Book Tag: Mid-Year Book Freak Out!

Here we go, another fun little book tag to fill in the gaps whilst I procrastinate from writing reviews… Actually this time I’m not procrastinating as such, I just can’t find the words at the moment to review my latest read because I’m still so emotional.

I can’t believe we’re half-way through the year already! And, for once, I’m actually AHEAD of my Goodreads goal… let’s just wait for that to sink in…

 omg shocked sunglasses huh oh my god GIF


1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2017?

There are so many good ones, but I think I have to go with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, just because it really was so profound!

I gave it a 5 star review! Read it here

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017?

I only just read ACOMAF, which has just totally won my vote for that one…

Here’s my full review!

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To?

TOO MANY NEW RELEASES! Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, Wintersong by S. Jae Jones… I could carry on listing all of the new releases on my TBR but we’d be here for days!

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4. Most Anticipated Release For Second Half of 2017?

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas. Hands down. Hand me my Chaol.

5. Biggest Disappointment?

Release by Patrick Ness, I guess. Whilst I enjoyed it, it didn’t blow me away like I had expected it to. Still a great book though.

Read my review here

6. Biggest Surprise?

This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab. I knew I’d like it because I love ADSOM, but I had no idea I’d love it that much! I actually think I prefer it to ADSOM…

7. Favourite New Author?

V.E Schwab fo’ sho’. I would go with Angie Thomas but I feel that one book is too early to make a solid judgement.

8. Newest Fictional Crush?

Rhysand. Rhysand. Rhysand.

Take me away.

 swoon 30 rock shocked tina fey fangirl GIF

9. Newest Favourite Character?

Kate from This Savage Song/Our Dark Duet. She’s so wonderfully complex and imperfect. Badass but with a heart of gold.

Let’s not discuss this further.

10. Book That Made You Cry?

History Is All You Left Me.

Need I say more?

Read my review here

11. Book That Made You Happy?

Have I read any “happy” books this year? I haven’t… hmm.

I guess ACOMAF made me happy because I was reading Maas, and Maas is queen.

12. Favourite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year?

Haven’t actually seen one! Shame on me…

13. Favourite Review You’ve Written This Year?

It would have to be my review of This Savage Song, simply because I wrote it immediately after finishing the book because I was so freaking excited!

14. Most Beautiful Book You Bought So Far This Year?

The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

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Damn that cover is pretty.

15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of The Year?

Here’s a nice long list for you…

No, don’t worry, just top 5 MUSTS! These currently aren’t planned in any TBR in the coming months. I own them, so I need to get to them before the end of the year.

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

A Conjuring of Light by V.E Schwab

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater


 

Review: History is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

IMG_1321Synopsis:

“You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you’re having an open casket funeral. I know you’re out there, listening. And you should know I’m really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn’t the first promise you’ve broken.”

OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means…


History is All You Left Me is Adam Silvera’s second novel, his first being More Happy Than Not. Unfortunately, the latter is yet to be published here in the U.K… can someone please change that because I’ve officially found an author who’s writing I adore, and NEED to read everything he’s ever written.

This was a beautifully written book about grief, love, loss and friendship; overcoming fears and facing your own demons; being honest and taking life for yourself. I cried, hard. But I also grinned from ear-to-ear, and there were times when I wanted to throw the book across the room our of frustration at some of the characters’ actions (IN A GOOD WAY)

The structure of the book switches between “Today” and “History”, and whilst the today sections begin extremely morbidly, the history provides an element of light heartedness that is very much needed to stop this book from becoming incredibly depressing. Trust me, you don’t want to be reading this in public like I did…

This book isn’t heavily plot driven, which normally for me would dampen my enjoyment of a book. I very much like a fast paced plot line. Not in this case. Totally focusing on the character arcs, there was a depth to the characters that just totally captivated me – they were all so real and flawed, and I spent my time reading wondering when they were telling the truth. Take note people, humans lie, but I find it incredibly rare to read a book where characters lie. It seems everyone is always insanely honest in books.

Theo suffers with OCD and this just added a whole extra level on top of him dealing with his grief. His obsessive need for everything to be in multiples of two (with the exception of one and seven), and needing to be on people’s left hand side added an extra dimension whilst being approached sensitively and truthfully. At no point did I find the traits cliche or stereotypical.

I also LOVED the nerdy fandom references throughout. Harry Potter was mentioned several times, which just makes me need to read HP all over again, and I actually loved that Theo’s favourite HP character is Cedric Diggory! Totally unexpected and unique, although I have to argue against it because I always though Diggory was a bit of a d**k…

I wouldn’t complain if a Pirate-Zombie-Apocolypse spin-off was written either. An idea which all stemmed from a jigsaw puzzle in the first few chapters became a theme that ran throughout. And even something so tiny in relative proportion to the rest of the plot was incredible well thought out. There is no end to Silvera’s incredible imagination.

To wrap up, this book was beautiful and heartbreaking in every way, and I want to keep reading about these characters even though this difficult chapter in their lives is wrapping up and they’re moving on… I’m attached to them and I don’t want to let go! (I’m sensing some irony here, I need to let go…)

Bring on the release of They Both Die At The End so I can read more of Silvera’s gorgeous writing!


View History Is All You Left Me on Goodreads

Review: Good Bones – Margaret Atwood

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

IMG_1318Synopsis: 

These wise and witty writings home in on Shakespeare, tree stumps, ecological disasters, bodies (male and female), and theology, amongst other matters. We hear Gertrude’s version of what really happened in Hamlet; an ugly sister and a wicked stepmother put in a good word for themselves,and a reincarnated bat explains how Bram Stoker got Dracula hopelessly wrong. Good Bones is pure distilled Atwood – deliciously strong and bittersweet.


I don’t often read short stories. In fact, I can’t actually remember the last time I did, or even name a collection that I may have possibly read. So, according to my memory, this was my first ever short story collection!

I bought this book simply because I didn’t have a book with me at the time, so I wanted something super short for my bus journey, and I was seriously craving some Atwood. I read The Handmaid’s Tale just over a month ago, and ended up falling in love with Atwood’s style.

This didn’t disappoint.

Whilst this is categorised as a collection of short “stories”, I’d also argue that they’re more musings and thoughts rather than pure fiction.

Some of the “shorts” as I will call them, were purely bizarre. Whilst I didn’t fully understand them and how they fit into this collection, I can still appreciate the humour and wit within them.

There were several pieces in Good Bones that I just absolutely adored. One of my favourites was a great piece which tackled racism and feminist in literature. There were two voices within this; the first being the writer, and the second was the critic. The critic constantly picked fault with the descriptions of the writer’s character. She was too white, too weak, why did she have to be a she, why not gender mutual? Etc. In the end, the character was totally shapeless.

I found myself saying “YES, YES!” So many times by the end of this piece…

Another favourite moment of mine:

“Please note that although men are made of dust, women are made of ribs. Remember that at your next Texas-style barbecue”

The feminist tone throughout was wonderful without preaching or man hating. It was tackled in such a humorous way that I felt joyously empowered reading it.

There was such an array of tone and topic throughout the 145 pages, that it was impossible for me to get bored. The only reason that I didn’t give this 5🌟 was that sometimes it was just a little too bizarre for me to understand and appreciate. But I’m still, and even more so, in love with Margaret Atwood’s writing, and ill for sure be reading more!


View Good Bones on Goodreads

Review: Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis: 

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court (a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage (who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward (and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.


Now, before I go ahead and voice what are probably (more than likely) very unpopular opinions, I just want to say that I really did enjoy this book! Hence the 4⭐️ rating.

I just had a few issues with it…

The first, was that I didn’t really care for any of the characters until 300 pages in. I didn’t feel like they were very personable, and the world wasn’t developed enough for me care about anything that was going on. I actually found it slightly confusing.

I haven’t read the Grisha series, and people have told me that I didn’t need to before reading this, however, I feel that it would have helped.

For those who don’t know, Leigh Bardugo has written a trilogy known as the Grisha series, starting with the book, Shadow and Bone. Six of Crows takes place in this same universe, just at a different place and time with different characters. For this reason, reading them before SoC isn’t necessary in understanding the plot. HOWEVER, I just think that reading them would have helped me gain a better understanding of the world this takes place in and therefore making my reading experience simpler and more enjoyable, rather than spending the first half of the book wondering what the hell was going on.

Secondly, FAR TOO MUCH GOES RIGHT.

They are all teenagers breaking into one of the most securely protected prisons in the world… yet everything goes to plan?

Even if something “goes wrong”, it’s all part of the plan. Typical New York heist movie here… I wanted something to go horribly wrong and them be found in a compromising position! They always had the answers, and that annoyed me slightly.

Also, and I may be biased having read this book immediately after ACOMAF, but I wasn’t a fan of Kaz… I know, shoot me now.

BUT. 

I think that’s only because I’m still totally in love with Rhysand, and I saw several similarities between him and Kaz Brekker, so all the way through I was just thinking “well, you’re not Rhys so I don’t like you.”

I may need to re-assess my opinions when I come to reading Crooked Kingdom. Which I WILL do, because I enjoyed this book! There was just so much hype around it, and for me, at the time of me reading it, it just didn’t quite live up to my incredibly high expectations.

I thought the writing was good, and the second half of the book was much easier going than the first once the action started. I’m also intrigued as to what will happen to the characters next. I really like Nina and Inej. For me, they’re the two most interesting characters and I want to read more about them! I also love the little blossoming relationship between Jesper and Wylan because that’s just so cute!

I’ve heard that Crooked Kingdom is much better than Six of Crows, so I’m looking forward to reading that later on this year.

Dear die-hard SoC fans, I apologise for my questionable opinions.


View Six of Crows on Goodreads

Mystery Blogger Award!

IMG_1125Firstly, a big thanks to Imane @ booksaccino for nomintaing me – this girl’s blog is fabulous, so be sure to check it out! This tag was created by Okoto Enigma @ OkotoEnigma’sBlog so be a good human and pay them a visit too!

I love tags like this – they’re such a fun way to get to know more about fellow bloggers, whilst also sharing out that little bit of love for blogs you appreciate.


RULES:

  1. List the rules
  2. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

3 Things About Me…

I’m obsessed with Dogs… If I see a dog in the street or at work I just HAVE to say hi. I could have been in the worst mood imaginable, but if I can pet a dog, I’ll be all happy smiley sunshines and rainbows again!

The BarkPost  dogs puppy puppies cute puppy GIF

When I was little, (not that little, I was about 10), I dressed up in a Hogwarts uniform, fashioned a wand out of a stick, and forced my parents to call me Hermione for weeks…

 harry potter hermione idiot what an idiot GIF

I’m incredibly indecisive! For example, it’s just taken me 30 minutes to decide on 3 facts to use for this tiny section…

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt unsure kimmy schmidt ellie kemper unbreakable GIF

That’s the painful bit done with! Now to answer the questions from @booksaccino:

  1. What is your top travel destination and have you ever read a book set in it? I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, and visit everything that the country has to offer! I’ve never read a book set there though… anyone got any recommendations?
  2. What’s the last book that did you wrong and that let you down or that you DNFed? The last book I DNFed was “The Legend of Podkin One-Ear… It’s a children’s book that I had to read for work, but I absolutely hated it and gave up halfway through. The last book I was slightly disappointed by though was Six of Crows! I enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me…
  3. What’s the best superpower you came across in a book? Call me dark and twisty, but being able to hold someone’s mind, like Rhys in ACOMAF, is really cool and dangerous…
  4. Aside from reading, what do you like to do in your free time? Singing, Dancing and Acting! Performing is my second career (it would be first, but unfortunately it’s not quite stable enough…) so when I’m not reading or working in the bookstore, it’s all about Musical Theatre for me.
  5. Could you describe your current read using emojis? 🙅🙎‍♂️🎻🌹 Can you guess it? I’ll type the answer at the bottom of the post!

Here are my questions for you guys to answer:

  1. What book make you fall in love with reading, and how old were you?
  2. What book(s) have you read recently that you felt were over-hyped?
  3. The best book you’ve read this year?
  4. What is your favourite smell?
  5. And one for fun… You’re being chased by a monster! Describe it, what does it look/smell/sound like?

My nominations:

Priyasha @ ScribbledStories514

Kate @ ReadingThroughInfinity

Lu @ LuReads

Mel @ TheBookMoo

Shana @ BionicBookWorm

Lauren @ WonderlessReviews

Krysti @ YAandWine

Georgia & Morgan @ PocketFullofPages

Sarah @ WrittenWordWorlds

Obviously, the usual goes as if you’ve already done this, then you don’t need to do it again, but it’d be great to get to know you all better, so post your links down below if you do!

Also, if I haven’t tagged you here, consider yourself tagged and join in 🙂


 

Review: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) – V.E. Schwab

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis: 

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. 


Let me just start by saying that from page one, Schwab had me hooked.

I want to share with you all, the first few lines of this book…

“The night Kate Harper decided to burn down the school chapel, she wasn’t angry or drunk. She was desperate.

Burning down the church really was a last resort; she’d already broken a girl’s nose, smoked in the dormitories, cheated on her first exam, and verbally harassed three of the nuns.”

Now tell me you don’t already love it?!

The two main characters in this book, Kate Harker and August Flynn, are two of the most surprisingly loveable characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. And seeing their personalities take form and develop was just the best!

Kate and August are both troubled by their own demons (pun..?) and are desperately searching to find themselves, but in the face of danger form an unlikely bond – WHICH GIVES ME LIFE.

There’s no romance in this. No lovey dovey stuff. Just pure friendship and an incredible story of trust, loyalty and companionship.

The world that Schwab has created is suitably dark and twisted, whilst somehow still remaining somewhat human and relatable – this parallels with our good friend, August, but I’ll let you read that for yourselves. The monsters are suitably horrific, yet formed in such a way that it’ll have you checking your own shadows, just in case.

This book had me laughing, crying, and always sitting on the edge of my seat.

The plot line, the writing, everything just drew me in. I was totally engrossed in this mysterious, monstrous world, and really nothing was as it seemed. Just when I thought I had something figured out, I would immediately be taken by surprise and steered in a completely different direction and the pages just kept on turning and turning, until I found myself at the end of the book…

There’s a kind of emptiness that you experience after reading a truly great book, and I feel hollow… I NEED MORE AND I NEED IT NOW! Thankfully, I’m fully armed with His Dark Duet already (thank god I got my hands on it early), so hopefully I’ll be able to fill that void and continue on this journey. That is, of course, until I finish that one and then we’re back to feeling void of all emotions…

A sacrifice I’m willing to make.


View This Savage Song on Goodreads

 

May 2017 Book Haul

May. The month of my birthday. So, naturally, a LOT of books were bought this month!

I was also send a massive stack of books from publishers too, so this is (again) one hefty haul!


Books I Bought in May:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

More Than This by Patrick Ness

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Given To The Sea by Mindy McGinnis (Fairy Loot BOTM)

Who Runs The World? by Virginia Bergin

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Flame in The Mist by Renee Ahdieh


Publisher Book Mail:

The Lonelinest Girl in The Universe by Lauren James

The Dollmaker of Krakov by R.M Romero

Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon

Following Ophelia by Sophia Bennett

My Evil Twin is a Supervillain by David Solomons

Kick by Mitch Johnson

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

Rook by Anthony McGowan

The Last Duchess by Laura Powell

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

After The Fire by Will Hill

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter


That’s a whopping 30 books… I think this might be my biggest ever haul! But in all seriousness, I need to not buy any more books now until I move in July… I’m going to have to lift those boxes!