Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Winter by Marissa Meyer [Lunar Reviews]

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend - the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.
If you've not read Winter, DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW

Stars Above, now THAT is how you end a series.
I'll admit I was terrified for Winter's release. Marissa Meyer had admitted before now that she wasn't scared of killing off characters - and that in itself is something that kept running through my mind as I turned each page. But Meyer was straight to the point and was frankly, successful where so many YA series have failed (Requiem by Lauren Oliver, Allegiant by Veronica Roth, to name a couple). 

Admittedly, there were moments that I wasn't too happy with, but those were completely outweighed by a massive realisation. The Lunar Chronicles is probably, possibly, after Harry Potter, my favourite series. The fairy tales, the plots, the futuristic twists. I adore it all. I've fallen in love with this world and it's characters. 

Winter was so long. At first that was daunting, but nothing felt unnecessary for the wrap up of a Lunar Revolution.  In an instant you are thrown into the politics and courts of Luna, and directly into the icy palms of Queen Levana. From the beginning, the darkness of Winter's situation, and of the Rampion crew's is clear; and it only ever gets darker. The constant twists and turns found within the pages of this giant are perfect for any Lunartic. 

Winter herself is delightfully charming. Whilst expressing an innocence of a young child, she is twisted and slowly going insane out of not using her Glamour. She is quietly extraordinary - a face of resillience and determination whilst trapped in Levana's snow globe of a planet. Constantly shaken up. Her talks of the "Palace being in pain" because "the walls are bleeding," along with her many hallucinations or turning into ice cause heartbreak and yet even more admiration in my eyes for such a beautiful character.

Going into this, I was concerned about how Winter would tie in with Snow White, my favourite fairy tale. Firstly, the apple on the cover isn't red. Something so minor that irritated me to no end. Upon reaching the part involving the apple though, my opinion changed as it makes total sense. I adored the twists and turns this took from all the different versions of Snow White. Subtle hints of Brothers Grimm's gloomy original, and of the light Disney interpretation flickered throughout the book. For example; Jacin was both the Huntsman AND the prince - a truly lovely if horrific twist, as his undying love for Winter just showed even more.

I think I need to move onto the others:
Cinder & Kai: Little of their relationship was in this book, much to my disappointment. But what we did see of them was truly charming. Their relationship came full circle and it's nice to think that they have a future together.

Scarlet & Wolf: My biggest prediction was that one of these two, particularly Wolf was going to die. That might have been wishful thinking, as I can't stand either of these characters. I will never stop finding it hard to comprehend Little Red Riding Hood, and the WOLF falling in love. It just doesn't sit well with me, thank you very much. Nevertheless, in Winter, it really worked. 

Cress & Thorne: After Ron & Hermione, Cress & Thorne are my OTP. I LOVE THEM TO LUNA AND BACK. I spent the first 600 pages of this book waiting for them to get together AND THEN THEY DID, and I was crying out of happiness for them, which tells you something... But then the whole Cress being stabbed by Thorne under manipulation thing transpired and that was terrifying. I was so scared for them I nearly threw up. Their ending was beautiful, and I don't think I'll ever stop feeling grateful to Marissa Meyer for that conclusion.

Overall. I'm gutted that this is over. This series could go on and on and on and I'd be perfectly happy to read each book. I want to know what happens to these characters. Like do Cress & Thorne get married and travel the world together? Does Cinder marry Kai and become Empress of the Commonwealth? I guess I'll just end up resigning myself to fanfiction.net or something. I'm so grateful for this series, and I can assure you, these books will be reread and well loved for a very, very long time.


Holly x

Sunday, 17 January 2016

2016 Goals




So by the time you see this, 2016 will have already been with us a few weeks, but for those of us who are still writing a 5 instead of a 6 at the end of the date, I've decided on talking about the idea of goals and resolutions. 
Truth is, I hate new years. I despise this mass public opinion of needing to start a fresh, and new year, new you. It's just a progression in time, a swift move from December to January, a tick of the clock from 2359 to 0000. If you want to change your life, it should be on your terms and when you're ready. Not just because it's January again. I don't want to change my life, but I do want to make improvements to it this year.


Blogging::

- I want to post at least once a week, every week. As a HCBN blogger, I'm required to do this anyway, but I need to post more than I did last year.
- Do more guest posts. I'm currently writing some for other blogs, and hopefully I can arrange more guest posts here on Lost in a Library too.
- Discussion post, I have opinions, and looking back, I rarely share them. Recently there have been a lot of things arise in the bookish world that are definitely worth discussing.
- Don't get so wrapped up in follower counts. It's not worth the stress and pressure.


Reading::

- Read 45 Books. Last year I set my Goodreads challenge to 50, and I reached that by October. This year I have my AS Levels, and am planning to do more travelling, so 45 seems manageable.
- Read with more Variety. Again, I did this last year, but I want to keep expanding my horizons instead of only reading YA.
- Only buy books I'm probably going to keep. I've wasted so much money on books I've bought because of the hype, and watching my book collection get smaller last year as I donated books I wasn't going to read again showed me that I really need to be certain before buying.


Personal::

- Continue working on my Anxiety. Since leaving school in June, my Anxiety has improved massively, but it's still a constant. I want to be in control in anxious moments, instead of Anxiety controlling me.
- Get homework done as soon as it comes in. So far, I think I'm doing well at college, but I really want to have focused time for revision and homework instead of random slots here and there.
- I want to change jobs. I currently -voluntarily- work in a library, and have been doing so for a few months. I'm enjoy doing so, but ideally I'd like to try something else later in this year, just because it would be good to have more than one experience of working before University. 
- Focus on things other than reading. In the past year I've realised that I spend most of my free time reading. That isn't a bad thing, but I want to be more productive too. I'll continue reading and trying to reach my Goodreads goal, but I'm not going to make it as pressurised as I have in recent years. 

I have other goals, but there'll be a post on that going live within the next few months. 

What are your goals for 2016? How's your Goodreads Challenge going so far?

Friday, 8 January 2016

2015:: A Year in Review



January
January started off in the same place that December was, miserable and bleak. inspect most of the month off school ill, and in a reading slump after reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Then everything seemed to propel forward; my mock GCSE results arrived, I got a college interview date, and I was finishing off my art coursework for submission (I spent 2 weeks convinced I'd lost a sketchbook.) 

February
On the 6th I had my interview for the sixth form college, and they'd already decided to offer me a place from the application form - so I was in! The same day I also submitted my Art coursework and my EPQ. Then my friend Gabby went out into the city centre for Chinese New Year, and found this old library (I went back the next day I loved it so much). Originally I was meant to be going to see The Lion King musical for a second time but that sadly fell through. Overall, a really good month.
photo from @waterstonesmcr on Twitter.
March
Another set of mocks came around, unfortunately having perfect timing with getting Netflix. I got really ill at this time though and had to do most of my mocks from home. After that everything seemed to turn around: I met Gayle Forman on the 8th and met some bookish friends who I then later in the month went to a David Levithan signing with. (Bekka and Charlotte). March appears to be the month where I really broke out of my shell and started stepping out of my comfort zone.

April
Gabby, I and two other people went out for her birthday meal over the Easter holidays which was lovely. We spent the afternoon sitting in the city centre and looking around artsy shops. A few days later I joined a book club that Bekka and Charlotte already went to, I've only been once again since but I got free books(!). Right at the end of the month my first GCSE exam came around: Art, and spent 10 HOURS over the course of two days completing it (2 lots of 5 hours). It was soul destroying to say the least .

May
On the 9th I met Carrie Hope Fletcher at her All I Know Now signing, I've grown away from what she does now but at the time I was ecstatic to have just spoken to her. Waterstones had put on sale extra tickets so after missing the chance the first time round, I managed to get one! Then more exams hit, and after a disastrous Spanish reading/listening exam, I was convinced I'd failed. It may as well have been Finnish, for all I knew. In between revising and panicking, I went to my first sleepover(late to the party, I know), and joined another book club, through which I've made so many brilliantly bookish friends! 

June
June was the best month at this point in 2015, because after a few more exams I FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL!! One of the weirdest parts of this month was having a horrific Maths Non-Calculator exam which was so hard that it trended internationally on Facebook and Twitter, there were news articles about it too. I emailed BBC Radio 2 for one of their daily things - three word *insert day*. I sent in Last GCSE Exam and it got mentioned!! 
Then the Sunday after, book club came around again and a few of us went together to meet E Lockhart at her book signing. She was so lovely, and was curious about the copy of Fly on a Wall I had because it was a US first edition - really weird but nice. That was an amazing week. 
photo taken in Beaumaris, Wales. 24th July 2015 
July
July was, well, it was an interesting one. Early in the month Gabby and I went out for a meal to celebrate the end of exams. And I spent a ridiculous amount of time completely changing my bedroom around. I was a hoarder and so there was so much stuff to get rid of, but that experience has given me a very minimalistic idea of how to live - so that's quite the change. Anxiety became rather a problem too; I was meant to be going to YALC and London for a week, but how shall I say this - my anxiety became really bad because of the heightened terrorism alerts that were in London at that point, it was so bad that we decided we didn't feel safe going and cancelled. That's just how my Anxiety works sadly. Instead we spontaneously decided to go to Wales for a week and left a couple of days later. Although I'm sad I didn't get to meet my blogging friends, I'm so glad I went to Wales, because being there taught me so much about myself. It has also helped solidify my first choice for University :)

August
With August came another full month on holiday, and I tried to start getting out more and travelling outside of my area more frequently. So I went to Chester, and on a lot of long walks in the countryside. My brother and I went to see Paper Towns together - surprisingly, it was a fantastic film. GCSE Results came in - the most terrifying day I think I've ever had.  Because I'd missed so much of Year 11, I was convinced I'd done badly - but NO!! Aaaand I got A's in Spanish and EPQ. After the longest wait I couldn't have been happier. But when the next day came around and I enrolled at my college, I found out some things that meant I just wasn't happy attending there. I was left in a tricky place because I didn't know where I was going to end up - however, talking to Amber about Interhigh and a teacher there meant that we decided on me enrolling at InterHigh instead. Because of this - I got an extra 2 weeks of summer as well.
photo taken in Chester, England. 19th September 2015
September
September was rather quiet, as I had my first day at Sixth Form College, and then of course that led into my first week. After the first week I changed one of my A Levels from Classics to Media Studies, because, to be frank, Classics went straight over my head. My English Lit teacher's son played Percy Weasley in Harry Potter. Upon finding out extreme fangirling occurred. September ended with Laryngitis and sitting in bed watching films.

October
Again, another quiet month - but ALL THE BOOKS I'D WAITED FOREVER FOR WERE RELEASED. Some were amazing, others were disappointing. It was only really at the end of the month where things started to really happen - I went to MediaCityUK for a day, and a Christmas preview at a garden centre. Everyone was given Mulled Wine, and me, having very little experience with alcohol was convinced that I was tipsy. Nope, just paranoid and naive. Ooh Halloween too - i spent about 90 minutes drawing cracks on my face with eyeliner to be a broken doll. It paid off. 
photo taken in Cheshire, England. 31st October 2015.
November
Due to now being home schooled, cabin fever started to set in in November, leading to a month where whenever I wasn't studying or in college, I was outside doing things. I GOT A JOB TOO. Well, technically it's volunteering, but I'm still in work at a library a couple of times a week. My book club skyped with Claudia Gray, and I became a Pescatarian.

December
December was wonderful, if a little chaotic at times. The chaos came in frantic bouts of rushing to find the last Christmas presents for people. That being said, the Christmas Markets were in the city, and because of my flexible timetable, I was able to go a few times this year. Then the Christmas holidays arrived, and when I wasn't doing coursework (damn you, Media Studies)  I was going on long walks in country parks and doing a lot of reading. On Christmas Eve, my 17th Birthday came around, which was one of the nicest birthdays I've had, and then of course, there was Christmas Day. Finally, Gabby and I went out to Frankie and Benny's for my birthday meal. 

This year has been amazing. It may have began with a rocky start but now I'm at the end and I've come to realise 2015 is a year I'll greatly miss. Back in January, I decided this would be my "Year of Doing," and aspired to break out of my comfort zone, and do the things I was afraid of. Happily, I can say that 2015 was a success, and whilst it will be missed, hopefully 2016 will be even better. 


Happy New Year and have a fantastic 2016.
Holly x