August Wrap-Up | September TBR | 2016

I’ve decided to go back to monthly Wrap-Up’s and TBR’s for a little while. Lately I just haven’t been reading enough for my Weekly Recap posts and when I don’t post it for a week I feel guilty and since this blog is just meant to be a bit of fun, I really don’t want to feel that way. So I’ll be doing monthly wrap-up’s but I might post a weekly recap here and there if I read loads that week or if I want to talk about something else. I just want to keep things nice and chilled so I’m hoping this is the right way to do that.

Anyway, on with the books I read this month! Which really wasn’t that many, oops.

August Reads:

Lady Midnight

Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.75

The strongest start to a Shadowhunter Chronicles book yet, Lady Midnight managed to pull me in right from the beginning with its incredibly well-developed characters and all of their compelling internal struggles. The dynamics between the Blackthorn family in particular, I really liked. I also love how we’re now 11 books and 3 series in and there’s still so much to be uncovered in this story world. The only thing that bothered me was the info-dumping that took place during the first 150 pages or so. It made the beginning feel quite slow and clunky and felt a bit stop-start to me. But overall, a highly recommended read if you love all things Shadowhunter-y.

The Copper Gauntlet

The Copper Gauntlet – Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – 🌟🌟🌟

A solid sequel, although I’m not sure I enjoyed it as much as the first book in the series. Whilst I liked the concepts and various plot twists, I feel like the three main characters had a tendency to be quite bland and one-dimensional. The writing was fun and devious, with heaps of moral ambiguity but is altogether presented without much depth or complexity. This is a children’s series so perhaps I’m being a tad harsh but, in spite of that, I’m still very interested in the story and will definitely be continuing on.

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The Hero of Ages – Brandon Sanderson – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Mistborn series has a very special place in my heart and the final book completely tore my heart to shreds. It was probably one of the best series-enders I’ve ever read – I was so satisfied with how everything was tied together. It was an incredibly realistic ending too. Yes it made me ugly cry, but ahhhh it was perfect! Although it was, as always, a little slow in places, the character development and the last 100 pages or so more than makes up for it. A series I’d recommend to absolutely everyone even remotely interested in fantasy!

September TBR:

I have loads of books I’d like to read this month and I’ve already finished one (yay!) so I’m feeling hopeful.Empire of Storms

I cannot WAIT to get my hands on this tomorrow!! I had mixed feelings about Queen of Shadows so I really hope this doesn’t disappoint.

The Alloy of Law

I’m currently reading this and having a great time in the Mistborn world. The dialogue between Wax and Wayne is hilarious and seeing how the events from the original trilogy have effected the world 300 years later is so interesting and also tears me up a little!

The Emperor's Soule

As you can probably guess I’m in a Brandon Sanderson kind of mood right now! I plan on reading all of his Cosmere works and I’m starting out with the shorter ones first.

I started reading these for the Read Them All readathon but I didn’t quite manage to finish them so hopefully I’ll pick these back up this month. I’m especially excited to continue reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

Crooked Kingdom

And, finally, I’ll be picking this one up at the end of the month, the second it comes out because AHHHH I am so excited for it!! Six of Crows was my favourite read of last year so my expectations for the sequel are sky high.

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So that’s it for my wrap-up/tbr for this month! What do you guys plan on reading for September?
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The (Not So) Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag | 2016 Edition

Emphasis on ‘freak out’ because I still have so many more amazing books that I really want to get to this year. And nowhere near enough time to get to all of them! Especially not with the various slumps I’ve been having lately. But let’s try to stay positive and not think about my never-ending TBR!!

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

Carry On

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2016

If we’re talking about stand-alones, this has to be Carry On (Rainbow Rowell). This book was, in a word, delightful. It was fun and cute and laugh-out-loud funny and basically everything you could expect from a Rowell book but with a magical twist. I HIGHLY recommend this story for anyone looking for a charming, light-hearted read.

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

Without a doubt, this has to be The Sleeping Prince (Melinda Salisbury). Probably, and I do not say this lightly, my favourite series at the moment. I gave the first book in the series 5 stars and couldn’t imagine it getting any better; it was already perfect in my eyes! Also, when I saw on Goodreads that it was to be narrated from a different character’s point of view, I was slightly scared that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. But I needn’t have worried and The Sleeping Prince completely blew me away and I wanted to give it way more than 5 stars. The series has a wonderfully imagined story-world with strong yet flawed female characters and lovely, beautiful writing. The last book in the trilogy cannot come fast enough!

Also, honourable mention to The Hero of Ages (Brandon Sanderson) which I’ve just recently finished. IT WAS EVERYTHING I COULD HAVE EVER DREAMED FOR.Uprooted

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

This isn’t technically a new release but I bought Uprooted (Naomi Novik) recently and desperately want to read it (along with countless others on my TBR!). But Uprooted has gotten so many great reviews and when I read the first few pages in the bookstore to see if I’d like it, I struggled to put the book back down so I could purchase it! I’m only putting it off now because I want to make sure I’m in the right kind of mood for it so, hopefully, I’ll be picking it up soonish, perhaps around Autumn or Winter as it seems like a cosy kind of book, to enjoy with rain and a huge cup of tea.

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

I, like many other people, have 2 books for this one: Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo), and Empire of Storms (Sarah J. Maas).

I’m probably looking forward to seeing Kaz and the gang the most as Six of Crows was my favourite book of 2015.

I’m really hoping I love Empire of Storms because I had such mixed feelings about Queen of Shadows which is the biggest shame because for a while Throne of Glass was my favourite series. So I’m definitely hopeful, but I’ll try not to get my hopes up too much!

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5. Biggest disappointment

Unfortunately this has to be Clockwork Angel (Cassandra Clare). Whilst this isn’t my lowest rated book of the year so far, it was one that I thought I’d love an awful lot more than I did. For some reason, I couldn’t get on with the MC, Tessa, and I found Will to be incredibly rude and unlikable (obviously having read the whole series, now I know why!) and the plot itself for me was just so-so. But…

127880376. Biggest surprise

This has to be Clockwork Prince (Cassandra Clare). After not being overly-fond of CA, I really wasn’t sure if I’d like the sequel. The only reason why I picked it up was because of Jem and there was SO MUCH JEM in CP. Also, I found Tessa and Will to be much more likeable in this sequel and I found myself really caring for them. It was at this point too that I became incredibly attached to the story and even more so to the characters. The dynamic between Jem and Will especially was probably my favourite thing in this sequel (and in the series as a whole really).

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

I think this might be Rosamund Hodge or Lisa Williamson. Both write completely different stories but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cruel Beauty and The Art of Being Normal and I would definitely pick up anything else these ladies decide to write. Possibly also Paul Kearney too. I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Wolf in the Attic but I adored the writing itself so I might potentially be interested in a future story of Kearney’s. We’ll see.

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8. Newest fictional crush

The magnificent Mr. James Carstairs. I’ve talked quite a bit on this blog about how much I adore him so I’ll try not to swoon too much or go on about him for too long. BUT. He’s just so lovely! And sweet and kind and good. And I want a Jem in my life. Even if we’re just friends, I would be honoured to know someone like that. We need more Jem’s in the world. More whole-heartedly good people. Okay, swoon over *fans self*

9. Newest favourite character

I have so many! So I’ll try to be ruthless with myself. Definitely Harper from Rebel Belle (Rachel Hawkins). She’s very feminine but also extremely badass and doesn’t let stereotypes get in the way of who she is.

I also love Nyx from Cruel Beauty (Rosamund Hodge). She’s unapologetically bitter and slightly twisted and unforgiving but is also capable of warmth and compassion and I love her so much for that. A very refreshing strong female protagonist.

Errin from The Sleeping Prince (Melinda Salisbury) is another strong female character I adore. She is probably the most realistic character on this list. She has a lot of weight on her shoulders and she tries her best to be/appear strong and she does everything she can but she still has her weak moments and breaks down and cries. I just really love that she’s strong but she’s still human and sometimes she feels like her life is too much sometimes. She’s very #relatable.

And, finally, Penelope from Carry On (Rainbow Rowell). She is no-nonsense, straight to the point and an all-around badass feminist that doesn’t put up with bullshit. But she’s also very caring and would do just about anything for the people she loves.

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10. Book that made you cry

I cry pretty easily at basically anything but I think the book I’ve cried most at thus far this year is Clockwork Princess (Cassandra Clare). That epilogue. It ruined me. It was so perfect but it was also so very bittersweet. Also, just the dialogue and the relationship between Jem and Will had me welling up. Their friendship was beautiful to read and really struck a cord with me. This whole book was just plain beautiful!

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11. Book that made you happy

I honestly don’t think I’ve read a book that has made me only happy this year! I mainly read fantasy which tends to be a tad heart-wrenching. I think I’ll just choose Beastly Bones (William Ritter) for this one because I love these characters and this world and I missed it a lot, even though I did get a little emotional over it. I’m just a really sensitive person when it comes to books I think!!

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

All my books are beautiful! But Rebel of the Sands (Alwyn Hamilton) might just be slightly more beautiful than the rest. And it’s shiny too. Can’t go wrong with shiny.

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

I absolutely definitely most certainly need to finish reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Laini Taylor). I’ve been putting off finishing this series for so long and I just need to grow a back-bone and get on with it. I’m only putting it off because I know how much it’ll hurt but, at the same time, this is one of my favourite series, so I know I’ll love it. I’m just being a wuss right now!

14. Favourite Book Community Member (Blogger, Booktuber and Bookstagrammer)

I’ve discovered so many this year so this is really hard! I think I’ll pick Francina Simone for this category though. I love watching her videos and she’s so smart, I always come away feeling like I learnt something! I’d definitely recommend checking her out if you haven’t.

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GBBO Book Tag

Hello bookish friends! As I have been waiting for this wonderful night for what seems like an eternity, I thought I would honour it by doing the Great British Bake Off Book Tag. I found this over at Heart Full of Books and the tag was created by Reading With Jack.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

1. CAKE: The cake has sunk in the middle. Pick a book that didn’t rise to your expectations.

I’ve had quite a few books I’ve read this year that have ended up being quite disappointing but perhaps the most recent has been The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis). After reading The Magician’s Nephew and loving it, I was fully expecting to love this instalment even more. Sadly, I really wasn’t that fond of it. I know it’s blasphemous to say but… the film was just so much better! Book Sin #1

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2. BISCUITS: Once you’ve eaten one, you’re hungry for more and each time you eat another, they get more and more delicious. Pick a book series or trilogy that got progressively better.

This would definitely have to be The Infernal Devices trilogy (Cassandra Clare). Clockwork Angel was just okay – Will and Tessa annoyed the crap out of me. I was really pleasantly surprised with Clockwork Prince and didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Then Clockwork Princess happened. And it destroyed me. Very glad I kept on reading.

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3. BREAD: Kneading dough requires hard work and determination. Pick a book that you put off reading for ages and needed a lot of determination to pick up.

This would probably have to be every book in the Mistborn trilogy (Brandon Sanderson). I am a huge fan of this series but it took a hell of a lot of psyching myself up to actually make me pick one of the books up. I’ve left about 6/7 months in between each instalment because a) they’re huge and b) they’re just too emotional! And I struggle to handle that. But I’m currently a third of the way through The Hero of Ages so I’m feeling pretty proud.

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4. DESSERTS: Foreign deserts such as crème brûlée and Spanische Windtorte are on the menu. Pick a book set in a foreign country.

I’m picking The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (Maggie Stiefvater) for this one. They’re set in a small town in Minnesota and I remember reading them and longing to visit this part of the US. It’s cold, foresty and packed with wolf people things so I’m still game.

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5. ALTERNATIVE INGREDIENTS: Not usually used, but surprisingly good. Pick a book from a genre you wouldn’t normally read but ended up loving.

I’m actually quite bad at picking books outside of my comfort zone (Book Sin #2) but I’ll choose The Wolf in the Attic (Paul Kearney) for this one. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the plot or the supernatural elements but the writing itself was beautiful and the characterization was really quite interesting.

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6. PASTRY: Shortcrust pastry can crumble easily. Pick a character who you initially liked, but as you read more and more, your relationship with them crumbled apart.

Ron Weasley. To be honest I was never that bothered with Ron but after having read HP & the Goblet of Fire, nope. He left a really bad taste in my mouth. Not a fan at all. I’m hoping he redeems himself in the remaining novels (although I am a fan of film Ron!).

Animal Farm

7. VICTORIAN/OLD-FASHIONED BAKES: Recipes from the past that still taste delicious today. Pick your favourite classic novel.

I definitely haven’t read that many classic novels either! Book Sin #3. In fact, I can count on one hand how many classics I have read in my lifetime which really isn’t something to be proud of. But I’ve read 4 so far this year so at least I’m starting to make a positive change! My favourite our of those 4 is definitely Animal Farm. I spent most of the novel in awe of how incredibly clever Orwell was for creating this story and I’m definitely up for reading more of his works.We Were Liars

8. PATISSERIE: You’re eating a chocolate éclair but there’s barely any filling inside. Pick a book that lacked substance and fell flat.

This has to be We Were Liars (E. Lockheart). Although the writing was pretty, that’s all the book had going on for itself. Aside from the obnoxiously obvious plot twist. I think it relied on that ‘plot twist’ too much, to the point where there was nothing going on anywhere else in the novel.Carry On

9. CHOCOLATE: Chocolate is a comfort food for many people. Pick a book you could read again and again and still find comforting.

I’m not a big re-reader but I can definitely imagine myself re-reading Carry On (Rainbow Rowell) at some point in the future. It gave me the warm fuzzies and replicating those feelings seems like a pretty good idea.

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10. THE GRAND FINAL: Everyone is out to impress with extravagant show-stoppers! Pick your favourite book of the year so far that really impressed you.

I honestly could not pick just one. If I absolutely had to, it would be The Sleeping Prince (Melinda Salisbury) BUT very closely followed by Clockwork Prince(ss), Lady Midnight, Carry On, The Shadow Hour, The Art of Being Normal, Ruin and Rising, Rebel Belle, The Well of Ascension, Queen of Shadows, Rebel of the Sands, Cruel Beauty and Beastly Bones. But honestly, I could name many, many more. I’ve had a great reading year so far. But also the worst in terms of 1/2 star ratings, interestingly. It will not be easy picking a top ten when it comes to the end of the year!

That’s it for the tag! I hope everyone has as much fun watching GBBO tonight as I know I will!!
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Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag

Hello bookish friends! I’m finally getting around to my tags which I’ve apparently been too lazy to write 😁 The Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag was right on top of my tag list because, you know, flesh-eating zombies AND fictional book characters. Sounds cool, right? The tag was created by Nathan Hale and I was tagged by the lovely Sammie over at Bookshelves and Biros so go and check them both out!


Rules:

  • Choose 5 books and randomly put them in an order
  • Turn to a random page and write down the first two names you see
  • Put those names into the categories below in the order you saw them – no cheating!

Books:

I picked a few books I liked and a couple I wasn’t so keen on/had characters I’m not overly fond of in the wild hope I don’t end up killing a fave 😱 I’ve also been really brave/stupid and picked out my favourite book of the year so far, The Sleeping Prince. Wish me and my zombie team luck guys!23848145

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The Shadow Hour

1. The first person to die – Chaol
(Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas)

Fuuuuuck. I guess that’s what you get when you only choose this book in the hope you’ll kill off Rowan. Oh well, let’s hope Maas does that for me in Empire of Storms 😂 I’m so sorry Chaol! I still love you! Please don’t hate me Chaol 😭

2. The person you trip to escape the zombie – Aelin
(Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas)

Well I feel like this one is self-defence because Aelin definitely wouldn’t think twice about tripping me up and screwing me over. TOO LATE AELIN. Mwahahaha.

3. The person that trips you to get away from the zombies – Charlie
(Jackaby by William Ritter)

Why Charlie!? I mean, this guy is a man of the law so I really would have thought better of him than to sink so low *evil eyes*

4. The team idiot – Jackaby
(Jackaby by William Ritter)

Well, a lot of people in this story-world think he is quite eccentric and strange as it is and I can definitely imagine Jackaby suggesting some pretty idiotic survival plans. Silly Jackaby.

5. The brains of the group – Jem
(Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare)

Oh thank the gods I didn’t kill off my absolute favourite! Jem would definitely suit this role really well. He’s reasonable and good at keeping level-headed. I have no doubt that Jem would be able to lead the whole group to safety. Plus, I would follow my Jem anywhere 😍

6. The team medic – Nate
(Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare)

Nope. Don’t you come anywhere near me Nate! Talk about the person you’d least trust when you’re in a state of life and death 😂

7. The weapon’s expert – Errin
(The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury)

Hmm if we’re talking poisons then yes. Not sure Errin would be able to train our wee team of zombie fighters with guns or swords or whatever you use to kill zombies these days though…

8. The team’s brawler – Lief
(The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury)

Well this guy’s certainly got some great survival instincts so I’m feeling slightly more confident about our own survival.

9. The first to turn into a zombie – Tanith
(The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey)

Okay we’re all screwed if Tanith’s a zombie. The zombies would crown her their zombie queen and she would rule over them and turn us all into zombie food. CURSE YOU TANITH.

10. The team leader – Dorian
(The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey)

Not gonna lie, Dorian would be a pretty appalling leader. He’s pretty moody and he tends to think with his emotions first, then his brain. Basically, WE’RE ALL DOOMED.


I think it’s safe to say our team wouldn’t stand a chance of surviving the zombie apocalypse 😂 Dang it. I blame Tanith. She’d be unstoppable. Hell, I’d change my allegiance to her.

Tagging:

No pressure to do this tag! And sorry if you’ve already been tagged. But if you do do it, I hope you have as much fun as I did 😊
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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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My #ReadThemAllThon TBR

Hello bookish friends! Although I’m a few days late, I’ve only just discovered this read-a-thon hosted by Aentee over at Girl At Midnight and I NEED to participate!

ReadThemAllThon runs for 3 weeks: Sunday 14 August till Sunday 4 September.

There are 8 main reading challenges, although there is an extra challenge just for fun that I will also be participating in. The rules and the sign up sheet can be found here.



My Pokemon
Trainer Card

Eevee was always my favourite so whilst it’ll be difficult points-wise, I’m hoping to read enough to evolve her. Also, I created this trainer card by using the template Aentee kindly put up on her Twitter, which can be found here.

My TBRReadThemAllThon-Badge01-Boulder

For this challenge I will be reading A Thousand Pieces of You (Claudia Grey), because I have had this book on my TBR shelf for too long now and I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series. Plus, the covers are just gorgeous!

357 pages, +35CP

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I already really wanted to read The Hero of Ages (Brandon Sanderson) this month and I’m 98% sure it’ll make me ugly cry so I thought I’d stick to my original reading plans for the month and read it for this challenge. Even though it’s massive. Like, seriously, mahoosive.

724 pages, +72CP

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I’ll be attempting to read The Wrath and the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh) again. I tried reading it a few months back but just couldn’t get into it. I won’t be putting the book down this time and I have no idea if I’ll change my mind about liking it.

395 pages, +39CP

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I’m going for You Know Me Well (Nina LaCour and David Levithan) for this one. Although I generally enjoy a David Levithan novel, I’ve heard pretty mixed things about this one, so it’ll be interesting to see where I fall on the ratings spectrum.

248 pages, +24CP

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I was already about 30 pages into reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Laini Taylor) when I found out about this read-a-thon and since it has a kind of epic love story in it, I thought yep, I’ll just continue reading this one! Although it’s pretty huge, the writing is so addictive that I find it difficult to put down, which is the exact kind of book I need for this read-a-thon.

600 pages, +60CP

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I’m picking Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) for this challenge. I’ve been wanting to read one of his novels for the longest time so what better way to start!? Very excited for this one as there’s quite a few others of his I’m interested in reading, too.

372 pages, +37CP

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I will be reading The Winner’s Crime (Marie Rutkoski) for this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the first instalment in this trilogy, so I’m hoping I’ll like this one just as much.

400 pages, +40CP

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I’m going to read World After (Susan Ee) for this challenge. I read Angelfall over a year ago so I really need to pick up this sequel before it’s too late and I completely lose all interest in reading it.

438 pages, +43 CP


So, potentially, if I’m including pages read, badges earned, reviews posted and Eevee’s evolution, I could end up with 790CP. Which is highly unlikely but what the hell! It’s always great to have aims to motivate yourself with, right?

Also, since I’m a bit crazy, I’ll be reading all 8 books at the same time. ‘Cause, you know, why not? So I probs won’t have the reviews up until quite late into the read-a-thon which is cutting things a bit fine points-wise. But, we shall see how it goes!

One more thing… If, like me, you’re pretty shit at maths, there’s this really helpful spreadsheet you can use created by Dip Into Books where the points are magically created for you! Yay no maths. It can be found here.

Are you guys participating? If so, what Pokemon did you choose?
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Weekly Recap – 01/08/16-15/08/16

Hello bookish friends! I’ve been really slacking with my blog-posting lately. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it whilst I’m writing up a post, but it takes me SO long to actually finish a post that I never really get around to actually publishing something on here. Thing is, I’m the type of writer that gets all excited about one idea and focuses on that for a while, then gets a new idea and abandons the initial one. I have a ton of drafts that only need a few more tweaks until they can go up that I’ve just sort of just left hanging for a while. I definitely need to go through them all and get up to date with my blog. But for now I’m back with more regularly-scheduled posts *fingers crossed*

What I’ve Been Reading:
Lady Midnight

I finished reading Lady Midnight!! Obviously, I loved it. It was definitely the best start to a Shadowhunter Chronicles book so far. As you may or may not know, character-driven stories are my absolute favourite kind of stories to read about, so I thoroughly enjoyed the focus on character development in this novel. I found myself really falling in love with all the characters. There wasn’t a single one I couldn’t completely imagine with their distinct personalities. They each felt very realistic and their internal struggles were probably my favourite aspect of the story.

I’m probably quite biased in my love for this book though, I just love the Shadowhunter world so much. But there was one thing that did bug me a little (and it really is quite nit-picky) but the info-dumping that occurred for about the first 100 pages or so was pretty annoying. I understand why it was done, but I can’t imagine anyone who hasn’t read a Shadowhunter book before just randomly starting with this one.

I can’t believe I’m all caught up with Cassie’s books now! I started reading City of Bones in 2013 and I’ve only just finished them all now. It’s been a long time coming! Although I do now have to wait an entire year to read a new one which will be SO PAINFUL but hey ho, that’s life. I’ll deal.The Copper Gauntlet

I also read The Copper Gauntlet (Cassandra Clare & Holly Black) this week (because I’m apparently obsessed with Cassandra Clare – oops) and, whilst I did enjoy it and ended up tearing through it, I think I preferred the first book in the series. It’s definitely a 3 star series for me, I think. They’re enjoyable books and have interesting twists and turns but there’s just a bit of a spark missing for me. I think they could be longer and be a bit more complex and focused on the world-building.

Also, I find Tamara and Aaron to be quite bland characters. I think that’s probably the series’ biggest downfall – the fact that I don’t find myself rooting for all of the characters I’m meant to. I think Jasper is probably my favourite character – he’s definitely the most morally grey (and therefore interesting).

But I’m still very keen to carry on with the series. If you fancy a quick, fun, kind of simplistic urban fantasy read, then you’ll probably like this series, too.

My reading goals for this week: Finish reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters (50 pages in) and Rooftoppers and read a few chapters of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

What I’ve Been Watching:

I watched Star Trek Beyond last week and found it to be pretty entertaining. However, the plot was simple and predictable and the character development practically non-existent. But, it was really aesthetically pleasing and it wasn’t the worst way to spend £4. Although it was definitely my least favourite of the Star Trek films thus far.

I also saw Finding Dory this week which was also a wee bit of a let down for me. It was as cute, as funny, as emotional and as wonderfully-imaginative as you can expect from a Pixar film… but did we really need this sequel? I don’t think we did. And it definitely failed to capture the original magic of Finding Nemo which I wasn’t too surprised about. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the future Toy Story films either.

What I absolutely loved watching this week, however, was Stranger Things!! I watched all 8 episodes in the space of a day it was that addictive. I’ll admit, it kind of creeped me out a bit in the first couple of episodes but it was such an interesting/compelling watch. I loved that the show focused on the young group of friends and the relationships they had with one another. Also, the music/score in this was ON POINT. As were all the 80’s pop culture references. If you haven’t watched this yet, please do! I keep recommending this series to absolutely everyone I know!

I’ve decided not to watch Suicide Squad due to the not-so-great reviews that have said the film contains tons of blatant misogyny which I’m really not about. So I definitely don’t want to spend any money on this film but when it comes out on TV I’ll still probs give it a go and try to ignore all of the problematic themes.

My watching goals for this week: Something (anything!) to fill my Stranger Things void 😂Stark Reviews Logo

Weekly Recap – 25/07/16-01/08/16

What I’ve Been Reading:

I’ve taken a bit of a casual approach to my reading this week after the hectic-ness that was the BookTube-A-Thon. I finished one book and am about halfway through another.

22844191

So I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and it was the first one to get a 5 stars from me. Basically, Hermione in this instalment is everything.

And Ron is, well, a dick. Seriously, what an awful person. He’s constantly putting Hermione down, he has an incredibly narrow-minded view of the world and won’t accept anyone else’s opinions and he even goes so far as to victim-blame Hermione. He’s actually worse than Draco in my opinion. At least you know what to expect from Draco, but with Ron it’s like he’s a ninja bad guy. You think he’s decent and nice but once you’ve gotten to know him he’s actually borderline emotionally abusive and treats people he’s meant to care about like crap.

Sorry I went on a bit of a rant but this just really bugged me. Does anyone else dislike Ron? Sorry not sorry if you love him.Lady Midnight

On a lighter note, I’m also reading Lady Midnight!! I’m taking my time with it to make it last as long as possible… but I’m struggling because it’s so good! Emma Carstairs is a great protagonist. I love how she’s so adamant about seeking revenge at all costs. She’s fierce and strong and so my kinda girl. I also really like that we get to explore more of the lore surrounding the Faerie Downworlders. I’m really enjoying Clare’s imaginings of Faeries and the mythology that goes along with it. And the plot itself is really engaging. Basically I’m just Shadowhunter trash, I have nothing bad to say 😂

My reading goals for this week: Finishing Lady Midnight is my main priority. I’ve also just started reading The Copper Gauntlet (only 1 chapter in) and I’d really like to pick up Dreams of Gods and Monsters too.

What I’ve Been Watching:

I’ve been re-watching an old fave again – Not Going Out. For those who don’t know, it’s a British comedy and it’s basically hilarious. I got the box-set from my brother last Christmas and, although I’ve already watched the entire thing since Christmas, I’ve been binge-watching it like crazy again. Oops.

Also, why is the Great British Bake Off not on yet!?!?!? Stupid Olympics. I don’t know anyone that would rather watch sport than watch Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Well I do, but we don’t talk about those people 😂

My watching goals for this week: I have three films I need to watch that are (nearly all) out right now: Finding Dory, Star Trek Beyond and Suicide Squad. I’m meant to be watching Star Trek with my family but we can’t seem to all agree on a time/day so I might have to see this one solo – sorry family!

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BookTube-A-Thon 2016 | Wrap-Up

So I started my week of attempting to read 7 books really well. I had an update being posted each day, I was (nearly) reaching my daily reading goals. But then about halfway through the read-a-thon it just went a little downhill. I found myself pretty busy on Thursday and Saturday and then yesterday I had the worst headache ever and could barely keep my eyes open enough to read. So I didn’t quite manage the anticipated 7 books.

However, I did manage to read 4 books and, looking at my Goodreads, that’s actually the most amount of books I’ve ever read in a single week! So although I didn’t read all 7 books, I still feel like I’ve really achieved something from this read-a-thon.

BookTube-A-Thon was so much fun to participate in too! Whether I was catching up on people’s daily updates and challenge videos, getting involved with the Twitter sprints or just attempting to read a zillion pages a day, I had a lot of fun. And fun should always be the aim of a read-a-thon!

So let’s talk about the books I did manage to read during the BookTube-A-Thon.

The Iron Trial

The first book I finished was The Iron Trial (Cassandra Clare & Holly Black). I’ve mentioned previously how I had put this book down for over a year as I wasn’t the biggest fan of it at the time but I thoroughly enjoyed picking this book back up and I’m very glad that I gave it another shot. There were a few twists and turns that I really wasn’t expecting and I love being surprised like that – usually I’m pretty good at guessing plot twists because of my anxiety and my ability to create ridiculously unlikely situations/conversations in my head […]

I think I can only give this a 3/5 stars though since I can’t really remember how I felt about the first half of the book when I read it all that time ago.

For me, the second half was fun and surprising and has left me wondering where this story could possibly go after that reveal. Although TIT was far from perfect (the characters were kind of flat and the plot was a little disjointed), it has definitely piqued my interest. The fact that I have already taken out the sequel from the library can probably suggest to you my excitement for the rest of the series.War Horse

I then finished reading War Horse (Michael Morpurgo). I am a huge fan of both the show and the film and, you know what? I am now also a huge fan of the book. This story does not disappoint in any way you choose to consume it. I cried watching the play, I really cried watching the film and now I’ve also cried reading the book. It’s such a beautifully tragic story and the innocence of the narrator just makes it even more heartbreaking. Truly a great story that everyone should pick up. I gave it a 4/5 stars.

The Bane Chronicles

I also read The Bane Chronicles (Cassandra Clare) and I gave this book overall a 3.75-4/5 stars. Although I loved and really liked most of the stories, there were a few that were a tad too slow and boring for my liking.

What Really Happened in Peru – 1.75/5 stars

The writing here felt really choppy and the humour felt really try-hard. This story just didn’t work for me.

The Runaway Queen – 2/5 stars

This short story was better than the last but I was still pretty bored throughout.

Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale – 3.75/5 stars

I really enjoyed this one! This story was more like what I assumed the whole book would be – connecting with the original two series and explaining how certain things came to be. It was a lot of fun to see Will’s father and how similar they both were.

The Midnight Heir – 5/5 stars

Obviously this story had to get 5 stars. Seeing my favourite characters again was a treat. And it also makes me SO excited for The Last Hours!! I have so many questions that I want answered ASAP.

The Rise of the Hotel Dumort – 2/5 stars

The fact that I can’t even remember what happens in this short story says it all really.

Saving Raphael Santiago – 4/5 stars

I really loved this one! Raphael was one of my favourite characters in TMI and it was so interesting to read about his relationship with Magnus (and Ragnor!)

The Fall of the Hotel Dumort – 3/5 stars

This was nice. I don’t really have too many feelings about this one either…

What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything – 4/5 stars

This was definitely one of the funniest short stories. It was fun and quite sweet. Very nice.

The Last Stand of the New York Institute – 4.75/5 stars

This is more of what I wanted from this book. In fact, I’d love a whole prequel book (or more novellas) about the Circle and Valentine. I loved how dark and gritty the story was. And I especially loved the last 10 pages or so!!

The Course of True Love – 4.75/5 stars

I loved this one too! Pure Malec goodness […] Everything I could want involving these two characters.

The Voicemail of Magnus Bane – 4/5 stars

This felt much more like classic Clare humour. Izzy was a particular fave in this one. Great way to tie up the book.

Overall I did really enjoy this book, although it was a bit hit-and-miss at times. Either way, I’m glad I read it. Now I can read Lady Midnight – YAY!!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Lastly, I also finished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis). Unfortunately I can only give this a 2.75/5 stars. Compared to the first book in the series (which is actually the last book  in the series that Lewis wrote – and you can definitely tell that) it just isn’t as good. Everything felt under-developed and flat and the pacing of the story was way off.

Having said this, I have watched the film over 10 times so my enjoyment of the book may have been deeply hindered by the fact that I’m so familiar with the film adaptation and so was expecting something more along those lines.

I’m still excited to carry on with the series though and I’m hoping that the writing gets stronger as the books go along (if The Magician’s Nephew is anything to go by).Reasons to Stay Alive

I decided to stop reading Reasons to Stay Alive (Matt Haig) for this read-a-thon. I read about 1/3 of it and felt like it was the kind of book I should spend more time reading and not try to race through just to tick off. So I’ll definitely be carrying on with it, but only a few chapters or so a day.

I still have 107 pages to read for Goblet of Fire and 105 pages to read for Rooftoppers (Katherine Rundell) but I’m hoping to finish these two in the next couple of days. And I also need to watch the Goblet of Fire afterwards too as it was meant to be my book-to-movie adaptation option. Although I quite fancy watching War Horse and Narnia now aswell! And then after that I will be reading Lady Midnight (Cassandra Clare) which will probably take me to the end of the month given the massive size of it!

All in all the BookTube-A-Thon was a great experience. I had lots of fun and I’ll definitely be participating in more read-a-thon’s from now on!

How did you guys do for the BookTube-A-Thon?Stark Reviews Logo

BookTube-A-Thon 2016 | Update #3

I’m on track with my reading goals! (for one day only 😂)

Wednesday Reading Goals:

  • I really want to try to actually finish a book today since I haven’t managed to quite yet. I’ll try to finish The Iron Trial as I haven’t got that much farther to go.
    • The Iron Trial – p.295 (76 pages)
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – p.61 (8 pages)
    • Rooftoppers – p.59 (26 pages)
    • War Horse – p.79 (25 pages)
    • Reasons to Stay Alive – p.140 (43 pages)
    • The Bane Chronicles – p.303 (42 pages)
  • This will bring my total pages of the day at 220 pages.

Tuesday Reading Achievements:

  • The Iron Trial – p.295 (76 pages)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – p.61 (8 pages)
  • Rooftoppers – p.59 (26 pages)
  • War Horse – p.79 (25 pages)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive – p.140 (43 pages)
  • The Bane Chronicles – p.303 (42 pages)

I finished reading The Iron Trial! It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be, particularly the ending. I was completely surprised by it! It was a solid start to a series with a lot of great potential. I’ll talk about my thoughts and feelings more in my BookTube-A-Thon wrap-up.

In general, however, I had a bit of a bad day for reading and only managed to read 135 pages. Which is still good for me, especially on a week-day. But still. I definitely had issues staying motivated today. I kept letting myself get distracted by watching/reading everyone’s BookTube-A-Thon updates.

Does anyone else get so excited by read-a-thon’s that they sort of forget to read? 😂 Stark Reviews Logo

BookTube-A-Thon 2016 | Update #2

I managed to read 173 pages yesterday out of the intended 213 pages so I’ve got some catching up to do today!

Tuesday Reading Goals:

  • I enjoyed reading some books more than others yesterday so I plan to focus on those and only read a chapter or so of the others.
    • The Iron Trial – p.219 (42 pages)
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – p.53 (26 pages)
    • Rooftoppers – p.33 (15 pages)
    • War Horse – p.54 (33 pages)
    • Reasons to Stay Alive – p.97 (56 pages)
    • The Bane Chronicles – p.265 (42 pages)
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – p.429 (25 pages)
  • This will bring my total pages of the day at 239 pages which will make up in part for my slight failings yesterday.

Tuesday Reading Achievements:

  • The Iron Trial – p.219 (42 pages)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – p.53 (26 pages)
  • Rooftoppers – p.33 (15 pages)
  • War Horse – p.54 (33 pages)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive – p.97 (56 pages)
  • The Bane Chronicles – p.265 (42 pages)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – p.429 (25 pages)

I accomplished my daily reading goals for the day! Yaaaaaay!

I think my favourite read at the moment is actually The Iron Trial which is kind of strange since I started reading this way over a year ago and put it down for months and months. But I’m glad that I did because I’m really enjoying myself now and have already taken out the sequel from the library. And I probably wouldn’t have picked this book back up if it wasn’t for this read-a-thon so YAY READ-A-THON’S.

Keep reading guys! You can do it!!

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BookTube-A-Thon 2016 | Update #1

Instead of the usual weekly recap post today, I’ll be bringing to you daily reading updates for the BookTube-A-Thon! Here I’ll be talking about my daily goals, if I managed to achieve them and how I am staying motivated to read all day long.

I’ll be writing out my goals in the morning and coming back to the post in the evening just before I go to bed to write out my achievements for the day so I hope I’m not too disappointed too often!

Monday Reading Goals:

  • I need to read a total of 1,492 pages for the week which translates to roughly 213 pages per day.
  • I’d like to read a minimum of 2 chapters of each book I am not yet currently reading.
    • The Iron Trial – p.177 (15 pages)
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – p.27 (27 pages)
    • Rooftoppers – p.18 (18 pages)
    • War Horse – p.21 (21 pages)
    • Reasons to Stay Alive – p.41 (32 pages)
    • = 113 pages
  • So I have to read a minimum of 100 pages of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Bane Chronicles.
    • The Bane Chronicles – p.223 (42 pages)
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – p.451 (65 pages)
    • = 107 pages
  • This will bring my total pages of the day at 220 pages. Well, that’s the aim anyway!

Monday Reading Achievements:

  • The Iron Trial – p.177 (15 pages)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – p.27 (27 pages)
  • Rooftoppers – p.18 (18 pages)
  • War Horse – p.21 (21 pages)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive – p.41 (32 pages)
  • The Bane Chronicles – p.223 (42 pages)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – p.451 (65 pages)

Unfortunately I didn’t quite manage my Monday reading goals. I was so close! But I only read 1 chapter of Harry Potter rather than the 3 I had set for myself. I read a total of 173 pages out of the necessary 213 pages. But it’s not the end of the world! I can easily make up for it at the weekend where I’ll have much more time to read anyway.

Monday Motivation:

I think it really helped me to not focus solely on one book and get bogged down with it. It was much better for me to set myself mini reading goals of each book on my TBR. It not only made my goal of reading 213 pages a day much more doable, but it also made it much more fun.

What keeps me motivated when I’m reading is turning reading into a game of sorts. Sometimes I can get a little bit tired of reading, particularly if it’s a really long book. I’ll love the story but I’ll just get to the point where I hit a wall and just can’t read anymore. So reading 7 books at once will, I’m hoping, shake things up a bit and keep them interesting enough for me to keep on reading.

How was your first day of the BookTube-A-Thon? What are your tips for staying motivated?

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BookTube-A-Thon TBR | Summer 2016

It’s that time of year again! The time where we all make these wonderful TBR’s with every intention of reading all the books on them… and then fail miserably and only read 1 or 2 out of 7 books. Or is that last part just me? 😂

This year though I am very hopeful. And that is because I have picked out pretty short books with rather large font. And also a few books that I am currently reading and am right in the middle of. But, hey, that still counts, right!? Yep, totally counts.

If you want to know absolutely everything there is to know about the BookTube-A-Thon I will link Ariel’s video here. There will also be daily video challenges and giveaways for this read-a-thon so you guys should definitely check out the video!

So, without further ado, here are the books I am reading for the 18th-24th July.

Challenge Number 1: Read a book with yellow on the coverRooftoppers

For this I will be reading Rooftoppers (Katherine Rundell). I’ve had this book for a little while now and have been wanting to read it for the longest time.

It’s about this girl named Sophie who was orphaned in a shipwreck. However, she believes her mother to still be alive and decides to travel to Paris in search of her. There she meets Matteo – a boy who lives in the sky. Together they race across the rooftops of Paris before Sophie can be caught and sent back to London.

I mean, how lovely does this book sound? It’s had so many great reviews and was shortlisted for many awards so I’ll definitely be getting to this book during the read-a-thon first. Top priority.

Challenge Number 2: Only read a book after sunsetReasons to Stay Alive

As everyone else has been saying in their TBR’s, it doesn’t get dark until pretty late this time of year and that is, unfortunately, the same for the UK. The sun technically sets at 21:08 come Monday and sets 1 minute later each day after that so not too much time to read! Especially since I get so tired in the evening I usually can’t keep my eyes open long enough to read.

But I will do my best and I have chosen for this challenge Reasons to Stay Alive (Matt Haig). I’ve read some of this already (a pattern for this read-a-thon!) and it’s very more-ish.

It’s a true story of how the author battled with, and triumphed over, a mental illness. It’s described as “a book about making the most of your time on earth.”

It feels like a very important book to read and I am looking forward to deepening my understanding and knowledge of depression (and mental illness in general). Something we should all actively strive to do.

Challenge Number 3: Read a book you discovered through BookTubeThe Iron Trial

For this challenge I will be reading The Iron Trial (Cassandra Clare & Holly Black). Although this book came out aaaages ago and I read over half of it, for some reason I never managed to finish it. At the time I put it down there were just other books I was more interested in reading. But I only have 130 pages left to read so it’d be nice to cross this one off my list. I remember enjoying it at the time but I also remember thinking it was all just very mehhh. You know?

Essentially, in a nutshell, it’s a book about a boy wizard who has been told his whole life to never trust a magician.

I’m about 98% sure I discovered this through BookTube but it was such a long time ago, I really can’t remember! And I also can’t remember much of what has happened so I’ll definitely have to Google that!

Challenge Number 4: Read a book by one of your favourite authorsThe Bane Chronicles

I have so many favourite authors so I had quite the choice for this one. I decided to pick The Bane Chronicles (Cassandra Clare) as I’ve already been reading it and I’m trying to be realistic here! By the time the Book-Tube-A-Thon begins I would have (hopefully!) read 8 of the 11 short stories contained in this bind-up that follows one of my all-time-fave characters, Magnus Bane.

Challenge Number 5: Read a book that is older than youThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

For this challenge I decided to carry on with The Chronicles of Narnia by reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (first published in 1950). I thoroughly enjoyed The Magician’s Nephew so I am really looking forward to reading this one. Especially since I am so familiar with the film adaptation. I might find it a little difficult to separate the two in my mind but I’m hoping I enjoy just as much as the first one. Plus it’s really short with massive font so YAY.

Challenge Number 6: Read a book & watch the adapted film22844191

I’ve been reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for a while now and I am SO in the mood to watch the film so, yep, cheating again. I actually plan to binge-read this book this weekend and am aiming to finish it on the very first day of the BookTube-A-Thon. So definitely cheating.

And finally… Challenge Number 7: Read 7 books

I’m not entirely sure which 7th book to pick. So I have a few that are potential reads for me. First up is War Horse (Michael Morpurgo). I adore the film and the play and I’d really like to get around to consuming the story in its original format. I might also read Shadowmagic (John Lenahan). I read about 50 pages over a year ago and was kind of disappointed with what I read. But I really want to give this story another go, so I’m quite keen to get to this one, too.

So that’s it for my hopefully very doable TBR for this summer’s BookTube-A-Thon. Are you guys participating? What are some of the books you’re reading for the BookTube-A-Thon?Stark Reviews Logo

Top 5 Wednesday – Top 5 Books You Wish Had Sequels

As always, Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by the lovely Thoughts on Tomes and the Goodreads group can be found here.

This weeks’ T5W is top 5 books you wish had sequels, so let’s get started!

Eleanor and Park

1. Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell)

I think it’s safe to say that we all want at least a little bit more of Eleanor and Park’s story. I won’t give anything away if you haven’t read it yet but… that damn postcard! I will always want that question answered. It bugs me that it won’t ever be answered. Just a wee novella will do Rowell!Carry On

2. Carry On (Rainbow Rowell)

I loved this fantasy world so much, I could easily read anything set in this world. And I feel like a book of short story’s set in this world would be really awesome. Rowell always seems to leave certain questions unanswered which I understand but, at the same time, it’s so frustrating! I just want moreeee!19547856

3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

I really love the romance in this but we never really got to see the couple together until right at the end of the book and I’d just like to see more of them and their adorable relationship. I’m thinking maybe a companion novel with different main characters but where the original couple make one or two appearances. I’m on to something, right?!

Stolen

4. Stolen (Lucy Christopher)

I would love to know more of this story. I feel like I can’t really say anything without spoiling it but I think a new book set five years later on would be really interesting. I’d like to see how each of the main characters would feel about the other after some years have passed.7171637

5. The Infernal Devices (Cassandra Clare)

I guess my dreams are coming true a bit for this one because we are getting a sequel series. But it’s not here yet and I’m the impatient type so I’ll have this on the list anyway! The Last Hours takes place in 1903 and follows the next generation of Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, Blackthorns and Lightwoods. And I am so very excited for it! Even though there still isn’t a publication date…

Shatter Me

Honourable mention: Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi)

What I wouldn’t give for an epilogue! Just an epilogue, that’s all I would need! It just didn’t feel like the end; it wasn’t rounded off nicely and I’ve never really felt satisfied with the ending we got.

So that’s it for this weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday. What are some books or series you wish had sequels?

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My Reading Year So Far | 2016 Stats

Just thought I’d make a quick post to show you guys how I’m doing so far with my reading. I had only a few reading resolutions this year as I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to achieve.

My first reading goal was the Goodreads reading challenge and my goal is to read 50 books.

Reading Challenge

As you can see I am well on my way to completing this challenge which I am very pleased with! Last year my Goodreads reading challenge was to read 30 books and I surpassed it by reading 45 books so I’m hoping next year I’ll challenge myself 75 books, depending on how many I actually end up reading this year overall.

My next challenge was to read 1 classic. And, thus far, I have read 3!! I am so unbelievably proud of myself for this challenge. I think I just needed to start reading a classic to really kick the ball rolling here. I’ve only read relatively easy classics so far (two of which were children’s fiction) but, baby steps guys! I’ll work my way up to the dense, slightly more time consuming stuff later on in life. Much later on!

Another book-related goal of mine was to get my TBR (currently owned books) down to 40 books. I thought I was being realistic saying 40 because my birthday and Christmas would have just occurred but my TBR is currently at 51 books. Considering I started the year with 52 books on my TBR, I’d say I wasn’t doing particularly well in this respect. I think it might be because I’ve borrowed a handful of my Mum’s books and have also read quite a few library books this year.

Which actually leads me into my next challenge which is to read 8 library books. I’ve read 7 and am currently reading 2 more library books so this challenge is practically completed. But I do need to slow down on my library reading if I ever want to get my TBR down low enough!

I also had a list of 16 books that I wanted to get to this year:

1. All the Light We Cannot See
2. The Raven Boys
3. Rebel Belle
4. Black City
5. Snow Like Ashes
6. Neverwhere
7. The Gates
8. The Lies of Locke Lamora
9. Shadowmagic
10. Severed Heads, Broken Hearts DNF
11. The Manifesto on How to be Interesting
12. The Well of Ascension
13. The Hero of Ages
14. Dreams of Gods and Monsters
15. Siege and Storm
16. Ruin and Rising

I’ve only read 7/16 of these so far so I need to get on with this one. I might dedicate August to reading a few of these, particularly The Hero of Ages and Dreams of Gods and Monsters as I would also be completing….

My finish reading 5 series challenge. So far I have completed The Infernal Devices trilogy, The Mortal Instruments series and the Grisha trilogy. So when I finish reading the aforementioned pair of books, I will have completed this challenge, too.

My last challenge was to finish reading Harry Potter. I am currently reading Goblet of Fire so I still have quite a long way to go. I think if I just manage to finish reading Order of the Phoenix, I’d be pretty content as I would have actually, officially, read all of the Harry Potter books at that point. Which is something I should really get done!

I just wanted to show you guys a little breakdown of the books I’ve read so far this year.

Ratings

I’ve managed to read 12,379 pages, which is only 2,000 pages below the amount of pages I read last year.

I also wanted to be much stricter with my ratings of books this year which I feel like I have been. I always round up on Goodreads so quite a few of the 4 star books are actually 3.5’s. I’ve also given my very first 1 star rating on Goodreads this year, too – yay me! Last year the 4 star ratings and the 5 star ratings were practically on par with each other so I’m proud of myself for holding back on those ratings and only saving them for extra special books that have a place in my heart.

So, all in all, I’m well on track this year for completing most of my bookish resolutions. The one I need to focus on most, of course, is the TBR shelf one. Thankfully there’s a few read-a-thon’s coming up which I’ll be participating in so hopefully I’ll get to quite a few of my owned books then. I won’t be purchasing any more books until September now anyway (Empire of Storms & Crooked Kingdom – both of which I’ll read straight away) so I’ll have a wee bit of time to catch up.

I hope everyone else’s reading resolutions are going well too! Let me know if you’re on track to complete your goals or if you’ve slowly come to the realisation that you set yourself too many difficult challenges (like me with reading all of Harry Potter!).Stark Reviews Logo