Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity #1)

code name verityI have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine – and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France – an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

Published 6th February 2012

441 pages

Must Read – 5 stars

Read from 11th to 17th April

I have been loving reading alternative views on WWII and having a Scottish main character will always get me into reading. I really liked how farfetched it was but also how it reflected some ideas and views in the war. How you got a glimpse into those serving and the situations that they went into but also how civilians could be involved in the war effort.

First off, I love how this was written, (sounded) and I really liked how it flowed and that it was like a journal style. I really like hearing the main characters voice and the journey that she takes us on. I really liked how there was an air of confidence behind all the technical stuff she was saying just to turn around and say that she had no clue.

I really liked the technical aspect; it was something so different to what I would normally read. I liked that it was written in two parts and the twists and turns throughout this story. I really became attached to the characters and was routing for them. I think with the story and its context that its really easy to want them to win.

This was nowhere near as hard to read as some of the other WWII books I’ve read and I think it is due to the how and actions. Knowing that the characters either have a chance or have done things in service of their country sort of makes it feel less helpless.

There is just so much that I want to talk about but I’ve always sought to limit spoiled in my review so due to this I may have to leave this as a short review.

I would recommend this to everyone but it seems like such a popular book that most people have already read.

From anyone that knows my love of the Martian, you know my love for technical discussions. This does feel pretty heavy but it’s still really enjoyable and it feels like you’re learning some stuff. I kept thinking about the different types of planes and they’re still in my head, haha!

That’s all folks!

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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

between shades of grayLina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Published 22nd March 2011

344 pages

Must Read – 5 stars

Read from 5th to 7th April

So this took me a few days to write because of how much this book affected me. Afterwards I was really really upset for a multitude of reasons. I don’t cry at books normally, but I tend to cry when I know that real people went through it and that there wasn’t anything I could do.

I’m a strong advocate of action and any charity projects I’ve taken part in have always been based around people. To know that during this time there was so little love between humans is the most heart-breaking thing to me.

This story is incredible and if you haven’t read it, then stop here, pick it up off of your shelf, order it at the library, jump onto amazon. Do what you have to do to obtain a copy, read the back but don’t try reading too much into it. Then finally, open the cover, and start reading. I would tell you to stop but I’m not convinced that you can.

I don’t often read about the facist/allies side of the war. I have consumed so much of it through school, books, discussions, and games that I appreciate how horrific it is but I can’t do it anymore. This year I read a journal article about how accounting was involved and since then I’ve really struggled when reading war books. I am graduating as an accountant in 2 months and my mind is just not in the place to read that. I am currently wanting to read the Book Thief and Code Name Verity, but picking them up has been hard.

However, I will always read anything I can find about the other aspects of WWII and anything about WWI. I just think that it’s more beneficial to gain a better understanding of this time period than have a complete focus on just the Nazi’s.

I have been consuming a lot of historical fiction lately and it’s made me pick up a few non-fiction that I’m really looking forward to. They’re massive so I’m a little apprehensive but still I want to get to them.

Ok, so I’ll start the review properly now.

I really enjoyed the writing in this, it was incredibly well done and thought out. It focussed on the present situation but also reminded the reader that the people had a life before this entire travesty. Following Lena was really hard, she was at such a promising age and her life was just ripped from her. She was old enough to be angry and to know that it was wrong, but too young to have the emotional capacity to deal with the situation.

Having your family ripped away from you is so soul destroying, and to know that it could keep happening while you are being broken and torn apart in other ways, it is just unimaginable how people coped.

I did not really like the romance element in this and I don’t think you were meant to; it was just a crutch that Lina needed and for that I can understand.

I hated the bald man for so many reasons that I don’t even want to go into it. Ruta Sepety’s seems to put a hateful character in each of her stories that I’m dealing with it. I only have one of her books left and I’m going to be sad when that’s done because I love her work.

This book is greater than the sum of its parts. It all creates something new and different and thought provoking. It gives you a better understanding of a situation that is so poorly recorded and taught.

I can’t tell how I feel about the ending; I am sort of struggling with how I wish the ending to be. The authors note was where I got emotional because the reality came crashing down and I just retreated. Compared to Salt to the Sea, this definitely packs more of a punch and for that reason I like this book better. I still think people should read both but I would certainly recommend Between Shades of Gray.

That’s all folks!

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Life Update – Exams

So today you should be getting a comic book Monday and I appologise because I come with news of no content.

I am in my final year of university and final exams and I thought I could up to date with content but alas it’s not to be. I am really struggling to finish a book and I can’t even promise book reviews but I do want to.

There are so many new book releases and I really want to read them but unfortunately I have no time. I am currently reading Code Name Verity and I love it but it’s been over a week and I’m near the end but it’s still going to take some time.

I finish up on the 2nd of May (ACOWAR release) which is amazing timing and although I’ll still be busy I’ll be ready to come back to my blog. You may get some book reviews but that’s probably it till then. May will probably be quite a big catch up month and I really appreciate all of you who support me.

I graduate in June and it’s the biggest accomplishment of my life and start my dream job in August. That means moving. My life is a mess at the moment but I hope you enjoy the journey with me and that you are all doing well.

To those of you with exams now or coming up then good luck, and believe in yourself, all you can do is your best and if you can look in the mirror and know that then there’s nothing else people can expect of you. To those of you enjoying reading and loving all the new releases then I hope your adventures and true and fun and that your world will continue to expand.

I look forward to coming back to you, but for now; that’s all folks!

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (Hopeless #1)

hopelessSometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Published 17th December 2012

410 pages

Rating: Skip It, 2.5 stars

Read from 25th to 27th March

So I’m planning on making this really short because I often find it hard to write reviews about Colleen Hoover books because I just tend to pick them up as a bridge books and they don’t really stick with me.

So going into this I had just finished Outlander which was huge and took me a really long time, so I wanted something short, and it takes me no time at all to read these books. I just wanted a simple romance contemporary and for the most part that was what I got and then we just jumped off the deep-end into some really deep and serious water.

I enjoyed the writing, it’s simple and sweet, and the characters are pretty good. The one thing about her books that I’ve found from the few that I’ve read is that the side characters are way better than the main characters. They’re just spunky and have such big and great personalities.  The problem is they overshadow the main characters and I feel that it’s hard to connect with them.

So I liked Sky, she was sort of average but due to circumstances this made her unique. And Holder was just a plain, weird, got a bit of a temper, misunderstood bad boy. I did enjoy their budding relationship but then it just went to place that I’m not comfortable with.

The one thing I’ll say about Colleen Hoover’s books is that they are problematic but if you can put it past then they’re a fine read. I’m not really reading this to be inspired or to gain more insight; it’s just a simple pain bridge book for me.

I do sort of hate the way the ending went because all of these revelations started coming it and it was just so rushed that I couldn’t understand why the author suddenly decided to do this. For me it felt like she ran out of ideas and decided this was what was going to happen. I think this because if not then why did it suddenly feel so rushed and just forced in there. I will state that I don’t read synopsis of books very often. I sort of go by word of mouth. The only time I’ll read a blurb is when I’m in the library just book hunting. So that’s maybe my problem.

Overall, this was fine but I still prefer Slammed more. Out of the books of her that I’ve read Slammed is definitely the one I would recommend.  I will not read Finding Hope but Finding Cinderella seems much more interesting because it follows Six and she was definitely the star of the show in Hopeless.

That’s all folks! Thanks for reading.

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1632 by Eric Flint (Assiti Shards #1)

1632FREEDOM AND JUSTICE — AMERICAN STYLE 1632 And in northern Germany things couldn’t get much worse. Famine. Disease. Religous war laying waste the cities. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy. 2000 Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia, and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn’s sister (including the entire local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, which Mike leads) is having a good time. THEN, EVERYTHING CHANGED…. When the dust settles, Mike leads a group of armed miners to find out what happened and finds the road into town is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell: a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter attacked by men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don’t have to ask who to shoot. At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of the Thirty Years’ War.

Published January 1st 2000

597 pages

Must Read – 4.5 stars

Read from 29th March to 5th April

So first off I really, really enjoyed this and can’t believe how under hyped and underrepresented this is in the book blog community.

This is such an interesting historical fiction novel with a twist. It is such a unique idea and concept, this may because I’ve never read an alternative history novel but it is just so out there that I think finding something similar would be hard.

Going into this I didn’t know if I would like the writing style due to the historic nature and discussion of the novel but it is really approachable and light. It discusses a lot of difficult topic and is so thought provoking especially as someone with a religious disposition. It really discussed the topic without using a critical standing. All the actions taken by the characters were based on humanity and the rights of people and their lives rather than their views, beliefs, or opinions.

It was really interesting to see how the author broached the cultural differences and at some times it was all too convenient. A lot of the criticisms state that it wasn’t accurate enough or that things were just placed but in all honesty the book is about the discussion and the ‘what if’ question. I think people should take it as such because that’s the way to gain the most out of the book.

The main things I struggled with were the characters. There are a lot of people and because they’re such generic name I really struggled to understand who was who and who was being talked about. I sort of grasped the main roles but along with a 10 people committee there were so many other people having roles. I really enjoyed Jeff and Julie. They were such strong characters within this story and I really enjoyed when they got involved.

I find it really funny how people talk about instalove in YA because, people, this is the biggest and most frequent case of instalove I’ve ever found in a book. I did enjoy the relationships especially when they complement each other but it just happened and that was that. I don’t know if it was more a matter of the time period and that was just generally accepted or if the author doesn’t have a strong relationship writing style. I will state that I did really enjoy reading about relationships from a male author’s perspective because the male thoughts just seem a lot more genuine than that of YA.

So returning to the writing. The time passed by really fast and the jumps in time were either explicitly written or broken up with another scene and characters. I really liked reading about Gustav but the few other characters and scene was just to tell the reader what plans were in the works that the settlement never knew about. There is a relatively good mix of dialogue to description but at some times there were just paragraphs of explanation and discussion of goings on. IT was like being in too many people’s heads and just became overwhelming because of how long it went on.

I have a terrible lack of history knowledge and I’m trying to gain insight into different time periods. I know that there are some criticisms out there about the history not being accurate enough but it is heavily based off of real events and people and even if I just get the general idea then that is good enough for me.

That’s all folks!

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WWW Wednesday – 12th April

So today marks the official hand in date for my dissertation. In 6 months I wrote 20,000 words on accounting and I’m so glad that it’s done.

I did think about not doing a WWW Wednesday today because I’m still reading the same book but I finished two other books since last week s here we go again.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words. Simply answer the following questions:

  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Just Finished

So I read 1632 on the recommendation of my Dad and wow, what a book. This is such an interesting premise that I can’t believe in the popularity of historical fiction I haven’t seen this around or spoken about. Seriously, please consider picking this up. Especially if you want something unique and completely out there.

Between Shades of Gray really affected me emotionally. I am not really much of a crier at books and this upset me, but more from the fact that people actually lived through this. The brutality discussed in this was real. People had to go through this ordeal and I can’t imagine the strength it took to live like this. We focus so much on the German/Allies side of WWII and I just want to read the other side. The Bronze Horseman, Salt to the Sea, and Between Shades of Gray are all great ways in order to see this. I love Ruta Sepetys work and I will pick up anything of hers that I can get my hands on.

Currently Reading

code name verity.jpg

So I’ve always heard a lot of things around this but never really knew what it was about so when I seen it at my library I thought I would give it a chance. And you know what? I love it. I love a thought spoken style and the Scottish narrator is pretty good too. Due to this being exam season and Easter coming up I’ve not had an awful lot of time for reading but I do enjoy when I get to pick this up.

Read Next


So I did start reading this because I couldn’t decide between this and Code Name Verity and it actually looks pretty good. Code Name Verity one because it’s got a Sottish main character and I think we all know that that will always win.

So I’ve had a bit of a rough past with Laini Taylor. Daughter of Smoke ad Bone is one of my favourite books ever but I didn’t like the rest of the series. So I told myself that I will read this to see where I stand and if maybe Laini Taylor is just a one trick wonder to my reading style.

Do you have any WWII recommendations focusing on the Russian Front?

That’s all folks!

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Comic Book Monday #6 – Avengers and Batman – The Struggle

avengersThe Avengers are dead — long live the Avengers! Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — Captain America, Thor, Vision and Iron Man — are living separate lives,
not tied to any team. But when a threat from beyond the stars targets our world, fate draws them together again, alongside a group of young adventurers who will reinvigorate the Avengers like never before! Welcome to the big leagues, Nova, Ms. Marvel and Miles “Spider-Man” Morales! But as Warbringer makes good on his name, the reassembled Avengers struggle to put their differences aside. One among them may find their membership short-lived, but two are definitely getting along — when passions flare between Captain America and Thor, it leads to Earth’s Mightiest Kiss! But who is the familiar villain pulling the Avengers’ strings?

Issues 1-6

Published 20th April 2016

Read on 3rd April

Try It – 3 stars

batman 1

Madness and mayhem hit the streets as both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison unleash their prisoners upon the helpless citizens of Gotham. And with no Dark Knight to protect the city, what horrors will follow? Arkham and Blackgate face off in this series featuring Scarecrow, The Penguin, Bane, Killer Croc, and more.
Writer Peter J. Tomasi (BATMAN & ROBIN) brings you FOREVER EVIL: ARKHAM WAR, detailing the battle for Gotham City in the midst of the epic crossover event FOREVER EVIL from comics superstars Geoff Johns and David Finch.

Collects various to create a story arch

Published 23rd September 2014

Read 6th to 7th April

Skip it – 1.5 stars (this is so close to a burn it)

batman 2A NEW YORK TIMES #1 Bestseller In “The Black Mirror,” a series of brutal murders pushes Batman’s detective skills to the limit and forces him to confront one of Gotham City’s oldest evils. Helpless and trapped in the deadly Mirror House, Batman must fight for his life against one of Gotham City’s oldest and most powerful evils!

Then, in a second story called “Hungry City,” the corpse of a killer whale shows up on the floor of one of Gotham City’s foremost banks. The event begins a strange and deadly mystery that will bring Batman face-to-face with the new, terrifying faces of organized crime in Gotham.

This volume collects Detective Comics #871-881

Published 5th March 2013

Read 8th to 10th April

Skip It – 2.5 stars

All of these books remind me why I have pretty much exclusively switched to Indie comics. These were all so mediocre, boring, and just not my thing. I also tried reading Superman again this week, and guess what? STILL HATE HIM. This is just such a rubbish comic week that I’m really upset about it.

The problem is, when I read bad comics it makes me not want to read comics, so to have 3 in a row has just made me not want to touch one. And that’s not what I want at all!

So starting with the best out of a bad bunch. So I did enjoy The Avengers when I read it but its super forgettable. I think I enjoyed that it was such a different cast to the stereotypical ‘Avengers’ franchise. It’s like they’re trying to be more inclusive and diverse ever since the hit success of Ms. Marvel. And I did enjoy it. I read the female Thor comic a while back and found myself really enjoying it. I don’t know if I will continue with this as it has just gone completely out of my head.

I din’t even want to discuss Forever Evil because t just reminds me of the bat times where there’s no Batman and more importantly that Dick Grayson (Nightwing) hasn’t taken over. I love Nightwing. He’s one of my favourite characters, I swear I will read a review one of those comics on my blog soon (I just need to brave sorting my comic collection at my parents house. I like Bane, I do like him as a villain, and I will admit it was refreshing not to have Joker but this was just an awful story line with him. It just lacked any kind of sense and sigh, I hated it.

So, technically I didn’t finish Black Mirror but I read most of it and that was enough for me. I got up to the stuff with James and it was just much worse than that of Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection (review here). It was just such an unappealing jarring art style, and in all honesty it just made me miss Chew, because that is just a better comic in every way. Scott Snyder is one of the biggest Batman writers and every time I pick up his work, I just don’t know if it’s going to be gold or a huge pile of disappointment.

I don’t want to give up DC or Marvel comics because I love comics like Batgirl, Aquaman, and Nighwing. I love the b-listers. I know I sound like the biggest Hipster in the world, and it really pains me to be like that but the comics that are smaller and have the freedom to write a full-length story ark are just much better than the hotshots who are forced to produce a comic every month (sometimes 2 in Batman’s case) just create such a poor 3-5 story and for someone that loves character development and plot. 3 COMICS IS NOT ENOUGH!

I hope your reading week has been going better than mine. I want to pick up the next installments of Y the Last Man to hopefully bring me back into the comic mood.

That’s all folks!

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