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.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

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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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Dark Days Club

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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 Dark Days Club

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

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

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

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Books · Lists

My Most Anticipated Releases of 2018

Hello bookish friends!

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

The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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

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

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

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

Let's Talk About Love

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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

All Out

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

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

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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

Restore Me

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

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

Ace of Shades

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

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

My Plain Jane (USA)

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

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

These Rebel Waves

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

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

*No cover released yet*

The Golden Tower by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

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

*No cover released yet*

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

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

*No cover released yet*

Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas

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

Queen of Air and Darkness

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

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


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

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Books · Lists

My Least Favourite and Most Disappointing Reads of 2017

Hello bookish friends!

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

*Content warning for quotes depicting amisia and fatphobia*

The Baking Life of Amelie Day

The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis

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

the-upside-of-unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

CW: Amisia

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

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

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

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

A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

CW: Amisia 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the-horse-and-his-boy

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

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

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

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

CW: Amisia 

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

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

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

Since You've Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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

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

Poets, Artists, Lovers

Poets, Artists, Lovers by Mira Tudor

CW: Fatphobia

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

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

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

WHY DID WE NEED TO KNOW THIS COMPLETELY USELESS, IRRELEVANT PIECE OF ‘INFORMATION’ !?!?

And also:

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

*face palms* WHYYYYY though??


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

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Frozen Tides

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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.

Frozen Tides

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

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

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Books · Lists

All the Series…

Hello bookish friends!

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

Ongoing Series:

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

Incomplete:

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

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

Unfinished:

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

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

Graphic Novels:

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

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

Finished Series:

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

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

DNF Series:

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

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

Series to Start:

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

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

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

How many series are you in the middle of reading?

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