Review: 4 stars to Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Posted 18 October, 2016 by katheryn13 in Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Mature, Reviews, Supernatural, Updates, YA / 0 Comments

Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can’t bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back…

The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the king – for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her?


Who would have thought I’d make it this far? I mean, I loved Throne of Glass (by the way, if I accidentally put ‘game of thrones’ instead, I’m sorry. It happens. lol) but it took me forever to finally get through Crown of Midnight. Sorry I didn’t do a review for that one, by the way. I just couldn’t.
Heir of Fire started out really well and I loved where Celeana was at (well, not LOVED per-se, but it was more interesting, I suppose). But then there were new characters introduced and I wasn’t sure how I felt. I mean, Manon? Nuh-uh. Sorry. I guess I’ve warmed up to her a bit by the end but her chapters were so boring for me, I was stuck around page 90-100 ready to give up.

It was very yo-yoing how many POV’s there were, to be honest, but it definitely kept me on my toes.
I think part of the problem was this book was just too long and I wasn’t in the right head space to put up with it. So, though there wasn’t anything that I could pin point as the culprit to my struggle, it just wasn’t going according to plan. The pacing definitely wasn’t that fast, which could have contributed. Fantasy tends to be hit or miss with me in terms of how we get along. Like, if I’m not 100% in it, the descriptions alone could make me want to hurl the book across the room. I have to be in the right mindset, you know? It’s not automatic acceptance. 
So I got to the point where I didn’t give a shit what colour the buildings were, I just wanted to get to the POINT! Haha. 

Then you have Rowan, and I heard so much about him (yeah, thanks Twitter. You like to ruin stuff, don’t you?) but I guess I was expecting someone different? A bit like Rhys in ACOTAR, I thought I was going to meet someone with a personality I’d love instantly (judging by how many people love him). This was not the case, but since I knew roughly things changed, I dunno…I was skeptical. One thing that put me off him, though, and call me judgemental, but I think I’m allowed to be when it comes to fictional characters (as it’s all personal preferences and NOT real people, so yeah), but when his description mentions TATTOOS? ON HIS FACE? I’m instantly nope. Not happening. I’m out.

I just don’t dig tattoos. Especially on the face.

(I mean, people are free to do what they like, but when it comes to fiction, I reserve the right to outright not like that character for doing so, yknow?)

But in the end I realised as long as they didn’t MENTION said tattoo, I could deal. I could pretend he didn’t have one. I mean, his face is a no no place for me. lol  His ‘bond’ with Celeana was weird, and I was shaking my head like “NO NO NO PLEASE NO’ because honestly those kinds of things are so cheesy and make me want to stab something. It’s the ‘mate’ thing all over again. Bah! So I’m hoping it’s just a friendship thing. *fingers crossed*
Celeana’s character development was….intriguing. I guess I’m a weird one because I actually felt more for her when she was weak and pathetic. LOL. I know, I know. You don’t need to say it. 
I felt for her past, her self-pity, I just…she made me want to CRY. 
However when she got all kick-assery and fierce with fire, I dunno…it kind of irritated me. I  wonder if it’s because I’m not fierce or strong and I get envious of characters that can change so easily (because damn, it sure seemed that way) and I can’t. Call me emotionally stilted.
Dorian. My precious prince. What have they done to you? I will forever be Team Dorian.  His growth through this series so far has made my heart GROW WITH HIM. I just love him so much. He’s so precious to me. I can’t deal. The last scenes in this book with him were terrifying and I was SO anxious.


And thankfully Chaol wasn’t much of import in this book. Can I get a hell yeah?

Oh, alright then. xD

Chaol utterly fucked up his own life when he decided to sit on that fucking fence like the sad mofo he really is. Honestly, I don’t know how people still LOVE him? 
Over all – I did ENJOY most of this book. There obviously were moments that bored me, and the pacing could have been better, but to be honest, it wasn’t as awful as I suppose I’ve made it out to be. It was an automatic 4 stars for me. The last quarter moved faster and I was more invested. I’m taking a break from the series for a bit, though, because this was exhausting.

Did somebody say #NaNoWriMo?

Posted 14 October, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Updates, writing challenges / 0 Comments

I was going to make a video, proclaiming how I would be taking part in the greatest writing challenges of our generation, NaNoWriMo. It would have been magical.
But, because I am still ill – though honestly, I’ve been ill for a lot longer than this before but for some reason this seems exceptionally long and therefore I am 1000% done – and I can’t exactly TALK properly without coughing like a crack addict (do crack addicts cough? I dunno. I would have put ‘smokers’ but it sounded too cliche, ya know? no? alright then) so filming, alas, is out of the question. Unless…you wanna watch me hacking my lungs up and husking out words with maximum effort? 

Didn’t think so.

So here is me, saying to you, that yes, I will be doing nanowrimo.

what indeed. 
Don’t act all surprised. You didn’t really think I’d not TRY this year, did you? I’ve “TRIED” every year since 2009…or 10. I can’t quite remember.

The details are hazy.

But in any case, it’s going to be one mish mash of ‘oh this is fun’ to ‘fuck it, I give up on this shit’. 

Same old, same old

that’s pretty much how I feel about a lot of my half hearted stories.

But this year, ohhhhhh no, I’m working it. 

Not exactly an accurate example of how I work, but you get the idea.

So I know that the idea is to start a NEW story, new idea, but whenever I do that, I end up bored half way or stuck somewhere in the 20k mark, wishing for a life boat to save me from these wretched waters. 
This time, I’m already 10k into a story, that I’m ACTUALLY enjoying somewhat, and so for nano I’m going to use this time to FINISH. IT. ALL. Like no lie, really, I’m gonna finish it. I know, crazy right? 
It’s a whole new experience. lol

Since I don’t expect to WIN anyway, I might as well work toward a goal I can master. Which is why this story is (so far) going to be a novella. Until I decide that actually no, wait, it could be a full ass novel. I have utterly given up on working towards a 60k plus novel, getting to the half way point or whatever and losing the plot entirely. If I even had a plot to begin with. 
If you’re interested in reading what I have so far…here’s a link to my WattPad account: just clickety click here 
As far as what the story is about is concerned….well all I’ve gathered so far is it’s about magic, and evil step sisters, and teens who just don’t know themselves that well. I’ll try and throw in some romance, but that’s not exactly my strong suit. Neither is action, so don’t, yknow, hold out hope. 
If you’re planning on doing nano, let me  know. If you fancy adding me to your buddies list on the nanowrimo site, my username is Woah_It’sKat


So until my next update which may or may not happen in video or written form – depends on my health – I’ll see ya later!

Wish me luck. November’s gonna be hell.



Update | A weekly summary | Lots of Gifs | The Struggle Is Real

Posted 13 October, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Updates / 2 Comments

Who needs bookshelves, really? 
And you want to know the problem with book shelves? 
I don’t know about you, but I constantly rearrange my books, they always leave me frustrated. I mean, why can’t they just…Align? Match? Be the right height? Why can’t they sit still, stop leaning, be quiet?
I recently moved some of the books from my TBR bookcase to my regular bookcase, and now there are books I haven’t read hidden among books I have read. I don’t have OCD but maybe I do because there’s a severe itch to put them back. But let’s face it, they’d have to be moved once they’re read anyway so why not now? I was running out of room on the TBR case. It had to be done.
But I’ve also developed this obsession with heights and books aligning properly. I never had that before. Only a couple years ago I’d be okay with one hard back in a series of paperbacks. Now? 
I’m conflicted. 
I just ordered two books from a series I’ve already got, read a few times, just so I can have them in hardback. WHO AM I?
Crazy. Probably. Almost definitely.
Oh and don’t get me started on reading slumps. I’ve got all these new nice lovely wonderful books and LIKE NO MOTIVATION TO READ THEM. 
I blame Supernatural 
It’s ruined me. I’m re-watching the show from start. In less than a week I’ve gone through 2 and a half seasons. LOL
And then there’s the issue of the books I’m reading. Crooked Kingdom and Heir of Fire. Yknow, there’s a way to make it quicker to read. MAKE THEM SHORTER!
I swear to god, CK could have been made into 2 more books. I love it, I love the series, but it’s so convoluted It’s just taking too long for me to make sense. I want to be done. I want the ending. I have 150 pages left and I’m about done. 
I just thought I’d write this jumbled up mess of a blog post because yknow I’ve not blogged in ages and I feel like you deserve to know stuff. 
Also, I’ve been ill for over a week now, and a cough to make the heaviest smoker proud. 
I’ll see you when I’ve finished something. BYEEEEE

Review: 4 stars to Love Song by Sophia Bennett #YA #BoyBands #Funny

Posted 25 September, 2016 by katheryn13 in Contemporary, Funny, Reviews, Romance, Updates, YA / 0 Comments


A million girls would kill for the chance to meet The Point, but Nina’s not one of them.
She’s the new assistant to the lead singer’s diva fiancée, and she knows it’s going to suck. She quickly learns that being with the hottest band on the planet isn’t as easy as it looks: behind the scenes, the boys are on the verge of splitting up.
Tasked with keeping an eye on four gorgeous but spoiled rock stars, Nina’s determined to stick it out – and not fall for any of them …
I have been in a real contemporary stage lately, and have basically read all the contemps I have available. It’s annoying. 
Love Song was a gem. I loved every second, and laughed at the most ridiculous things that happened. I mean, this is VERY British, and it was lovely. The band, The Point, reminded me a bit of Mcfly, but more in the sense that they’re a British band and well…yeah okay so the similarities end there. haha. 
Nina is only 17 but she’s like Mary Poppins with all her skills. It’s unnerving. Her parents say she’s too responsible and needs to get out there and live. So after a disastrous meet and greet with The Point, her younger sister – Ariel’s-  favourite band ever, Nina didn’t expect to ever see them again. Which is why it’s a shock when the band’s manager visits to offer her a job. To be the lead singer’s fiancée’s assistant. It seemed simple enough, but it turned out that Sigrid is a complete bitch. 
It’s a hilarious and somewhat awful time and when it’s over, it’s over, except it’s not…
She’s then asked to help the boys on their secluded trip away. Which is where it gets tricky because Nina thinks she’s going somewhere exotic. HAHAHAHAHA no.
I won’t spoil but I tell ya, it’s utterly ridonkulous! I loved every second, even if Nina was being a bit stupid in her thinking sometimes. The boys were fun, sexy, talented, and I so badly wish they were real now. Sigh. There’s a definite romance which feels a lot like a typical Rom-Com movie where things go wrong and then at the last minute they realise their mistake. Still, it’s brilliant, and – though I must admit, a little long-winded – so sweet. 
What confused me a bit was how Nina’s A-Levels were mentioned twice, but you never actually read about her taking them…or studying…so I was like “Wait…did they disappear or something?”
Ariel is adorable but annoying at times, but then..she is 13. So yeah. The rest of the family are included, which is great, and a change. I loved how the dad didn’t want her going anywhere, but the mum was like *dreamy face* >_< There were the usual bitchy girls, and the best friends, and the song lyrics. 
I wanted to rate this 5 stars, but despite me having read it in 2 days – which, to be honest is like light speed for me – it wasn’t one that hit the target completely, but very very nearly. I had an enormous grin on my face most of the time though, so there’s that.




Review: 5 stars to Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Posted 24 September, 2016 by katheryn13 in Contemporary, Mental Health, Reviews, Romance, YA / 1 Comment

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.
I was recommended this book via booktube, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. I went into this knowing it was about a girl with schizophrenia paranoia but to what end, that was not known.
Alex is a ‘one of a kind’ kind of character, who made me laugh, cry, and generally love so much. She has so much going on, and doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not. It’s almost heartbreaking at points because you, the reader, have been taken through this journey, only for the rug to be pulled out from under you. I was right there with Alex, horrified, scared, confused. It was a mish-mash of feelings that utterly made me love this book so much.
Miles was my second favourite, and the one that intrigued me just as much as Alex. I had, to be honest, wondered if he was real, just like with a lot of the characters, I was waiting for the catch. You’re left hanging, waiting in the balance for the penny to drop. Sometimes it dropped, sometimes it didn’t.
I loved the whole gang of friends Alex ended up having, and the mystery behind the Headmaster and what he was up to. Her parents were a bit hot and cold, but then it’s surprising they even appeared as a lot of YA has non-existing parents, you know? Actually it was more the mother that annoyed me. She seemed so quick to want to send her child away.
I know it’s weird, but I have this fascination with books about characters with mental health and where hospitals are involved. It might say a lot about me. They really interest me; even if it is brushed up to be less accurate, it’s STILL made aware. I don’t understand the people that get mad because it’s not 100% how it is. Sometimes you have to embellish to make a story, and still remain loyal, and I felt like this one matched that. I got the pain of someone who was suffering, and still I got the love story, and the trauma of things going wrong. It was all there.
I wanted more when it ended, I wanted to know what happened next, but it was still a relatively happy ending, even with flaws. It almost made me want it to be a series. LOL I know. Anyway, I think you’d like this, even if the subject isn’t necessarily something you’re happy with, there’s a whole different story within it. 
A definite 5 star read for me!

I Don’t Know Anymore // My Thoughts // Rant // Personal

Posted 21 September, 2016 by katheryn13 in Updates / 6 Comments

So hey.
Long time no speak, eh?
Today I kinda wanna talk about…stuff. You know. Nothing serious, just stuff that’s been bothering me of late. Such as twitter, blogging, writing, among other bits and pieces.
Mostly I’m annoyed. I have gotten, more than once, to the point where I just want to quit Twitter cold turkey. Which, I’ve tried. It’s fucking hard.
It’s not just the obnoxious hashtags and the shit people throw at others because they have an opposing opinion, it’s also that when I tweet people I think of as friends, I get no response, or when I do, it’s minimal words. And some of them are people I’ve ‘known’ online for YEARS. It’s like they couldn’t give a shit, and want me to go away. Fine. And yeah, maybe It’s a bit of a pity party I’m in right now, but occasionally I get the impression I could just delete my account and not one person would notice. 
So there’s that. Like, I don’t know who’s my friend anymore. Yeah, I have maybe one other person on twitter that replies enthusiastically to me, but the others? Are we friends? I don’t know. And I HATE not knowing where I stand. These other people are more popular, cooler, have better lives than I do, and I’m back to feeling like a child wanting to fit in with the cool crowd. I know I can’t please everyone, but is it so much to be respected and acknowledged? 
I’m not an attention seeker unless I’m feeling like shit, and hell, would like some one to say “hey”. Just to let me know I exist. To remind me I’m not being ignored. Because damn, it feels like that a lot. 
I become the world’s most insecure person when I get ignored. Because what else are they doing if they SEE my tweets, my questions, and not responding? Ugh. I hate feeling like this. I didn’t even feel this bad at school. Probably because I knew no one liked me, so there was no point. And then when I got friends, at least I could see their reaction to me being around. Not like online social sites. You can’t SEE,  you can’t HEAR, you can only READ and sometimes when someone doesn’t TWEET or type anything, it’s like…what’s the point of me trying?
I realise this post isn’t going anywhere productive, but I just wanted, needed, to rant and get things off my chest, cos when I do it on twitter, I feel even worse. 
It’s also why I haven’t been blogging much lately. I also get the ‘why bother’ mood because I only seem to get any hits when it’s something ‘popular’ and that’s like…on a blog tour or something. I haven’t been writing reviews because I’ve been doing video end of month wrap ups, and y’know what, I get more of a feeling of accomplishment on youtube than anywhere else. Even if no one comments, I can see the views, and considering I’m no looker, I’m always surprised anyone watches them.
I must honestly rid of this insecurity because it’s also crossing over to my writing. No, not that I don’t think I’m any good – though I do have those moments- but when I post the chapters on Wattpad or somewhere, and get no views, it’s  slightly heartbreaking. And yeah, I know it shouldn’t be, because many people don’t share their work, but I like to, I like confirmation that I’m not a total failure, and maybe that’s wrong. But I don’t care. 
I can’t do things secretly, because I need that acknowledgement, that sense of ‘you’re good at what you do’ that I never used to get. And when someone says something I’ve done is good, it literally makes my day. It puts a smile on my face, and lets me know I’m not a completely waste of space. 
Of course I know I shouldn’t feel this way. God knows it’s the worst thing to feel. But it’s there, always, in the back of my mind, like a disease eating away at me.
So basically, what I’m trying to say is, I hate feeling like I’m not noticed. I think I used my quota of being able to handle it back at school and college, and then I got friends online and I got maybe used to being noticed. Now…it feels like it’s going back to square one. 
I don’t expect anyone to care, or feel sorry for me – cos there’s plenty of that on this end – I just wanted it out there. Like a diary. A very public diary. 
The end.

p.s. reading this back really made me sad.


#UKYACX BLOG TOUR | Spotlight on…Ellen Phethean @phethean @UKYACX

Posted 12 September, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Blog Tours, Book Promo, Interviews, Spotlight / 0 Comments




Ren and the Blue Hands
Set in the fictional 16th Century Calico Isles, Ellen Phethean’s YA novel, Ren and The Blue Hands, sees teenaged Ren drawn into a world of intrigue, passion and politics.
Betrayal by your friends is heart breaking, betrayed by your own heart is devastating.
In a world on the cusp of change, Ren, a Blue Hand dyer, is plucked from the dye sheds to become lady’s maid up at Barrow Hall. At first she’s excited about her future, but through her mistress, Lady Lilac, she becomes entangled in a plot which threatens the dye industry that has supported her family and the islands for generations. When the secret organisation, the Mazards are exposed, Ren must think and act for herself. She’s torn between helping the conspirators, loyalty to her roots and her love for fellow conspirator Bark. Driven by passion into danger, where right and wrong are hard to tell, only a terrible event can help her see more clearly.
On a personal level it’s about love, loyalty and how to do the right thing. On a wider level it explores political themes of power and espionage as factions struggle to control the winds of change.
It’s due to be published on 2nd November by Red Squirrel Press, it’s the first book in a trilogy
  1. Ren and the Blue Hands
  2. Ren and the Blue Cloth (working title)
  3. Ren in Samara (working title)


Ellen Phethean wrote Wall, a teen novel in poems, set in the Byker Wall estate, based on her interviews and workshops in the east of Newcastle while Writer in Residence for Seven Stories, Newcastle in 2003/4. Wall was published by Smokestack Books, 2007.

She followed that up with another teen novel in poems Hom, set in the West End of Newcastle, published online as a weekly blog, still available at her website.

Her latest young adult novel, Ren and the Blue Hands, in prose, is launched in November 2016 by Postbox Press (an imprint of Red Squirrel Press). Inspired by real historical events, but set in the fictional 16th Century Calico Isles, Ren and the Blue Hands, was Long listed for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2012: ‘A vividly imagined historical background, and interesting mixture of politics and romance. Ren is a courageous female hero whom readers will empathise with and root for.’

She’s a sound artist, playwright and poet too – her first poetry collection Breath, 2009 Flambard, was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award 2010.  Her second collection, Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman, 2014, Red Squirrel Press was a New Writing North Read Regional choice for 2014.

Ellen’s website
Tweets as @phethean



What inspired you to write this?

First of all, years ago, I came up with a scene and a character in a writing workshop. A young woman finding a secret note. It seemed to be about a mystery and I kept writing scenes – I wrote about young women working together in a dark shed and singing beautifully. I imagined a nasty villain when I was given the word Grist. So it all began with bits and pieces, and all seemed set in some historical past.

Then I read about the real struggle in the Dye industry in the 16th century, when the Guilds in Europe were resisting a new dye, Indigo, coming in from India. They called it the Devil’s Dye – and that became the core of the story that pulled all my disparate bits of scenes and characters together. My women workers in a shed were Dyers, the Blue Hands. But I knew their resistance to the new dye was bound to failure, so I began to think about when change is inevitable, how and why do people adapt? I gave these dilemmas to my main character Ren, who’s caught up in the middle of these big historical changes, and has to deal with it on a personal level.

Is this a fantasy?

No, because it’s based on real events and all the technology and clothes are based on 16th life, but I’ve taken liberties with reality, and have created my own alternative world. I’m aiming for emotional rather than literal truth. It makes the book difficult to categorise by genre – it’s a historical drama, but fictional, some call it fantasy because I made up the country, but that suggests dragons and elves – there’s no magic or non-human characters. There’s a love story at its heart, so it’s a romance too, but it’s also about political struggle. Try and sum up that in three words!

Did you have to do research?

I used many historical sources for help and ideas. It’s been the greatest fun imaginable making up the world, my 16th Century cosmos. Characters have natural names like Bark and Moss and Count Saffron. The blue dye comes from the Shebble Shell. The group of isles where Shebble shell is found are The Calico Isles where the story is set. Braymer is the country that exports the wool and yarn that gets dyed by Shebble shell.

The workers on Calico are organised by their Gild. The different classes of society are subject to sumptuary laws (which were real laws detailing who could wear what fabric and colour of clothing) – in my world only the wealthiest nobles are allowed to wear the unique Shebble blue dyed cloth, while workers in the dye industry get Blue Lung or Shebble Pox, and their hands are stained blue.

I’d done an MA in Theatre Studies, and had explored the traditions of Shakespearean theatre, so I included a Travelling Theatre troupe called The Chancellor of Braymer’s Men who come to Calico to perform for the May Day Revels and stir things up. In the past there have been Dye Wars. The time of peaceful monopoly of Shebble is about to change.

Where is it set?

In my imagination, the Calico Isles are a sort of combination of mediterranean islands with elements of Cornwall. The country of Braymer is a colder, more northerly island, not a million miles away from Britain. Samara, the third major country referred to, is a mash-up of north african/middle eastern countries.

Was it a dragged out process?

Yes! I’ve been writing the story off and on for about 10 years, and it’s only in the last four or five years that I really got down to working out how the story fitted together, and filling it out. It took two more books to get the story to a satisfactory end and I still haven’t quite finished the third although I know where it’s going. I haven’t decided on the actual fate of my main character in the final chapter!

I put an early draft in for the Times Chicken House Children’s Novel competition in 2012 and it was long listed which gave me a confidence boost, and encouraged me to keep working and finish it all.

Do you have any favourite authors?

Two of my favourite YA authors are Ursula Le Guin, particularly The Wizard of Earthsea, and the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. Not only are they great writers of stories that grab you and you can’t put down, but they also deal with real, serious issues that people have to deal with: moral dilemmas, how to choose the right decision in difficult circumstances, complex characters who are both good and bad. They set their stories in the other worlds, but that allows the reader to reflect back on the real world. If I could achieve that in my writing, I’d be happy.

Thank you to Ellen for the interview, and to all those reading this, thank you. Check out the #UKYACX tag on twitter to follow posts on the authors attending the event on the 17th September in Newcastle!!