My Bookish New Year’s Resolutions

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

happy new year GIF

Wow, 2017 went too quickly. But now we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year. Which only means one thing… Let’s set ourselves unrealistic goals! YAY.

Disclaimer: I’ve never been able to set a New Year’s Resolution and stick to it.

Usually they go along the same sort of lines: Exercise more, be more social, keep a diary. I’ve usually given up/failed by February.

This year though, I have set only one personal goal, and that is to Do What Makes Me Happy. Whatever that may be. Keep people in my life who make me happy, get rid of those who don’t. Be in a career that makes me happy, and not one that stresses me out or heightens my anxiety. You get the idea.

However.

I have also set myself some bookish goals for 2018…

We’ll start with my Goodreads Challenge.

Read 50 Books.

In 2017 my goal was 40 books, which I scraped in my the skin of my teeth. This year, I’m going to increase my goal to 50. I know, risky. But this leads me onto my second goal…

Only Read Books I Enjoy.

Too many times I have stuck with books that I really am not enjoying, or forced myself to read because there’s a hype around it, or I’ve promised to review something. This year, that changes. If I’m not enjoying a book, I’m not going to continue on with it! Woah. I know. But there are just too many great books in the world that I’ll miss out on if I read the not so great books, and also it just puts me into a huge slump that takes me weeks to get out of.

Review Books as Soon as I Read Them.

Too many times this year, I have read a book, really enjoyed it, and then totally forgotten to write my review. Skip ahead to months later and I’m looking for a review I wrote on that book I really liked… Oh wait. YOU NEVER WROTE IT YOU DAFT MARE.

This has happened several times this year. No more, I say, NO MORE!

Post 1 Blog Post Each Week.

If I manage more then great. But I aim to write at least one review or post of some kind each week. My blog has been neglected recently, and I plan to get it back on track in 2018.


And that’s it! Those are my goals for 2018.

Let’s hope I can stick to them as much as possible!

What goals did you set for yourself this year?

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December Book Haul

Another month, another stack of books.

And this month was Christmas. And sales…

There’s only one way this post is going to go, but just you wait and see the stack of books at the end of it!


I’ll start with a recap of my Christmas Book Haul – these wonderful books were gifted to me by three wonderful Book Bloggers:

img_2318Sleeping Giants by Silvain Neuvel

Daughter of The Burning City by Amanda Foody

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater

Hunted by Meagan Spooner


Now onto the books I bought for myself…

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Kings Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard

Collected Poems by Philip Larkin

Collected Poems by Edward Thomas

The Golden Yarn (Reckless #3) by Cornelia Funke

Gilded Cage & Tarnished City by Vic James

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Everless by Sara Holland (Fairy Loot)

City of Bones 10th Anniversary Edition by Cassandra Clare (Book Dragon Sample Box)


And the final list of the haul, is publisher mail!

This month I was treated greatly by the wonderful Shrina over at Harper360YA, and she sent me a HUGE bundle of gorgeous books for me to read and review!

Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan

Even The Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano

Flamecaster by Cinda Willams Chima

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows


And there you have it! One HUGE book haul to see the year out in style!

But wait… You need a picture of a precariously balanced stack of books!

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That’s better.

Best of 2017: Top 5 Backlist Books

So I’ve already posted my Top 5 Releases of 2017, but what about those books that were published before this year? Those books that have been ignored until now…

Here are, in no particular order, my Top 5 books that were published in 2016 or before, that I only managed to read this year:


The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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This is getting a mention as a trio because that’s how I read it… In one go. I can’t believe I hadn’t picked this up until last month! I just absolutely devoured all three books (an unusual occurrence for me with series) and have now become obsessed with the Grishaverse! I’ll re-read Six of Crows in 2018 as I know I’ll enjoy it a whole lot more after reading this series.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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It’s very rare that the power of a book stays with me for months after I read it, but this is one of the few books that has managed to do so. Everything about this book was incredible. It was moving, brutal and extremely entertaining. The characters were infuriating in the best way possible, and it absolutely broke my heart. I laughed, smiled from ear-to-ear and cried for hours afterwards.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

dcdcac78-c126-4148-8d8f-b841d19720b7A book with magic? I was bound to love it, lets be honest here, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how much I would really love it! This is a book which has swallowed me into a world I’m not quite ready to leave yet, which is why I’m yet to read A Conjuring of Light, but it’s top of my list for 2018! Oh, and Lila Bard is officially one of my favourite characters EVER.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

aeb729ec-b919-47c1-9a87-768f0805da2fI picked up this book because I wanted to read it before the TV series aired (which, for the record, I didn’t actually even end up watching…) It took me a while to grow accustomed to Atwood’s writing style, but once I got into the flow of it I was hooked! This book was dark and sophisticated – I’ll definitely be reading more Atwood in the future.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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One of the few middle-grade books I’ve read this year, but loved it! A fantastic adventure story full of mythical elements, diverse characters and an awesome female MC. I’ve recommended this book to so many children in my bookstore this year, and will continue to do so next year!

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read Full Review Here

 


I’ll be signing up for #BeatTheBacklist2018 to try and tackle more titles which have been doomed to life on my shelf…

Best of 2017: Top 5 2017 Releases

I can’t believe 2017 is nearly over already… It feels like only yesterday that I was setting my reading goals for the year!

But here we are, another year bites the dust. Actually, 2017 hasn’t been all that bad really. Its had it’s highs and lows, but I feel like I’m coming out the other side of it a much stronger person with more of an idea of how to make myself happy. And really, I guess that’s all I could ask for.

I’ve also read some AWESOME books this year!

This first post of my end of year series is all about those books that were released this year and knocked our socks off.

In no particular order, this is my personal Top 5 of books that I read and were released this year:


The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

If I don’t see this on your top 5 list this year, I’d be asking you “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!” This book was incredible. It’s in my top 5, but really it belongs in my top 1. It was the Starr on the Christmas tree, so to speak… see what I did there…? This book is so important, so if you haven’t already read it, make sure it’s at the top of your list for 2018 because you don’t want to miss this one, trust me!

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is an author I only discovered in the latter half of the year; I can’t believe I hadn’t read any of her books before now! This book really took me by surprise: I’m not really a lover of superheroes, but boy am I glad I read this. It has an awesomely diverse cast of characters, the story line was fun and action packed, and the MC KICKED ASS!

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

img_2328When this book was released, I knew I had to read it. I was so interested in the setting (London during the Suffrage) and it had been given such a good press release by the publisher, and it still, somehow, managed to take me by surprise. A very powerful novel that made me laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. I love historical fiction when it’s written well, and this was no exception.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by V.E. Schwab

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Schwab is another author where I find myself obsessing over everything she writes… This duology had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and won a spot on my top 5 because it broke me. Crushed my heart into a thousand tiny pieces and then continued to stomp all over them until it was suitably destroyed. If you’re looking for a quick, exciting and dark duology, be sure to add this to your list!

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset What list would be complete without a SJM book on it? This book got me out of my HUGE slump during the summer, so it has to be on this list! Let’s be honest, there were probably more innovative choices I could have made for this final spot, but I’m total trash for SJM and will ALWAYS love her books. They give me life, okay? Sorry not sorry.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Read Full Review Here


Other 2017 releases I loved that deserve a mention:

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Caraval by Stephanie Garber ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release by Patrick Ness ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Christmas Book Haul!

‘Tis the season!

I seriously love Christmas. Everyone seems so much happier around this time of year, and one of my favourite things is to give people beautifully wrapped, thoughtful gifts.

I was extremely lucky this year, and my family and friends truly spoilt me with their amazing gifts! But this post is going to focus on the wonderful books I received.

My family refuse to buy me books because I work in a bookstore. This is hard for me because I love being given books that I might not have thought to buy for myself. They do however compromise by buying me a book voucher so I can buy myself all the books with a hefty discount… it’s not all bad.

BUT, SEND IN THE TRUE HEROES OF THE STORY.

My wonderful Book Blogger friends.

This year, I took part in two Christmas book swaps: #TBTBSanta hosted by Jamie of @BrokeAndBookish Twitter fame (Blog: PerpetualPageTurner.com) and #LiveLaughSantaTales17 hosted by Bookstagram’s @_LiveLaughRead and @DeerTales.

I had so much fun putting together a box of gifts for my person, and I was toatally blown away by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the gifts I received!

In my #TBTBSanta package I received copies of All The Crooked Saints, Ivory and Bone and Daughter of the Burning City from @lottie_coates, along with a box crammed full of chocolates, sweets and other goodies including a pink bobble hat and a book light! Lottie was a twitter-stalking pro and hit the nail on the head with my gifts!

33b14e52-5751-4883-b2ad-f46bd618e571From Annie @midsummer_child for my #LiveLaughSantaTales17 gift, I was given Hunted (which I have wanted for AGES) and The Star Touched Queen. The box also included some amazing items such as little wooden letters for my to use in my bookstagram photos, a candle from MerakiCandles which smells incredible, and some light bulb fairy lights which have immediately been hung around my mirror on my dressing table!

I also received a surprise package from the ever lovely Holly @booksandskittles which included a copy of Sleeping Giants, a book which wasn’t really on my radar and sounds amazing! I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book and can’t wait to read it in the new year!

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with their families and loved ones, and let’s hope 2018 brings lots of goodwill and cheer.

Full December Book Haul is yet to come…

Book Review: Things A Bright Girl Can Do – Sally Nicholls

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Synopsis: 

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?


I read this book AGES ago, and can’t believe I hadn’t written a review for it! I didn’t even notice until I was writing by “Best of 2017” post for tomorrow… dear lord, we know what one of my New Years Resolutions is going to be!

So yes, you guessed it, this was one of the best books I read this year!

I loved it from beginning to end. It was incredibly inspiring and powerful. I loved all of the characters and their flaws; this made the book particularly special for me – none of these people were perfect. Each one of them had faults, did questionable things and this made them even more relatable and human. Authors, take note, we want more real people in our books!

It is worth noting that the premise of this novel is only based on the Suffragette movement, and is not completely factual. The historical events involving Emmeline Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett run underneath the plot of this fictional work, which creates a multi-dimensional setting. We recognise some of the bigger protests as events within the plot, yet we are following it from a perspective of fictional characters, which I feel worked particularly well.

I especially enjoyed the F/F relationship between May and Nell. It wasn’t plastered all over the synopsis or screamed about within the first few pages, which I found particularly refreshing, and it added another dimension to the roller-coaster plot. There was no sense of homophobia, or the inclusion of the relationship being motivated in any form or for “effect”, it just was. It was an accepted, and natural relationship, written beautifully and seamlessly into the plot, and was exactly the right thing to lift this novel to another height.

This was one of those books which I didn’t want to end. I wish I could keep reading about these characters and follow their lives even further. Each character was wonderfully unique and the book as a whole was gripping, moving and truly inspirational. A must read.

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View Things A Bright Girl Can Do on Goodreads

Book Review: The Grisha Trilogy – Leigh Bardugo

Overall Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Shadow and Bone: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

10194157Synopsis:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


This was the perfect start to a trilogy for me. There was drama in abundance, the world building was fabulous, and I found myself rooting for the… villain?

Wait, what?

Okay, so this never happens for me. I always side with the hero. But The Darkling really had me going in this one! I found his character extremely intriguing and misunderstood which made me just kind of want him to succeed…

So this is making me sound a bit weird, but I’m sure those of you who have read this know what I mean?!

Of course, I still like Alina, and I find the magic in this book really fascinating and how each Grisha only has one skill rather than being able to wield them all.

There wasn’t really a cliffhanger at the end of this book which compelled me to move straight on to the next, but after reading another completely different book after this, I found myself wanting to come back into this world and read Siege and Storm.


Siege and Storm: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

14061955Synopsis:

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

I was worried that I was going to hate this book… Usually second books in a series just don’t work out for me. But, I LOVED IT! It was even better than the first book. I found the world developed even further, the characters became a whole lot more rounded, and those plot twists… well, I need say no more.


Nikolai is officially my favourite character.

He’s a total douche-bag but still incredibly charming, and deep down an absolute sweetheart.

The opening chapters of this book couldn’t have been any more dramatic if they tried. Like, sure fire way to suck you in!

The middle was maybe a little slow for my liking, but I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters a bit more, and then the ending came… WAY TO CRUSH MY SOUL.

Where the first book didn’t end on much of a cliffhanger, this one did. To the point where EVERYONE could have been dead.

Safe to say I started Ruin and Rising right away…


Ruin and Rising: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

14061957Synopsis:

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


This book took my breath away. Everything about it was just wonderful.

Nikolai broke my heart.

Mal broke my heart.

The Darkling broke my heart.

Did I mention that it broke my heart…?

No? Well it did.

The only thing I would say is that a power hungry Alina started to annoy me a bit… I didn’t really care whether she succeeded in her quest because I found her extremely selfish by about the halfway point. But I really, truly did ship “Malina” in this one, and the ending just had me bawling.

I wish the ending hadn’t have had a change of heart, because I don’t think everything needed to end so happy-clappy. I did still love it however.


The main reason I ended up reading this trilogy, is because I read Six of Crows earlier this year, and didn’t love it as much as people had hyped. So figured that reading this trilogy would give me a bit more background info about the world and history of Ravka, and then I’d give Six of Crows another shot.

I have to say, I am excited to re-read Six of Crows now, because I really do feel like I’ll enjoy it much more the second time round after reading this.

Also… I CAN’T WAIT FOR NIKOLAI’S BOOK!