spoiler free, Tags

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I’ve been trying a few different book tags this week and I’ve been finding myself really stumped about answering some of them so I decided that today’s blog would instead be a really simple fun book tag I picked up from Sarah from Book Hooked Nook a little while back, the rapid-fire book tag!

1. E-Book or Physical Book?

If it’s small enough physical, if not an e-book is more comfortable.

2. Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback.

3. Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Usually online as the only bookstores nearby are all in other towns and it costs me the price of a standard paperback to get to any of them.

4. Trilogies or Series?

I quite like standalone books at the moment but if I had to pick it would be a trilogy.

5. Heroes or Villains?

It feels so cliche but villains are so much more fun.

6. A book you want everyone to read?

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman because that stuff is food for the soul.

7. Recommend an underrated book?

Invictus by Ryan Graudin, I never hear anyone talk about this book but I adored it.

8. The last book you finished?

I finished Heartstopper Volume 2 in one sitting before bed a couple of nights ago and I’ve barely been able to stop thinking about it since.

9. The Last Book You Bought?

I did a little book order when I got paid a couple of days ago and ordered Do you dream of Terra-Two? By Temi Oh, a finished copy of The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James, Heartstopper volume two by Alice Oseman and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil. It had been a while since I’d brought books!

10. Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

A fork.

11. Used Books: Yes or No?

As long as they’re in good condition then used is fine with me.

12. Top Three Favourite Genres?

Sci-fi, Fantasy and thriller

13. Borrow or Buy?

Buy, I don’t go into town often enough to to get proper use out of the library and I’m terrible at returning things on time. Also because quite often I’m buying a finished copy of an ARC I’ve enjoyed and might not get to reading it right away.

14. Characters or Plot?

Having one without the other is not enjoyable but I think good characters can save bad plot but a good plot doesn’t often save bad characters.

15. Long or Short Books?

Probably short. I’m finding it really hard to drag myself through longer books. Max 400 ideally although I’m reading a good few that are more than that at the moment so it’s not a make or break thing, I just like to read shorter books, if anything they’re more comfortable to hold.

16. Long or Short Chapters?

Short. I love the feeling of finishing a chapter, plus I tend to wait until I’ve finished a chapter before I stop reading and if it’s too long it just gets annoying.

17. Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

18. Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

19. Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional, or actually I like a bit of both so our world with a hint of fictional is great sometimes too. I want to say it’s called urban fantasy but I’m bad at this book blogging thing.

20. Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes. I’m sad that I don’t really listen to them as much now. I often still listen to ones I’ve heard before when I’m trying to get to sleep (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them read by Eddie Redmayne is my favourite) but now that I’m not in a job where I can just crack on and get my work done with my headphones in all day I’m seriously lagging on the audiobook front.

21. Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong, a book with a bad cover can be good and vice versa but it’s almost always the cover that draws me in or pushes me away.

22. Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

I really enjoy them for the most part. Sometimes they get me interested in a book I’ve yet to read (i.e Dumplin) even though I always try to read the book first but also they sometimes give me the feeling of rereading a book without having to actually do so.

23. A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Stardust. I enjoyed the Stardust book but the film is one of my all-time favourites and just blew the book out of the water.

24. Series or Standalone’s?

I love me a standalone.

That was a such a fun tag, thank for so much for posting it, Sarah! I won’t tag anyone in particular but as always if you’d like to take part then consider yourself tagged!

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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!!

book talk, spoiler free

Harley in the Sky Cover Reveal

It’s been SO difficult to keep this secret the past couple of weeks but as a member of the Harley in the Sky Street Team I was lucky enough to see the cover for Akemi’s newest novel a little earlier and I’ve been in love with it ever since! Harley in the Sky is the next book out by author Akemi Dawn Bowman, award-winning author of Starfish and Summer Bird Blue follows a multiracial teenage girl who dreams of quitting school to become a trapeze artist in her parents’ Las Vegas circus, against their wishes, prompting her to join a rival circus. There, she grows close to a handsome musician and performer—while untangling her family’s complicated past and present.

Would you like to see the cover?

 

 

Are you sure?

 

 

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I love the mix of yellow and bronze, the silhouetted figure, that absolutely gorgeous font and the beautiful stylised pattern in the background that just SCREAMS circus tent to me. You can add Harley in the Sky to your want to read on Goodreads RIGHT NOW. 

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – June 3rd

Its time for my fortnightly WWW Wednesday post! I’m slowly slogging through this months TBR (full post to come tomorrow!) but feeling positive I’ll get there, especially after rearranging and tidying my bookcases yesterday! 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?

The Dark Phoenix Saga by Stuart Moore. As mentioned in my last post, this is a retelling/novelisation of the Dark Phoenix arc from the X-Men comics. I remember falling in the love with the animated X-Men series when I was younger and other than Rogue, who I adored, I really fell in love with Jean and her story as the Phoenix. I got a little older and looked into the comics more and devoured the whole story arc multiple times. I’m so glad to now get to relive it all over again in this new Marvel novel, not to mention the film coming out very very soon.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Despite meaning to read this for a while now, as soon as I saw that they would be making a show in-fact and I’m now finally getting around to it. I read the first 50 pages so that I could watch the first episode of the show and now I’m hoping to carry on and finish it so I can watch the rest of the episodes because that first one was absolutely brilliant.

What did you recently finish reading?

Memento by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. As a pre-order incentive in the US, the US publishers of Aurora Rising offered a copy of a new and exclusive Illuminae novella when you submitted your preorder receipt. This novella is an 82-page prequel about AIDAN. I was gutted to realise this was US only but the lovely Good Choice Reading who is based in the US and does virtual signings were offering the incentives with your signed book! The postage was a little painful but it was totally worth it. I read Memento the day I received it and I made a reading reaction video which you can check out here.

Nexus by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. The sequel to their first book Zenith, I was pleased to find Nexus was a HUGE improvement over its predecessor and was really enjoyable, I’m actually pretty gutted that it’s only a two book series. You can check out my review for Nexus here. 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry.  I’ve been fascinated with the idea of Christina’s fairy tale retellings for years and The Lost Boy is on my TBR and now I’m lucky enough to be taking part in the Instagram tour for her newest book The Girl in Red, the tale of Red Riding Hood (in this case more of a red jacket than an actual hood) and the decimated world riddled with quarantine camps, death, destruction and disease.

Have you read any of these? If so what are your thoughts? What have you read lately and what do you think you might read next?

spoiler free, Tags

I Should Read That – Book Tag

Welcome to the I Should Have Read That Book Tag! I wasn’t tagged to do this but I wanted to do it anyway after seeing it on ConnieReads. Here are the Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post – I wasn’t tagged but thanks to Booksnest for creating the tag!
  • Link to the creator’s blog (booksnest.co.uk) in your post.
  • Answer the questions below.
  • Tag 10 others to take part.
  • ENJOY THE TAG!

Okay, let’s get started!

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

Steph is always suggesting loads of great books for me to read and I’m terrible and rarely get around to them. I read Sanctuary (review coming next week) recently which she recommended and was blown away so I guess I better get to reading Gilded Cage?

A book that’s been on your TBR forever and you still haven’t picked up

Outside in by Maria Snyder which is crazy because she’s one of my favourite authors but I just keep deciding to read other things, maybe May or June it will finally be time?

A book series you have started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing yet?

So many recently! The Throne of Glass series is a big one I guess. I did start reading Kingdom of Ash but it just wasn’t grabbing me and that huge book gave me wrist ache so maybe I’ll lift some weights and try again later in the year, I mean there’s no rush now as it’s the last one right?

A classic you have always liked the sound of, but never actually read?

I’m not often that interested in a lot of books deemed “classics” but I would love to finally get around to reading To Kill a Mocking Bird I think.

A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, I’ve started,  I just keep being distracted by other books.


A book that inspired a film/tv adaption that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet? 

To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I brought the book right after I watched the film and I can’t wait to finally read it.

A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet?

After scrolling through Instagram for a few minutes I can confirm that my answer is Finale by Stephanie Garber. It just came out recently so it makes sense that it’s everywhere to be fair. I haven’t picked it up yet because I still haven’t read Legendary!

That was a fun little book tag and one that’s kind of inspired me to have a good sort out of my bookshelves and actually get around to some of these books, especially Outside In, it’s been sitting unread for too long!

I won’t tag anyone in particular but if you want to do it consider yourself tagged!

book reviews, spoiler free

One Word Kill

onewordkill.jpgOne Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

Rating: XXX

Published: May 1st 2019 by 47North

“Fear is a strange thing. Along with its close friend, pain, fear is a vital part of the kit that evolution has furnished us with for keeping alive. Part of its effectiveness comes down to how hard it can be to overcome.”

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

I decided to check this out after (enter blogger name) reviewed it on her blog (check it out here) and discovered it wasn’t quite out yet but luckily as I have an Amazon Prime account I was able to download a kindle copy early for free! I’m assuming this is some new way to help authors drum up reviews for their books just before/when they’re released which is pretty cool, I’ll have to look further in it, it as about time my poor kindle got some love.

This was a short book and I think the shorter format really suited it and kept it moving at a good pace without feeling too clunky, there weren’t too many parts that were especially boring and I almost always wanted to keep reading or pick it back up when I had to stop. Some readers who aren’t very much into dungeons and dragons might find those scenes a little boring but as an avid D&D player I really enjoyed them and some parts talking about the game really spoke to me.

“The rules weren’t even called rules; they were guidebooks, handbooks, manuals. It was all there to give just enough structure to our shared imagination that we could vanish into it for hours, unwinding a story as we went. A story unique to us, filled with our own wonders, ingenuity, and proxy bravery. And it was something that carried on week after week, building over years even, creating a shared history, bonds that weren’t ever going to appear across a Monopoly board or game of cards.”

There were some parts that irked me, mainly about “girls” which sadly seems to pop up in a lot of the cis male written/fronted MG I’ve read (which isn’t a lot so it may just be my bad luck) that girls are almost considered this other species at times or lesser and weaker because of their gender, for example:

I blinked back my surprise. One visit to the D&D table was unusual for any girl. Coming back for seconds was unheard of in my limited experience.”

Now an argument could be made for the “in my limited experience” part of that quote as yes, the main character doesn’t seem to have had many interactions with many other females at this point, let alone any interested in playing D&D, I feel like maybe the author is thinking this is the late 80’s and the gaming system didn’t really become hugely popular again until recently but honestly I know women who have played since first edition, my mum and her friends used to play before I was born and I’ve played on and off for years. There’s a lot of gatekeeping happening in the D&D community right now and this just really irked me and added fuel to that fire. I wasn’t a fan of the main character constantly mentioning just how fat, clumsy and unfit one of his friends were and that he was surprised that said friend could move quite dextrously when needed. There were more parts throughout that just really rubbed me the wrong way but I will admit I was happy that we had some queer and POC rep that was handled a little bit better I think.

Overall the story was good, I enjoyed a few of the twists and turns even with a good number of them being fairly predictable I was still fairly shocked at points, especially towards the end which I love. I did find some of the time travel stuff a little confusing, to begin with, but by the end I had (I think) almost a good grasp on it and it wasn’t a bad system. I’ve always found time travel to be confusing, to be honest so I think a good grasp is better than average for me, it did help that a tv show I love and a very popular film has just come out with similar time travel ideas which actually really helped me to understand each of them a little better.

Despite some of the problems I had with One-word kill, overall I definitely enjoyed it. There were some great moments, a good amount of tension at times and most of the characters I found interesting. I have only given it a XXX rating however because it had some issues I just couldn’t look past. There are two more sequels due out over the next year or so and I’m interested in seeing where the story goes from here.

 

spoiler free, Tags

Aurora Rising – Squad 312 Book Tag

So last year when the cover was revealed for Aurora Rising I wrote a post discussing the artwork and synopsis we were given as well as creating a book tag for the occasion. Now that I’ve had the chance to read the book itself and as it’s been officially out for a few days now I figured I would update it and give create a single post for it to make it easier to read and take part in. If you read the previous edition you’ll notice that I’ve changed a few of the questions to fit more in line with the characters and some of my answers will have changed as it’s been about six months since I initially posted the first one.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Let’s meet the Squad. Awesome artwork by @kiranight_art

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Tyler Jones – The Alpha. Your favourite main character.

I find I’m usually a bigger fan of supporting characters but I pretty much kind of adore Lazlo Strange from the Strange the Dreamer books. He’s a massive book nerd, gets lost in his imagination and creates beautiful dreams. I love that he believes and loves with his whole being. Not to mention that he sounds pretty gorgeous and thanks to Steve West he sounds like a slightly huskier Orlando Bloom circa the Legolas Years.

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Scarlet Jones – The Face. Which character could talk themselves out of anything?

Not only can Loki from Joanne Harris’s Loki books talk himself into a corner he has an uncanny knack of managing to talk his way out as well. I love that he always has a 50/50 chance of making things worse even if he eventually makes it out in the end.

 

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Zila Marden – The Brain. A super smart character who would probably kill you.

Most of them to be honest. I love that we’re beginning to lose that stereotypical ‘nerd’ outlook and more often than not the smartest are the most kick-ass and could almost certainly kill or maim you in multiple ways. I hate to say it but my favourite is A.I.D.A.N from The Illuminae Files, it’s crazy but damn I love that insane murderous A.I.

 

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Finian de Karren de Seel – The Gearhead. Favourite piece of fictional technology.

I mean I didn’t realise artificial gravity from almost any sci-fi book set in space ever, wasn’t already a thing that existed yet so that would be my boring answer. My better answer would probably be M-Bot from Skyward. The smart, sassy, fungi loving Artifical Intelligence inside a ship is fantastic and was my favourite part of Sanderson’s newest series out last year.

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Kallis “Kal” Gilwraeth – The Tank. A book that made you angry. 

The Island by M.A Bennett, I had to stop reading a few times because I was just so damn mad at some of the things Link did and/or got away with. Just thinking about it now is making me mad.

 

 

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Catherine “Cat” Brannock – The Ace. Fictional Crush you’re still not over. 

Okay so there’s a few but I think the oldest one would probably be Damon from The Vampire Diaries books (and later the show) but other front runners would be Jace from the Mortal Instruments, Lucien from the ACOTAR books, Jude AND Cardan from The Folk of the Air books by Holly Black.

 

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Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley – Girl out of Time. If you had to pick just one book or series to read for the rest of your life what would it be? 

I feel like I should pick a really long series to keep it interesting but honestly, it would probably be The Illuminae Files. I am forever re-reading these books. Sometimes I’ll just pick one up on a whim and suddenly I’ve read half the damned thing or quite often I listen to the Gemina Audio Book if I can’t sleep at night.
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I hope you enjoyed the slightly updated Aurora Rising: Squad 312 book tag! I’ll tag a few people via twitter but if you want to take part, tagged by me or not feel free to have a go! I’d really love it if you could link back to this post if you do so and let me know in the comments so I can check out your answers.