Monday, 4 August 2014

[uh oh] My Letter to Cath from Fangirl...

Dear Cath,

Okay, so I'd been wanting to pick up your story for quite some time now. Not because the genre appealed to me or because I thought your storyline would be fast-paced and action-packed, but simply because so many people were saying just how much they could relate to you. Now, if I loved one thing about the premise of your book, it was definitely the idea that you were a fangirl. It intrigued me. Being a fangirl myself meant I was just naturally curious as to how you were portrayed. I would have ended up picking your book up at one time or another - my curiosity can't be held off for long, after all. The idea that I could maybe relate to you a whole lot excited me greatly.

Now, I'm not known to strike up a connection with a lot of characters. Yes, I can love them, but it's very rare that I click with a protagonist so well because I can see so much of myself in them - or even the person I want to be. Now, I don't mind flawed characters - in fact, I love them. If a character has no flaws then I find it hard to believe they have depth - depth that would interest me, anyway. A character that's a little stubborn? A character that's a little hesitant? It makes for more interesting directions in plot and a chance for the character to develop and become even more fantastic.

But I just couldn't relate to you, Cath. Heck, I came out of this book not even liking you that much.

I can't put my finger on any one thing, but just the way you treated some people at times throughout the book and the way you reacted to situations, I just didn't get it. I wanted to, oh, how I wanted to, because, without an MC I even liked, there wasn't much else in the story that really caught me. I couldn't even relate to the side of you that was held back by anxiety. And having suffered anxiety myself for over half a decade now, you'd think I could.

Levi, unfortunately, didn't even rescue the book for me. He didn't appeal to me all that much either. It wasn't that your story was a bad one, it just wasn't for me. The book was overall okay, but that wasn't what disappointed me.

What disappointed me was the fact I just couldn't relate to you.

Yours sincerely (from a rather crest-fallen reader),
Rachel

Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair anymore - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there's romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.

Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realising that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible...

My goodreads rating:
2 stars

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

In no way was I attempting to trash this book or anybody who likes it, it simply just wasn't my cup of tea and Cath ended up being a protagonist I just didn't click with. I thought it was worth expressing my thoughts as I've only heard extremely positive things and am wondering if anyone else out there is like me and didn't fall in love with it. :)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Aghhhhhhhhh!

So there's just over 2 weeks left of summer until I'm into my final year of secondary school [*hyperventilates*] [*dies*] and, as scary a prospect as that is, there's something that's stressing me out even more right now.

This year I took Advanced Higher English. I'm not sure what the equivalent of it is in England or America or any other country, for that matter, but it's the highest course in English you can take in secondary school. Before summer started, my teacher said you ought to read a lot of high quality literature throughout the year if you're looking for a safe pass because it'll give you a greater understanding and higher quality level of English. In other words, read a lot of classics!


Now, when I hear the word classics, my heart does a little skip and my head does a little groan. Of course I've read classics before (in past English classes) but knowing now that it's up to me to read them in my own spare time is frightening and foreboding. Why? Well I'm pretty sure some of you already know the answer.

I'm just not into classics.

Like, at all.

I've tried. I really have. But, I just can't get in to any of them. The language. The pacing. The storylines that don't interest me... I just find reading them extremely tedious. E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y. I'd love to be able to sit down and appreciate the old language and flip through the pages with a feeling of awe, but that's just not me. Maybe it will be one day but, right now... *shakes head glumly* Where it usually takes me a day or so to finish a book, it took me a month to finish Wuthering Heights. Yes, a month.


I know I should just soldier on and plough through as many as I can but, when I even think about a classic, it's like my brain just starts shutting down. I really want a good grade at the end of this course... but I don't want to spend the whole year stressed or be falling into a reading slump every time I even look at a classic. I'm just stressing out so much about it right now. And it's so ANNOYING!

Anyone got any ideas as to what could help me out? Or how you handle/d the stress of a course like this and doing something you find hard to do? *facepalm*

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Series Thus Far... the Finishing School Books!

Series Thus Far... is going to be a new feature on Booktastic Reviews, where I'll either be reviewing more than one book in a series or generally just talking about what I think of the series as a whole thus far. The first books I'll be focusing on today are instalments #1 and #2 of the Finishing School series (which will have four instalments in total, although the third is not out yet).

Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Edition: Atom Paperback
Released: 5th February 2013
Series: Finishing School #1
Pages: 312 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners, and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's young ladies learn to finish . . . everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage - in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

I'd had my eye on this book for a while before I finally managed to get my hands on a copy. It sounded like a really fun and entertaining read and when I spotted it amongst the free books at YALC, I swooped it up. And I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I did, I ended up adoring it.

I've pretty much come to realise that if a book involves characters in Victorian style dresses, I'm pretty much sold. I don't know why, but I love this era. Not to mention the fact that this book is steampunk so is doubly intriguing! Girls in big dresses handling technology? Uh, how can that not be entertaining?! Admittedly, it didn't have the most solid/interesting main plot line - and it was sometimes confusing - but I ended up being hooked in anyway - by the world and the characters. I became pretty attached to Sophronia, Dimity and Pillover in particular. Our MC, Sophronia, is a crafty, curious and smart girl who is definitely fun to follow!

Overall, I rather adored this book. As soon as I finished, I bought the sequel from the Kindle store - I just needed it in my life that badly. I'm not going to give this it's own rating because I feel this is one of those series that you love as a whole, more than each instalment on its own. You think of it more as one huge story. Well, I do anyway. ;P

Curtsies & Conspiracies
Author: Gail Carriger
Edition: Atom eBook
Released: 7th November 2013
Series: Finishing School #2
Pages: 399 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

No spoilers present in following synopsis or review! :)

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

Again, another delightful instalment that was SO entertaining and fun to read! I am thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoying this series! ADORING it, in fact. Do you know those series that, yes, it has it's flaws, but is just so much fun to read and you can't help but love it so much? Yeah, this is one of those series for me!

Okay, I need to admit something. I think I've fallen in love with one of the characters in this book. Yes, another one, I know, but seriously, he's so... *swoons*. His name is Lord Felix Mersey. So, obviously, I can't help but ship him and Sophronia. Unfortunately, I think there could be a hint of a love triangle forming. And you know me. I'm always very much one-sided with these things. I just get so invested and so emotional about it. *facepalm* But I love all the feels I feel over them. SOPHRONIA, FELIX IS PERFECT FOR YOU, OKAY?!

Ack, I just can't express enough how much I'm loving this series and am invested with my ship. Sure, it's not perfect and it's sometimes confusing and hard to follow, but I adore it all the same. The characters are likeable and fun and... GAH, just read it, K?! Can't believe I have to wait until November for the next instalment. *cries*

This Series Thus Far gets...

FOUR TOADSTOOLS! xD

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: I don't know if my thoughts made sense but I'm just adoring this a lot. Okay? Also, do you like the sound of this feature? ;P

PPS: HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THESE COVERS?!