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 · 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 · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Book Series You Wished Had More Books

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

Crooked Kingdom

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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

The Dire King

2. Jackaby by William Ritter

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

The Blood of Olympus

3. Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

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

Winter

4. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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

The Empty Grave

5. Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

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


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

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

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Books I Want to Re-Read

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

Aristotle and Dante

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

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

The Hero of Ages

2. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

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

Crooked Kingdom

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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

Twilight

4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

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

Starcrossed

5. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

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


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

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Ideal Mash-Ups

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

1. Monstress meets Heroes of Olympus

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

2. Heartstopper meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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

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

3. Six of Crows meets Mistborn meets Deathnote

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

4. Batman meets fairy tales

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


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

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

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

T5W – Auto-Buy Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors

Hello bookish friends!

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

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

Strange the Dreamer

1. Laini Taylor

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

The Hero of Ages

2. Brandon Sanderson

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

Crooked Kingdom

3. Leigh Bardugo

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

The Blood of Olympus

4. Rick Riordan

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

lord-of-shadows

5. Cassandra Clare

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


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

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

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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!!)

Monstress

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

Top 5 Wednesday – Characters On the Naughty List #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

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

HP1

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

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

Since You've Been Gone

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

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

Throne of Glass

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

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

the-upside-of-unrequited

4. Cassie from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertelli

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


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

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

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

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

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

1. Sappy romance 

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

2. Americanisms 

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

3. Matching covers 

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

4. Acts implied, not stated outright 

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

5. Gross sex scenes

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


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

Merry #blogmas 1

Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Authors You’d Want to Write Like

Hello bookish friends!

This weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday is all about the authors we crave to be as talented as. I’ve focused more on writing style than writing ability, so these are authors whose writing just seems to flow off the page!

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

strange-the-dreamer

Laini Taylor

Immediately, when I saw this topic, I thought of Laini Taylor. Literally every sentence she constructs is beautiful. I’ve often found myself in awe of the way her words seem to glide and dance on the page. I like the slow-build of her stories, too. They always start small and personal and somehow, by the end of the book, the plots and relationships between the characters are so intricate, I’m honestly amazed by how we got there!

lord-of-shadows

Cassandra Clare

If you’ve been here a while, you know that Cassandra Clare is (probably) my favourite author. I don’t know how exactly to describe how I feel when I read her books. It kind of feels like she’s telling a story which I realise sounds silly (aren’t they all stories!?) But Clare’s writing just makes me feel warm and cosy and a little nostalgic, I guess. I love everything about her writing.

15839984

Rosamund Hodge

Rosamund Hodge is a real hit or miss author for most, but I personally love her writing style. I find it very atmospheric, kind of eerie at times, and always enthralling. Hodge’s imagination never ceases to amaze me. How she manages to come up with the worlds she does, I do not know.

Winter

Marissa Meyer

I adore Meyer’s light, fluffy narrative. Her writing brings me joy and always manages to make me feel something. Plus, the way she writes romances makes me swoon. Every. Damn. Time. I also really loved the relationships between characters in general. They were so funny and I just adored each and every one of them.

Crooked Kingdom

Leigh Bardugo

Bardugo is the kind of writer where you can clearly see her writing gets stronger and stronger with each book she publishes. Particularly with the Six of Crows duology. Bardugo is a great storyteller – her characters and the Grisha world feels so real to me. I could never tire of reading her beautifully-woven stories!

A Gathering of Shadows

Honorary mention: V.E. Schwab

I’ve only read one book (and I’m currently in the middle of another) of Schwab’s so I feel like I can’t put her on this list quite yet. But I already know that I love her writing. It feels so magical and I find myself tearing through the pages – it’s a very addictive style.


So that’s it for this weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday. What are some of your top authors you’d like to write like?
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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Nostalgic Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends

Hello bookish friends!

This weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday is all about the fictional characters we used to crush on way back when. Now, for me, I rarely experience romantic attraction so when I say I fancy someone, it usually just means I like them platonically and affectionately. And that I think they have a great face and want to hang out with them all the time and cuddle. Hope this makes sense!

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

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1. My first ever fictional crushes were the Grace kids from the Spiderwick Chronicles. I loved all of them for very different reasons. Simon loved animals and was a sensitive soul, Jared was brave and kinda reckless and Mallory was just a total badass. This was one of my favourite series as a child and me and my friends would all hunt for fairies down the back of our gardens like the cool kids we most definitely were.

Avatar

2. Okay so I haven’t actually read any of the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics but I’m still going to count Zuko on this list because, oh my, my wee young heart loved him. I’ve recently re-watched Avatar and wow Zuko is such a phenomenal character. His development is fantastic and I was rooting for him the whole way through. He’s just so complex and so interesting and you feel everything he feels and, yep, I definitely feel like re-watching it all over again!

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3. What’s a nostalgia list without a Harry Potter character? I always loved Draco growing up. Like, I knew he was Not A Great Person but I also found his character arc so interesting. Also, watching the Cursed Child play last year made me feel vindicated in my love for Draco. He just needed a chance away from his manipulative family to flourish and now he’s such a great parent to Scorpius which makes grown-up me love him even more. Although grown-up me definitely prefers Neville in re-reads. I think when I was little I had a thing for rogues but now I just like the nice, kind, polite types that are respectful and appreciative of you.

New Moon

4. Okay so I’m a little (lot) embarrassed by this one but I was a moody 15 year old so I’ll cut me some slack. I was properly in love with Jacob from Twilight. I think more so because all of my friends at the time were so into Edward so I was really stubborn about liking Jacob just to prove a point. Not entirely sure what point I was proving, but there ya go. Plus, I’ve always just preferred werewolves over vampires so…


I think that’s it for this list! Not quite a top 5, but close enough. I internalised a lot of homisia when I was growing up – and if I’m honest, still deal with a lot of it now – so that’s why the list is predominately male. What are  some of your nostalgic book boyfriends and girlfriends?
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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Non-Horror Books that Scared Me

Hello bookish fiends!

Back again with another Top 5 Wednesday. The host, Thoughts on Tomes, can be found here. And the Goodreads group can be found here.

Before we start, you should probably know that I am a huge scaredy cat and find a lot of things scary that I’m assuming most people normally wouldn’t!

The Hollow Boy

1. The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud

This is my go-to book for being scared! It’s a book series about ghost-hunting so it’s scary at the best of times. But there was this one scene in particular where one of the ghosts was described to move really funny, kind of like a spider and it just really freaked me out. I’m getting a little freaked out just thinking about it, if I’m being honest!!

Monstress

2. Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda

This graphic novel is pretty disturbing. It’s set in a war-torn world where slavery and torture are pretty common so I felt very uneasy throughout. I think what makes this story so scary and unsettling, though, is its artwork. It certainly doesn’t shy away from showing anything, which worked to its advantage, but did also manage to scare me quite a bit!

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3. The Wolf In the Attic by Paul Kearney

Chase scenes always seem to scare me but this one was extra scary because of the vivid way it was described. We’re in the main character’s head when she’s being chased by men with knives and the author goes into a lot of detail about how she’s feeling in that exact moment. It was quite the visceral experience!

Northern Lights 1

4. Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman

Okay so I know this is a children’s book but there are some seriously disturbing moments in it! There were many moments when I felt my heart racing, particularly in relation to the experiments and some of the adults had very skewed views of morality which created an atmosphere of distrust and fear.

Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

5. Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson

This is a short story about ghosts who come alive in the dark, set in a fantasy world. So naturally, I found it pretty darn scary. I loved the lore centered around the ghosts, too – how they would rile up if they could smell or see blood. For only 50 pages, I spent quite a few of those sitting on the edge of my seat!


That’s it for this weeks’ top 5 Wednesday! What are some of the books you’ve read that have scared you?
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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite Creepy Settings

Hello bookish friends!

Today I bring you another Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by Thoughts on Tomes, all about our favourite creepy settings in books. I love a creepy, atmospheric setting so this list was a little difficult to get to just five, but I think I’ve picked some great ones! You can join us over at the Goodreads group here.

crimson-bound

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound is a Little Red Riding Hood inspired dark fantasy that takes place in a number of creepy places. My favourite one in particular being a forest. Because who doesn’t find forests creepy? Particularly when the forest is literally alive and trying to claim your soul for itself. This fairy-tale story is dark and twisty and complex and oh so wonderfully creepy.

The Hollow Boy

The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud

All of the Lockwood & Co. books take place in a ghost-infested alternate London but this one in particular mainly takes place in a department store after hours and I’ve never been so creeped out reading a book! It had such an eerie, quiet atmosphere. Add to that terrifying ghosts that had such an affect on me that I was covered in goose-bumps and you have one helluva creepy setting!

The Strings of Murder

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

The Strings of Murder has a title that sounds like it’ll be just a tad bit creepy – and it is! It’s set in Victorian Edinburgh and follows two detectives on their hunt for a serial killer who has been killing violinists. This book takes you through satanic murder scenes, asylums and pitch-black tunnels which all make for a great creepy setting.

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Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels by Mike Mignola & Ben Stenbeck

This graphic novel takes place in the world of Hellboy, in Victorian London. Sir Edward Grey is an inspector of the occult and must traverse the criminal underworld of London’s back alleys to unravel a deadly mystery. The illustrations breathe life to the creepy setting, making for a very dark, gritty, at times scary, atmosphere. There are demons and ghosts and ancient mysteries for added creepiness.

Through the Woods

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Everything about this graphic novel is extremely creepy. There are a number of short stories that tell the tales of some pretty disturbing, messed up things which all interconnect with the woods. We’ve already established that forests can be very creepy but the artwork here brought a whole new meaning to the word. I loved the vivid colour palette and the dark illustrations. It had a very fairy-tale-esque vibe to it and I’m planning to read it again for Halloween very soon!
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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Books I’ve Read Because of the Online Book Community 

Hello bookish friends!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve participated in a Top 5 Wednesday so it’s good to be back! Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and the Goodreads group can be found here.

The Final Empire

1. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

So Peruse Project was one of the first booktubers I came across a few years ago, when I had just discovered the online book community. I’d never read an adult fantasy prior to the Mistborn series but Regan gave it such high praise that I decided to pick it up and I’ve now read all of the Mistborn books, Elantris, Warbreaker, The Way of Kings and a few short stories of Sanderson’s, too! I’ve also gone on to read other adult fantasy books, so this book was an important stepping stone for me. Probably the best recommendation I’ve ever come across!

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2. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

I can’t for the life of me remember who exactly recommended this series but I know it was from one of the UKYA authors I follow on Twitter. They asked whether it was wrong that they were attracted to a talking skull which, naturally, had me very intrigued! It’s now one of my favourite ongoing series and I’m so happy to have stumbled upon that recommendation.

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3. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

I found out about this book through Emily’s May’s review on Goodreads. A Greek mythology, Beauty and the Beast retelling blend was all I needed to know to want to pick this book up. Add to that the fact that she called it “the latest addition to my favourite YA of all time shelf,” and I absolutely had to have this book. And it really did not disappoint! Although it has a lot of mixed reviews, I adored the beautiful writing, the characters and, most of all, how darn weird it was!

Carry On

4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Although I knew of this book’s existence, I didn’t really plan to pick it up. Until, that is, I watched Katytastic’s review of it. Her excitement over the characters made me feel really excited, too, and I ended up buying it and reading it not too soon after. Aaaand I loved this book. So so much. It was one of the easiest five stars I’ve ever given. I completely understood Kat’s excitement levels after that!!

Six of Crows

5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I first heard about the Grishaverse books from Thoughts on Tomes but wasn’t entirely sold on the original trilogy until Sam talked about the new duology. A story about very morally-grey characters in a crew about to embark upon a heist. Also, ships galore! Leigh Bardugo is now one of my favourite authors and I adore all of the characters she’s created.  Also, it’s just been announced that we’re getting NIKOLAI BOOKS YES YES YES.


So that’s it for this Top 5 Wednesday. Thank you to everyone who gushes about their favourite books! Because of you, I continually find new favourite books! Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite First Sentences

Hello bookish friends! Here with another Top 5 Wednesday. As always T5W is hosted by the lovely Sam over at Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.

This weeks’ topic is favourite first sentences. First lines in books are very important to me. They pretty much determine whether or not I’ll take a book out of a library or ultimately end up purchasing a book. For me, first lines carry a lot of weight. So I decided to go through a crap ton of my books just to pick out my favourites. Which was so much harder than I thought it would be! But I think I’m happy with the ones I chose […]

The 5th Wave1. The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

“There will be no awakening”

This is probably my favourite first line. When I first read that line I remember thinking: this sounds like a line from a super cool sci-fi film! It felt so powerful to me and it really set the tone for the rest of the book. Which I ended up loving and giving an easy 5 stars to.

234371562. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

“Joost had two problems: the moon and his moustache”

I’d never picked up a Leigh Bardugo book previous to Six of Crows so when I started reading the first few lines in the book shop, I thought it would definitely be my cup of tea. And, you know what? IT BLOODY WAS. It ended up being my favourite book of last year.

158399843. Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge

“I was raised to marry a monster”

I love short first lines like this that essentially set up the tone for the entire novel. They always have some kind of effect on me and make me pause to savour what’s actually being said. It felt dark and sexy and that pretty much describes the book!

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4. The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury

“Even when there are no prisoners, I can still hear the screams”

One of the few books that I’ve picked up on a whim without researching beforehand. And it was all due to those first few lines which were golden. I’m actually really glad that I didn’t research this book beforehand as it has quite mixed reviews and my life would not have been totally complete without this series in it […] So bless you Melinda Salisbury for your gorgeous writing and your ability to write a kick-ass first sentence!

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5.Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton

“They said the only folk who belonged in Deadshot after dark were the ones who were up to no good. I wasn’t up to no good. Then again, I wasn’t exactly up to no bad, neither”

Okay so this one’s a few sentences, but still. Those opening lines immediately had me interested. Again, I picked this one up on a whim, too. Also ridiculously glad that I did. It was so much fun!

What are some of your favourite first sentences?
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