And That’s a Wrap: May ’19 Edition

Another month is over and the next one begins. As usual, that means it’s time for a wrap up. Overall, May’s been a pretty decent month for reading, book purchases and well…life, I guess. Let’s review, shall we?

Verity – Colleen Hoover ★★★★.5

Unlike Colleen’s other books, Verity is a thriller and it’s a dark one at that. But god, was this addictive. Once I started, I had so much trouble putting it down – I just needed to know what happened. While it does involve a romance, there’s a lot more to the plot than that. You may guess some of the twists but it’s enjoyable all the same and the ending is far from clear cut.

One True Loves – Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★.5

Having only read Reid’s later work, I was interested to see how her early romantic contemporaries compared. One True Loves is a decent read. There’s real emotion behind it and the characters are easy to sympathise with, even if the premise is unbelievable. If you’re looking for some chick lit, this is a fairly enjoyable pick. Unfortunately for me though, it’s not something I’d consider memorable or be keen to reread in future.

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston ★★★★★ | Review

You guys have heard me gush about this book enough this month. It was sweet, sexy, and funny. It’s massively LGBTI positive and the characters are great. I don’t usually read much in the way of new adult but if there are more reads like RW&RB out there, maybe I should!

Slayer – Kiersten White ★★★.5

As I mentioned in my recent Buffy book tag post, I’m a huge BtVS fan so there was no way I was going to be able to resist this. The world building is great and it’s clear how much White adores Buffy. Unfortunately though, the plot is slow for long stretches and predictable. Also, on numerous occasions the characters’ actions are very frustrating. Yet, things certainly pick up in the last third or so and I found that Nina as a protagonist grew on me as the book progressed. There were also some nice emotional moments. If I’m in the mood, I may pick up the sequel when it releases.

Aurora Rising – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman ★★★.5

Amie and Jay are back with more space adventures! I was massively excited for this release and while I enjoyed it, I can’t say I loved it. The characters are likeable but after everything, I still feel like I don’t know them very well and haven’t properly connected. For this reason, the ending didn’t really hit me as hard as it should have, but points for being unexpected. The world building was really good and I’m looking forward to spending more time in this version of our galaxy. The plot certainly has momentum, but I’m not too sure how I feel about the choice of the antagonistic element here. Still, I’ll definitely give the next book a go.

After – Anna Todd ★

Yeah, yeah. I knew this would be trash, I was just interested in finding out what kind of trash. Plus it was something easy to read on my trip to Melbourne. Not only is the romance extremely toxic, there’s basically no plot (it pretty much just alternates between Hardin & Tessa fighting and having sex) and the writing itself is pretty darn awful (has Anna Todd ever heard of contractions before? Everyone in this book talks like a robot). How this was so popular, I have no idea.

Four books this month, two of which I read during it, so not so bad at all! Originally I had no plans to continue with the Caraval books but with Finale having just been released and it popping up EVERYWHERE, I caved and bought Legendary.

I’ve wanted to read the His Dark Materials books for years now and just never really gotten around to it. This month I had an extra credit on my audible account so I thought why not now? Especially with the new HBO series releasing later this year.

Book Memes

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Adaptations I’d Like to Watch

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books Published in the Last Ten Years

WWW Wednesday | 15.05.19

Book Reviews

Again, but Better – Christine Riccio

Middlegame – Seanan McGuire

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

Book Tags

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tag

I’ve already begun my reread of Strange the Dreamer in preparation to finally read Muse of Nightmares which has sadly been sitting on my shelf for far too long, being it’s gorgeous orange self. I have no ARCs to read in June and there aren’t any new releases I’m anxiously waiting around for either so that means I can actually read some books off my existing TBR – this month I’m thinking Beartown and All the Bright Places.

Movies, Television & Music

As you’d expect, I went to the movies to see Aladdin this month. Sure, there are some flaws but on the whole it’s a fun way to spend a few hours. Major props to the costume department and set designers who did a phenomenal job. Also, does anyone else have a huge girl crush on Naomi Scott, or is it just me?

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In May, my two TV obsessions were Killing Eve (my Top 10 Tuesday list pushed me to finally watch it) and The Bold Type. Killing Eve was different from what I expected but so good. It somehow has this weird blend of drama and dark humour, plus Jodie Comer is amazing. The Bold Type is additive as hell and I’m absolutely in love with it. While it can be a little heavy handed on some issues, I really like the humour and characters. I’m almost finished season 2 now and having a blast.

Music wise, Aly & AJ are still playing through my speakers on repeat but have been joined by Marina’s new album Love + Fear, some Carly Rae Jepsen and a bit of Betty Who.

LIFE

This month I took a three day trip to Melbourne to finally see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! Ahhhhh! I was so excited as I’ve been wanting to see this for for almost three years now. There was a point where I even thought I’d have to go all the way to London for it. I still have a few issues with the story (as I did when I read the screenplay) but the production itself is absolutely wonderful. How they manage to make all the magic happen on stage, I’ll never know. I also had absolutely no idea that they’d completely redone the theatre itself – new carpet, chairs, wall coverings, windows, all designed especially for this show. Crazy. Still, my friend and I had a great time. So worth the money and effort.

And that’s a wrap on May. As always, I hope you all had a wonderful month and wish you the best for the next one. What was your favourite book of May? What are you most looking forward to reading in June?

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book Tag

As my family and close friends know, I’m a big Buffy fan. Huge. Enormous. I mean, this is a show that absolutely revolutionised TV in the 90s. I pretty much try to get everyone I know to watch it at some point. Amazing characters, great dialogue, gripping plots, badass action scenes, female empowerment, one of the first ongoing gay relationships on TV, the best musical episode of a non-musical TV show ever (fight me), some corny but fun CGI…it’s just so good. Go watch it if you haven’t already.

Anyway, when I came across a book tag devoted especially to it, I knew I had to do it. Just HAD TO. This tag was originally created by Lauren over at Book Slaying but was then changed slightly by Sarah at Written Word Worlds. I’m going to do a combination of the two versions, with my own changes and additions because why not? Let’s get slayin’.


Buffy: A Character Who Lives a Double Life

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Nova Artino (Renegades- Marissa Meyer)

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There were a few options for this one but I’ve decided to go with Nova. In Renegades, Nova’s allegiance is to the so called ‘Villains’ group in society. She resents the Renegades, (who act as the city’s political body/law enforcement group) for their past failures, and believes they’re not what they claim or people hold them up to be. In order to gain valuable intelligence on the inner workings of the Renegades team, she joins them, complete with an entirely new (and fake) personal history.


Willow: A Badass Witch

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Manon Blackbeak (Throne of Glass series – Sarah J. Maas)

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I don’t use Throne of Glass related things for many prompts. It’s mainly because I wasn’t a huge fan of the series and only made it about 4 books in. Still, there’s no denying that Manon is 100% a badass witch. Or more specifically, a scary-ass witch. I mean, she’s killed people and actually drank their blood, has retractable iron fangs and nails, and she flies a wyvern. Combine that with an icy, ruthless and determined personality, and the end result is…well, don’t cross her if you can avoid it.


Xander: A Character Who Mostly Provides Comic Relief

M-BOT (Skyward – Brandon Sanderson)

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While M-Bot certainly has its other purposes, as you do being a super advanced stealth space ship, its main contribution to Skyward is as comic relief. If you’re laughing at something during this book, 80% chance it’ll be M-Bot. Sometimes it’s talking about its drive to catalogue mushrooms, others it’s randomly hacking into Spensa’s communications channel to give commentary, and then there’s the constant crapping on poor Rig as he attempts to repair it. Regardless, M-Bot is an easy fan favourite.


Giles: A Parental Figure

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Miss Honey (Matilda – Roald Dahl)

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Honestly, can you guys think of a more perfect parental figure than Miss Honey? She’s kind, gentle, smart, wants the best for each of her students, and tries hard to ensure that Matilda will receive the kind of care and education that she deserves. The two develop a special bond with Matilda using her telekinetic powers to ensure the return of Miss Honey’s home and inheritance from Principal Trunchbull. By the end of the book, Matilda goes to live with Miss Honey and it’s pretty much a happily ever after.


Dawn: Favourite Sibling Relationship

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Tyler & Scarlett Jones (Aurora Rising – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman)

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Ugh, Dawn. I almost changed this prompt to ‘A character you found ridiculously annoying’. There are a few sibling relationships I really love, but for the sake of variety, I’ve picked Tyler and Scarlett. Having just finished Aurora Rising, these two are fresh in my memory. They have a great degree of banter, trust one another, are able to communicate with little more than a look or a raised eyebrow, and have faith in the other’s abilities. Ty and Scarlet are squadmates and siblings but more importantly they’re good friends.


Oz: A Book With Werewolves

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Nightshade -Andrea Cremer

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I read this book YEARSSSSS ago and I can’t remember anything about it other than it was about werewolves and the main character’s name was Calla. Based on my GR review, I must have liked it somewhat (but not enough to read the sequel). Obviously I was drawn in by the pretty purple cover. Gosh, that’s a nice colour. I have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t be so keen on it were I to read it now – male wolf dominance, love triangles and all that, but eh, it’s a werewolf book and it’s something different from my usual book tag choices.


Cordelia: A Character Who Undergoes Major Growth

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Zoya Nazyalensky (The Grisha Trilogy & King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo)

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When we first meet Zoya, to put it mildly, she’s kind of a raging bitch. But after being knocked off her pedestal and then joining Alina’s & Nikolai’s fight against The Darkling, she undergoes some great character development. However, much like with Cordelia Chase, it’s a spin off that really gives her the chance to shine. Zoya is sassy, resilient, able to handle Nikolai (a feat in itself), a badass grisha, and has not got time for your shit. Basically, we stan. Zoya for Queen of Ravka.


Angel: An Extremely Broody Character

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Victor Vale (Vicious – V.E. Schwab)

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Ah, Victor. You’re certainly a very broody character. Admittedly, this is fairly understandable because: (a) he went to prison for years for a murder he committed accidentally, giving him plenty to brood about, (b) how else would he plot his nemesis & former friend’s demise?, and (c) it just fits his whole gloomy, anti-hero image. So, in Victor’s case, unlike some other’s, it actually works very well.


Spike: A Character with a Redemption Arc

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Severus Snape (Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling)

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To avoid reusing Holland from ADSOM for the millionth time, I’m going with Severus Snape. In fairness, I don’t think I’ve ever used this one in a book tag before despite how popular a choice it must be and how much I love HP. Snape definitely has some massive flaws and he’s far from being fully redeemed by the end of the series. However, our view of him as a character is certainly very much improved in Deathly Hallows by the introduction of a whole bunch of new info about past events.


Tara: A Book with a LGBTI Relationship

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Alex & Henry (Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston)

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There are so many wonderful LGBTI ships out there in fictional land. I recently finished this book so it’s been on the brain which is probably why I jumped here first. However, it’s also probably because these two are so darn CUTE. Ahhhhhh. Alex is smart-mouthed and outgoing while Henry is a closet-nerd and major romantic. The two start out a bit rough but eventually their relationship develops into hilarious late night texting convos, sexy, secret rendezvous, and some genuinely sweet heart to hearts.


Anya: A Character Who Grew on You

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Nesta Archeron (ACOTAR Series – Sarah J. Maas)

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Yes, more SJM. I’m sorry I’m a cliche, okay.
If you happen to go through my read along posts for ACOTAR, you’ll find that I didn’t have many nice things to say about Feyre’s sisters early on. Nesta can be harsh, closed off and selfish, but after spending more time with her, I ended up loving that she was a more emotionally complex character. Some people will find it difficult to like her but I know she’s going to have her moment once the new series kicks into gear. Also, if she doesn’t end up with Cassian, I’ll riot.


Faith: A Character with Questionable Allegiances

Ashlinn Jarheim (Nevernight Series – Jay Kristoff)

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Ah, Ashlinn. I can’t really say much on this one without giving away major spoilers to anyone who hasn’t read Nevernight. If that’s you, go do it already! Before book three comes out in September! I will say that she’s sassy, resourceful, and calculating, and I’m looking forward to seeing where she ends up at the end of the series. Somehow I doubt she’ll do any more plot twisty things but considering her character, you never can be entirely sure.

Are you a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan? I love finding people to gush about amazing TV shows with, especially older ones. If so, who’s your favourite character?

I definitely think it’s time for a re-watch!

WWW Wednesday | 15.05.19

Time for a reading update! And as usual, I’m doing it in the format of a good, old WWW Wednesday post. The 3 big questions are: what have you recently finished, what are you currently reading, and what’s next?

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston | GR

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I loved this book. It’s sweet, funny, sexy, and full of great characters. The novel is over 400 pages but it felt like it flew by. I don’t read a lot of new adult books but this is a great encourager to branch out more. All you really need to know is that the story revolves around Alex, the son of America’s first female president, falling in love with HRH Prince Henry of Great Britain. These two are for sure one of my new favourite ships. Alternate history has never been more fun or gay. My full review (of gushing) will be going up later this week.

Slayer – Kiersten White | GR

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I’m a huge Buffy fan so you can imagine my reaction when I found out Kiersten was writing a new series set in its world with a brand new Slayer. I have a feeling I picked this up because I’d been working on completing a Buffy book tag right about the time I finished Red, White & Royal Blue. While I can’t say I’m absolutely living for it at this point, I certainly don’t mind it. The characters are fine, and I’m having a lot of fun finding all the little references and call backs to the show. However, I do hope the story picks up more soon. Also, could they maybe crap on Buffy herself a little bit less. The girl has saved the world only a gazillion times, okay?

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss | GR

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Yes, I’m still bloody going. It’s happening, okay? Just really, really, really slowly. I’m enjoying it a lot, I promise! 350 pages down and only like… 350 pages to go. Basically nothing. Hey, it’s not like the last book in the series is coming out any time soon. At this rate, I’ll finish the first two in perfect time for it, with all the details still fresh in my memory. See, I’ve thought this stuff out. It’s the perfect plan.

Aurora Rising – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman | GR

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What’s that? Oh, just the sound of me screaming in excitement. It’s here, it’s here, it’s FINALLY here. I’ve been waiting on this for a while and I’m sooooo keen. Space adventures, fun characters, potential end of the universe, the usual Kristoff-Kaufman dialogue, um…yes, please. I admit, I would have started this earlier but by the time I was able to get into store to pick it up, I was already stuck into Slayer. I’ve got high expectations but with all the great reviews popping up, I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

And that’s where I’m at reading wise right now. How is everyone else going? Is your current read grabbing you or are you already setting your sights on the shiny, attractive next one?

Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my Autumn TBR

You guys know the drill by now – it’s Spring in the northern hemisphere but it’s Autumn in the land down under (thank god, I am beyond over Summer). Here are ten books I hope to get through over the current season:

It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover

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I don’t real a lot of pure romance books and the ones I do read are usually more light, fun chick-lit type books, but hey, it’s good to branch out occasionally. Colleen seems to be a super popular author in this genre (her books are always popping up on Goodreads) and It Ends with Us is one of her most popular books. I’ve heard that this one is deep and a lot more emotionally powerful than some of her other works. A few people whose reviews I trust have really liked this one so here’s hoping I do too!

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Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Alright, alright, so technically I’m reading this as we speak. However, in my defense, these TBR related TTT topics are never assigned right at the beginning of the season. What about the books I wanted to read in the first two weeks of Autumn, huh? Well, this is one of them. I’ve been waiting on this release ever since I fell hard for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo last year. Another period piece with a strong woman at its centre, how could I resist? The book is told entirely as interview transcripts. It’ll put some people off, but that’s inevitable. Still, it’d make a great audiobook!

What If It’s Us? – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

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The way my mind seems to work: Maybe if I put this book on enough TBR lists, I’ll re-discover the motivation to finally read the damn thing. It’s been MONTHS. Just do it already, my gosh. Like, its Becky! And Adam! With sweet, cinnamon roll gay boys, theater, diversity, and Harry Potter references galore. What more should I need? I’m going to do it, I WILL DO IT.

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor (Re-Read)

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I was excited to read Muse of Nightmares when it came out last year, really, I was. But then, being my usual self, I didn’t. Now here we are, with my terrible sieve brain having retained nowhere near enough information about book one, making it a crime to try and read book two without doing a re-read. So that’s what I’m doing. I make it sound like a chore, but honestly, this book is so damn enjoyable. It’s also too pretty for it’s own good, so I’m looking forward to reintroducing myself to Weep, Sarai and Lazlo.

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Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle 1#) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Come on, as if I’m not going to just drop everything to read this when it comes out on May 7th. I am so excited for this book. It’s Jay and Amie back at it again with the epic space adventures and quirky characters. I feel like I’ve been waiting ages for this, ever since they dropped word of it at an Obsidio signing. It’s supposedly The Breakfast Club meets Guardians of the Galaxy. How could it possibly fail?

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The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious 2#) – Maureen Johnson

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The reasoning behind this choice is simple and two-fold: 1) Because I want to, and 2) because I need to read it before I forget all of the important crimey-wimey details necessary to understanding the story. Truly Devious took a while to get into its groove but once it got there, it was a lot of fun so I’m really looking forward to continuing the momentum with The Vanishing Stair. Maybe it’ll give me some answers on a couple of the lasting questions from book one. Fingers crossed.

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Middlegame – Seanan McGuire

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Now, this one is an ARC copy. I’m not allowed to publish a full review until about 2 weeks before the release date, which happens to be in May. Consequently, because I just can’t help myself, I’ve been putting off reading it until closer to the time I can write and then publish my review. The upside, it sounds awesome – there’s twins, alchemy, time travel, multiverses, and fairy tale elements. Hello, smorgasbord. I haven’t read any of Seanan’s other books but I’ve heard people rave about them. If this one goes well, I’ll have to check out the rest.

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Always Never Yours – Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka

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After hearing lots of wonderfully fluffy and sweet things about this YA contemporary, I ordered myself a copy off Book Depository last year. I’m still yet to read it, though. Typical. I think I’m saving this one for when I need something to make me feel good about the world and leave me soft and squishy inside. Also, the fact it was written by a married couple is honestly goals and the most adorable thing ever. I’m looking forward to falling in love with Megan and seeing her get a happy ending.

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The Name of the Wind (The King Killer Chronicle 1#) – Patrick Rothfuss

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This is another one I’ve already started but I can safely say, considering how long it is and how slowly I’m progressing, it’s likely to last the entire season. The Name of the Wind has been on my radar for years now. People always seem to be talking about it, even though the first book was released over ten years ago (fans are still waiting on the third – Rothfuss and George RR Martin have the same attitude to writing, clearly). I haven’t read many lengthy fantasy books in recent years and it’s good to get back to one. So far, it’s going well and I am thoroughly enjoying taking my sweet time.

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Beartown – Fredrik Backman

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I only recently discovered Beartown and was so intrigued that I went and bought it on my next trip to the bookstore. Backman’s books have a fabulous track record of high ratings and this one is no different. I’ve always been a sucker for the small town with dark secrets vibe so I had trouble resisting this one, even though it does have a sporting element. I think it’ll also be good to break up my usual Fantasy, YA, YA-Fantasy pattern.

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What books are on your Spring/Autumn TBR for 2019? Are they all backlist books or do you think you’ll tackle some new releases as soon as they drop?

For more on Top 10 Tuesday, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.