All about Books
This is the page where I will be discussing what I'm reading, reviewing those books and be open to suggestions to keep adding to my To Be Read pile. Honestly, I'm never going to get through that thing anyway, so the more the merrier.
Hi. I didn't mean to, or even realise at times, disappear and leave this blog for almost a month, but I'm back now. January was rather busy and all, so I'm hoping a few things will calm down soon.
I've also joined a Goodreads group that aims to tackle our TBR piles and it's been brilliant so far. January included the whole book jar concept which I'd never done before, I loved, and will probably keep going back to! :D
February is all about reading fantasy books, so I'll post this month's list later on. I've also chosen it to be my own personal Beat the Backlist month- the first of the year and hopefully more successful than the one I did early in 2018. Given half my physical books are fantasy, this should work out well!
But first, January.
Empress of All Seasons- Overall rating is 4 stars. See my full review here.
The Dark Vault- I had been wanting to read these for ages and was so excited to hear they were being published together. I really enjoyed them, though preferred The Archived just a bit more. The short story from Wes' POV after The Unbound was sweet too. :) Overall rating- 4.25 stars.
Grace and Fury- This was amazing. I almost read it in a day and that's rare for me. Overall rating- 4.5 stars. I can't wait for book 2 this year! Full review is here.
Scythe- Oh wow. This is what happens when you leave amazing 'old' books for new releases and nearly miss out on gems like this book is! 5 stars and I need book 2 ASAP. :D
Children of Blood and Bone- I tried to read it, but DNF'd it at about 30%. This was probably in part due to a bit of a slump at the end of the month- January was busy!- but I got to the point of only caring about one or two characters. It's gone onto my 'on hold' shelf anyway for now and I might come back to it at a later time.
Darkest Hour- At the start of the year, I was in a weird reading mood of starting books and taking a while to get through them. I continued my rereads of the Heartland series to prove I could finish a book, however short. It worked! :)
Shadow of the Fox- This was the last book in my January jam jar and haven't finished it yet. It's another Japanese inspired fantasy like Empress of all Seasons, and I really loved the Talon saga by Julie Kagawa, so I'm hoping this will be more of the same love. :)
The Mortal Word- I wasn't planning on making this my first read of the month, given I have one or two older books I should have got to first. However, I wasn't feeling great this morning, needed cheering up and I adore this series, so here we are! It's brilliant as always! :D
So somehow I haven't actually bought a book yet this year!! I know, I know. There are reasons for that, but I will be soon and it has at least given me a chance to cut down on my TBR pile that I have at the moment haha.
My list for February (now excluding The Mortal Word because it won't take long to finish) is as follows:
- A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
- The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
- Shadowsong by S Jae Jones
- The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
- Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell
I'm also hoping to get to The Wicked King and King of Scars (you know, when I buy them!), but I kind of doubt that. I'll also be buying Song of the Dead this week as it just got released in the UK. Too many books and the shortest month of the year- but I'll give it a good go. :D
What are you reading at the moment? All the best and happy reading.
This post will be long. Just a heads-up. I've read so many fantastic books this year, with about five being a three stars or lower/DNF off the top of my head.
I've split the books into categories where I can, but there'll be some cross-overs. I won't go into too much detail with them, given that I've reviewed them all over the year, but still wanted to document them somewhere. It really has been a great year for reading. Thanks to Goodreads for storing all of these into one place as I'd forgotten that a couple of these were this year and not last! :)
I've read The Cruel Prince twice this year- the second time mostly in preparation for the release of The Wicked King next month. :) It's just so engrossing and brilliant.
One of my new favourite authors I've discovered is Mackenzi Lee. I didn't get a copy of The Gentleman's Guide until last Christmas, so it was the first book I read this year. I was so thrilled when I found out Felicity was going to get her own book- and both are so good. Go read them now if you haven't yet. :)
While Ace of Shades is the start of a trilogy, it was also one of the first book is thought of when planning this post. I enjoyed Daughter of the Burning City last year, but Ace of Shades is something else. I'll most likely reread it before King of Fools releases next year.
Talking more about authors to keep reading, the following three fit that category:
I've talked tons on here and Twitter about how much I adore Starfish, and then also personally because of the social anxiety rep. It makes me feel incredibly seen and lots of other emotions just thinking about it. Will I get tired of shouting about this point? Nope.
Last August, I was on a trip to the coast with a friend when I finally found If We Were Villains in that particular Waterstones. It was the only book that month which I broke my book ban for. It's Shakespeare and murder mystery and friendships and other things, which make for a brilliant book overall. :)
If there was a prettiest cover contest, I'd never be able to choose but The Exact Opposite of Okay would definitely be a candidate. The inside is just as wonderful, if incredibly real and hard-hitting. It's such a relevant book and also includes sarcasm (I'm English, sarcasm always has my vote!), great friendships, humour, diversity, and the aforementioned relevance about relationships, sex and women being amazing. Because we are. More is coming from these next year, which should be good too. :)
A book that references Mario Kart is immediately up there in enjoyment levels. :D And again with the gorgeous cover that reminds me of my old favourite Word Art. But seriously, Warcross is so much fun. I also suspected the wrong people at certain points, which just made it fun in trying to guess what was really going on. Waiting for the paperback of Wildcard, but am excited for it.
Like Starfish, when I read Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes, I felt things and I cried. It's so interesting, talks about mental health a lot (I can also speak for my own things but it felt accurate), and has the most beautiful message about being kind to yourself first. I remember going through a bad depressive patch when I first picked this up, but afterwards, I've been taking the self-care thing more seriously.
I've been following Cait's blog/Twitter for a long time now, but I loved her book too. A Thousand Perfect Notes is so hard to read at parts, but I loved Beck and August's friendship and Beck and Joey's siblingship. Looking forward to more.
I have nothing new to add that others haven't already said about how much I loved The Hate U Give and how hard it hit me. All that success Angie Thomas has had so far? Yes, she completely deserves all of it.
I'd heard good things about Give the Dark my Love and oh wow, they were right! I gushed about this in my original Goodreads review, but I love figuring out characters in books/film/TV where situations push them and I wonder how far they'd go for what they want. This is the 2nd book about necromancy I've read this year- this is a duology and I'm so ready to find out how Nedra's story ends. You need to read it. :D
I haven't read Frankenstein yet, but I knew I had to read this retelling anyway. It's by Kiersten White, for a start, whose books have gotten progressively darker throughout her career and I'm a fan. :)
Anyway, it's brilliant and truly messed with my head. There were lots of emotions and guessing that I got wrong and things I never thought of. The one thing I thought I knew how it would turn out didn't- only for me to be wrong in trusting what I'd read! Elizabeth is such a morally grey character and the others are all so well written too. Again, go read it. :)
Moving away from horror-ish things, A Sky Painted Gold was one of those books where I'd seen it because of the cover (it's so shiny in real life!) and went back to it a bit later when I had money and it was still on its Waterstones shelf. This was another book where it had to be in this list, especially given I had no real idea what to expect from it.
The writing is gorgeous, it's set in Cornwall which I really need to visit one day, and the characters drew me in immediately. It has a more diverse cast than I expected being set in 1929, yet it still manages to feel modern in many ways. There are family dynamics, strong friendships and I related to Lou in a few ways too. I hope Laura Wood continues writing YA in the future because I'd totally read it. :)
Echo After Echo was my first book by Amy Rose Capetta, but it won't be the last. It has a lot to do with the theatre, which is unusual but lovely, a romance I loved to get behind, lots of diversity, and a murder mystery/curse. It's so easy to get involved in.
One of the last fantasy books I'll read this year was The Last Namsara, another one where the plot twists completely threw me. Oh, and it has dragons. I'm not saying that was only factor in this book making my favourites list, but it helped. No, I also got on board with both loving and hating the respective characters and world building that felt real.
One of the books I got for this Christmas that I actually got to before the year's out.
The time slip part was fun and I really got a sense of how trapped the girls felt at Idlewild- as well as how Fiona couldn't leave the past of what happened to her sister alone. Along with a ghost, a bit of history and secrets everywhere, it still works so well. While I had a sense of what had happened, some of it I didn't guess. A book I'd definitely recommend, hence it's on this list.
After six books, Immortal Reign was the end of the Falling Kingdoms series- a wild ride filled with all sorts of components and where you can't trust anyone. I was sad to see it end, but it was a great ending.
Onto three trilogies:
I talk about the Rebel of the Sands trilogy a lot on here, mainly because the UK covers are so pretty, but the books are amazing. Hero at the Fall had everything, I cried a lot, but the ending was so satisfying as well.
After lots of searching and then just over a year of reading them, The Falconer trilogy ended with The Fallen Kingdom. It was brilliant and scary and beautiful. More people need to know about the books, so this is where I say you should read them if you like the sound of them. :)
I also finished the Worldwalker trilogy this year, which was pretty unique and so interesting. Split between the real world Salem and an alternate Salem with many of the same people being in both worlds, but even then, they were different. There is magic of course, but not the normal fantasy kind. If you're after books on witches, maybe try these?
This series of human-dragon shifters, forbidden love and what family can really mean ended this year. After so many ups and downs, this was one of the ones that I hated saying goodbye to in Inferno. Ember, Garrett, Riley and the others felt like friends but I'll definitely be rereading them sooner rather than later. :)
I've never read historical fiction like it before I started the Conquerors Saga, a gender-swapped retelling of Vlad the Impaler. Between Lada being mostly brutal and Radu being mostly soft and caring, sometimes it's easy to forget their siblings. There is so much in these books that I adore and the eventual ending in Bright We Burn was so satisfying. :)
Bright Ruin hurt, but was such a complex and good ending. The whole trilogy is set in a modern, slightly future-ish England with politics and magic thrown in together for good measure! The characters feel so real but you can't take most of them for how they first appear. It made for some complex mind games, but none more so than Silyen- who I adored. :)
I've been reading the Throne of Glass since Crown of Midnight was published in 2013 and SJM is one of my favourite authors. I knew Kingdom of Ash would break my heart and it absolutely did, but it also put it back together again. I'm sad it's over now, but there are other SJM books coming out in the future to look forward to!
Nightblood was the end of another trilogy where magic was involved and the characters were compelling and a lot of what kept me reading. This one felt different to the others, with the highest stakes, but I guess that's because of the end of book 2. No spoilers as always. :D
Laura Lam's books are ones I haven't shouted enough about, but I will remedy that. Masquerade was a intense and satisfying ending that began in Pantomime- a book I sped through in a couple of days less than a year. The level of diversity, magic, friendships and so many other things make for an engaging and unique trilogy that I'm sure I will reread a lot.
A year ago, I read Dreamfall, a horror book where horror is the genre I'm most uncomfortable with. I hardly ever watch horror films- I scare too easily and just don't do well with it. But it was a five-star early on. I have mild insomnia, so I can't imagine how bad the teens who go in for the cure experiment must have had it- I suppose people in real life get it that bad. Neverwake is the final book in the duology and another 5 star. It was just as creepy in many ways and a great ending. :)
There were so many more books I could have added, others I adored, but this list already got ridiculous in length. Previous posts throughout the year and my Goodreads challenge page will fill in any blanks or ones I've missed.
Happy reading and all the best for 2019. Happy New Year!! :D <3
The next six books were my November reads. All of the above books were 5 stars.
- Kingdom of Ash ripped my heart out and put it back together somehow, which means I cried a lot. One scene I had to put the book down to finish crying before finishing the chapter, but it was a brilliant end to the series.
- Smoke and Iron was so tense but brilliant as always. This time, the book was split into different characters' POV's, given they are split up for a lot of the book- that just made it easier for me to read, rather the really long chapters the first three books were done like. I don't know if I'm ready for the final book next year!
- The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and Give the Dark my Love both completely took me by surprise in the best way possible.
I've still not read the original Frankenstein, but Kiersten White is one of my favourite authors and the book sounded great, so I had to buy it. Between this and the Conqueror's Saga, her books have become so dark over recent years and I'm loving it! :D This one threw everything at me and I never guessed half of it. I'm a little sad the book's just a stand-alone, but I'll recommend it every time!
In contrast, I admit I haven't read lots of Beth Revis' books yet, but I loved the sound of GTDML and I'd heard good things from people I trust. Again, it did things I didn't expect and the main character's journey to the darkness so completely believable. I can't wait for the second book. :)
- A Gathering of Shadows: Overall rating- 3.25 stars.
Honestly, this is my first non-5 star rating for the V E Schwab books I've read and I'm a bit disappointed. For me, the middle dragged a bit too much and I didn't feel too much danger with the White London until the end of the book, like I'm sure I was meant to.
On the other hand, I adored meeting Alucard and having the other main characters together again. The tournament was also good fun to read about. Hoping the third book will be as enjoyable as I found the first book.
- The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy: Overall rating- 4.5 stars.
I'm so glad Felicity got her own book! I enjoyed it so much- even though all the travelling gave me even worse wanderlust than I currently have haha. :) But the new places, people and Max, of course. We need more animals (especially those that survive) in YA!
I did miss not as much Monty and Percy at times, but I can't complain really. And I have to say, as much as I enjoyed it, I'm glad I live now when women have more say, even though we still have a way to go. This was one of my favourite quotes from the book:
Everyone has heard stories of women like us, and now we will make more of them.
All of these were 5 stars, apart from Song of the Current, which I gave 4 stars. That was still an amazing start to the duology and I loved it. There is a map! :D However, I knocked a star off because at times, it felt like it wasn't enough time to press pause and I'd have liked slightly more time on land, but those are minor things.
It feels I'm the last person to The Hate U Give. It blew me away, I cried, I don't have anything new to say about it that hasn't already been said 50,000 times. But Angie Thomas deserves all the weeks she's sat top of the NYT bestseller list!
I'm so sad to say I finished Masquerade, and therefore, the trilogy with it. Going through Micah's story has been an amazing reading experience and overall the last year and a half I've read them, I've found some of my newest favourite characters in the pages. The writing is so easy to get through and beautiful too. I'll always recommend this series.
The Last Namsara was such an interesting book with lots of aspects to the world that made it feel so real. But I wouldn't want to live there. :) The characters were layered, hence it's easy to like some and hate others. I loved the plot twists and didn't catch some of them before they happened. I like being surprised. Also dragons. Need I say more? I'm excited to read book 2 soon and the third next year hopefully as well.
At the moment, I'm almost finished with Two Dark Reigns and am enjoying it a lot. Though I like island, it's nice to get out of Fennbirn for once too. I'm assuming I'll get it read this weekend. :)
Finally, I'm hoping to end the year with A Reaper at the Gates. There may be a chance that I'll get in another book after it, but I'm not sure yet.
However, I've well surpassed my expectations with reading this year. I set my Goodreads challenge to 50 books and I'll end the year somewhere in the mid-90 range! It's crazy looking at like that, but feels SO good. :D
I'll have another couple of posts up before the year ends, but I hope everyone has a great Christmas and also gets lots of reading done. :) All the best.
I'm back! This post would have been done last week. but I minimally injured my wrist which meant I couldn't write or type properly. So all of my outstanding posts (including my holiday ones) will finally be put up this month. :)
It was a mixed month for reading. Again, I got through a few re-reads, but there was one DNF and some new books I either hoped I'd love or knew would wreck me.
Lauren Brooke- Heartland #7 and #8- Out of the Darkness and Thicker Than Water. One of my favourite series from my teen years and still now I'm in my mid-20's.
Enid Blyton- Malory Towers #2 and #3. (The two books with the purple and dark blue covers, middle and right on the top row of the picture)
Another of my favourite childhood series and it will always be. After these two, Darrell and her form become more grown up and I start getting a bit sentimental. The Malory Towers books hold lots of special memories for me from way back when I first read the initial six books. :)
Gemma Malley- The Legacy. The final book in the trilogy that I haven't read for many years before I decided to go back to them. Thankfully, the third book is better than the second in pretty much every way, but a few things still bothered me with the plot and pacing. I still prefer book 1 out of the three.
All of these re-reads I give five stars, apart from The Legacy at 3.75 stars.
Dan Abnett- Avengers: Everybody Wants to Rule the World.
I think I've said a few times that I'm more a Marvel fan than DC, but that doesn't really matter too much here, since I'm talking about a book rather than comics or films. This book was written to come out in 2015 when Age of Ultron was released into the MCU- it sounded good and a friend had even lent me it.
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. I had to DNF it at around 25%.
There was way too much telling instead of showing, even going so far as to give two bodyguards names instead of just their job- something I've always been warned against doing for minor characters in my own writing, mainly because no one cares and they are their job descriptions. It really threw me as it was on page 2 or 3 and just felt like a rookie mistake to me, I only read of these bodyguards twice in the opening chapter that was supposed to be about Cap and promptly forgot their names almost soon after I'd read them.
Other things that irritated me where the pacing and plot of the individual stories. Each Avenger was on their own mission for most of the book, so I'd heard from my friend, which didn't bother me. What did was that we were flung straight into the action of each, going from one disaster and mini cliff-hanger into another one. There wasn't much time to pause for breath and while distinct from each other at the beginning, I have a suspicion they might have blurred into each other before too long.
Not even my favourites of Black Widow, Hawkeye, Wanda and Cap could keep me engaged in this book.
Laura Wood- A Sky Painted Gold: The author's bio states this is her first YA novel, but I sincerely hopes she continues. This book is so beautiful. From the cover which is stunning and so shiny in real life, the words, the characters and world she creates within a set time of 1929 Cornwall. The blurb doesn't give much away, but that's a good thing. Highly recommend this book and gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
S. M. Wilson- The Extinction Trials: Exile- I really enjoyed the first one when it came out at the start of the year. Book 2 was good, but it lacked something. A couple of things felt like they were being repeated and I think a bit more planning in getting back to the dinosaurs could have helped (the author admits in the acknowledgements she didn't have a solid plan). But it has some interesting things happen that could make a really great book 3 next year. Actual rating- 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Amy Rose Capetta- Echo After Echo: Recommended on Goodreads by a friend last year, I finally got round to this and loved it. Lots of theatre. So much diversity on so many ways. Murder and mystery. A look at the 'casting couch' issue, which is written to be very uncomfortable reading. Overall a really good book. I perhaps would have liked a little more happening outside the theatre, but as I like theatre, I can't complain about that too much. :) Actual rating- 4.25 out of 5 stars, because I'm awkward!
Kiersten White- Bright We Burn: I admit I put it off for a bit because I knew it would be painful. I've been a huge fan of the author since she released Paranormalcy, but the Conquerors Saga has been a whole new level to anything she's written before. I'm just going to leave some of my short, original review here. 5 out of 5 stars- I'm sad it's all over now, but really satisfied with the ending. :)
That was as bloody and brutal as I'd expected- and then was somehow even more so. It hurt and it made me hope and hurt and gave me something to laugh about or be happy about and then really hurt.
Even with all the other characters, the majority of whom I've loved (or loved to hate), this trilogy has always been about the trio of Lada, Radu and Mehmed. I guess it was always going to be. I also figured part of how it was going to end, though it definitely ended differently than I expected- and I'm glad for that. I don't think I could have taken much more emotional pain!
That's it for today. Reading is going well already for November, so I've got no doubts that my round-up at the end of the month will be just as full! :)
All the best and happy reading.
Today I'll be taking a look back at what I've read over September- and I actually did a lot of reading!
My Goodreads challenge tells me it was eight books, though some were short- but it was nine books if you count the one I read between the final day of September and the first day of October.
I'm going to! :)
I actually did quite a few re-reads this month. Several of them are short books and part of a series. This month I've either been continuing, or starting, those series. Others are standalones that I adore and wanted to sit through again. We have:-
Lauren Brooke- One Day You'll Know
Heartland #6- I still enjoyed it. Now I'm older, I can see some of what happens is sometimes filler stuff for the next few books- and even later ones in the series, but those things needed to be there.
Overall rating- 4 out of 5 stars.
Enid Blyton- First Term at Malory Towers
Before I knew Hogwarts existed, I always wanted to go to Malory as a kid. I've read them many times and my front covers of the first few are very creased but I care for them. The first one is wonderful in so many ways.
Overall rating- 5 out of 5 stars.
Side note- I still want to go to Hogwarts and Malory Towers as an adult! Also, the picture below is one I found which shows all 6 covers of the versions I have, but in better condition without the creases!
J K Rowling- Chamber of Secrets
Maybe I'm being lazy, but we all know the full title! I'm still collecting the 20th anniversary editions with House colours. They're starting to look like a collection now though! :D I prefer the first book, but still love this one.
Overall rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Gemma Malley- The Resistance
For me, this is the worst one of the trilogy- it's been a decade since I first read them, but I remember that. Not much happens during the first section. Very much 'science solves everything- only science'.
Overall rating- 2.5 stars.
Daphne du Maurier- Rebecca
I re-read this because I loved it the first time around last year, but also to help with the atmosphere with my newest WIP I'm writing. It's kind of got horror in it, which is WAY out of my comfort zone, but I just adore this book regardless of anything else.
Overall rating- 5 out of 5 stars.
Joan Wolf- The Road to Avalon
This was technically also a re-read, but I can't have marked it down on Goodreads the first time AND I've had it for several years now that I just wanted to experience it all again. I've spoken many times on my blog about how much I love Arthurian legend, and this book is so different from any others versions I've read. It's wonderful. I want a TV/film adaptation one day!
See my full review here.
Overall rating- 5 out of 5 stars.
Vic James- Bright Ruin
The final book in a trilogy I've grown to adore. There's a slight open ending, but the main threads are all dealt with. I'm just sad it's now over. This entire trilogy has been a crazy rollercoaster that I've loved even when it hurt and Bright Ruin probably hurt most of all.
These characters have all changed so much from when we met them in book 1 and I'm so proud of some of them. The Jardines all finally hate each other openly and all have their own agendas. The Hadley's have grown so much and I love that Daisy stood by Gavar and Libby for almost the entire time.
Luke and Silyen in this book were some of my favourite chapters- and I loved Silyen almost from the moment I met him, with his mystery and secret motives. :)
Abi goes through a lot of internal change in this book, given the state of Britain at the start and it's nice to see her looking outward beyond her own aspirations of being a doctor. I'm sure she'd have more open to her than that though.
Overall rating- 5 out of 5 stars.
Finally, the two books I read at the end of the month on our family's weekend away. I haven't written proper reviews for them yet, so let's try and make some sense of my thoughts here.
V E Schwab- A Darker Shade of Magic
In the last Top Ten Tuesday post I did, I said I'd finally get to start this trilogy. I'm just mad at myself for waiting so long, even after I'd read and loved the Monsters of Verity duology.
ADSOM at the start took me a little bit to get through, while I got each London straight in my head, but the world building in each is so detailed and real, it didn't take that long. Then I just kept reading- as usually happens. I got dragged in so far, I didn't like leaving for activities I needed, like eating and sleeping.
Lila is my favourite brand of sarcasm and I can't wait to see her as a pirate on the seas (I hope that scene happens in book 2). Rhy and Kell are adorable when together and I love their family bond. Also, Kell's coat would be so useful. :) Even the villains do actual terrible things, which make them far more believable than just being talked about as evil.
Overall rating- 5 out of 5 stars.
(Did I expect anything less. No, I didn't think so. And I'm sure I'll be reviewing book 2 in my October round up- stay tuned for that)
Sarah J Maas- Catwoman: Soulstealer
This one was my favourite behind Wonder Woman: Warbringer. Also, my paperback edition has purple edges so of course I'm thrilled by that. :)
As much as I love SJM's other books, it was nice to have one set in a more modern setting for once. I adored the trio of Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn and it's nice to see villains having fun for a change in books. Though for Selina, the good/bad line is incredibly blurred at times and I love the reasons behind that.
While there are cameos from other well-known DC characters, I'm kind of glad Bruce wasn't in this one- his story has been told in this series and it was nice to see other people could help him out. I really liked Luke's character, both as Batwing and as himself. Having the GCPD and Selina's old friends/allies (?) in the Leopards were nice elements too.
With several characters, there is a good amount of diversity in there, for various things. In the past, SJM has been criticised heavily for a lack of diversity or writing for the sake of it, which, even though she's one of my favourite authors, is annoying. However, in this book, it finally feels like it's not an afterthought or been forced.
A really good addition to the DC Icons series and I'll most likely read it again at some point.
Overall rating- 4.5 stars.
And that's it. *breathes a sigh of relief* The reading got intense especially towards the second half of September, and I'm going to assume it won't let up yet. At least it gives me more content to blog about! :D
All the best.
I'm finally catching up on some reviews and all of that. In July, I realised it would be a lot easier for to do round-ups every month of what I've been reading, so that will continue now.
So this is the August 2018 edition: a bit different because I designated August to being a Beat the Backlist month- which is where I've tried to catch up on books that have been on my TBR pile for more than a year, or ones I tried to read in previous Beat the Backlist months and didn't manage it.
This one was more successful than my March one, but not by much. Life has been pretty busy/crazy so in hindsight, my target of seven books was way too high. But anyway, it wasn't a total waste of an idea.
Here are the books I did manage to read/otherwise attempt. I even had a bit of a fantasy slump and read a brilliant contemporary that I'm still not over.
Let's start with attempts. I'd had The Diabolic on my shelf almost since it was published- maybe 3 years ago? I got it on sale at half price and it had sounded interesting, so I was hoping after all that time I would enjoy it.
Reader, I DNF'd it.
This was such a disappointment. I got to chapter ten, only about 100 pages in, and just...nothing seemed to be happening. I didn't care about the characters all that much and the world building was confusing. I felt no joy when I'd pick it up and eventually had to be put aside. Life's too short to read books you're not enjoying.
On the other hand, my attempt at reading The Disappearances went a lot better, and is a bit of a historical fiction, I think. For now, it's on hold- life got in the way and I didn't get to read this book as often as I'd have liked to keep remembering what was going on. That's happened before and I'm not too worried. I'll read the full book one day- hopefully early in 2019 whenever I do my next Beat the Backlist.
Onto the books I did get fully read. Flame in the Mist was one I had to wait for in paperback (as I usually have to these days- I'm too poor for all hardbacks) and it came with the new cover, which I like, especially with the cherry blossoms which always remind me of spring. I'm a big fan of cherry blossoms. :) I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn duology, so had quite high hopes for this. The members of the Black Clan were all so different, despite the amount of them- as were all the characters- and the details for the world really made it feel real. Renee Ahdieh is really good at those things in all of her books. There were a few things I didn't see coming which made the surprises actual surprises.
I did enjoy it, but towards the end, I wanted it to be over. I didn't believe in the romance at all- it didn't feel like that was what was happening. Some of the changing perspectives towards the end got a bit confusing as well. If the author's first duology is anything to go by, I enjoyed the second book more than the first, so hopefully that will happen with this one too.
Overall rating 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I have finally read Shadowplay!! When I tried to read it last year, I had the exact same problem I mentioned with The Disappearances. It was frustrating at the time, because I adored book 1, Pantomime and didn't want to ruin Shadowplay by forcing it.
The wait was worth it. This book picks up right where book 1 ended, throwing Micah and Drystan into an entirely different world with an old friend of Drystan's. The magic and strange things Micah feels get stronger as various things change in the world and you can't really trust anything that happens.
If I had to sum up this book in a sentence, it would be that: You can't really trust anything that happens in this book! It's great.
Overall rating- 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to read the final book, Masquerade! :D
In July, I read my first book by Holly Bourne, loved it and then found out she was releasing this. It was sat on my shelf for all of August, drawing me towards it every time I looked its way. No, but really- I haven't been quiet about my mental health struggles and I know lots of people rave over the previous mental health-related books Holly Bourne has written.
This one has trigger warning for various mental illnesses talked about quite a bit, self harm, suicidal thoughts.
I admit, when Olive first gets to Camp Reset, I did worry that some of the activities were tailored to 'fix' the residents when they finished there- but I shouldn't have. Instead, the camp is all about equipping the residents to deal with the triggers of their illnesses and to cope in the outside world.
It's always weird to see a character with social anxiety and think, 'Is that how I am?', because everyone's experiences are different, of course. But the way it's written with Sophie and how she learns to cope/get better at identifying triggers, ect isn't too dissimilar to me.
On a light note, the funniest part for me is early on at camp, with Olive and the alpacas. I haven't laughed that much at a book in a while. :D
The biggest thing in this book is about kindness- starting with yourself. It's something I really needed to hear and yes, I cried. Some of the thoughts I think about myself I'd never say to anyone else, so why do I allow my brain to tell they're true about myself? Self care is something I'm really having to learn how to do lately and that saying no to things sometimes is ok for my sanity and health.
Overall rating- 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend this book.
That's it. Not as good of a Beat the Backlist month as I'd have liked, but I did read some books and, given my schedule, it was better than no reading at all.
In my round-up for September, I'll be discussing some newer books along with some re-reads of childhood classics I've chosen to go back to. Lots to discuss in that one! :) All the best.
Actually back, this time.
Of course, now I have several posts to get up, including my holiday one (that feels like such a long time ago!), but taking an almost two month break on the blog while I had that holiday and just worked through some stuff has been a really good thing.
So here we go- this is what ratings I gave to the three books I read on holiday and the two others I read in July.
About a week before we packed, I changed a book to The Lost Plot instead because I really wanted to read it (Just in case you somehow don't know, I have a lot of love for this series!). Also there's a nice aesthetic for me going on here with all the blue in the covers.
Anyway, my final rating for The Lost Plot was 4.5 stars. There was the usual mystery and other elements that make it distinctly a book in this series. I loved we got to see more of the dragons and another new alternate that I really enjoyed. Not sure I could have lived there, but Irene did alright for herself. Some of the political things did occasionally go over my head, but I still got the overall gist and it didn't matter too much to me. So excited to continue with book 5! :D
The Upside of Unrequited- Somewhere around a 4 or 4.5 stars I think. So much geekiness. So much diversity. The little gaps between Simon vs and Leah on the Offbeat have now been filled in because I read this one last and those moments were great revelation times and also really cute. Another great book by this author.
Shadowblack- 4.5 stars. I enjoyed the first book, but this was a definite step-up. It was just so fun! New characters, old characters, a lot of intrigue, weird creatures and definite worry for certain characters. This one ended with unanswered threads for book 3 to continue with and I'm rather excited about this.
Warcross- All the stars!! Given how I usually don't have enough money for hardbacks, I finally grabbed this when it released in paperback and I'm so glad I did. First of all, I love how the cover just reminds of the rainbow WordArt in Microsoft programs (if anyone remembers WordArt, haha) which always was my favourite.
Oh my goodness, this was amazing! The whole futuristic type vibe and the world-building was great and really made me feel part of it. Then the whole Warcross tournament and those battles between the teams were lots of fun and happily reminded me of Mario Kart racing*- I was glad to see the game of it the Phoenix Riders played together. I remember one summer holidays off school when I played Rainbow Road by myself so many times so I could get good at it- and other levels I was less good.
While I guessed who was helping Zero, I didn't get Zero's identity and never saw any of that ending coming. I don't quite know how to feel when I get to read Wildcard- because certain reasons/intentions are good ones, but the whole execution of them is terrible. But I'm excited to read it all the same. :)
*(I really need to get people together to play that game again.)
It Only Happens in the Movies- 4 stars. This was my first book by Holly Bourne. (I've since read her new book in August but that's for another post.)
Audrey's project made some really good points about love and films, despite how cynical she was. I also now have some new films to look up, both within the book and some of the author's recommendations- along with re-watching Lost in Translation again sometime soon.
I really liked most of the characters and how things progressed believably through the book. The ending was also believable and the right one, I think. After reading this and Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes, I'm definitely going to be reading more of Holly Bourne's works.
That's all the books I read in July. I'm still sticking to my new posting schedule of now only Tuesdays and Saturdays, and until I'm caught up, will be doing round-ups where film and book reviews are concerned.
In the week to come, I'll be talking about Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes- people, just go read it!- along with how I did in my 2nd Beat the Backlist assigned month, a few film reviews and my long holiday post! :)
Thanks for sticking with my hiatus. All the best.
The second and final book review of the night and then I'm all up to date before my holiday. Finally getting all organised!
Well, that was beautiful and dark and inspiring. Oh and I'll try, but there may be minor spoilers because I'm just going to gush about this book.
First off, I loved the idea of people's jobs being based on their eye colour and I've never heard of that before. I mean, it wouldn't be so good for me if I lived in Karthia because I have brown eyes...but at least I could hide in Valoria's workshop and help her invent things? Even if I might not be very good. The only other thing I'd be remotely good at, I think, would be as a beast master, because I have a degree with animals. That's sound logic. :)
I can't pick a favourite character, but I've found several new book friends. Speaking of her, I'm so glad Valoria wasn't the fantasy typical princess who expected things to be done for her just because she's a princess. No, she's an inventor who stays up way too late working, who truly cares for her family, her friends and her people. I'm possibly in love with her.
As the main character, Odessa resembled, like, an actual human being. She fights for what she thinks is right, she makes mistakes, she falls in love, she cares about people and she's amazing. Basically, I believed all these characters since they acted like real people, even the villains. The Shades were suitably terrifying and the action scenes were great.
Along with death and stuff, there was an important portion of the story that talked about addictions and how they affected a character. It wasn't glossed over and, along with other things in them, took several chapters. Karthia is also a place where people of all races and sexualities live there and are accepted. The main characters are no different. Odessa is on-the-page bisexual that is mentioned and who has healthy relationships.
It took me a while get my hands on a copy, but when I did, I became a seagull from Finding Nemo! :) Yes, I loved this book so much and am very excited for the second book, even if it is next year. The way this year is going (how is it July??), I'll be reading it before I know it!
All the best. Happy reading. :)
First of two of reviews today, a day late, but I go on holiday next week, so I'll get back to my schedule after I come back! Anyway, here we go.
That was both very intense and so much fun! Though I haven't read many of them yet, Age of Assassins reminded me of Robin Hobb's books. I'm looking forward to continuing.
However, I knocked half a star off for two reasons. Firstly, for a first book, the cast list was huge and some of the characters, particularly the young squires, sometimes became one character in my mind. This is simply a personal thing, though, so won't affect everyone. The other thing that confused me was the prologue. Half of it seemed connected to the main story as some backstory, but one of the characters never showed up after the prologue. A book 2 character maybe??
I can't not mention the mother-son bond Girton and his master had, as well as professional for their assassin jobs. Girton didn't have the best start in life, and I guess, given her job, I expected Merela to be harsh with him too or something, but she's pretty amazing overall. The other secondary characters, both good and bad, were also well rounded and felt like people.
For an epic fantasy, this was a great whodunit- or rather, who will do it? :) So much mystery, intrigue and drama, along with magic and fighting. The friendships Girton makes, despite never having that before, was great, as I really felt how nervous and conflicted he felt in that. Oh, and the animals. So many animals. And Xus, the horse belonging to Girton and his master, was rather temperamental and sometimes vicious. I loved him.
It was a relatively quick read and highly enjoyable. So yes, I will be continuing with the second book, Blood of Assassins. Hopefully I'll get it read after I come back from my holiday in time for the final book releasing next month. :)
The second and final review is one I'm very excited to discuss. This is the author's third book.
Aside from the two POV's making some of the story drag a bit near the end, I honestly can't think of anything I really disliked about the book. The first time I read Radio Silence, I read it in a handful of hours and related to it so much at the time.
Reading I Was Born For This for the first time was a similar experience. Minor spoilers to follow, though I've done my best.
As usual, there were various references I understood and loved- maybe at times it also helps being English? The instance that internet friendships are real, even though online and real life might be different was a really important topic. I loved Angel and Juliet's friendship, as well when they meet Bliss and have this really adorable trio. :)
I also kinda have a strong love for the trio that are Jimmy, Rowan and Lister, known to Angel and everyone as The Ark. The reality that they know compared to the fandom of other people was such a strong part of the story and really made me think about what it must be like, at times, for celebrities I admire, and how people can go from being anonymous one day to known all over the world the next. It also pointed out how fandom isn't everything in life something else which is an important point. Also enjoyed the Joan of Arc quotes, many of which I'd come across before.
Bonus points to Jimmy having an amazing granddad and Angel having parents who care about her. Even more for again Angel and Jimmy having a simply platonic friendship, however strange and unlikely it turned out to be.
My most favourite part of the book turned out to be how highlighted- in a positive way- the aspects of faith, mental health and sexuality are in a person. Angel is a Muslim. Jimmy is a trans, gay, Christian with severe anxiety. Other characters are also on the LGBT+ spectrum. Of course, while several things were different from my experience, I'm just going to ahead and say what an important thing this is. None of these things made the characters- they had their own personalities, but they added to who they were as people.
And as a Christian with social anxiety and depression, I just...I'm so glad this wasn't glossed over, that I felt really heard and related to Jimmy in those ways. Before I became a Christian, I always thought how Christians never had any issues and things were more or less perfect for them.
Haha, old me was so naïve!
Once again, Alice Oseman has written a fantastic book with characters I love and, at another, different stage in my life, can really relate to in many ways. As I did with Radio Silence. So all the stars to I Was Born For This. I'm very much looking forward to what book 4 brings! :D
All the best and happy reading. :)