Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag!

Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag!

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I really enjoyed doing the end of the year freak out tag at the end of 2018 so when I spotted this mid year post from Priyasha at Books and Co I thought I would give it a go!

Screenshot 2019-06-02 at 12.23.37I honestly have no idea how it can be June already. I’m happy to say I’m doing okay with my 2019 Reading Challenge – I am hoping to push myself to read 150 books but we’ll see how that goes. My other challenges (get my Netgalley to 80% and buy less books) aren’t going as well, but we’ve still got another six months of the year to go.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019
This is such a hard question because I hate just picking one book, but I really loved Aurora Rising.
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2. Best sequel of 2019 so far?
It’s got to be The Wicked King – that book almost killed me.
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3. New release you haven’t read yet but really want to?
I picked up a copy of Finale when it came out but I haven’t got the chance to pick it up yet.
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4. Most anticipated release for the rest of 2019?
There are so many that I’m excited for – Angel Mage by Garth Nix is definitely one of them but I think it’s got to be Crowfall – I’m dying to find out what happens!
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5. Biggest disappointment?
For this it’s definitely Vassa In the Night. I thought this was going to be a gorgeous story and I really didn’t get on with it at all.
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6. Biggest surprise?
This is definitely Daisy Jones & The Six – it’s really not the kind of book I would normally read and I picked it up on a whim but I absolutely loved it.
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7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you)?
I really fell in love with Shadowscent by P. M. Freestone. It was a cracking debut and I’m so excited to read more from her.
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8. Newest fictional crush?
I don’t really do fictional crushes so for this I picked my favourite couple – I loved the romance between Lyra and Vesper in A. G. Howard’s Stain.
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9. New favourite characters?
I love Nick and his friends in One Word Kill – Simon, Mia, John and Elton are a great bunch and I love watching them save the world.
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10. Book that made you cry?
So far I don’t think any books have made me cry but I definitely had a lump in my throat reading As Far As the Stars.
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11. Book that made you happy?
I was so happy reading The Princess and the Fangirl. I love Ashley Poston’s characters and it was great to see Darien and Elle from Geekarella make an appearance.
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12. Favourite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year?
I don’t think I’ve actually seen any movie adaptations so far. I am currently watching the TV adaptation of Good Omens though and it’s brilliant.
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13. Favourite review you’ve written this year?
I was really pleased with my review of The Familiars. It’s such a beautiful book and I really wanted to do it justice.
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14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year?
I received a copy of Perfectly Preventable Deaths and I honestly just love that cover!
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15. Books you need to read by the end of the year?
I honestly have a list as long as my arm but I would just like to try and get my TBR down a good bit (like that will ever happen), but I really want to read Night Film!
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This tag was so fun! I’m not sure who has done it and who hasn’t so if you’re interested in doing it consider yourself tagged! 

April Wrap Up!

April Wrap Up!

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I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus these last two weeks but I’m back and today I thought I would share my April wrap up. I seem to have managed to get out of the slump and managed to complete 12 books in April!

405541411. Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy Jones and the Six is definitely not the kind of book I would normally read but it completely sucked me in and totally lived up to the hype. I ended up loving it way more than I thought I would and I can’t wait to read more from Taylor Jenkins Reid. My full review for Daisy Jones can be found here. (4/5 stars)

2. Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylorbook cover - 2019-04-02T135442.190
To coincide with the paperback release of this gorgeous book I was asked to participate in the blog tour. Muse of Nightmares is the sequel to Strange the Dreamer, a beautifully told fantasy story full of magic and adventure. I loved Muse of Nightmares just as much as I loved the first book in the series and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. You can check out my stop on the blog tour here. (5/5 stars)

3. Sleep – C. L. Taylorbook cover - 2019-03-24T181054.124
C. L. Taylor is fast becoming one of my favourite crime writers. Every single one of her books has had me on the edge of my seat. Sleep is a dark and twisty tale about a group of people staying at a hotel on a remote Scottish island. Everyone has secrets, but is one of them planning murder? I was completely shocked by the ending and I loved every second. Full review for this one is here! (4.5/5 stars)

4. Star Crossed – Minnie Darkebook cover - 2019-04-03T105924.120
This was such a cute and fun contemporary story! Star-Crossed revolves around star signs and really brings a fresh perspective to the contemporary genre. I completely adored the characters and was hooked on the story. This was another blog tour that I participated in so if you want to find out more you can check out my stop here. (3.5/5 stars)

5. The Devil Aspect – Craig Russellbook cover - 2019-04-19T094103.467
This book was so dark and creepy I couldn’t get enough. Craig Russell completely sucked me in with this story and I almost missed my train stop a few times because I was absorbed in the story. A mixture of historical fiction, horror and thriller – this story packs a punch and is full of excitement and quite a bit of gore. If you’re intrigued and you can find my full review here. (4.5/5 stars)

6. The Fandom Rising – Anna Day42768840
Anna Day is back with a fun and exciting sequel to The Fandom. In this instalment some of the characters return to the world of The Gallows Dance and there’s an added mystery going on in the real world. It was great to return to the characters we fell in love with in book one and I really enjoyed the story. (Review here!) (3.5/5 stars)

7. Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowmanbook cover - 2019-04-03T110806.863
Starfish was one of my favourite books of 2018 so I was really excited to read Summer Bird Blue. The story follows a young girl dealing with the loss of her sister in a car crash. The story is emotional and I loved the connection with music, but I didn’t mesh with the characters in the same way I did Starfish. (3/5 stars)

8. The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes – Neil Gaiman6657541
I absolutely adore Neil Gaiman but for some reason I’ve never picked up The Sandman graphic novels. I rectified that this month by reading the first instalment – Preludes and Nocturnes. It was dark and gripping and the art work was completely stunning. I’m really looking forward to continuing the series and can’t wait to pick up volume two! (3.5/5 stars)

9. Release – Patrick Ness31194576
I picked this up while on holiday because it sounded like a really fascinating story about a day in the life of young Adam Thorn and a mysterious ghost that brings about the end of the world. It felt like I was reading two completely different stories and it left me feeling a bit disappointed. (2.5/5 stars)

10. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien38819529
I’m trying to reread some of my favourite books of all time so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to reread The Hobbit. No matter how many times I read it I still completely fall in love with the story. It’s such a well written tale and I already want to reread it again sometime soon. I’m definitely going to try and reread the Lord of the Rings books before the end of the year too. (5/5 stars)

11. The Lives Before Us – Juliet Conlinbook cover - 2019-04-09T224206.829
I absolutely loved The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days by Juliet Conlin so I was so excited to pick up her new book. This is such a beautiful and moving tale set during the Second World War. It’s full of heart and and it’s definitely a book I still think about even though I finished it ages ago. I can’t wait to see what Juliet writes next! (4/5 stars)

12. Emily Eternal – M. G. Wheatonbook cover - 2019-03-24T180649.748
I’m pretty sure I read this book in a single day. Emily Eternal is a science fiction story about an AI named Emily who is designed to help human trauma. The sun is dying and Emily discovers a secret that might save humanity, she must go on the run with her human friends and attempt to stop the end of the world. It’s jam packed with danger, excitement and adventure. It’s definitely a must read. (4/5 stars)

So those are all the books I read in April! I had an excellent reading month with lots of really brilliant books and I’m hoping that it will continue for the rest of the year!

March Book Haul!

March Book Haul!

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As always I am super late at posting my book hauls for the previous month. Today I’m diving into all the books I got in March. I’m still doing pretty good at not buying too many books which is pretty good! I did however go to NYALitFest so I got quite a few books from publishers!

Books From Publishers:

1. The Devouring Gray – Christine Lynn Herman
book cover - 2019-04-28T211234.980On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

2. Star-Crossed – Minnie Darke
book cover - 2019-04-03T105924.120Sometimes even destiny needs a little bit of help.
 
When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars. 
 
Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, STAR-CROSSED is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.

3. No Way – S. J. Morden
book cover - 2019-04-28T211117.186In the sequel to the terrifying science fiction thriller, One Way, returning home from Mars may mean striking a deal with the very people who abandoned him.

They were sent to build a utopia, but all they found on Mars was death.

Frank Kitteridge has been abandoned. But XO, the greedy–and ultimately murderous–corporate architects of humanity’s first Mars base made a costly mistake when they left him there: they left him alive. Using his skills and his wits, he’s going to find a way back home even if it kills him.

Little does he know that Mars isn’t completely empty. Just over the mountain, there’s another XO base where things are going terribly, catastrophically wrong. And when the survivors of that mission find Frank, they’re going to want to take even the little he has away from him.

If there’s anything in Frank’s favor, it’s this: he’s always been prepared to go to the extremes to get the job done. That’s how he ended up on Mars in the first place. It just might be his ticket back.

4. The Lives Before Us – Julie Conlin
book cover - 2019-04-09T224206.829A beautifully written, sweeping story of survival, community and love …

It it April 1939, and, in Berlin and Vienna, Esther and Kitty face a brutal choice. Flee Europe, or face the ghetto, incarceration, death.

Shanghai … They’ve heard it whispered that Shanghai might offer refuge. And so, on a crowded ocean liner, these women encounter each other for the first time.

Kitty has been lured to the other side of the world with promises of luxury, love and marriage. But when her Russian fiancé reveals his hand, she’s left to scratch a vulnerable living in Shanghai’s nightclubs and dark corners. Meanwhile, Esther and her daughter shelter in a house of widows until Aaron, a hot-headed former lover, brings fresh hope of survival.

Then, as the Japanese army enters the fray and violence mounts, the women are thrown together in Shanghai’s most desperate times. Together they must fight a future for the lives that will follow theirs.

5. The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods – Emily Barr
book cover - 2019-04-28T210931.197A commune hidden from the world. A terrible accident. A lifetime of secrets to uncover. The new YA thriller from Emily Barr. 

I’ve been trapped here for days. What if I die here? I decided to write down my story so that one day, when I’m discovered, they will know who I was and why I was here.

Arty has always lived in the Clearing, a small settlement in the forests of south India. But their happy life, hidden from the rest of the world, is shattered by a terrible accident. For the first time in her sixteen years, Arty must leave the only place she’s ever known, into the outside world she’s been taught to fear.

Her only goal is to get help from a woman called Tania, who used to live in the forest, and the Uncle she knows is out there, somewhere. As she embarks on the terrifying journey, pursued by an enemy she can’t fathom, Arty soon realises that not everyone is to be trusted. She’s looking for answers, but what she’ll learn from Tania and Uncle Matthew is a shocking truth about her past.

Everything is changing too fast for this girl who came out of the woods, and is she running into a trap…?

6. Music and Malice in Hurricane Town – Alex Bellbook cover - 2019-04-28T210736.106
Jude Lomax scrapes a living playing the trumpet on the neon streets of Baton Noir. Then she is invited to play at the funeral of the infamous cajou queen, Ivory Monette. Passing through the cemetery gates, Jude finds herself possessed by the murdered queen’s spirit. And Ivory won’t rest until she’s found the person responsible for her death.

If Jude wants to be rid of the vengeful spirit, she must take a journey deep into the dangerous underbelly of the city, from the swampy depths of the Black Bayou to the velvet opulence of the vampires’ secret jazz clubs. But as Jude untangles Ivory’s web of secrets, she is confronted with a few dark truths from her own past…

7. The Harm Tree – Rose Edwards
book cover - 2019-04-03T110546.818An epic fantasy set in a world still recovering from one war, and on the brink of another. 

The resistance is rising and dark forces stir to take back what was once theirs. Belief in the ancient gods runs strong—the sacrificial Harm Tree still stands. 

You’re too young to remember why we needed heroes. You should be glad… 
Nine years ago, two princes waged a bloody civil war for the right to rule Arngard. The younger prince took the throne and outlawed the ancient beliefs, but some wounds don’t heal. New religion replaced the barbaric traditions and finally, there’s peace. 

Torny and Ebba are friends. Sent away by their families, they work together and watch out for each other. Too young to remember the war that tore apart the kingdom, Torny dreams of the glorious warriors of old, while Ebba misses her family, despite the darkness she left behind. 

But when a man is murdered on the street and Torny finds herself in possession of a dangerous message, the two friends must tread separate paths. These will lead them through fear, through grief, to the source of their own power and to the gates of death itself. 

As Torny and Ebba are used as tools for the opposing factions of the war, a deep power is ignited in them both. Can they uncover their own strength to finally heal the wounds of a nation?

8. Watch Us Rise – Renee Watson & Ellen Haganbook cover - 2019-04-28T210549.381
Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

9. All the Invisible Things – Orlagh Collinsbook cover - 2019-04-28T210220.801
Vetty’s family is moving back to London, and all she can think 
about is seeing Pez again. They were inseparable when they were small – roaming the city in the long summers, sharing everything. But everyone’s telling her it’ll be different now. After all, a boy and a girl can’t really be friends without feelings getting in the way, can they?

Vetty thinks differently … until Pez tells her she’s ‘not like other girls’. But what does that even mean? Is it a good thing or not? Suddenly she’s wondering whether she wants him to see her like the others – like the ultra-glamorous March, who’s worked some sort of spell on Pez, or the girls in the videos that Pez has hidden on his laptop.

How can she measure up to them? And who says that’s what a girl is supposed to be like anyway?

10. Monsters – Sharon Dogarbook cover - 2019-04-28T205520.240
1814: Mary Godwin, the sixteen-year-old daughter of radical socialist and feminist writers, runs away with a dangerously charming young poet – Percy Bysshe Shelley. From there, the two young lovers travel a Europe in the throes of revolutionary change, through high and low society, tragedy and passion, where they will be drawn into the orbit of the mad and bad Lord Byron.

But Mary and Percy are not alone: they bring Jane, Mary’s young step-sister. And she knows the biggest secrets of them all . . .

11. No Big Deal – Bethany Rutter
book cover - 2019-04-28T205413.589‘It’s not my body that’s holding me back. I think it’s more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.’

Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.

With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.

12. The Devil Aspect – Craig Russell
book cover - 2019-04-19T094103.467In 1935, Viktor Kosarek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country’s six most treacherous killers–known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon–and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth. 

Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier–London’s Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum. 

Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.

13. Suicide Club – Rachel Heng
book cover - 2019-04-28T204859.244Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die. 

But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.

14. Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly
book cover - 2019-03-11T210836.240Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

15. The War Within – Stephen Donaldson 
book cover - 2019-04-28T204402.501It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace–and their marriage–has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their kingdoms to become one to defend their land, or all is lost….

Books I Bought:

16. Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman
book cover - 2019-04-03T110806.863Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

17. The Curses – Laure Eve
book cover - 2019-04-28T203930.091Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Graces are determined to do it. Wolf is back after a mysterious disappearance, and everyone’s eager to return to normal. Except for Summer, the youngest Grace. Summer has a knack for discovering the truth—and something is troubling her. After a trail of clues leads her to what could be the key to both her family’s mysterious past and the secret of Wolf, she’s determined to vanquish yet another curse. But exposing secrets is a dangerous game, and it’s not one Summer can win alone.

At Summer’s behest, the coven comes back together, reluctantly drawing their erstwhile friend River back into the fold. But Wolf’s behavior becomes unpredictable even as Fenrin’s strength fades, and Summer must ask herself whether the friend she so loves is also planning her family’s ultimate, cursed demise.

March Wrap Up!

March Wrap Up!

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Continuing the tradition of waiting till the very last minute to post my monthly wrap ups, lets dive into what I read in March!

1. One Word Kill – Mark Lawrencebook cover - 2019-03-01T143051.847
This is the first in an all new science fiction series from Mark Lawrence – one of my all time favourite authors. It was such a fun and exciting read, full of time travel, crazy plot twists and brilliant characters. It gave me serious Stranger Things vibes and I’m honestly so excited to read the next book in the series. You can read my full review of this one here! (5/5 stars)

2. Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartleyhj
Monsters in the Mirror was such an exciting middle grade story. It was full to the brim with adventure and magic and I raced through it. I really loved the plot and I’m so looking forward to reading more from this author. I participated in the blog tour for this one so if you fancy reading my full thoughts you can take a look here. (4/5 stars)

3. Changeling – Cate Tiernanbook cover - 2019-04-21T154220.186
Continuing my reread of one of my all time favourite series, I hit book number eight in the Sweep/Wicca series. This series is like my go to easy read, I completely adore the characters I definitely think it’s an underrated YA series. I’ve basically been reading one of these a month and I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I get to book fifteen – start all over again? (4.5/5 stars)

4. The Near Witch – V. E. Schwabbook cover - 2019-03-24T180513.572
This is the recently republished debut by V. E. Schwab and I was really interested in reading it. I went to an event where she explained that she hadn’t edited it since it’s original publication, it was published exactly as it was back then. I really enjoyed the atmospheric setting and the witchy plot. It’s not my favourite Victoria Schwab book but I had a fun time reading it. Full review for this one is here! (3.75/5 stars)

5. Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haigbook cover - 2019-04-21T154302.492
Non-Fiction is something I would really like to get into more so I thought I would give Notes on a Nervous Planet a go. I really like Matt Haig’s fiction books so I figured this was a perfect opportunity. I opted for the audiobook which is read by the author so it was a really interesting listen. It was a fascinating read and I’m probably going to pick up a physical copy of this and Reasons To Stay Alive. (3/5 stars)

6. Other Words For Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffinbook cover - 2019-03-21T124644.698
This was such a strange and unusual read. It’s a witchy story about a family living in a very odd house with things in the walls, dark powers and all sorts of mysterious goings on. It gave me Shirley Jackson vibes and I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about it once I’d finished reading. If you’re looking for something a bit different – I definitely recommend this one. (5/5 stars)

7. Burn For Burn – Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivanbook cover (76)
I started to feel a bit slumpy after reading Other Words For Smoke so I opted for this fast paced and fun contemporary story about three girls getting revenge on the people that have made their lives hell. It was dramatic and a bit unrealistic but I got swept up in the plot and I’m eager to continue into book two. (3.5/5 stars)

So those are the seven books I read in March! It was a bit less than I would normally read in a month due to the reading slump hit but I’m hoping it will pick up a bit more towards the end of April! If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought, as well as the books you’ve been reading recently!

Book Swap Haul!

Book Swap Haul!

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Coming to you with part two of my February book haul! I went to visit a friend who was getting rid of a whole load of books, she knew I was unhauling quite a lot of books too so we swapped some! I thought this would be quite exciting because it means I get to shout about some older releases that I’m excited to read!

1. The Unseeing – Anna Mazzolla
book cover - 2019-03-29T194411.418This was giving me The Corset and Affinity vibes when I picked it up so I was definitely intrigued to pick this one up!

Set in London in 1837, Anna Mazzola’s THE UNSEEING is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. Perfect for any reader of Sarah Waters or Antonia Hodgson.

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

2. The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken
book cover - 2019-03-29T194620.962This is that classic YA that I feel like everyone has read except me so I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to read it.

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living…

3. Night of the Party – Tracy Mathias
book cover - 2019-03-29T205005.619This book feels like a very timely book given all that’s going on in British politics and I am equal parts intrigued and terrified to read it. 

How do you speak out if you have no rights?

After withdrawing from the EU, Britain is governed by The Party, and everyone born outside the country is subject to immediate arrest and deportation. Failing to report illegals is a crime.

Zara is the only one who knows her friend Sophie died. But Zara’s an illegal.

She can’t tell anyone her secrets. Not even Ash, the boy she loves. The boy who needs to know the truth.

As the country prepares for an election, Zara must make an impossible choice.

4. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North
book cover - 2019-03-29T205237.941I’ve heard some really amazing things about this book and I’ve always wanted to try Claire North’s writing so I immediately picked this one up.

Some stories cannot be told in just one lifetime. Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.
No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. 

Until now. 

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.”
This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

5. I See You – Clare Mackintosh
book cover - 2019-03-29T205652.751I saw Clare Mackintosh speak at an event and ever since then have really wanted to read her books. This is one of her older novels and my friend raved about it so here’s hoping I like it!

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make…

If you like Shari Lapena, Paula Hawkins, Rachel Abbott, B A Paris, Fiona Barton, Ruth Ware and CL Taylor, you’ll love this gripping psychological thriller.

6. Friend Request – Laura Marshall
book cover - 2019-03-29T205848.753This book had quite a bit of buzz on Twitter when it was released and I thought it sounded like such a fascinating idea, this is probably quite near the top of the new TBR pile!

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all. 

7. Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon
book cover - 2019-03-29T210114.680I fancied reading The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon so when I saw this in the pile I figured if I tried this and liked it I could pick up the other book.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

8. World After – Susan Ee
book cover - 2019-03-29T210338.621I had books one and three on my TBR shelf and put them in my unhaul pile but my friend rescued them because she had book two and told me they’re definitely worth reading.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

9. Shattered – Teri Terry
book cover - 2019-03-29T210506.776Teri Terry is an author who I have lots of books by on my TBR, but still haven’t actually read any of her work. So I figured why not add another one?

Kyla is in danger from both the government Lorders who erased her memory and the terrorists who tried to use her. So now she’s on the run. Sporting a new identity and desperate to fill in the blank spaces of her life pre-Slating, Kyla heads to a remote mountain town to try to reunite with the birth mother she was kidnapped from as a child. There she is hoping all the pieces of her life will come together and she can finally take charge of her own future. But even in the idyllic wilderness and the heart of her original family, Kyla realizes there is no escape from the oppressive Lorders. Someone close to her may be one of them, and even more frighteningly, her birth mother has been keeping secrets of her own.

In this stunning series finale, Kyla finally finds out who she really is, and the road to this discovery, and to deciding who she wants to become, is full of dangerous twists and turns that will keep readers riveted.

10. The Travelling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa
book cover - 2019-03-29T210719.130This isn’t the kind of thing I would normally read but I am a crazy cat lady so I thought I could give it a go!

It’s not the journey that counts, but who’s at your side.

Nana, a cat, is devoted to Satoru, his owner. So when Satoru decides to go on a roadtrip one day to find him a new home, Nana is perplexed. They visit Satoru’s old friends from his school days and early youth. His friends may have untidy emotional lives but they are all animal lovers, and they also wonder why Satoru is trying to give his beloved cat away. Until the day Nana suddenly understands a long-held secret about his much-loved owner, and his heart begins to break.

Narrated in turns by Nana and by his owner, this funny, uplifting, heartrending story of a cat is nothing if not profoundly human.

11. The Fallen Children – David Owen
book cover - 2019-03-29T211322.158I thought this book had a really strange concept and I’m not sure if it will be my cup of tea but I thought it might be fun to try something a bit different.

Young people on the Midwich Estate don’t have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot.

But change is coming…

One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Nightout’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

As the news spreads around the tower its residents turn against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha’s life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.

The Fallen Children is a story of violation, of judgment and of young people who must fight to defy what is expected of them.

12. Station 11 – Emily St. John Mendel
book cover - 2019-03-29T211159.825This sounds like such a unique book and I’ve seen some booktubers absolutely rave about this one so I’m pretty excited to try it out myself.

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

13. Splintered – A. G. Howard
book cover - 2019-03-29T210845.213I recently read Stain by A. G. Howard and loved it so as soon as I saw this I knew I had to take it!

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

14. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
book cover - 2019-03-29T211041.427This definitely isn’t my kind of book at all. My friend pretty much forced me to take this one because she loved it so much. If you’ve read it let me know what you thought because I’m keen to hear!

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

So those are all the books I picked up from my friend (who then came round to mine and took a big bundle from my unhaul pile too!). If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought as quite a few are not my normal type of book!

Lost-A-Thon Wrap Up!

Lost-A-Thon Wrap Up!

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-27T210731.771.png
I had big hopes that I was going to rattle through quite a few books for the Lost-A-Thon especially because so many of them were books I really wanted to read. Unfortunately I hit a bit of a slump and didn’t get to as many books as I’d hoped. This will be pretty similar to my February wrap up but I thought I’d do a separate post of the ones I did read for the readathon!

Untitled design (40)Long Term TBR: A Book that’s been on your TBR forever
For this I read The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano. I’ve had this for ages and always really wanted to read it because I love Lauren DeStefano’s writing. I found it a little chaotic and the story was pretty predictable so while I probably will continue the series I felt a little disappointed overall. (2.5/5 stars)

the callingA Book Less Than 250 Pages
For this I read The Calling by Cate Tiernan. The Sweep series is a childhood favourite and I’ve really loved revisiting these books. They’re fast-paced and fun reads and I can’t wait to pick up the next instalment. I’m honestly surprised that I still love them so much all these years later.  (4/5 stars)

vassaDiscounted Discoveries: A book you got on sale
For this I chose Vassa In the Night by Sarah Porter which really wasn’t my cup of tea. I really struggled with this and I think this is part of the reason I didn’t get around to reading more books because it took me so long to finish this one. I didn’t like the characters, the plot didn’t make sense and I didn’t really get any enjoyment from the story. (1.5/5 stars)

book cover2
Historical Conversations: A book that makes you think

I read The Familiars by Stacy Halls for this one and it was a really brilliant story about female friendship and the witch trials. I read it one day at work and it’s probably my favourite historical fiction that I’ve read this year. (4/5 stars)

book cover (76)
Mystery Genre Pick: Contemporary

I chose contemporary because it’s something I don’t read all that much of. I ended up reading Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivan. I thought this was a solid read, I wasn’t over fond of the characters but I enjoyed the plot. (3.5/5 stars)

blood and sandA Book With Red on the Cover
I finally read Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk for this one. This is another book I have mixed feelings about. I loved the female Spartan determined to reclaim her homeland idea but the story felt too focused on the romance between Attia and the Gladiator who becomes her owner for me to give it a higher rating. (3.5/5 stars)

So those are the books I read for Lost-A-Thon. Let me know some books you’ve read recently and what you thought!

Book Review: My Side of the Diamond – Sally Gardner

Book Review: My Side of the Diamond – Sally Gardner

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-26T215034.985.png
Release Date:
October 7th 2017
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 240
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received a copy of this through ReadersFirst
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Synopsis

An extraordinary tale about the search for love from the acclaimed Costa and Carnegie winning novelist Sally Gardner.

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared. But Becky didn’t just disappear – she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air. Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance? Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . .

Review

book cover - 2019-03-26T215251.793When I read the synopsis for this book I thought it sounded like a really fascinating read. When it arrived I couldn’t believe how beautiful it looked, I love the way that it’s meant to look like the notebooks that Becky is so fond of. This is my first outing in a Sally Gardner novel – I have long wanted to read her books but never quite gotten around to it. The story is told from the point of view of Jazmin, who is dealing with the disappearance of her best friend Becky, but Becky’s disappearance isn’t all that it seems.

The characters were pretty interesting and I was always eager to know what was going on, there are quite a few different narrative voices and I felt sometimes the plot did get a little lost in the different layers, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I think the concept for this book is quite an original one, and it makes for unusual reading. There’s also some really beautiful illustrations inside which help bring the story to life.

The book is really short, only 240 pages so I pretty much flew through it. I did feel like it could have done with being more in the action, rather than just being told about it afterwards. The story is told in quite a unique narrative style, which does take a bit of getting used to but this little book makes for a really interesting social commentary, mixed in with aliens and science fiction. If you’re looking for something a bit different to read, this could be right up your alley.
3 stars