Favourite Books of 2019 (so far!)

Favourite Books of 2019 (so far!)

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Now that we’re over the half way point for 2019 (how is that even possible?!) I thought it would be fun to make a post about my favourite books of the year so far. I’ve seen quite a few people doing this and have loved reading about the books everyone has loved! So far in 2019 I’ve read 67 books, and quite a few of them have been five star reads. So in no particular order here are my favourites!

Copy of book cover (27)1. An Illusion of Thieves – Cate Glass

This is one of my most recent reads and I completely fell in love with this world and the brilliant characters. I read the book in a single day, stealing every possible second to read this book. I  also nearly missed my bus stop because I was so engrossed in the story, but it was totally worth it. I’m so desperate to read the next book in the series.

Copy of book cover (12)2. Impossible Times – Mark Lawrence
This is cheating because it’s technically two books in one. I read both One Word Kill and Limited Wish this year and I adored them both. The characters leap off the page in this action packed, time bending story. It’s fun and you’ll become so attached to the characters, can’t wait to see how it all ends in Dispel Illusion.

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3. Aurora Rising – Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it definitely delivered. A bunch of misfits attempting to save the world? What could possibly go wrong. It was full to the brim of action, adventure and witty banter and I honestly couldn’t get enough.

book cover (13)4. The Wicked King – Holly Black
I imagine The Wicked King has made quite a few peoples lists. The ended of this book was just so shocking that I’m still reeling six months later. I love the beautiful writing style and vivid descriptions of the fae world, and not to mention the best enemies to lovers but still enemies depiction I’ve ever seen. Pretty much counting down the days to Queen of Nothing.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.2505. The Furies – Katie Lowe
This fierce, dark tale of murder and witchcraft gripped me from the very first page and absolutely did not let go. I got completely swept up in the tale of four young girls and their tale of friendship, sisterhood, lies and vengeance. I don’t think I’ve stopped talking about it since I finished and it’s definitely an all time favourite.

book cover (39)6. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom – P. M. Freestone
I thought Shadowscent was one of the most unique YA fantasy books I’ve ever read. I loved the idea of a magic system built on scent and I loved the relationship between the two main characters. I flew through the book and I can’t wait to read more from P. M. Freestone.

Copy of book cover (26)7. The Boy With the Porcelain Blade – Den Patrick
This is technically a reread but it has been such a long time since I read it last that it almost felt like a new book. I got completely caught up in this dark fantasy story full of monsters and political intrigue. It’s a quick paced story full of complex characters and I’m so excited to continue my reread because this is definitely one my favourite series.

wicked saints8. Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan
I know this book received quite a lot of mixed reviews but I really enjoyed it. I loved the magic system and the opposing religions fighting for power. I really liked Emily A. Duncan’s writing style and I found it a really quite and enticing read. It was a fascinating tale and I’m hoping that the few kinks will be worked out in the next instalment.

So those are my eight favourite books of 2019 so far! What are your favourite 2019 reads?

Book Review: Blackwing – Ed Mcdonald

Book Review: Blackwing – Ed Mcdonald

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-06-26T130909.277.pngSeries: Raven’s Mark #1
Release Date: October 3rd 2017
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 360
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.

The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some eighty years ago, thanks to Nall’s ‘Engine’, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the Engine created the Misery – a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a No Mans Land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the Engine fails to launch. Galharrow only escapes because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together, they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic’s defences. Far across the Misery a vast army is on the move, as the Empire prepares to call the republic’s bluff.

Review

Copy of book cover (14)What can I say? This is one bloody brilliant book. Blackwing is set in a sort of post apocalyptic land, The Misery is a wasteland fraught with danger, monsters and who knows what else. The story follows Captain Galharrow, a man tasked with finding and executing any criminals who have fled into The Misery.

The book is full of action and excitement. It’s also very dark and vivid. Ed McDonald certainly holds nothing back and the reader is treated to all the sights, sounds and smells of life in this world. It felt like a very unique read, and unlike any other fantasy book I’ve ever read.

Blackwing also has quite a lot of terminology and names relevant to the story such as ‘Spinners’, ‘gracked’ and ‘darlings’. This was a little confusing at first, but you quickly pick up who is who as you delve into this absorbing story. This book is really fantastically written and in between the action the reader is treated to plenty of world building and explanation about the magic and monsters of The Misery.

The story’s main protagonist – Captain Galharrow is also a truly fascinating character. He’s straight to the point and unlikeable to many, but he’s also loyal and stands by those in his team. Galharrow is supported by some other really excellent characters – Nenn who I just loved, she’s battle crazy and has no nose, as well as Tnota who can find the team a route of just about anywhere, and Ezabeth the mysterious Spinner that Galharrow has to protect. The chracters were all really excellently portrayed as flawed human beings, and the story was all the more enjoyable for that.

Blackwing is a magnificent read. I was sucked in by the first few chapters and before I knew it I’d read half the book in one sitting. It has easily jumped into my top books for 2017. If you love books by authors like Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie, you should pre-order this one now. It’s dark, gory and full of action and magic. I mean honestly what more could you possibly need? This is a stunning debut, and I definitely cannot wait to see what’s in store next!
5 stars

Book Review: Limited Wish – Mark Lawrence

Book Review: Limited Wish – Mark Lawrence

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Series:
Impossible Times #2
Release Date: May 28th 2019
Publisher: 47 North
Pages: 222
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

One choice. Two possible timelines. And a world hanging in the balance.

It’s the summer of 1986 and reluctant prodigy Nick Hayes is a student at Cambridge University, working with world-renowned mathematician Professor Halligan. He just wants to be a regular student, but regular isn’t really an option for a boy-genius cancer survivor who’s already dabbled in time travel.

When he crosses paths with a mysterious yet curiously familiar girl, Nick discovers that creases have appeared in the fabric of time, and that he is at the centre of the disruption. Only Nick can resolve this time paradox before the damage becomes catastrophic for both him and the future of the world. Time is running out—literally.

Wrapped up with him in this potentially apocalyptic scenario are his ex-girlfriend, Mia, and fellow student Helen. Facing the world-ending chaos of a split in time, Nick must act fast and make the choice of a lifetime—or lifetimes.

Game on.

Review

41771517Limited Wish is the second instalment in the Impossible Times series. The first – One Word Kill was a completely addictive story and I couldn’t put it down. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of Limited Wish and I picked it up straight away. After just a few pages I was completely sucked in again and this time the stakes are even higher.

Limited Wish picks up not long after the events of One Word Kill and drops us right into the action of Nick at Cambridge University. The story follows Nick as he attempts to figure out what’s causing the time echoes that are happening around him, and solve the problem of a paradox. The story is full to the brim with action, adventure and excitement.

Mark Lawrence has yet to write a book I haven’t completely loved and Limited Wish is definitely one of my favourites. I loved returning to the characters we met in the first book – Nick and his gang as they attempt to stop the bad guys, both in real life and in Dungeons and Dragons. There’s all brilliant characters but I particularly love Simon and Mia. It’s fascinating to see the characters grow, particularly after the events of the first book in the series.

The story is full of science, time travel and mathematics. It’s incredibly well plotted and feels realistic whilst also featuring future selves, time travel and a whizz kid mathematician. I loved the mix of science fiction with teenagers just trying to make it through a party and talk to girls. It was such an enjoyable read and I definitely didn’t want it to end.

Limited Wish is full of heart and you’ll definitely grow attached to the wonderful characters. The fast paced plot also kept me guessing and there were quite a few twists that I definitely wasn’t expecting. This is absolutely a new favourite and if you haven’t had the chance to pick the series up yet, now is the perfect time. Book three in the series Dispel Illusion is coming in November so you’ll definitely want to be all caught up by then – this series is one you don’t want to miss.
5 stars

Book Review: Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review: Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Release Date:
March 7th 2019
Publisher: Hutchinson
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in Sainsburys
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed. Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

Review

40554141Daisy Jones and the Six tells the tale of world famous Daisy Jones and the Six, a rock band that took the world by storm in the 60s. After a hit record and sell out shows – the band suddenly disbanded and no one knows why. Now years later, the band recount the tale of what led to them breaking up.

Now I’m going to point out straight away that this is completely not the kind of book I would normally read. The majority of the books I read are Science Fiction and Fantasy, so this is completely outside of my comfort zone. I picked this up because of all the hype for this and another of Reid’s novels – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – and thought it might be quite an interesting read. What I didn’t expect was to be absolutely blown away by this book, and have it be one of my new all-time favourites.

Daisy Jones and the Six is told in a really fascinating way, the book unfolds as a series of interviews – with the band recounting their time recording music and touring. The story is exclusively dialogue, there’s not really anything in the way of scenery descriptions or anything of that nature. Despite that the story completely came alive for me and I felt like Daisy and the band were real people – in fact by the time I was finished I wanted to google the band to learn more about them. The story really makes you feel like these people were real, and brings to life the sights and sounds of life in the 60s.

Daisy Jones and the Six holds nothing back and there’s plenty of drink, drugs and the difficulty of dealing with fame. It’s a fascinating tale and you get the sense early on that it’s going to end badly, yet you absolutely cannot look away.

The story is emotional and heart breaking in the best possible way and I honestly struggled not to bawl my eyes out at it on the way home from work. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like Daisy Jones and the Six, and it’s definitely a book I keep thinking about despite finishing it a while ago.

I’m so glad I took the jump and tried something out of my comfort zone, because this is absolutely a new favourite. I’m incredibly keen to try more from this author and if you’ve seen the buzz around Daisy Jones and thought that the book isn’t your cup of tea I’d definitely suggest giving it a go – you might just find a new favourite.

5 stars

Book Review: Aurora Rising – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Aurora Rising – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-12T182815.479.pngSeries: Aurora Cycle #1
Release Date: May 7th 2019
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Pages: 478
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local Waterstones
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Review

book cover (45)Aurora Rising was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I adored the Illuminae Files and I was hoping this would be just as fun and exciting. If it’s even possible Aurora Rising was even more incredible than I had hoped and it was an immediate five star read.

The story follows Squad 312, a group of Legionnaires who are flung together as the academy dregs no one else wants on their team. When squad leader Tyler discovers the girl he rescued from space stowed away on his ship it sparks a series of events that they might not live to see the end of.

Aurora Rising is just the most fun and fast paced story. As can be expected with this space epic it sets a pretty relentless pace and I was constantly trying to squeeze chapters in because I was dying to know what would happen next. There’s a really brilliant cast of characters and I grew really attached to all of them. The book is full of sarky, sassy moments and plenty of banter between these wonderful characters.

The plot is really intriguing and I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the story – some of the surprises were a bit obvious and I saw them coming – but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. There were some emotional moments too and the story certainly ended on an enticing cliffhanger – I’m dying to find out what’s in store next for the squad.

There is a bit more romance in the story than I was expecting and a case of insta-love that I’m not so keen on but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much. Overall I thought this was a really fantastic read and if you enjoy fast paced action stories or you’ve read work by these authors before, I’m sure you’ll love this one.
5 stars

Book Review: How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

Book Review: How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

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Release Date:
July 6th 2017
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 325
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly gave me a copy of this book when I was an Intern.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'” 

A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

Review

33590076I was really struck by the eye-catching cover for How to Stop Time and so when I picked it up and read the synopsis I just knew I had to read it. I really loved this book and absolutely raced through it. The writing is so addictive that I honestly couldn’t put it down. I loved the premise of this book, mainly because it was a unique spin on the being who lives for centuries idea. Tom is not immortal, he simply ages slower than the rest of humanity. It’s a rare condition, and this idea makes the book seem all the more believable.

I loved reading about Tom in different time periods, as he interacts with some of those most well known in history, each time period really comes alive and Haig’s writing really brings out the sights, sounds and smells of those periods. I think it’s definitely a mark of a fantastic story and a fantastic writer that each time period is so distinctive and vivid. The book is of course split into two different points, one from Tom’s past as he adapts to live in different periods, and his present day life as a history teacher in London.

This book was really the kind of book that sucked me in for hours on end, and definitely stayed with me after I finished reading it. There’s been plenty of hype about this book, and in this case I can say it is absolutely justified. It’s beautiful and will make you happy and sad in equal measure. Tom is a wonderful protagonist and this is a stunning book. This is my first time reading a book by Matt Haig, but after this whirlwind it definitely won’t be my last.
5 stars

Book Review: Wonder Woman Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: Wonder Woman Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-07T111053.634.png
Series:
DC Icons #1
Release Date: August 28th 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 364
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Review

29749085This was a bit of an odd read for me. I love DC Comics, but have never really clicked with Wonderwoman. When I heard that Penguin were doing a YA series of DC heroes I jumped at the chance to read them, even more so when I found out that Leigh Bardugo (one of my favourite authors) would be writing one. However I was still a bit unsure how it would go when Wonderwoman wasn’t a story I was all that familiar with.

It took me a little while to get into the story. I found the beginning with Diana on the island a little slow, but as soon as Diana got to New York, I was sucked in and couldn’t put the book down. I’m so glad I was given the chance to review this book, because it’s honestly one of the best superhero stories I’ve ever read.

Warbringer really has it all. It’s full of action, Diana fighting bad guys and kicking butt, being the strong and fantastic heroine. It’s also full of mythology and meticulous research, a wonderful cast of characters – I loved scientist and all round geeky girl Alia and her best friend the fashion and style icon Nim so much. The one thing that really took me by surprise was how funny the book was. Bardugo gives Diana a really distinct voice, and it’s a wonderful story watching her be both Amazon Princess and a young woman doing normal things (interacting with boys, making friends, living up to the expectations of her mother). It’s a well crafted and multi-layered story that I lost myself in for hours on end.

As well as the fantastic characters and funny moments the story is just a really intriguing concept, the idea of the warbringer and the effect it has on the world. There were plenty of twists I didn’t see coming, and that made the story all the more enjoyable. This has even more solidified Leigh Bardugo’s place as one of my favourite authors, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what’s next in store for the DC Icons series.
5 stars