De-Cluttering: Culling the Hell Out of my Goodreads To-Read Shelf

So. This week, I took a quick glance at my Goodreads to-read shelf and low and behold, it’s siting at 122. One-hundred-and-twenty-two books. Like, WHAT. How in the good lord of all things books did this happen? There cannot seriously be 122 books that I am ridiculously keen to read. I’m sure there are other people out there with shelves more than three times that big, but for me, that number is looking just a litttttttllleee bit ridiculous. And, as you can tell from the title of this post, that means it’s time for a….CULL. Basically, may the odds be ever in your favour (aka. may you have a blurb that still holds some interest for me and an average star rating that doesn’t resemble a train wreck).

First up, I think I’ll be taking a page out of the book of some other bloggers by separating out unreleased books from my to-read shelf into a separate shelf all on their own. This should cut down the number a bit.

…okay, it cut 21. Just 21. Damn it.

Well, I guess we better get stuck in then. This list ain’t going to reduce itself. Time to say goodbye to…

Three Dark Crowns – Kendare Blake

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I was pretty keen to read this once upon a time but since then I’ve increasingly lost interest. Based on the things I’ve heard about it and the sequels since, I get the feeling I’ll find it another average and forgettable read. I wanted political intrigue, backstabbing, awesome magic, and family drama, but it seems super slow and about 80% romance. *sigh*.

All the Crooked Saints – Maggie Stiefvater

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I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I’m not much of a fan of Maggie’s books. They’re not bad, but I always find myself extremely indifferent to them. I’ll willingly admit that I bought this one because I was 1) excited to find a release out in Australia before the US, (b) it has a stunningly colourful cover, and 3) I was trying to push myself to love Maggie’s books as much as everyone else does. I honestly have no desire to read this so I think it’s time to cut it (& donate the physical copy).

Truly, Madly, Guilty – Liane Moriarty

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I bought this one at the peak of the Big Little Lies craze. I honestly thought I wanted to read it, but now, nope. Not in the slightest. Having read reviews of it recently, people report that it’s extremely slow, the big reveal is highly disappointing, and that the characters aren’t interesting enough to make you want to keep going to the end. Basically, I’m out. Cull & donate.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – Mackenzi Lee

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Yes, I know. I’m sorry, okay? I liked the first book, really I did. It was fun and the characters were cute, but there were also moments of drag and frustration. I just don’t feel at all compelled to read the sequel anymore. I can’t explain it. I mean, it’s got kick-ass Felicity, more European adventures, pirates, and the reviews are good! AND YET. No motivation for some time now. *sigh* Please don’t hurt me. Cull.

From Twinkle with Love – Sandhya Menon

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I’ve mentioned in the past that I wasn’t that keen on Menon’s first book, When Dimple Met Rishi. Still, I added this one to my TBR, drawn in by the idea of another diverse read and a super cute cover. Since then, the book has ended up with a 3.66 average GR rating and a few of the things I’ve heard about it haven’t exactly floated my boat – an annoying protagonist, a love square, reliance on tropes, letter style format, and that the book reads quite young. I think I’ll give it a miss.

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason – Virginia Boecker

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I think I may have added this book on a whim after seeing it pop up quite a few times, buzz words lighting up my brain – assassins, historical, theatre, enemies to lovers. Nowadays, I’m like, it looks okay but I feel as though I’m once again setting myself up for an average, forgettable read. The average rating is at 3.69 – not awful but not amazing either. So while this would probably be a decent book, I think I’ll pass for now.

The Crowns of Croswald – D.E. Night

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This is another book that’s fallen victim to time. The excitement and motivation was there once but it’s slowly up and disappeared. Looking at TCoC now, there are a few things that send up warnings. First, the book has been shelved as both middle grade and YA by readers. I’m not much of a MG reader so the fact that this either is or reads like MG, turns me off a bit. Second, it’s less than 300 pages. For fantasy that does make me worry about depth of story and characters. Either way, it’s time to let go.

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

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This book has been on my physical and virtual TBR since about 2014 and I’m still yet to pick it up. I think it’s the fact that it’s an enormous book and the beginning of an ENORMOUS series. I also happened to buy this before I heard that Jordan was considered very similar to Tolkien, an author who’s style I wasn’t so big on. The fact that the series supposedly declines in quality further down the track also isn’t much of an encouraging factor. I feel like one day I’ll read it (when I have plenty of time and patience), but I don’t see it happening for while. Until then, it’s time to take it off.

The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

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Insert the same reasons here as for All the Crooked Saints. I’ve been wanting to read The Scorpio Races for a long time and have almost bought it quite a few times now. But, I feel like the combination of my lack of enthusiasm for Maggie’s books and that I’ve heard this book isn’t as action packed as I was hoping, is sending me reaching for the x button. I think I have to give this one a miss for now.

The Disasters – M. K. England

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I know why I added this one – it sounded vaguely similar to Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman which I am dying to get my hands on next month. I think I was maybe trying to find a way to sate my excitement? Also, the cover is cool and purple. I’ve heard since that the majority of the book doesn’t actually take place in space, the plot is a bit repetitive and superficial, and that the characters aren’t given enough depth. Who knows, I may completely change my mind but for now, goodbye.

Phew. Things are looking much healthier than they were before. This is manageable. I can deal with this. I’m sure there’s probably more I could cull but I’m constantly worried I’m going to get rid of something that I’ll actually end up wanting to read and enjoying later on. Ugh. This will do for now.

How many books are currently on your Goodreads To-Read Shelf? Is it tightly regulated or getting a bit out of control? (MAKE ME FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF).

Have you read any of these books? Did I make the wrong decision? *panics & flails*

The Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag

It’s time for another fun book tag. I can thank Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall for this one. I stumbled across her post and knew I had to try it out because who doesn’t love looking at pretty books?

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Best Colour Combo On a Book Cover

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All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater is my pick for this one. I really love the use of blue and orange here. They’re complementary colours on the colour wheel so they create a striking contrast when used together that really makes the cover stand out.

Best Typography/Font On a Book Cover

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I quite like the typography on the cover of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. It gives the appearance of the words appearing out of smoke as they wind their way around the tree branches, adding to the mysterious look of the cover.

Best Simple Cover

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Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden. I actually have this book on kindle but I’m really tempted to buy a physical copy.  It’s such a simple cover, a pair of painted red lips and some pale skin, and yet it’s still so eye catching. I also like that it complements the novel itself, showcasing a taste of the traditional geisha make up style.

Best End Pages

I don’t own many hardbacks as they’re really expensive to buy in Australian book stores, but at the end of last year I purchased the gorgeous special edition of A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. It broke my rule of not having more than one copy of the same book but it was so worth it. I mean, the end pages alone are amazing.

Best Map

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I’ve noticed that a lot of people have been going with Middle Earth for this one. It’s a fantastic map but for something different, I’m going to use one of my fave series, good, old Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (any excuse, right?).

Best Naked Hardback

Sorry guys, I don’t actually have an answer for this one. Like I said, I don’t own many hardbacks and the ones I actually do own are unfortunately very plain beneath their jackets.

Best Back Cover

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So, this seems to be another one targeted at hardbacks because just sayin’, paperback backs are pretty damn boring. It’s usually a solid colour and a blurb. From my very limited range of HBs to pick from,  I’ve ended up with Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco because of it’s cool surgical instruments and another Maggie Stiefvater book, Shiver because of the pretty tree branches and leaves.

Best Chapter Headers

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I recently finished The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and I loved the sweet chapter headers with their flowers, toadstools and bees.

Best Illustrations

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As if I could pick anything else but my Harry Potter illustrated editions. The art in these books is amazing. I could spend forever just flipping through and staring at the beauty of Jim Kay’s illustrations.

Best Spine

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This is probably cheating because it’s a whole series rather than one book but eh, too bad. I adore the new covers for Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series because the spines make up a cool picture of the main characters facing a bridge, preparing for battle.

Favourite Cover on Shelves

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You have no idea how hard this one was, there are so many wonderful covers on my shelves, but eventually I had to resign myself to the fact that I completely fell in love with this one the moment I saw it. The stunning blue colour, shining golden text, and the ornate styled moth, it’s gorgeous and I find it difficult to draw my eyes away every time I look at it.

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And…we’re done!  I’m not so big on tagging individual people but if you’d like to do this one, please go for it.

Bad Boys, Fast Cars, and a Little Bit of Magic: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

4 stars

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“No one but Ronan knew the terrors that lived in his mind.
Plagues and devils, conquerors and beasts.”

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Usually, when I finish a book I know almost immediately exactly how I felt about it – what worked, what didn’t, whether I loved it, hated it, or whether it was just plain forgettable. The Dream Thieves was not one of those books. The Raven Cycle is a series that people seem to absolutely love. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t see at least one photo or post that relates to it and it’s the first series in a bookstore that I’ve ever seen with three different staff recommendation cards hanging off the shelf. And yet, here I am, halfway through and I have to confess that while I’ve very much enjoyed the first two books, I’m not head over heels in love. Yet.

It’s interesting – because when I think about how I’d summarise the plot of this book if someone asked me to do so, I actually think I’d have very little substantive to say. There’s some discussion about a missing magical forest, some weird and confusing dreams, an ambiguous bad boy character with a thing for white Mitsubishis, and a cocktail party which ends in the usual disagreement between two of our raven boys.

It’s taken me a while to grasp this but unlike most of the books out there, and the ones I usually read, The Raven Cycle is not about the destination. This is a story very much about the journey and the characters on it. By the end of book one, the characters were almost nowhere near actually achieving their overarching goal. While I knew there were three more books to follow and thus a whole lot more plot to go, part of me couldn’t help but feel a little dissatisfied. Even the progress towards the goal itself was extremely minimal except for one major event at the very end of the book. You’d think that this would then pave the way to quicker and greater progress in book two but…nope. Not so much. Once again, I was left to read as the characters meandered around, making very little headway on their quest before BAM – something beneficial right at the end. It’s taken me some time to adjust, but I think I’m finally starting to get the way these stories work. And in order for them to work well, you need to love the characters. Cause if you don’t, let me tell you now, you are going to get bored quickly.

I have a great appreciation for each of the five central characters of The Raven Cycle. But just as people claimed I would, having now read book two, I have an even greater appreciation for Ronan Lynch. In book one, Ronan was probably the least developed character of the bunch. There was a degree of mystery about him but overall I couldn’t help but think of him as the stereotypical rich kid who’s decided to rebel a little in the late teenage years after being spoiled for so long. Let me say that Maggie definitely surprised me with where she took his character in The Dream Thieves. I had no idea what to expect as to the meaning of the title but it had definitely never crossed my mind that it could be so literal. And what a wonderfully done concept it was. Ronan became a much more complex and interesting character this time around, and we began to see some of the smaller and subtler details in his relationships with the rest of the boys, particularly Adam. Adam, himself, started to verge on annoying for me a couple of times during this book – it’s almost like we’re on a never-ending train of stubbornness and determination to prove oneself when it comes to Adam and it’s getting a little old. Comparatively, Gansey and Blue fell a little more into the background but I enjoyed reading about the smaller moments they shared with one another, something I know will continue in book three. Meanwhile, Noah is just, well, Noah.

I honestly have no idea where this series is going but I’m interested to find out. Every time I have a general idea of the rules and boundaries of what’s possible or likely to show up in Stiefvater’s Henrietta, West Virginia, something changes – disappearing magical forests, dream magic, even a giant mythical monster wrestling match. While book two still hasn’t hit the highs I expected for such a beloved series, I can surely say that this was an improvement on book one. For some reason I feel like giving it anything lower than four stars would be both wrong and unfair so four stars it is and here’s hoping book three finally gives me that magical falling in love moment.

4 stars

The Disney Princess Tag

I had so much fun doing the dim sum book tag last week that when I saw Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books had done this particular one, I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself. I absolutely love Disney so why not blend it and books together? This wonderful tag is the product of a collaboration between the lovely Zuky from BookBum and Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews. Great job guys!

Rules:

  1. Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you
  2. Tag Mandy & Zuky so they can track the tag fun across the blogverse.
  3. Play a game of tag at the end!

So without further ado, let the tag begin!

Snow White

 This Book (Like the Movie) Started It All: Favourite Debut Book from an Author

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J. K. Rowling): Yes, it’s a super cliché and obvious answer but I don’t think I’ll ever love a debut from an author as much as I did HP when it was read to me at age six.


cinderella

Cinderella

A Diamond in the Rough: Just Like Cinderella, You Either Didn’t Expect Much Out of this Character in the Beginning but they Turned Out to be a Total Gem 

Gilbert Blythe – Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery): When we’re first introduced to Gilbert he’s a typical, annoying schoolboy. He calls Anne names, tugs on her hair, and becomes her biggest rival at school. Eventually though he ends up being one of the best and most loveable characters in the series. Anne ❤ Gilbert forever basically.


aurora

Aurora

Sleeping Beauty: A Book that makes you Sleepy or Just Could Not Hold Your Attention

Unearthly (Cynthia Hand): I just couldn’t really get into this one. I did manage to finish it but unfortunately I found the characters kind of boring and the story lacking. Today I barely remember anything about it, it was that unmemorable.


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Ariel

Under the Sea: A Book with a Water/Ocean Setting

Voyager (Diana Gabaldon): Okay, I seriously struggled with this one because basically nothing I read is set on around the water/ocean. Note to self: read more pirate and mermaid books. However, in this book Jamie and Claire spend some time travelling across the ocean to Jamaica and then eventually to America.


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Belle

Beauty and the Books: Name a Book with the Best Bookworm/Book Lover

Irene – The Invisible Library (Genevieve Cogman): Ordinarily I’d answer Hermione for this one but just for something different, I’ll say Irene. Irene has devoted her entire life to books, so much so that she’s actually lived inside a magical, interdimensional library. This is a woman who’ll fight off fey, dragons, werewolves and God knows what else just to get a rare copy of a particular book. Not only is she awesome but she seriously loves books!


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Jasmine

The Thief and the Princess: Name Book with an Unlikely Love Story (Either In Terms of Romance or a Book You didn’t expect to Love So Much)

Illuminae (Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff): I’m usually not much of a fan of books that like to play around with writing styles. I was super nervous when I bought Illuminae because I’d heard wonderful things about it but even just flipping through I could see that it had some weird things going on. I ended up loving it and have recommended it to people ever since.


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Pocahontas

The Real Life Princess: Name a Book that is based on a Real Life Person you Want to Read/Have Read

The Princess Diarist (Carrie Fisher): I don’t usually do non-fiction, however, I really love the Star Wars films and Carrie was always someone who really didn’t seem to give a damn what people thought of her. She was strong, sassy, and very intelligent. I think this would be a really fun and interesting read.


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Mulan

The Princess That Saved Her Country: Name the Fiercest Heroine You Know

This one was so hard because I’ve read about so many amazing heroines, I even did a post about them a little while back. So I’ll just mention two super awesome ones.

Alanna – Song of The Lioness (Tamora Pierce): Alanna disguises herself as a boy for several years so that she can learn to become a knight. She fights in a war, recovers magical artefacts, saves the royal family from a wicked sorcerer, and wins the hearts of both a prince and a thief.

Lila Bard – A Darker Shade of Magic (V. E. Schwab): She’s a thief, an adventurer, a pirate, and a magician. Doesn’t get any more amazing than that.


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Tiana

The Princess with the Coolest and Most Diverse Crew: Name a Diverse Book whether it is a Diverse Set of Characters (Like Tiana’s Group of Naveen, Louis, Ray, And More) Or Just Diverse in General

The Dregs – Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo): I know, I use this one a lot in my lists but I just love it so much! Each of the members of the Dregs are so different and yet they work together super well – a calculating thief, a silent spy, a religious convict, a gambling sharpshooter, an aristocratic runway, and a witch with a love for waffles. Such a wonderful cast of characters.


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Rapunzel

Let your Longggggg Hair Down: Name the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read

I’ve read quite a few long ones but try to avoid doing it too often. They take a lot out of me! Here are some of the biggest:

George RR. Martin: A Storm of Swords – p.1177

Stephen King: It – p.912

Diana Gabaldon: Drums of Autumn – p. 898


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Merida

I determine my Own Fate: A Book Where There is No Love Story/Interest or Isn’t Needed

This Savage Song (Victoria Schwab): Okay, so I haven’t actually read this one yet but I definitely have plans to get to it very, very soon. From what I’ve heard it focuses on a friendship between the two main characters rather than a romantic relationship which is kind of a nice change with all the romance you find in YA these days.


Anna/Elsa

Frozen Hearts: A Book in a Winter/Cold Setting

Shiver (Maggie Stiefvater): I feel like this one speaks for itself just from the cover and title.


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Moana

How Far I’ll Go: A Character that goes on a Journey

Rose – Blood Promise (Richelle Mead): I love the VA books and I’ll admit that this one grew on me a lot more the second time I read it. Perhaps being older helped. Rose heads over to Russia in search of Dimitri. She travels across the country meeting new people and dealing with the fallout from the previous book.

Hurrah! All done. There were some really hard ones in there that I wasn’t expecting to be challenging when I decided to do the tag. Apologies for the lack of book covers, they just kept completely messing up the layout. divider

Tagging:

Seeing as this is a bit of an older tag, I tag whoever wants to have some Disney Princess and bookish fun. Go for it!

Psychics, Baby Birds, and Trees that Speak Latin: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

3.5 stars

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These days I have a habit of reading YA novels that all seem to blend into one another. They’re not bad, they’re not great, they just happen to sit in that weird three-star middle ground in which over time individual plot details are kind of forgotten. The Raven Boys is like this, and yet it’s not.

Who, What, Where?

Let’s set the scene a bit… The book focuses on five teenagers – four boys and a girl. Blue, the girl, is a member of a family of psychics, who while possessing no actual psychic abilities of her own does act as an amplifier for them and other mystical energies. She also happens to be worried about a prophecy which states if she kisses her true love, he’ll die. Then we have the boys – Gansey, Rowan, Adam, and Noah – students of the illustrious Aglionby academy who just happen to be trying to track down ley lines in the hopes of locating some really old dead guy’s tomb, waking him, and getting a wish granted.  Blue joins her aunt at an old church on St. Mark’s eve, a night on which psychics can see the ghosts of those set to die during the next 12 months. Blue somehow sees Gansey’s ghost and her aunt tells her it’s because either he’s the love of her love or she’s the reason he dies. Drama ensued. And there you have it.

Characters

The characters of The Raven Boys all have distinctive and well-constructed personalities. Each adds a little something different to the story and while they weren’t completely lovable, they’re definitely all very likeable (even Rowan whose personality is designed to set people on edge). This is important as while the story does deal with the group’s investigations into the mystical, much of it actually rests on the interactions between the characters and the things going on in their respective lives, especially the boys e.g. Adam’s troubles at home and future aspirations, Rowan’s family and schooling issues, etc.

Romance

One of the main pet peeves I have with YA novels is insta-love. So many good books in this category have been let down by laziness in developing romantic relationships. I have no idea if this will become a problem later in the series but it wasn’t in this book. Blue has feelings for Adam and vice versa but it’s the kind of gradual and slightly awkward relationship development you’d expect from a couple of teens who haven’t been in a relationship before. It’s believable and not overly annoying (yet). However, trying to avoid spoilers, it’s very easy to see that this (a) won’t last or (b) will turn into a love triangle very soon based on insights Blue gains during the book about Gansey. If so, I hope that either relationship will develop gradually *fingers crossed* but I have serious concerns about the kissing-prophecy angst that’s teased to come.

Plot

In terms of the book’s plot, I liked the idea of it in theory – ley lines, magical energies, ghosts, rituals, etc. but for most of the book I was a little confused. Specific information did come out over time and yet I’m still sitting here feeling slightly hazy on a lot of details. I have to expect that books two-four in the series will add the extra clarification. The first half of the book can be a little slow for those who need big dramatic storylines but for those invested in the characters, it moves along at a nice, relaxed pace. One thing I do wish had packed a little more punch was the story’s climax which felt a little on the flat side, despite the actions of one character which I’m sure will cause tension later on. The group’s overarching goals weren’t fully realised in this book but steps were taken in the right direction so as to show to a degree where the later books are heading. As to how there’s three books worth of plot after this, I’m unsure but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Writing

On the whole, Maggie’s quality of writing is good. It’s third-person, clear, doesn’t overdo the extraneous details and still manages to paint a good picture of events as well as characters’ thoughts. The chapters aren’t ridiculously long – which is good for those who liked defined places to stop reading – and there aren’t so many characters that you find yourself losing track of them all.  My only minor complaint here is that at some points it can take a little bit of time to work out exactly whose perspective a new chapter is being written from. This aside, she has a lovely style which is easy to spend a lazy afternoon with.Divider

Final Verdict: While The Raven Boys won’t be as forgettable as many of the other 3-star YA reads I’ve tackled in recent months, it still lacks the magic spark needed to bump it up to the greatness of a 4.0, particularly when it comes to a memorable and dramatic conclusion.

3.5 Stars

June TBR

When I began my blog, one of my main motivations was the desire to encourage myself to read more and get back on track with old reading habits. So, in pursuit of that I’ve decided to set myself a reading goal of six books this month! In recent months I’ve only really been making it through about two a month, so this is kind of a big deal for me. Fingers crossed I can pull it off.  I’m not allowed to buy any books this month because the TBR pile is getting out of control (but birthday gifts are of course exempt from the rule). Here are the books I’m hoping to be able to cross off that massive TBR list this month:

A Court of Wings and Ruin (Sarah J. Maas)

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Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

I’ve actually just finished this as of yesterday afternoon so clearly I’m off to a great start on my goal. My goodness, it was thick (I think I need to aim for something under 500 pages for my next book) but honestly once you hit a major war in a book, it’s pretty difficult to put down.

The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater)

The Raven Boys

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Gansey is different. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I’ve heard this is a great book so I’m really excited to give it a go. Hopefully the plot is as good as people have said and I’m left eager to get stuck into the rest of the series. I read a couple of Maggie’s Shiver novels ages ago and the writing was quite lovely. Also, I’ve heard she designed all the stunning covers for this series herself!

The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)

The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

This has been on my shelf since last year. I keep putting it off for some reason so I definitely think it’s time to get into it this month. Thanks to Beth from Reading Every Night for the reminder in her Standalone Sunday post from the other day.

This Savage Song (V. E. Schwab)

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Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I enjoyed Schwab’s novel Vicious and absolutely loved her Darker Shade of Magic books. With the sequel, Our Dark Duet, coming out this month there’s no better time to get stuck into reading This Savage Song.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows)

GLPPS

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

It’s important to have a little variety amongst all the YA and fantasy going on. I’ve heard lovely things about this particular book. I don’t usually like novels told in letters or messages, diary entries, etc. I’m hoping this will be one of the rare exceptions I come across.

Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor)

strange the dreamer.jpg

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep

I didn’t fall in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone the way a lot of other people did so I’m hoping this will be the book that shows me the magic of Laini Taylor. I just couldn’t resist the gorgeous cover! I’ve heard that a couple of people felt this book was extremely overrated and then there were others who thought it was amazing so hopefully I end up falling in the latter camp.

BONUS – If I manage to somehow exceed my own expectations:

The Bone Season Series

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

I read both The Bone Season and The Mime Order shortly after each was released and loved them. I really, really want to read The Song Rising but unfortunately with the time between book releases, I feel like I’ve forgotten a lot of important details so I’d love to do a re-read of the first two books before tackling book 3. I guess we’ll see what happens.

What books are you planning to hit up this month?


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