing the pages, editing, and finally drafting the post. I've already had to keep half the photo's back! I'm currently in the middle of another deadline too so I've been very busy doing a lot of illustration work, which I'll share in the upcoming months too!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Review: Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen

Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen

Published: 26th June 2013 by CreateSpace
Genre: Young Adult / RomancePage Count: 702Format: eBookSource: Author
Synopsis: If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness are just the tip of it. At the age of five when Foster is told, “You don’t belong here,” it was only a mistake, but the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High-school—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what she believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere—or with anyone. 

This reality would continue to suit her just fine; however . . . Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.

Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying . . . a secret capable of certain ruin. Either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.

In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.
Purchase: Amazon UK* / Amazon US / B&N

Cara Rosalie Olsen:
 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
*When purchasing through this link, I will receive a small amount, once I have enough saved up I will put it towards a giveaway.

3 / 5 stars

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Awakening Foster Kelly after being contacted by the author to read and give an honest review, from the start Cara mentioned that it was a long a book and was very understanding with the time it took me to read, which is great because being pressured is no fun. This will in no way effect my opinion of the book.

Awakening Foster Kelly did take me a long time to read, normally lengths of books aren't off putting to me, but I was reading this during finishing up my first semester at university and then over Christmas, timing just wasn't on my side. 

For me, Awakening Foster Kelly has to be reviewed in three different sections, the beginning, middle and the end. That is how my review will be structured and whilst I will keep it as spoiler free as possible, I believe my review for the ending will give a lot away so don't read that if you don't want spoilers.

The introduction to Foster's life is interesting, very descriptive and made Foster come to life, it was perfect to make her come too life.
However, for me this part was too long, it felt like it took forever to get here.

Again though, it is worth mentioning that this could be partly due to my busy schedule when I was reading it.

I think I'd class this from when Foster and Dominic meet for the first time, from here is where the story grabbed my attention because I wanted to know why he was acting so rude for no reason, I wanted to know his secrets, I wanted Foster to get to know him.

We got this. 

But slowly.

Because of how Foster is, she's shy, she's awkward and she's not willing to push for answers she fears may effect her, but also because her thought process and dream scenes are long, well thought out, like she's constantly writing poetry and music. 

It makes sense because it fits her character. It's who she is.

However, once I got to understand her, and know what to expect, I kind of started to skim these scenes. 

I was impatient. I wanted to know now, unlike Foster.

But its strange because whilst I was getting impatient, I wouldn't want the book to be altered because then we'd be missing a vital part of who Foster is, and who she needs to become. 

Its her journey and it makes sense. 

So whilst I was skim reading. I was still gripped!


I'm not sure how to review this part.

This is where the spoilers will be.

Up until this point the book was pretty firmly a four star read.

The explanation of why Dominic had acted oddly with Foster was fine, it sat well with me and I was happy to expect to read the rest of the story.

But when the "dead" girlfriend showed back up, I felt betrayed and uncomfortable.

Mostly because it only clicked then that Foster wasn't aware they looked similar, though to me he practically screamed it at her.

The uncomfortable feelings though came from worrying how Dominic would handle it, to me he handled it wrong.

Granted confusion was on his side to act wrong, but I felt as hurt as Foster did.

To have it ended here would have sat much better with myself.

But no.

It carried on.

I now felt betrayed by the author, sorry Cara.

Why is that I hear you asking?

Well its simple, it was a dream that Kelly Foster had whilst in a coma.

She was the dead girlfriend, only she was in a coma, so in a way it was her body leading her mind to the truth to help her wake up.

Which don't get me wrong, the symbolism is great. I love that.

Its Dominic that upset me.

I was upset but content to let him go, be part of her magical journey to finding herself, but no he's real.

Not only is he real, he dreamt of her too.

The music they wrote together in the dream is what they choose to work on and so forth and happily ever after.

Its odd that this made me like the book less, because in a way I should be super stoked as I love supernatural books, but I think that there was no explanation and it was a seemingly normal Earth other than their shared dream that bothered me.

That and the fact I kind of felt like I'd, in a way, wasted the time reading it, if none of it happened.

Maybe that is because I preferred dream Dominic, or I was too hurt to give real Dominic a chance.


I'm bummed out that I didn't like the ending but otherwise, I really enjoyed the story.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

February Wrap Up

February Wrap Up
So far 6 books read which means unfortunately I'm currently five books behind, but I have a long Summer to catch up with reading and I've started playing Smite less and reading more, I've almost finished book number seven already too. Shattered Veil and Uzumaki are amazing, both totally worth checking out, I can't wait to finish up my reviews for them to share how awesome they are even more.

Women Author Challenge
3. Shattered Veil by Tracy E Banghart
4. Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman
Total: 4 / 20

Indie Fever Challenge
3. Shattered Veil by Tracy E Banghart
4. Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman
Total: 4 / 24

TBR Pile Challenge
2. Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman
Total: 2 / 24

(Ongoing) Millionaire Challenge
29,635 (+ 11 unknowns) / 1,000,000 pages

Shelf Stacking:
So as you can see I finally went home and got my hands on my books I bought in January, so happy to finally see them! The middle row are all amazon freebies and the top I won from the Author, such pretty set. Trying so hard to not grow my TBR pile but -sigh- I can't resist haha.
Moon Child/By Blood Boxed Set
Phantom SummerThe Deepest Cut (MacKinnon Curse, #1)A Touch of Midnight (Midnight Breed, #0.5)Heart of the Hunter  (Dragon Chalice, #1)
arrived home to these beauties, thank you @jmeyersbooks your writing is amazingmore lovely work from @jmeyersbooks