The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes | Book Review

Synopsis

“It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

“The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53034698-the-ballad-of-songbirds-and-snakes

My Thoughts

Suzanne Collins is a genius.

We all know of The Hunger Games, whether we have read then or not. I understand they are not for everyone! They weren’t my favourite novels ever. However, I was really excited for this prequel. I preordered it as soon as I heard the news.

I have no regrets.

This book is one of the best things I’ve read all year.

I enjoyed it more than the entire series combined. Even if you haven’t seen/read The Hunger Games, it serves well as a stand alone. That final sentence made the entire book complete. I just… if anyone else has read this book, please talk to me about it. I just- I loved it.

Suzanne Collins made a pretty brave and bold move, to rediscover the world she wrote 10 years ago and make a prequel for it. You’d expect nothing less than a flop, which is understandable. This is a rare and beautiful exception. 

In the original novels Snow was this side-line character. We didn’t learn much about him, but he was the President of the Capitol. He encouraged the Games. In essence, the ‘bad guy’.

Though this novel was written in third person, we learned a lot about Coriolanus Snow. Collins wrote it in a way that made the reader think they knew Coriolanus, but we didn’t really know him at all. 

If I were to use one simply word to describe him, it would be: cunning.

Of course, the bulk of this novel concentrates on Coriolanus being a mentor in the Hunger Games. His tribute, Lucy Gray, was a very exciting character. Following her story was definitely a journey. I loved the way she complimented Coriolanus but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her in the end.

Who Would I Recommend This To?

Any fans of dystopian or fantasy would eagerly eat up this book. It’s a great all-rounder, and if you’re not very familiar with dystopian as a genre I think this is a perfect road into it. You’d probably have to familiarise yourself with the Hunger Games world (Panem) before heading into this. Although, if you take the first few chapters slowly, you will be able to plunge in at the deep end. 

Audience wise, I’d say 11-16? The only reason I could see a young adult reading this is if the Hunger Games meant a lot to them. I have seen a fair few people in their 20s enjoy this (over on bookstagram) but, as I said, I don’t think they’d pick it up unless they already had a good relationship with the Hunger Games original series.

This book is one of the best I’ve read all year! It was a great escape in those weeks where academia got a bit stressful. I couldn’t put it down – and the satisfaction after finishing it is like eating up an entire Christmas dinner. 

What are you reading at the moment, or what do you want to read next?

Hope you have a lovely week,

Catherine x

P.S I’m officially back! Schedule is as follows: new blog post every Tuesday and Wednesday accompanied by an Instagram post. Other social media’s are taking the back seat but I would love if you could add me as a friend on Goodreads! Linked here.

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Email me! cathjaneblog@gmail.com

I Should Have Read That Book Tag! | Ft. My Guilty Face

Thank you so much to Abi for nominating me to participate in this tag! It’s been a while since I last wrote a book tag, so my book blogging brain is a little rusty. However, I anticipate that this will be a fun post! Hope you stick to the end, as you may even be a nominee…

Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag 10 others to take part in the tag
  • Enjoy the tag!

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

Whenever I’m recommended a book by my friend, I tend to read it straight away. Off the top of my head I can’t think of one. 

A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t read it

Call me guilty for not reading Animal Farm by George Orwell yet! It’s been on my TBR for years and I want to fully immerse myself in the literature and context behind it. Do you have any useful resources for Animal Farm so that I can study it?

A book in a series you’ve started, but haven’t gotten around to finishing

A Court Of Thorns And Roses was a stunning book, but I couldn’t get into the sequel! It just didn’t vibe with me in the same way the first one did. I would love to finish the series one day but at the moment I can’t enjoy it thoroughly so it doesn’t seem worth pulling through a novel if I don’t enjoy it.

A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but have never actually read

Jane Eyre sounds beautiful! 

A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read

I was such a big fan of Fangirl, however I’ve not yet picked up Carry On. It sounds fantastic since I loved Simon and Baz’ narrative in the original book. However I don’t have my own copy so it’ll have to wait until libraries are open again.

A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but just haven’t picked up yet

Swallows and Amazons is a beautiful children’s film that I enjoy to this day. Although I haven’t read its book adaptation yet. I’d be interested to know whether it’s similar or completely different from the film!

A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

The Poet X has been on bookstagram for ages now, and I still haven’t read it. I love Elizabeth Acevedo’s “With The Fire On High” and I anticipate The Poet X will be brilliant too. My library offers on online eBook experience and fortunately it’s available to borrow at the moment! I’ll have to read it soon.

I Nominate:

One Book More

What Rebecca’s Read

Elsie LMC

Starry Sky Books

A Fangirl’s Opinion

Marshmallow Harmonies (my favourite bookish gal on the blogosphere, the reason I write book tags today hehe, thank you Rhi!)

The Mood Reader (Yna)

Kristin Kraves Books

Reading With Daniella

Hammock Of Books

That’s all folks!

What book are you going to read next? What are you reading at the moment?

Have a lovely day, and see you on Friday for another post in The Plastic Planet series. Take care,

erin x

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6 Books In One Day | 24-Hour Readathon Wrap-Up

Did I stay up for the whole 24 hours? No. Was it as successful as I anticipated? No. But was it worth it? Yes!

On 25th April I spontaneously decided to partake in a 24-hour readathon. I’ve seen these challenges all over booktube and I really wanted to try it myself. So my friend and I challenged ourselves to read for 24 hours straight! The readathon didn’t set off on the right foot, I woke up and 1:20am instead of midnight as planned. Then I took a break from 5:30am-10:00am. Then went for an hour long walk. Then took a half hour lunch break. And I didn’t end at midnight either, but cut it short at 11:00pm! So this was more like a 12 hour readathon than a full 24 hour one. Although I did finish 6 books, which I am quite pleased about. Here are the books I read:

1) The Lost Princess – Connie Glynn

This was a re-read however I enjoyed it so much more the second time around! I have grown to love the characters and I’m really excited for the next one in the series. Though it felt a bit all over the place, the general plot got through to me and I especially enjoyed all of the cat scenes.

2) The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken

Unfortunately I have no desire to continue with this series. It would have been an amazing read if I hadn’t read so many other 2010s YA dystopian! There was nothing particularly original about it, and most of the tropes I had seen previously. The whole Clancy and Ruby situation gave off Warner and Juliette vibes. Though it was an entertaining read, it didn’t spark much interest. If it weren’t for the readathon I would have probably DNFed it!

3) Leia: Princess Of Alderaan – Claudia Gray

Star Wars is a franchise I only love due to my dad. If I had discovered it myself I probably wouldn’t be the biggest fan! However this book was just so good. Not 5 stars, but quite empowering. We all know of Princess Leia and her romance with Han Solo, but how about independent Leia? Before she had a man? When she stood on her own two feet? The premise of the book is that Leia needs to complete challenges in order to be crowned heir of the throne. We follow her through this journey and she encounters many barriers on the way. But these obstacles only help to bring down the Empire, which is the Rebels key mission. 

4) The Safest Lies – Megan Miranda

Fast paced, enjoyable and quick read. In one sitting I devoured what was an excellent thriller. Though it doesn’t reach the 5-star mark, it was incredibly well-developed for such a short book. Highly recommend for anyone doing a 24-hour readathon!

5) Third Year At Malory Towers – Enid Blyton

Since the series came out on CBBC, it reminded me of the books I used to really love. Though I haven’t watched the programme, the appearance of it around social media was a signal to pick these up again. Of course, I did enjoy them. I admire the way Enid Blyton creates such an atmosphere with so little description. This book helped me through the readathon because it was short and quick, while remaining enjoyable.

6) Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban

My final book of the readathon! I honestly didn’t think I’d finish this one. But once again J.K Rowling’s magic gripped me and I felt compelled to read on. The Prisoner Of Azkaban sees the transition of Harry being young and naive to older and under threat. I would recommend this to anyone, of course, though it isn’t my favourite of the series. 

That wraps up my readathon! Hope you enjoyed reading, if you did stick to the end. Don’t forget to check out my Goodreads to see what I’m reading at the moment. Also, if you’re on my website there’s a little widget to the side of this post. 

What are your reading at the moment? What is your favourite Harry Potter book? 

erin x

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The Unexpected Everything | Morgan Matson | Book Review

Okay, now it’s over. And I just want more! Like, why end it so abruptly? What will happen to Clark and Andie? Please, Morgan Matson, give me more! 

I spent a week on this book, a lot longer than I would usually dedicate to reading, but I just wanted it to last forever. Sadly, it came to an end. As much as I tried to postpone the ending, it eventually came. Sometimes finishing books gives me satisfaction. This one just made me sad. I wanted to know so much more about Andie’s future. From a writer’s perspective, it’s good to allow your reader to predict what’s going to happen next. However, as a reader, I’m hungry for more. That’s how much I enjoyed this book!

The beginning started off like any YA contemporary: explaining the problems the protagonist faces. I thought this was going to be Andie solving her problems… but no! It was actually way more intriuging. Matson introduced many obstacles along the way which I really appreciate. You thought the hurdle had been jumped, then another one came. That kept the pace of the novel going and make me hasty to read on!

It was a wonderfully crafted book. The description was dreamy and clever, allowing the reader to create their own version of Andie’s world. Also, Andie was her own narrator. That meant we could see much deeper into her thoughts and feelings – especially about Clark! In YA it is common to see the standard life events skipped over, but Matson really focused in on the ‘normal’ things. Like dinner, texting your friends or the relationship with your parents. 

One element that I really enjoyed was the side narrative about Andie’s father. He worked in politics and for most of Andie’s life was away from home. But after the scandal, he ended up staying with Andie all summer. The novel showed the growing of a bond. It was very realistic in its hurdles – not washing over the reality too much. 

I suppose what I really enjoyed about this book was the various different things going on at once. There wasn’t just a love interest, but also the loss of a parent. And then the side plot about Andie’s father always working and never having the time for her. On top of that was friendship, and house parties and summer jobs. 

Please read this book. It will make you smile, laugh and cry.

Have you read this book? What are your favourite summer romances? Any titles you can recommend? 

Hope you are all having a lovely day. If not, I hope my blog can make you feel better!

erin x

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Come & Take Part In Our Spring Readathon!

This spring a few bookstagrammers and I are hosting a readathon. The aim is to complete as many of the prompts as possible. They’ll help to broaden your reading ‘sphere’ and hopefully let you discover new favourites. There will be no winner, as this readathon is purely for fun. All participants will get shoutouts on Instagram, so make sure you’re following the hosts on there! We would all appreciate if you shared your progress with the #springreadathon2020 or in the group chat. That way we can talk about the books you’re reading!

We are trying to encourage people to read more often. Hopefully it will motivate you to pick up a book when you don’t usually. There are a set of rules, but they are flexible. Don’t feel that you have to read a book for all of the prompts, you can double up!

If you don’t have Instagram, keep me up to speed via the contact page.

However, if you do have access to Instagram, drop your username in the comments below! I’ll add you to the group chat straight away.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment or DM on Instagram.

Happy reading!

erin x

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