WWW Wednesday | 19.09.18

It’s time for another  WWW Wednesday or as it should be titled, ‘Ashley has yet to upload anything to her blog this week and this is an easy, last minute post’. Successful blogger, that is clearly (not) me. This meme, hosted by Taking on a World of Words, requires you to answer three simple questions: 1) What did you just finish? 2) What are you currently reading? and 3) What will you read next?

Recently Finished

35820405My Oxford Year – Julia Whelan | Goodreads

I picked this one expecting it to be some light, fluffy chick-lit featuring a romantic Oxford setting and a sexy literature professor as the love interest. Tick to the setting and double tick to the hot professor but NOOOOOOO to the light and fluffy. About half way through, the book flips in tone with the reveal of a big secret about the male lead.  I quite liked both Ella, our American protagonist, and Jamie, her British romantic interest, and the chemistry between the two is great. BUT man, this book broke my heart a little. The ending isn’t exactly sad in and of itself but thinking about what will happen after it definitely leaves a bit of a hole in the chest. Still, I liked that the book encourages you to pursue your passions, and reinforced the idea that while not all things last forever, it’s important to make the most of them while you can.

Currently Reading

30653853The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli | Goodreads

Yep, after putting it off for ages, I’m finally doing it. After missing out on my light and fluffy with My Oxford Year, I definitely needed it going into this one. As in Becky’s other books, the characters feel realistic and there’s a lot of diversity but I’m not as in love with them as I was with those in Simon. There are a few things about the plot that are bugging me but a lot of it I can narrow down to teenagers thinking and acting like teenagers – things that seem so important at that age, really aren’t in the overall scheme of things. I definitely relate to Molly a lot though and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in a lot of the self-confidence issues I have. Even some of her thoughts feel like somebody secretly copied and pasted them straight from my head. I’m almost finished, should be done tonight. Here’s hoping for a cute ending.

Up Next

29386918Wildcard (Warcross 2#) – Marie Lu | Goodreads

Yes, yes, I know I’m supposed to be following my sister’s TBR list for this month and I promise I’ll go back to it but I just can’t resist reading this book. It’s FINALLY out! YAYYYYYYYYY! I’m a little excited, can you tell? I almost jumped for joy when I found it a few days earlier than expected at the book store. I’ve seen some mixed reviews from those with ARCs so far, so I’m slighty concerned but hopefully it’s for nothing. I really enjoyed Warcross when I read it earlier this year so fingers crossed this one lives up to it. It’ll be good to spend some more time with my gal Emika again. Looking forward to seeing her kick some more virtual ass.

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What’s your current read & what’s up next?

Ash

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Top 10 Tuesday: Binge-Worthy TV Shows

It’s been a while since I last did a Top 10 Tuesday post so I thought it was about time I dive back in. This week’s topic is actually a non-bookish one for a change and relates to movies or TV. Like anyone, I love a good binge-worthy series – the ones that are so consuming you just have to watch the next episode, and the next, and the next, to find out what’ll happen. You know it’s good when you’ve watched so much that Netflix is checking whether it should play the next episode or not. TV tastes vary quite a lot so this is a hard list to create and still appeal to everyone. For that reason, here are ten shows that I, personally, binge-watched like a fiend (of which there are MANYYYYYY).

Stranger Things

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Gotta love a bit of 80s nostalgia. Stranger Things feels like if Spielberg and Stephen King had produced a TV baby. This is a binge watch for me every time I see it, especially since each season is only 8 episodes long. I love the characters (Dustin and STEVE!) and I’m a big fan of shows involving supernatural elements. For those few people who haven’t seen it, Stranger Things is set in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. After 12-year-old Will Buyers goes missing, Will’s friends and family launch an investigation which suggests the explanation may be otherworldly in nature.

TV 2

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There’s just something about twisted crime pieces that sucks me in. It’s a mood, okay? Don’t judge me. Mindhunter follows two FBI agents as they interview serial killers in an attempt to learn more about the way these individuals think in the hopes it will allow them to develop better profiling techniques. The acting is great and the show just has this gritty and dark atmosphere that’s so addicting. It’s also produced by director, David Fincher & actress, Charlize Theron. It’s not an action-packed kind of show but if you’re into slower, more subtle entertainment, it’s a solid pick.

TV 3

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I had to include at least one Marvel show on the list. I really loved Jessica Jones‘s first season but because I’m behind on season 2, I’ve gone with Daredevil. The action sequences are amazing, the characters are well done, and Charlie Cox is some serious eye candy. A blind superhero who’s not really blind is also a very cool concept. When the second season came out, only work was able to drag me away from my Netflix account.

TV 4

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This one is a major guilty pleasure binge. I’ll admit, I enjoy watching The Bachelor when it’s on (however, the Australian version is a little less insane than the US) and Unreal was created by a former producer on the US Bachelor & Bachelorette. The show is set behind the scenes of a very similar fictional tv series called Everlasting in which we witness the antics on set and the absolute crazy lengths creators will go to in order to keep making high rating TV. It’s got strong female leads and some of it is just hilarious (if a bit dark)

TV 5

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Yes, this is a controversial one but having seen the first season twice and the second season once, I’ve binge-watched each time. If you weren’t already aware (where have you been??), the premise of the show is that following the suicide of student Hannah Baker, 13 cassette tapes she made are sent around to a group of people whom Hannah claims to be the reasons behind her decision to take her own life. I powered through season one because I had to know why Clay, the show’s protagonist, was included on the tapes and even then, I needed to see how it’d end. It’s a tough show to watch at times and definitely DO NOT if you have experienced depression or suicidal thoughts before. Otherwise, it’s deeply emotional, well acted and has some nice underlying messages about how we treat others.

TV 6

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This show is so British, it hurts (in a good way, of course). It’s a very quirky, dark-comedy – a little bit Wes Craven, a tad Quentin Tarantino, and massively odd, but it’s also really funny and a hell of a ride. There’s only one season so far (greenlit for a second) and it’s 8 episodes long, perfect for binging. The show revolves around two teens –  angsty Alyssa, who wants to escape her home life, and James, who thinks himself a psychopath and is set on murdering Alyssa. The two decide to run away and end up on a road trip full of crazy stuff including a paedophile, exploding car, and petrol station attendant called Frodo. I wasn’t sure how I felt at the start but it really does grow on you in a way you don’t expect.

TV 7

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Another crime series. I don’t watch many mass season crime shows these days, with every episode a different case. However, I do enjoy limited episode series with confined season long investigations. And because of the need to find out who did it and how, I tend to binge them. Broadchurch is a great watch. David Tenant (LOVE) and Olivia Coleman are absolutely fantastic and each of the three seasons is well written and fabulously filmed. The first season deals with the murder of an eleven-year-old boy and showcases the investigation, the impact the death has on his family, and the various personalities of people living in the small coast-side town.

TV 8

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Oh, man. Now, this is guilty pleasure town. Netflix recently put a few older seasons of this up and I’m addicted. I will honestly sit for hours and just watch episode after episode of people frantically sewing clothes into the late hours of the morning and bitching about each other behind their backs. Reality tv at it’s most mind-numbingly enjoyable.

TV 9

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BtVS is one of my favourite tv series of all time. Easy. I could watch this thing through 1000 times and still not be sick of it. Yes, it can be a little campy and the special effects are definitely on the dated side, but it’s such a great show and one of Joss Whedon’s best productions. The characters are wonderful and the show itself perfectly straddles action, horror and comedy with some romance thrown in. Watching Buffy and friends kick ass and save the world from vampires, demons and everything else creepy-crawly is one of the best ways to spend a night in.

TV 10

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While the revival is certainly questionable, the first five or so seasons of Gilmore Girls are one of my favourite things to binge. Every time I watch, I feel like I’m teen again, watching with my mum. It’s such a comforting, heartwarming and fun show that never ceases to make me smile. Watching mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory go about their lives and witnessing the crazy hijinks of the tiny town they live in is definitely my idea of bingeable entertainment. It’s also funny and ridiculously quotable. Oy, with the poodles already!

What are your favourite TV shows to binge watch?

WWW Wednesday | 29.08.18

It’s time for another episode of WWW Wednesday or as I like to say, ‘Ashley repeats stuff you’re going to find in her monthly wrap up at the end of the week in order to pad out a very weak blogging month’.
As usual, this meme, hosted by Taking on a World of Words, requires you to answer three simple questions: 1) What did you just finish? 2) What are you currently reading? and 3) What will you read next? Let’s dive in.

RF

IMG_5277The Plastic Magician (The Paper Magician 4#) – Charlie N. Holmberg

I finally read my ARC e-copy of The Plastic Magician! It’s been quite a few months since I was given it – oops! – and considering how small it is, it’s taken me a while to finish because I’ve been reading it purely on my phone during open inspections (I work for a real estate agency). I found this one a sweet, light read. There’s not much depth to the plot or the characters which meant I was a little bored in some sections. The MC is cute though and I liked the scientific approach to magic. Full review.

Image result for soulless gail carrigerSoulless (Parasol Protectorate 1#) – Gail Carriger

Weirdly, I decided to read two English set, period books at the same time. I was similarly bored at the beginning of this one but it picked up after a while. It’s no great work of literature but I had fun – it’s an odd blend of urban fantasy, mystery, steampunk, and romance. The heroine is witty, there’s a very flamboyant vampire friend, and an amusingly gruff, werewolf romantic interest. May read the sequel if I find time – they’re only short.

CR

IMG_5275Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian

The plot of this one isn’t exactly the road less travelled but I’m enjoying it just the same. I don’t mind the characters and although there’s a love triangle of sorts, it’s not pissing me off too much. Theo’s a decent protagonist as she’s reasonably strong. I’ll probably read the sequels because I want to see her burn everything down and laugh over the ashes. I’m also quite interested in the magic system with its gods and links to certain stones. Hopefully I’ll get to find out more in later books.

IMG_5273The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

I was so keen to get stuck into this one but the first part of the book is really jarring because it’s not what I expected. The book starts off with you being given basically no information – you’re literally dumped in the shoes of a confused MC with no memory– and it takes a while before you begin getting some explanation. I think it’ll definitely improve a lot now that the MC has a better idea of what he has to do (solve a murder by experiencing the day over and over again in the bodies of different party guests). I’m certainly intrigued!

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This is a tricky one. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be finished Ash Princess today as I have less than 100 pages to go and TSDOEH is too big to carry around on public transport. I’ve asked my sister to pick my September TBR (I’ll post it at the end of the week) so I’m wondering whether I should just get stuck into that or pick something short to read in the meantime.

IMG_5274Option 1: Start September TBR – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

I didn’t get around to this one as part of my August readathon but lucky for me, my sister thought it sounded cool and added it to the September list. I’m looking forward to it, I think it’ll be a great read. Preparing myself for emotional turmoil though.

Option 2: A Quick Re-Read – Shadow & Bone (Leigh Bardugo)

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I read this one last year in search of more Six of Crows magic. It was fine but nothing fantastic. However, with all the talk of King of Scars, I recently purchased Siege and Storm so that I’d get a chance to properly meet Nikolai Lantsov. I’m a bit rusty on some of the details (except that I find Mal boring and the Darkling amazeballs) so I’d like to do a reread before tackling book 2.

What are you currently reading? And which book do you think I should read next?

Love Ashley

WWW Wednesday| 25.07.18

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words designed to keep people updated on how you’re going with your reading by answering three questions: what did you just finish, what are you currently reading, and what are you planning on reading next? Ready, set, go!


RF

Image result for grace and furyGrace & Fury – Tracey Banghart

I’d only heard about this book fairly recently when I decided to apply for an ARC through Netgalley. To my surprise, I was approved. And even more surprising, I decided not to play hard to get for the next 6 months, I just sat down and read it. I ended up finishing in about 2 days and loved it!

The two main characters, Nomi & Serina, were such strong and well-written leads. The story itself was engaging and had great range with the two concurrent plotlines. But the best part was that it was just so damn empowering as a female reader! It’s a bit The Handmaid’s Tale, a little Red Queen, and a lot of awesome. I felt like I could tackle anything after finishing this. Definitely would recommend!

Goodreads


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7736182The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus 1#) – Rick Riordan

I told you guys I was keen to start THoO after finishing Percy last month and now, here I am! At this point, I’m less than 200 pages from the end and I’m having a great time. I really like the new characters, Jason, Piper, and Leo, and I think the introduction of the Roman mythology elements is great, even though I’m still a little bit muddled on how they interact with the Greek history. I’m kind of an impatient person so I’m really looking forward to getting a whole bunch of questions answered and mysteries solved, especially about the antagonist and bits of the prophecy (I expect I have a while to go on the second front). I should be finished in the next day or so, bringing my readathon total up to 6.

Goodreads


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2892159The Last Wish (The Witcher 1#) – Andrzej Sapkowski

Picking my next read was very difficult because 1) I’ll only have 5 days to read it before my August readathon begins and 2) It can’t be any of the books I’ve selected to read during said readathon. I’ve ended up settling on The Last Wish. I LOVE the Witcher video game series. You have no idea how many hours I’ve lost to those games. I’ve had this book sitting in my bookcase for a few months now and I’m looking forward to learning more about the history of the characters and the world. It’s translated from Polish, so that’ll be something new and different too. Bring on the monsters, sorceresses, dwarves and sword-wielding mutants.

Goodreads


How’s your current read going and what are you looking forward to reading next?

Love Ashley

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic, courtesy of host Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl, is ‘books with sensory reading memories’. I struggled to come up with selections for that topic so I’ve decided to bump up the top for next week to this week instead, which is popular books that lived up to the hype.

We all know how hit and miss the hype train can be so it’s always nice when you find books that actually manage to live up to expectations. The results are different for everyone so here are 10 books that I found myself agreeing with the positive (and very loud) book community consensus on.


1

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Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles 1#) – Marissa Meyer

I’ve mentioned this one as a welcome surprise a few times since I read it last year, so I won’t bore you with the same info over again. I expected mediocre and cheesy but ended up having a lot of fun.


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The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

This book deserves its hyped reputation and awards. It’s fantastically crafted with great attention to detail, lots of emotion, and wonderfully written characters. A romance for the ages with enough war, gods, and political squabbles to interest anyone.


3

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Scythe (Arc of a Scythe 1#) – Neal Shusterman

One of my favourite reads of 2018 so far. The world is so well constructed and very unique. Although the plot is slower than some people might like, it’s definitely entertaining and there’s a lot of big moral questions.

Review


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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

One word: Love.

Review


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Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Absolutely beautifully written. The world and characters are compelling, the prose is gorgeous, and it ends on a major screw you cliffhanger.

Review


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A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses 2#) – Sarah J Maas

You guys don’t need to hear me sing this one’s praises. It’s been done. The first book was massively mediocre and almost stopped me reading the rest of the series. The hype got me to try this one and thank goodness, because I loved it. It’s great.

Review


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Illuminae (The Illuminae Files 1#) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I picked this one off the children’s wall at the bookstore after seeing fabulous things about it (admittedly, this was still pretty early on, even before Gemina) but I was very nervous about the variations in style. I shouldn’t have been. The book is action-packed, with great characters, some big twists, and just generally so much fun to read.


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The Princess Bride – William Golding

The movie adaptation of this book is one I’ve watched several times. I always laugh and it’s just so endlessly quotable. The book is no different. It’s spoofy, humorous fun and I’m sorry it took me so long to finally read it.


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Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

It’s a classic crime book for a reason. Christie really knows her stuff. This and And Then There Were None are regarded as two of her best novels and they live up to their reputations. I definitely recommend reading this one if you like period crime books and if you don’t already know how it ends.


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Red Rising (Red Rising 1#) – Pierce Brown

I was ready to write this one off as a victim of the hype train but once I got past the first 100 or so pages, I was hooked. The book and rest of the series are a rollercoaster of action, backstabbing, plot twists, and emotional upheaval.

Review

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Which hyped books lived up to your expectations? Help me navigate the minefield!

Love Ashley

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far)

This week’s top ten Tuesday topic is a list of your favourite reads of 2018 so far. I touched on this briefly when I did the mid-year freak out tag a few weeks ago but since it’s always fun talking about fantastic books, I thought, why not expand on it here. Creating this list was really tough in places because I’ve read some great books this year. If you were to ask me the same question again tomorrow, I’m likely to have changed the list by then, it’s just that hard. I’m so indecisive – did I like this book better than this book? Oh, but I rated this book higher, but then I read this one super quick, it’s just crazy. So here are the ten I’ve come up with for today. The books are listed in order of the date I read them (because who wants the grief of trying to rank them, heaven forbid)


1

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

★★★★★

I feel like I’ve raved about this one enough for you guys to know how much I enjoyed it. Like I said in my review, it’s better than Oreos – sweet, funny, emotional, and uplifting, this is the definition of a good YA contemporary.

Review here.


2

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A Torch Against the Night (Sabaa Tahir)

★★★★

It’s always a nice thing when books avoid sequel suckage syndrome. This was a great adventure. I love both Helene and Elias so it’s was really interesting watching them play cat and mouse across the country. The prison scenes were also extremely entertaining and the book ended in a place that left me super excited to read A Reaper at the Gates.


3

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The Cruel Prince (Holly Black)

★★★★

I’ve never been a huge fan of fairy books, with a few exceptions, but it’s books like this that have started to change my mind of late. Yes, the world building is a little lacking and some of the plot is on the slow side but I had a great time reading this one. The characters are morally ambiguous, there’s scheming and backstabbing, and the ending is fabulously dramatic. I can’t wait for The Wicked King.

Review here.


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Red Rising Series (Pierce Brown)

★★★★★

Yes, this is three books so I’m cheating but 1) they were all excellent and 2) I didn’t want a third of this list to just be RR books. I loved this series. LOVED. Well written characters, epic action scenes, dramatic twists, amazing world building, and some intense emotional moments, what more do you want? Also, unlike some other series, it finishes even stronger than it begins. Definitely would recommend to sci-fi fans!

Series review here.


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Call Me By Your Name (Andre Aciman)

★★★★

This book was such a change of pace for me. I picked it up after falling in love with the film and the novel is just as magical. The writing is absolutely beautiful and the book itself is just heartbreaking but so, so worth it.


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Warcross (Marie Lu)

★★★★.5

This was my first experience with Marie Lu and it was wonderful! The Warcross matches themselves were so much fun and Emilka was a strong, smart and well developed MC. The plot twist at the end is predictable but still enjoyable because of the direction it takes the story. The sequel, Wildcard, is one of my most anticipated releases for the second half of 2018.


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Scythe (Neal Shusterman)

★★★★★

I had to wait for ages to get this book in Australia but it was worth it. The world is unique and extremely well constructed, the book deals with some big questions about morality, power, and life itself, and the characters are complex but likeable. The plot will be a bit slow for some people but I enjoyed it immensely!

Review here.


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Leah on the Offbeat (Becky Albertalli)

★★★★.5

I’ve had a good year so far with Becky Albertalli books. Leah was one of my least favourite characters in Simon but after this book, I gained such a new appreciation for her. She has her stubborn moments but she’s also super relatable and I loved the development of her relationship with Abby. Plus I got to spend some more time with the other adorable Simon characters. Winner!


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The Last Olympian (Rick Riordan)

★★★★.5

Up until this book I’d had fun reading the Percy Jackson series but I had yet to reach a book where I was genuinely super keen to find out how it would end. That was this book for me. The plot was exciting and actually felt like it’d have a lasting impact on the world of the books instead of just being Percy and co’s latest adventure. I loved that the stakes felt real and there was a chance for characters to showcase true bravery. It was a much more mature read and I really appreciated that!


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The Song of Achilles (Madeline Miller)

★★★★.8

Wow. I cannot believe I waited so long to read this one because it was AMAZING. Miller puts so much detail into the book but without bogging down the story. I loved Patroclus as a narrator and the romance between him and Achilles is beautifully done. The downside, however, is that the book leaves you an emotional wreck at the end.

Review to come soon!

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And that rounds out my top ten! Are there any favourites we’ve shared? What have been some of your best reads of 2018 thus far?

Here’s to many more fantastic books in the second half of the year!

Love Ashley

WWW Wednesday | 4.07.18

Time for the usual spiel: WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words designed to keep people updated on how you’re going with your reading by answering three questions: what did you just finish, what are you currently reading, and what are you planning on reading next? Now, let’s dive in.


RF

15749186To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

As you may have seen from yesterday’s book review, I just finished the first book in Jenny Han’s popular ya series, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I thought this book was really cute and despite it’s obvious flaws I had a great time reading it. The protagonist Lara Jean is a little bit young and naive at times but I  still generally found her likeable. I’d really like to read the sequel very soon but I’ll probably have to put it off because of my readathons for the next two months. Sad face. Here’s my full review if you’re interested.


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34499221To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo

Yes, I’m finally reading this one! I’d been trying to track down this book ever since it was released and only managed to find it at the book store at the end of June (damn, Australia). It perfectly fits my Care of Magical Creatures prompt for my Harry Potter readathon this month so I didn’t need much more prodding than that. I’ve been powering through and it’s been really enjoyable so far. The plot has a good sense of pace and direction, the characters are engaging and likeable, and I’m having a lot of fun reading as Lira and Elian verbally spar with one another. The world building is pretty decent too. It’s looking like a winner to me.


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33158541The Wicker King – K. Ancrum

Another book from my July readathon reading list! I think this will be a pretty quick read because of the writing style variations. It looks like a very different book from my usual so it could go either way in terms of how much I enjoy it. I’ve heard some really good things though (and it has a 4.07 average Goodreads rating) so here’s hoping the result is positive. It might also be nice to read something that deals with some real world issues such as mental health.  I mean I love magic, pirates, dragons and assassins, but I really do need to branch out on occasion. Divider

What are you currently reading? Is it any good?

What do you plan on tackling next?

Love Ashley