Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Frozen Tides

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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

Frozen Tides

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

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

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Lists

All the Series…

Hello bookish friends!

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

Ongoing Series:

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


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

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


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

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

Graphic Novels:

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

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

Finished Series:

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

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

DNF Series:

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

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

Series to Start:

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

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

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

How many series are you in the middle of reading?

Stark Reviews Logo


My New Years’ Bookish Resolutions 2018

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stark Reviews Logo


My 2017 Bookish Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Mark of Athena

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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

The Mark of Athena

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

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

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Tag

End of Year Book Survey 2017

Hello bookish friends!

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

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


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

Best in books

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

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

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

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

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

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

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

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

Honourable mention: KITTY.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

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

Honourable mention: Starr and her parents.

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

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

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

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

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

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

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

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

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · TBR

January TBR | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

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

The Dire King

The Dire King by William Ritter

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

The Empty Grave

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

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

Fantastic Beasts

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

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

Every Heart A Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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

The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

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

Frozen Tides

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

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

Monstress #2

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

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


Timekeeper by Tara Sim

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

The Dark Days Club

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

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

A Conjuring of Light

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

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

City of Bones #2

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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

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

Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Wrap-Up

December Wrap Up | 2017

Hello bookish friends!

And a very happy new year to you!

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

Narnia #4

Prince CaspianC.S. Lewis – 🌟🌟.5

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

The Boy, the Bird...

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

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

Doctor Who Christmas

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

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

Grave Matter

Grave MatterJuno Dawson – 🌟🌟🌟.5

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

Night of Cake and Puppets

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

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

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

The Girl Who Saved ChristmasMatt Haig – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

The Son of Neptune

The Son of NeptuneRick Riordan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

The Hate U Give

The Hate U GiveAngie Thomas – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

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

The Language of Thorns

The Language of ThornsLeigh Bardugo – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy

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

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

Locke & Key #1

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

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

Giant Days 1

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

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

Lumberjanes #6

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

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

Ravina the Witch

Ravina the Witch?Junko Mizuno – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

Saga #5

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

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

The Snowman

The SnowmanRaymond Briggs – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

Emperor's New Clothes

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

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

The Ugly Duckling

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

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

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟🌟

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

The Little Match Girl

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

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

The Snow Man

The Snow Man – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟.5

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

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

Stark Reviews Logo





Blogmas · Books

Deck the Halls – DIY Bookish Decorations #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

This is the last of my DIY #blogmas posts for this year! And I think this was my favourite one to do. I was sat down in front of the TV watching A Christmas Carol (the Jim Carey one) and feeling very festive!

 1. Materials 


I used some plastic fillable baubles from Hobbycraft, some of my trusty twine that I’ve been using throughout this month for festive creations, glitter, typed-out quotes and some decorative snowballs.



First of all, I had to type out some of my favourite quotes from books and print them out. I then cut them into two or three line segments and ran the scissors down the long strips of paper, as you do with ribbons, creating a curly effect.

3. Filling the baubles!

I filled each of the three baubles with the ribbon-paper, some festive decorations, the snowballs and lots and lots of glitter! And yes, a lot of it went all over the floor!! Finally, I tied some of the twine to the top to stick on my tree and voila! I think these are by far my favourite creations – they almost look like they belong on my tree!


I hope you’ve all enjoyed these DIY festive posts. I’ll definitely be doing some more next Christmas and, who knows, maybe some DIY during the year too!

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

DIY Bookish Festive Treats #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

I’m back with another DIY post, this time BAKING! I had a lot of fun making these treats,  even if they are very basic!

1. Ingredientsdsc_0197104703925.jpg

I used a pre-made mix for the cake mix ’cause I’m lazy! With that mix, I also needed 2 medium eggs and semi-skimmed milk. For the decoration, I used ready-made icing (again, lazy), some X-Mas themed sprinkles and cake pens (which are so cool!)

2. Cake mixdsc_02001810842331.jpg

The instructions were very easy to follow on the pack, so that even I couldn’t mess this bit up!! Just a case of mixing all of the ingredients together – simple. They only took 20 mins in the oven, so it’s really time-saving, too.

3. Icing_20171221_18093582192487.jpg

I then rolled out some of the icing and used a cookie-cutter to mold the icing into the perfect shape to fit onto the cakes. Using butter icing (that I actually did make myself (!) by mixing butter and icing sugar together), I glued the icing onto the cakes.

4. Finishing touches!


Finally, I used the cake pens to draw on the icing, creating some bookish-themed and x-mas themed cakes. I also used the remaining butter icing for the rest of the cakes and added some holly sprinkles to them. They definitely taste a lot better than they look – I promise!

There are two that I didn’t end up using in the final photos because they went horribly wrong!! I attempted to draw the Deathly Hallows symbol and, apparently, I can’t seem to draw triangles all that well! I hope your holiday bakes are going better than mine!

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

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

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Diviners

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray

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

A Darker Shade of Magic

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

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

The Strings of Murder

5. The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

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

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

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Dashing Through the Snow Book Tag #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

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

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

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

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

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

3. Name your favorite Christmas movie

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

4. Do you like snow?

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

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

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

6. To give or receive

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

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

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

8. Fondest Christmas memory?

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

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

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

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

DIY Bookish Christmas Bookmarks #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

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

1. Materials


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

2. Painting


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

3. Last touches

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

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

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

The Holiday Adventureathon! #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

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

The Language of Thorns

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

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

Grave Matter

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

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

Doctor Who Christmas

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

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

Ravina the Witch

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

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

The Hate U Give

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

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

The Snowman

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

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


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

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

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

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

The Friday 56 – Steelheart

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

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

Friday 56

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


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

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

Merry #blogmas 1