Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Crystal Storm

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Crystal Storm

I’m currently reading Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes. This is the fifth book in a six book fantasy YA series so the action at this point is pretty non-stop. I like how fast-paced this series is – I always finish these books quickly, they’re so addicting to read. This instalment picks up literally where book four left off and gets straight into the story, which I really like. I’m looking forward to nearly finishing this series and I’m sure there will be tons of plot twists and great character moments throughout this instalment.

“She felt his warmth as he slid his hand down her arm, his gaze fixed upon the the gown Nerissa had found in the palace for her to wear for her speech.”

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Books I’ve Removed From My TBR

Hello bookish friends!

This weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday revolved around books that we’ve decided to remove from our TBR’s. I initially thought this might be quite a difficult topic to write about since I don’t have the greatest of memories but, once I got going, I realised there were a lot of books I’ve removed from TBR. I think most of these I put on my TBR when I first started to discover the online book community so my reading tastes have changed a bit and I now will try to only pick a book up if there’s about an 80% chance I’ll love it. So these are mostly 2013/4 era books on this list!

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

Ready Player One

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The more reviews I read of this, the more I realised I would flat-out hate this if I read it. I’m so annoyed I bought this before I read the critical reviews and got carried away with the hype of the positive reviews, but you live and learn! From the reviews I’ve read, the main character feels like your typical privileged Nice Guy that makes me want to scream. I tried reading a chapter of this last year to be fair to it but the author name-dropped so many 80’s references that felt mostly pointless and kind of irritating and I know the entire book is like that. I’ve actually still got this on my physical shelves so the next chance I get I need to unhaul this. I’m just reluctant to since I spent money on it! But I’ll definitely never read it.

6140000

2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

I also bought this a while ago when I just discovered the online book community and a few booktubers were talking about this one and it sounded really interesting. I like reading about Russian history so I thought I’d enjoy this one. Then I watched Thoughts On Tomes’ review and immediately removed it from my TBR. The romantic relationship sounds really toxic and abusive and it’s romanticised and I’m just so not interested in that. I hate that I wasted money on this. But I’ve definitely learnt since to read a wide range of reviews before parting with my hard earned cash!

A Thousand Pieces of You

3. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

I thought the first book in this series was fine but it was just a very meh kind of read for me. As I was reading it I knew I didn’t want to carry on with the series but the reason why it’s on this list is because, prior to this, I would always intend to finish a series. Even if I’d left it a few years between books, I would always intend to finish the series. But, once I’d finished this first book, I immediately knew I wouldn’t complete the other two books. Since then, I’ve removed a few series from my TBR after reading the first book and even have a whole Goodreads shelf dedicated to it, so yay progress!

Rivers of London

4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

This is probably my biggest disappointment on the list. The synopsis made it sound like this would be my perfect series: murder mysteries, London, paranormal elements. I adore stories that combine these things! Sadly, I only managed about 12 pages of this before I had to put it down. It was just so sexist. Sometimes I can deal with lowkey sexism and do my best to ignore it but I could tell this would piss me off if I kept on reading it. It was just bad and if it managed to annoy me this much in 12 pages, what would 300-odd pages do to me!?! I’m very glad I removed this series from my TBR. I’m still hoping to find a similar series in theme though, so if anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

Steelheart

5. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

I’ve tried to read this twice now and just haven’t been able to get into it. I love Sanderson’s Cosmere books so I assumed I’d love his other works too but this was just a bit of a struggle. I’m not sure exactly what it is but there was nothing about this book that intrigued me. So I’ve removed all of Sanderson’s non-Cosmere books from my TBR. I’ll just stick to his high fantasy stuff – I think that’s what he’s best at.


So that’s it for this weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday! Are there any books that stick in your mind that you’ve removed from your TBR?

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Now I Rise

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Now I Rise

I’m currently reading Now I Rise by Kiersten White. This is the sequel to And I Darken which I read back in April and really enjoyed. White’s writing is so beautiful and addicting, I’m finding it really hard to put the book down! I love these characters so much and I can’t read this fast enough to see how this story unravels. I’m not usually much of a historical fiction reader so it’s nice to finally find a historical fiction series that I can fall in love with.

“One such daughter had been trying to attract Radu’s attention all evening. But he knew her father was already firmly in support of Mehmed, so there was no reason to be cruel and indulge her.”

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Books · Readathon

BookTubeAThon 2018 TBR!!

Hello bookish friends!

It’s that wonderful time of year again where I try and ultimately fail to read 7 books! Yes, it’s the BookTubeAThon!! This years’ readathon will be taking place on July 30th and ending on August 5th. You can find all the other details from Ariel’s video here.

1. Let a coin toss decide your first read 187/255 pages

I love the idea of this challenge! I’ve decided to flip a coin between Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire and Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. DATSAB will be heads and LHAOF will be tails. Okay, here goes! And it’s heads! DATSAB is the sequel to Every Heart A Doorway and follows two of the characters before the events of the first book.

Dreadnought

2. Read a book about something you want to do 279 pages

Okay, so this is a bit of a stretch. But, you know, I’d really like to do the whole superhero, saving the world thing. Is it likely? No. Will I still daydream about having super powers? Yep. With that in mind, I will be reading Dreadnought by April Daniels for this challenge. It follows a trans girl who has the powers of the Dreadnought transferred to her as she deals with her family, new superhero friends and saving humanity from extinction. You know, the usual.

Rapunzel

3. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation 15 pages

For this challenge I’ll be reading Rapunzel by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm. I thought it’d be really interesting to read a few different versions of Rapunzel to see how similar or not the tale is from different writers. I definitely want to read a children’s version of the tale and an adult’s version to see how different they are and I’d like to get my hands on a comic of the tale too. Also, my dissertation revolves around censorship in children’s literature so this is technically research. Yep. I’ll be watching the Disney adaptation, Tangled, afterwards since it’s one of my favourite Disney films.

You Know Me Well

4. Read a book with green on the cover 248 pages

I’ve been meaning to read You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan for a while now so this readathon gives me the perfect opportunity to pick it up. And, as you can see, it is a very nice shade of green. It follows two queer teens, one in love with the girl she has loved from afar and the other in love with his best friend, as they become best friends.

Wires and Nerve #1

5. Read a book while wearing the same hat the whole time 238 pages

This is quite possibly the most ridiculous reading challenge of all time. And I love it!! Since I don’t actually own a hat, I’ve decided to make one out of paper, like we did in primary school. That being said, I want to read a short book for this challenge, so I’ll be reading Wires & Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer& Doug Holgate. It’s an adorably-illustrated graphic novel so hopefully I won’t have to wear my home-made hat for too long! This takes place after the events of the Lunar Chronicles and follows Iko, everyone’s favourite android!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

6. Read a book with a beautiful spine 420 pages

My Mum picked this one out of three books that I couldn’t choose between! So I’ll be reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I’ve been meaning to read this for literal years but never felt motivated enough to do so. Now that the Netflix show is coming out soon, I’m really excited to finally read it. It follows Lara Jean who writes love letters to all the boys she’s ever loved as she deals with the aftermath of the letters being sent to the boys.

7. Read seven books 255/328/309 pages

I’m going to see what I’m in the mood for when I get around the the 7th book. It will probably be between Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed, From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon, The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill or a graphic novel. We shall have to see!


So that’s it for my TBR. I am so excited to participate in this readathon again – it’s always so much fun.

I’ll be reading a maximum (depending on the 7th book I pick up) of 1,715 pages which means I’ll have to read around 245 pages a day to complete the readathon. This year, if we finish, we get certificates and I am just the type of nerd that would really like a certificate so I’m am really going to try hard this year!

Which books have you chosen for your BookTubeAThon TBR’s?

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Books · Stats

My Reading Year So Far: April-June Stats | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

Welcome to my mid-year update of my reading progress! My last update focused on all the books I read in January to March which you can read here. This update reflects on the last 3 months: April to June.

Out of the 65 books I set for my Goodreads goal this year, I have already read 53. So I’ll definitely be increasing my challenge to 100 books which seems like it will be a very doable goal at the moment. I would like to read more books that I read last year (100) so I’ll be checking back in in Autumn to see if I should increase my goal again.

Between April and June, I read 23 books, so that’s 7 less than in the first third of the year, which makes sense given my essays and dissertation. Although I would definitely like to read more over summer, especially given that work has finished until August now.

Reading Progress 1

I still haven’t read any 1 or 2 star books!! I’m either really lucky or I’ve just gotten a lot better at choosing books that I know I’ll really enjoy. I’ve read 6 more 5 star reads, 12 more 4 star reads and 5 more 3 star reads. And I’ve still managed to read more 5 star reads than 3 star reads which has been so great for me!

Reading Progress 2

I’ve read a bit of a mix of books:

  • 2 audiobooks
  • 4 graphic novels/manga/comics
  • 1 re-read
  • 5 2018 releases

Including:

  • 3 adult books
  • 15 YA books
  • 5 MG/children’s books

And:

  • 15 library books
  • 7 owned books
  • 1 ARC

I’ve added 6 more books to my physical TBR since April and I’ve read 5 of them so my owned books is only 1 less than my last update at 39 books. I have a lot of owned books on my July TBR so hopefully I can bring it down further before my next update early October when my birthday is, when I’ll definitely be getting (hopefully!) quite a few books.

I’ve only managed to complete 1 more series:

I’m hoping to finish the following July-September:

I’ve added a few extra books to my favourites shelf on Goodreads:

Going forward, the books I’m looking forward to most to read over July-September are:

There’s also a few books I’d like to purchase with my leftover X-Mas vouchers (I’ve done so so well making these last!):


So I think that about sums up my reading year so far. I’m really hoping to read at least 30 books for the next 3 months, so wish me luck! How are your reading years going so far?Stark Reviews Logo

Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Lies of Locke Lamora

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Lies of Locke Lamora

I’m currently reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I am so happy to be finally reading this! I’ve owned it for a good few years now so it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been a little slow to get into this – there’s quite a lot of information that’s dumped in the first 100 pages. But not that the plot has taken off, I’m really enjoying it. The thieving crew are great fun and the heist plot is really interesting. I’m very interested to see how it all plays out.

“If the sight of two mud-splattered, overdressed outlanders and three horses escorted by a Don struck anyone as unusual, they kept their comments to themselves and reserved their stares for Don Salvara’s back.”

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Books · TBR

July TBR | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

This month I want to mostly dedicate my reading time to reading fantasy – unusual, I know. I definitely won’t be getting around to all of these, especially since they’re mostly quite lengthy, but I’d like to aim for at least ten books from this list – that would be really ideal!

I’ll also be participating in the Tome Topple readathon for the first two weeks of the month so my focus will be on reading the longest books first at the top of this list.

Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Hero At the Fall

Hero At the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

16429619

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Now I Rise

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

the-bone-season

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Savage Dawn

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Gray

Uprooted

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The Novice

The Novice by Taran Matharu

Truthwitch

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Crystal Storm

Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

The Smoke Thieves

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

The Abyss Surrounds Us

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Snow

Snow by Mikayla Elliot

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Flame in the Mist

Flame In the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Glass Sword

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

The Midnight Star

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Wonder Woman Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

12788037

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

The Serpent's Shadow

The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

Stats:

Children’s: 1
YA: 18
Adult: 3

Fantasy: 22
Contemporary: 0
Other: 0

Back list: 16
Re-Read: 2
New release (2018): 3
ARC: 1

Audio book: 0
Graphic novel: 0
Novella/short book: 1
Full length print book: 9


Obviously I won’t be getting around to all of these, but I wanted the choice this month since there’s loads of fantasy book I want to read but not sure which ones specifically I’ll be in the mood for.

What are some of the books you’re planning to get around to in July?

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Books · Wrap-Up

June/Marvel-A-Thon Wrap-Up | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

I ended up reading a total of 9 books in June for the Marvel-A-Thon readathon which I’m really happy about. I didn’t manage to read everything on my TBR but that’s life when writing a dissertation! I read some really great things this month, including 3 more 5 star books.

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Aru Shah and the End of TimeRoshani Chokshi – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.25

This was such a fun read! It was the perfect middle grade book – full of adventure and fun, hilarious dialogue and interesting characters with compelling arcs. It had everything I wanted and I especially loved how Hindu mythology was weaved into this story. I’m very excited to continue this series – it has such great potential. You can read my full review here.

Rep: Indian-American m/c & s/c’s (own voices)

The State of Grace

State of GraceRachael Lucas – 🌟🌟🌟

This wasn’t my favourite read of the month but it was still quite enjoyable. I think the main issue for me was the under-developed plot – it really could have done with a lot more fleshing out. What I did love about this, though, was the main character, Grace. She had a very strong voice and I loved following her through her day-to-day life. I’d still be interested to read more from Lucas as it was still an alright read.

Rep: Autistic m/c (own voices)

Peter Darling

Peter DarlingAustin Chant – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I think this is my joint favourite read of the month and has become one of my all time faves. It was the perfect romance for me and had all my favourite tropes, especially the incredibly well-executed enemies to lovers trope. This was such an interesting retelling of Peter Pan – I really liked what Chant did with Neverland. The writing was beautiful also and these characters were just so endearing and lovable. There was nothing I didn’t love about this (except maybe the length – I need more!!)

Rep: Trans guy m/c (own voices) – gay m/c – m/m relationship

Maus

MausArt Spiegelman – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a really difficult, emotional read. It’s a graphic memoir that depicts the author’s father’s struggle (a Polish Jewish family) through World War II and the Holocaust and the author’s relationship with his father years after the war. The simplistic art style makes the memoir even more harrowing. I think this is a really important, necessary read.

I Was Born for This

I Was Born for ThisAlice Oseman – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Alice Oseman has easily become one of my favourite authors. I adored every word of this book. I really struggle to review her books because it’s just a mix of complex emotions and feelings that are difficult to put into words. I think my favourite thing about this book, though, was the exploration of fan culture. And, of course, the wonderful characters and beautiful writing. I honestly can’t critique it in any way – it’s a perfect book. I’m just sad I don’t have any more of Oseman’s books left to read!

Rep: Persian Muslim Hijabi, questioning sexual/romantic identity m/c – biracial (Indian/Italian) gay trans guy, dealing with anxiety m/c – Black s/c – bisexual s/c – biracial (Chinese/White) bisexual s/c

Of Fire and Stars

Of Fire and StarsAudrey Coulthurst – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I absolutely fell in love with the adorable f/f relationship in this, which was my main reason for picking it up anyway, so I enjoyed this one alot. It’s a slow burn romance and it’s completely believable and they’re so sweet together! It’s a really healthy relationship built on support and respect and I loved all of their interactions together. I did like the world-building but there was not enough development for me. I also found the plot to be a little repetitive. But, overall, I couldn’t help but fall a little bit in love with this book so I’m really excited to pick up the sequel when it comes out and read Coulthurst’s other book, Inkmistress.

Rep: (Assumed) lesbian m/c – bi m/c (own voices) – f/f relationship

Ms. Marvel #1

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No NormalG. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I really liked this! It was a pretty standard origin story so plot wise there wasn’t anything particularly original going on but I loved the main character, Kamala. She had a really interesting character arc and I’m really looking forward to seeing how she deals with her powers and her home life in future instalments.

Rep: Pakistani-American Muslim m/c & s/c’s

The Throne of Fire

The Throne of FireRick Riordan – 🌟🌟🌟

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first book of this trilogy, unfortunately. It took me forever to get through and I found my interest waning a lot whilst reading this. It was still an alright read but it just didn’t excite me as much as the first one. I’m hoping the final book in the trilogy will be better.

Rep: Biracial (Black/White) m/c’s – Arab Egyptian s/c – Black s/c

All Out

All OutSaundra Mitchell – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

This was a really lovely collection of queer stories written by queer authors about queer characters throughout history. Obviously, as it’s an anthology, I preferred some stories over others. I found a few, such as ‘The Sweet Trade’ and ‘The Coven’ to be a little under-developed and too short for me to really get into. I did still enjoy all of the stories overall though. My particular favourites were ‘And They Don’t Kiss At the End,’ ‘Burnt Umber,’ . ‘Every Shade of Red’ especially destroyed me. I wasn’t expecting to feel so much for a 25 page story, but it was so beautifully written and emotional and I’d really love to read a full-length novel of this. There’s some authors here that I’m definitely interested in checking out now, so overall a very decent anthology!

Rep: Own voices queer characters. No identities/labels were specified but it did include queer identities that appear to be similar to lesbian, gay, bi/pan, trans, ace identities. This review here goes into much more detail (and is a great review!) so if you want more detail on the rep, story-by-story, please check it out!


So that’s it for all the books I read in June. I really enjoyed taking part in the Marvel-A-Thon readathon! The reading prompts were a lot of fun and I did actually end up reading something Marvel too!!

I hope your June reads were just as great – what were some of your favourites?

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – All Out

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

All Out

I’m currently reading All Out edited by Saundra Mitchell. This is a queer anthology written and edited by queer people about queer characters throughout the ages. I’m really loving these stories so far. Obviously there are certain stories and writing styles I prefer to others, but I’ve really enjoyed every story I’ve read so far. I especially love that all of the stories have happy endings. This anthology is making my wee queer heart soar so I’m really happy I picked it up!

“She wished she could be like Elizabeth Bennet. […] Dee liked how independent and gracious Lizzie was. She liked the reserved and distinguished Mr. Darcy. She like that their romance was driven by intellect, conversation and art. She liked that there was no kissing.”

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year

Hello bookish friends!

This list isn’t necessarily books I’m looking forward to most for the second half of this year but, rather, the books I really need to get around to. Obviously this list was hard to narrow down to just five, but I think these are all pretty high on my priority list. In my Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag I mentioned two other books I’d like to get around to – The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and the Shadowmagic series by John Lenehan – so I won’t include them in this list here.

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

Vicious

1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I finished reading the Shades of Magic trilogy back in January and really enjoyed it so I’ve been meaning to check out some more of Schwab’s books and this is the one people seem to hype the most. Given that the sequel’s coming out soon, I’d really love to have read this by then.

the-bone-season

2. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

This one’s been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now and it’s been bugging me that I haven’t read it yet. I’m actually not entirely sure on what it’s about as the synopsis is quite vague which is probably why I haven’t been tempted to read it quite yet. But I definitely will in the next couple of months – hopefully!

The Darkest Minds

3. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

This is one of the oldest books on my owned-books TBR. I bought this back in the day when dystopian was still quite popular but, since then, I just haven’t been interested in this genre at all. With the film coming out though, I would love to give this a go. Bracken’s other books sound pretty interesting too, so if I like the writing style, maybe I could work my way through her works.

The Savage Dawn

4. The Savage Dawn by Melissa Gray

Do you ever read a not-so-great review of a book and it just puts you off from reading the book completely? That’s what happened here. I read about 100 pages last July, came across that review, put the book down (temporarily at first) and just never got back around to reading it. Which is really silly since I was enjoying reading it at the time! I love these characters too so I’m just overall mad at myself that I let a negative review effect my reading of this. I’m definitely going to read it next month – without fail!

The Novice

5. The Novice by Taran Matharu

I’ve had this out from the library for so long! I’ve gone to read it so many times but just haven’t for some reason. It’s a YA fantasy with orcs and demons so it’s exactly my kind of fantasy series. I’m also hoping to read this one in July too.


So that’s it for this weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday. What are some of the books at the top of your TBR for the rest of the year?

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Books · Tag

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

This has now become an annual tag I enjoy writing up since I like reflecting on my reading progress throughout the year, so we’re doing it again!

This tag was created by Read Like Wild Fire and Ely Jayne.

Radio Silence

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017

I’ve read 16 5 star reads so far this year (which is so weird for me!) so this is a tough one, but I think I’m going to go with Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. Sometimes you read a book and it just cuts you deep. Although I read this a month ago now, I still can’t quite put into words what I loved about it. The characters are written so realistically and I related to them so deeply. I loved the themes explored in Radio Silence and especially all of the queer rep, too. The mc is a biracial (black/white) bisexual girl and there’s an m/m relationship between a gay guy and a demisexual guy. I’m also demisexual so seeing that word printed and the conversation around demisexuality talked about made me so  incredibly happy. I just loved this book so much – I cannot wait to re-read this at some point.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016

Either Lair of Dreams or Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. I don’t think I can choose between them! This series is so immersive and I get so lost in this story world. I loved Lair of Dreams for the characters that were focused on and the overall mystery but Before the Devil Breaks You just completely destroyed me. It had so many great character moments and I really loved the exploration of themes in this one, too. This is definitely in my top 3 ongoing series and I could honestly listen to the audiobooks forever, they are so well narrated. I especially love the diverse representation in these books aswell.

Ace of Shades

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I would really love to read Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody which came out just last month. It sounds exactly like my cup of tea – it’s about a girl in search of her mother in the City of Sin, who teams up with a black bisexual boy who also happens to be a con man as they find clues through casinos and cabarets. How amazing does that sound!?

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Definitely Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare. Because I am clearly TSC trash. I am counting down the days until 4th December. Also very closely followed by Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. These are two of my favourite authors, so no surprises here!

The Amber Spyglass

5. Biggest disappointment

My lowest rating so far this year is only 3 stars so, overall, I’ve been quite lucky. But if I had to choose, it’d probably have to be The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. I think I liked the concept much more than the execution. Even though I listened to the last two in the trilogy on audiobook, the story still dragged in a lot of places and I just didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as I had the previous two instalments. I wanted more answers to the questions I had and felt kind of dissatisfied with how it all ended. Especially with Will and Lyra’s relationship at the end… that was just seriously messed up.

The Cruel Prince

6. Biggest surprise

I think this might be The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I wasn’t going to pick it up originally but a lot of hype was going around for it and I’d just seen that my library got a copy in, so thought, ‘sure, why not?’ I had a feeling I’d like it but I had no idea that I would fall completely in love with it. The writing was so beautiful and flowery and Jude was so my type of girl. The story was wonderfully crafted and the plot twists had me shook. Now I’m seeing some people with ARCs and I’m really jealous and need it to be January already!

Heartstoppet

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Definitely Alice Oseman. I’ve now read everything’s she’s published and I’ve loved every word of it. She is so incredibly talented at creating characters that are realistically flawed and I find that she always has something interesting to say through her characters. If you haven’t read any of her books or her webcomic yet, I highly recommend that you check them out! I’m not really a huge lover of contemporaries but Alice’s words always seem to get me right in the heart.

The Legend of Korra Turf Wars Part One

8. Newest fictional crush

Crushes are kind of weird for me, since I’m on the aromantic spectrum (greyromantic), so I don’t experience crushes in the ””normal”” way that alloromantics do. For me, it’s more like ‘ooh, you’re pretty’ or ‘ooh, you’re pretty… I would like to get to know you. NO ROMO.’ So, with that in mind, I crush ridiculous amounts. Like, on everyone. So I’ll just keep it brief and talk about one of my favourite OTP’s: Korrasami. My beautiful girls. Seeing them together in the Turf Wars comics made my heart squee. They’re so supportive of each other and super sweet and the art is just gorgeous. If you haven’t read these comics or watched the show or even watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, DO IT.

9. Newest favourite character

I don’t even know. There are so many great ones to choose from, so I’m going to cheat and just list a few of my faves. Radu from And I Darken by Kiersten White, Peter and Hook from Peter Darling by Austin Chant, Zelie from Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Lin from The Diviners series by Libba Bray and all of Alice Oseman’s characters (I genuinely cannot choose between them – they are far too precious).

Before the Devil Breaks You

10. Book that made you cry

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. I’m a really emotional person so I’ll cry even if I’m reading something happy. There were so many points in this where I was just overwhelmed by my emotions and, dear god, that ending straight up murdered me. I remember just staring into space and hugging myself whilst listening to the last few chapters. I honestly don’t even know how I’m going to deal with the last book in this series.

Every Heart A Doorway

11. Book that made you happy

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire. This was the first book I’ve ever read with an asexual main character so it meant a lot to me personally. There were so many points where I was just nodding my head like ‘YES’ and just seeing the word ‘asexual’ on the page made me feel quite emotional. The fact that this was just an incredible story overall also helped – Jack and her sense of humour especially and the wholly imaginative world-building were so on point. I cannot wait to read more books from this story world.

All Out

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

All Out edited by Saundra Mitchell. It’s a hardback, which I very rarely buy, but I had some book vouchers left over from Christmas, so I had to get it. I naturally gravitate towards blue-ish books anyway, but I personally love the fairy tale feel to this queer anthology and I love the border of names.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I would really love to finish reading the Shadowmagic trilogy by John Lenahan. It’s one of those series that I really like, but just haven’t continued reading for no apparent reason. I also have plans to finally read The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch in July for the Tome Topple readathon, which is a book I’ve had on my TBR for the longest time. Again, for no apparent reason. Like, I cannot wait to read this book but I just… haven’t. I hate when I don’t pick up books I know I’ll love reading.


So that’s it for this years’ Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag! What have been your favourite and least favourite books of the year so far?

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Of Fire and Stars

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Of Fire and Stars

I’m currently reading Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst. This is an f/f fantasy romance with politics and magic and I am really enjoying it so far. I love the personalities of the two princesses and their relationship dynamic. I’m always a huge fan of the whole enemies to lovers trope and I’m liking the execution of it here. The writing style flows really nicely and I like the dialogue. I do like the world-building, but I would also like it to be a little more fleshed out. Other than that, I’m really enjoying this one!

“Most of the volumes in his office were not books but records of the kingdom. He had them categorised by type and year, the coloured bindings allowing for quick reference. The man held the reins of the kingdom in his hands.”

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Books · Readathon

Marvel-A-Thon Update #2

Hello bookish friends!

We’re nearly into the fourth week of the Marvel-A-Thon readathon and my progress has been a bit slow lately. This past week I’ve been prepping for an interview I had on Monday so I didn’t manage to get much reading done sadly. So, I’m going to change things up a bit for the rest of the readathon (and break a rule or two, oops) so I can get around to reading the books I’m most excited to read, which are mostly in Phase III.

Marvel A Thon W2

I’m still about halfway through The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. I’m enjoying it, but I’m just not in the mood for it at the moment, so I’ve decided to put it down for a little while and pick it back up sometime next month probably. I hate when I’m reading a book, enjoying it, but just not getting anywhere with it. It feels like you’ve been reading the book for ever and that you’re not making much progress, so I think it’s best to move on for now.

Maus by Art Spiegleman is the only book I’ve managed to finish since the last update. It’s a graphic memoir about the author’s father and his family surviving the war and Auschwitz. I’m so glad this readathon made me pick this up, because I definitely wouldn’t have got around to it if not for the WW2 prompt. This was such an incredibly moving, honest, emotionally-devastating read and I highly recommend you read it (if you’re in the right head space).

I’m currently reading I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman and obviously loving it. Oseman never lets me down! I especially love the themes of this one and I’m already in love with all of the characters. Alice has a way of making her characters so realistic and flawed and relatable and they always seem to say or think things that feel like direct quotes that I’ve said! I cannot wait to finish this – I’ll probably finish it tomorrow, given that I haven’t been able to put this one down!

For the rest of the readathon, there are 8 books in particular that I would love to get to before the month’s out. I have 10 days to read 2,763 more pages so I’m not sure how realistic this goal is but hell, why not be optimistic?

I think my main aim is to complete: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst and All Out edited by Saundra Mitchell which makes 757 pages. Plus the 276 from IWBFT which equals 1,083, which I can definitely manage (just over 100 pages/day).


So those are my plans for the rest of the readathon, what are yours? Are you still on track for completion?

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Books · Hauls

Library Haul #2

Hello bookish friends!

I don’t often do hauls since I rarely purchase books but I’ve accumulated my fair share of library books in the past month or so that I’m very excited to read, so I thought I’d share them with you, whilst also encouraging all of you to go to support your local libraries!

Now I Rise

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

This is the sequel to And I Darken which I read back in April and adored so this is at the top of my TBR for July. The writing in the first book was so beautiful and I fell properly in love with both the main characters (but mostly Radu, bless). So much happened in the first instalment so I’m very excited to see where the story goes from there.

Flame in the Mist

Flame In the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

I wasn’t the biggest The Wrath and the Dawn fan but I really enjoyed Ahdieh’s writing style and her world-building so I’m interested in seeing how I feel about her second series. I love that it isn’t set in a Western fantasy world, which I’m kind of getting tired of, but I’ve seen quite a few mixed reviews so.. we shall see!

From Twinkle, With Love

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

I am so in the mood for a cutesy summer contemporary – I’m actually saving them all until August where I’m going to read mainly YA contemporaries the whole month. I’ve heard amazing things about Menon’s first book (which I still need to get my hands on!) and this one in particular is about a girl who’s into film-making which is so. cool.

The Smoke Thieves

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

I’ll admit, this was a total cover-borrow. Also, the pages are sprayed hot pink. HOT PINK. I did later look up the blurb on Goodreads and it sounds very much my kind of book. It follows multiple perspectives in a high fantasy YA, including a demon-catcher and a princess which just sounds awesome. I didn’t pick up Green’s Half Bad series so I have no idea if I’ll like her writing or not, but I’m hoping to get to this one really soon!

Renegades

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

The second I saw this available at my library, I snatched it up. I inhale-read Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series but haven’t really heard much of anything about this one. All I know is that it involves superheroes and honestly that’s enough to get me excited!

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I’ve been meaning to get around to this series since it first came out but I just… haven’t. For some unknown reason since literally everyone is in love with it! I think since the latest instalment recently came out I’ve been seeing lots of hype so I plan to get to this really soon. That way I can actually understand what people are talking about when they rave about this series!

The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part in the Forest by Holly Black

Since I read The Cruel Prince back in January, I’ve been craving a dark, twisty faerie story so thought what better than another Holly Black faerie book!? All I want from this are the same kind of feels I got from TCP – lyrical writing, angsty characters and plot twists galore.

The Abyss Surrounds Us

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Okay, so this is the only book I bought, rather than borrowed, but I had to talk about it! It’s a sapphic read that I keep seeing recommended around Twitter and it involves sea monsters so, when I saw it had reduced in price, I had to get it. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things and it’s the perfect length for a readathon, so I think I’ll save it for then – ’tis the season for readathons, after all!


So that’s it for some of the library books I’m most excited to read! Have you found any gems in your local library lately?

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Throne of Fire

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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 Throne of Fire

I’m currently reading The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. This is the second book in the Kane Chronicles trilogy and it takes place about three months after the events of the first book. I think this is a pretty underrated series from Riordan to be honest – I never really see anyone talk about this one as much as Percy Jackson even though, in a few ways, it’s a stronger series than PJ. I feel like it’s far better constructed and the mini quests feel more natural and more distinctive. I love Sadie as a character even though she does say ‘my mates’ in every other sentence which we Brits really don’t do! But that’s an issue I have with pretty much every USian author writing about British characters and I’m really petty about it. It hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the continuation of this series though – it’s still a fun, hilarious adventure story which is exactly what I always want reading a Rick Riordan book!

“‘Ra was Apophis’s arch-enemy,’ he continued. ‘Ra is the Lord of Order, whereas Apophis is the Lord of Chaos. Since the dawn of time, these two forces have been in a perpetual battle to destroy one another.'”

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Books

Books I’d Like to Read…

Hello bookish friends!

For this post, I’d actually really appreciate some book recommendations for the following few prompts. I desperately want to read more of these kinds of books, so if you’ve read any that fit these prompts, please let me know!

1. Own Voices Queer Reads (Especially F/F)

I really need some more queer love (romantic, platonic, aesthetic, etc) in my reading life. I haven’t read many queer books (especially f/f), mostly ’cause I’ve only come out to my parents in recent months and I used to be scared that if I read an f/f book, they’d ask questions I wasn’t ready to answer yet. The few that I did read previous to this I felt like I had to keep hidden (except for m/m romance written by allocishet women, ’cause we all know that’s more socially appropriate and you’re not made to feel ashamed for it ugh). So now I’m in the process of slowly becoming my more authentic self and buying/borrowing all the queer books I can find but I definitely haven’t read anywhere near enough and it’s Pride and I feel like a Bad Queer so please tell me your faves (only own voices, preferably f/f).

2. YA Fantasies Without the Replicated Power Structures

So this prompt might be quite hard to find (lol jk, I know it’s impossible), but I’d really love to read a fantasy where misogyny, racism, queerphobia, ableism and saneism doesn’t exist. I hate that prejudice is replicated in exactly the same way in fantasies – you can literally create *anything* and you decide to go with the exact same injustices prevalent in our own world. I hate that dragons are presented as more realistic than equality in fantasy stories. If you have somehow managed to read a fantasy that doesn’t present the same power structures and abusers and victims, then please oh please let me know! I would love to be able to properly escape into a story without having to be on guard for sexism or amisia the whole time.

3. Harry Potter… But Not Harry Potter

What I mean by this is, I am desperate to feel all the magical feels that I get from reading and watching Harry Potter but with a different book series instead. Anything that feels whimsical and magical and follows a lovable group of friends as they battle against evil (and preferably with less problematic elements) will do just fine! I kind of felt that way with TMI but I want something that follows our protagonist from a young age and we get to read about them growing up. Essentially a Harry Potter 2.0. It doesn’t have to be literally magical, just make you feel like magic could exist. Ahh, typing this is actually just making me want to re-read Harry Potter. Maybe I’ll just have to settle for that instead!


Please let me know in the comments if any books that you’ve read and loved fit these prompts and recommend them to me! Especially the queer  books – please and thank you!!

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Books · Weekly Recap

Marvel-A-Thon Update #1

Hello bookish friends!

The first week has already passed us by and I’m quite pleased with my progress so far. I’ve read 917 pages out of 1,960 pages for Phase 1 and have completed 3 books and am in the middle of 1 and just started another.

Marvel A Thon W1.png

I kicked off the readathon by picking up Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi for the Iron Man: Read the first book in a series challenge which I ended up really enjoying. It was a fun read with great, well-rounded characters and a very well-paced plot. I loved reading about the Hindu mythology and was really excited to continue reading to find out who we’d meet next on Aru’s quest. You can read my full review for this one here. I highly recommend picking it up! (Indian mc own voices).

I then read The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas for the Hulk challenge (read a green book) and didn’t enjoy it quite as much. I didn’t find the plot too exciting and it left me wanting a lot more. I also feel like it ended a bit too quickly and didn’t tie up the story as well as it could have. I did love the main character though and I loved her voice and being inside her head. It’s just a shame the plot wasn’t as great as the characters. It was still a worthwhile read though and perfect if you just fancy reading a light YA contemporary. (Autistic mc own voices).

I then picked up my favourite read of the month so far, Peter Darling by Austin Chant. I think this might be one of my new favourite ships, the romance is so perfect. It includes all of my favourite tropes – enemies to lovers, forced to work together with your enemy, etc. I desperately want more from this story. It was beautifully written and was a really fascinating take on Neverland. I loved the ending especially. I definitely want to check out more of Chant’s works! (Trans mc own voices & m/m relationship).

I’m about halfway through Maus by Art Spiegleman. It’s a graphic memoir about the author’s father and his family surviving through Nazi Europe so I don’t feel like I can review this as I normally would. It’s an incredibly interesting, harrowing read and I’m glad I’ve finally picked it up.

I’ve also just started The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. I’m only a few chapters in but enjoying it so far. I don’t think I’ve ever not enjoyed a Rick Riordan book so no surprises here!

For the next week I plan to finish my two current reads, then go on to pick up I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman to complete Phase 1. I’ll then probably read Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire and Vicious by V.E. Schwab. That will get me to 2,489 pages out of 5,435. Fingers crossed I have a productive reading week!


Are you participating in the readathon? How did your first week of reading go?

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Peter Darling

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Peter Darling

I’m currently reading Peter Darling by Austin Chant. I have completely fallen in love with this story. If you’re a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, then you should pick this one up immediately because this is one of the best instances of the trope I’ve ever read. It’s a Peter Pan retelling set ten years after Peter leaves Neverland where Peter is a trans man and ends up falling for his sworn enemy, Captain Hook as he returns to Neverland as an adult. It’s a slow-burn, swoon-worthy romance that has hit me in all the right places. I am also really loving Chant’s imagining of Neverland. I’m quite close to finishing this one so it’s at its emotional peak and I already know that I want more of this story. But, for a 200-page book, it’s really packed in a lot!

“‘Surely you can do better than that,’ Hook said.
Peter’s ears burned with humiliation. ‘I’m going to cut you up,’ he said, ‘and feed you to the sharks.’
‘Well, do it then. Or are you all talk?'”

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Books · Tag

The 20 Questions Book Tag

Hello bookish friends!

 I saw this tag over at The Book Corps and thought it was about time for another book tag post!

1. How many books is too many in a series? 

Ooh I think I’d probably say anything more than 6 maybe? It honestly depends on the series and how invested I am in it. I know Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series is going to be 10 books long but I think it changes the characters it focuses upon midway through which feels like a good idea if it’s going to be a long series. But, sometimes, you just need some closure and need a series to end! So I’ll stick with 6 and give an exception for my faves.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers? 

I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. It obviously desperately makes me want to read the next book, which is great! But, not so much when you’ve read a book just when it comes out and have to wait a year (sometimes more!) for the next one.

3. Hardback or paperback? 

Definitely paperback. They’re just so much easier to read and carry around. Hardbacks are pretty for my shelves but I tend to prefer to wait until the paperback edition has been published. My only exceptions are special editions and books I genuinely cannot physically wait for.

4. Favourite book?

Ugh, I really don’t have one. I have lots of favourite series but even then I couldn’t pick a single favourite. I’m too easily pleased, I think!

5. Least favourite book? 

Probably The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas. It’s a 450 page book and I had about 80 pages left to read but I just couldn’t do it. It was the first book I ever DNF’d, even though it would’ve only taken me about an hour more to finish. It’s such a ridiculously pretentious story. The worst thing is, the author teaches creative writing at my old uni (no idea how, the writing was bad).

6. Love triangles, yes or no?

It really depends on how they’re executed. I need to care about each person involved. I don’t think love triangles are a ‘done’ trope until we’ve had more polyamorous and queer love triangles. It’s usually allocishet m/f/m monogamous love triangles which tend to be the same story over and over again (particularly if they’re all white, abled and neurotypical too). But I’m definitely still game for anything that falls outside of these particular love triangle tropes.

7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish? 

The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer. I DNF’d this last month because the writing style was really not for me. At all.

8. A book you’re currently reading?

I’m currently reading Peter Darling by Austin Chant (about 30 pages in) and I am living for this retelling, let me tell you. Hopefully I can finish reading this tonight – I really don’t want to put it down!

9. Last book you recommended to someone? 

Ooh, I’m not quite sure. I think I might have been trying to get my mum to read the next book in the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. She really enjoyed the first one so I keep bugging her to read the next one (hint hint).

10. Oldest book you’ve read? 

According to Goodreads that is A Midsummer Night’s Dream (published in 1595). Wasn’t actually overly fond of this play.

11. Newest book you’ve read? 

Furyborn by Claire Legrand came out just last week and I finished it (and posted a review) just last week too.

12. Favorite author? 

Ahh I’m really bad with favourites! I like the way a lot of authors write – I honestly couldn’t name just one!

13. Buying books or borrowing? 

Borrowing ’cause I can’t really afford to buy. And I definitely don’t have the shelf space. I’m a member of a few different libraries (and I’m a librarian myself!) so I currently have over 30 books on loan. Oops. Maybe one day when I have a decent income and my own personal library, then I’ll prefer buying books. But, until then, I’ll stick to borrowing!

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love? 

I’ll probably have to go with what the OP went with and say The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertelli. I just found it really disappointing and there were quite a few instances of amisia that I really hated. It was just an extremely meh book for me.

15. Bookmarks or dog ears? 

BOOKMARKS. Any day of the week. I’m a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to bookmarks.

16. A book you’ll always reread?

I’ve only just started getting into re-reading faves this year, so I’m not sure quite yet! Maybe I’ll be basic and say Harry Potter just ’cause.

17. Can you read while listening to music? 

Yes, but it usually has to be film soundtracks or Classic FM. Anything without vocals in it is good for me.

18. One POV or multiple POVs?

Definitely multiple POVs. I’m a sucker for different perspectives. Nearly all of my favourite series have multiple perspectives in them – The Dark Artifices, Six of Crows, The Diviners, etc.

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days? 

I much prefer to read a book over multiple days. I just feel that I get more out of it that way. Plus, it’s difficult to find the time to sit down for hours on end and read a book from start to finish. Unless it’s a graphic novel, then I definitely prefer to try to finish it all in one go.

20. A book you read because of the cover? 

We’ll have to go a few years back for this one ’cause I always make sure to research books on Goodreads before I pick them up and read them these days. I think maybe the last time I did this was back in 2015 with The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury which actually turned out to be one of my favourite reads that year and one of my favourite series of all time. So, sometimes picking a book up because of the cover does work out for the best!


So that’s it for the 20 Questions Book Tag! I really enjoyed the variety of questions asked here. They were a lot of fun to answer!

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book review · Books

Book Review – Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the End of TimeTitle: Aru Shah and the End of Time
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Pages: 343
Genre: Middle grade urban fantasy
Series: Book #1
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.25

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from their latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?”

My Thoughts:

A fun adventure full of action, humour and mythology, Aru Shah and the End of Time is a highly enjoyable read and a solid start to a new middle grade adventure series.

This was a great introduction to Aru Shah’s world. The world-building was seamless and the Hindu mythology was incorporated really well. I was familiar with a few members of the pantheon going into this, but I didn’t really have any knowledge of the myths themselves, so I loved learning about a few of the stories and the mythological creatures and I especially enjoyed the clever ways in which Chokshi wrote the myths into this world. I felt completely drawn in by the world-building – it felt very full and detailed, but it never felt like Chokshi was info-dumping at all. The beautiful writing style really helped with this – it felt warm and familiar and very readable.

“Imagination was neither good nor bad. It was a little bit of both. Just like her.”

Aru is the perfect main character. She isn’t your typical heroine – she lies a lot and she kind of accidentally-on-purpose created the entire problem in the first place but I really appreciated her willingness to do her best and fix her mistake even though she struggled to feel brave at times. She isn’t a morally grey character – she’s just a twelve-year-old kid trying to find their place in the world. She was such an endearing character and I loved seeing her grow throughout the story – she has a really strong character arc.

I also really liked Mini, Aru’s soul-sister. In the wrong hands, she could have come across as slightly annoying – she’s very keen on her medical facts and vocalises them often – but Chokshi writes her so endearingly that you can’t help but love her just as much as Aru. Their relationship dynamic was wonderful – they were so supportive of one another and understanding and they really had each other’s backs.

“Sometimes, though, the best kind of friend is the one who doesn’t say anything but just sits beside you.”

The humour in this was so on point. I was snickering constantly throughout reading this. Sometimes, pop-culture references can feel a little bit awkward in a fantasy story, but they were wonderfully implemented here. The fact that Aru goes on this adventure to save the world and does it all in her Spider Man pyjamas never ceased to amuse me. All of the film references in particular (Lord of the Rings, Finding Nemo, Batman and more!) were just so funny. I loved her sense of humour so much and the dialogue between her and Mini was very well executed. They had an excellent comedy dynamic between them.

All of the side characters were well fleshed-out and distinctive. Especially Boo, Aru and Mini’s guardian pigeon. Yes, you read that right, a guardian pigeon. He’s also lowkey my favourite character. He’s very uptight and rule-abiding which just makes it so much more funny imagining the things he says coming from a pigeon.

“There was magic. Secrets crouched in the dark. Characters from stories, like the ones she’d been told all her life, were taking off their masks and saying, I was never a tale, but the truth.”

On Aru’s and Mini’s adventures, they encounter a wide range of different mythological figures. The plot never felt too over-saturated with mini-quests though and each encounter they have is unique and adds a lot to the story. There is a great blend of action and emotion that is all perfectly paced.

The glimpse into what might happen in the upcoming books in the series made me extremely excited to see where this series might go. I am very anxiously awaiting the next instalment!

I would definitely highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good middle grade adventure story. It has everything you could possibly want – fun, adventure, humour and wonderful characters.

Also, I’ve seen a lot of reviews by Indian/Hindu reviewers saying how much this book meant to them and how much they would have loved to have read this when they were 12. So I’d definitely encourage you to head over to Goodreads and check out some own voices reviews for this book!


Have you read Aru Shah and the End of Time yet? Did you enjoy it just as much as I did? Let me know!

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Aru Shah and the End of Time

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Aru Shah and the End of Time

I’m currently reading Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi. This is such a fun, enjoyable book! Aru is a wonderful main character – she’s hilarious and flawed and I just really adore her. The humour mixed with the pop-culture references (mainly the Marvel/DC ones) is really on point and I love the back-and-forth between Aru and her pigeon guide who is the type of ‘exasperated mentor’ character trope that I love. I’m really excited to see where this adventure goes (and that it’s a quartet!).

“She wasn’t shocked by the idea that gods and goddesses existed, only that a person could actually get to know them. They were like the moon: distant enough not to enter her thoughts too often; bright enough to inspire wonder.”

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Books · Wrap-Up

May Wrap-Up | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

I ended up reading 8 books this month which is a definite improvement from last month, so I’m pretty content. Especially since I read two 5 star books that have automatically become two of my new favourites. Overall, I had a pretty decent reading month.

Before the Devil Breaks You

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love this series any more, Libba Bray somehow manages to exceed all of my expectations yet again. There was so much going on in this instalment of The Diviners but all of the plots and sub-plots never became too convoluted. I love how each character had their chance to really shine in this and they were all very much on top form. There were so many beautiful character moments that pulled at my heartstrings and their relationships were made to feel even more real by the wonderful audio book narrator, January LeVoy.

Although certain themes have always been important in this series, it felt like this was the istalment that discussed them more fully and in a lot more depth. Important issues such as the eugenics movement, racism, homophobia, ableism, classism, saneism and even fake news were wholly entwined in the plot and Bray does not shy away from presenting the realities that marginalised people endured and in no way glosses over these issues for the sake of the plot. I love how unapologetically political this series is and I especially love how this intalment in particular highlights how the past and the present are one and the same. I think this quote sums it up perfectly:

“We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity. We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and present. The future is unwritten. This is a book about ghosts. For we live in a haunted house.”

Honestly, I could talk about these books forever, they are some of my favourites of all time. I’m actually kind of glad the fourth book doesn’t have a release date yet because I am going to need some time to emotionally prepare myself for the ending. I am definitely not in the slightest bit ready. Please pick these books up if you haven’t yet – they are so incredible!

CW – rape, sexual assault, prejudice against marginalised identities (race, disability, mental illness, queer ID) and eugenics (multiple mentions of purity and human experimentation)

Frostblood

Frostblood by Elly Blake – 🌟🌟.75

I knew this book wasn’t going to be the most amazing thing I’d ever read going into this but, even still, it was just far too basic for me. I don’t mind authors using tropes as long as they make good use of them and do something vaguely interesting with them. This was definitely not the case here. The characters were bland cardboard-cutouts of YA fantasy that has come before, there is practically no world-building and the plot doesn’t really pick up until the last third, creating a lot of pacing issues. It wasn’t a terrible book but it really wasn’t anything special either. To be honest, I’m kind of struggling to remember what happened so I’ll just link my full review here.

Radio Silence

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This might be my favourite contemporary book. It was, in a word, stunning. It was so beautifully crafted and pieced together, I tore through it in two days. Alice Oseman’s ability to create such realistic stories is what makes her one of my favourite authors. The characters’ relatability, the dialogue, the situations the characters found themselves in – all of it felt so real to me. I especially loved the main character – so many of the things she would say or think I completely understood and really felt. I also loved the intensity of the friendship so much – it was so incredibly refreshing to read about a friendship and know for certain that there would be no romance whatsoever. Also, as a demisexual, seeing the word ‘demisexual’ on the page made me so so happy. I really loved this book and will definitely re-read it over and over again. It was perfect.

CW – emotionally abusive parent (non-consensual cutting of hair, pet ‘put down’ without permission and manipulative comments)

TWATD #6

The Wicked and the Divine, Vol. 6: Imperial Phase, Part 2 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson – 🌟🌟🌟.75

I enjoyed this volume a lot more than I did the previous one, but this series still isn’t as great as it initially was. I think the main issue is the fact that the plot feels like it needlessly meanders and doesn’t have a particular direction. Towards the end, there were a couple of plot twists that I enjoyed and I do still really appreciate the artwork and the amount of queer characters that feature and actually talk about being queer (which is great!). But I think this series needs to come to an end now. I’m in too deep to stop reading though, so I really hope it ends soon!

Furyborn

Furyborn by Claire Legrand – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I really enjoyed reading this one. It was thoroughly entertaining and a very addictive read. I adored the world-building with the angels and the elemental magic and especially loved the writing style. The two main characters were wonderfully flawed and I liked reading from both their perspectives, although I did prefer the plot of one of the characters much better, since the other one got a little repetitive after a while. I also have a full review for this one here.

CW – animal cruelty (descriptive)

7171637

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a re-read and I definitely liked it a lot better the second time around. The first time I really wasn’t a fan of Will but, after knowing what happens in the other two books, I felt like I understood him much better this time around. He did still annoy me a bit though – ‘brooding bad boys’ always irritate me. I ended up loving Jem just as much as the first time and, whilst this is definitely my least favourite of The Infernal Devices, I still loved being in this story-world.

The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I really liked this one. It’s quite different than Rick Riordan’s Greek/Roman mythology books but the brilliant sense of humour and the general silliness that I love about his books still shone through. Before I became obsessed with Greek mythology, Egyptian mythology was my Thing so I had a lot of fun remembering bits and pieces of mythology from when I was younger and it made me feel kind of nostalgic. As always with Rick’s books, this was a highly entertaining, addictive, fun adventure story that made me laugh out loud and fall in love with the characters. I’m very much looking forward to continuing with this series.

The Amber Spyglass

The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman – 🌟🌟🌟

I still really don’t know how I feel about this one. I think what prevents me from really enjoying this series is the writing style – it’s so dense and there’s so many unnecessary details and dialogue here that I tended to tune out of a lot. I’m glad I read this on audio book, it would have been a slog to get through otherwise. I spent a lot of this book kind of confused as a lot more world-building was introduced. It was definitely interesting but it took far too long to get going and I feel like, in a conclusion, it has to be quicker in pace and bring everything together a bit better. I still liked this series overall and I’m glad I finally read one of the most hyped series but it’s definitely not a favourite and I probably won’t re-read them.

The Oddling Prince

The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer – DNF at 15%

I feel a little bad for DNF’ing this since I requested it via Net Galley but wow was it really not that great. What stopped me from getting into this story and from connecting with any of the characters was the writing style. It tries to sound like it’s written in Old English which might sound like a good idea in theory, but the execution of it felt kind of clunky and awkward and puts a barrier up between the reader and the main character. For example, the way a lot of the sentences were constructed felt quite strange – “only let me touch once more your face” – and there were random repetitions of words that didn’t make much sense. There were also ‘old’ words thrown in to make it sound more legit I guess (?) such as “perforce” which did nothing for the world-building. There were also unfortunate instances of queerbaiting in parts which really put me off reading this. It’s a relatively short book so I did consider attempting to finish it but I would have ended up disliking it more and just giving it an in-depth rant review and rated it really low, so I thought I’d save myself the trouble!


So that’s it for all of the books I read this month! What were some of your favourite reads?

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book review · Books

Book Review – Furyborn by Claire Legrand

FurybornTitle: Furyborn
Author: Claire Legrand
Pages: 512
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Series: Book #1
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.”

My Thoughts:

I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review

A thoroughly entertaining YA fantasy from start to finish, Furyborn is a well-written, fast-paced story with compelling characters and interesting world-building. A solid start to a new fantasy series.

“We are all of us dark creatures […] but if we linger in those shadows, we’ll be lost. Instead we must seek the light when we can.”

I found the writing style flowed very nicely and there were many lines that I found especially pretty. The prologue in particular was perfectly crafted. It was intense, compelling and highly emotional and was a great way to introduce us to the world. That being said, it did give a lot of the story away and some of the plot-twists were incredibly obvious because of it. But I think the pay-off for these reveals came from the characters uncovering these secrets and how they reacted to them. 

The book was told in dual perspective where the story would focus one chapter on Rielle and the next on Eliana, 1,000 years apart. At first, I wasn’t sure how this structure would work out but I really liked how the story unraveled. Most of the chapters would leave you on a cliff-hanger which definitely quickened the pace of the story and made me tear through the pages. It didn’t feel like a 500-page fantasy and my eyes were glued to the pages throughout, wanting to know what happened.

“Revolutions mean nothing if their soldiers forget to care for the people they’re fighting to save.”

I really loved the short excerpts we got at the start of each new chapter that would contain extra pieces of world-building that gave readers a greater insight into the world. It was especially interesting seeing excerpts from characters we haven’t met yet – these definitely made me want to find out more so I could piece together more of the story.

Speaking of the world-building, I really loved it in this. It contained many elements of my favourite fantasies, such as angels, elemental magic and a detailed mythological history, including epic wars and saints. This fantasy world felt very full and this first instalment gave readers just the right amount of world-building, without bombarding us with too much useless information.

“You are a dreamer, a teller of tales […] You ache for magic, and for all those golden giants of the past.”

The characters really stood out for me in this. I loved reading from the perspectives of both main characters and I really appreciated how unapologetically flawed they both were, in their own ways. I largely enjoyed reading from both perspectives but I did prefer Eliana’s character arc a little more – she is really put through her paces in this instalment. 

I also liked all of the side characters and found their relationship dynamics interesting. They were all fleshed out well and had a lot to add to the overall plot. The romances took a back seat and didn’t really feature too much which was nice. I’m really intrigued to continue following Rielle’s and Eliana’s journey throughout the rest of this series.

“If there is wickedness inside you […] I shall treasure it as I do every other part of you.”

I think what let this book down a little bit for me is some elements of the plot. In particular, Rielle’s story arc felt kind of repetitive. The same story arc was incorporated over and over again when Rielle had to complete numerous trials. Every other chapter of Rielle’s consisted of her starting the trial, panicking that she wouldn’t be able to complete it, then realising how powerful her magic was and finishing the task. And, given the prologue, we already know that she survives the trials so it did take away some of the possible high stakes in the book. I never really felt on edge reading Rielle’s chapters because I knew what would happen because of the prologue. This made parts of Furyborn a tad boring to read, but didn’t impact my overall enjoyment since I liked the characters so much.

“Good girls don’t live long.”

I also just want to mention the ‘bi rep’ quickly because I feel like this book is being falsely promoted as having rep in it. It is literally a quick mention of Eliana talking about who she has slept with and… that’s it. First of all, behaviour does not equal attraction, particularly when it’s being mentioned in relation to Eliana engaging in sex work as part of her job as being an assassin. I don’t know if it was the author, the publisher or the readers who were hyping it for bi rep but I just thought I should mention it here in case anyone was looking forward to it for this reason, particularly when I felt that there was so much more chemistry between Eliana and Navi. And a polyamorous relationship between Rielle, Audric and Ludivine would also have made perfect sense. So I am a little disappointed, being pan, that this was being hyped for multi-gender attraction rep that I felt like it did not provide.

Also, on a somewhat petty note, the sex scene really reminded me of a Sarah J. Maas-esque type of weird-and-very-unrealistic-and-also-slightly-gross sex scene. The phrase “utterly male” was used to describe Rielle’s lover which I rolled my eyes so hard at. If you’re into Maas’s style of erotica then you’ll probably really like this scene. Definitely not for me though and I ended up skimming this bit (towards the end of chapter 41 if you want to skim it too!)

Also, last point, towards the beginning (chapter 5) there is an instance of animal cruelty that you should be aware of. It was quite graphic and I felt like it was completely unnecessary. Please take care when reading that part.

Overall, Furyborn was a fun, addicting YA fantasy that kept my eyes glued to the page. Although it isn’t the most unique story, it was very entertaining and I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series. 


Have you read Furyborn yet? How did you feel about it? Let me know!

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Amber Spyglass

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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 Amber Spyglass

I’m currently reading The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. I’m reading it via audio book which I feel makes the story so much more compelling, especially given that it’s a full cast narration. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one yet. It took a long while to get into the main story arc. I’ve always found Pullman’s writing really dense and felt that there was a lot of unnecessary detail and I really feel that in the first 150 pages. I’m hoping it picks up though and I am excited to see how it all ends. Definitely not my favourite series but I understand why so many people enjoy it.

“At the western end of a range of saw-toothed mountains, on a peak that commanded wide views of the plain below and the valleys behind, a fortress of basalt seemed to grow out of the mountain as if some volcano had thrust it up a million years before.”

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Book Series You Wished Had More Books

Hello bookish friends!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is another freebie pick so I chose to talk about a few of my favourite series. All of which should come to no surprise!

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

Crooked Kingdom

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I want more badass heists! I especially want more from my favourite gang of misfits. Their group dynamics are some of my absolute favourite and I love seeing Kaz’s brilliant and slightly terrifying mind at work. The plans in this duology were always so intricately woven and the plots were airtight, so I would love to see more of these stories. I cannot wait to see what King of Scars adds to the Grishaverse.

The Dire King

2. Jackaby by William Ritter

The way things were left at the end of the last book in this series definitely leaves a lot of potential for more books in the series. Given the change of dynamics, there are so many more stories that could be told in this world. I at least would really want a short story or a lengthy epilogue to just give me a picture of what these characters are up to now. I love them so much and there’s one certain aspect in particular that I REALLY want to see that I can’t tell you because spoilers but I would be over the moon if Ritter ever decided to write about it. Sorry for being so vague about this answer!

The Blood of Olympus

3. Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

I know we have the Trials of Apollo and I really enjoyed the first book in the series that I’ve read so far, but I just really would love more adventures involving the whole HOO gang. Mostly, I want a dual perspective between Nico and Reyna since they’re my absolute favourites. Well, them and Blackjack! I adored their chapters in Blood of Olympus and I need more of them together. They had such an interesting relationship dynamic going on between them.

Winter

4. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Although we’ve got the graphic novel series that I have yet to start and Stars Above, I would still just really love more from this adorable bunch of misfits. I could easily read about them just hanging out on the Rampion chatting about nothing in particular for an entire book. The banter these characters have between them is gold and the ships are so cute and sweet, I love them.

The Empty Grave

5. Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

Although I absolutely loved how this series tied up and I think it’s one of the strongest series enders, I still want more!! I would love to skip a little into the future and see how these characters are doing and see what they’re all up to now. I’d especially want more of Holly and her girlfriend (who is sadly only vaguely mentioned in the series) and I would love more of what was hinted at right at the end. In fact, I’m desperate to know more about that one particular thing that I definitely can’t talk about because MAJOR SPOILERS.


I think something each of these series has in common is that I love the friendships and the group dynamics between the characters. Honestly, I could happily read about my favourite characters just sitting around chatting and I’d give it 5 stars. If I love the characters, I’m usually not too fussed about the plot!

What are some of your favourite series that you wished would never end? Let me know!

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Books · Readathon · TBR

A Marvel(lous) TBR

Hello bookish friends!

Next month I am so very excited to be participating in the month-long Marvel Readathon created by Jamieson over at Jamishelves. You can read the full Readathon announcement post here.

This readathon is centred around the Marvel Cinematic Universe where you have to read one book for each MCU film (21 included in total). You are allowed a few skips (which I think I might end up needing!) and it’s set into phases like the films. Sounds cool, right!? This is the game board (which is also super cool):

marvelathon3 (1).jpg

I am just so happy that this is a month-long readathon. I might actually be able to complete it (or at least one or two of the three phases!). With week-long readathons, I usually tend to have too much going on in my life to manage to read a whole seven books so 21 books (or 6 or 12) over the span of an entire month is so much more doable!

Also, not to be dramatic, but I think this might be favourite TBR I’ve created in a while. It’s also the longest so make yourself a cup of tea for this one! Here’s what I’m hoping to read for this readathon:

Phase One:

1. Iron Man: Iron Man started the MCU timeline – Read the first book in a series

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

This is the first book in a new mythology-inspired MG quartet that revolves around Hindu mythology. It follows Aru who lives in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture with her mum who accidentally-on-purpose touches a lamp and unleashes a demon. I’m really obsessed with mythology in books so I’m very excited to be kicking off this readathon with this book. I haven’t read anything of Chokshi’s before, but if I enjoy this I think I’ll definitely give her other series a go!

2. Hulk: Bruce Banner is famous for his green alter-ego. Read a book with a green cover

The State of Grace

The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

This cover is such a beautiful shade of green. This book follows Grace, an autistic girl (own voices rep), who falls for Gabe and it’s described as a kind of slice-of-life type of story. I’m really in the mood for a super cutesy YA contemporary and it’s a UKYA which I tend to prefer since I find them a lot more relatable!

3. Iron Man 2: Iron Man 2 is one of Marvel’s most unpopular movies. Read a book that’s unpopular

Peter Darling

Peter Darling by Austin Chant

I took this prompt as ‘having less than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads’ mostly because I just really wanted to read this one. It’s a Peter Pan retelling where Peter is trans (own voices rep) and returns to Neverland as an adult, only to find himself falling for Captain Hook. I’ve heard it’s a hate-to-love angsty romance which I am so in the mood for. Also, given that it just arrived in the post this morning, I am dying to pick it up!

4. Thor: The Thor movies are based on Norse Mythology. Read a book that involved myth or mythology

The Throne of Fire

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

Obviously I had to pick a Rick Riordan book for this one! This is the one I’m most likely to pick up next, after having read The Red Pyramid this month. If not this one, I’ll pick up the next book in the Trials of Apollo series.

5. Captain America: Captain America is set during WW2. Read a book set or written in World War Two

Maus

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

I’ve been meaning to pick this graphic novel up for the past few years now, so I’m glad this readathon is giving me the motivation to do so. It’s set in Hitler’s Europe and tells a story of fear and survival and the affect that has on the children of survivors. I didn’t realise before looking at the Goodreads page that this was a graphic memoir, which makes this story feel even more significant and heart-wrenching.

6. The Avengers: The Avengers is the first time we see the MCU heroes together. Read a book with multiple perspectives

I Was Born for This

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

This is the only Alice Oseman book I have left to read now. I’ve devoured her previous two novels and her webcomic so I’m incredibly excited to pick this one up too. It deals with fan culture and is told in dual perspectives. It follows Angel, a Muslim girl whose passion in life is pop-rock trio The Ark, who travels to London for the first time to meet up with her online friend to see said favourite band. It also follows Jimmy, a trans boy who is the frontman of The Ark. I’ve heard it has lots of different queer rep too, which I am SO happy about. One thing I love especially about Alice’s books is that rep always feels natural and effortless and completely normalised and I really wish all authors did this. This might be the book I’m most excited to read for this TBR. I just love Alice’s books so so much.

Phase Two:

7. Iron Man 3: Tony Stark has to make some hard decisions in this movie. Read a book that will challenge you

A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

I’ve had this on my TBR for a while now, mostly because I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction cover to cover. I’ll dip in and out and read a few chapters every now and again but I very rarely will read an entire non-fiction in one go. So, for me, given the genre (and probably the content) this will be quite a challenging read, but one I am quite looking forward to.

8. Dark World: In The Dark World, Thor has to team up with Loki to win. Read a book that involves siblings

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

I adored Every Heart A Doorway back in January and I have no doubts that I will love this instalment just as much. This particular one follows siblings Jack and Jill in their portal world which is kind of described as the Moors and has mad scientists and a gothic feel to it. Jack was one of my favourite characters from EHAD (as well as Kade <3) and I remember tabbing most of her lines, they were just so brilliant.

9. Winter Soldier: In The Winter Soldier a character returns as a villain. Read a book where the main character is a villain or anti-hero

Vicious

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

This is the very first book that came to mind for this prompt. I don’t actually know too much about it except for the fact that it follows two anti-heroes (I think?). I thoroughly enjoyed the Shades of Magic trilogy and love Schwab’s writing so I’m interested to see how I feel about this one, too.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy: Guardians of the Galaxy is well known for it’s soundtrack. Read a book set in, written in, or involving the 80’s

The Witches

The Witches by Roald Dahl

I think I might actually end up skipping this challenge. I don’t really want to read The Witches – Roald Dahl was the only author I could think of that published books in the 80’s to be honest! We’ll see how I feel when I get to this challenge.

11. Age of Ultron: The villain of Age Of Ultron is a robot created by Tony Stark. Read a book involving an AI in some way

Wires and Nerve #1

Wires and Nerve #1 by Marissa Meyer & Douglas Holgate

This graphic novel spin-off series features Iko from The Lunar Chronicles, aka, everyone’s favourite android. The art style looks adorable and the Rampion crew members make appearances in this. I miss the crew a lot so I’m really looking forward to getting back into this world.

12. Ant-Man: In Ant-Man, Scott involuntarily gets caught up in a heist. Read a book involving a heist or thieves.

Ali Baba

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

My Mum came up with this one so thanks Mum! It’s one of the stories from The Thousand and One Nights collection and it’s only 27 pages long which is the perfect readathon length, considering the only other book I could think of was The Lies of Locke Lamora which is over 500 pages long! I’ve read the first story in this collection and hated it so I’m just planning to skim-read this and read it as quickly as possible.

Phase Three:

13. Civil War: The Avengers split into two teams after disagreements. Read a book about a rivalry or enemies

Ms. Marvel #1

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

I’m not entirely sure if this comic does contain rivalry or enemies but I just really wanted to read it and it’s about a superhero so I’m sure there’s an enemy somewhere! This comic series follows Kamala Khan, the first Muslim Pakistani-American superhero, as she comes into her new-found abilities. (Note: the writer is also Muslim, but not Pakistani-American).

14. Doctor Strange: Stephen Strange was a doctor before he was a hero. Read a book that involves medicine in some way

George's Marvellous Medicine

George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

My Mum came up with this one too (thanks!) but I’m also not too fussed about this one either. I remember loving it as a kid and I got the coloured-pictures version out from the library so it could be fun to read again if I fancy something quick!

15. GOTG: Volume 2: Volume Two shows even more epic space battles. Read a book set in or involving space

Afar

Afar by Leila del Duca & Kit Seaton

I’m not too sure what this one is about. I came across it in the library and loved the cover, so I picked it up. It’s a graphic novel and it looks as though it’s set in space. That’s all I know!

16. Spider-Man: Peter Parker has to hide his superhero identity at school. Read a YA book involving secrets in some way

All Out

All Out edited by Saundra Mitchell

Given that this queer anthology contains stories from queer authors about queer characters from different periods in time, I’m assuming that secrets are involved in some way, maybe? Not gonna lie, this one came through the post this morning too and I just really wanted to read it asap!!

17. Thor: Ragnarok: Thor: Ragnarok is one of Marvel’s most popular movies. Read a popular book

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I think I’m probably going to pick this one up. I’ve wanted to read a Gaiman novel for a while now and this was his shortest book that I already had out from the library, so might as well give this one a go finally. It’s about a boy raised in a graveyard by ghosts. Which sounds pretty cool.

18. Black Panther: Black Panther features Marvel’s first black superhero. Read an ownvoices book with a black main character

The Sun Is Also A Star

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

I’m actually quite in the mood for a contemporary YA which is so weird for me. I’ve heard a few mixed things about this one, namely the instalove but I’m still excited to read it. And, honestly, I’m not too fussed it it’s done well. It follows a Jamaican, science-loving girl who finds out she is being deported who ends up meeting a South Korean-American boy who loves poetry and believes in fate, and follows their story which takes place all in one day. I haven’t read a fluffy, cute YA romance for a while so I’m really looking forward to this one and the discussions about science and fate.

19. Infinity War: “the most ambitious crossover event in history”. Read a book that fulfils multiple challenges

Of Fire and Stars

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

This one fits: female m/c, siblings and the first book in a series. This is an f/f (own voices rep) fantasy romance about a princess who is betrothed to her neighbouring kingdom’s crowned prince, but ends up falling for the prince’s sister. A cute f/f romance is exactly what I need right now and, although I’ve heard mixed things about this, I have a feeling I’m going to fall a little bit in love with it.

20. Captain Marvel: This movie will feature Marvel’s first female hero as the main character. Read a book with a female mc

Love, Hate &amp; Other Filters

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

This follows an Indian-American Muslim (own voices rep) girl who feels trapped between what her parents want for her future and what she wants. Her life is turned upside-down, however, when a suicide bomber attacks and happens to share the same last-name as her. I really can’t wait to get to this one, not only because it will be an important read but also because I’m really excited to read about the m/c’s passion for filmaking.

21. The Avengers 4: Details of this movie including it’s title are still a secret. Read a book you don’t know anything about

The Trials of Morrigan Crow

The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

All I know about this one is that it’s a MG book that has had amazing reviews. That’s it!


I know 21 books is quite a lot to read but I really want to get around to all of them, except maybe the Roald Dahl books and Afar. All in all, I will be attempting to read 5,343 pages over a month. I’m feeling hopeful since it’s just work and my dissertation (which I can write from home) I have going on right now. Also, I’ll be posting weekly updates of my reading progress during the readathon, just to keep me motivated!

Is anyone else participating in the Marvel Readathon? Please let me know what books you’re reading for what challenges!

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Radio Silence

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Radio Silence

I’m currently reading Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. I am so in love with Alice’s writing. I read her ongoing web comic Heartstopper first and thought it was the cutest thing I’ve ever read. Then I read Solitaire back in February and consumed it all in one sitting, staying up until 3am to finish it. And now, if it’s possible, I am loving Radio Silence even more. I don’t know what it is about Alice’s writing but it just gets me. She is so talented at writing compelling, wholly developed interesting characters that are both flawed and seriously relatable. Alice’s books are so different than other contemporary YA’s I’ve read and I love how romance really takes a backseat. I’ve only started Radio Silence today and I’m already nearly halfway through – I literally cannot stop reading it! I think this might be my favourite book of Alice’s yet and I cannot wait to finish it!!

“We stared at each other. It was so awkward. My pyjama bottoms had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on them.”

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Books I Want to Re-Read

Hello bookish friends!

This month is Top 5 Wednesday rewind, meaning that we can pick and choose whichever archived topics we fancy doing that we haven’t done before. I chose books I want to re-read as there’s quite a few I’m desperate to experience again!

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

Aristotle and Dante

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I read this in the space of a few hours and stayed up until gone 3am to finish it, I loved it that much. But, that also means that I can’t really remember anything about it. I know I physically could not stop reading this, but a re-read would be really great, so that I could spend some time with the story and the characters to appreciate it a bit more. Plus, it’s really rare for me that I’m addicted to a book so much so that I stay up that late and don’t somehow fall asleep whilst reading it!

The Hero of Ages

2. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

This trilogy was my first adult high fantasy series and, now that I’ve read more from the genre, I quite fancy seeing how I feel about these books now. I absolutely adored them when I read them a few years ago and I’d love to read them again to pick up on the clues that I missed the first time around. Sanderson’s worlds are always so detailed so I’m bound to have missed a few things – especially since I wasn’t overly familiar with his Cosmere universe at the time.

Crooked Kingdom

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This is probably the book(s) that I’m most eager to re-read and I definitely plan to early next year, after I’ve completed my re-reads of the Shadowhunter Chronicles. I loved every single thing about this duology the first time I read these, especially the characters, and it’s a story I still think about two years on. I cannot wait to get back into this world, especially with the Nikolai books coming out soon!

Twilight

4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Okay, so hear me out on this one. I inhale-read this series about a decade ago when I was only a wee teen and I would really love to see how I feel about this series now. I had a love-hate relationship with it at the time but I’m just kind of in the mood for some proper trashy books. Whether or not I’ll actually be able to get through these with the reading tastes I have now and my much higher expectations, I don’t know. But I definitely think it’ll be fun to find out!

Starcrossed

5. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

I read this trilogy quite a while back now but I am really in the mood to pick it up again, given that it’s based around Greek mythology, which I’m a total sucker for, especially since I’ve been reading my fair share of Rick Riordan books! I remember loving this trilogy at the time, so I’d be interested to see if I still feel the same way about it now.


So that’s it for this weeks’ T5W. What are some of the books you’d like to get around to re-reading sometime soon?

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book review · Books

Book Review – Frostblood by Elly Blake

FrostbloodTitle: Frostblood
Author: Elly Blake
Pages: 371
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Series: Book #1
Rating: 🌟🌟.5

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light – until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her – and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.”

My Thoughts:

I won’t lie, I didn’t go into this expecting it to become my new favourite YA fantasy series – I was looking for a fast, fun, tropey YA fantasy that I could tear through in a couple of days. Sometimes you need those quick, pick-me-up type of books that you don’t need to pay too much attention to. So I had low expectations going into this and… I still managed to be disappointed.

My main issue with this book is the total lack of world-building. And I mean NONE. What I find most annoying about this is the fact that the descriptions of the world and the magic-system could have been so good! I mean, a world of fire- and ice-wielders! Doesn’t that sound fun and interesting and like something you want to find out a little bit more about!?

Any world-building that was present was all tell and no show. I liked the bits about the gods and how the magic-system came to be but that was told all in one go in the space of a few pages. It should have been drawn out and there should have been much more of it. I would love to have gotten a better feel for this world and, with a more talented writer, it could have been great.

Which brings me onto the next issue – the writing. It was just very basic. There was nothing particularly special or interesting about it and it was, overall, very forgettable and very bland. It really wan’t for me.

What I did enjoy, however, was the dialogue. The m/c was quite sharp-witted and there was an interesting back-and-forth between her and the LI to begin with. Having said this, this technique soon got old and it was like the author was just repeating the same sentiment over and over again whilst just using a different combination of words. I wanted a bit more variety to the character’s conversations.

The characters were fine. Nothing new or special. Typical fiery, stubborn m/c. Typical brooding, I-have-a-dark-and-dangerous-past LI. These characters felt like carbon copies of others that we’ve seen many times before and they weren’t particularly memorable either.

Also, the pacing was all over the place. Time passed at an alarmingly fast rate, so much so that there was next to no time spent on character development. It felt a little bit like a string of events thrown haphazardly together. No time was spent with these plot points so I didn’t form any kind of emotional attachment to the characters and I wasn’t able to get a good feel of the high stakes. Everything felt visibly contrived and manufactured and I found myself not caring pretty early on in the book.

You’re probably wondering why I bothered finishing this book and, you know what, I’m wondering the exact same thing! It was easy to get through and was very readable so I didn’t waste too much time reading this. I didn’t hate it thought and I don’t think tropes are necessarily bad. There are many I enjoy and would have even enjoyed in this book if they were executed well enough. Which, unfortunately, they weren’t.

I wouldn’t really recommend reading this one unless you’re starting out with the YA fantasy genre. But, even then, I’d probably recommend you something a little less basic, predictable and boring.


Have you read Frostblood yet? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know!

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Frostblood

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Frostblood

I’m currently reading Frostblood by Elly Blake. I’m not really keen on this one but it’s a quick read so I think I’ll carry on with it anyway. My main gripe is that there is absolutely no atmosphere whatsoever. It’s essentially a world of fire and ice so it should have interesting world-building, but there is literally nothing in the way of descriptions. It’s far too fast-paced also. Everything happens so quickly that it feels like there aren’t any high stakes. It feels rushed and there’s no real time to get to know the characters better. What I do like, however, is the dialogue. It’s quite sharp and quick which is what I like but it isn’t enough to make me really escape into this book and properly enjoy it. I’m still hoping it’ll get better though!

“‘But the world has grown weary of stories now,’ she said, slowing her voice to signal the end of the story. ‘And only children listen.'”

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Books · Discussion

Bookish Buzzwords

Hello bookish friends!

We all have those particular words or phrases that instantly make us want to pick up a book and, given that I’m interested in quite a few different kinds of books, there are a lot of buzzwords that will have me bending over backwards to try to obtain said book!

1. Murder mysteries set in the Victorian era with supernatural goings-on

This is a very specific buzzword (phrase?) that I absolutely will never get enough of. It’s a phrase that gets me more and more excited as it goes on. Murder? YEP. Atmospheric Victorian backdrop? YEPPP. Supernatural creatures like ghosts or vampires? OH HOLY YEP. I love the combination of these three elements. From the dark atmospheric setting to the intricate crimes and cleverly-woven mysteries to the terrifying creatures or beings that add about 100 times more suspense to the story. I will read literally anything with these three things!

Recommend: Jackaby series by William Ritter & The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

2. Ghost stories

Similar to the last buzzphrase, I just love ghost stories in general, from any setting or backdrop. They’re spooky, at times terrifying and I really enjoy a good scare from time to time. I love each author’s interpretation of ghosts as well – every book/series I’ve read imagines them differently, so I’m always interested to see how they might manifest on the page!

Recommend: The Diviners series by Libba Bray & Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud

3. Heists

Who doesn’t love a great heist book? I, personally, would love to read more of them. There are nowhere near enough heist books I’ve read or managed to come across sadly. But I love the types of things we get with heists – lovable rogues, criminals, witty banter, dark backstories, morally grey characters and lots of high stakes, fast-paced adventure. Writing this is making me want to read another heist book, so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

Recommend: Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo & Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

4. Libraries/museums

Given that I’m a librarian (and I bloody love my job), there is nothing more magical to me than reading about a story that features a library. I love being in libraries – they’ve always been such a safe haven for me and I will happily escape into fictional libraries just as much as I do for real-life libraries!

Recommend: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor & Sawbones by Catherine Johnson

5. Mythology

This can be real or imagined. I love both stories based on classic mythology (mostly Greek – I’m a sucker for it!) and stories with their own fully-developed, well-crafted, beautifully-imagined mythologies. I especially love reading about made-up creation stories – they always feel so exciting to me. I really enjoy reading about different interpretations of how the world came to be.

Recommend: The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy by Melinda Salisbury & Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi & Monstress series by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda


I have quite a few more bookish buzzwords/phrases so I think I’ll stop this post from being too long and save the second part for a rainy day! What are some of your bookish buzzwords?

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Books · Tag

Reading Habits Book Tag

Hello bookish friends!

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a book tag and I really fancied doing one so I came across this one from The Pufflehuffle Kitteh which seemed like a lot of fun!

1. Bookmarks or random pieces of paper?

Definitely bookmarks!! Over the years I’ve accumulated quite the collection. My favourite ones are the magnetic bookmarks I have from one of my favourite Etsy shops – HappyHelloCo. I actually usually have multiple bookmarks in each book I’m currently reading as I like to plan out how many pages I want to read on that specific day and see how many more pages I have to read. I love organising my reading nearly as much as I love actually reading!

2. Stop reading randomly or after a chapter/certain amount of pages?

I try to always finish the chapter I’m in the middle of but, given that I tend to read whilst commuting to and from work and uni, it’s not always possible which annoys me to no end! It’s different, however, when I’m reading audio books – I’m not really bothered about stopping in the middle of a chapter as it rarely feels like I’m coming to the end of a chapter and always feels like I’m in the middle of one.

3. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Not really. I tend to mostly just read on my bed as it’s the comfiest place and I can lie down at the same time – although I do tend to fall asleep when I do this! I also like to read in the dining room as there’s a really nice comfy sofa in there and no one but me ever goes in there so it’s usually quite peaceful.

4. Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

I usually always drink a good cup of tea whilst reading but I tend not to eat in case I get crumbs in the book! But there’s nothing quite like a good book and a decent cup of tea.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV when reading?

I usually listen to music turned down really low. I really like to watch/listen to ASMR Rooms so I can pretend I’m in Hogwarts and it’s a stormy night whilst reading. If I’m commuting I’ll probably listen to Classic FM or listen to some of my film/TV soundtracks. I can’t really listen to anything with words since it’ll put me off my reading and I’ll lose concentration.

6. One book at a time or several?

Always several. I like to read different formats at the same time. So I’ll usually have a main physical book on the go, a graphic novel and an audio book. Sometimes I’ll read a couple of physical books at the same time if one of them is an ‘easy’ book or a re-read. But I’ll mostly only have the one main physical book on the go and have that as my main priority.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

I probably read mostly at home but I do do a lot of reading on trains whilst commuting as well. That usually tends to be more concentrated reading since I’m not at all distracted by my phone or anything else, so it’s a good hour and a half/two hours each time I travel of uninterrupted reading.

8. Reading out loud or silently?

Definitely reading silently. I actually really struggle reading out loud. I tend to stumble on my words and can’t get them out as quickly as I can when I’m just reading silently. Plus I can skim read if I’m reading silently!

9. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I do my absolute best to keep it like new. Sometimes books just refuse to be kept in pristine condition which annoys me to no end! Definitely another perk of reading audio books – I never have to worry about damaging the book!

10. Do you write in your books?

No! I just cannot bring myself to ever do that. The only time I have done that has been for school/college/uni books that I’ve owned. I’m not bothered about them looking pretty as I’ve never had the urge to keep them on show, funnily enough! Perhaps if I was more artistic I would write/draw in my books but, sadly, I’m not!


So that’s it for the tag! It was fun to do one again – it’s been a while! If there’s any tags that you’ve done recently that you’ve enjoyed doing, please let me know!

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Before the Devil Breaks You

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

Before the Devil Breaks You

I’m currently reading Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. It’s the third instalment of The Diviners series which happens to be one of my favourite ongoing series. So far it’s just as deliciously creepy and atmospheric as the previous two instalments and I’m really enjoying it. The overarching plot is coming through a lot more now and the stakes feel even higher than before which has me constantly on edge for these characters who I very much adore. The audio book narration, as always, is flawless and I wouldn’t want to read this series any other way. These characters are so real to me and January LeVoy continually does an incredible job. I don’t think I will ever tire of hearing her beautiful voice!

“In this life you have to work with people you dislike. You find compromises but sometimes you find that a person’s beliefs are so harmful that you must speak against them. You can’t let such harmful statements stand without challenge. They have a tendency to grow into tumours.”

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Books · TBR

May TBR | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

As always, I’m going to plan to read far more than I am realistically able to but what’s a TBR post without high hopes!? As I didn’t finish all of the books I intended to read last month, I will be adding them again to this months’ TBR, so here’s hoping I manage to get through them all. Especially since all of my assessments will be over by the 14th and then I’ll be freeeeee!

Before the Devil Breaks You

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Radio Silence

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

7171637

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

I Was Born for This

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

The Amber Spyglass

The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman

Frostblood

Frostblood by Elly Blake

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Dreadnought

Dreadnought by April Daniels

The Savage Dawn

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Gray

TWATD #6

The Wicked and the Divine, Vol. 6: Imperial Phase, Part 2 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson


Stats:

Children’s: 2
YA: 9
Adult: 2

Fantasy: 8
Contemporary: 2
Other: 3

Back list: 10
New release (2018): 3

Audio book: 2
Graphic novel: 1
Novella/short book: 1
Full length print book: 9


So that’s it for this months’ TBR! 13 books in all, bringing 3 books back from last month. What are some of the books you plan on reading this month?

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Books · Wrap-Up

April Wrap-Up | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

I’m a little disappointed with the amount of books I ended up reading this month – the least I’ve read so far this year. Especially considering that I somehow managed to read a 1,000+ page book as well as 7 others! Still, 6 ain’t bad and I mostly really enjoyed the books I read this month.

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

This is definitely one of the best fantasy debuts I’ve read recently. I am so in awe of Adeyemi’s ability to construct a tightly-knit, excellently-crafted, fast-paced story. Her fantasy-world, and the mythology in particular, was unique and interesting. I especially loved the overarching themes in the book and appreciated their exploration. The different perspectives blended well together and I enjoyed reading from each one. The character arcs in this first instalment were so good! The only thing I have a slight issue with is the perspective of Inan – his characterisation felt quite rushed and he seemed to flip flop too easily. That being said, this didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel and I have absolutely no idea what kind of direction the next book will go in, but I am so incredibly excited to find out!

The Hidden Oracle

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan – 🌟🌟🌟.75

This was such a fun read – which I always tend to expect from a Rick Riordan book. But this one in particular felt quite refreshing, given the different format. I really liked that we mainly stayed at Camp Half Blood. I also adored Apollo’s narration. I wanted to slap him most of the time but in a nurturing kind of way? He had me constantly rolling my eyes and laughing throughout. I liked all of the new characters that were introduced and Apollo’s children in particular – it certainly added an interesting dynamic to the story. And of course I loved all of the reappearances of previous characters, especially that one right at the end! Not my favourite Rick Riordan book but I still reallly enjoyed it!

Deathnote #1

Deathnote Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba & Taskeshi Obata – 🌟🌟🌟.75

Overall, I really enjoyed this. It’s my first manga so it was a fun reading experience for me. I loved the relationship between Light and L. Seeing them try to outwit each other with their schemes was so interesting and compelling. The only thing that really irritated me about this was the sexism. I was really disappointed by it and, from what I’ve read from reviews of the next instalments, it only gets worse. I think I will still carry on though and just try to ignore it, since I loved the thematic explorations so much.

State of Sorrow

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Given that The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy is one of my favourite of all time, I was a little worried to start reading Salisbury’s new series. But I definitely shouldn’t have been – she absolutely delivers with this one. The writing, as always, was beautiful and lyrical and the plot was slow-paced with a heavy focus on political intrigue and characterisation – basically, all of my favourite ingredients for a fantasy! There were many interesting twists that wove deeper complexities into the story and the fantasy world itself felt rich and imaginative, although there were a few gaps that, given the end of the book, will definitely be filled in in the next coming instalment. I posted a full review for this one, so you can see my in-depth thoughts here.

The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert – 🌟🌟.5

I was really disappointed by this one. The premise sounded so intriguing to me, especially the dark fairy tale world that was promised. Unfortunately, the execution of the story fell really flat for me. The plot was not well-crafted – there was a mish-mash of tone and atmosphere that made the book feel quite disjointed. The main character wasn’t very well fleshed out and the world-building often felt quite confusing. I did, however, enjoy the fairy tale stories themselves – that was where Albert’s writing style really shone through. I posted a full review for this one too, so you can see my in-depth thoughts here.

And I Darken

And I Darken by Kiersten White – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I had a feeling I’d fall a little bit in love with this one – and I did! The writing style was just pure magic – the dialogue was fierce and cutting and the internal monologues of the two main characters were very compelling. The relationship dynamics between brother and sister was probably the most intriguing aspect of this book – they’re very deeply explored. This was a very slow-paced read, which I loved! But, there were moments where there were time jumps that felt a little disjointed at times and didn’t flow as well as I would have liked. Also, CW for sexism, homophobia, islamophobia and attempted rape. It’s a dark book with dark themes but I felt as though they were explored well.

The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman – DNF

I actually ended up DNF’ing this one which is such a shame! I was really hoping to love this as the concept sounded exactly like my cup of tea, but the execution was quite disappointing. Of the 50 or so pages I read, most of them contained instances of info-dumping. The information given was quite confusing and I struggled to remember the specifics as it was given to us in quite sizeable chunks. The characters were very bland also and the writing felt very meh to me. I didn’t hate what I read, but I probably would have only ended up giving it a 3 stars max and I really want to try to read as many 4/5 star books as possible and not waste as much time on the books that don’t interest or excite me as much.


So that’s it for the books I read this month. What were some of the books you read? Did you have a favourite?

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book review · Books

Book Review – The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel WoodTitle: The Hazel Wood
Author: Melissa Albert
Pages: 359
Genre: Young adult (urban) fantasy
Series: Book #1
Rating: 🌟🌟.5

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD. 

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .”

My Thoughts:

The Hazel Wood has all the hallmarks of a great fairy tale book – a dark, creepy setting with twisty turny plots. It sounds perfect on paper. But, unfortunately, the execution left a lot to be desired.

The structure of the plot felt quite disjointed. For the first two thirds of the book, there are many flashback sequences that took you out of the story too often. I don’t think they were all entirely relevant to the main character’s arc either. They didn’t always help me to get a better understanding of Alice and felt a little pointless to be included.

The pacing also felt a little off. Although it’s fast in pace, the plot doesn’t seem to really get going until the last third where there’s also a poorly executed mashing of atmosphere and tone, when we go from our world, into the fairy tale world. The plot was also quite convoluted and kept on meandering for the first two thirds – it felt like everything was happening and nothing was happening at the same time.

The main character, Alice, is a very unlikable character, which I personally didn’t mind. That being said, she also didn’t feel like a fully-fleshed out character. She didn’t have many distinct personality traits and had practically no quirks. Alice kind of felt a bit like a blank canvas and, overall, quite a forgettable character for a main protagonist.

The dialogue also felt kind of odd in places. There were full-stops where there shouldn’t have been which I understand has been done for effect, but when it’s constant, the technique gets real old, real quick.

The relationship between Alice and Finch (her… kind of friend?) developed way too quickly for my liking. There wasn’t enough groundwork laid out for their relationship and the conversations felt forced at times.

The world-building also left me feeling confused. Not enough time was spent explaining the world and it felt a little lawless as a result. I liked the fairy tale aspects of the world and I really would have liked to get to know them better and spend more time in it.

I did really enjoy the presence of the fairy tales in the narrative. I wasn’t a fan of Albert’s writing style until it came to the fairy tales themselves. I thought they were brilliantly nasty and wonderfully dark and atmospheric. The tales were very well constructed and were definitely the highlight of the novel. I just wish Albert had somehow incorporated more into the story as I found them an interesting, original addition to the overall story arc.

I was tempted to DNF this when I was around 25 pages in and part of me wishes that I had. Although the fast pace and the addictive style kept my attention, I knew at the time this wouldn’t get more than a three star rating from me.

If you’re looking for a quick, fast-paced, easy read and enjoy fairy tales, then you might enjoy this. But, personally, I wouldn’t recommend it. It was quite a disappointing and overall forgettable read.


Have you read The Hazel Wood? Did you feel the same way about it as I did? Or did you enjoy it a bit more? Let me know in the comments!

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book review · Books

Book Review – State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

State of SorrowTitle: State of Sorrow
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Pages: 452
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Series: Book #1
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“By day, Sorrow governs the Court of Tears, covering for her grief-maddened father, who has turned their once celebrated land into a living monument for the brother who died before she was born.

By night, she seeks solace in the arms of the boy she’s loved since childhood. But one ghost won’t stop haunting her, and when enemies old and new close ranks against her, Sorrow must decide how far she’s willing to go to win…”

My Thoughts:

Similar to Salisbury’s first trilogy, The Sin Eater’s Daughter, State of Sorrow is a slow-paced, character-driven, twisty-turny read with beautiful imagery, set in an interestingly-built fantasy world.

The synopsis of the book was quite vague and didn’t give out much information, which worked really well for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story, but I very much enjoyed what I got!

The plot is full to the brim with political intrigue, which laid the groundwork for many surprising twists that take the story in various unexpected ways. The slower pace of the novel allowed the story to flourish in its own time and contributed to the overall tone and theme of political intrigue, where relationships between characters and schemes are the most important factors.

At the beginning of the novel, you’re thrown in head-first and given a ton of names and positions to remember, which felt a little daunting. This did become less of a problem as the story went on (and there is a very helpful list of names at the back of the book!) but I did feel a little bombarded with information at first.

Salisbury is very talented at writing realistically-flawed female characters and Sorrow is no different. Given her upbringing, she starts off understandably frustrated with her lot in life. As the story progresses though, she learns from her mistakes and faces them head-on, which is something I really appreciated about her. She’s very self-aware and is constantly seeking to better herself. I thoroughly enjoyed her character arc and watching her grow throughout the story.

Sorrow’s relationships with other characters were a highlight for me. She has a strong network of people supporting her and, similarly, a number of people that are against her. This web of interconnecting relationships made for a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

Sorrow’s love interest is established prior to the start of the novel so, although it was an important relationship for Sorrow, it wasn’t the main focus of the story and definitely not Sorrow’s main focus which I appreciated a lot. Sorrow is very much her own person and always makes the decisions she feels are right for her and for her country, even if it’s to a detriment of her romantic relationship.

Sorrow’s main antagonist was appropriately conniving and straddled the line between morally grey and kind-of-a-good-guy. I liked that he wasn’t portrayed as a necessarily ‘evil’ character – just someone with ambition and hope for his people. His motivations made a lot of sense, which made for an interesting, well-developed character to match the wits of Sorrow.

Sorrow’s two closest friends were very important to her which I really liked. Her platonic relationships took precedent and she appreciated their advice and their counsel. Her childhood friend was always honest with Sorrow and never put up with her wallowing, always calling her out on her bullshit, which I loved! And her political advisor, come close friend, was a wonderful addition to the cast and brought out the best in Sorrow. He also had a very interesting backstory and was, by far, my favourite character. He was witty but genuine and had an absolute heart of gold.

The fantasy world was constructed mostly well. It felt like a well fleshed-out world, however it did feel like there were a few gaps in it. That being said, overall it was nicely detailed and the gaps, if the ending is anything to go by, will be more deeply explored in the next instalment.

The ending did feel a little lacklustre for me, as it was mainly setting the groundwork for the next, and final, instalment, but I am very excited for what is to come. I’m predicting it will involve a little more action and a lot more scheming and intrigue as the stakes are much higher and more dangerous for Sorrow.

I would definitely recommend this for anyone that enjoys well-crafted, character-driven stories. However, if you’re someone who prefers fast-paced, action-heavy plots, this might not be the best book for you. For me, though, this had my perfect blend of everything I want in a fantasy, so I was very satisfied overall and am patiently awaiting the conclusion to this tightly-packed, addicting story.


Have you read State of Sorrow yet? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Let me know so we can gush over it together in the comments!

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Clockwork Angel

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

Rules:
*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.

7171637

I’m currently reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. This is a re-read and I think I’m actually enjoying it more this time around. I wasn’t over fond of it the first time I read it – I really disliked Will. But now that I’ve read all the Shadowhunter books and have some hindsight, I can understand his actions more. He’s still annoying me, but I can forgive him! Jem hasn’t properly been introduced yet, so I’m eagerly anticipating getting to read about him all over again, since he’s the sweetest.

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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!

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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!!

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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

Rules:
*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.”

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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!

lord-of-shadows

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?

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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?

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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

Rules:
*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.”

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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

Including:

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

And:

  • 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!

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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

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Dreadnought

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

7171637

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?

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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

Rules:
*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.
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traitor-to-the-throne

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.”

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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!

Winter

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!

the-whispering-skull

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.

Monstress

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.

strange-the-dreamer

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

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?

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