#SixforSunday

S4S – Couples who need a sequel

Another week has gone by, another Sunday has arrived and it’s been somehow both a long week and a short one. It’s flown by but it’s been a hard one and I’m glad to see the back of it! I’m hoping things will calm down with any luck although amongst other things I’m off to Lego Land with my little family next week so we shall see. For now, at least it’s Six for Sunday time and this week the prompt is “Couples that deserve a sequel” which considering the past couple of weeks have been similar it was starting to get very difficult to pick some new and fresh ones but here we are and  I hope you enjoy them!

BRIEFING NOTE: Couple related spoilers are present throughout for Heartstopper, To Kill a Kingdom, The Mortal Instruments etc, Gemina/The Illuminae Files, Strange the Dreamer and Ouran High School Host club.

Nick and Charlie from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

I know they are getting a sequel and Alice updates Tapas with chapters regularly but these two will always need more because I love them so much.

Lira and Prince Elain from To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I would love for there to be a sequel with the gang all getting back together, crew and all!

Jace and Clary from City of Bones etc by Cassandra Clare

Okay so I know that they technically already have like, six books BUT I would love even just a short story about them running the institute or something. I hate to say it but I kind of miss them.

Nik and Hana from Gemina by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

I would love a story (short form or otherwise) of the two of them off on holiday or something after everything that happens. Hana just wants things to be normal so they try to go on a simple trip for a weekend, something like an exotic beach on another planet etc but then maybe there’s a hostage situation or something and things get all Die Hard? Oh my gosh. Die Hard meets Gemina yes, please.

Thyon Nero and Lazlo from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

So I know these two aren’t really a couple but I loved the chemistry between the two of them right at the beginning of Strange the Dreamer and I think I would love a soft little story with these two just being kind, it doesn’t have to be romantic, although I think Thyron has always had a bit of a thing for Lazlo, to be honest.

Tamaki Suoh and Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

So this couple is actually from a manga series I read years and years ago that ran for eighteen volumes (80-ish chapters) it was a sweet, silly series about a girl who pretends to be a boy in a male host club at a school for insanely rich kids so that she can pay back a huge debt she incurs when she breaks an incredibly expensive vase. Both Tamaki and Haruhi have trouble understanding and later confronting their feelings for each other but everything turns out okay in the end as Tamaki moves to the USA with Haruhi and unbeknownst to them until the last moment, the rest of the Host Club are their neighbours! I loved the series and it did have a really great end but I would still very much like to see another volume or maybe even a small mini-series about what the gang get up in the USA.

Let me know what your choices would be in the comments or send me a link to your Six for Sunday post for this week!

 

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book reviews

The Girl in Red

43550676.jpgThe Girl in Red by Christina Henry

Rating: XXXXX

Published June 18th by Titan Books

“She was just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that didn’t look anything like the one she’d grown up in, the one that had been perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.”

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. 

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods…

You know that author you keep putting off reading? Not in an unkind way, but in an “I WILL get around to reading one of their books” muttered every time you see them because you just know they’re going to be great and you then something comes up and you for whatever reason the thought slips your mind again and again and again. This is Christina Henry for me so when the lovely Julia from Titan Books asked if I wanted to review The Girl in Red by Henry and take part in the Instagram book tour in I jumped at the chance! I love retellings at the best of times but this sounded like a really interesting inspiring take on the Red Riding Hood Story.

I found The Girl in Red to be slightly terrifying, absolutely creepy as heck and wholly addictive. It reminds me a lot of the human element to the earlier episodes of the Walking Dead when you begin to realise it’s not the zombies, or in this case, the cough that are the things you have to watch your back for it’s the survivors, most of who have become desperate or cruel (if they weren’t already) since the crisis. It’s not a unique tale by any means and is a little repetitive and predictable in some places but forgivably so because the real star of this book for me (other than main character Red herself) was the amazing way Henry builds tension. I found I was holding my breath, clenching my teeth and I had trouble reading it in my house alone, at one point my phone rang (a rare occurrence) while I was reading and it was during such a tense moment in the book that I screamed so loudly I woke up my four year old. On the slightly negative side, I did personally find the ending very rushed and a little unsatisfying but the book, even on reflection was no less enjoyable for it.

Red has possibly become one of my favourite fictional characters. She is a fantastic mix of badassery and compassion, she will kill and make tough choices to survive but she doesn’t let herself become dehumanised for it which I found a really refreshing balance, when she has to fatally defend herself she doesn’t relish it, when she has to take supplies she takes what she needs and likes to make sure that there is enough left if someone else needs them etc. Red often overthinks things, often to a fault and often thinks herself round in circles to inaction which is a habit I am also extraordinarily guilty of, so seeing it portrayed in this fantastic character who acknowledged that her obsessive and sometimes paranoid thinking could be debilitating like that felt incredibly eye-opening and has really helped to keep my own obsessive thinking in check by being able to identify it.

Main character Red is also an amputee and obviously, I can’t speak to the accuracy of her experience or identify with it but I found it really enlightening and I hope it helped people who find themselves with prosthetics feel seen and represented as well as hopefully helping to educate others. There is a line that is said in relation to someone question how much Red is capable of due to her amputation and Red replies with “Stop treating me like half a person…I am missing my leg below the knee. My brain is still functioning. I know what I can do and what I can’t.” and this feels SO important and relatable for anyone who is judged, babied and looked down on because they’re differently abled.

The Girl in Red is out in stores and online today!

 

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?

book reviews

Nexus Review

43257123Nexus by Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg

Rating: XXXX

Published: May 7th 2019 (Kindle Version)
June 13th (Paperback version) by HQ Young Adult

“There was only one person who might have the power to free the galaxy from Nor’s rule – and yet completely unaware that the lives of millions now rested in her hands.”

From the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of Zenith comes the dazzling finale to the Androma Saga, where stunning betrayals and devastating secrets expose an embattled galaxy to the ultimate nightmare. 

Her ship is gone, her crew is captured and notorious mercenary Andi Racella is suddenly a fugitive, ruthlessly hunted across the galaxy. The bloodthirsty Queen Nor now rules most of the galaxy and she’ll stop at nothing to destroy her most hated adversary. Andi will risk anything, even her precious freedom to stop Nor. However as her crew fight to regain their freedom, Andi and her unlikely ally Dex discover a threat far greater than anything they’ve faced before. Only by saving their mortal enemy can they make one last desperate strike to save the galaxy, unaware that a shattering, centuries-old secret may demand the most wrenching sacrifice of all.

Despite being a little disappointed in the first book, Zenith I had high hopes for its sequel, Nexus. I requested it via NetGalley a few weeks back and was pleased to be approved quickly so I could get to reading it during my sci-fi binge. Thank you so much to YA HQ for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Zenith had some great ideas and character outlines but fell short for me, it just seemed lacking in too many areas and I mourned that lost potential. Nexus, however, seems to have thrown off any shackles placed upon it by its predecessor and is a much better, interesting and enjoyable read. A warning that this review will probably be comparing the two works because the difference is so pleasingly apparent. I would say, despite this being a sequel you don’t absolutely need to read Zenith beforehand because it recaps the events that have unfolded previously although it does make it a little easier to know what’s happening from the get-go; that being said although this review will be spoiler free for Nexus there will be spoilers for Zenith.

Although I missed having the crew around for a larger part of this book than previously I think it actually really worked and I found Lira much more interesting in Nexus while she was away from Andi, the same goes for the Bloody Baroness herself who also was much improved. In Nexus, Andi is still very (understandably) focused on her friends devoutly it feels much more in the right place here and I think giving Andi a much more direct purpose she cared for really worked out well as well as giving her a legitimate reason that made sense as to why she’s so important in the fight against Nor. Her space pirate persona is, thankfully, much less overhyped this time around, even with there not being a huge amount of action involved and don’t even get me started on Dex becasue I actually liked him in Nexus which was a nice surprise, I think the events of Zenith really caused him to see what’s important and to grow a bit more of a spine without making him too overconfident to a fault. All the characters in-fact were much improved and although characters don’t have to be likeable for them to be good I think it is preferred that we understand their motives which we got in truckloads during Nexus and I couldn’t be happier about it.

There is a little romance in Nexus but it isn’t a huge plot point and I enjoyed it all the more because of that. Romantic scenes didn’t feel out of place or as flat or frustrating as it had done previously and I actually enjoyed them and the paring as a whole.

The writing was much improved which makes sense, whether it be a result of the collaborating authors working together better after already writing one book with each other or perhaps experience over time? I found there were a lot less clunky sentences and I didn’t find myself having to reread parts to make sense of them which I experienced in Zenith. Apart from a small part in the middle, the pacing was spot on and towards the end especially I found myself reading frantically, desperate to know what happened, there was some good tension building for sure. I really enjoyed the ending despite having worried that I was getting perilously close to the end of the book with no clue as to the outcome (a good thing, it just makes me anxious!).

Overall, Nexus was a good read and one I would be happy to recommend, I absolutely loved reading it and would say it’s definitely worth giving it a try even if Zenith fell short for you as you may be pleasantly surprised! Nexus is out now on Kindle and releases on paperback in the UK on June 13th.

(Extra note that isn’t at all relevant to the review at all but I’m meeting Sasha later this month and I’m SO excited!!)

 

spoiler free, tbr thursday

May TBR Thursday

So March took forever but April has absolutely flown by so incredibly fast! I am glad though because there are some brilliant books out this month and I’m planning to read a good few books I’ve been excited to read that have been on my TBR for far too long, I’ve been talking about it for months but…

MY SCI-FI BINGE HAS FINALLY ARRIVED!

Aurora Rising by Amy Kauffman and Jay Kristoff
One of my friends who received a copy of the Aurora Rising arc was kind enough to lend to me and you bet I’m already reading this and therefore I figured this was the absolute perfect time to begin my sci-fi binge I’ve been promising myself for ages. If you’ve been following my blog or any of my social media even slightly you’ll probably already know that this book is my most anticipated book this year, possibly even since I finished Obsido last year and discovered there would be a new co-authored series by Amy and Jay. I’m looking forward to some serious reading time over the next few days let me tell you.

LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff
I was so excited for this book when it came out and even won a copy at YALC last year but I’ve just not been able to quite fit it in. I’m such a mood reader and I just haven’t found myself in the right mood but I’m positive between Aurora Rising and Defy the Stars, alongside all these other awesome books I’ve been desperate to read that I’ll be at the perfect point to finally read this and prepare myself for the sequel coming in June.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Another book I acquired at YALC (I’ve just realised that almost all of the books on this lift I purchased, won or was gifted all of these books at YALC 2018, what are the odds?) I’ve heard amazing things about Becky Chambers and her books then I watched the sci-fi panel with Becky, Lauren James and Sasha Alsberg and knew I needed the Wayfarers books in my life and I’m excited to finally make a start on them this month.

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
I loved Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Bloodline book and when I found that she had written her own original sci-fi series as well and there was a possible android romance kind of thing going on I was even more intrigued so brought it at YALC last year and I think it’s time.

Do you Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
So many people on my Twitter timeline that like similar books to me have adored Do you Dream of Terra-Two and it was already on my TBR but having just seen that Temi Oh will be at YALC this year on the day I can actually attend I figured now would be as good a time as any to read this book.

I think this list may be a little ambitious purely because if I enjoy the first one and time it right I will likely continue to read the rest of the Wayfarer series after The Long way to a Small Angry Planet which may affect how many of these I actually get to read. Also depending what shipping times are like I have also ordered Aurora Rising from GC Reads to ensure I receive the Memento novella so that will be read the moment it arrives as well, I’ve also got a convention coming up at the end of the month and a few bits to keep me busy so I feel like this TBR for the month is optimistic but we shall see!

 

 

Tags

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

I loved reading Sarah’s unpopular opinions book tag last week and decided I would try it out myself, you can check hers out here.

1. A popular book or series that you didn’t like?

The Witchlands series. I tried both Truthwitch and Windwitch but I just really couldn’t get on with them. I even tried Sightwitch and an excerpt of Bloodwitch but just had to conclude they’re just not for me.

2. A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love?

This question seems to be a bit contradictory, if everyone seems to hate it why is it popular? The closest book I coud think of was Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian. A lot of people (understandably) complain that it’s too samey, the story as all been done before etc but then eat up more of the same. For me, yes this story was a familar one but I personally really enjoyed the way Laura writes as well as main character, Theo who really made this book different for me, I loved her attitude, her resolve and her resilience, she really made this book for me and I can’t wait for the UK release of Lady Smoke!

3. A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with OR a OTP that you don’t like?

I really am not a fan of a lot of the pairings in throne of glass. Aelin and Rowan being the big one for me. Honestly I would have preferred Aelin and Manon, or maybe Aelin, Manon AND Dorian. Maybe just no one? I get that people like this “epic romance” but all I can think of was the time he hurt and scared her so much she wet herself or when he bit her into submission when she was very VERY much not up for it. Just ew.

4. A popular book genre that you hardly reach for?

Contemporary. I know I sound like a broken record whenever I say this and I do love some contemporary books but I’m very VERY picky when choosing them and it’s very rarely that I do so.

5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like?

Chaol Westfall. I feel like Chaol may be the marmite of the fantasy world, a lot of people, like myself liked him to begin with but then severely disliked him after the way he treats Aelin when he discovers her identity (understandably). A lot of readers seemed to like him again after Tower of Dawn but it didn’t really do much for me apart from make me like him less to the point where I really could not care less for his character right now (I do still need to read Kingdom of Ash though!)

6. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into?

Laura Dockrill. I’ve tried a few different books of hers such as Loreali and Big Bones but I just couldn’t get on with them and DNF’ed both.

7. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing?

Kick-ass girl/woman who is suddenly helpless for almost no reason or who’s personality totally changes because of a love interest.

8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading?

The outlander books. They seemed to have had a revival in popularity with the show coming out and I understand that people enjoy them but they’ve never really held any interest for me.

9. The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book? 

Stardust!! The book is good don’t get me wrong but the film is absoluteley brillant and one of my favourites.

Thank you so much for checking out this tag! It’s made me really think about some the books I read and why I’ms still so determined to actually read Kingdom of Ash at some point when I dislike so many of the characters in it (I’m pretty much just in this for Dorian and Manon at this point). I won’t tag anyone in particular for this but if it seems something you would enjoy by all means go for it and let me know so I can check out your post.