Roundup / Recap

My Top Ten Reads of 2018

I know we still have a little bit left to go of 2018 but my current read will almost certainly take me to the end of the year and unless something spectacular is pulled out in the last third (and maybe not even then), this last book is definitely not going to be making the cut so I feel I can pretty safely say at this point in time, in pretty much no particular order  that the following books are the top ones for me, that I’ve read this year. This was a super hard list to make because I’ve read some absolutely brilliant books this year but I thought long and hard about not only the ones that I liked or thought were good but the ones that left an impression on me and/or stayed with me.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman
Obviously, I mean the whole trilogy here, I refuse to split them because I can’t choose and favorite. This series utterly captivated me and reminded me of just how much I can truly fall in love with sci-fi, even when it’s full or tropes or storylines that would usually be considered overdone in the genre. The Illuminae Files books just breath back life and emotion into these and give them a brilliant and unique flair and quality that I am yet to find anywhere else. Most of the others have no particular order but these have unquestionably become my all time favorite books in general, not even just this year although it took me this long to read them, thank you, Jessica, for making sure I finally did!
Illuminae Review
Gemina Review
Obsidio Review

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
I’ve read quite a few contemporary books this year that I wouldn’t have normally even looked at but this is one of the ones I’m glad I was persuaded to read because it really spoke to me on a personal level and highlighted a lot of problems with society and how we treat young girls and their bodies. It also felt like it lit a spark in me that had only been embers before and really helped to change me and the way I view my own actions and those of the people around me.
Review available here.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
This book was an incredibly important read for me and a lot of others this year. Akemi’s incredible writing feels like it plucks out those hurting parts of your soul that you maybe don’t understand and helps you to look at them and maybe find some kind of comfort or understanding there. The story itself is one of both sadness and fullfilment, a fantastic read and certainly one I recommend to anyone who suffers from anxiety.
Review available here.

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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
A book I had been meaning to read for a while and finally gotten around to then loved the heck out of it! Asha has become one of my favourite bookish main characters and although I didn’t enjoy the sequel quite as much The Last Namsara easily found its way into my top spot of books I’ve read this year.
Review available here.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
This book was a total surprise to me! I read it on an utter whim and it was such a great, funny and twisty book! Certainly one I’ll remember and continue to recommend to others. I love the witchy vibe to it and my girl Mila is brilliant.
Review available here

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
I was drawn to this by the pretty cover and was again a great find on NetGalley that I immediately brought when it came out. Put quite simply The Smoke Theives very much feels like a YA Game of Thrones. The various POV’s are interesting and interweaving as the story continues and it envokes that now almost trademark genre of court politics with a dash of magic that I do so love and this book was no exception, I eagerly await the sequel.
Review available here.

Skyward by Brendon Sanderson
I absolutely devoured this book in a day or two. I was lucky enough to read it a little early for a blog tour and I’ve barely been able to stop talking about it since. Skyward has a bit of everything and contains a great mix of wit, humor and sass with serious moments, worry and loss. Not to mention M-Bot is pretty much the best thing in a book this year – other than AIDAN maybe and he doesn’t count because the first Illuminae book didn’t come out this year.
Review available here.

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Adrift by Rob Boffard
A twisty interesting SciFi read I discovered on NetGalley this year and I’m so glad I decided to try it out. Another great read with various points of view that reach far and yet twine back together at important points, a great character study which reminds me of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe with some big differences but there’s certainly the same vibe there.
Review Available here.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
Absolutely not one of my usual favorite picks I found myself completely immersed in Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry and have decided next year to read the others in the Beach Hut series. A beautifully heartbreaking and heartwarming tale that completely touched me and found it’s way easily into my heart and my top ten favorite books this year.
Review available here.

Vengeful by V.E Schwab
Reading Vengeful felt like reading an absolute work of art. V.E Schwab spent a long time working on this book to get it a level she was happy to publish it at and you can absolutely tell. This is a beautiful gem of a book that I am unable to fault in almost any way. The characters are interesting and you find yourself rooting for everyone and no one at times. This book is definitely the best-written book I’ve read this year.
Review available here.

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Tags

To All The Books I’ve Loved Before – Book Tag

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So like most of YA Twitter it seems I fallen head over heels in love with Peter Kavinsky/Lara Jean To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. I don’t read loads of romantic or fluffy books but I do love the odd film like that (I’ve just watched Set It Up recently and LOVED it) and my husband loves them so it’s nice to watch a film together. As soon as I saw the trailer I knew we’d both love it and I love to be proven right. More on the film later though, today I want to do the To All The Books I’ve Loved Before book tag, created by Frankinesce (you can check out her video here) and inspired by the film.

I’m going to do a slightly different take on the original tag however and I’m going to write each of these five books a letter.

1. Kenny from Camp AKA your first book love
Dear Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith,
I first saw you in the paranormal romance section of my local library. I’d spent an entire year reading colourful Jacqueline Wilson books but something about your dark cover and lured me in. I was curious about vampires from seeing some films way too young and I found them a little fascinating so I decided to try you out. I fell hard and fast, I read the first book in under 24 hours and went back the next day for the second book, the library was closed the third day when I went back for the third book and it felt like forever before I finally got a hold of the third book which was my favourite so it was worth it. You were full of passion and forbidden love and a girl in love with two vampire brothers and although I guess Damon was my first real “Book Boyfriend” I was just as enamoured with the journey Elena went on, how it changed her and the power she could wield on her own as well as her strong connection with her friends. I can’t imagine ever not loving these books and they would continue to shape my reading tastes for years and years to come.

2. John Ambrose McClaren AKA the book that got away (a book that may not be your all time favorite now, but you’ll always love it)
Dear Twilight by Stephanie Meyer,
I remember night upon night refusing to sleep until I’d finished just one more chapter and waiting anxiously for the bookstore to open so I could get my hands on a copy of New Moon. It’s very hard to love a book when so many people insist on pointing out every single fault in it if you even whisper its name but we had some good times and I acknowledge your faults but will always love you anyway, sparkly vampires and all. I love the different characters and I loved that Bella was clumsy and awkward but could hold her own when the things she loved were threatened but that she wasn’t perfect and sometimes when people leave you it does feel like the end of the world for a while. I know we’re not as close as we were and probably won’t be again but I think of you often and I smile when I remember the times we had.

3. Lucas from Homecoming AKA your GBF (your favorite LGBTQ+ character or book)
Dear Magnus Bane from the Shadowhunters Books,
I know you and Alec are pretty well-known now, you’re even getting your own book series soon which is exciting but I can remember a time when it was still hard to find anyone in the books I read that loved and felt attraction regardless of gender like I did and I was pretty pleased that you fell in love with Alec but even more so when I realised you had loved Camille and others as well because it turned out that made us bisexual (or pan as I found out later) and it felt much better than trying to explain that I liked lots of different genders. Not just that but you were sassy and sarcastic and you were an actual character and not just a stereotype and I will always love and remember you.

 

4. Josh Sanderson AKA the book next door (a book that you’ll love no matter how many times you read it)
Dear Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff,
It took me far too long to finally get around to reading you and I regret that I waited so long because I know I would have read you even more by now. There is just something about you and your characters I never get tired of. I love flipping open your pages sometimes and just reading for a bit or if I can’t sleep I’ll often just put your audio book version on. You’re my go to when I have a book hangover or just when I miss Kady, Ezra and even AIDAN. I can’t imagine ever getting bored with you because it feels like there’s always more to explore and AIDANS words feel like poetry to me.

5. Peter Kavinsky AKA your one true book love
Dear Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder,
I really should buy a new copy of you, I’ve read you so many times that you’re literally falling apart. I remember clutching your battered pages two weeks after I’d had a really rough time giving birth to my son as I made my way to London to meet your author and get you signed because you and the other books in the series meant so much to me. I found you completely randomly out of the blue and took a chance and I’m so glad that I did because it opened up and rekindled my love of fantasy and my fascination with magic. Your characters all have special places in my heart, Ari and Janco fell like my best friends and Yelena was such an amazing role model in a time when I really needed one. Thank you so much for always sticking by me, even when it’s been a while.

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I hope you enjoyed this tag and my slightly different take on it, I will tag Charlotte from Charlotte reads things, and Cora at Tea Party Princess but anyone is free to do this! Let me know if you do so I can check out your choices!

#SixforSunday

#S4S – Less well known favourite books

30947518_10155196791291581_53056448_nHere we are again, another week down, another Sunday has arrived.. I’ve got today off and plan to crack on and get my Camp NaNoWriMo project finished with any luck because I’m starting to cut it close. Today’s #Six for Sunday post prompt from Steph at A little but a lot is “less well known favourite books” some people would have heard of these obviously but they’re probably books I would consider to be less well known in today’s YA community than most. That be saying said there might be one or two you’ve heard of, it’ll be interesting to see what books are maybe more well known than I thought.

1. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
This was a book I not only hadn’t heard of but had also not set out to buy. Back when Waterstones did their 3 for 2 deal every Christmas I brought a couple of books and couldn’t decide on a third one but “The Gargoyle” was sitting by the front desk, the cover was quite pretty and it had black stained edges. The stained edges sold it to me and back then my TBR was quite small so I read it not long after and I simply adored it. I blame this lucky purchase for my love of stained pages and the reason I so often will just pick up a book and think, “I like the look of this” and just buy it.

2. Touch of Power by Maria V Snyder
A fair few people of read and talk about The Poison Study series by Maria V Snyder, including myself but a series I don’t hear talked about as often, if at all is the healer series, starting with A Touch of Power. I became fascinated in the way the healing magic and the world worked in this book, along with the moral journey main character Avry is forced down. It’s one of my all time favourite books and I’ve always wished we got more than the trilogy.

3. Tides of War by Christie Golden
So we all know I adore Christie Golden but the Warcraft books might not be something people who don’t play Warcraft would read which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, the books are one of my favourite things about the game and the lore within and one of the books I enjoyed the most but is probably a little less well-known is Tides of war, a story following Jaina Proudmore on her home isle of Theralas and what transpires after the Cataclysm but before we travel to Pandaria.

4. The Two Princesses of Barrmare by Gail Carson Levine.
A lot of people when thinking about Gail Carson Levine books will go straight to Ella enchanted which is a great book but I read The Two Princesses before that and although I’ve always loved reading this book was special because it was the first truly fantasy book I read and I totally fell in love with it. To this day when I write I often find myself writing characters that relate to both princesses whether I notice it or not.

5. Shadowmagic by John Lenahan
This was actually a book my husband recommended to me. He found it for free on the Kindle store somehow and after reading it couldn’t stop talking about it, it sounded like it might be up my alley so I decided to check it out and although perhaps a little more middle grade than I would usually read I really enjoyed it and proceeded to read the rest of the trilogy.

6. Inside out by Maria V Snyder
Another one by Maria V Snyder! For the few people I have heard mention the healer series by her I’ve never heard anyone talk about this duology which was one of the first dystopian/sci-fi books I read and enjoyed. I will admit it gave me so much of a book hangover and the end got me so bad that I still haven’t read the sequel Outside In but will be rectifying that in the very near future. This book features on my all time favourite twists that I didn’t remotely see coming and can probably be blamed for my love of third act twists/reveals.

So there we have it, the last #S4S of April is done and dusted but I’ll be back with a review and a new book tag and/or discussion (when I finally decide) next week!

#SixforSunday

#Six for Sunday – Favourite books of 2018

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Sunday has arrived and amongst the stupid cold I’ve still not been able to shake this week and it being the first full seven days of Camp NaNoWriMo I’ve still managed to find just enough time to crack out this weeks Six for Sunday post! That is however mainly because this weeks prompt feels like one of the easier ones for me, partially because I’ve only read 17 books so far this year and I have some clear favourites.

 

  1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
    Probably my top read so far this year. Illuminae felt like a game changer for me and has sucked me in like a book hasn’t done for a long while, it was a totally wild ride and I can’t believe it’s over (I’m struggling to get through Obsido because I can’t stand the idea that’s its done after that!)
  2.  Hero at the Fall – by  Alwyn Hamilton
    It took me a little while to get into Rebel, I adored Traitor and devoured it in a few days and Hero was perfect and everything I could have looked for in the last book of a trilogy.
  3.  Bloodline – by Claudia Gray
    I adore the way Leia was written in this book, it really made it for me. I enjoyed the story as well and the relationships with some of the characters just worked so well
  4. To Kill a Kingdom – by Alexandra Christo
    This book totally reignited my love for all things mermaid/siren and bloodthirsty, although it was predictable in parts and I wasn’t too sure about the ending it was throughly enjoyable and so sassy!
  5.  Gemina – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
    It took me a little while longer to warm to it than its predecessor but Gemina is another absolute gem that I’ve read this year, it’s such a great balance of terror, humor and feels.
  6. The Cruel Prince – by Holly Black
    I’m not shocked that I liked this as much as I did, it shows the rougher, more animatistic side of the Fae which I enjoy reading about and it didn’t pull it’s punchees. It made me angry, it made me laugh and it kept me totally hooked throughout, I already can’t wait for The Wicked King!

That actually turned out to be more difficult than I thought! I’ve loved a good few books this year but there have been a few that I’m not sure I liked enough that I would have described them as my favourites. I know for sure though that this list will probably look completley different by the end of the year as I have so many great books still to read! Let me know if you took part in today’s prompt for #Six For Sunday and I’ll check out you six favourite books of this year so far! Now I better get back to my NaNo project as I’m seriously behind o my word count for today.