Posted in other bookish posts

January 2019: Reading Wrap Up!

Hi everyone! It’s not very often I do a reading wrap up – I mostly always aim to, then I procrastinate, then I forget, and before I know it it’ll be eight months through the year so I’m like well, no point now! So I would like to aim to do one of these every month. While I do have my Goodreads reading challenge and shelves to help me keep track, it could be cool/interesting to have a month-to-month breakdown of the books I’ve read and whether or not it was an enjoyable reading month.

For all of these books this month, I do have reviews for on Goodreads and some on my blog – just click the name of the book to be taken to those reviews, if you’re interested.

  1.  Aru Shah and the End of Time – Roshani Choksi  (Jan 1st to Jan 2nd, 3/5 stars)

This was the first book I read in 2019, and I really enjoyed it! I’m not sure what quite made me pick this up; I’ve had this book on my shelves for what seems like forever, and I was in a middle grade / mythology mood. I’ve been avoiding reading the last book in the Heroes of Olympus series, so I thought I’d give this a go. I really enjoyed it! This is not typically an area of mythology that I find myself reading about, but it was a nice change. An entertaining, quick read, that I immediately pre-ordered the sequel.

2. Crushed: A Hockey Love Story – Brit DeMille (Vegas Crush #1)  (Jan 8th/Jan 9th, 1/5 stars)

Oh, this was disappointing. The year had gotten off to such a promising start with Aru Shah and this was a major let down. I love my NA hockey player novels, so was excited when my friend Sam sent this to me as she had seen it online and thought I may like it. Well, we both thought wrong. This was a very unmemorable novel, but what I can remember was that it needed a new editor for all the grammatical mistakes, and for someone to tell DeMille…no. The writing was cringey, some of the characterisations laughable, and there was such a lack of strong plot. I’m still mad that I paid money for this.

3. Queen of Air and Darkness – Cassandra Clare (Jan 11th to Jan 13th, 4/5 stars)

THIS WAS DELIGHTFUL. I am in shock for multiple reasons. One, at how good this is. Two, that we are reading a story about adult Julian and Emma, and the original TMI gang being adults, and wow. I’ve been a Shadowhunters fan for practically a decade now, and even when I’ve thought I would get tired of it, I haven’t. These are such enjoyable books and I love the characters and the twists and turns. I’m happy I stopped avoiding this book (I was scared of the ending, and the page count was daunting!) because I loved it so much and wish I could read it again for this first time.

4. I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman (Jan 14th/15th, 4/5 stars)

I had heard so many positive things about Alice Oseman that I finally ordered one of her novels. So one night I’m sitting in bed, contemplating what to read, and I think ah, screw it, I’ll pick this up. It had arrived in the post about a week earlier and was just sitting there, staring at me, tempting me. I was like okay, I want to try and get back into a regular sleeping pattern, so I’ll read a couple chapters of this to get in to it and relax and then I’ll go to sleep. THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. I read one chapter, then two, then three, then four, and the next thing I know I’m finishing the book. I DEVOURED THIS WITHIN A COUPLE OF HOURS!!!! I didn’t want to put it down. This was a very interesting, complex, personal read. It’s mostly character driven rather than plot driven. I had a few issues with it which is why it is not five stars (bit slow, ended suddenly, etc) but overall I really liked this.

5. Dumplin – Julie Murphy (Jan 16th, 3/5 stars)

Oh…this is what disappointment smells like, huh? I remember when this first came out and there was such a hype surrounding it. I wanted this book SO bad but it was always so expensive. And then the hype died down, the books price lowered, and I was like…eh. But then the film came out!!!! And I’m sure, like a lot of you reading this, like to read the book before the film. So. The trailer looked good. I was excited. So out I went and got the book!!!! And oh…sadness. This just dragged along, hyping up a pageant which happened in like 10 pages, and then…ended. I turned the page and was convinced someone had ripper out the last chapter. This wasn’t a terrible book, just very underwhelming.

6. Serious Moonlight – Jenn Bennett   (Jan 19th, 4/5 stars)

I was VERY excited to receive this ARC from Netgalley as I love Jenn Bennett, she’s an auto-buy author for me! I was a bit disappointed by her last release, Starry Eyes, but this novel did everything that novel did badly better. GOD I LOVE THIS!!!! Such an enjoyable, cute, lovely, fun book!!!! I love it. 

7. Overnight Sensation – Sarina Bowen (Jan 24th, 4/5 stars)

MY SECOND HOCKEY ROMANCE NOVEL THIS MONTH AND IT WAS FABULOUS. I have read Sarina Bowen before, on the recommendation of my friend Nkisha, and she has definitely become an author whose novels I’m excited to read more of. An enjoyable NA read.

 

 

Posted in other bookish posts

Books I’ve read so far this year!

Here we are, six months into the year already. How the time flies! I thought, seeming as we’re half way through 2017, that I’d pause and take a moment to reflect on all of the books that I have read so far this year. At the beginning of the year I set my reading goal to 52 books, working out as one a week, and I have currently read 38 out of those 52 books. Some of them have been extremely short so they hardly count – but it’s all a bit of fun anyways! Without further ado, here’s all the books that I have read this year.

  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This is my first time ever reading the Harry Potter series. It’s quite fitting to be reflecting on that today since today (26th of June) we are celebrating the release of the first Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone. I wasn’t even born then, but here I am, twenty years later, reading and loving the series for the first time ever. I gave this one 4 Stars.

2.  All I Want is You

It is safe to say that I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the Prisoner of Azkaban. In fact, this book had everything I hated. It was sexist, portrayed male and female characters in a negative light, had stupid characters (even though they’re meant to be so smart – honestly, they tell you hundreds of times how smart they are) and followed cliches in the most boring way possible. I wrote a whole ranting review on this on Goodreads, which you can see here. Unsurprisingly, I gave this 1 star. Even that was generous.

3. Holding Up The Universe

(Mild SPOILERS written below)

Oh, another disappointing book. This is one of those books that has the potential to be great and make a positive contribution to accurate representation on diverse issues . . . but fails. BADLY. The ending just doesn’t make sense. Without saying too much that is spoiler-y, but by basically ‘curing’ a character, for me at least, it takes away from the authenticity of the experience. For readers who live with those sort of diseases and illnesses it can be upsetting – they don’t get magically cured by falling in love, and this romanticising of being fat, or having these issues, and then curing them is harmful. This book had the opportunity to tell a hard truth but to show characters learning to overcome these hardships and live through them. But no – it’s showing that the only way for these characters to be happy is taking away their illness. Once again, these real life issues that effect people are used to form a romance, and then are thrown away so everyone gets their happily-ever-after. Wouldn’t it be nice to life in such an idealist world? So while the book did have some good messages, I think they were ultimately drowned out at the miracle ending. 2 stars from me. The prose wasn’t shitty, but that doesn’t completely save the book from it’s shortcomings.

4. Until Friday Night

Really quite liked this. It was quick to get through, and dealt with some very hard issues. While I do think some of them could’ve been handled better, it was nothing like the shit-show ways I’ve seen it been dealt with in other books. 3 stars!

5. The Diabolic

I buddy read this with one of my Goodreads friends, and since then our friendship has blossomed. So thank you Diabolic, for forming friendships! Other than that – I really enjoyed this one. There was lots of stabbing, plot twists, and lots and lots of scheming. So much so I didn’t even know if I could trust myself while reading this. Despite my enjoyment of this, I did have some issues: I DIDN’T KNOW WHO TO TRUST. And while most of the time that was cool, sometimes it left me really confused. Seriously. SO MUCH CONFUSION. So that ruined the story for me a bit – since it just wasn’t clear about what actually happened. Despite that, it always kept me on my toes and I loved buddy reading it, so 4 stars!

6. The Last Beginning

What a great conclusion to this duology. LOVED IT. 4 stars, and you can read more of my thoughts and feelings here in my Goodreads review.

7. Wayfarer

Once again, another great conclusion to a duology! Love the female characters in this one, Etta and Sophia are badasses. I’d totally want them on my side. Love other new characters that are introduced in this world, and I have my fingers crossed that they will have their own spin-off. A girl can dream! 4 stars, and for more of my thoughts and feelings you can read my Goodreads review.

8. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Another buddy read (with the same person I read The Diabolic with). I am SO glad she convinced me to read this, because this was GREAT. I’ve always been tentative to start off in this world, firstly because they’re middle grade, and secondly because there’s just so dang many of them! But they’re so easy to read, they’re funny, great plots, great friendship, and as a Greek mythology lover I’ve loved seeing the different interpretations of that/how the Gods have been characterised (both in this, but throughout the whole series). I gave this 3 stars. Mainly because while this one was great, the others in the series were better, and deserved a much higher marking.

9. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

Just as fun as the first. 4 stars!

10. Carve the Mark

This one was difficult for me to rate. I did enjoy it. I thought the idea of it all was good, but that doesn’t take away from all it’s problems. And there was a lot. First, the crappy writing style with the lack of world-building and the info-dumping. Secondly, the incorrect depictions of illnesses. I’m not going to go into it full, but if you want to read a longer explanation of this, once again head over to my Goodreads review. The word Sojourn can stay away from me. 2 stars.

11. A Conjuring of Light

Once again a buddy read with the same person who I read the Diabolic and the Percy Jackson books with. And I LOVED IT. I love this world, and I loved this trilogy. The ending broke my heart because some of the characters !! deserved !! so !! much !! better!! But at the same time it was good that they didn’t all get their happy ever-afters, and it was good that some people died, because in this hyper-realistic world that makes it more realistic and heart-wrenching. I still have some questions though, but not too many that I’m swearing at her from omitting them from me. . . okay, maybe I am a bit, but I’m trying not to think about it. 5 stars, because I LOVED it! Lila is my favourite and I LOVE her, Kell is brilliant and I love him, Rhy is fantastic and I also love him, Alucard is great and I also also love him, Holland NEEDS A HUG AND I LOVE HIM.

12. Percy Jacksons and the Titans Curse

Brilliant. These books are so enjoyable. It’s hard for me because when I go to criticise about how I’d love for characters to be more developed, I have to remember the target audience. It’s middle grade, and while the books do age more as the characters grow, I have to bare in mind that this writing style is because of the demographic. Plus, it’s so dang enjoyable that it has to be 5 stars.

13.  Caraval

WHAT. A. RIDE. This was GREAT. SERIOUSLY. This was so fun and I read it all in one-sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. It was so twist-y (sometimes obviously so) and that ending!! SEQUEL PLEASE. I think more of my thoughts and feelings on this are better explained by my status updates, which I made while reading the book. You can read them all here (you can laugh at me if you want, I can take it). 5 flipping stars!

14. Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth

Once again, awesome. The books are getting bigger and bigger now, and at first I was a little off-put because I loved how short they were and how it never felt like there were ‘filler chapters’ but it WORKED. Much more to love! 4 stars.

15. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian

I LOVE IT. So much went down! WHAT A CONCLUSION THOUGH! I think this one could be my favourite – it was non-stop and thrilling. 5 stars of course!

16. The Lost Hero

It was good, but I can’t say it was my favourite. A nice beginning to a new series, even though I felt Percy’s absence, but the new characters are great. Once again, an ending that has me like !! really. So glad I didn’t have to wait long to read the sequel. 3 stars.

17. The Queen of the Tearling

Once again back on the disappointing books train. The worldbuilding in this was poor. The storyline was a mess. The characterisations terrible. This book tried to execute so many things at once that nothing was developed. No reasonable explanations behind anything, and the history of this world was a mess. Didn’t like it at all. Very boring. It didn’t really start to get it’s shit together until the last 20 pages. For more of my thoughts read my Goodreads review here. 1 star!

18. The Wrath and the Dawn

This one was good, but I was expecting so much more from the hype that was surrounding it. I liked it, but I did have a lot of ?? ReEeEaAlLlyYy moments? Like? What makes you so special that he’d give up doing what he’s done to 100’s of other girls and families because of what? You told him a story? Bitch please. . .  nah. Doesn’t sit with me. But still, despite that, it wasn’t completely crap and had a nice writing style. 3 stars.

19. The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Not a big fan of Gaimans’ writing style. I guess I feel like he just tried too hard to be whacky and out there that it just feels forced to me sometimes. But this wasn’t terrible though. It was interesting. I liked the structure that it was told in, but I did get a bit confused about the setting and what was going on. 2 stars.

20. The Son of Neptune

So much better than The Lost Hero. We’re reunited with some old favourites, and while I thought the abundance of POV’s would get tiresome it never was. I enjoyed having the multiple perspectives, and it increased the tension as we waited for other characters to figure out what the other characters knew, and to reunite. Yep. Loved it. 5 stars.

21. Beautiful Broken Things

Loved how mental illness and friendships were represented in this book. This book is realistic. It shows that people aren’t always perfect, that friendships are bitchy and can be filled with hate and jealousy, but they can be worked through. It shows that what you think is best for someone might not always be right. There is a true discussion going on in this about mental health, and I love it. People are calling other people out and it’s great. Once again I wrote a review which you can read here. Another 5 stars from me.

22. The Hate U Give

If you read any book this year, it should be this one. This book reflects the harsh reality of the racism and prejudice that still sadly exists in today’s society. Truly moving, heartbreaking. . . pure brilliance. While there are some issues I have with the writing style, I can completely ignore them because this book sets out with the pure purpose of opening your mind, with asking you to question and to challenge yourself, and it does that. It is heartbreaking. 5 stars.

23. The Mark of Athena

So out of the Heroes of Olympus series, this one is my favourite. Pretty much everyone of the main characters makes an appearance and it’s great. Obviously 5 stars.

24. Royally Screwed

I feel like I should’t admit to liking this. . . but I did. Okay. It wasn’t greatly written by any means. But it was just so out there. I just really did enjoy reading it, even though I know if I had to be critical about it then my rating would be slashed in half. . . but I’m not going to do that. NOPE. I’m still going to keep it at a 4 stars.

25. Under the Lights

Light and entertaining. This is so trashy, but sooo good. The characters are way too over dramatic most of the time, and I’m just like *rolls eyes* but it’s fun. Nothing remarkable, but a good distraction. 3 stars.

26. Night Owls

A school friend recommended this to me ages before I picked this up to read. When I finally did read it, I sent her a bunch of messages just filled with !!! and apologies for not listening to her sooner. This was so cute and adorable, and I read it in a sitting. 4 stars!

27. Three Dark Crowns

My review lays out all of my thoughts and feelings on this one. There was quite a bit of hype around this one, and I was tentative, because I had already DNF’ed books by this author before. So when it came to the hype I was like eh because of how that worked out for me last time. But still, I have it a chance . . . and came away disappointed. It wasn’t terrible, but it really could’ve been so much better. It felt like it draaaaaagggeeeed. 2 stars.

28. Glitches

This was GREAT. The Lunar Chronicles was one of my favourites, so I loved this short little story that took place before the first novel. We were seeing the events that have been mentioned in other novels, and that, for me at least, really added on that layer of story. Because reading this, and knowing how everything unfolds from there, adds that extra layer of tension I guess, since you’re in the known and these characters are not. It’s like !!! But yeah, it’s nice exploring more of these characters backstories and being reunited with characters that have died, or ones we’ve never met. 4 stars.

29. Existence

Honestly I can’t even really remember what this story was about. I remember a boy being a ghost and creeping into this girls room because he was there to “protect her”? And he played with her emotions, pretty much abusing them? Yeah – I hate to be so blunt but it was terrible. It felt like some sort of fan-fiction. 1 star.

30. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

This was a re-read and I still LOVED IT. Sam Cortland, you’ll always have my heart. Obviously 5 stars. (And yes, while re-reading this I might have cried a couple of times, and what??)

31. The Egg

This was so short, so strange, not even a novel. It was what – 3 pages? But heck, I really liked those 3 pages. Very interesting. 3 stars.

32. The Guard

Considering the fact that I was never really a lover of the Selection the first time, and that it has been a couple years since I’ve read it and can barely remember anything, I still enjoyed this. It was interesting to go back into that world and see things from another perspective. Still . . . I didn’t really like it. For die-hard fans, they probably would have loved it, but for me I was just indifferent. This is a short story, so yes, it makes no real impact or difference if you’ve read it or not, but I still struggle to see the point of this. Once again, if I remembered more of the series or was a big fan I’d probably think differently. Since I’m not, 2 stars.

33. The Kiss of Deception

Get out of here. I guessed it all straight away! HAHA. I quite enjoyed this one actually, and for more thoughts and feelings, you’ve guessed it, here’s my Goodreads review. 3.5 stars!

34. A Court of Wings and Ruin

*screams into the distance* OKAY. OKAY. I’M STILL ALIVE. AHHHHHHHHH. THAT ENDING THOUGH!! AH!!! AND I LOVED SEEING MORE OF MY NIGHT COURT BABIES AND AHHH! I am still unable to talk about this book comprehensively. YOU’LL NEVER GET THOUGHTS OUT OF ME THAT MAKE SENSE REGARDING THIS BOOK BECAUSE I AM TOO BUSY FANGLRING. (although I must say I still think ACOMAF is my favourite out of this trilogy!) 4 STARS.

35. Song of the Current

Won this in a goodreads giveaway and I’ve never been happier. A book that promises pirates and actually gives them? YAAAS? Do I also hear kick-ass and awesome female characters? YAAAS? A love story that’s not instant romance and doesn’t feature the “pure heroine” and the “bad boy of corruption” and a book that discusses the importances of consent and doesn’t shame women? YAAAS. So yep. I loved it.  A definite 4 stars! More on that in my review.

36. Spellslinger

Ever since I saw this beautiful cover (I’m shallow) I’ve been looking forward to this. So when it hit bookdepository at a low price could I resist?? NO! And it was great. I was expecting it to be more like A Gathering of Shadows which yes, is by a complete different author, but the concept seemed the same. It wasn’t though – and what is in this book is much  . . . different. And I liked it. It didn’t completely blow me away but it was great and a fun read. I wrote a review here. 3 stars.

37. Paper Hearts

Cute and fun. Nothing remarkable that blows you away, and sometimes the cliches get too much and the characters annoying, but it wasn’t completely dreadful. It was just a light teen fiction read. A low 3 stars.

38. Lord of Shadows

Once again a buddy read with the girl whom I read the Diabolic, Percy Jackson and A Conjuring of Light with, and my fellow moderator on my Goodreads group A Book Nirvana. I LOVED THIS. With each and every novel you can see Cassandra Clare’s writing improve. I loved seeing old characters once again returning in this, with seperate plot lines, as it keeps the whole world open and in-depth. I wrote a review here, which also links to my friends review which is GREAT. I gave this one a whooping 4 stars.

 

And there it is. All the books I’ve read this year (not including re-reads). I’m really happy with most of the books I’ve read this year, and I’m hoping that the latter half of this year continues to give me great books that I’ll love.

So what books have you read this year? Any that I have? Have you hated any books you’ve read this year? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in book reviews

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, #2) – Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (A Review)

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to school in the magical world of the Magisterium . . .

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium but things only intensify there. The Alkahest – a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic – has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes – and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -and a whole world’s fate.

An enjoyable sequel to the Iron Trial. It’s been a year since I have read the first book, and luckily that didn’t hinder my reading experience. Thankfully the book went over a lot of details and main plot points of the first book, making it easy to jump right back into the world.

This book was okay. I can’t say that I loved loved it, but I didn’t not like it. It was okay, it was good and I will still continue on with the series.

I very much enjoy the magic system. With the chaos, and Callum making an “Evil Overlord” column. The latter was funny, if not a little cynical at times — he constantly questions even the smallest of things. This really does show the inner conflict he’s in, and his own struggle on whether he truly is the evil Mage that people said he was.

It’s exciting to see them move up through different years, and learn more about their own magic. Since they didn’t spend much time at the school in this book, hopefully there will be more in the next.

*SPOILER* So when Call finally announced that he was actually Constantine, his friends took it pretty well. Well, everyone but Jasper, but he’s not exactly best friends with Call. I feel like Jasper’s was the most appropriate reaction. Someone who had murdered hundreds of mages is in front of you and you’re just standing there? Like nope. Yes, Aaron and Tamara both were disbelieving and unwilling to admit it…but they just seemed to accept it so easily. I don’t know, I was expecting a bit more from the revelation than what we got. A bit more anger? Maybe there will be more of this in the next instalment…*SPOILER ENDS*

I would like to see more of Alex. Hm…I think there might be a lot more to his character than what we see. But let’s just all accept that Havoc is the best character!

Overall, this was a good, enjoyable, easy read and I will be picking up the next one!

You can also view this review on Goodreads!