Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Academy Introductions | The Ghost Bird Series 1 | My Thoughts

The Academy Introductions, Book 1 from The Ghost Bird Series by C. L. Stone
With an agoraphobic mother and a barely-there father, Sang abhors the isolation keeping her in the shadows. The only thing Sang craves is a fresh start and to be accepted as ordinary by her peers, because for her being different meant being cast out alone.

When her family moves to a new school district, Sang infiltrates a group of boys nearly perfect in every way. Grateful for an influence outside of her parents’ negativity, she quickly bonds with the boys, hoping to blend in and learn from them what it means to have a natural relationship with friends.

Only the boys have secrets of their own and they’ll do anything to keep her safe from the knowledge of the mysterious Academy that they've sworn allegiance to. Bit by bit, Sang discovers that her friends are far from the normalcy she expected. Will her loyalty change when she's forced to remain in the dark, or will she accept that she's traded one house of secrets for another?

Meet Kota, Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke and North in a story about differences and loyalty, truth and mystery, friendships and heart-throbbing intimacy.

The Academy, ever vigilant.

After being told that I would love this series as I love Ally Carter's novels, I decided to give the first book a go as it was free on iBooks. Due to it being free my expectations were very low; I had never heard of the author, the number of protagonists seemed incredibly high and the different book covers made the books appear to be slightly more chick-lit than what I usually go for. However, it was free and I was told I would love it; and I did.
As I was reading the book I made notes after each chapter, to capture my thoughts at that point in the book. I thought I would share them instead of writing an overall review, this way you get to see what was going through my head at different stages of the book. Consider this a slight twist on your bog-standard book review.
(May contain spoilers)
The Academy -

Thoughts after Max -

More books need dogs featured in them. A lot of books seem to lack a lot of nature and animals and wildlife. Oh my gosh, Max seems so cute! I love dogs! I really want a puppy...
Also, why on earth is she going home with a stranger? Did her mother teach her nothing? Why is she running away? Does she want someone to find her? Oh my gosh, I need to read more!!!

Thoughts after Kota -

Why can't more people be like Kota?
I mean seriously, the world needs more people like Kota!
If only forming friendships was that easy... If only trusting people was that easy...
I need me a Kota.
However, on the other hand, what in the name of lime cheesecake is Sang thinking?! She needs to sort out her head, breaking into a house in the middle of the night isn't going to be fun and games and she didn't even think about whether or not there were already people in there! Sang, sort yourself out por favor!

Thoughts after Victor -

Sang's mother... I want to know more about her, she seems so caged up...
Why can't all people be like Kota and Victor?
Why was Sang so desperate to leave her house the night before?
Why did they even move in the first place? What happened?
In a nutshell, I want a backstory of the characters.

Thoughts after Silas -

Sang's mother is a psychopath, why torture your daughter for a phone call?! Sang and her sister need to get out, they need to get out of that horrible place.
I thought Sang's mother was just weak and couldn't go outside but she's evil and abusive, and Sang needs to leave.
Kota, Victor and Silas all seem really protective and lovely but I don't understand how they all appear to have so much money for cars and Armani suits etc.
This books is a lot better than I expected!

Thoughts after Nathan -

This book is so much better than I expected.
I love how Sang hasn't been influenced by society as she's never been exposed to it, like she isn't afraid to get her hair wet or do things that may not be considered 'cool.'

Thoughts after Gabriel -

How do they have so much money? How come Kota seems to be leader of the group? What was all that about Blackbourne?! They all seem really lovely but there are these occasional suspicious moments that are slightly odd... I can't wait to read more of the book though.

Thoughts after Luke -

How many more main characters are there going to be? I think we're on 6 boys at the moment? I have no idea what each one looks like or who said what in the last chapter! I can't remember who did what as they all just merge together!
At the moment I'm shipping Sang and Nathan or Sang and Silas, Kota is also high up on the list but I'm not too sure.

Thoughts after North -

How many guys are there?! And what are they hiding? How come some of them are busy all day 'training'? I really want to know more about them!
North seems a little different from the rest of them. He seems a little reluctant to accept Sang into the group. Is he just a tad moody, or is their a reason behind it?

Thoughts after Dr. Green -

How old is Dr. Green? Why do the boys need to tail her sister and watch Sang? The school can't possibly be that dangerous!

Thoughts after Mr Blackbourne -

Mr Blackbourne is really mysterious and kind of creepy, what even is the academy and why is it so important everything is kept classified?!

Finally the guys actually open up to Sang! Well, it's more Kota than anything, but still. They put her through so much when it would have been so much easier just to tell her the truth!

Some of my favourite quotes from the book -
"The light went out, sinking us into complete darkness, blinding me." 

"I didn't want to feel trapped anymore."

"I couldn't stand by and let myself be caught forever in the small world they built for us."

"I dreamed about a fire in a house I didn't recognize. I was running to find a door, knowing someone was chasing me but I couldn't see his face. I didn't want him to find me. I didn't want to burn."

"The house was big, but it was hollow. A prison that my mother felt was protection."

"If I didn't drink, I would drown."

"The girl with nothing to say, and no voice to say it."

"I'm pretty comfortable with being ignored."

This book rated 4.23 out of 5 on Goodreads and has over 3000 5* ratings! This book was so much better than I expected and I have already purchased the second book in the series. The writing wasn't brilliant and not much happened in the book other than a few minor plot twists and the introductions of all the characters, but then again I suppose that was a given considering the book title! What kept me reading was the suspense and 'unknown' which was created, hence why I rated it 4* on Goodreads. There is so much I still don't know about the characters and the way it is written makes you desperate to find out. I would definitely recommend this book to those wanting to read a mystery series and to those who love suspense novels!

If you've read any of the books please let me know what you thought of them!

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Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Summer Reading List

'A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.'

Summer has raced towards us from over the horizon and I have books to be reading. However unfortunately I also have a not so excellent education to receive (cheers Gove) as well as exams to prepare for and instruments to play and concerts to rehearse for and a life to life. But fear ye not, because as soon as the summer holidays roll around I will be on it with the reading. 

In preparation for my delightful summer planned full of the written work and spilled ink, I thought I would share with you a few books that have made it onto my Summer Reading List this year.

Book numero uno: Bridget Jones by Helen Fielding
I'm aware this isn't the first book in the series but this is the only book of hers which I own a physical copy of. I'm hoping to fill my summery days with Bridget Jones this year, in the hope to learn from her mistakes as I will be too busy reading about them to make those mistakes myself.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
I've heard a lot of good things about this book but I've never given it a second thought until now. It has won the odd prize and has been nominated for quite a few thingameedoodahs so I suppose it's worth giving it a go.  

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I have owned this book for a good 6 months but I have been saving it for the summer as I seem to save all Rainbow Rowell's books for the summer. It has become a sort of tradition.. Last year I read Eleanor & Park which emotionally paralyzed me for at least a week and a half after I had finished reading, so I have very high expectations for Fangirl.

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
Again, I've owned this book for so long and I have heard so much about it but I just haven't gotten round to reading it! I really like the idea behind the plot; that all of a sudden everyone can hear everyone's thoughts and suddenly all privacy is swiped away, so I am really looking forward to giving this a go! 

All Fall Down by Ally Carter
Ally Carter, my love. I have just started reading this and I am currently on Chapter 5, however I am so busy at the moment that I have hardly any time to read! But as soon as exams are over I am going to strut my way to the library with this book in my hand and fall into the reality of Grace who lives on Embassy Row, because you know, she's the granddaughter of the American Ambassador; casual.

I also want to read the entire Ghost Bird series by C.L. Stone this summer but I am going to by the eBooks so I don't end up bankrupt by July. I also have about 100 books I want to read on my Goodreads page, so I don't think I will be short of books to read for a little while! But if you have any book recommendations then please let me know because as you can probably tell, I love a good book!

'What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together two people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.' - Carl Sagan

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