Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Ideal Mash-Ups

Hello bookish friends!

This weeks’ topic is our favourite imagined mash-ups! I found the topic quite tricky this week but I think I managed to come up with a few really interesting new combinations of stories. I couldn’t mash up more than 4 though, so that will just have to do!

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.

1. Monstress meets Heroes of Olympus

Okay. So this is kind of a weird one. But hear me out on this. I basically want a series that has demigods in it BUT it’s aged up and deals with darker, more complex themes. I’d want the wide variety of flawed, fully-realised characters from Riordan’s books but with the grittiness and emotional impact of Liu’s graphic novel series. I’d still want some of the elements of humour from HoO but I’m imagining more of a character-driven story than a plot-driven, swash-buckling adventure type of story. I think The Wicked and the Divine attempted this but kind of lost its way, so I’m still holding out for a fantasy novel series that explores more complicated themes and feels darker in tone, but still has an incredibly addictive writing style with compelling characters you’d happily give every piece of your heart to.

2. Heartstopper meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

With this one, I just want a super sweet queer love story that ends happily ever after and all the queers are content. BUT I would want a full-queer cast. No allocishets allowed. Maybe a token allocishet. But that’s it.

Like these stories, I would want communication to play a big part. Both sets of characters discuss their queer id’s with each other and don’t shy away from having those types of conversations with one another. I would LOVE for a book to explore different kinds of queer id and different kinds of attraction. I would also love for it to have a heavy focus on non-romantic relationships and the importance of them, without using phrases like ‘just friends’ *shudders* Whilst this book couldn’t be the universal queer story, one without any form of queermisia in it would be wonderful! Especially one that didn’t even contain a low-level of amisia throughout (which most books sadly do!) This would be the aro+/ace friendly book of my dreams and the one that we aspec people deserve!

3. Six of Crows meets Mistborn meets Deathnote

If this ain’t the perfect combination of books! Just imagine for one moment Kaz and Kelsier type of characters in the same story. One band of lovable rogues versus another band of lovable rogues in their quest for the exact same heist. Not only will they be having to face all the external conflicts already present in their respective stories, but they would have to compete with each other. One criminal mastermind versus  another. Which is why I think adding the relationship of L and Light would be so interesting! It would be a multi-perspective story, so we’d read about them trying to outsmart each other, all the while sharing the same kind of dark, jovial humour that both crews have. I would want the satisfying plot twists of Mistborn and the atmospheric tone of Six of Crows, mixed with the twistedness of Deathnote.

4. Batman meets fairy tales

Okay so I’ve imagined this kind of story for quite some time and I think it makes SO MUCH SENSE. Batman is dark and gritty and atmospheric and setting it in a fairy tale esque story world would be perfect. I would want to age down the characters and make it a middle grade novel – the type that deals with darker themes but still manages to preserve that element of hope and friendship. Gotham would be this small village in the middle of the woods and one day little Bruce loses his parents to the monster that prowls within them, so he decides to seek revenge and track down the monster all by himself. But he’s not the only one with a score to settle and he meets friends (and possibly enemies) along the way. I mean, I kind of want to write this myself! It’s perfect for the fairy tale setting.

I really truly wanted to add Avatar: The Last Airbender to this list but couldn’t think of anything to mix it with to be better. It’s literally already the greatest masterpiece so I couldn’t possibly improve on it. I just want MORE of it!

Can you imagine any of these mash ups? Do you have any of your own? Let me know!

Stark Reviews Logo


Books · Discussion

How to Read More…

Hello bookish friends!

I haven’t been reading as much lately – mostly because I’m stressing with my upcoming deadlines! So I thought I would think of some ways to help me read more and share them with you, too. These tips have worked in the past for me, so here’s hoping they can work again this time around!

1. Carry a book with you wherever you go

This is one tip I make sure to always follow. You never know when you’ll have a spare few minutes during your day to read. I know that whenever I’ve completely forgotten to bring a book with me in the past, it’s the one time that I’ll have half an hour or so to spare with absolutely nothing to read! Which also brings me onto my next point…

2. Read different formats

This is a newer reading tip for me. It’s only relatively recently that I’ve gotten into audiobooks, but they really make me read a lot more. Particularly when I’m coming home from work late at night and my eyes are far too tired to read. As I was alluding to in the first point, reading different formats, particularly electronic formats, is advantageous when you forget your physical book or just don’t fancy carrying it around with you. I find that I always manage to read much more every month when I’ve read audiobooks. I read them in the shower, when I’m getting ready, when I’m walking, when I’m commuting. They’re perfect for when you feel like you’re not getting very far with your reading progress that month but desperately want to read something. And if you find a narrator you enjoy and connect with, it adds a whole new layer to the story. I’ve enjoyed an audiobook more than I know I would have enjoyed reading the physical book. If you haven’t tried an audiobook yet, I really recommend: The Diviners by Libba Bray, His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman (full cast narration!) and The Boy, the Bird and the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods.

3. Structure your reading time

For me, this is probably the most effective way of reading more. Setting aside a certain amount of time per day for reading not only makes me enjoy my reading experience more, but also makes me work harder at my assessments because I know I only have a certain amount of words to write until I let myself read. I’ve always found that, the less time I have to read, the more books I end up reading! Back in January, I had four assessments due and I was spending most of my time working on them. But I still managed to read 12 books and over 4,700 pages (somehow!?) Mostly because I made sure to schedule in some reading time every day. (And I also read some amazing books that month, which probably helped alot!)

Have you got any tips and tricks on how you manage to read more? Please let me know – I definitely could do with some right now!!

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – State of Sorrow

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

State of Sorrow

I’m currently reading State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury. It’s the first book in a new YA high fantasy series and follows Sorrow as she governs the Court of a grief-stricken land. As with the Salisbury books I’ve read previously, this is written lyrically and has a fairy-tale-esque kind of atmosphere. I’m not very far in, and the blurb gives literally nothing away, so I’ve found the plot very compelling so far and I’m really interested to see where it goes.

“There were days that she was so full of darkness she couldn’t speak in case it spilled from her, coating, ruining, drowning everything she loved.”

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Auto-Buy Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors

Hello bookish friends!

This weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday is all about our favourite sci-fi and fantasy authors. Fantasy is, by far, my favourite genre, so getting it down to just 5 was a tad hard! Also, I don’t buy books too often, so I’m including ‘auto-borrow’ authors, too – books I immediately put on request when they become available at the library. I’m also only including authors who have written more than one series/stand-alone (that I’ve read!). And I’m including urban fantasy in this list. Just ‘cuz.

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.

Strange the Dreamer

1. Laini Taylor

I’ve loved every book I’ve read from Taylor. She has such a unique way of constructing sentences, creating the most beautiful stories. Her story-worlds are full of mythology (which I love!!) and are wonderfully-imagined. I also love that Taylor doesn’t shy away from writing heart-wrenchingly emotional scenes and the best kind of romantic relationships (both cutesy and angsty!) I will absolutely read everything she writes, just to be amazed at how her imagination works!

The Hero of Ages

2. Brandon Sanderson

I’ve read nearly all of Sanderson’s Cosmere books now and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I like how they each have their own individual style and their own uniquely interesting magic systems. My favourite in particular will always be the Mistborn books, mostly for nostalgia reasons but also because I distinctly remember staying up incredibly late just to read one more chapter. Given the humongous size of these books, the pace that I manage to get through them tells me all I need to know about how much I love his Cosmere books.

Crooked Kingdom

3. Leigh Bardugo

Bardugo is one of those writers that gets better and better with each book that she writes. She has mastered all four elements – plot, world-building, characters and writing. I love how dark and gritty her Grishaverse is, and how flawed and incredibly well-developed her characters are. I (not so) patiently await the next book in the Grishaverse series!

The Blood of Olympus

4. Rick Riordan

Riordan’s books are a very different kind of fantasy that I love to read about. Yes the characters are put in dire situations but, at the heart of it, Riordan’s books are just so much fun. I mean, they are a ride. I’m cracking up one minute, I’m stressing the hell out the next. He writes such compelling stories and fills them with characters you’d do just about anything for. I can’t wait to finish reading all of his back catalogue this year!


5. Cassandra Clare

Obviously I had to include my favourite author on this list! Clare is another author whose stories get better the more she writes. I’m re-reading all of the Shadowhunter Chronicles at the moment in preparation for Queen of Air and Darkness in December and I love that I can see such improvement in the way she writes. The Dark Artifices is by far the most sophisticated series, with complex themes, intricate plots and fascinating (and lovable!) characters. Plus, the writing is very addictive and Cassie knows how to write a gut-wrenching finale. Which makes me excited/terrified for December!

I don’t think anyone is shocked by these! This is essentially a list of some of my favourite authors, given that it is mostly fantasy I reach for. I would’ve liked to include: V.E. Schwab, Melinda Salisbury and Marjorie M. Liu on this list but I’ve only read one of each of their series – so maybe next time!

If you have any recommendations for me based on these authors, please go ahead and let me know! What are some of your favourite auto-buy/borrow fantasy/sci-fi authors?

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Discussion

Spotlight – Slower-Paced Reads

Hello bookish friends!

I know I tend to be in the minority when I say I love slower-paced books – and don’t get me wrong, I love me an action-packed thrill ride – but there’s just something about slow-paced books that I love and fancied chatting about today!

1. Character Development

My absolute favourite element of any story has to be the characters. I find that character-driven stories are the types of stories that stay with me for far longer.

The Diviners

The Diviners series by Libba Bray is the perfect example of this. This series follows a diverse group of extremely well-developed characters that all have incredibly compelling individual story lines. They each have flawed, distinct personalities and the slower-paced storytelling allows readers to get to know the characters inside out. Further, the time dedicated to the interactions between these characters is so important and helps to build up all of the emotions and makes for some intense scenes. Also, listening to this series on audiobook (narrated by January LeVoy) made me fall even more in love with these lovable misfits. I think this might just be my favourite cast of characters!

2. World-building

A slower pace also tends to contribute to more well-developed story-worlds. The author is able to let us get to know the world and understand all of its intricacies so that we can vividly imagine ourselves wandering about in it.

The Sin Eater's Daughter

For example, The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy by Melinda Salisbury is perfectly slow in pace. This allows Salisbury to construct and weave in the mythology of the world which, in turn, creates a dark, fairytale-esque atmosphere for the characters to navigate themselves in. The variations of mythology in this trilogy was what turned it into one of my all-time favourites and I’m really excited to read Salisbury’s new release, State of Sorrow this month!

3. Endings

I’ve always found that slower-paced stories tend to make for more impactful endings. A slower pace allows for a more carefully-crafted story with hidden ‘Easter eggs’ and other clues that make you desperate to read on to find out what happens.

The Way of Kings Part Two

Pretty much all of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere books come to mind here. The Way of Kings in particular was, at over 1,000 pages, a proper journey of a book. The first three quarters are slow in pace whilst the intricacies of the world and the host of characters are introduced to us. Then, for the last 250 pages or so BAM – it’s all happening! Every thread of the story is pulled together and it’s all starts to make sense and feel worthwhile. There’s always a huge pay-off that comes from reading a slower-paced story and waiting for it all to come together. I will never not be blown away by them!

Do you like slower-paced reads? If so, what are some of your favourites?

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Hidden Oracle

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Hidden Oracle

I’m currently reading The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan. Continuing on with my one Rick Riordan book a month challenge for 2018, I am so happy that he decided to continue writing about these characters. I will honestly never tire of them! Following god-turned-mortal Apollo, this book takes a very different format from his previous Greek/Roman ones which I’m really enjoying. I have a love/hate relationship with Apollo – he’s arrogant and insufferable but at the same time quite a sympathetic character. He’s also hilarious. I have laughed out loud many times already. Overall, while not quite as intense or exciting as the previous books, I’m still very much enjoying this one!

“When one is a god, the world hangs on your every word. When one is sixteen… not so much.”

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Stats

My Reading Year So Far: Jan-March Stats | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

I usually do one of these in the middle of the year and at the end of the year but I fancied talking about my bookish year so far a quarter of the way into it. Also, as a librarian, I have a bit of a thing for statistics!

So far I’m a very much on track to complete my 65 books Goodreads goal. So much so that I’m tempted to increase it already. I kind of want to increase it to 125 books but I know that’s slightly ridiculous since I struggled last year with 100 books. But I’ve already read more this year than I did at this same time last year, so I could possibly do it. I think I’ll wait to see where I’m at halfway through the year, then decide!

RC 2018 1

I’ve been really lucky with my reading this year so far. A third of the books I’ve read have been 5 stars which is unusual for me so I’m very happy with that! I’ve given 14 books 4 stars and 6 books 3 stars. In previous years, 3 star books are usually my second highest rating after 4 stars so I guess I’m picking the right books this year, particularly considering the fact that I’ve managed not to read any 2 or 1 star books yet!

RC stats 2018 1

I’ve read a bit of a mix of books:

  • 4 audiobooks
  • 5 graphic novels
  • 3 re-reads
  • 1 book over 1,000 pages
  • 1 2018 release


  • 5 adult books
  • 14 YA books
  • 11 MG/children’s books


  • 14 library books
  • 16 owned books

I now have a physical (owned books) TBR of 40 books which I am a-okay with. I don’t tend to buy many books during the year (I only really obtain books for my birthday and at Christmas) so I should be able to halve this no problem. My TBR tends to be around 50 at its highest (after Christmas) which is always a pretty manageable amount for the rest of the year!

I’ve also managed to complete 4 series:

All of which I adored!!

There’s a few standout books that I’d like to briefly talk/gush about:

Lair of Dreams

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

The audiobook narrator (January LeVoy) is just phenomenally talented and truly brings the 1920’s New York atmosphere to life, as well as my beloved characters. This instalment in particular introduced a new favourite character of mine and the ending was incredibly exciting in terms of the future of this beautifully imagined series. I’ll be reading on audiobook Before the Devil Breaks You, the next book in the series, probably next month, even though I know I’ll be sad waiting for the next one to come out!

The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

I’m sure you all know by now how much I love these books but I think this might be my favourite one (so far!). Although we didn’t get any Percy/Annabeth chapters in the finale, we did get Nico and Reyna who are my absolute favourites in this series. Particularly Nico – I’ve loved his character from the beginning and I was so happy to finally read from his perspective. I kind of want a series dedicated to Nico and Reyna – I would tear through it!

Every Heart A Doorway

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This book meant a lot to me personally given that it’s narrated by an ace protagonist and I ended up tabbing literally every other page! These characters, especially Jack and Kade, were so full of life and the premise itself is so fascinating. I cannot wait to read more of these novellas – especially now that there’s at least 5 more to be published in this story-world!

And a couple kind of meh books that I really wanted to give higher than 3 stars to:

The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

I’m really sad that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first book of the series. I’m not sure if it’s because I left it for two years but I just found the writing style kind of pretentious and a little ridiculous. Which is a shame since I love these characters but it’s definitely a personal preference thing and not an objective criticism and I still liked the overall story.

The Rose Society

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Ahh, I really wanted to love this. It sounds perfect on paper – antihero/villain protagonist, dark and gritty fantasy, X-Men-like abilities. I should’ve loved this.. but it was just underwhelming for me. And I think it’s because of the writing style. I hated that it switched from first person to third person. I found it really confusing and every time I got used to the change, it shifted again. The writing also felt very plain which is fine, but I prefer flowery writing – so again, it’s a personal preferences thing here. I love the characters and the themes and am still excited to see how it all ends though.

In terms of my reading goals for 2018, aside from the Goodreads challenge and the finishing series goals, the Books I Must Finish This Year Or Else list is… not going great. I actually haven’t read a single one of the 12 books I tasked myself to read this year. I’ve DNF’d one. But that’s it. And you know what? I’m having a much better reading year without forcing myself to read these books and only reading what I want to read the most, which is probably why I have a lot of 5 star ratings this year.

Going forward, the books I’m looking forward to reading most over April-June are:

There’s also a few books I’d really like to purchase over the next few months that I am very desperate to read (luckily I have a gift card from Christmas leftover!):

So I think that about sums up my reading year so far. I’ll be really interested to reflect on this post once I’ve posted my next stats update in June!

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · TBR

April TBR | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

Apologies for being gone for a little while – I needed to focus more on my studies. I finish my classes towards the end of this month so, although I’ll be working on assessments, I’ll still have a lot more free time to read. Which is why I’ve decided to be overly ambitious with the amount of books I’d like to get around to reading this month. I’ve roughly ordered these in excitement levels and books I am going to read first. I’m hoping to read a total of 14 books and 5,626 pages!

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

State of Sorrow

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

The Hidden Oracle

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

And I Darken

And I Darken by Kiersten White


Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Dreadnought by April Daniels

The Savage Dawn

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Gray

Prince of Hazel and Oak

Prince of Hazel and Oak by John Lenahan

The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly


Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Alex, Approximately

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Deathnote #1

Deathnote: Black Edition, Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba & Taskeshi Obata

So that’s it for the books I’d like to get around to this month. It’s a bit of a mixed bag of books I’m in the middle of, books that have just been released, re-reads and my very first manga! What are some of the books you plan to read in April?

Stark Reviews Logo


Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Traitor to the Throne

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


I’m currently reading Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. I originally started reading this sequel over a year ago, got 100 pages in, then put it down for some reason, even though I was enjoying it? I don’t know why I do this! But I’m glad I (eventually) picked it back up. It’s just as fun and fast-paced as the first book in the series with even higher stakes in this one where political intrigue plays a big role. I’ve about 100 pages left so everything is just a little bit intense right now. In a way I’m kind of glad that I left it for a year since the last book has just been released and I’ve already managed to reserve a copy at the library. I thought I’d fallen out of love with this series but my love has been restored!

“The fight would be short and bloody. There were already more soldiers on the ground than standing. I fired. And now there was one more. I turned, already looking for my next target.”

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Lists

Favourite Books of 2017

Hello bookish friends!

So this is an incredibly late post! Oops. I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of books I read in 2017 so this has been quite a difficult list to put together! I also find it a lot harder to explain what I love about books, rather than what I hate about books, so hopefully this won’t be too much of me just fangirling! Although I’ve ordered this list, they were all my favourites really!


10. Winter by Marissa Meyer

I’ve put this on the list as more of a series appreciation overall. I found myself completely swept away by books 2, 3 & 4 of this series. I even ended up reading the last two back-to-back which is so unlike me! I adored the characters and their dynamics and the witty back-and-forth. The romances were adorable (my favourite kind) and the writing style was so addictive, it hardly felt like I was reading an 800 page book! The plot in this particular instalment was intense and it rounded off character arcs really well. I highly recommend this series if you’re looking for fun, romance and memorable characters.

Gentleman's Guide

9. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

This was the perfect adventure story. It was the perfect blend of fun, laughter and emotion. Gentleman’s Guide definitely had its dark moments, too, which I feel were all incorporated seamlessly and issues revolving around race, sexuality and illness were discussed really well. It was a difficult, emotional read at times. I also loved these characters so much – they were so well-developed and so memorable. It was everything I imagined it would be and I cannot wait to read the companion novel!

The Diviners

8. The Diviners by Libba Bray

I read this towards the end of the year and was surprised at how much I loved it/obsessed over it. It’s a slow build-up whilst we’re being introduced to all of the characters and to the 1920’s New York setting but the plot unravels beautifully. I loved how creepy and atmospheric it was, yet glamorous and addictive. All of the characters were great. They were flawed and very well fleshed out. The writing itself completely transported me to the setting. It was a very visceral read. I listened to this one on audio-book and the narrator was perfect. They really brought the story and characters to life. I cannot wait to read the other two books in this series this year!


7. The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

Although I read two more instalments of this series after this one, The Whispering Skull still has to be my favourite of the series. The mystery in this one was so complex and well-crafted, I kept trying to piece it together throughout (to no avail!) It was so creepy and thrilling and just so much fun. Particularly in the last 100 pages or so, I could not read quick enough, I was that desperate to consume the story. And, oh, the characters. I love this gang of ghost-hunting misfits so much. I loved their relationship dynamics, especially the banter between Lucy and the Skull. The humour was brilliant, too. This is such a fun, creepy, light-hearted series which became one of my all-time favourites over the year.

The Way of Kings Part Two

6. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson certainly knows how to write a decent fantasy book! I’ve read pretty much all of his Cosmere works (apart from his short stories) and this is probably my favourite first book of a series of his. Although it was slow at the start, this is the first of a ten book series, so that was to be expected. The world-building in this was just phenomenal. I loved that we didn’t just get to see one part of the world – we got a real feel for the people and the cultures from all over the world. I always love the mysteries in Sanderson’s novels. This one kept me second-guessing and trying to work out each of the clues. I tore through the last 250 pages – they were so intense! I loved how complex the plot and the world were and I cannot wait to read the next two in the series.


5. Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

This is, hands down, my favourite graphic novel. It was so well developed and so darn imaginative. It’s set in a steam-punk fantasy, alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia that has talking cats, ancient gods and a rich, well-developed, compelling mythology and if that isn’t enough to intrigue you, I don’t know what is! The story is very dark and it covers some disturbing topics (slavery, intense violence, eugenics, cannibalism) so do be warned. I really loved the whole theme of ‘what makes a monster.’ It didn’t hold back from any of the nasty realities of war and the characters were free to feel what they needed to. The MC is flawed and you’re not entirely sure if she’s the hero or the villain but you still root for her anyway. Also, the artwork. Holy crap, the artwork. Genuinely the most aesthetically pleasing graphic novel I have ever had the pleasure of casting my eyes upon. I’ve already read the sequel volume and loved it just as much so I am incredibly hyped to continue reading this series to see where it goes.

The Hate U Give

4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Although this was one of the last books I read in the year it became an instant favourite pretty much as soon as I started reading it. I was completely sucked into the story. It was intense, it was emotional. I laughed, I cried. My god, this book made me feel so much. I adored Starr so much. She had a wicked sense of humour – like I was cackling at the things she came out with. Starr’s family was what stood out most for me. They were the most supportive, most encouraging, most loving family I think I might have ever read about. Their kind words to Starr had me tearing up throughout. Thomas discusses racism, police brutality, micro-aggressions and white privilege seamlessly throughout the novel and, seriously, everyone needs to read this. I cannot wait to see what else Thomas puts out – I will definitely be reading it. And definitely be re-reading this one. A new all-time favourite.

Ghostly Echoes

3. Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter

I think this is probably my favourite of the Jackaby series. The previous two instalments were great but this was just on a whole ‘nother level. I loved how this one delved deeper into the world and was a lot darker in tone, too. I had chills at so many points throughout this book. Also, any book that features travelling to the Underworld immediately gets extra points from me. There’s just something about the Underworld that has always intrigued me and Ritter’s interpretation of the Underworld definitely did not disappoint. I really loved how high the stakes were in this instalment. There were some real character-defining moments as my poor beloved characters were put into difficult, tense situations. And the romance between Abigail and Charlie is easily one of my absolute favourites. They are so very cute and they’re just genuinely good people who you root for with all your heart. This instalment was a lot more character-driven, even funnier than its predecessor’s and very compelling. HIGHLY recommend.


2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Taylor always writes beautiful stories that I inhale-read but this one has to be my favourite of hers so far. Taylor created such an interesting, wildly-imaginative world and filled it with a rich history and mythos that I absolutely fell in love with. The main character, Lazlo, was one of my favourite perspectives I’ve read from. He was such a relatable character, especially considering that he was a librarian. The writing itself was achingly beautiful. Taylor has such a unique way with words. I’m always in awe of the way she constructs sentences and the way that she carefully lays out her plot. The sequel is coming out in October so I have time to prepare myself at least!

Honourable Mentions:

The Last Olympian

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

This finale was an absolute rollercoaster. Right from the very start, it kept me on the edge of my seat. Usually with finales I don’t feel particularly scared for any of the characters’ fates but with this, I was constantly worried, tearing through the pages as quickly as I could. This series in general was so much fun and so addictive to read.


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Aston & Jodi Meadows

This is another book that caught me by surprise. I remember reading the first paragraph and thinking: ‘yep, this is absolutely my kind of humour.’ It was probably the funniest book I read all year. Considering this was written by three authors, the story was seamless. I loved what the authors did with the history and how they weaved in the fantastical elements. I adored the characters, particularly the relationship dynamics between the main character and her partner. It was my favourite kind of romance – sweet, funny, subtle and built on mutual admiration and respect. The pacing and the overall flow of the story were spot on and I just found the whole concept in general to be so imaginative and I cannot wait to read their next book. It was such a fun read and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something a little different that will leave you in stitches.lord-of-shadows

1. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Of course my number one favourite read of the year was Lord of Shadows! I’ve been banging on about it ever since I read it, so this comes at no surprise, I’m sure. I just… really, really, really love everything about this. My precious characters and their relationship dynamics, the complex, super compelling plot, the twists and turns. I JUST LOVE IT. I’ve already decided to take a days’ holiday when Queen of Air and Darkness is released so I can consume it all in one go.

I think I slightly over-used the word ‘love’ in this post! Sorry for being quite repetitive but you can only find so many ways to say ‘I love the characters, I love the plot, I love the world, I love the writing’ !!

What were some of your favourite reads of 2017?

Stark Reviews Logo



Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Dark Days Club

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Dark Days Club

I’m currently reading The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman. It’s essentially an urban fantasy set in Regency London that fellows Lady Helen Wrexhall as she navigates her way through high society whilst also uncovering the secret shadow world that surrounds her.

I am really liking this one. It’s definitely a slow-build but I’ve really enjoyed the detailed world-building. It reminds me a little of The Diviners in this sense – that I have a complete picture of the setting and the social customs at this point in time. It’s really atmospheric too. I’m just over halfway through now and not that much has been happening, so if you’re into fast-paced urban fantasy, I don’t think your tastes would suit this. But, personally, I’m really into the world and the characters and I’m excited to see where the series will go after this initial instalment which has mainly revolved around introducing Lady Helen to this secret world.

“Helen fixed her eyes on the carpet, trying to block the foul image of her mother’s headless body slumped over the block, blood pouring over pale spine and sinew – the execution reserved for a treasonous Peer.”

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Lists

My Most Anticipated Releases of 2018

Hello bookish friends!

These are (most) of the new releases I’m looking forward to picking up this year. I’m sure there will more to add to this list later, so I’ll probably doing a post similar to this in the summertime. But, for now, these are all the books I’m most excited for!

The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Release: 2nd January
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: First novel in a trilogy
Reason: Faeries, complex characters, evil plot-twists, highly addictive

(I’ve already read this and it’s GREAT. Definitely pick it up!)

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

Release: 1st February
Genre: Adult (urban) fantasy
Type: Third in a companion novella series
Reason: Characters that make me feel emotional, fascinating story-worlds

Let's Talk About Love

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Release: 1st February
Genre: YA contemporary
Type: Stand-alone
Reason: Biroace rep (!!), cute romance, works in a library

All Out

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages edited by Saundra Mitchell

Release: 27th February
Genre: YA
Type: Collection of short stories
Reason: By queer people, about queer people, for queer people

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Release: 6th March
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: First in a series
Reason: Intriguing fantasy world, disappearing magic

Restore Me

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

Release: 6th March
Genre: YA dystopian
Type: Fourth in a series
Reason: I adore these characters (but I am also terrified to read this)

Ace of Shades

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Release: 10th April
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: First in a series
Reason: Criminal underground, major Six of Crows vibes (!!)

My Plain Jane (USA)

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

Release: 26th June
Genre: YA historical/fantasy
Type: Stand-alone (companion series?)
Reason: Witty, fun, imaginative plot

These Rebel Waves

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Release: 7th August
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: First in a series
Reason: Queer pirates (!!)

*No cover released yet*

The Golden Tower by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

Release: September
Genre: MG urban fantasy
Type: Finale
Reason: Clever plot-twists, interesting use of tropes

*No cover released yet*

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Release: 2nd October
Genre: YA historical
Type: Companion sequel
Reason: A science girl gang (!!), more Percy, Monty and Felicity, pirates

*No cover released yet*

Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas

Release: 30th October
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: Finale
Reason: I’m just weirdly addicted to this story-world

Queen of Air and Darkness

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Release: 4th December
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Type: Finale
Reason: I’m Shadowhunter trash.

So these are all the new releases I’m looking forward to so far. Let me know if there’s any new releases you’re looking forward to that I can add to my (ever-growing and slightly out-of-hand) TBR!

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Lists

My Least Favourite and Most Disappointing Reads of 2017

Hello bookish friends!

This post will encompass all the books I read in 2017 that I either really didn’t like or I was completely disappointed by. I mainly read books I enjoyed last year but a few did manage to irk me. I’m not including DNF’s on this list otherwise it could get slightly out of hand!

*Content warning for quotes depicting amisia and fatphobia*

The Baking Life of Amelie Day

The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis

I borrowed this one from the library during Great British Bake Off season and had high hopes for it since it was meant to be a book all about baking. But, I just really disliked… well, everything about it, to be honest. I can’t really remember what happened in the story which I think goes to show how bland and boring it was. I remember thinking at the time how pointless it was. It wasn’t offensive, it was just incredibly boring. And not at all what I was hoping for.


The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

CW: Amisia

I was so disappointed by this one. I know a lot of people love it and I’m happy for you if you’re one of those people but I just had a lot of issues with it. First of all the amisia was really bad. Here’s a wonderful quote:

“Here’s what I would never, ever admit out loud: a part of me always thought it was some kind of a secret compliment when someone got called a slut. It meant you were having sex. It meant people wanted to have sex with you. Being a slut just meant you were normal.”

I’ve got a great tip for all you allo writers out there: DON’T USE THE WORD ‘NORMAL’ AND ‘SEX’ IN THE SAME SENTENCE/TRAIN OF THOUGHT. Seriously, don’t.

There were other instances as well but that’s the one that angered me the most. The main character’s sister was another point of contention for me. She called the main character ‘childish’ for not wanting to approach relationships/attractions the way she did which, again, allos: DON’T DO THIS. I just couldn’t get over the amisia and, apart from that, the plot was virtually non-existent, I wasn’t a fan of the characters (except for Reid) and I was just really disappointed throughout. I loved Simon vs. so I had very high hopes, only to be let down. Especially since Albertalli seems to care about diversity in her books, it’s just a real shame.

A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

CW: Amisia 

I imagine this was on a lot of people’s most disappointing of 2017 reads and that’s because it was just so disappointing. There was a lot of build-up in the previous instalment but there was never a time when I was reading the finale that I thought anyone was in any real danger. There were so many loose ends at the end of the book and I know there’s going to be a companion series but I just found it a bit of a joke that a lot of character arcs were left incomplete.

Also there was a horrific bit of amisia within, like, the first 30 pages or so.

“Perhaps any sort of physical passion had long since been drained away, alongside their souls.” 

I just. There are no words for this. What made me most mad about this was seeing a bunch of allos on Twitter having the AUDACITY to say ‘nah this wasn’t acephobic’ !?!? Seriously!? IT COULD NOT BE MORE BLATANT #allosaretrash

AND Maas used a person’s queer identity as a plot twist!? NOPE. Non-queers, please don’t do that. That’s never an okay thing to do. It was just handled really poorly and felt like an afterthought, rather than something that came about at the inception of the character.

And also. The sex. Please stop. It’s just so bloody grim. I had to skim over the sex scenes in the end, they were so offensively gross. Sorry not sorry if you’re into that type of explicit content (I’m really really not which is one of the reasons why I prefer to read YA over adult, just in case they pop up).

I mean, I’m weirdly addicted to Maas’ books and writing style so I’ll probably still continue to read them (even though they’re complete trash) and I’ll love them and hate them at the same time. So expect more Maas books on future disappointing reads!


The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

This book is just straight up racist. Don’t really need more of an explanation than that. It was just plain awful.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

CW: Amisia 

Another book that contained a lot of amisia. Joy! It was one tale in particular actually that left a rather sour taste – The Warlock’s Hairy Heart. *spoilers* So, basically, the wizard in this tale does not want to experience romantic attraction so he uses dark magic to literally remove his heart, clearly suggesting that aros are heartless !?!? Words such as ‘cold,’ ‘strange’ and ‘remote’ are used to describe the wizard – yet more awful stereotypes !! And here’s some more: “all will change when a maid catches his fancy.” Grrr. No it bloody won’t! People pity him for not having romantic love in this life. Double grrrr. You do not need to experience romantic attraction to have a complete and fulfilling life !! AND when his heart is put back in its place: “now you are healed and will know true love!” CAUSE APPARENTLY THOSE WHO DO NOT EXPERIENCE ROMANTIC ATTRACTION ARE BROKEN AND REQUIRE FIXING !?!?!? Hell no to this amisic piece of trash.

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

This original fairy tale just wasn’t what I had expected at all and I guess that’s my fault for building it up in my head but it had hardly anything to do with the actual Snow Queen. It was more to do with friendship and bravery, which is fine, but not the story I always imagined it to be. Which is entirely my fault for not knowing but.. still, I was disappointed by it.

Since You've Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I had a number of issues with this one. First of all, it was far too long. It’s a YA contemporary. It really did not have to go on for over 500 pages. And it was a slog. I read the first half over two years ago and made myself read the second half this year.

I also really disliked the main character’s best friend. They were an awful friend. She was also trying to get the main character to do things that made her feel really uncomfortable like going to a bar/club even though the m/c suffered from social anxiety. Now, I suffered from social anxiety when I was the m/c’s age and had friends that tried to make me do things that would make me feel awful for suffering from anxiety so I really don’t get on with this trope when I see it in a book. I know how that feels and, lemme tell you, it’s pretty shitty.

Poets, Artists, Lovers

Poets, Artists, Lovers by Mira Tudor

CW: Fatphobia

You can read my full review here. I wrote over 1,200 words for it so you can see I had some THOUGHTS. It didn’t feel like a cohesive story, rather a series of conversations that mostly felt quite irrelevant to plot (both external and internal). There were constant unnecessary details where Tudor would tell and not show and provide us with useless information, such as the height of a mountain range in both metres and feet (why!?) Most characters were one-dimensional with one in particular being one of the creepiest men I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading about.

The fatphobia was rife in the second half of the book. It was like the author suddenly became obsessed with weight loss and diet. For example:

“Reducing calories is a mistake. If you need 2,500 calories, and you reduce your intake to 2,000 calories, your body will first use your fat reserves, and then it will start to use only 2,000 because it learns that you give it only that much. So you will stop losing weight.”


And also:

“My mother says that young healthy women with strong willpower should make sure they’re slim, or else they send the message that they don’t have enough willpower, or that they’re not healthy.”

*face palms* WHYYYYY though??

So I was not planning to get vexed in this post but amisia makes me. so. darn. mad. Hopefully I won’t have to be subjected to those awful types of books this year. I’ve already read Every Heart A Doorway (ace & ownvoices) which was wonderful ace rep and I’m planning to read Let’s Talk About Love (biroace & ownvoices) and Radio Silence (demisexual) soon! Please let me know if you have any aro+/ace book rec’s, I would love to read them!

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Frozen Tides

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Frozen Tides

I’m currently reading Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes. This is the fourth instalment in a fast-paced, addictive YA high fantasy series. Whilst I’ve enjoyed Frozen Tides for the most part, quite a few of the perspective characters irritate me and I’ve found myself trying to get through their chapters to get to the more interesting ones like Cleo and Magnus. It’s still a highly enjoyable read and I’m still invested in this series overall. It’s just sadly not my favourite one so far (I do still have 50 pages left though, so who knows – the ending could blow me away completely!)

“The flames engulfed his mouth and face until his entire body, head to toe, became a torch.”

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Lists

All the Series…

Hello bookish friends!

One of my very first posts on this blog was about the series I was either currently reading, had finished, or had planned to start. Since that post is over two years old (where does the time go!?), I thought it was the right kind of time to update so I can look back at this in another couple of years time and see my progress. Be warned, this is going to be a very long post!!

Ongoing Series:

In total, I am currently reading 24 series (31 if we’re counting graphic novel series which I personally don’t!)


These are all the series that I am in the middle of reading but not all the books have been published quite yet.

  • The Folk of the Air – read: to read: 2
  • Wayward Children – read: 1 to read: 2
  • The Diviners – read: 1 to read: 2
  • Murder Most Unladylike – read: 1 to read: 5
  • Magisterium – read: 4 to read: 1
  • Throne of Glass – read: 6 to read: 1
  • Frey & McGray – read: 1 to read: 3
  • The Stormlight Archive – readto read: 9
  • The Dark Artifices – readto read: 1
  • Strange the Dreamer – readto read: 1
  • Falling Kingdoms – readto read: 3
  • Mistborn (era 2) – readto read: 1
  • Rebel of the Sands – read: to read: 2


These are all the series that I am currently reading and all the books have released, I just haven’t gotten around to finishing them quite yet. Because I’m terrible at starting series and never finishing them.

  • Heroes of Olympus – readto read: 2
  • Chronicles of Narnia – readto read: 3
  • Shades of Magic – readto read: 1
  • Skulduggery Pleasant – readto read: 9
  •  Snow Like Ashes –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • The School for Good and Evil –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • His Dark Materials –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • The Young Elites –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • Shadowmagic –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • The Girl At Midnight –  read: 2 to read: 1
  • The Raven Cycle –  read: 1 to read: 3

Graphic Novels:

As I’m sure you can see from the heading, these are all the graphic novel series I am currently in the middle of. Most of these are series that are incomplete.

  • Giant Days – read: 3
  • Locke & Key – read: 1
  • Monstress – read: 1
  • The Sandman – read: 1
  • Lumberjanes – read: 6
  • The Wicked and the Divine – read: 5
  • Saga – read: 5

Finished Series:

This list is (thankfully!) a lot longer than the one I wrote two years ago where I had only completely finished 12 series in my entire lifetime!! I’ve now read 27 which means I’ve completed 15 more series in 2 years which is actually so much better than I thought. Go me!

  • Lockwood & Co.
  • Jackaby
  • The Winner’s trilogy
  • Harry Potter
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians
  • The Lunar Chronicles
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • Penryn and the End of Days
  • The Sin Eater’s Daughter
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • Six of Crows
  • Mistborn (era 1)
  • The Mortal Instruments
  • The Infernal Devices
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Shatter Me
  • Starcrossed
  • Dark Heart
  • Fallen
  • Hush, Hush
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Wolves of Mercy Falls
  • Trylle
  • Books of Faerie
  • Noughts and Crosses
  • Twilight
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles

DNF Series:

Most of these series I’ve only read the first book and either felt very meh about it (Firebird series), I’ve heard bad reviews for the rest of the series and don’t want to ruin my enjoyment of the first book (Rebel Belle/The 5th Wave), left it too long to read the sequel (Legend) or I just plain did not like the first book (Age of Legends series). These aren’t all definitely DNF’s though and I might get back around to reading them… someday!

  • The Wrath and the Dawn
  • Firebird
  • Rebel Belle
  • Black City
  • Age of Legends
  • Red Queen
  • Legend
  • The 5th Wave
  • Watersong
  • Goddess War
  • Divergent

Series to Start:

There are possibly in infinite number of series I want to start as I hear about new ones  practically every day, so I’m keeping this list relatively short to the top 20 I’d like to get to the most, preferably this year.

  • The Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch
  • Timekeeper by Tara Sim
  • Lady Helen by Alison Goodman
  • The Witchlands by Susan Dennard
  • Nemesis by April Daniels
  • Summoner by Taran Matharu
  • The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
  • Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • Bartimaeus by Jonathan Stroud
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Monsters of Verity by V.E. Schwab
  • Legacy of Orïsha by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  • The Kane Chronicles/Magnus Chase/The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of series! Although I’m in the middle of quite a few different series, I’m really glad that I’ve finished more than I’m reading. Of course, I’ll be starting many more series during the course of the year, so here’s hoping I can keep my completed series list higher than my ongoing series list!

How many series are you in the middle of reading?

Stark Reviews Logo


My New Years’ Bookish Resolutions 2018

Hello bookish friends!

This year I’ll be (or I *should* be) taking things a little easy reading-wise as I’ll be finishing up my masters (and writing my dissertation – help!) for the first three quarters of the year and then (fingers crossed!) I’ll be busy in my full-time library job after that.

1. With that in mind, my first resolution will be to set my Goodreads goal at 65 books this year. I’ve recently gotten into audiobooks so I think, based on this and the fact that I’m in the middle of a few graphic novel series, I’ll be able to accomplish this goal. I’ll have to read 1.25 books per week so it should be quite doable!

2. My second goal of the year is to read a Rick Riordan book each month. I started the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series this time last year and I’m almost halfway through the Heroes of Olympus series. I’ve loved reading Riordan’s books in 2017, so I’ll like to carry that on and read all his books: The Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase and The Trials of Apollo (all that are currently released). Riordan’s books are light-hearted, fun adventure stories that I love to escape in, so I cannot wait to get to all his books this year.

3. I would also like to read more diversely this year. By this I mean a couple of different things. First, and most importantly, I would like to read more books about marginalised characters and more books by marginalised authors, especially own voices books. Double especially if they’re own voices aro+/ace and pan books! And I would also like to read different kinds of books or stories in different formats – e.g. plays, poetry collections, e-books, audio books, non-fiction books, etc.

4. My next resolution is to try to complete 10 series again. I nearly managed it last year with 7. Since a few of my favourite series are ending this year, I think I’ll be able to complete this goal quite easily. I’m hoping to finish the following:

  1. Jackaby (1 book)
  2. Lockwood & Co. (1 book)
  3. Shades of Magic (1 book)
  4. Throne of Glass (1 book)
  5. Magisterium (1 book)
  6. The Dark Artifices (1 book)
  7. Shadowmagic (2 books)
  8. The Heroes of Olympus (3 books)
  9. The Kane Chronicles (3 books)
  10. Magnus Chase (3 books)

I also might try to finish: His Dark Materials (2 books) and The Young Elites (2 books) but we’ll have to see how I’m doing! Also, I might have already finished Jackaby and Lockwood & Co. so I am already excelling at this challenge!

5. If you saw my post looking back at my bookish resolutions from last year, you will have seen that I only read 3 books of the ones I had to get to in 2017. So I failed completely for that goal. This year, a few of the same books will be making an appearance and I’ll be choosing one each month out of my TBR jar to motivate me! The ones I’d like to get to that have been on my shelves a while are:

  1. The Darkest Minds
  2. The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting
  3. The Lies of Locke Lamora
  4. The Bone Season
  5. Wide Awake
  6. Ready Player One
  7. A Game of Thrones
  8. The Knife of Never Letting Go
  9. I’ll Give You the Sun
  10. Proxy
  11. Neverwhere
  12. Ink and Bone

If I don’t get to the ones in bold this year, I’m going to unhaul them. They’ve been on my shelves for years and they’re starting to bug me! So I really need to focus on these books.

6. My last goal for the year is more to do with blogging in general. I’d like to keep posting three times a week – this timetable really works for me at the moment. I think I’ll change my schedule slightly to Mon, Weds, Fri (instead of Sun, Weds, Fri) since that just makes more sense to me. What I really would like to do this year is put more effort into reading and commenting on other people’s posts. I feel like I focus too much on what I’m writing and I miss out on other people’s content (and constantly make excuses for doing so). So this year, I need to make a conscious effort to get more involved in the book blogging community!

And I think that about covers my main reading/blogging goals for 2018. I don’t have that many life goals this year, except to complete my masters, get a full-time library job (preferably in a university library) and continue saving up money to move out (eventually!)

What are some of your reading/blogging goals for this year?

Stark Reviews Logo


My 2017 Bookish Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Hello bookish friends!

It’s time to reflect on all the bookish resolutions I made at the beginning of last year. I think I did pretty well overall so I’m happy with what I managed to achieve this year!

1. My first resolution was the Goodreads challenge. I planned to read 75 books and, in fact, I read exactly 100! I changed my challenge to 100 books towards the end of November which, looking back, was a terrible idea. Yes, I read 100 books (YAY) but wow did I knacker myself out doing so!

2. My second goal was to read 5 particular classics. Which I failed at completely.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • 1984
  • The Picture of Dorian Grey
  • Lord of the Flies
  • A Tale of Two Cities

I read two more Narnia books in 2017. I don’t really like them that much. I’ll finish this series at some point this year hopefully though. Just to say that I have. I did also read A Midsummer Night’s Dream and an assortment of fairy tales so I did read some classics – just not the ones I was planning on!

3. My third resolution was to read eight contemporaries which I did so yay.

  • Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven
  • The Baking Life of Amelie Day – Vanessa Curtis
  • Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • All About Mia – Lisa Williamson
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertelli 
  • The Hate U Given – Angie Thomas

I did have to switch up which contemporaries I read, but that doesn’t matter so much – I still read 8!

  1. I also planned on finishing 10 series this year, which I nearly managed, but not quite!
  • The Winner’s Trilogy – Marie Rutkoski
  • The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy – Melinda Salisbury
  • Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling (re-read)
  • Penryn and the End of Days trilogy – Susan Ee
  • ACOTAR – Sarah J. Maas
  • The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians – Rick Riordan
  • The Girl At Midnight trilogy – Melissa Grey
  • Shadowmagic trilogy – John Lenehan
  • The Young Elites – Marie Lu

7 out of 10 ain’t terrible! And I do plan to finish these series this year anyway (fingers crossed!)

5. My next goal was to read 10 specific books from my TBR. Frustratingly, I only ended up reading 2 and unhauling 1. So I think it’s safe to say that I failed at this one!

  • Snow Like Ashes – Sara Raasch
  • Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  • The Manifesto On How to be Interesting – Holly Bourne
  • I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson
  • Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
  • Afterworlds – Scott Westerfeld (unhauled)
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Proxy – Alex London
  • The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

6. My last resolution was to be more consistent with my blog and my Bookstagram. I had a bit of a wobble for the first half of the year but I think I’ve managed to be fairly consistent for the second half, so I’m really proud of myself for that. But I’ve totally failed with my Bookstagram. I’m just the worst at being all artistic and taking really pretty photos! So I think I’m just going to stick to my blog for 2018.

I know all these looking back over 2017 and looking ahead to 2018 posts are a bit late to be going up considering we’re nearly in the middle of January but I’ve been stressing over my essays which are due next Friday (eek!) so still expect to see my favourites, least favourites, resolutions, most anticipated reads, etc over the next couple of weeks whilst I’m focusing on uni.

How did your year go? Did you manage to reach all your goals?

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Mark of Athena

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Mark of Athena

I’m currently reading The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan. Obviously I’m having a whale of a time reading this – I love this rollercoaster world. These books are so much fun. This one, in particular, is quite stressful! I’m about three quarters of the way through and the action has been pretty non-stop so far. It’s so intense but I can’t seem to stop reading it!

“‘Arion can’t fly,’ Hazel said. ‘But he can run across just about anything. Water, vertical surfaces, small mountains – none of that really bothers him.'”

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Tag

End of Year Book Survey 2017

Hello bookish friends!

I somehow managed to read my increased goal of 100 books last year so I have plenty to talk about in this post! This wee survey was created by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Note: Although some books will fit multiple categories, I’m not going to mention books more than once, otherwise it could get pretty repetitive!


Number of Books You Read: 100
Number of Re-Reads: 3
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (in particular, urban fantasy)

Best in books

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I’ve been banging on about this book since May so I’m sure this answer came as no surprise! I’ve never been on more of a rollercoaster during a book.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman. I did still largely enjoy it – aside from the dense writing style – but I thought I was going to fall completely in love with it. I am still excited to finish this series though, particularly since I already know what the overarching plot is about.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

I had quite a few surprising reads this year but I think the most surprising for me was The Diviners by Libba Bray. I thought it sounded liked an intriguing premise but I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. This book ended up blowing me away. I loved everything about it. The atmospheric setting, the gorgeous writing, the larger-than-life set of characters. I. Loved. It.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Probably two of my favourite series: Jackaby by William Ritter and Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud. I’m not sure if I managed to tempt anyone online but my Mum has read the Jackaby books and is currently reading the last one (which she also recommends!)

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Started: Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
Sequel: Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Ender: Winter by Marissa Meyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

This is probably V.E. Schwab. All of her books’ plots appeal to me and I’ve really enjoyed her writing so far (I’ve read the first two in the Shades of Magic trilogy). Hopefully I can get to more of her works this year.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don’t really believe in ‘comfort zones.’ I read books from genres that I know I like and I doubt I’ll ever pick up a book from a genre that in no way appeals to me. Over time, I might be attracted to different genres. But, for now, it just doesn’t make sense to read something I probably won’t enjoy, just to say I read outside of my ‘comfort zone.’

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I was glued to these pages. I finished reading it a few days ago and I still can’t get it out of my head. I thought I’d love it but, somehow, I loved it EVEN more. I took note of so many quotes/pages – I literally loved every word.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I’m joining in with emmmabooks’ Shadowhunters readalong this year so I will be re-reading all of the Shadowhunter books, including Lord of Shadows (gods help me).

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. No contest. Gorgeous at every angle you look at it. Inside and out. I can’t begin to imagine the gorgeousness of the sequel too!

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

Monty from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was quite the character! He was arrogant and selfish yet completely lovable. He also had some great one-liners. I’d love to read more from his perspective – fingers crossed we get more of him!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. These fairy tales were so well-crafted. I love that, with every book Bardugo puts out, her writing somehow gets better and better.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Okay, I know I said no doubling up BUT The Hate U Give has to go here, too. This book packed a lot of important topics surrounding race and class, including police brutality, racial micro-aggressions, white privilege and many more. Even if you’re not a huge contemporary reader (like me), chances are you will still love this book. Starr is an amazing character – she’s smart, she has a wicked sense of humour, she’s very close to her family and always feels comfortable enough with them to be vulnerable and I just really, really loved her character arc. Please read this if you haven’t already!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. To be fair, it is a MASSIVE book and I was catching up on all his other Cosmere books but I do still wish I read it sooner. I’ll be reading Words of Radiance in March and cannot wait!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

I really don’t think I could pick! Probably something from Lord of Shadows, The Hate U Give or Strange the Dreamer though. I loved each and every word from these books.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest: The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen at 4 pages
Longest: Winter by Marissa Meyer at 823 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Okay, I’m going to have to break my own rules again but LORD OF SHADOWS. Those last 10 pages. RUINED. ME.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Abigail and Charlie from the Jackaby series are one of my all-time faves. They’re just so cute and adorable with one another and they’re always caring and respectful and encouraging of the others’ passions and beliefs. They’re just so great. I love them.

Honourable mention: KITTY.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Lucy and the Skull from Lockwood & Co. Their back-and-fourth is probably one of my favourite things about this series. They both kind of love/hate each other and are rude to each other and are sassy af. I’m currently reading the last book in the series right now and I’m already missing them and their one-liners.

Honourable mention: Starr and her parents.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge was just as great as Cruel Beauty. I love Hodge’s imagination and world-building. Her settings are always so creepy and atmospheric and I love how she always writes about morally-grey characters.

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I don’t really read books solely because of recommendations. I might be interested in a person’s recommendation, but then I’ll go research the crap out of something to make sure I have a good chance of enjoying it. I do remember, however, hearing about Monstress from Sam from Thoughts on Tomes first. And it’s probably my favourite ever graphic novel. So thanks for introducing me, Sam!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Literally the entirety of the Kholin family from The Way of Kings. I feel very protective over them. Which makes me quite terrified for Words of Radiance.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury. Each book in this trilogy got five stars from me which is very rare. I love Salisbury’s writing style and I fell completely in love with this fairy-tale-esque fantasy world.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I really enjoyed the world of The Young Elites by Marie Lu. I haven’t read that many Mediterranean-esque fantasy settings so it was really interesting to read about. I’ll also be reading The Rose Society next month which I am very excited for! I really miss this world.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Definitely My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. This book is exactly my type of humour. I knew from the very first paragraph that I would be laughing my head off whilst reading this and I did! From the concept, you wouldn’t think this story would work but the authors really pulled it off. I love that they’re doing more books like this too!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Honestly, I tear up at most things. Anything remotely moving, I’ll cry. I’m in love with the characters, I’ll cry. I’m ridiculously happy reading, I’ll cry. So I don’t really pay attention to the books that make me cry, cause that’s a lot of them!

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Probably The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig. I read this in one sitting on Boxing Day and enjoyed it so much. It was exactly what I was in the mood for – it was heartwarming, funny, Christmassy and cosy. An all around fun read that I picked up on a whim.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Honestly, quite a few books destroyed me this year. But, yep, you guessed it, Lord of Shadows crushed me the most. What a surprise!!

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I honestly don’t know how she manages to come up with the worlds and stories she does. I’m always amazed at the scope and the creativity of her books but this one was so special to me. I think Lazlo being a fellow librarian might have helped with that!

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Definitely The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. Since it was written by a white man in the 50’s, I did expect it to be a little misogynistic and racist (as a lot of classics are) but WOW was it bad.


I feel like I haven’t been the best blogger this year. I struggle to find the time to think of anything that creative and new to write and I find it so much easier to just make the same repetitive content with how my schedule has been since September. Hopefully this can change late June this year as I won’t have work or uni for the summer, just my dissertation (haha, ‘just’). I would really like to find this time somewhere though. I’m typing this up at work as I speak, so that’s something!


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. I actually started this too and was loving it but for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to put it down!?!? No idea why. I absolutely MUST read this one this year. Without fail!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Alice Oseman’s books! I’ve recently read Oseman’s webcomic, Heartstopper (the softest m/m queer romance you’ll ever read – and also the healthiest) and loved it! So I’d really like to read her two novels, Radio Silence and Solitaire. In fact, I plan to purchase them as a well-done for handing in my essays next week, which is a great motivator!

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann! It’s a story about a biromantic asexual black woman in college, working in a library and this will be the very first biroace romance story I read and my wee panroace heart is READY FOR IT. Apparently it’s really cute and adorable which is the only kind of romance I enjoy reading about. Sadly it doesn’t come out until March in the UK but I will (not so) patiently wait for it. OH AND IT’S OWN VOICES. My excitement levels are truly though the roof!!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

I’ve actually already read two of the three I was most anticipating this year and gave five stars to both. I have finished the Jackaby series and the Lockwood & Co. series which, if you’ve been following me for a while, you will know that these are two of my favourite series of all time so I am very sad that they’re over but they are so worth investing in if you haven’t already.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

Make friends! I’m actually the worst at commenting on other people’s blogs and I really need to find the time to sit down and read a few posts in one go and interact with people. I’m really bad at talking to people online. So I’d like to work at this for the next year.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire!! I think everyone’s already read this one, but if you haven’t WOW. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the world asexual on a page in a book (and a fantasy at that!) and an explanation that doesn’t conflate romantic attraction with sexual attraction and, honestly, it was perfect. Also, these characters are perfect. And the story-world is perfect. Everything was perfect. Please read it!

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · TBR

January TBR | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

We’re already a week into the new year, so I’m a little late posting this. I have four essays due in 1 & a half weeks!! And I am stressing!!! So my blogging has been virtually non-existent but, thankfully, my reading hasn’t been. These are all the books I’m hoping to get to this month.

The Dire King

The Dire King by William Ritter

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA mystery
Type: Last novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Murder mystery, supernatural, witty, finale!!

The Empty Grave

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA paranormal
Type: Last novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Ghosthunters, an incredibly sarcastic skull, mystery, finale!!

Fantastic Beasts

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

Author: Read previously
Genre: MG urban fantasy
Type: Audio-book – library book
Reason: Narrated by Eddie Redmayne… that’s literally it

Every Heart A Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Author: New to me
Genre: Adult urban fantasy
Type: First novella in a companion series – owned book
Reason: School for ‘lost’ children, asexual MC, murder mystery

The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Author: Read previously
Genre: MG urban fantasy
Type: Third novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Adventure, light-hearted, funny

Frozen Tides

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: Fourth novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Fast-paced, angsty, addictive writing

Monstress #2

Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

Author: Read previously
Genre: Adult fantasy
Type: Sequel in graphic novel series – owned book
Reason: Beautiful artwork, creative story-world, morally-grey characters, TALKING CATS


Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Author: New to me
Genre: YA urban fantasy (historical)
Type: First novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Victorian era, queer characters (m/m romance), adventure about TIME

The Dark Days Club

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Author: New to me
Genre: YA urban fantasy (historical)
Type: First novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Shadowhunter vibes, regency London, secret world

A Conjuring of Light

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Author: Read previously
Genre: Adult fantasy
Type: Final novel in a trilogy – library book
Reason: Magic, multiple Londons, finale!!

City of Bones #2

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Type: First novel in a huge series – owned book
Reason: Re-read (see emmmasbooks annoucement video here)!!

And that’s it for this month’s TBR. I like to save my most anticipated owned books for January so I think I’m just going to be a ball of emotions throughout the month! What are some of the books you’re most excited to get to in January?

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Wrap-Up

December Wrap Up | 2017

Hello bookish friends!

And a very happy new year to you!

I ended up reading a whopping 23 books in December! I definitely won’t be talking in depth about all of them. Not gonna lie, a few of these I just read to get to my goal of 100 books (shh, don’t judge). I’ll talk about all the novels I read in December, then just rate the graphic novels and the fairy tales/short stories.

Narnia #4

Prince CaspianC.S. Lewis – 🌟🌟.5

I’m only reading this series for the sake of reading it. It isn’t anything special. I liked this one a lot better than the previous one which was a racist mess. But it’s just really sub-par. Not going to stop me reading the last three though! And it did remind me of the amazing film adaption, which is mainly all I thought about during this book.

The Boy, the Bird...

The Boy, the Bird and the Coffin MakerMatilda Woods – 🌟🌟🌟.75

I fancied listening to something on audio-book so I found this one on my library catalogue and ended up really enjoying it. It was such a touching story and it really tugged at my heartstrings. It has a similar relationship to that of Carl and Russell from Up so you can probably imagine the level of emotions involved in this story.

Doctor Who Christmas

Doctor Who: Twelve Doctors of Christmas – 🌟🌟🌟.75

As with most short story collections by various contributing authors, I enjoyed some stories and wasn’t that keen on some stories. My favourite stories were ones that involved characters or aliens we have seen relatively recently on the show. Jacqui Tyler makes an appearance in one of the stories and she was written perfectly. It made me miss the good ol’ times. I also listened to this one on audio-book and highly recommend you read it that way too.

Grave Matter

Grave MatterJuno Dawson – 🌟🌟🌟.5

This was my first Juno Dawson book and I have kind of mixed feelings about this one. I liked how atmospheric it was and I liked what the story was trying to do. I also really loved the writing style aswell. My main issue was the pacing. It felt like it needed to be a whole full-length novel, rather than a novella. More time needed to be spent with the characters to get a better picture of who they were. But, overall, I still enjoyed this one. I just wanted more from it.

Night of Cake and Puppets

Night of Cake and PuppetsLaini Taylor & Jim di Bartolo – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

This was the cutest, most romantic novella. Zuzanna and Mik were always my favourite characters from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and seeing their romance blossom was magical! I loved being back in Prague, especially since it was SNOWING. And the illustrations were just beautiful and… I’m gushing aren’t I? This is one of my all-time fave series so, of course I was going to love it!

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

The Girl Who Saved ChristmasMatt Haig – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was such an unexpected delight. I picked this up on a whim (and didn’t realise till I was a third of the way through that it was actually the second book in the series – oops!) and couldn’t get enough of this wonderfully-imaginative story-world. It takes place in Victorian London and in the North Pole, specifically in Elfam. It was hilarious, sad, fun, emotional. I ended up reading this in one sitting on Boxing Day and I’m so glad that I did – it was such a cosy, magical, ridiculously Christmassy feeling book. I’ll definitely be picking up the first one next year.

The Son of Neptune

The Son of NeptuneRick Riordan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Obviously, I loved this. I missed Percy whilst reading The Lost Hero so I was really glad to have him back in this one. And we got NICO ❤ Him and Leo are my favourites. That ending was really mean though. Which is why I’ll be reading The Mark of Athena this month!! I just love these characters so much and I’m so happy that I have so many more Riordan books to go!

The Hate U Give

The Hate U GiveAngie Thomas – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Wow. Somehow this book was EVEN BETTER than I thought it would be. And I had the highest of expectations going in. Thomas is an incredibly talented writer – I was completely sucked into the story. It was intense, it was emotional. I laughed, I cried. My god, this book made me feel so much.

I adored Starr so much. She had a wicked sense of humour – like I was cackling at the things she came out with. Starr’s family was what stood out most for me. They were the most supportive, most encouraging, most loving family I think I might have ever read about. Their kind words to Starr had me tearing up throughout. Thomas discusses racism, police brutality, micro-aggressions and white privilege seamlessly throughout the novel and, seriously, everyone needs to read this. I cannot wait to see what else Thomas puts out – I will definitely be reading it. And definitely be re-reading this one. A new all-time favourite.

The Language of Thorns

The Language of ThornsLeigh Bardugo – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I adored all of these short stories/fairy tales. Bardugo took the elements from fairy tales that she wasn’t comfortable with (e.g. evil step-mother) and spun them completely on their heads. These were fairy tales that centered around misfits and those who dare to dream and I just really loved them. The illustrations as well were just INCREDIBLE. It’s such a well-crafted book. One that you can re-read over and over again.

Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy

Tales from the Shadowhunter AcademyCassandra Clare – 🌟🌟🌟.75

Similar to The Bane Chronicles, I enjoyed most, loved a few and was bored by a couple. ‘Born to Endless Night,’ ‘The Whitechapel Fiend’ and ‘Nothing But Shadows’ were my absolute favourites of the collection.

Locke & Key #1

Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to LovecraftJoe Hill – 🌟🌟🌟

This was an enjoyable first instalment. Not too sure about the art style but I like the story.

Giant Days 1

Giant Days Vol. 1, 2 & 3John Allison – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I really liked each of these instalments. I’ve never read a-day-in-the-life type of graphic novel series so these were refreshing reads. Fun and cute and loads of female friendship.

Lumberjanes #6

Lumberjanes Vol. 6: Sink or Swim – Shannon Watters – 🌟🌟🌟

I think I might be losing interest slightly in this series. It’s a nice light-hearted read but I kind of want the story to go somewhere now.

Ravina the Witch

Ravina the Witch?Junko Mizuno – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was such a strange tale. The artwork was MAGNIFICENT. I really don’t know how to describe this story – it’s unlike any graphic novel I’ve ever read. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for something a little different.

Saga #5

Saga Vol. 5Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I love this series. It has the perfect balance of humour and excitement and it never fails to surprise me.

The Snowman

The SnowmanRaymond Briggs – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was as heartwarming as I remember it from my childhood. I really liked that it was a picture book – it didn’t need any words to tell the story.

Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor’s New ClothesHans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a fun little tale. Also kind of scary how appropriate it is to reality.

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟.75

I’m not too sure what to make of this one. I feel a little indifferent about it.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟🌟

I have a love-hate relationship with this fairy tale. The title character makes so many ridiculously illogical decisions. But I loved the writing and the idea itself.

The Little Match Girl

The Little Match Girl – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I loved this tale as a child and I still love it now. It’s so sad and moving.

The Snow Man

The Snow Man – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟.5

This was just a really pointless story. I was hoping for something Christmassy and warm but it was just… completely pointless.

This is by far the longest wrap-up I’ve ever done so if you got to the end – well done!! I won’t ever be reading this amount in a single month again. It was just too much. But I got to 100 so I don’t feel like I need to achieve that number again. Only relaxing reading for 2018!

Stark Reviews Logo





Blogmas · Books

Top 5 Wednesday – Top 5 (New-to-Me Author’s) Books of 2017 #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I have a top 5 books of 2017 post in the works for later this month and it is a LOT longer than 5 books so I thought I’d concentrate on the new-to-me authors I’ve read this year. There will be a little bit of overlap so apologies for that!

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.Gentleman's Guide

1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

Gentleman’s Guide had everything I wanted in a queer historical fiction adventure story. I loved that Lee was able to frame important commentary about her character’s marginalisations, whilst also managing to keep the story hilarious and somewhat light-hearted, yet dangerous and, in places, heart-breaking. This book did so much and I cannot wait to check out what Lee puts out in the coming years (a canonically-queer Loki!! And aro+/ace Felicity in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy!!)


2. Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

This was an instant favourite of mine that I read this year. I read about 20 pages and thought, ‘yep, this is the graphic novel series for me.’ The illustrations are, by far, the most beautiful, the most SPECTACULAR illustrations I have ever had the pleasure of setting my eyes upon. The characters are so morally-grey and realistic, Kippa is a precious little fox and the commentary on what makes a monster was so intriguing! I’ve asked for the sequel for Christmas and it’s definitely going to be one of the first books I pick up next year!! CANNOT WAIT. PLEASE READ.

The Diviners

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray

I’d heard some mixed things before going into this but I absolutely fell in love with it. The Diviners was so atmospheric and creepy. I also really appreciated its slow build, allowing for more character moments and mounting tension. I particularly enjoyed the writing style so I’ll definitely be continuing on with this series in the new year and will be seeking out different books of Bray’s as well.

A Darker Shade of Magic

4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I’ve read the first two of the Shades of Magic trilogy now and I adore Schwab’s writing style. She just has this kind of magical ability to make words flow off the page and drag me into her stories. I’m a little bit annoyed with myself for only just getting into Schwab’s books since she’s been on my radar for a while and literally every single one of her books appeal to me! After I finish the Shades of Magic trilogy, I’ll be picking up Vicious, which I am SO excited to read.

The Strings of Murder

5. The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

I love a good murder mystery, particularly ones set in Victorian times with paranormal-ish themes, so this story was right up my alley. I usually go for children’s fiction when it comes to my mysteries so this was a really interesting take on the genre. I loved the characters, the mystery itself and, in particular, the setting. We usually only read about Victorian London, so having a mystery set in Edinburgh was a fresh take. I already have the next book in this series out from the library so I’ll definitely be getting around to that one soon!

Writing up this post has me really excited that I can add all of these authors to my new favourites list and authors to watch out for. Hopefully next year I’ll discover just as many, if not more, new and interesting stories by authors I haven’t previously read from!

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Dashing Through the Snow Book Tag #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I’m back with another tag for Tag Tuesday. This one is from: A Stranger’s Guide to Novels.

1. Name a book you would like to see under the Christmas tree

I always know what I’m getting because I do lists. I HATE surprises and no one knows what I want better than I do, so they’re very logical to me. One of the books I’m most excited to own is the 10th anniversary edition of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Whilst City of Bones isn’t my fave, I am Shadowhunter trash. So, naturally, I could not resist getting this gorgeous specimen! Plus, it was only £7!!! For a hardback!?!? It would have been wrong not to ask for it, you see.

2. Name a book you’ll be reading during the Christmas season

One of the books I’m currently reading is The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. It’s a collection of short stories set in the Grishaverse that feel reminiscent of myths, folktales and fairy tales. I’ve read two so far and I loved everything about them. They’re a very interesting take on existing fairy tales and I love the way Bardugo turns stereotypes on their heads. It’s beautifully-written as always and the book itself is gorgeous! It’s an incredibly well-made book, with lovely illustrations that bring the tales to life. I have four more stories left!

3. Name your favorite Christmas movie

Oooh I have a few! I always watch the first two Narnia 2000’s films whilst I’m wrapping presents. They’re just so nostalgic to me. Stardust is another one I love watching this time of year. It’s such a cozy film and I’m reading it for the Holiday Adventure A Thon this year so that’ll be interesting to re-watch. I also always watch Love Actually when my best friend comes round for a day of food and exchanging pressies.

4. Do you like snow?

I do! We had snow in the UK recently so that was exciting. It usually never snows down South (and in London!) before Christmas so it was pretty magical to wake up to England’s version of a snowstorm! Sadly it didn’t last for very long and was gone within the week. Hopefully it can snow again next year though – fingers crossed!

5. Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with

I’ve mentioned Jem Carstairs in a similar question, so I’ll answer with someone else (although the answer is definitely Jem!). I think it’d be incredibly fun to spend Christmas with Iko from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. She would easily match my levels of excitement for Christmas. We’d listen to Christmas songs all day long, whilst dancing and singing at the top of our voices. And everything would be sparkly and magical!

6. To give or receive

As fun as it is to receive gifts, there’s no feeling quite like seeing the excitement in someone’s face when they unwrap your carefully-chosen, thoughtful presents! But presents for me are great too 😂

7. What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?

I actually recently made an entire post dedicated to this very subject, which you can go see here. But, to make an addition to that list, I would also like to spend a Christmas in the TARDIS. That way, every day is Christmas. And you get to visit different places in the world to see how they spend the holiday season and also travel in time to see which traditions are still practiced and which ones are no longer practiced today.

8. Fondest Christmas memory?

I actually have a pretty bad memory, so Christmasses tend to blur all into one for me. Any Christmas spent with my Nana and Grandad (who are no longer with us) was pretty great. I remember the time my Grandad completely ruined my brother’s belief in Father Christmas after my Mum and Dad had spent ages reassuring my brother that he existed! My Nana was trying to get my Grandad’s attention to stop him, so was subtly kicking him, but he clearly didn’t get the message and, very loudly, said “why are you kicking me?” Good times! 😂

9. Can you say Christmas tree ten times fast in a row (pronouncing it correctly)?

Yes. I. Can. (Although I did very nearly screw it up!!)

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

DIY Bookish Christmas Bookmarks #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I’m back with another DIY Christmas post today, creating some festive bookmarks. Again, not a creativity expert – just a bit of festive fun!

1. Materials


I used red and green card for the bookmarks’ base, some twine, paints, wooden decorations and cut-out pictures of books.

2. Painting


I used red, green and white paint for the wooden decorations, then used an existing bookmark as a template to cut out one bookmark from each piece of card.

3. Last touches

Lastly, I glued on the wooden decorations and the pictures, then put a hole in at the top of the bookmarks and threaded through the twine and this is what I ended up with!

I’m pretty happy with them! Christmas tends to be the only time of year I get creative like this but I’m having such a good time making these posts that I think I might have to see if there is other craft things I could be doing during the year too.

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

The Holiday Adventureathon! #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I am officially free from uni and work for the next two and a half weeks! Yay!! I’ve been meaning to write up this TBR but haven’t had the time. But now, I have ALL THE TIME. I’m not being overly ambitious with my TBR and I did start reading some of the books here from the 13th but just haven’t had the chance to document it yet, so I have actually already finished reading two of these books! Go me!

The Language of Thorns

1. Presents – read a book you got as a gift – The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

I recently received this for my birthday back in October and have been itching to read it ever since, so now is the perfect time to get to it!

Grave Matter

2. Santa – read a book with red on the cover – Grave Matter by Juno Dawson

How beautiful is this cover!? This will be my first Juno Dawson so I’m excited to see if I like her writing style.

Doctor Who Christmas

3. Wonder – read a book based on a holiday – Doctor Who: Twelve Doctors of Christmas

I’ve started reading this one already via audio-book. They all take place around Christmastime and follow 12 different Doctors and companions getting up to their usual shenanigans.

Ravina the Witch

4. Cookies – read whilst eating festive food – Ravina the Witch? by Junko Mizuno

I finished reading this one on the 14th and adored it! It’s one of the strangest graphic novels I’ve read plot-wise but the illustrations are absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous.

The Hate U Give

5. Nice – read a recommended book – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I have been recommended this book by literally everyone in the book community so I am so incredibly excited to finally read it for myself!

The Snowman

6. Jack Frost – read a book with the word ‘snow’ in the title – The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

I’ve already finished reading this one, too, on the 13th. I grew up watching the animated film but never actually read the picture book. Plus, it was pretty much the only thing with snow in the title I could get my hands on in time for the readathon!


7. Snowman – read a historical fiction book – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Okay, I know I’m cheating slightly with this one. But some of the story does take part in Victorian England, I believe, so I’m counting it! Plus, I still have never read a full-length novel by Gaiman and I adore the film so I’m hoping I like this, too.

So that’s it for my #holidayadventurethon TBR. I’m on team #holidaysnowman! This will be a nice, fun way to close the year and get ready for another year full of readathons!!

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

The Friday 56 – Steelheart

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


I’m currently reading Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve loved everything written by Sanderson so far but I’ve only read his fantasy, Cosmere stuff so I’m still a little bit iffy about this one. I really like the concept but the characters feel quite basic and the writing isn’t anything special, either. I’m hoping I enjoy it more as I go on but I don’t have the highest of hopes!

“I strode from the room, heedless of the warnings. Let them shoot me.”

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Fictional Worlds to Spend Christmas In #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

There are so many wonderful fantasy worlds and imagining spending my time in all of these worlds during Christmas would be simply magical!


Hogwarts from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Obviously I would love to spend my Christmas in a magical castle! Who wouldn’t!? I think the best thing about Christmas at Hogwarts though, without a doubt, has to be the food. So much delicious, never-ending food. Just thinking about it makes me hungry! It also always seems to snow during Christmastime, so I’d open my presents in the morning, eat the equivalent of my body-weight, then build snowpeople, have snowball fights and take a creepy, midnight walk in the forbidden forest. Perfect!


The Rampion from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Spending Christmas in space with a bunch of dorks would be amazing! I can just imagine Thorne in his apron and somehow burning the turkey and Iko getting too excited for Christmas and opening all of the presents at the break of dawn. Winter would be singing some Lunar carols and Scarlet would be rolling her eyes at everyone. Ahhh, it’d be so much fun!


21 Auger Road from Jackaby by William Ritter

Christmas in New Fiddleham would be a little wild. Jackaby would be sharing tales of interesting festive creatures and traditions from around the world and the whole team would inevitably have to postpone their dinner in favour of a case coming from a grumpy resident. On the way, they would run into some members of the community alone for Christmas, so they would bring Christmas to them and take their food and have a party. Abigail would introduce Jackaby to the wonderful Christmas cracker hat tradition and Jackaby would end up wearing everyone’s hats. Okay, I actually really need Ritter to write this short story for me!!


The London Institute from The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

Any party that involves Magnus would be nothing short of magnificent. Could we all just take a second to imagine the amount of sparkle that would be involved? Beautiful. Given that Victorian London is one of my absolute favourite aesthetics, I feel like this would be the best timeline of the Shadowhunter world to visit. There would be a roaring fire, Will would tell some silly jokes, Jem would be playing his violin and Tessa would be curled up with Church reading a good book. It’d be a very cosy Christmas!


35 Portland Row from Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

Ah my wee ghost-hunting team. Christmas would be a bit of a small affair. They would probably be working on Christmas Eve so sleep in till early afternoon, then crawl out of bed and eat chocolate and sweets for the entire day. George would be in heaven. The Skull would be mocking everyone even more intensely than usual to make sure no one is cheery for Christmas. It’d be like a modern-day A Christmas Carol!

Which fictional world would you love to spend your holiday season in?

Merry #blogmas 1


Blogmas · Books

Top 5 Wednesday – Characters On the Naughty List #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

This weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday is all about the characters that are on your Naughty List this Christmas. Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.


1. Ron from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I know I moan about him often but that’s just because he’s so well loved and I don’t quite grasp why. He’s a Nice Guy™ that is ridiculously mean to Hermione and constantly mocks her and her passions and can’t (or won’t) understand anything from anyone else’s point of view. Ron, as always, you suck.

Since You've Been Gone

2. Sloane from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Sloane is a horrible friend. She’s also the type of person who I despised growing up. There were a few occasions in the book where she would get mad at Emily because her social anxiety would prevent her from doing something and that’s something I dealt with a lot as a teenager. Having friends that have no comprehension of how social anxiety works was really tough. Also, Sloane would try to get Emily to do things she didn’t feel comfortable doing (like going to a club) and would guilt-trip and be horrible to Emily for saying no. I hated that Sloane kept wanting Emily to change to be more like her. Some people just don’t like going out! This was just a really unhealthy friendship and I’m glad I no longer have any Sloanes in my life.

Throne of Glass

3. Rowan from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

What’s a list of characters that irritate me without the velvet-wrapped-steel ‘alpha’ male himself? Ew. There is nothing about him I like. And I’ve tried. He’s possessive, aggressive, controlling and I’m really hoping he gets killed off in the last book. Slowly. Gruesomely.


4. Cassie from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertelli

I know this is probably a really unpopular opinion but I did not like Cassie. Like, at all. It was mainly due to her aromisic comments. At one point she calls Molly ‘childish’ because she has never been in a relationship and apparently she just doesn’t get what it’s like to be in one *rolls eyes* Similar to Sloane, I feel like Cassie was pressuring Molly into doing things she didn’t want to do in relation to her love life. She kept trying to get Molly to go out with this guy she very obviously was not interested in. Honestly, this book in general is just really amisic, I’m surprised it’s so popular (no I’m not, no one cares about amisia/notices it when it occurs).

Thankfully, most characters I read about are on my Nice List so there are only four characters I needed to talk about today. Which characters are on your Naughty List?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I’m here with another Christmassy tag for Tag Tuesday. I found this one over at: Falling Down the Book Hole.


On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree
The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favourite stand alone?

One of my favourites is Unboxed by Non Pratt. It packed so much emotion into a such a short 150-page book. The characters felt so real to me and I felt everything they felt. I’m not usually one for contemporaries so when they have this kind of affect on me, I know they must be good!strange-the-dreamer

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: two turtle doves
Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

One of my more recent OTP’s are Lazlo and Sarai from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. They’re my favourite kind of couple: sweet, romantic, thoughtful, caring. There are outside forces keeping them apart which just makes me want them together even more!The Final Empire

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Three French Hens
In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

Probably the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. It has everything I want in a fantasy: excitement, intricate plots, compelling characters and some of the best world-building and magic systems I’ve come across. This trilogy is never far from my mind.


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: four calling birds
Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favourite series?

I’m only counting series I’ve completed in this and one of my favourites that I’ve finished recently is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. It’s such a fun, light-hearted series full of humour, adorable romances and interesting world-building.

The Diviners

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: five golden rings
One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favorite Villain/Antagonist?

Naughty John from The Diviners by Libba Bray is probably the creepiest, most disturbing villain I’ve come across recently. He’s a serial killer so he’s already terrifying. But, before he kills he sings this really sinister song and hearing this via audio-book made it all the more alarming.Monstress

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: six geese a laying
Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favourite world/world-building?   

Good world-building for me tends to be a world I can imagine myself in and fill in any gaps myself. I think Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda had some masterful world-building in it. For a first volume I already feel like I have a deep understanding of the world. It’s such an interesting world, too. I mean, a matriarchal steampunk fantasy with an Asian-setting and talking cats and monsters and witches? Hell, yes! The Gates

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: seven swans a swimming
Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favourite animal sidekick?

Boswell, an adorable dachshund from The Gates by John Connolly, is one of the sweetest animal companions. He’s the main character’s best friend and is there for him throughout all of the outrageous goings-on in the book. 13/10 would noggin pat.

The Girl At Midnight

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eight maids a milking
Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level?

The Girl At Midnight trilogy by Melissa Gray has the most gorgeous descriptions of food. The food is mostly cakes filled with cream and doughnuts and mmmmm. I am always hungry when reading these books!


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: nine ladies dancing
Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favourite kickass female lead?

Definitely Abigail Rook from the Jackaby series by William Ritter. She has a great sense of adventure – she left her home in England to follow her dreams of archaeology which didn’t exactly work out the way she thought it would. But, she ends up becoming a part of a detective agency that specialises in the supernatural. She’s uses her wits and her bravery to solve crimes and I ADORE her. She’s kind and good and I love her a lot.


On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: ten lords a leaping
How about your favourite leading lad?

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor! I mean, we’re both librarians with a great sense of curiosity for the unknown so he’s incredibly relatable to me. But he, like Abigail, just has this great sense of adventure that I find very endearing in my main my characters. His character arc was wonderful, too. I cannot wait to see where he ends up in the next book!The Strings of Murder

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eleven pipes piping
What is your favourite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc)

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel is the first book that comes to mind. The murder mystery revolves around violins and the devil which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. Violins played a very big part in this mystery which was very interesting to read about as the mystery unraveled.lord-of-shadows

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 drummers drumming
Drum roll please…what is your favourite read of this year?

It has to be Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I can’t quite put into words how much I love this series. My favourite characters exist in this story-world and that climax at the end!!! Was!!! Everything!!!

So that’s it for today’s tag! It’s my last week of work/masters for the year so I’m sorry I’ve been a little flaky with my blogmas posts lately! I will be posting a couple a day for the next few days hopefully. My own fault entirely for thinking working part-time, doing a masters full-time and posting every day would be a good idea! 😂 Hope you’re all having a good December so far 💜

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Festive Reads #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I’m starting to properly get into the festive spirit so I thought I’d share with you some of the books I enjoy reading over the holiday period that get me in the mood!

My True Love Gave to Me

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

There were some stories I absolutely loved in this but also some I really wasn’t that big a fan of, so it might be a little hit or miss for you, too. Personally, I still think it’s worth reading as it definitely got me into the festive spirit. I particularly enjoyed:

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: 4/5
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena: 4/5
Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han: 4.5/5
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: 4/5
Krampuslauf by Holly Black: 4/5
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: 5/5

I think there’s a story for everyone in this collection. They’re mostly super cute, adorable stories from a bunch of talented authors that will make you smile.

Let It Snow

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle

I adored the first two stories in this but really disliked the third. But my love for the first two definitely outweighs my dislike in recommending this book. The first story was probably my favourite out of the two and followed a girl who decided to brave it in a snowstorm after leaving a broken-down train. It was so wintry and Christmassy and adorable. And I’m not sure if I’ve shared this on here, but I BLOODY LOVE TRAINS. And Christmas trains are twice as good for me!

Dash and Lily #1

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

I really enjoyed the concept of this. It follows our two main characters who trade challenges in a notebook found on a shelf in a bookstore which takes them all over a very Christmassy New York. I found this story very adorable and sweet and I loved Lily’s passion for the holidays! She was very relatable to me.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This is one of the few classics that I genuinely enjoy reading. Which is definitely saying something! It’s a story that’s been with me since I was a child, watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I love the atmosphere and the overall message of the story. And I especially love that it has ghosts in it. I do love a creepy Christmas tale!

Doctor Who Christmas

The Twelve Doctors of Christmas 

If you’re looking for a little something different to read over the holidays this year – and you also happen to be a huge Doctor Who fan – then I have found the book for you! I’m actually currently reading this via audio-book (recommended!) and really enjoying it. It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from Doctor Who and it’s really getting me into the festive spirit! The stories are a little odd and timey-wimey and the narrators were wonderful. Highly recommend this wee fun collection!

Are there any festive stories you like to read around this time of year?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Night of Cake and Puppets

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Night of Cake and Puppets

I’m currently reading Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor. This is a novella that’s recently been published in hard-copy format that takes place in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone world and follows two of my favourite characters: Zuzana and Mik. I absolutely adore these two and reading something new in this world is making me feel nostalgic for the original trilogy! Jim di Bartlo’s illustrations are gorgeous, too. They are found on nearly every page and they bring the story to life so well. I’m so glad to be reading this – I definitely didn’t expect to see a copy of it at my local library!

“I don’t believe in prayer, but I do believe in magic, and I want to believe in miracles.”

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · Uncategorized

DIY Bookish Christmas Cards #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I will preface this by saying that I am not the greatest at DIY but I love the process of creating something, particularly this time of year. So, I wanted to make some bookish Christmas cards and I think it went pretty well all things considered!

I’ll show you the finished products at the end, but here is what I did, step-by-step:

1. Materials


First I decided which materials I wanted to make the cards. I used card (red, green & white), twine, cookie cutters, wooden decorations and cut-out pictures of some of my favourite reads of the year.

2. Card and stencil


Next, using the craft knife I tried to cut around the cookie cutters on the white card. This bit didn’t go entirely to plan and looked a little scruffy, but hey, I’m not an expert :’)

3. Bookish collage


I then decided to stick onto the red/green card collages of some of my favourite books of 2017, then stuck the white card on top.

4. Festive it up!



After adding glitter and twine and some painted festive wooden decorations, these are what I ended up with. I’m actually so proud of myself for these. I know they’re not the greatest DIY you’ve ever seen but I made them so I love them!!

Have you guys been doing any Christmas DIY’s yet this month?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Top 5 Wednesday – Bookish Things You’re A Grinch About #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

When I saw this topic, I got so excited! It’s meant to be a list of light-hearted, petty things in (or about) books that irritate you. I’m a wee bit of a petty person, so this topic is perfect for me. Warning: extreme pettiness ahead!

1. Sappy romance 

Okay so there is a very fine line between cute romance and sappy romance for me. I love characters being all cute and adorable with each other but cannot stand when they go too far. It just makes me want to throw up. I don’t mean to be grumpy (I definitely am) but can you just stop being so sickeningly happy all the time? Just.. ew.

2. Americanisms 

I was reading something recently that was meant to be set in the UK and be from the point of view of British characters. So I was kind of annoyed to see very blatant American phrases rather than British phrases. It’s really very petty, I know, but wow did it bother me to see the word underpants rather than underwear and refrigerator rather than fridge! Brits don’t use those words. And it took me out of the book and made it feel less realistic. If you’re going to write about people from different countries, even if you speak the same language as them, you need to still put in the research to understand how we says things and what words we generally use. I’m sure this applies to an even higher degree in other countries/cultures.

3. Matching covers 

I. Hate. Cover. Changes. As someone who needs patterns and logic to make sense of the world, this is such an irritatingly pointless occurrence! Especially where the books are the same covers but just different lengths. WHY. Sometimes cover changes are for the better, like An Ember in the Ashes series now having POC on their covers – a good, much needed change. But, mostly cover changes make no sense and just stress me out. I’m feeling stressed just thinking about it!

4. Acts implied, not stated outright 

Sometimes, authors do this thing where they allude to something but they do it so vaguely that I have no idea what just happened. This happens most commonly in sex (?) scenes. Did they have sex? Did they cuddle? No one knows! I end up re-reading those scenes a few times over just to understand what exactly happened. It’s usually not until further into the book (or sometimes even the next book!) where I’m like ‘OH, they DID have sex.’ Just tell us!

5. Gross sex scenes

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the over-explanation of sex scenes. Now, I’m not talking about any author in particular (Sarah J. Maas) but these types of scenes are usually described in such a ridiculous and unrealistic way that they’re more amusing than anything else. But, as someone on the ace-spectrum, I really don’t want or need to know about your partner’s ‘velvet wrapped steel’ or ‘length’ *shudders*

Well that was an extremely enjoyable Top 5 Wednesday! It’s fun to be a Grinch sometimes but thankfully I don”t often come across these oh so annoying occurrences too often. What bookish-related things make you feel like a Grinch?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · Uncategorized

Christmas Song Book Tag #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

Today I thought I would share with you a tag I’ve created! It revolves around some of my favourite Christmas songs of all time, so put on some Christmas music and enjoy!

The Dire King

1. Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson  A book you hope to find under the tree this Christmas
“You’re all that I need, underneath the tree”

I actually already know everything I’m getting for Christmas since I’m a big believer of lists! But the book I’m the most excited to have in my hands is The Dire King by William Ritter. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know this is one of my favourite series which will sadly come to an end once I’ve read this book in January. I’m very nervous for my babies but so excited to see how it all ends.

The Alloy of Law

2. Last Christmas by WHAM – A book that broke your heart
“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart but the very next day, you stole it away”

As relatively lighthearted as The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson is, the fact that it takes place 300 years after the events of the original trilogy means that the characters I loved are no longer alive in this series which is just so sad to think about. That being said, I loved finding out how the characters in the original trilogy shaped the current world which was still sad, but more bittersweet than anything.

Aristotle and Dante

3. One More Sleep by Leona Lewis – A book you stayed up all night reading
“If I can make it to Christmas Eve then it’s one more sleep until it’s Christmas”

I stayed up until gone 3 AM reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. This book is the very definition of ‘unputdownable.’ It had such beautiful writing and the chapters were really short so I just had  to carry on reading to see what happened next.

The Diviners

4. Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Glee Cast – A book that gives you the creeps
“I’ve got to go away. But baby, it’s cold outside”

The Diviners by Libba Bray was a very creepy book. It’s a murder mystery set in 1920’s New York that follows multiple perspectives, including the murderer. It had an incredibly atmospheric setting and had me chilled to the bone in places. It’s the perfect book for Halloween reading.


5. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard – A book you could read over and over
“Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday, let the bells ring out for Christmas”

I’m really not that big of a re-reader. In fact, I’ve only ever re-read the Harry Potter series, so I guess I’m going to have to go with that! The great thing about re-reading Harry Potter, though, is that you can read it in various different ways. You can read the original books, you can read the illustrated editions, or you can listen to the audio-books. So, really, it’s a different experience every time!


6. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams – The most wonderful book you’ve read all year
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s the happiest season of all”

Okay. I’ve read so many wonderful books. But. If I absolutely had to choose just one. I think it might have to be Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I’m basing this purely on emotional value. I loved a lot of books this year, but this one made me feel the most. I would be swooning one minute and majorly stressed out the next and I love feeling that involved with a book and being that affected by it.


7. Don’t Shoot Me Santa by The Killers – A book that doesn’t fit in
“Don’t shoot me Santa Clause, no one else around believes me”

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough is a book that I find quite difficult to place. It’s essentially a historical fiction novel that takes place in 1930’s Seattle that discusses racism, sexism and homophobia but also has a really interesting fantastical element – a personification of Love and of Death. It’s also a beautifully written book that doesn’t get anywhere near enough praise. I highly recommend it!

Little Red Riding Hood

8. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – Your favourite original fairy tale
“We kissed on the corner then danced through the night”

I have so many! I think one of my favourites has to be Little Red Riding Hood. I love the atmospheric setting of the creepy forest. I also love how it feels like the classic fairy tale that everyone knows and loves!


9. I Wish It Was Christmas Today by Julian Casablancas – A book you wish you could read ASAP
“I don’t care what anyone says, Christmas is full of cheer”

All of them. All of the books. But, particularly the ones I have planned to read in January. For some reason, January just always seems to be a great reading month for me. One of the books I’m planning to read then is Timekeeper by Tara Sim. From the synopsis, it seems to incorporate all of my favourite things – Victorian era, queer romance (m/m) and a world ruled by time!? It sounds perfect and I cannot wait to read and gush about it!


10. You’re All I Want for Christmas by Frankie Laine – A character you wish you could spend Christmas with
“I’ll awake on Christmas morning and find my stockings filled with you”

Obviously Jem Carstairs. Take a moment to imagine how wonderful that would be. I’ll set the scene. We’re out in the country, Jem’s just got the fire going. It’s snowing and howling outside, Nat King Cole is playing in the background and Jem is making you your favourite hot chocolate whilst giving you the most thoughtful, kind-hearted gifts. Ahh, blissful. Could Christmas get any better? Oh, there’s a knock on the door. It’s Magnus and Will and Tessa and the gang! Wow, what a great Christmas. Thanks, Jem 🙂

This was my first time creating a tag and it was so much fun! Feel free to do this tag yourself if you fancy it and, if you do, let me know. I’d love to read your answers 🙂

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Gift Ideas for Bookish People #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I don’t know about you, but I love doing my Christmas shopping, especially when shopping for fellow book-lovers – we’re just so easy to buy for! In particular, I love finding independent sellers on Etsy and Red Bubble to buy more personalised gifts for my family and friends (and sometimes if I’m feeling generous, a gift for myself!)

For the bookmark-lover:

If there’s one thing I am always searching for on Etsy, it’s bookmarks. Given that I’m a little bit of a read-10-books-at-the-exact-same-time kind of gal, it’s always helpful to have some bookmarks to hand. In particular, I am a little bit in love with magnetic bookmarks of book characters.

Magic Bookmarks




I mean, look how adorable they are! Who doesn’t want a book buddy to keep you motivated whilst you read? I’ve ordered a few bookmarks from both of these companies and the products have always been really high quality and exactly what I wanted. They both have a wide variety of characters available to choose from, too, so I’m sure there’ll be something for everyone!

For the tea-lover:

My best friend is an English teacher who never leaves a bookshop without buying at least one thing. So over the years of our friendship, I’ve gotten her quite a few bookish-themed gifts! One of which was bookish-themed teabags. Specifically, Jane Austen-themed teabags. Being a huge Jane Austen fan, my friend adored these!

Jane Austen Teabags 2


This shop sells all sorts of themed teabags. There’s Shakespeare teabags, Alice In Wonderland teabags and even a festive advent calendar of teabags. The designs are all very pretty and the quality was thoroughly decent too. Definitely a great present for your tea-loving bookish friend!

For the writer:

As well as reading, a lot of bookish people also love to write and there are many a decent writing guide to aid you through the writing process. One of my favourites is the Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer, Jeremy Zerfoss & John Coulthart.


It takes you through all of the fantasy/sci-fi writing basics whilst using beautifully-crafted illustrations to help you visualize. I found all of the illustrations in themselves to be quite inspirational, so I would really recommend this for aspiring writers.

For the collector:

If you know your bookish friend is a bit of a helpless (or shameless!) collector of books, it might be an idea to find for them a special edition of their favourite book. These books will usually be hardcover or leatherbound and always look absolutely glorious on a shelf.

The Hobbit

One of my favourites that was gifted to me was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It takes centre stage in the middle of my bookshelf and I adore it. Gifting a book-lover a beautiful book is never really a bad idea, is it? I’ve already gotten a couple of my bookish friends/family special editions of books ready waiting for them to open at Christmas!

So that’s it for this mini gift-giving recommendations. If you have any go-to gift ideas for bookish friends, let me know! I’m always trying to think of new things 🙂

Merry #blogmas 1


Blogmas · Books · TBR

December TBR #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

So I’ve made the rather unwise decision to attempt to read 100 books this year. My Goodreads goal has officially been changed to 100 also, so I’m 14 books behind! So I have 22 books to read on my TBR this month. Most of them will be short stories or graphic novels or audiobooks so it should be quite doable. Wish me luck!


Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Prince of Hazel and Oak


Prince of Hazel and Oak by John Lenahan

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Doctor Who Christmas

Doctor Who: The Twelve Doctors of Christmas by Jacqueline Rayner

The Savage Dawn

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Gray

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein

Alex, Approximately

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett


Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Narnia #4

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Sixth of the Dusk

 Sixth of the Dusk by Brandon Sanderson

Night of Cake and Puppets

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

Grave Matter

Grave Matter by Juno Dawson

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson

Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

The Language of Thorns

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Saga #5

Saga Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples

Sandman volume 3

The Sandman Volume 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman

Giant Days 1

Giant Days Volume 1 by John Allison

Ravina the Witch

Ravina the Witch? by Junko Mizuno

Lumberjanes #6

Lumberjanes Volume 6: Sink or Swim by Shannon Watters & Noelle Stevenson


Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd

And that’s it for my ever so slightly ambitious December TBR! I won’t be reading all of the graphic novels but these are the ones I currently have out from the library. I’ll see which ones take my fancy closer to the time. And I’ve also started quite a few of the novels so hopefully they won’t take me too long to get through. What are you reading this month? Any festive reads planned?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Son of Neptune

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Son of Neptune

I’m currently reading The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. It’s been too long since I’ve read a Rick Riordan book (September!) so I thought it was about time I picked one up. I’m glad to have Percy back in this instalment – I’ve missed his narration! I really like all the new characters we’re being introduced to and I think I might even prefer this series to the previous Percy Jackson one? It’s just so much fun and Riordan’s writing is a pleasure to read.

“He nodded to the inscriptions on the marble floor. Percy stared at the lines of words, not really expecting to understand them. He almost choked.”

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · Wrap-Up

November Wrap-Up #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

Welcome to the first official day of my blogmas! I’ve been planning blogmas for the past few months so I hope you’re all ready for some festive fun. Grab a mug of hot chocolate and put some Christmas tunes on, we are ready to go!


The Wicked and the Divine Vol. V: Imperial Phase IKieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie – 🌟🌟🌟

I think I might be losing interest in this series. It started off so strong and now I just feel a bit disappointed by it overall. The story isn’t really going anywhere I particularly care about anymore. There was, however, a really great conversation about a character being ace. And they actually used the word asexual instead of just alluding to it which was a breath of fresh air. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue on with this series though as I’m just not as invested in it as I used to be.

Murder Most Unladylike

Murder Most UnladylikeRobin Stevens – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a thoroughly enjoyable middle grade murder mystery. I really liked Hazel but I felt like Daisy was kind of mean to her and only thought about herself and what she wanted which annoyed me. Hopefully she gets more bearable as the series goes on. The plot, though, was intriguing and kept me guessing till the end. I also loved the boarding school setting and that the vast majority of the characters were female. A very promising start to a (hopefully!) fun series.

Stars Above

Stars Above – Marissa Meyer – 🌟🌟🌟.75

I enjoyed some of these stories more than others. Some of them I found a little pointless as they were just filling in gaps of the original series, rather than adding to it. My favourites were: The Little Android and Something Old, Something New. This was my first ever audio-book read. I’ve tried to get into them in the past but just haven’t been able to for some reason. But something obviously clicked because I loved reading the stories in this format. It definitely made it an overall more enjoyable read for me.

Gentleman's Guide

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and VirtueMackenzi Lee – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

I’d been waiting to get my hands on it for months so, by the time I got to it, I’d really hyped it up in my head. And I’m so glad to say that it didn’t disappoint. This was the perfect adventure story that was most of the time fun and actually quite hilarious. But Gentleman’s Guide definitely had its dark moments, too. The m/c, Monty, is bisexual and has to suffer the physical and emotional abuse of his father. There’s also Percy, his best friend (who he also happens to be hopelessly in love with), who has to deal with both racism and ableism. I loved that Lee incorporated so much into this book – it was everything I imagined it would be. I cannot wait to read the companion novel.

The Diviners

The Diviners – Libba Bray – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I loved this so much more than I thought I would. It’s a slow build up whilst we’re being introduced to all of the characters and to the 1920’s New York setting but the plot unravels beautifully. I loved how creepy and atmospheric it was, yet glamorous and addictive. All of the characters were great. They were flawed and very well fleshed out. The writing itself completely transported me to the setting. It was a very visceral read. I also listened to this one on audio-book and the narrator was perfect. They really brought the story and characters to life. I cannot wait to read the other two books in this series!

Poets, Artists, Lovers

Poets, Artists, Lovers – Mira Tudor – 🌟.5

Sadly, this was the only book I didn’t enjoy this month. I had quite a few issues with it – lack of directed plot, unnecessary details, unrealistic characters and, worst of all, the fatphobia. I reviewed this one recently and ended up writing over 1,000 words on it, so if you want practically every thought I had whilst reading this, check it out here!

A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.25

Although this was a bit of a slow start, I could quite happily read anything Schwab writes. Her writing is so addictive and magical and I love this world and these characters. I liked how they were still dealing with the fall out from the end of the last book and I especially liked all of the new characters we were introduced to. I’ll be reading the finale in January so I’ll be really interested to see how it all ends.

Sandman #2

The Sandman: The Doll’s House – Neil Gaiman – 🌟🌟🌟

I’m still not convinced of this series. It’s fine but with all the critical acclaim I expected to fall in love with it. I’m still going to continue on as all 10 volumes are available at the library. If anyone else has read this series – does it get better?

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way DownJohn Green

Temporarily DNF’d

I got about 50 pages into this before putting it back down. Nothing really sucked me into the story. I loved the representation of anxiety and that was definitely the most interesting thing Turtles had going for itself. But, the plot itself just wasn’t doing anything for me and some of the language used was quite amisic. I’ll try to pick it back up at some point but I’m just really not in the mood for it right now.

So that’s it for my month of reading! I’m really happy with what I managed to get around to this month – 8 books! Particularly since three of the books here are over 500 pages long! What was you favourite read of the month?
Merry #blogmas 1


Blogmas · Books

Merry #blogmas!

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

This is just a quick post to let you all know that I’ve decided to participate in blogmas this year!! This will be my first blogmas so I’m very excited to get involved in all of the Christmassy goodness! I will be posting tags, recommendations, DIY’s, games, amongst many other fun, cosy, Christmassy things.

Let me know if you’re taking part too! I can’t wait to read all of your blogmas posts – I am so ready to start counting down to Christmas!

Merry #blogmas 1