Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Crystal Storm

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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

Crystal Storm

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

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

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Books I’ve Removed From My TBR

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

Ready Player One

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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

6140000

2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

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

A Thousand Pieces of You

3. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

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

Rivers of London

4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

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

Steelheart

5. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

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


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

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Now I Rise

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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

Now I Rise

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

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

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Books · Readathon

BookTubeAThon 2018 TBR!!

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

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

Dreadnought

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

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

Rapunzel

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

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

You Know Me Well

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

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

Wires and Nerve #1

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

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

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

6. Read a book with a beautiful spine 420 pages

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

7. Read seven books 255/328/309 pages

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


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

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

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

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Books · Stats

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

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

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

Reading Progress 1

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

Reading Progress 2

I’ve read a bit of a mix of books:

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

Including:

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

And:

  • 15 library books
  • 7 owned books
  • 1 ARC

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

I’ve only managed to complete 1 more series:

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

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

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

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


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

Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Lies of Locke Lamora

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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

Lies of Locke Lamora

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

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

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Books · TBR

July TBR | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Hero At the Fall

Hero At the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

16429619

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Now I Rise

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

the-bone-season

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Savage Dawn

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Gray

Uprooted

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The Novice

The Novice by Taran Matharu

Truthwitch

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Crystal Storm

Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

The Smoke Thieves

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

The Abyss Surrounds Us

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Snow

Snow by Mikayla Elliot

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Flame in the Mist

Flame In the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Glass Sword

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

The Midnight Star

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Wonder Woman Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

12788037

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

The Serpent's Shadow

The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

Stats:

Children’s: 1
YA: 18
Adult: 3

Fantasy: 22
Contemporary: 0
Other: 0

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

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


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

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

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Books · Wrap-Up

June/Marvel-A-Thon Wrap-Up | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

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

Aru Shah and the End of Time

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

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

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

The State of Grace

State of GraceRachael Lucas – 🌟🌟🌟

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

Rep: Autistic m/c (own voices)

Peter Darling

Peter DarlingAustin Chant – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

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

Maus

MausArt Spiegelman – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

I Was Born for This

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

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

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

Of Fire and Stars

Of Fire and StarsAudrey Coulthurst – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

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

Ms. Marvel #1

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

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

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

The Throne of Fire

The Throne of FireRick Riordan – 🌟🌟🌟

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

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

All Out

All OutSaundra Mitchell – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

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

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


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

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

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – All Out

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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

All Out

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

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

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

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

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

Vicious

1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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

the-bone-season

2. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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

The Darkest Minds

3. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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

The Savage Dawn

4. The Savage Dawn by Melissa Gray

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

The Novice

5. The Novice by Taran Matharu

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


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

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Books · Tag

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

Radio Silence

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

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

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

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

Ace of Shades

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

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

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

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

The Amber Spyglass

5. Biggest disappointment

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

The Cruel Prince

6. Biggest surprise

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

Heartstoppet

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

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

The Legend of Korra Turf Wars Part One

8. Newest fictional crush

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

9. Newest favourite character

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

Before the Devil Breaks You

10. Book that made you cry

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

Every Heart A Doorway

11. Book that made you happy

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

All Out

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

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

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

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


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

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Of Fire and Stars

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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

Of Fire and Stars

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

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

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Books · Readathon

Marvel-A-Thon Update #2

Hello bookish friends!

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

Marvel A Thon W2

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Books · Hauls

Library Haul #2

Hello bookish friends!

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

Now I Rise

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

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

Flame in the Mist

Flame In the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

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

From Twinkle, With Love

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

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

The Smoke Thieves

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

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

Renegades

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

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

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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

The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part in the Forest by Holly Black

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

The Abyss Surrounds Us

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

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


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

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Throne of Fire

Hello bookish friends!

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

Friday 56

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

The Throne of Fire

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

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

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