Sunday, 30 October 2016

Ten Favourite Fictional Friendships

As promised, here's the final post in my little top ten series; top ten favourite fictional friendships (Try saying that three times fast, haha!) I hope you enjoy!

1) Spencer Reid and Derek Morgan from Criminal Minds.

These two are the ultimate example of friendship. So close they're almost brothers (Morgan even calls Reid such) they are willing to do anything for each other, whatever the action or price.

2) James Carstairs and William Herondale from The Infernal Devices.

The best literary friendship I've yet to come across, I can't get enough of these two. Parabati, brothers, warriors, they are with each other until death.

3) Kell and Rhy Maresh from A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab.

Actual brothers (More than the above anyway) Kell and Rhy are as thick as thieves. Schwab portrays some beautiful scenes between these two and I honestly can't wait for the third instalment of their tale.

4) Nick and Tim from House of Windows by Alexia Casale.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the characters, especially Nick and Tim. Their relationship, their very character, urged the story along, giving every scene a very real feel. I loved every moment between them and am honestly sad that it's only a stand-alone.

5) Carson Beckett and Rodney McKay from Stargate: Atlantis.

These two. These two are so sweet and adorable both together and apart. They couldn't not make the list.

6) Harriet and Wilbur from Geek Girl by Holly Smale.

I honestly cannot get enough of these two. Maybe not a traditional friendship, they are still so sweet and lovely and Wilbur is always the one person Harriet can rely on. I would happily read a book just about them.

7) Kelly Severide and Leslie Shay from Chicago Fire.

Best friends until the end, Kelly and Shay go through their fair share of ups and downs, but they always make it through.

8) Derek Morgan and Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds.

Like Morgan and Reid I love these two, but in a completely different way. Their fun flirting is delicious, but they would still do anything for each other, and every scene is heartening.

9) Bashir and O'Brien from Star Trek: DS9.

Another of my favourite sci-fi duos, I can't get enough of them.

10) Jane and Maura from Rizzoli and Isles.

Kick ass women who fight crime, put down bad guys, and are there for each other 100%? Completely perfect!

Do you have your own thoughts on my list? Do you have your own favourites? As always, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Ten Favourite Fictional Pairings

As promised, and just a little late, here are my ten favourite fictional pairings. Sunday I will post my favourite friendships. I hope you enjoy.

1) Rumbelle, aka Belle and Rumple, from Once Upon a Time.

Tale as old as time...

Despite all of their troubles and shortfalls, I love this pairing so much.

2) Twylla and Merek, from The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury.

I know many people love Lief but I honestly can't forgive his actions. To me Merek's love is true.

3) Malec, aka Magnus and Alec from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.

I don't think I really need to explain this one, do I?

4) Jessa, aka Jem and Tessa from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.

Also no explanation needed, though I will note that I love Will, I just wholly prefer Jem.

5) Janto, aka Jack and Ianto from Torchwood.

I have loved this pairing ever since they appeared on my tv screen. Despite everything, I still believe Jack and Ianto deserve, and will get, their happy ending.

6) Erik and Christine, from The Phantom of the Opera.

I know that Erik is a murderous, tortured soul, but part of the reasoning behind that is that he has been denied any kindness in his life. I believe everyone deserves love, including Erik, and wholeheartedly adore Christine and her Angel.

7) Kell and Lila, from A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab.

As soon as I was introduced to these characters I knew they were meant to be. I'm sorely hoping book three will solidify their relationship.

8) Sophie and Luca, from Vendetta by Catherine Doyle.

These two are perfect. End of story.

9) Kaz and Inej, from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

He nurtures her darker side, and she his lighter. They are yin and yang. Two halves of one whole.

10) Meira and Theron, from Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch.

I doubt my ship will sail, but nonetheless I would love this pairing to get the ending they deserve.

So those are my favourite pairings. Do you share some? What are your own? Do let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Ten Favourite Fictional Characters

As much as I love stories, it's always the characters who drive them that interest me the most. So I thought I would make three lists of my ten favourite characters, pairings and friendships. Today I start with my favourite fictional characters and the other two posts will go up Tuesday and Thursday. I do hope you like them.

1) Dr. Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds.

Cute, caring and provably a genius, who couldn't love Spencer? I've been emotionally invested in his character for years and despite the changes the show has gone through, I have and always will stick by him.

2) James 'Jem' Carstairs from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.

I think one of the main reasons why I love The Infernal Devices series so much is because of Jem's character and his relationships with both Tessa and Will. Despite everything he has and does go through he is always the most selfless, thoughtful character throughout all three books.

3) Nick from House of Windows by Alexia Casale.

Though Nick does differ from Spencer in many ways they are also in some ways the same, and I think that's part of the reason why I love him. Adorable, socially inept and yet caring beyond all measure, Nick was a character I couldn't not love as I was reading the book. Every instance, every emotion, in his journey was so real and deep that his character quite literally sprung up from the pages.

4) Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold from Once Upon a Time.

I think Rumple is both a character I love and also love to hate. Some of his decisions are quite obviously selfish and self-serving and yet he so genuinely believes he's doing the right thing, so many times, for the people he loves, that it's so hard to truly hate him. There have been many instances where his scenes have broken my heart and I truly hope he gets the happy ending he deserves.

5) Prince Merek from The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Merek? I think the main attraction in his character is that no matter how much he loves Twylla, he sticks by her through her decisions. He doesn't treat her as a possession or as any less than the strong independent woman she is. He is caring and thoughtful no matter the situation, a great leader, and it is my dearest wish that he gets his happy ending *Narrows eyes at Melinda*

6) Prince Theron from Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch.

Like Merek I adore Theron for so many reasons. He too is a caring, thoughtful man and a noble royal with good intentions. Though I haven't yet worked up the courage to start Frost Like Night, I really do hope Theron gets his happy ending too.

7) Erik from The Phantom of the Opera.

Anyone for a musical genius and anti-hero? Despite everything that happens in his story, whatever incarnation, and the darkness that resides within his tortured soul, I can't help but love Erik, like so many people I'm sure. I recently watched Love Never Dies and it really has just made me love him even more. I honestly can't wait to see Phantom live for the second time this November!

8) Dr. Carson Beckett from Stargate: Atlantis.

A completely selfless hero, I fell in love with Beckett in the first episode of Atlantis. Adorably cute, a gorgeous Scottish accent to match, and a wonderful friendship with Rodney, he's been a favourite of mine for a long while, and I was lucky enough to meet the actor - Paul McGillion - this past April.

9) Dr. Julian Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Maybe I have an automatic love for Sci-Fi doctors, I don't know, but Julian is another of my longtime favourite characters. A doctor, a genius (I'm sensing a recurring theme...) and undeniably sweet, I honestly think he had some of the best storylines and episodes in DS9 and I was hooked to every single one.

10) Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

I know I'm not alone in professing my love for Kaz. His character is so well built and excecuted that it's hard not to love him despite his flaws. Unique and passionate (behind the chilling facade of course) he's a fabulous character to follow, just as the rest of his crew. I'm eager to finally start Crooked Kingdom sometime soon.

So those are my top ten fictional characters. Do you have any comments or would like to share your favourites? Do let me know in the comments below or on Twitter, and look out for my Ten Favourite Fictional Pairings on Tuesday!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 16 October 2016

10 Reasons To Read RoseBlood By A G Howard

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this gorgeous book in the post last week and I'm happy to say that I've already sped through it and found it to be incredible. It's quite easily going to be one of my favourite reads of 2016, and so while I compose my thoughts for a detailed ARC review, I thought I'd post my 10 reasons to read this gorgeous retelling of Gaston LeRoux's tale.

NB: I'm going to talk about Phantom as a concept, so this incorporates the book, musical and movie. If you're a fan of any, you're sure to love RoseBlood.

1) It's based on Phantom, and exudes every feeling you'd want from such a book; the atmosphere and very core of the concept.

2) It's original, at the same time. If you're expecting simply the concept written for/with teens, be happily mistaken. It's so much more.

3) It builds on the concept, despite its originality. In all rights it is both a sequel and a stand-alone. Howard's detail and research is incredible.

4) The atmosphere is electric, from the streets of Paris to the bowels of the Théâtre Liminaire.

5) The characters are real; believable, flawed, empathetic, loveable. Each one, principle or supporting, is unique.

6) Thorn, a sweet, broken boy you'll immediately fall in love with. Easily a new book boyfriend.

7) Rune, gentle, strong, and unbelievably loyal. A powerful YA heroine and a favourite for sure!

8) Devilish Diable isn't the cutest cat but he's certainly the smartest. With his unique friend Ange, they certainly bring an adorable element to the tale. Animal lovers watch out!

9) Tremulous twists that will leave you reeling and gasping for pause.

10) An emotional roller coaster that will have you wishing it really wasn't a stand-alone.

Not to mention the beautiful writing!

Are you excited for RoseBlood's release in January 2017? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Review: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe.

With thanks to Rock the Boat, please enjoy my review of Annie Van Sinderen.

It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.

As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose-petal lips and her entrancing glow. There’s just something about her that he can’t put his finger on, something faraway and otherworldly that compels him to fall even deeper. Annie’s from the city, and yet she seems just as out of place as Wes feels. Lost in the chaos of the busy city streets, she’s been searching for something—a missing ring. And now Annie is running out of time and needs Wes’s help. As they search together, Annie and Wes uncover secrets lurking around every corner, secrets that will reveal the truth of Annie’s dark past. 
'Annie Van' was an unusual book for me in the fact that I've honestly never read anything like it. It was a completely new experience, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The book tells the story of two characters from different periods of time.

Wes, a modern film-maker at NYU Summer School.

Annie, a businessman's daughter from circa 1825.

They unexpectedly meet, in the most peculiar of ways, and what follows is an adventure through time to right wrongs and put unfinished business to rest; a love story for the ages.

I guess I would classify it as a time travel ghost story, hence its unusual nature. Switching back and forth from two different time periods, it essentially tells two different stories, both of which were highly intriguing. The characters were all loveable, in their own way, and I especially loved Annie and Maddie, who very much mirrored each other, but who were also strong, independent women.

The only points that I would say slightly detracted from the story were;

1: Pace. Meandering in points, it did take me a while to finish.

2: Time travel aspects. Although the mix of it with the supernatural genre was interesting, the back and forth of the timelines was sometimes confusing and hard to follow. Moreover, the physics - the how - of the book was a little sketchy in places, such as why only certain people could see and interact with Annie, and yet why, at times, she was a corporeal, tangible being.

All in all however it was a highly enjoyable narrative and I give it a well deserved four stars.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on Twitter!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Review: The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury.

Okay, so I know I'm super late in posting this, and I heartily apologise, but I'm here now! Yay!
With thanks to Scholastic, onto The Sleeping Prince!

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

Three main points to start;

1: Melinda Salisbury is evil.
2: The Sleeping Prince is amazing.
3: I need The Scarecrow Queen now.

I don't think I need to say much more to be honest - I'd quite happily leave it there - but as this is a review and not simply me fangirling, I will.

The Sleeping Prince is a book that gripped me from the start, and then promptly made me want to throw it against the wall (If you've read it... *Cough* Prologue *Cough*). When this happens, you know you've got a good book in your hands.

The sequel to The Sin Eater's Daughter, we're introduced to a new character, Errin. She's Lief's sister, and a remarkable heroine. Against all odds she - accompanied by her mysterious 'friend' Silas - travels across Tregellan in search of the one person she believes can help find her lost brother. But all is not as it seems. 

Secrets are revealed.

Bonds are tested.

Promises lie in tatters.

Filled with so many twists and turns, this book is an absolute masterpiece. Exciting, fantastical, heartbreaking and harrowing, it is everything that I wanted for the sequel to The Sin Eater's Daughter, and more. Errin was an amazing character to follow. I'll be honest, I was wary at first, wanting more Twylla and desperate to know what happened to her and Merek, but I simply adore Errin and did so within a few pages. She's got more immediate courage and heart than Twylla did; she's already lost everything and refuses to lose anymore. She is the epitome of a strong woman, and I loved every minute of her journey. I was of course still happy to see all our favourite characters from the first book, but I am now quite honestly eager to finish Errin's story too.

Melinda quite firmly remains one of my favourite authors, and I am simply trembling in anticipation for The Scarecrow Queen. March cannot come soon enough.

I think all that's left to say is; Well done, Mel. *Claps* Well done. The Sleeping Prince receives a most deserved five stars.

What are your thoughts on The Sleeping Prince? What do you hope for in The Scarecrow Queen? Do let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Five Spooky Reads!

Happy October 1st everyone!

In an effort to purge a little more of my enormous TBR, I thought I'd do a five book challenge (alongside my 2016 one) for Halloween.

Below are my top 5 spook-tastic books (Or just generally those I feel are more on the horror side) that I want to read this month, by October 31st. Five's maybe a little easy for a whole month, but I actually don't own many books I would consider 'horror' or even a touch scary. As always, if you have any recommendations, do let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

1) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

I've been meaning to read this series for so long that now, with me having all three books and the film out this month, is the perfect time I believe! A lovely Waterstones bookseller told me I'd love them, and I honestly can't wait to prove her right.

2) A Monster Calls.

Again this is one I've been meaning to read for so long, so it of course has to be on the list. I was attempting to read it before meeting Patrick last year, but I unfortunately didn't get very far. Fingers crossed that October is my month.

3) Way Down Dark.

Anyone who knows me knows I love Hodder books and WDD has been keening at me for far too long. Poor book-y. With book three out very soon I really need to get on the band-wagon (so to speak) with this series and catch up!

4) Sweet Evil.

I am really excited to delve into Wendy Higgins' dark novel, and October feels like the perfect month for it. I've had it for quite a while now and have been very keen to start, but something else - whether another book or simply life - has always seemed to get in the way.

5) Caraval.

The only ARC in this challenge, Caraval is a future release I am so very excited for and I can't wait to finally crack the spine (not literally!) on this sprayed edge beauty! I have actually read the first few chapters and I'm honestly loving it so far; I'm certain the rest will be even better.

So those are my spooktastic reads for October! What are your thoughts? Are there any more I should be reading? Do you have your own October TBR? As always, feel free to let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!