spoiler free, Tags

A-Z Tag

tag Thursday

I’ve seen this book tag floating around for such a long time now but have never had the chance to do it myself! I found it while checking out Lois’s blog, Lois Reads here. I love a good book tag and this has been one of my favourites so far! I hope you enjoy the A-Z book tag!

An author you’ve Read the Most Books From

Probably Cassandra Clare because of the sheer amount of Shadowhunters books and I still haven’t gotten around to the Red Scrolls of Magic yet! A close second would probably be Maria V. Snyder.


Best Sequel Ever

I sound like a broken record but Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, I didn’t think anything would be able to live up to Illumiane but Gemina did a damned good job. I also want to give an honourable mention to Vengeful by V. Schwab because it was absolutely perfect. Vengeful is probably the best sequel but Gemina is my favourite.

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Currently Reading

I had planned to read something different but this morning I decided to read The Girl the Water Gave Back by Adrienne Young.


Drink of Choice Whilst Reading

I tend not to drink too much while I’m reading as I tend to do little and often usually but if I’m settling in for a long read I usually have a cold glass of squash but as it gets colder I’ll be breaking out the hot chocolate for sure.


E-Reader or Physical Book

I jump between both but tend to lean towards physical books, mainly because there’s just something about looking up at my bookshelves full of all my favourite books and the memories they hold. I do like that that if I finish a book at 3am I can just download it’s sequel on my kindle – I do not recommend this if you plan to sleep ever.


Fictional Character You Probably would have Actually Dated in High School

I feel like there would be many unrequited crushes on my part, Ari from Once and Future, Mia from Nevernight, Finn from Aurora Rising, Jace from City of Bones, Stormer from Jem and the Holograms and Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. I feel like Simon Lewis from the Shadowhunter Chronicles would probably be the only one I might have actually dated with our similar nerdy interests.


Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

Gah! There have been SO many books I’ve read on a whim and absolutely loved so I refuse to pick one, The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman, Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, Adrift by Rob Boffard and Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy.


Hidden Gem Book

Sanctuary by V.V James, it’s not really that hidden anymore, especially after it was the book in the Illumicrate box last month but when I read it months ago I was so happy to have found it when I wasn’t looking for it.

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Important Moment in your Reading Life

When I read The Two Princesses of Barremare when I was (a lot) younger, for the first time and I fell head over heels in love with the characters, I felt so immersed in their world and they felt like real people to me when I was younger and I really think that Addie facing her fears helped me in some ways to become who I am today.


Just Finished

I finished Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff last night and I am…wrecked.


Kind of Books you Won’t Read

I don’t like super heavy adult books and I’m not comfortable reading anything that features miscarriage.


Longest Book you’ve Read

I’m fairly certain this is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at 734 pages but with A Discovery of Witches coming a close second at 688 pages. I don’t really read a lot of long books.

Scrap this, I just double-checked and actually, Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassie Clare was the longest book I’ve read at 912 pages. Ouch.

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Major Book Hangover because of

The only one I can really think of was after I read Lord of Shadows by Cassie Clare. The ending wrecked me and I think I was just a little burnt out after reading a couple of huge books in a row, I didn’t read for almost three months.


Number of Bookcases you Own

There are two small bookcases in our hallway filled mostly with Manga and I have another four in our bedroom, one of which is only half-sized and mostly contains video games.

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One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

I haven’t reread a lot of books lately, I used to reread The Hobbit every year but it’s been a little while now and I just haven’t found the time to get back to it, that and I have so many great new books to read that I don’t feel like I could justify it. I do however listen to audiobooks before bed quite often and I always pick ones I’ve read/heard before so that I can actually get to sleep. The most popular is either Illuminae, Gemina or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them because I adore Eddie Redmayne reading it.


Preferred Place to Read

I love to read on my comfy sofa in our bedroom! I’ve made my own little reading nook which is also where I film my YouTube videos on our old sofa that we were going to get rid of because it had a rip in it but it was too comfy and I couldn’t part with it so I just have a blanket covering it and it’s all good! I do also tend to read in/on my bed quite a lot too.


Quote that Inspires You

It’s probably a strange one and there are a lot of great quotes out there that I also love but this one has always stuck with me from Warm Bodies by Issac Marrion. It reminds me to speak up, whether for others or myself I don’t want to be silent either in my words or my actions and I will keep on going.

“I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.”


Reading Regret

I wish I hadn’t stopped reading. It was really only a few years but I can’t help at despair at all the books I could have read in that time and all the great books I missed. Still, I came back and that’s what matters.


Series You Started but Need to Finish

Six of Crows I guess? I got about halfway through the first book and had to get another book read for a blog tour but haven’t got back to it yet.


Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books

  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
  • Illuminae by Jay Kristoff
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Unapologetic Fangirl for

Lauren James, she’s an absolute instabuy author for me and I have yet to read one of her books that I haven’t adored.

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Very Excited for this Release More than Others

Darkdawn. I am both excited and terrified to be honest. I NEED ANSWERS.

Also Queen of Nothing. I hate to be so predictable but eh.


Worst Habit

Requesting or accepting books to review when I already have a ton to read. I’ll go to check a release date or something on Netgalley and end up requesting books because I’m a narcissistic idiot. It’s the same when I receive emails from publishers, I see a book I just KNOW I would love and would kick myself for not requesting and then it sits on my shelves forever. I’m trying to get through my backlog now.


X Marks the Spot – the 27th Book on Your Shelf

This is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I loved this book so much, it was the first Laini Taylor book I’d ever read and her prose is absolutely poetic. This was my second book from Fairy Loot too so it has the blue-stained edges and is signed and personalised to me after I met Laini a couple of years back at YALC.

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Your Latest Book Purchase

Technically it was the Goldsborough edition of Darkdawn I guess? It won’t arrive until mid-September but I ordered it yesterday when a few extras went up for sale. Before that, I brought books at YALC and can’t remember which one I brought last.


Zzzz Snatcher

I stayed up until 4am reading The Quiet at The End of The World after hitting a plot twist at around 2:30am. It was worth it but I do not recommend it if you have a dependent child waking you up at 6am.

I hope you enjoyed the A-Z book tag! This has given me an idea for a simialr book tag myself but with a twist so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon! I won’t tag anyone in particualr but you’d like to take part feel free and make sure to let me know so I can check out your answers!

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 31st

So in the aftermath of YALC (event report coming tomorrow), it’s time for the last WWW Wednesday of the month.

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?

I am finally reading Nevernight!! With Darkdawn just around the corner and Jay coming to the UK in September it’s finally time. I’m flipping love it so far and I’m almost halfway through already!

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Do you Dream of Terra-Two? Just before YALC and I found it pretty underwhelming sadly. It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t find it interesting enough for me but I’ll talk more about that in my review to come.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I was going to say definitely Godsgrave next but it depends how Nevernight ends as I do have a growing pile of review copies to read atm and I feel like maybe I should get at least one of them read in between but we’ll see, I know I need it read before September for Darkdawn and MEETING JAY HIMSELF!

Tell me how you’re reading has been going? Have there been any books you didn’t like or DNF? Maybe you read a book you really liked? Tell me about them!

book reviews, spoiler free

The Paper and Hearts Society

40853731The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

Rating: XXXX

Published June 13th by Hodder Children’s books

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that any book lover in want of a good book will always find one in a library.” 

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn’t want to go to parties – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.

It’s like she hasn’t found her people …

Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING – especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.

But Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed have something that makes Tabby come back. Maybe it’s the Austen-themed fancy-dress parties or Ed’s fluffy cat Mrs Simpkins, or could it be Henry himself …

Can Tabby let her weird out AND live THE BEST BOOKISH LIFE POSSIBLE?

I had already seen a lot about The Paper and Hearts Society on Twitter, including when it was announced so it’s been exciting watching as the synopsis and covers were revealed etc. I’ve also recently been hearing about this book from a lot of blogger friends for a while now too so I made sure to preorder and started it the evening it arrived. I was so in the mood for something a little softer, something fun and sweet.

This was a lovely easy, comfortable read, it felt like a perfect summers day. The characters feel real enough to jump out of the pages to give you a hug or go shopping at the book store, which would be fine with me, I love them all so much with Ed being my absolute favourite, he’s hilarious but a nice mix of silly and compassionate, he’s going on my list of characters I would die for. Each character had different interesting traits and flaws making them easy to recognise and remember, everyone is a memorable individual, for example: “This is Oliva she loves Jane Austen and making lists, she can be a little two focused but she’s supportive and lovely as well as enthusiastic.”

I found the plot a little predictable but it didn’t really lessen the feel of the story for me, especially as part of me was just waiting for certain things to happen and I figured they would happen at some point but not when so that kept me on my toes and there were some bits that still shocked me! As a result, I think I read this so quick out of a mix of enjoyment and anxiety! The writing style is lovely and I found a lot of Tabby’s thoughts similar to my own even now I’m probably almost double her age.

The Paper and Hearts Society is a love letter to the friends we make in the bookish community and as an older reader it made me wish I had gotten out of my shell a little more when I was younger, I hope the teenagers reading it today will open up a little more after reading this like I should have done years ago and found amazing friends like main character Tabby does in this book because although it’s taken me time I’m so glad to have finally found my people, both in real life and via social media.

The Paper and Hearts Society is out now and a sequel has already been announced titled The Paper and Hearts Society: Read with Pride and I already can’t wait!

 

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books and the Seaside

I was hoping by the time this prompt turned up we would have been able to go on a family trip to the beach but no such luck yet! Soon though hopefully! For now, however, I just decided to see if I could think of six books that feature the seaside, or beaches at the very least.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
I adored this really sweet and relatable tale based in one of my favourite places in the world, Devon! I used to go on holiday with my family to Devon every year for most of my childhood and I love the place to death and it really helped me envision a lot of the beach scenes in this book.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
This is an ultimate beach book, don’t get me wrong, it’s hard and full of chest gnawing grief but I swear you can hear the waves and feel the sand between your toes reading some of the scenes in this book.

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne Harris
A completely different feel from the beaches of Summer Bird Blue, for me the beaches of The Blue Salt Road are cold and windy, filled with pebbles and sea spray, not to mention selkies.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
The beach out by the Los Angeles institute features in all three of The Dark Artifices books but my favourite beach moment is right at the end of Queen of Air and Darkness. If you know, you know.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
I’ve been rewatching the Twilight films if I can’t sleep recently and I ended up watching the whole of New Moon and Eclipse last week instead of actually sleeping. I remember when reading them I loved the sound of La Push and the reservation etc and I love the scene with Bella and Jacob just walking along the beach chatting before all the supernatural stuff didn’t seem real.

The Wicked King by Holly Black
So I know this is pushing it a little but one of the biggest and most important scenes happens on a beach! (I literally just lost half an hour after going to check it was defintley on a beach and carried on reading the end of the book again damnit) So it totally counts right? I’m already so desperate for the Queen of Nothing already like I can’t explain. GIVE ME MORE.

Okay so only of these technically featured a “seaside” but they all have beaches in! Or at least sand? This was still easier than finding sunshine on covers last week at least! Also as I’m writing this the weather here is absolutely horrid, it’s humid and rainy and gross so thinking about these lovely beaches has been quite nice!

I also want to mention Lifes a Beach (Bookshop Girl #2) by Chloe Coles because this would have been a perfect book for this post but despite loving the first book I haven’t got around to its sequel yet and I’m disappointed in myself for it so this is me, calling myself out and telling me to read that damn book already.

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!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 17th

Okay so after June moving at a glacial pace July is moving far too quickly, YALC is next week and I still have so much more to read! Still, it’s time for my fortnightly bookish check-in!

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? 

I feel slightly victimized by this question because I’ve dipped my toe into numerous books over the past fortnight as I frantically try to find the best order to read them in. My main current read is Revenger by Alastair Reynolds in preparation for YALC (and I’ve had it to read for a while). I’ve also been reading Finding Home by Hari Conner and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil, both of which have been absolutely healing my soul. I’ve been enjoying Revenger as well but there’s just something about the story and art styles for these two graphic novels that just soothes me, Hari’s landscape pieces transport me to beautiful forests where I can fill my lungs with sweet air and Katie’s soft edges and pastel colours lull me into a relaxed dreamland, I can’t get enough of them.

What did you recently finish reading?

Last weekend I finished Wastelands: The New Apocolypse, the dystopian anthology I was reading and Heartstream. I really enjoyed Heartstream and read it very quickly, it was a little traumatising and had some difficult parts in it but I loved it, you can check out my review here. Wastelands was a great anthology but it just felt so huge! Just writing the review is taking me ages as I made notes for every single story and there are over thirty of them! I’m glad I decided to read it but I was so pleased to finally finish it. A review should be coming next week with any luck.

What do you think you’ll read next?

For a change, this is actually super easy to answer and shouldn’t change! If it hasn’t already arrived by the time this post goes live Heartstopper volume two should be arriving and I’ll be dropping absolutely everything for that! My next YALC book to read is Do you Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh which will my next non-graphic novel read. I’m also lucky enough to have been accepted for the new Tea Dragon Society graphic novel due out in September so will defintley be getting to that too!

What are you reading next? What have you been reading? What are you reading right now? Let me know!! Those of you attending YALC and still working through your TBR’s for it how are you getting on?

 

book reviews

Heartstream

43151477._SY475_Heartstream by Tom Pollock

Rating: XXXXX

Published July 4th by Walker Books

I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie. Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

This was my first Tom Pollock novel, I had heard of him before but I had no idea what kind of books he wrote or much of anything about him. Walker Books contacted me and asked if I would be interested in an early finished copy for review and after reading the synopsis I was sold. I’ve started reading a few more thriller and psychological horror books over the past year or so, having not read anything like that at all until The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James but there are some absolute gems and Heartstream is one of them.

Heartstream is told from two different points of view, always alternating back and forth with each chapter which was equal parts infuriating (in a mostly good way) and absolute genius. Often there would be a revelation of some kind of things will just start heating up and you’re dreading the end of the chapter because you know it’s going to switch to another part of the story. It creates a whole load of tension on its own, that paired with Pollock’s fantastic tension building and writing style is a winning combination, especially as things begin to develop throughout the story.

The characters were interesting but instead of being focused on them I found I was more focused on the things that were happening to them in a terrifyingly personal way, I can remember their hair colour or details about them and they’re not bad characters but in a very fitting manner for a book featuring a software that allows you to experience others emotions first hand for yourself, the main impressions I have from them are their emotions. When the book released last week I described Heartstream as being “Slightly traumatising” one reason for this is that each emotional beat feels like it leaves a mark on you and a lot of the feelings are very intense.

For me personally I find it difficult to cope with situations where I feel there is no way out or that are seemingly hopeless and/or the main character is helpless to control things around them in any degree, (I’ve never actually seen the end of Face-Off because I decided it was a no way out thing) which are things our two main characters definitely confront throughout this novel. Some parts really terrified me in a helpless kind of way and absolutely hit some nerves for me as a mother as well, it was a little like watching a horror film in that I felt scared/freaked out but in an almost enjoyable way? It definitely lives up to the description of a psychological thriller for sure.

Tom Pollock is an incredible storyteller and Heartstream is a bold intricate tapestry with a striking red thread of tension woven in and throughout the stories of both Amy and Cat, binding them together.  It captures the toxic, obsessive, abusive and entitled side of fandoms we are beginning to see more and more of lately as well as a hauntingly accurate and intense look at cyberstalking and harassment. Heartstream is gripping, yet moving, an addictive ride that will have you feeling like you’re “streaming” from the characters yourself throughout.

Have you ever experienced any fandom related moments that you felt were just too much or too far? Years ago I met with a group of other fans of “My Little Pony” and was shocked and appalled after witnessing them loudly tearing a display apart, arguing over blind bag figures and being confrontational with the staff in a toy store. I actually stopped watching the show after that and since tend to distance myself from a lot of communities since then.