My Reading Wrap Up | May 2017

As I’ve said, I’m currently slap bang in the middle of my exams and sadly I haven’t had all that much time for reading. But, as I love reading so much, I make sure to read some pages when I wake up and before I go to sleep, so I’ve managed to complete a couple of books this month.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

So, I tried to read this book a while ago and couldn’t get past the first three pages. I started panicking that all the hype surrounding this book had killed it for me but I calmed myself, put it down and then, a while later, I picked it up again. And there was obviously something wrong with my mindset at the time because reading it now, I absolutely loved every single aspect about it! I adore all the characters and the humour and the complex plot and I can’t wait to read the sequel. Leigh Bardugo has obviously improved so much as a writer and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

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Cat’s Cradle by Julia Golding

I’ve finally finished my task in re-reading this series that I was absolutely enamored with when I was a few years younger. This definitely isn’t my favourite book in the series, mainly because it is away from the thriving and amazing city of London, but I still enjoyed the writing and the characters and seeing how far they’ve developed since the beginning of the series. I’m sad that it’s over!

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Doing It by Hannah Witton

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Mid-May Favourites

Today was my first day of exams so from now until mid-June I’m basically snowed under with revision. That said, I’ve still been finding time to discover a couple of new favourites this month and particularly my film favourite, I am completely obsessed with! That said, this list definitely isn’t up to my usual standards and I’m sorry!

Film:
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017)
Director: James Gunn

Obviously, if anyone knows me, I am going to be obsessed with the newest Marvel release. I know that the majority of people love this film, though some people are sitting on the fence, and I am firmly in the camp of absolute adoration. This film was quite different in tone from the first one and was definitely more emotional and moving but was still full of brilliant songs, amazing characters and the humour that all Marvel films are jam-packed with. This film was so engaging and enjoyable and I encourage everybody to go and see it!

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Book:
Six of Crows (2015)
Author: Leigh Bardugo

I can’t believe that the first time I picked this book up I couldn’t even get through the first five pages because now I am fully obsessed with this book. I love all of the characters because they’re so complex and engaging and are characters that I’ve never read about before. This world is so vivid and dark and gritty that I just want to discover more about it and the plot was perfect – who doesn’t love a good heist novel? I can’t wait to read the sequel!

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Album:
Grease Live Soundtrack (2016)

After becoming absolutely obsessed with the Hairspray Live soundtrack, I figured I should give Grease Live a shot as well. Now, Grease isn’t actually one of my favourite musicals (with is a very unpopular opinion) but I’m pleased to say that I absolutely adored it. Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Fisher are incredible in this and I have been listening to every single song on repeat.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Review

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I first gave this book a shot what must be almost a year ago and I couldn’t even get past the first few pages. Terrified that all the hype surrounding the book had ruined it for me, I put it down and didn’t touch it for a while. I recently gave it another try and I honestly have absolutely no idea what was wrong with me. I absolutely adored this book this time around and now I can fully understand why there was so much hype surrounding this book when it came out. It’s worlds away from the Shadow and Bone series and it’s amazing how much she’s improved as an author in just a few years, which alone makes me excited about her future books. I absolutely adored the characters in this book as they are all so unique and not characters that I’ve ever read about before. Their dynamic is fantastic and the way they joke around and yet still care deeply about each other is something I loved reading about. I loved the plot because who doesn’t live a heist and all the political commentary that was hiding under the surface. I thought that this book was absolutely amazing and now I need the sequel because this ended on the biggest cliffhanger ever!

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist: Break into the notorious Ice Court (a military stronghold that has never been breached). Retrieve a hostage (who could unleash magical havoc on the world). Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it). Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

First, let’s talk characters because the characters in this book are amazing. I have a new all-time favourite character in the form of Nina Zenik. She is exactly what I adore in a character: she’s confident and sassy and intelligent and vivacious and I absolutely love her to pieces. I also love Inej because I could really relate to her on a lot of grounds – particularly her relationship and her thoughts on religion which is something that I’ve never been able to see in a character before. All of the characters are so complex and interesting and all have their unique pasts and flaws and quirks which I’m really looking forward to exploring more of in the next book. For the majority of the book, our 6 main characters are stuck with each other and their joking, sarcastic conversations made me so happy because I love witty conversations between witty characters.

Who doesn’t love a heist novel? And this book is pretty much entirely a heist novel. Obviously, there is a lot more to the plot but the basis is that our fabulous main characters have to pull off a heist. It’s fast and action-packed with twists and turns around every corner and because the story switches between each characters perspective you never really get the full story meaning there are lots of gaps and unanswered questions and as you don’t fully trust any of the characters, it makes everything a lot more interesting. I understand that the switching POVs could be hassle for some people but I thought they really added another layer to the story and made everything more interesting. The world is also wonderfully complex and layered and so vivid and I love it!

This book was engaging and heartbreaking and moving and it’s definitely a 5 star read for me. Now I need to read the next book!

The Summer Reader Tag #2

We’re finally in the month of summer, so cue all the related summer book tags! This is the second time I’ve done this tag, so you can check out all my old answers, and for this time around I’ll be using books that I’ve more recently read. This tag was created by islandOFdri, and let’s begin!

Lemonade: pick a book that started off bitter but got better.
This is a book I read very recently but The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl. I think it was because I haven’t read any Roald Dahl for an awfully long time and I’d forgotten just how whimsical and at times how weird his writing and stories can be. But once I’d settled back into his way of telling stories and his writing style, I began to enjoy it a lot more.

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Golden Sun: pick a book that made you smile beyond compare.
This is another book that I read pretty recently and it’s All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher. This book just exudes light and happiness and positivity and I loved it. I am a very optimistic person anyway, so this book just made my insides happy.

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Tropical Flowers: pick a book set in a foreign country.
I love reading books that are set in different countries to the one where I live and Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross is set in the beautiful city of Paris – which currently holds the number one spot of places that I’d like to visit.

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Tree Shade: pick a book in which a mysterious or shady character was first introduced.
This year, I read Jane Eyre for the first time and in my opinion, the most mysterious character of all was Blanche Ingram. Not only do I adore her name, but we know nothing about her. The only things we know are what other characters have said or thought about her, so she is definitely one of the mysterious ones.

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Beach Sand: pick a book that was grainy, and the plot barely developed.
Sadly, I think I’m going to have to go with Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. Looking back, I can see that there was actually very little plot to this book and a whole lot of standing around doing nothing. I am super excited to pick up her new series, Six of Crows, though because I’m sure that Leigh Bardugo is only going to grow as a writer.

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Green Grass: pick a character(s) that were full of life, making you smile.
My immediate answer for this question was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and Lou in particular. I’ve spoken before about how vivacious she was and one of the most engaging and lively characters that I’ve ever, ever read about. So there really are no other contenders for this question.

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Watermelon: pick a book that had some juicy secrets.
I love books that contain some juicy secrets but I can’t actually think of a book that I’ve recently read that contained some huge secrets. Maybe Pride and Prejudice? George Wickham and Darcy were definitely not who they first seemed to be.

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Sun Hat: pick a book that had a vast, big universe/setting.
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray! I will always picked Libba Bray (or Cassandra Clare) for questions like this because she can create such vivid and detailed worlds and settings so amazingly.

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BBQ: pick a book in which a character was portrayed as a hunk.
Ooh, I love questions like this and there are always so many options to choose from. I’ve actually been missing my swoon-worthy men from books recently but one who was definitely portrayed as a hunk – and one that I didn’t actually like very much – was Jase from My Life Next Door. He might be handsome and more often than not is covered in oil, but I still didn’t connect to him.

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Reading Wrap Up | June 2016

I always find myself wanting to read more in the extreme months – and by that I mean summer and winter – so I’ve been loving crossing off some books from my TBR list whilst enjoying some refreshing fruit juice. Bliss…

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

I have been putting off reading this book for so long that when I finally did read it, I’d forgotten a lot of the details and that definitely impacted on my reading experience. I really do like some of the characters in this series a lot but I’ve never felt very connected to any of them. I also feel like the pacing in this book was rather slow but for the most part, I had an enjoyable time reading it.

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All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher

I was remarkably surprised at how much I really enjoyed this book. At no point did I feel like the writing was being pretentious or preaching, and nor was I completely bored stiff. The writing was really engaging and entertaining, and the whole book had a very positive and light-hearted atmosphere which made it such a pleasure to read. I had a smile on my face for large parts of this book while I was reading it, and there are specific chapters in this book that I know I’m going to reflect on in my own life.

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The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl

I haven’t read any Roald Dahl for years so I was very intrigued to pick up some of his short stories that are aimed at adults and see what I thought of them. And while some evoked very strong emotions from me and one in particular seemed to snag my attention, the majority actually bored me and I couldn’t connect with them. It seems as an adult I don’t want to read about a boy sailing off on a turtle, I want to read about a arrogant pig of a man turning his life around by winning money in casinos and setting up a load of orphanages. I guess my reading tastes have changed, and Roald Dahl’s works just aren’t my main thing any more.

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Review

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This is the third book in the Grisha trilogy and I’ve been putting off reading it for an absolute age – for a reason I don’t quite understand myself. And I really think that waiting so long between the second and third book massively impacted my overall reading experience. It took me a while to get back into the story and I was still remembering who characters were. The thing that keeps dragging me back to this series though is the world because it is so original and creative. I also really like all the characters – I prefer the side characters over the main characters – but I couldn’t relate to any of them and felt quite disconnected from them. I also think that the pacing of this book was quite slow and there seemed to be a lot of chapters with the characters doing a lot of nothing. However, this book was pretty funny and I am very glad to have finished this series so I can move onto Six of Crows which everyone has been raving about.

The capital has fallen. 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.

While I’ve always liked the character of Alina, I’ve never fallen in love with her and this book didn’t change my opinion. I’ve always found her to be a bit void of personality – apart from the odd crack of humour – and just a little dull. I’ve also found this to be the case with Mal as well; I’ve never really cared about him and he seems to be a bit of a two-dimensional character. A character that I do love however, and wish we had got to see a bit more of, is Zoya. I love her elegance and grace as well as her spunk and her sharp wit. I really wish we saw more of her backstory and possibly a little romance for her too. Another character I loved in this book was Genya, and I really wish that she had been more stuck in when it comes to the action. I think she is so kind and thoughtful but very strong-willed at the same time. I also really like Genya’s relationship with David and I wish we’d seen more of them together. All in all, I thought that the side characters had a lot more personality and spirit than the main characters.

I didn’t really notice until this book just how slow the plot of this series is. It’s a very simple plot – three magical artefacts, three journeys, three books – but I felt like there was a lot of filler chapters were characters were not doing anything to add to the plot or their characters. There was quite a bit of humour in this book, which I loved, because it broke up the constant atmosphere in the rest of this book that I can only describe as ‘cold’. Everything feels ‘cold’ and that doesn’t make the most engaging and entertaining book to read. I do however really like Leigh Bardugo’s writing style and I am really excited to read more of her books, especially Six of Crows which I have heard everyone and their mother ranting on about.

Overall, I’d give this book a 3.5 or a 4 out of 5 stars. It was enjoyable and I’m glad to have finished the series but it is not one I am really going to remember.

My Most Anticipated Releases 2016 | Books

2016 is all ready set to be a brilliant year for book releases and there are already nine books that are on my reading radar and that I’m very excited about picking up and reading. I’m only anticipating books that are either standalones or part of a series that I’ve read all of the current books in – A Court of Mist and Fury, for example, by Sarah J Maas is being released but as I haven’t yet read the first book in the series, I don’t know whether I’m anticipating it or not. Some of these books don’t even have a title yet, but I’m already eagerly anticipating their releases so, let’s get to the list!

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J Maas

Obviously, I’m anticipating the next book in the Throne of Glass series but the book doesn’t have a cover yet, so the details I can give you are fairly limited. But I know that I’m going to love this book, because Sarah J Maas is an incredible writer and she can create incredible worlds and characters. This one might just be at the top of my list, but there are also some other exciting books too.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 8th

Marissa Meyer is one of my favourite authors and I’m going to anticipate anything that she puts out into the world – as you’ll see in the list. This book sounds super interesting, as it is a Alice in Wonderland re-telling about the Queen of Hearts. Two things that I know about Marissa Meyer are that she is amazing at writing re-tellings and she is also amazing about crafting complex, intriguing villains for her stories, so this one has me super pumped.

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The Gatlon School for Vigilantes (The Gatlon School for Vigilantes #1) by Marissa Meyer

As you can see, Marissa Meyer has a busy year ahead of her, and this book basically has one line of synopsis, with no cover or release date. All I know that it’s about super heroes, and as a massive Marvel fan this makes me very excited. Marissa Meyer, one of my new favourite authors, is writing about super heroes. That has me sold all ready!

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: February 2nd

Nope, I was wrong, this is most anticipated book of the year. This is basically a bind up of novellas following The Lunar Chronicles, again written by Marissa Meyer. Yes, I’m very excited about seeing how my favourite characters got to where they are but the main thing I’m excited about is the final story – it is an epilogue! And I love epilogues, because they show my favourite characters chilling out and getting all cosy and romantic and this one looks to be no different as it follows a ‘wedding’. And, whose wedding could that be?!

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Untitled by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins, author of my favourite book of all time Anna and the French Kiss, is coming out with a new book. And I am very excited. It sounds to be nothing like Anna, as it is a thriller/horror story but I don’t care – it’s written by Stephanie Perkins so I know that I’m going to love it.

Summer Days & Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins (Editor)
Release Date: June 14th

This book is very much in the vein of My True Love Gave To Me, which I read a little while ago and really enjoyed. Now we’re getting basically the same thing – but set in the summer, with a whole new batch of authors and I am incredibly excited. Some of the authors include: Stephanie Perkins (obviously), Leigh Bardugo, Nina Lacour, Libba Bray and Cassandra Clare! I can’t wait!

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 3rd

I love everything that Morgan Matson writes and this summer she’s bringing out a new book! Yay! This one is set to follow Andie, a Politician’s daughter and a big scandal. That’s basically all I know. But I love contemporary books and romances and Morgan Matson and political scandals so this book is all ready set to become one of my favourites when I read it.

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