#SixforSunday

S4S – Books I have put in the freezer

Six for Sunday

Once again Sunday has come about again (I’m sure it comes about faster every week?) I’m starting to get restless for Christmas already! I know a lot of people don’t like to even mention it before December but Christmas is my favourite holiday/season and have got pretty much all of our Christmas shopping done early this year I’m ready for the holidays to begin!

I’ve thrown a couple of books to the floor before but I wouldn’t say there were any books I would particularly want to throw in the fire which is the Six for Sunday Prompt today from the lovely Steph over at A Little but A Lot so instead I decided to name for you folk, six books that I have put in my freezer. This might sound a little weird but it started off as a joke having watched the episode of friends where Joey gets so scared of a book he puts it in the freezer and then later on when another book makes him sad it does the same thing. Ever since it’s been a kind of signal between me and my husband that a book has hurt us and we need to take a break, often there are cuddles and shoulder rubs with a coffee or hot chocolate to follow and eventually retrieving the book when we’re ready to dive back in.

When a Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This started it all. This book made me so incredibly sad and distraught that I didn’t know what to do with myself, I have still to this day never ever cried this hard at a book. When I actually met the author himself at an event later that year my friend made me tell him the story and was actually familiar with the freezer bit and has become one of my favourite author meeting moments.

Warrior Cats: Fire and Ice By Erin Hunter
As may be the case with a few of these I can’t go into huge detail for fear of spoiling these books for people but there was a death in this that really shocked me (I gasped out loud while reading this at work which was fun trying to explain) and it wasn’t until I got back from work and tried to pick the book back up that it really hit me. Thankfully Chris had already read the book and understood this character was one of my favourites and I was pretty damn sad.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
This book spent three days in the freezer. If you’ve read it you’ll understand.

Tides of War by Christie Golden
Another early on victim of the freezer and one of the first character deaths to have ever really affected me in such an emotional way. It’s a fictional moment I will honestly never forget and just a tribute to the character that was added in-game recently moved me to tears.

Once and Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta.
I think I’m starting to see a pattern here as almost all of these freezer moments have been triggered by a characters death because guess what…

The Wicked King by Holly Black
This trip to the freezer was purely inspired by frustration at the end of THAT ending.

(Nevernight and Godsgrave are not mentioned here as Nevernight got thrown across my room and Godgrave got thrown off our balcony but had they not, Nevernight at the very least would have been freezer material. Darkdawn came close.)

I know not everyone experiences emotions from books in the same way but if you did/do, what book would you put in the freezer and is there a book you would throw in the fire as the original prompt suggested.

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 20th November 2019

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Considering I’m still on target with NaNoWriMo I’m quite pleased I’ve actually managed to get a fair bit of reading in this past fortnight! It’s certainly been helped that I’ve been reading some brilliant books I’m sure!

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

My copy of Queen of Nothing by Holly Black arrived a few days early but I’m proud to say I managed to finish the book I have been currently reading at the time and managed to wait until my friend got their copy so we can buddy read before starting it but I’m reading it now and OMG. I didn’t realise how much I missed this series of books! I somehow forgot just how much I adore Jude and realised that she may actually be one of my all-time favourite characters. I also forgot just how much I loved the court intrigues and the push for power etc as well as the (I’m well aware) messed up relationship between Jude and Cardan. This whole book (so far) has felt like returning home and reading something written just for me.

What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished CTRL – S by Andy Briggs and although I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t think it had the greatest start for me personally I found it wholly addictive and picked it up to read every moment I could (review coming very soon). The day I finished CTRL – S my Kickstarter copy of NPC Tea: Issue Seven by Sarah Milman came in and I feverishly devoured that in one sitting, it went so fast! Too fast! So much was explained and so much happened and I was distraught when I read the end and realised the next issue would be the last! It was left on a massive cliffhanger and I fear the wait for the next issue in February might kill me, I’m hoping all the Star Wars goodness to come in the next couple of months will help keep me distracted.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My first instinct was to say Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse and I do really want to read this next but I’ve got time as The Rise of Skywalker isn’t out until mid-December so I figured it would actually probably be best to read  The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli first instead. I loved the first two Iskari books and I don’t want to risk ruining it while trying to read it while being full-on into my yearly Star Was hype fest/obsession.

I’m so blessed to have been able to read and get hold of SO many great books that are all coming out right now and I’m so excited to read them all! What are you excited to read right now? Are there any new releases you’re excited to get your hands on or already have?

 

 

book reviews

Chasing the Shadow by Maria V. Snyder

Book Review
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by Maria V. Snyder

Rating: XXXXX

Published November 18th 2019 by Maria V. Snyder

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SPOILER ALERT: Although this review will be spoiler-free for this book, this review and even the following synopsis are full of HUGE spoilers for the first book so if you’ve yet to read the first book and intend to do so without being spoiled for big plot points turn back here, I’ll see you back here when you’re ready to start the second. 

Year 2522. Lyra Daniels is dead.

Okay, so I only died for sixty-six seconds. But when I came back to life, I got a brand new name and a snazzy new uniform. Go me! Seriously, though, it’s very important that Lyra Daniels stays dead, at least as far as the murdering looters, know.

While dying is the scariest thing that’s happened to me, it morphed my worming skills. I can manipulate the Q-net like never before. But the looters have blocked us from communicating with the rest of the galaxy and now they believe we’ve gone silent, like Planet Xinji (where silent really means dead).

A Protector Class spaceship is coming to our rescue, but we still have to survive almost two years until they arrive – if they arrive at all. Until then, we have to figure out how to stop an unstoppable alien threat. And it’s only a matter of time before the looters learn I’m not dead and returns to finish what they started.

There’s no way I’m going to let the looters win. Instead, I’ll do whatever it takes to save the people I love. But even I’m running out of ideas…

After rereading/listening to the first book of the Sentinels of the Galaxy books by Maria V. Snyder in preparation for the release of its sequel, Chasing the Shadows Maria reached out to some bloggers to receive early copies of said sequel in exchange for an honest review in the two weeks surrounding its release. Not only was I lucky enough to receive an ecopy early but my paperback copy arrived early too and I absolutely devoured the whole thing in about a week which is a quick read for me nowadays.

I enjoyed Navigating the Stars (you can check out my spoiler-free review here) but Chasing the Shadows is a whole other ball game, I adored this book. It took all the best parts of the first and just improved on them and gave us more. I think a mix of Lyra having to mature after the events of the last book and perhaps getting used to her inner voice meant that the side of her that could be a little annoying at times was much less present this time around. She made a lot of rash choices don’t get me wrong but I could always see where she was coming from and why she made those decisions. I actually found I was really proud of her in this book, she’s come a long way and she’s learned so much physically and emotionally. Watching her actively take other peoples advice and at least consider her own safety at the behest of those who care for her was really refreshing and a great way of showing how much she’s grown.

book reviews

Queen of Air and Darkness

40696414Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Rating: XXXX

Published December 4th 2018 Simon & Schuster Ltd

“Every choice has a long afterlife of consequences. No one can know the eventual outcome of any decision. All you can do is make the best choice you can make in the moment.” 

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

So let me get started by saying I love the Shadowhunters books, it took me longer to come around to reading them than I would have liked but once I did I was hooked, Jace is my ultimate book boyfriend and I love so many of the characters with a fierce passion. I fell in love with The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices broke my heart and now I’ve finally finished the concluding book in the third series of shadowhunter books, The Dark Artifices and…I don’t really know how that makes me feel.

I have to say, actually, that, among other things, I do feel a little relieved, I started reading Queen of Air and Darkness on the day it released in December and I only finished it maybe a week ago. Six months. This book took me six months to read. Don’t get me wrong it’s an absolute tome so I didn’t expect it to be a quick read but this third book in the series just really didn’t grab me like any of the others across the whole of the range of shadowhunter books have, it was easy to put down and forget about. Because of its size, I also found it incredibly uncomfortable to read so decided to purchase the audiobook petty early on which I did for Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows as well. James Masters is a brilliant narrator for it and definitely made it a lot easier to get through, I’m sure it would have taken much longer without.

Despite it taking me six months to read I’ve still given Queen of Air and Darkness an XXXX rating because although it certainly had problems, especially with pacing etc there were just so many parts I liked about it as well I think there was just too much crammed in for one book and that maybe some cuts should have been made or the book split into two, I feel like this could have been done fairly easy as it did feel like two halves of a story put together and I do wonder if maybe the Dark Artifices was meant to be another longer shadow hunter series like The Mortal Instruments but trilogies are popular and it was decided everything needed to be shoved into this last book?

There are a lot of moments in QoAaD that feel a little like fan service but I suppose when you have so many characters all existing in one world and close timelines it makes sense that they interact with each other but it did make this instalment feel like another book in the Mortal Instruments series as much as it’s own trilogy. I can’t deny that some of these moments, however, were some of my favourite parts, partially for the nostalgia and in part because some of the older characters feel almost like dear friends after eleven or so books.

A large part of QoAaD is the romance, mainly the relationship and swirl of emotions between Jules and Emma but honestly I still couldn’t summon up much of any kind of emotion past mild irritation for their relationship which felt like a shame as I love Emma but Julian has just really gotten on my nerves for all three books. I did like the other relationships throughout this book and this trilogy in general, especially the polyamorous relationship between Kieran, Mark and Christina which was a huge highlight for me, it felt like it was done exceptionally well and it was lovely to see a lovely, healthy polyam relationship in YA. We, of course, had Alec and Magnus too and I honestly fell back in love with the two of them in this book which is perfectly timed for me as The Red Scrolls of Magic is likely to be my next Shadowhunter read.

Even with the horrid pacing, I do have to say that balancing SO many characters is no mean feat especially with so many of them having pretty good arcs, I actually liked Alec’s entire arc in the Dark Artifices more than I did throughout most of TMI. We have at least eight main characters and over thirty other characters that I would say are still relatively important and I feel like we get some pretty good content for all of them. Overall I loved the story we got but as I’ve said I would have much preferred it had perhaps been spread over two smaller and better-paced books.

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I want to talk a lot more about this book but there are just many spoilers that I would need to go into so I’m considering making a spoiler-filled book talk video like I’ve done in the past for Lord of Shadows.

Have you read any of the Shadowhunter books? If so do you have a favourite? I’m not sure I could pick one!!

#SixforSunday

S4S – Characters I’d love to go on a date with

Good morning (or relevant greeting depending when you’re reading), It’s Six for Sunday time and this week we’re talking “Characters I’d love to go on a date with” and was another one I found difficult because although I tend to fall in love with fictional characters on a semi-regular basis they aren’t characters I imagine going on dates with, especially because I read a lot of YA so the characters themselves are a fair bit younger than myself so in the case they are mentioned below it’s usually because I imagine them to be closer to me in age or myself younger if that makes sense? Either way, I found thinking about this quite fun and realising I probably have a type – well two types.

Jude from The Folk of Air and fire Trilogy by Holly Black
I love the raw strength and cunning Jude portrays in The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King. Although I have a strange thing for Cardan he is absolutely NOT dating material. Jude is probably not looking for someone to get emotionally involved with but I’d like to think we could have a fun time and she could have a break from all the hell raining down around her. We could have a picnic and she could show me how to fight after?

Mitch from Vicious and Vengeful by V.E Schwab
Mitch is an absolute sweetheart who I couldn’t help but fall in love with reading Vicious and Vengeful. I would take him to some fun but slightly gimmicky burger restaurant where we could eat and chat and order us the hugest chocolate milkshakes.

Katherine from The Last Beginning books by Lauren James,
I think I’ve spoken of my love for Katherine before but in case you hadn’t heard I LOVE HER. She’s smart, sassy, funny and confident. I feel like for our date she would probably pick some totally random physical activity that she saw an ad for somewhere online and chose at the spur of the moment like rock climbing, paintball or a giant zip wire! Although I’m pretty sure at some point during our date we would meet the cute but nerdy safety instructor called Matt and that’s when I would realise we just weren’t meant to be.

Scott Lang from Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by Tess Stone.
I’m currently reading this book so things could change later on but as seems to be one of my types I love that he’s smart, funny and quick-witted, not to mention with that criminal past (mostly), he’s a great example of a “bad boy” gone good and I’m so here for that. Chuck in the fact that I imagine him to look like Scott Lang from the Marvel films (Paul Rudd), the amount of great and often quite feminist novels he’s read and enjoyed as well as the beautiful relationship he has with his daughter Cassie and I would be powerless to resist. Not sure what our date would be like but I imagine doing the stereotypical going to a restaurant lark but actually really enjoying it and having a good time.

River Song from The Legends of River Song by Jenny T Colgan, Jacqueline Rayner and Steve Lyons.
This is a great collection of short stories about River who is my favourite character in the Doctor who Universe in which we really get to see her shine on her own a little more. At the risk of repeating myself, I love that she’s smart, funny, sassy and flirty with a big heart she keeps hidden away and it doesn’t hurt that she’s pretty gorgeous (that hair <3). I would probably have heard stories from her about this “Doctor” person and put two and two together from the way she talks about him but that wouldn’t stop us from going on a seemingly normal date and then it ends in complete and utter chaos after we have to solve some (probably intergalactic or alien) mystery, or stealing something. I’m sure we’d probably share one incredible kiss and then I would never see her again but it would have been totally worth it.

Jace from The Shadowhunter books by Cassie Clare.
Jace was one of my first proper “book boyfriends” / literary crushes (as long as you don’t count some confused feelings for Rhys in The Two Princess of Barremare or the morbid fascination I had with Damon Salvatore). Jace is a nice mix of my two types I think in that he’s sarcastic and sassy but a great fighter and just a little bit broken and angsty (…okay a lot) and I fell for him hard when I first read City of Bones, lines like “If you wanted me to take my clothes off you should have just asked” and “Alas, my one true love remains myself” and LOADS more just endeared him to me all the more. Our date would be awkward as hell though, I have no idea how to actually go on dates anymore and when I was younger wasn’t really the dating type, while he probably hasn’t really been on many dates either. I can just hope that some Shadowhunter stuff goes down and it turns out I’m actually a really good fighter, we fall madly in love, I become a Shadow Hunter etc etc etc.

I feel like I may have probably put more thought into that then needed so you’re welcome I guess?? It was fun to realise that I like my partners/love interests to be smart, funny, sassy, sarcastic and probably able to fight pretty well? Not to mention the slightly angsty, morally grey in places traits but thinking back on a lot of my fictional crushes this actually seems to have hit the nail on the head so that was interesting to realise! I hope you enjoyed reading and I can’t wait to hear all about which fictional character YOU would like to date too!

Events

YALC Day Two Recap

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Day Two of my YALC recap is here (yes two weeks later I’m aware). The Saturday of YALC was a great one but easily the most grueling. I had a lot of signings I wanted to get to, three of which were straight after a panel and with very popular authors but I’ll go into more detail about that later.

My first stop of the morning was to the Hot Key Books stand where I signed up for a Siren makeover and grabbed a copy of To Kill a Kingdom to get signed by author Alexandra Christi, I had a digital ARC of the book and loved it so knew I had to get a hard copy. The lovely ladies at the stall also made an easy extra two book sales by informing me that M.A Bennett would be around to sign books later too so I grabbed a copy of The Island and then also telling me that their books were 3 for £10 and I nabbed a copy of Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray after loving her work on Star Wars: Bloodline and Leia, plus I was in a very spacey kind of mood.

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On the way to get my Siren make up done I also paid a quick visit to the Ink Road Stall after having a lovely chat with the ladies there the day before. I figured I’d pop over and say hi, see how they were doing etc and I also wanted to pick up a sampler for Summer Bird Blue when I spot Akemi Dawn Bowman just sitting behind the stand  – which is fine she’s an actual human being who is allowed to sit etc but I just hadn’t expected it as she wasn’t signing until Sunday. I mumbled about how much I loved Starfish and then got super nervous and kind of ran away. I’m an idiot but plucked up the courage after a quick sit down and a drink to head back and say hi properly. She was SO lovely and signed my sampler for me as I wouldn’t have my copy of Starfish with me until the next day and we took a picture together, it was lovely and was a super awesome start to the day. Apart from the running away bit obviously.

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Next up were the signings for the Floored authors! For some reason I assumed that all of the authors would perhaps be at a table together and we’d all queue in one line then when we got to the front we would work our way across each of the authors and DONE. Alas it was not to be! I think I got this idea from the fact that all of the authors were represented on the timetable by a picture of the Floored book cover whereas when they’d been shown on other days they had different pictures, i.e Non’s was Giant days (and I’m an idiot and didn’t take Floored for her to sign with me when I met her then!). The way it was shown said to me that it was a special signing session for Floored but I was horrified to discover when I got to the signing area that we actually had to queue individually for almost every one of the authors and they were NOT small queues by any stretch of the imagination. I managed to only miss Melinda Sailsbury and Non Pratt in the end telling myself I was likely to see them at more events and possibly YALC next year thankfully as I absolutely had to sit down for a but and have something to drink etc. I’d brought a big bottle of juice squash I’d left in the freezer over night and it was an absolute live saver each day so I’ll definitely be doing that again next year.

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As you can see I managed to bump into Melinda Sailsbury later on and she was more than happy to sign my copy of Floored for me as she was a bit miffed that the Showmasters staff cut her queue off and didn’t tell her when she was more than happy to keep on signing. As much as I liked the extra space we have on the YALC floor I wonder if it’s time for a bit more of a move around so we have more space for signing queues or a better application of the virtual queue ticketing which I think is a great idea when used right.

Before heading off to the “Among the Stars” panel I met up with a load of the girls from the SundayYA group and got a few group pictures taken (one of which is the header for this post). Again it was lovely seeing everyone and OH MY GOSH Layla’s Kaz cosplay was STUNNING.

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I was SO excited for the Among the Stars panel that I can’t even explain. I literally wore a spacey outfit for the occasion. The panel featured Becky Chambers, Lauren James, Lindsay Cummings, Sasha Alsberg and was chaired by Samantha Shannon. The panel was to discuss space and creating worlds that none of us have had the chance to go to except in our authors wonderful books and it did NOT disappoint. I was lucky enough to even be able to ask a question (who would you chose to take to space with you?). Not to mention at the end of the talk Lauren James revealed the cover for her new book “The Quiet at the End of the World which I am SO SO ready for already. Also look at this cover it’s gorgeous!!

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Next were the dreaded signings. I had been anxious all day about getting to all three authors in their two-hour signing slots because they’re so very popular. I joined the Sasha Alsberg queue first and was super pleased to have managed to get in quite near the front. We (me and Mel) were in fact in the first thirty which meant we won a Geeky Clean Zenith Bath Bomb (which I had inadvertently helped design while wicking candles for a super secret NPC thing). Meeting Sasha was AMAZING. I could talk and talk about Zenith and my copy is FULL of tabs as it was my very first ARC/review copy I had ever had and I’d read it twice so I mean it when I say it is FULL of these little tabs. Sasha loved going through asking me what each colour meant and I was a little embarrassed as a few were frustrated or annoyed bits but she told me it means so much to see a copy of her book like that and I thought I was going to cry which is totally lame. Sasha’s channel was the very first booktube chanel I ever watched and she got me hooked on Shadowhunters so I’m so glad I got to meet someone who had already had such an impact on me. It was also so lovely that she had brought bookplates signed by Lindsay along with her too as Lindsay couldn’t make it as she’s getting ready to have her baby soon and it was such a nice little touch. P.S Don’t ask about the picture we had taken together because I made a face at Steph and that was the picture I got so I’ll include one of us talking while she went though my tabs instead!

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While I was in the queue for Sasha I started to feel a bit dismayed about getting through the other queues as they were building fast. Thankfully the lovely Jenn and her boyfriend were next to us in the Becky Chambers queue and her boyfriend offered to take mine to get it signed which I am super grateful for as I don’t think I would have been able to make it through all of them. I do wonder whether YALC need to consider the types of authors they’re all having signing at the same time and weather or not these are authors people are going to want to meet all of and perhaps stagger them a bit more?

Thankfully I did manage to make it through the queue to meet Lauren James! I absolutely LOVED her book that released early at YALC last year “The Loneliest Girl In The Universe” and was that weekend actually reading her debut book “The Next Together” (which I reviewed on Tuesday if you want to check it out) so it was even more fantastic than normal to meet her. Being one of my top favourite authors and an instabuy for me I was so happy to get this chance to talk to her and get excited about her new book etc.

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The day was coming to an end fast and I had one more signing to get to and that was for Laura Steven, the author of The Exact Opposite of Okay which is another book that really resonated with me and my teenage years. It was lovely to have a nice chat with her and let her know how grateful I am for this fantastic, funny and important book she’s written as well as telling her much I couldn’t wait to get hold of the sequel coming next year!

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It was a long old day and my only real problem were the way some of the signings were done to be honest. The overground wasn’t running that weekend so I had to get the district line back to Liverpool Street, I ended up on a wrong tube but it all worked out pretty good in the end. Mainly because I met a super adorable Dog who wanted to sit with me have strokes and share my fan. Win/win situation. I’ll be back tomorrow for my Day Three recap and my all round sum up!

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I couldn’t not post the picture of this good boy!

booktube, Tags

Harry Potter Spell Tag – Video

I finally managed to find the time to get this tag video edited! I recorded it maybe a month or so ago so my answers are a tiny bit out of date, watching it back there are definitely some I would probably change now but these were my answers when I was tagged.

Feel free to do this tag yourself but if you do I’d be grateful if you could link back to this video and to the original itself. I hope you enjoy me attempting to pronounce spell names and a lot of useless wand waving!

Rachels Rambling reviews can be found here
Kimberley Faye Reads (The Original) can be found here.