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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August TBR: NEWTs Magical Readathon

July is done, my OWLs readathon is complete, and I’m ready to move on to a newer, bigger challenge – the NEWTs readathon. Like last month’s readathon, this, too, is a Harry Potter themed readathon and hosted by G @ Book Roast. It’s based around a set of wizarding exams taken by Hogwarts students during their schooling. While the OWLs are taken in fifth year, NEWTs are completed in seventh, and just like this readathon, they’re supposed to be tough.

RULES

  1. To win the readathon you must pass two NEWTs and achieve an Outstanding grade in at least one of them
  2. Subjects work in tiers and each level must be unlocked in turn to reach an Oustanding grade – the passing grades are: Acceptable, Exceeds Expectations, and Outstanding.
  3. You may only attempt NEWT subjects previously completed during the OWLs readathon (unless you’re doing NEWTs without having done OWLS – then you just pick & choose).

I “passed” 9 OWLs in July so I had a lot of choice in selecting NEWT subjects. I’ve ended up setting TBRs for 5 of them – Arithmancy, Charms, Transfiguration, Ancient Runes, and Defence Against the Dark Arts. There are three books for each subject, meaning 15 in total. Don’t worry, this is massively ambitious for me. There’s no way I’ll get even close to finishing but what can I say? I love having choice. So here is my exciting (for me at least) looking TBR for the month ahead:

NEWTs TBR 2

I’d actually planned on reading Circe during OWLs but after realising I wasn’t that keen on the NEWTs challenges for the subject I allocated it to, I decided to push it back to August. I’d say it fits the ‘charming cover’ requirement very well. I’m determined to read it this time!

I expect to get through Arithmancy very quickly as I’ve picked three YA books that all happen to be fairly short in length. Great for powering through a readathon.

Enough blabbering, wish me luck!

What are you planning on knocking off your TBR pile this month? Anyone else planning on undertaking a readathon?

Love Ashley

 

 

And That’s a Wrap: July Edition (+ OWLs Readathon Results)

As usual, another month has now come and gone, and once again it’s time for me to blab about the books I read and the (massive) damage I did to my bank account.

Books I ReadYou guys may or may not be aware that I was undertaking the OWLs magical (Harry Potter themed) readathon in July created by G @Bookroast. You can find my original post here if you missed it. The results are in and I’m happy to say I completed 9 of the subject requirements for the readathon:

  1. Ancient Runes
  2. Arithmancy
  3. Astronomy
  4. Charms
  5. Divination
  6. Defence Against the Dark Arts
  7. Care of Magical Creatures
  8. Muggle Studies
  9. Transfiguration

This means I have achieved an ‘Outstanding’ grade for my readathon. Yay! In August I’m moving on to the much more challenging NEWTs readathon which I’ll be posting my TBR for very soon. As for the books, I read in July, here they are, all 10 + the 1 comic:

July Reads Update

To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo  ★★★★

I waited quite a while to get my hands on this one and it largely lived up to expectations. I rarely read fantasy stand-alones so it was a nice change. The story’s a little dark (enjoyably so) and I loved the fact that the lead characters were morally ambiguous. The world itself was actually really compelling and I’d love to see more of it in other books. Unfortunately, the villain was a little cartoonish for me and a lot of the background characters felt underdeveloped.

The Wicker King – K. Ancrum ★★★.5 | Review

Now this was a change of pace from my usual reads. The visual aspect was fantastic and I loved the fact that Ancrum tackled some really serious issues such as discovering your sexuality, mental health, and abandonment. However, I wasn’t a massive fan of the writing style, with the short chapters often feeling choppy and disrupting my connection with the characters. I was also a little disappointed with how the overarching complication was resolved. Still, Ancrum’s love for her characters, and their relationship with each other, really shone through.

My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodie Ashton & Jodi Meadows ★★★.5

This book was a bit of fun. The narration is great, the situations are outlandish, and there are heaps of fabulous references to pop culture. I liked each of the characters and it was interesting to see just how completely the story would deviate from history. The downside is that the book felt padded at points and went on for a little too long. I zoned out on a few occasions and was slightly impatient for it to finish by the end. Otherwise a light, entertaining read.

One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus ★★★★ | Review

I’ve had the urge to read some YA thriller type pieces lately so I thought this one might fit the bill. The mystery side of things is a bit unrealistic and doesn’t exactly end surprisingly but I enjoyed the book overall. The characters are likeable and the development of their relationships with each other was nice to see. The author also tried to incorporate a few important themes like bullying, slut shaming, and abuse which are handled quite well, even though there’s not much room for great depth.

The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher ★★★

The second of my attempts to get into biographical reads this year. My family and I really love Star Wars so I was interested to read about some of Carrie’s experiences on the set of the original movie. The book is mostly about her affair with Harrison Ford and I felt a little sad for her through a lot of it. Overall I enjoyed the book but I could have done without the actual diary excerpts in the middle which were very poetry focused.

The Princess Bride – William Goldman ★★★★

I’ve seen the adaptation of The Princess Bride a few times now and it’s still just as fun and quotable as ever so I decided to try the original book. Essentially, if you like the film, you’ll enjoy the novel. There are a few things that are expanded on, like character back stories and longer scene sequences, but it’s still pretty much the same with added amusing narrations from Mr Goldman. A great read. Inconceivable, right?

Grace & Fury – Tracy Banghart ★★★★.5 | Review

My unexpected read for July! I requested an ARC, it was granted, and for once I got stuck into it straight away. This was one of my favourite reads of the month and I flew through it in under 2 days. The use of two POVs and concurrent storylines worked very well and gave the book plot diversity. The twist is a bit predictable and one storyline could definitely have been a lot stronger, but the characters are well done and the book as a whole is just so damn empowering for women!

Saga Vol. 1 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples ★★★★. 5

I don’t usually read comics or graphic novels but I decided to give this one a go because I’d heard so many great things & the art looked striking. I ended up having a blast. Some of it’s sort of…weird (people with TV heads?) but in an interesting way. The story was entertaining and the back and forth between Marko & Alana made me laugh aloud several times. I’ll definitely be picking up Vol 2.

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

This was another book I was really looking forward to. I love how Riordan managed to retain the feel of PJO but still make it new and exciting. The incorporation of the Roman mythology was a great way to expand the existing world. I also really liked the new main characters – Piper was my favourite – and the fact that they gave us a bit more exposure to different god parents and cool  powers. There was a little bit of drag at certain points and I’m still confused about a couple of things, but with that ending I’m so keen for Son of Neptune.

The Last Wish (The Witcher 1#) – Andrzej Sapkowski ★★★.5

I love The Witcher video games and I’ve wanted to try reading the books for ages. This first installment is mostly a set of short stories. I’m not a huge short story person but I didn’t mind these. Geralt’s adventures were fairly entertaining and it was interesting to see events I’d previously heard about actually explained, as well as to learn how he met his love interest, Yennefer. I will admit, if I didn’t already know about the world, it’d likely be a bit confusing and I wasn’t a fan of how the author handled women in parts of the book.

S.T.A.G.S – M. A. Bennett ★★.5

This was a late addition to my readathon list – I needed a book involving a secret society. Thanks for the recommendation Roxanne Michelle! I really loved the idea of this book but the execution left something to be desired. It sounds weird, but I wish it had been even darker. The climax was up there, but for most of the story, I couldn’t help feeling like it was very surface. The characters were either merely fine or underdeveloped, and I found the MC, Greer’s, constant movie references getting on my nerves after a while.

Books I Bought

So. The word ‘overboard’ may apply to my book purchases for this month. My bank account and bookcase are silently screaming in pain. Normally I try to keep my book buying at a comparable level to my reading so I can at least FEEL like I’ll one day get my TBR down to a manageable level.

That didn’t happen this month. Prepare yourself.

I bought 14 books this month. FOURTEEN. I also requested, and got approved for, one Netgalley ARC (Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart). Like what the actual hell, Ashley. Are you stupid? Do you not recognise the fact that you only have so many hours in a day. So many days in a week? I should be able to start using my TBR as ceiling support soon.  *shakes head*.

Here they all are in their fabulous looking glory:

Purchased July

There are a couple of books here such as Fangirl and The Hate U Give which I’ve been putting off getting for a while before finally cracking this month (20% of YA titles at one of my bookstores for the entirety of July was probably to blame). I’m so excited to read these. No idea when I’ll find the time but I have enthusiasm in spades! That’s something right?

blog posts

Book Reviews

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

The Wicker King – K. Ancrum

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

One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus

Grace & Fury – Tracy Banghart

Look how many book reviews I wrote! I’m so proud of myself *dances*.

Book Tags

The Ultimate Harry Potter Tag

Top 10 Tuesday

Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far)

Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

Let’s Talk

Things Book Characters do that Make No Sense

This is sad. Must write more discussion posts (she says to herself every month).

Miscellaneous

WWW Wednesday | 4.07.18

WWW Wednesday| 25.07.18

 

Personal Life

Let’s Go to the Theatre

This month I finally got to see The Book of Mormon. Some of the jokes were super cringe worthy and dark, but I had a great time overall. It’s funny, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the performances were really good too. I understand why they’ve had it running in Sydney for so long now.

Also on the theatre front, my friend and I managed to get tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child when it comes to Melbourne next year. The buying process was a ridiculous mess and it’s going to be so damn expensive but I am nothing if not a huge Harry Potter fan (Still, this show better be the best thing I’ve ever seen, I’m telling you).

TV

I wish I could say I’ve been spending my time watching fantastically acted dramas or intellectual documentaries. What have I been watching instead?

Project Runway. Yep.

And not even new episodes. We’re talking 2011 Project Runway. SEVEN YEARS OLD. The fashion they’re making isn’t even on point anymore. I should get a medal in pointless time wasting, because gosh I’m good.

Followers

In figure news, I hit 500 instagram followers and 200 wordpress followers this month, which is so exciting. Thank you so much guys! It’s nice to know people are reading/seeing this stuff I throw out into the internet void. I promise to watch less Project Runway next month so I can comment on more of your posts.

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And that’s about everything from me for this month’s wrap up. I hope you’ve all had a fabulous July.

What was your favourite read and for something different, which post are you most proud of for the month? I’d love to check them out.

Love Ashley

Let’s Talk: Things Book Characters do that Make no Sense

Books are not reality,  I think we’re all aware of that. I mean, am I currently riding through the skies on a dragon, having romantic meet-cutes with boys wearing crooked smiles, or saving space ships from crazed AIs and zombie virus outbreaks? That would be a no. However there are a bunch of things that protagonists seem to do in my books that don’t make any sense to me. Perhaps they’re all crazy, or it might just be because they’re fictional….hmmm, who knows?

1. Charging into Danger with Little or No Concrete Plan

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Do you WANT to die? Let’s consider this for a moment. The bad guy has likely got an epic-ally thought out plan against all potentially appearing heroes (no really, he’s going to stop and tell you all about it right before he murders your ass because it’s just that awesome), and you should do the damn same! I’m sorry but the following excuses are just not going to cut it, in the slightest:

(a) We’ll just wing it

(b) It’ll be fine, don’t worry

(c) We can do it if we all work together

And my personal favourite,

(d) If we just sit around and wait, he’s going to kill her/him

Pfft…you know, the usual excuses.

2. Now We’re on the Subject, Charging into Danger Full Stop

Why. Just why. Villains and monsters are scary. *whispers* They kill people. If it were me, I’d be turning to the side kicks, who are obviously way more qualified for this whole mess, and being like: Well, off you go, before finding myself a blanket to hide under with a never ending stash of chocolate as I battle a massive panic attack. I mean, where do these MC’s find all this bravery and courage stuff? Thank god, I’m not a chosen one – we’d all die.

3. Having the Perfect Thing to Say in an Argument

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Teach me your ways quick witted protagonists! How is it that you always know exactly what to say at the right moment in order to come off sounding smart, sexy, hilarious and like a compete badass? Save me from my constant conversational replays in the shower during which I am compelled to come up with better and better burning comebacks, all of which will never be appreciated for their awesomeness (except by my shampoo bottle). This is how I prepare myself to one day develop a witty rapport with a slightly sarcastic boy wearing a crooked half smile with a minor case of overconfidence to hide his deeply buried heart of gold.

4. Saying They’re Not Hungry

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Honestly, if hobbits can be attacked by ring wraiths and still be concerned about second elevenses and afternoon tea, so can you. Fuel is important for the high functioning protagonist! Don’t blame the side kick when you’re being chased by a giant monster or a pair of ugly goons and your body suddenly gives out from lack of sugar. Listen to Professor Lupin  guys, food saves lives. It also stops hangry-ness, which is probably why the next point happens so often…

4. Making a Big Deal out of Stupid, Insignificant stuff at the Worst Possible Times

I get it. You feel massively betrayed right now. I’m sorry your best friend failed to tell you what she had for breakfast this morning and whether or not she happened to have had a random conversation on a street corner with someone who later turned out to be an evil mastermind pumping her for information, but is it really that big a deal? And do we have to discuss this right now, you know, as you’re preparing for the final battle and will likely need to rely on each other to keep your asses safe? They apologised, move on already.

5. Telling Lies or Avoiding Subjects and Making Minor Things Massively Worse than they Should Be

Image result for lies gif

Things in books would be so much simpler if protagonists stopped trying to hide things that really aren’t that big a deal. What once was a molehill is now a mountain, full of goblins, guarded by a basilisk, located in the Bermuda Triangle, and you’ve only got yourself to blame. It’s always the case that the chance to say something comes up and the MC lies to cover up the original slightly smaller lie, thereby making things even worse. Hello, snowball effect. So, the other love interest kissed you. Big deal. You pushed them away, just tell your damn partner already! Or, the MC thinks, why don’t I just wait until the other person happens to bring it up at the worst possible moment, thereby making me look like a lying, cheating, ass. Now that sounds like the way to go.

6. Never Needing to Use the Bathroom

Do protagonists never need to pee or shower? They’re constantly forced into terrifying situations and somehow never seem to have a problem. Kidnapped, stuck in an underground cell for the past 48 hours and still…nothing.  Clearly everyone just has iron bladders and never gets dirty. They’re like Legolas, a walking, talking make up/conditioner advertisement. Me, I love my showers and don’t even get me started on my ridiculously small bladder. The villain would be five minutes into his monologue and I’d be nudging a nearby henchman asking for directions to the bathroom.

7. Resisting being with the Character They Clearly Love and want to have Many Babies with til the End of Time

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Why are you fighting this? The reader sees it, every minor character in your story sees it, the other third of the love triangle sees it, hell, even my cats see it. Get together already and stop causing me stress and heartache with all these stupid, manufactured reasons as to why not. And while we’re at it, if you could never, ever break up or hurt one another, that’d be fantastic. Forget about that other love interest, he’s just in it for plot padding.

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What things do book protagonists do (or not do as the case may be) that make no sense to you? Let’s rant (aka. talk)!

Love Ashley

The Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

I’d been thinking about doing this tag for a while but then the other day I was actually tagged to do it by Beth at Reading Every Night. It was a sign, I tell ya! When I first started working on my answers for this tag I was like, eh, it’s fine, I’m not freaking out but then I started thinking about my readathon for next month. My brain suddenly realised it was going to be July. JULY. JUUUUULLLLLLLYYYYY. Oh good gawd. *waves arms in the air panicked*

Where has the year gone guys? Where? It’s just disappeared so quickly and I feel like I’ve done nothing. Seriously, the minute you leave school, life just seems to go by in the blink of an eye.

Stop it already. Just stop.

Reading wise, I’ve actually had a good first half of the year. My original goal was for 50 books in 2018 and I’m so happy to say that I’m already at 40! I can’t believe it! It may not seem like a lot to some people but to put it into perspective, in 2017 I read 45 books over the entire year and 38 in 2016. I blame (thank?) bookstagram and all of you lovely book bloggers out there. You push me to read more and forsake all other life activities in favour of being a hermit. Go, you guys!

I’m kidding. I wouldn’t find half the awesome stuff I read if it weren’t for you. So thank you! On that note, let’s get on with this tag.Divider

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2018

Fave reads

As if I could pick just one. Here are my favourites of the year so far:

  • Scythe – Neal Shusterman
  • The Cruel Prince – Holly Black
  • Simon v the Homosapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Warcross – Marie Lu
  • Golden Son & Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Best Sequel You’ve Read so Far in 2018

sequel covers

I’ve read a lot of great sequels this year! About 15 of the books I’ve read have been part of a series and not the first book in that series, so there were bound to be some good ones. My favourites have been:

  • The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians) – Rick Riordan
  • Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe) – Neal Shusterman
  • Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood Series) – Becky Albertalli
  • A Torch Against the Night (Ember Quartet) – Sabaa Tahir
  • Golden Son & Morning Star (Red Rising) – Pierce Brown

New Release you Haven’t Read Yet but Want To

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

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I really enjoyed reading An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night, so much more than I expected I would. It’s nice to see some non-white characters front and center for a change, even though I’m not always the biggest fan of Laia. However, I really like Elias and for some inexplicable reason, I love Helene. After the end of book two, I’m very much looking forward to seeing where things go now that a lot of thing have gone pear-shaped and perhaps learning more about the magical elements of the world.

(I have to mention though, I’m mildly annoyed about the cover change choice for the UK/AUS edition. The whole reason Sabaa wanted to change the covers was for diversity and representation, to actually show brown MCs on a book cover. But what do we get? A hammer. Like, really? What the hell guys?).


Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

Wildcard by Marie Lu & Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Muse & Wildcard

Why choose one when I can have TWO. The preceding books to both of these sequels were big surprises for me. I’d never read a Marie Lu book before and while I had read a Laini Taylor book, I wasn’t much of a fan. I ended up really loving both of them and I’m now genuinely excited to get my hands on their sequels. Strange the Dreamer ended in a really bad place for the characters so I just need to know that they’re going to be okay, okay? As for Wildcard, I’m really interested to see where Marie takes the story after the flip at the end of Warcross. Plus I’m a big Emika fan.


Biggest Disappointment

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard & We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

disappointing

Truthwitch: I was really hoping to find a great new fantasy series to get excited about with this one. The book ticked so many boxes and yet for some reason it was missing something crucial, I just don’t know exactly what. I had very little connection with the plot or the characters and knew I wouldn’t be reading the sequel as early as half way.

We Were Liars: I had been warned about this book but decided to give it a go anyway. As I’ve said before, I really loved the premise and there were some lovely moments but my problem was with the execution and writing, especially in regards to how the twist was handled.


Biggest Surprise

Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat

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The first book in this series, The Captive Prince, had a few issues for me but I decided to continue on anyway. To  my surprise a lot of my concerns were improved upon in book two and I ended up enjoying the sequel a lot more. It’s kind of trashy at times but I have to admire the fact that there’s actually some good world building and character development in these books and even though it took me a while, I was definitely rooting for Damen and Laurent by the end of this one.


Fave New Author

Pierce Brown & Neal Shusterman

I had never read anything from either of these authors at the beginning of this year and now their books are some of only a short list to have received five stars (or close to) from me on Goodreads (the number is rising though!). The Red Rising series was a fantastic sci-fi read and I now regard it as one of my favourite series. The Arc of a Scythe books were a pleasant surprise for me and  ended up being absolutely wonderful. I’m so sad that I’ll have to wait ages for the third installment.


Newest Fictional Crush

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I had a think about this one, and there isn’t really anyone in the books I’ve read this year that I’ve found myself making massive love heart eyes at. Weird, I know. So for this one I’ve just picked a character that I found particularly interesting which was Prince Cardan from The Cruel Prince. Swooning over him is a bit difficult with how badly he behaves towards Jude and others, but I’ll admit, I did enjoy many of his witty retorts and the exchanges he had with Jude in the later parts of the book. His character also seems to have a good amount of depth that I’m looking forward to exploring more in The Wicked King. 


Newest Fave Character

Another tough question. I’m not sure I can narrow it down to just one so here’s a couple of my new favourites:

  • Emika Chen (Warcross – Marie Lu) – Total badass hacker with rainbow hair. She’s strong, smart but also has vulnerabilities.
  • Cricket (Lifel1k3 – Jay Kristoff) – Always trying so hard to keep people out of trouble and has the courage of a robot a million times his itsy baby size.
  • Cress (Cress – Marissa Meyer) – She’s just so adorable, I want to wrap her up in bubble wrap but, of course, also want her to experience the world and see many, many trees.
  • Sevro au Barca, Victra au Julii, Ragnar Volarus, Mustang (Red Rising Series – Pierce Brown) – Okay, basically everyone. The characters are so well written. They make me laugh, break my heart, get me cheering and keep me guessing, sometimes all within one chapter.
  • Nico di Angelo – I can’t even explain it. He’s kind of annoying for a while and then by the end of book five I was like, protect at all costs my little skeleton-controlling cinnamon roll.

Book that Made you Cry

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman

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I haven’t really read anything this year that has made me cry, there aren’t many books in general that have, but Call me by your Name certainly had me in that pit of despair feeling for a bit. We’ve all been there. The fact that they just go through their lives having always loved each other but destined to be apart kills me a little. Then again, the story wouldn’t be as poignant or beautiful if it had just had a happily ever after, would it?


Book that Made you Happy

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

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TGLAPPPS was such a nice read. While it definitely has its sadder moments, as you’d expect with recollections relating to WWII and Nazi occupation, the characters are so adorable and the ending leaves you with the biggest smile on your face. It’s a great reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the fact that light can come out of even the darkest of situations.


Fave Book to Film Adaptation

Love, Simon

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As if this was even a question. I loved this movie, so, so much. I can’t wait to buy the DVD next month and do a re-watch. It’s just the sweetest, loveliest, cutest thing, and perfectly captured the feel of the book.


Fave Post you’ve Done this Year

Gosh, now there’s a question. I don’t think I’ve really done anything particularly noteworthy. However, if we’re talking about the enjoyment factor, I think I had the most fun writing my discussion post on book lending  and my review of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I always love a good gif.


Most Beautiful Book you’ve Bought this Year

Circe by Madeline Miller

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My inner magpie came out with this choice, I just couldn’t resist the shiny object. I was tempted to wait and purchase the hardback because of how completely stunning it was (check it out if you haven’t already seen it), but I couldn’t stop myself from racing to the counter once I locked eyes on the paperback one day at the bookstore. The copper colour, shiny surface, lovely floral designs, font – I love everything about it, it’s beautiful. The fact that I got a matching tote bag free with it made the purchase even better!


Books you Need to Read by the End of the Year

Oh dear. How do I even answer this one. Everything. All of them. Every book unread on my bookshelves, books I haven’t even bought yet. Books I don’t even know about yet. JUST SO MANY BOOKS!

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And we’re finished! Here’s to another six months of wonderful reads. How’s the first half of your 2018 been? What’s been your favourite book, your least favourite? What are you most excited to read in the second half of the year? Tell me all about it!

Love Ashley

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Series I’d Like to Finish or Continue with Someday

This week’s TTT topic is: book series I’ve given up on. I had a think about this for a little bit and since I didn’t feel comfortable including any series where I only read the first book before going, nah, not for me, I was running a bit short on selections. Instead I’m going with Jana’s (That Artsy Reader Girl) provided alternative which is: series I’d still like to finish someday. To give myself some more options, I’m also including series I want to continue with at some point. For me, this means the series hasn’t finished being written yet but I’m a little behind on it.

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The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer

I only started this series last year so it’s definitely not the oldest unfinished one on my shelves. At this point I’ve only got one book to go, Winter, which is relatively sizeable. I’ve been really enjoying it so far, mostly because the characters are strong, different, funny, AND ethnically diverse, which is always great. It’s a really well done fairytale retelling series but there’s still a lot of originality which keeps it feeling fresh, fun and surprising.


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The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini

It feels like I’ve had only one book left in this series FOREVER. Oh wait, it actually has been forever. I’ve reread books one and two quite a few times over the years, and read book three once, but for some reason I never make it all the way through. I get busy, or distracted, or something. I’m determined to get there though, it will happen! Watch out Eragon & Saphira, I’m coming for you…eventually.


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The Mortal Instruments – Cassandra Clare

I gave up on this series after reading City of Fallen Angels years ago because it was so annoyingly bad. The problem is, I now really want to read The Dark Artifices and after reading about 180 pages into Lady Midnight, I found myself fairly lost. Then I realised some of the characters and backstory had been introduced in City of Heavenly Fire. I’m sure you can see where this going. So yes, I’m going to reread the first four books, finish the rest of the series and then finally make my way back to Lady Midnight. Lord save me from death by Clace angst.


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The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle is one of those series that I felt pressured to read because of the amount of love the books get online. I found The Raven Boys a bit of an average read. It had it’s moments, but the tone and plot was always slightly odd. However, still I persisted – I mean, people LOVE these books, right? I had to be missing something. This idea pushed me through the next two entries in the series and unfortunately I still don’t fully get the crazy level of devotion people have to them. However, because of all my answered questions, as well as the amount of time I’ve now invested, I feel like I have to finish it all off by reading The Raven King, so that’s what I’ll do.


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Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

I read The Final Empire a few years ago back when I was at university and quite enjoyed it. The magic system was really original, the characters were interesting, the book got me with a twist about two thirds in, and I really loved the idea of the hero defeating the villain only to become one. I’ve had the second book for a while but haven’t been in the mood to read it yet. I’d definitely like to in the future though.


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The Grisha Trilogy – Leigh Bardugo

Originally, after finishing Shadow and Bone I had intended not to read anymore of this series. Mostly because the plot felt a little mediocre and I found the idea of Mal as Alina’s love interest extremely boring. However recently I’ve been thinking that I might finish the series after all. This is in large part due to the fact that I’d like to get a proper introduction to Nikolai (everyone seems to adore him) so that if I end up wanting to read King of Scars, I’ll be able to do so.  I also happen to be a fan of The Darkling as a villain so if I keep going, I’ll get some more development with him too.


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Poison Study Series – Maria V. Synder

I read Poison Study a long time ago now, we’re talking way back, when I was in mid high school. At the time it seemed like another series I didn’t think I would continue with. Like the Grisha books though, recently I’ve been seriously considering going back to it. It seems weird but I think that now, having gotten a bit older and read more widely, I’d enjoy the book a lot more than I first did. Guess the only way to find out is a re-read.


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Outlander Series – Diana Gabaldon

This is the first series on my list that isn’t actually complete yet, although it’s about eight books plus several novellas and spin offs in already. These are really long novels at around a thousand pages each so they do take a fair amount of time to get through, which means you really need to be in the mood. I took a break after reading Drums of Autumn as it wasn’t exactly my favourite in the series and I’ve heard that the next one, The Fiery Cross is the low point in the books before they very successfully pick up again. The motivation isn’t there right now, but it will be further down the line.


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A Song of Ice & Fire Series – George RR Martin

This is another series which is still many years off being finished and one in which each installment is extremely chunky, requiring motivation and concentration. When I began these a few years ago I read several very close together and burnt myself out a little about two hundred pages into A Feast for Crows. I’d like to go back to the series some day but not right now. However, considering the pace at which Martin writes, I can probably take as much time as I need.


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Red Sparrow Trilogy – Jason Matthews

I enjoyed the first book in this series a lot more than I thought I would when I read it a few months back (even with the constant references to Dominika’s clothing). I don’t read a lot of espionage or thrillers so it’s nice to have something different on occasion. After the end of book two, I’d like to continue on with the series and see where it leads.Divider

Which series do you have plans on reaching the end of soonish (or sort of soonish, or maybe even just before you die)?

Are there any series that you’ve given up on part way through because they declined in quality?

Love Ashley

 

The 20 Questions Book Tag

It’s time for another fun book tag. This time we’re doing 20 bookish related questions. Thank you Holly @ Nut Free Nerd for tagging me in this one, there were some tricky ones!

1. HOW MANY BOOKS IS TOO MANY BOOKS IN A SERIES?

If I was going to speak generally, I’d probably say three or four is my ideal. It’s long enough to fall in love with the characters and go on a journey with them, but not long enough to massively drag. However, it very much depends on the series itself. Some stories are meant to be told in only a few books, then there are others that have enough of an engaging plot to go for a lot longer. If the plot has started to feel more like filler or has become repetitive, then it’s too long. Then again, engaging plot or not, my brain does do a very loud internal moan at the idea of 14 books in the Wheel of Time series (how does one have enough plot for that???).

2. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

I’m in two minds about cliffhangers. When they’re at the end of a book and you haven’t got the next one to read for about another year, they’re an emotional gut punch. It’s agonizing. SO MANY QUESTIONS AND NO ANSWERS. At the same time, from a storytelling perspective, I have to admire them. They completely shake up the plot and end a story  somewhere very dramatic. If there’s one way to make sure a reader will continue with your series, it’s to end your book on an ‘Oh-Shit’ moment.

3. HARDBACK OR PAPERBACK?

Most of the time I’m a paperback girl – hardbacks are epic expensive in Australia. I’m sorry but I can’t afford to spend $35 on just one, thin book. Plus, nobody wants to deal with the awkwardness of trying to hold an enormous hardback in bed. However, I do have to say that hardbacks look a lot nicer on a shelf and they hold up against damage in my handbag a lot better than my poor paperbacks.

4. FAVOURITE BOOK?

The Time traveler's wife

Firstly, how dare you. And second, how dare you! I don’t have a favourite book, it’s just impossible to choose. THEY’RE ALLLLLLLL MY BABIES. One of my absolute favourites though, as you guys know, is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The writing is so lovely, the characters are really well developed (to the point where you feel like you’ve known them their whole lives), and the end always hits me like a ton of bricks, thereby reminding me that I do, in fact, have a heart.

5. LEAST FAVORITE BOOK?

Catcher in the Rye

This is also really, really hard but I think I’ll go with The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I had to read it back in year eleven for English and my gosh, I hated it. I’ve never come across a more annoying protagonist in my life. The whining, the angst…ahhhhhh…, and all over really stupid things. I honestly do not give a flying…well, you know, where the damn ducks go in winter, Holden Caulfield. How it’s become a classic, I’ll never know.

6. LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

I recently wrote a post about this, you can find it here if you’re interested. Basically, I actually wouldn’t mind love triangles as a plot device if they were written properly, but they never seem to be – they’re imbalanced, drag on too long, take over the story, etc.

7. THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU JUST COULDN’T FINISH?

Dividing Eden

The last book I DNF-ed was Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau. It just lacked, for a better word, soul. I couldn’t connect with the characters, the plot was un-engaging and the world building wasn’t really doing much at all for me. I made it half way before I finally cut my losses.

8. A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

The Last Olympian

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) – I’ve slowly made my way through the series and now I’m almost there! So close to the finish line. They read very young for most of the series (it’s improved a bit in this book) but it’s always been a bit of fun.

9. LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

Gosh, I’m always recommending things to people. Pretty much the minute I finish a book I’m recommending it to people.

10. OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ? *PUBLICATION DATE*

Pride and Prejudice

I tend to gravitate towards more modern books but according to Goodreads, the oldest book I’ve read is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, published in 1813.

11. NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ? *PUBLICATION DATE*

Furyborn

I’ve read quite a few new releases lately. Probably the newest would be…Furyborn by Clare Legrand which only came out a few weeks ago.

12. FAVORITE AUTHOR?

I have a whole bunch and I love them all dearly so I refuse to pick just one. Here are a couple of my favourites: Jay Kristoff, Richelle Mead, V.E. Schwab, J. K. Rowling, Sophie Kinsella, and more!

13. BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

I’m a buyer. I rarely ever borrow books these days. I feel bad about it, but I love having my own copies of books because I re-read them but also ’cause I love growing my bookshelves.

14. A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO LOVE?

SJTR

I was really looking forward to reading Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco because I’d heard so many good things about it, plus the plot and heroine sounded awesome. Unfortunately I ended up being really disappointed. The plot felt rushed, the MC did quite a few stupidly annoying things, and the ending was both predictable and a little silly. The hype train strikes again.

15. BOOKMARKS OR DOG-EARS?

*shocked face* Dog ears? Are you kidding me? There should be a special place in the afterlife (if there is one) for people who dogear. Plus, I adore collecting awesome bookmarks. They’re so pretty!

16. A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS REREAD?

I love doing re-reads of my favourite books. I don’t make the time to do so much these days and I really should. Some of my re-reads of choice are Harry Potter (obviously), Vampire Academy, The Hunger Games, and The Song of the Lioness books.

17. CAN YOU READ WHILE HEARING MUSIC?

Once upon a time, yes, but nowadays not so much. My brain always seems to get distracted by the music and starts singing along to the lyrics. There are exceptions though when I go on long car trips but it does take me a while to properly zone out, and even then I can lose my groove in a instant.

18. ONE POV OR MULTIPLE POV’S?

I like single POV books (when the MC isn’t frustrating AF) but I also don’t mind the occasional multiple POV book, however only where all the POVs are interesting. The last thing you want is to have to suffer through some sucky character’s POV or a boring storyline when there’s a better one going on. Essentially, I don’t really have a preference on this one as long as they’re done well.

19. DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

This again depends on the book. If it’s something I’m absolutely loving or a super fun, short book I’ll read it very quickly. Otherwise, it’ll take a bit longer. For example, I read The Selection by Kiera Cass in less than day, like it was crack cocaine, but I also managed something as big as Outlander in only a short period of time too.

20. A BOOK YOU’VE READ BECAUSE OF THE COVER?

Geekerella

I’m usually reasonably good about cover buys although occasionally I crack. Normally I use Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor for this question in tags but for something different I’m going with two YA contemporaries – Geekerella by Ashley Poston and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I recently started dipping my toes in YA contemporaries and these were two of the first I tried. Geekerella was really fun and enjoyable but I was disappointed with WDMR, especially after all the hype.

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I Tag

I don’t usually tag people but sometimes change is good. If you don’t feel like doing it or have already done it, no worries. I promise I won’t be offended and/or crawl under a rock somewhere to quietly die of shame.

Rendz @ Reading with Rendz

Beth @ Reading Every Night

Michaela @ Journey into Books

Kristen @ Kristen Kraves Reviews

Love Ashley