And That’s a Wrap: June ’19 Edition

Six months down, six months to go. I’m now almost exactly halfway towards my reading goal for 2019. Up until the beginning of last week, I was about 3 weeks behind on my challenge which was stressful to put it mildly, especially since I’ve consistently been ahead of the game up until this month. Still, I’m pushing through. Let’s have a look back at June.

This month was a light one for me in terms of the number of books finished. I had a slow start to the beginning of June and my motivation to read was fairly low for some inexplicable reason (even though I was reading books I was enjoying). It’s improved a little in the last few weeks but we’ll have to see how July goes. The books I managed to finish this month were:

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor ★★★★.5 | Review

Strange the Dreamer was a re-read for me. I knew there was no way I’d be able to tackle Muse of Nightmares without doing one. As expected, the book was just as good as the first time around. I love the world building, characters, and absolutely stunning writing – Laini makes magic with words. While the plot is slow, I really enjoy it and the book definitely goes out with a bang.

Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor ★★★★

While I didn’t enjoy this as much as Strange the Dreamer, I still think it’s a really good book. I appreciate how Laini was able to expand her world and story in an unexpected direction, however, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the resolution to that expansion. It was great to get some more backstory on the Mesarthim and answers to the questions from STD. The book treats its characters well (plus introduces compelling new ones) and I like that it still manages to keep smaller roles in the picture.

All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven ★★★.5

This is a tough one to review. For the most part I found ATBP mildly enjoyable. It has some really lovely moments and the characters are okay (even though Finch does seem a little ‘manic pixie dream boy’). The book also puts a spotlight on some heavy topics like suicide, abuse and mental health – even though I’m questioning the way these were handled at times. However, the book does feel a bit emotionally manipulative and even with the author drawing on her own experiences, the ending still feels like something you’d find only in a novel. This was an up and down read for me which made scoring it hard. I have to say though, Jennifer Niven’s author’s note is an easy five stars.

Magic for Liars – Sarah Gailey ★★★

Harry Potter meets Noir. The concept for MfL is great and I was quite excited about it. In the end though, the execution could have been better. Despite dealing with some emotional things, the characters and story didn’t connect with me as much as they should have. There are a few plot elements that feel kind of thrown in without much real purpose and I wasn’t so keen on the ending itself. However, I did enjoy the way magic was handled (a little more scientifically) and the general mystery aspect (even if it did take a bit of time to warm up).

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss ★★★★★

It’s been about four months and by George, I’ve finally done it. And what a fabulous ride it was. I’ve had this book on my to read list for about 8 years(!) and kept putting it off for fear it’d be slow and disappointing. While I can understand why it may not appeal to some people, that wasn’t the case for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading TNotW at a leisurely pace – the characters, the incredible and extensive world building, even the writing itself, it’s all fantastic and I understand why it’s considered a masterpiece of the fantasy genre.

In June I added four books to my physical TBR. NOS4A2 and Recursion were both bought using birthday money (and credit on my Dymocks membership card – win).

This month Book Depository also had a good sale going on and FINNNAAALLLLYYY the hardback edition of Winter was discounted. I’ve been waiting a very long time for this. There was a happy dance involved before I hit the order button.

Magic for Liars was an ARC approval but weirdly enough I was only approved for it on release day. Still, I’m not going to complain about a free copy of a book I was interested in reading.

I meant to read Beartown in June but with my lacking motivation for the past month, that just didn’t happen. I’ve started it today and I hope it’s as good as people have said. Last month I bought Legendary and in order to refresh my memory, I’ll probably do a re-read of Caraval some time in July as well. As for the rest of this month’s reads, it’s a bit of a mystery. We’ll see how I feel as the weeks progress.

MUSIC

Songs I had on repeat in June were:

  • Don’t Throw it Away & Rollercoaster – The Jonas Brothers (Happiness Begins)
  • Never Really Over – Katy Perry
  • You Need to Calm Down – Taylor Swift
  • Outta My Head – John Mayer & Khalid
  • Star Maps – Aly & AJ

TV & MOVIES

I watched less TV & movies in June than usual but what I did watch included:

  • Stranger Things S1 & S2 (rewatch to prepare for S3 in July)
  • Started HBO’s Chernobyl mini series
  • Started Veronica Mars (rewatch to prepare for S4 in July)

LIFE

  • This month both my sister and I celebrated birthdays – we’re 4 years and 3 days apart. They were both very low key this year. Twenty-six is a…littttttle bit scary but I guess time progresses even if we don’t want it to.
  • At work we’ve been preparing to move to a brand new office which we finally did just a few days before the end of the month. It’s going to take some getting used to but it’s good to have a bit more space.
  • I’ve been wanting to get back into bookstagram lately but boy, finding the right light during winter is hard. One minute the sun is there and the next, poof, behind a cloud. *sigh*

And that’s a wrap on June. Not the best month reading or blogging wise (except for my finally finishing The Name of the Wind, which I’m psyched about). Here’s hoping for a better month in July all around.

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WWW Wednesday | 12.06.19

We’re getting towards the middle of the month so I thought it might be a good time for reading check-in in the form of WWW Wednesday. Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, WWWW asks the big three questions: what have you recently finished, what are you currently reading, and what’s up next?

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

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As I mentioned in my May wrap up, I went into this month doing a reread of Strange the Dreamer. Luckily for me, it was just as good the second time around. As someone who’s not usually a fan of flowery descriptions, I still can’t get over just how gorgeous Laini’s writing is. Some of her phrases… they’re like poetry. The world building in this one is also a high point for me and I love how the story somehow manages to have this whimsical tone at multiple points whilst also dealing with darker themes like trauma. Having finished this, I’m now finally ready to tackle…

Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

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Yep, finally. I bought this book right after its release and like usual, here we are, ages later. Muse of Nightmares is way too pretty to be sitting unread. So far, I’m about 200 or so pages in and enjoying it. I like the addition of the new characters and I’m interested to see where their storyline goes. It’s nice to be getting some clarification on certain things from book one and I’m glad each of the side characters from Strange the Dreamer have continued to get some time in the limelight, even with everything going on with Lazlo, Sarai and Minya.

Magic for Liars – Sarah Gailey

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Weirdly enough, I was approved for an ARC of this one on the day it came out. It was kind of a head scratching moment. Anyway, I’ve started it, but it’s still very early days. I like the concept for this one – a non-magical PI trying to solve a murder at a school for mages – so I’ll have to see how it plays out. At this point I’m certainly intrigued enough to keep going. Fingers crossed it’s a good read and it doesn’t take me a million years to finish it.

All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

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Next up I think I’ll be opting for something a bit shorter after two slightly longer reads which means it’s time for a YA contemporary. I’ve been hearing good things about All the Bright Places for years (it even won a Goodreads choice award back in 2015) so it’ll be nice to see what the fuss is all about, especially with the adaptation coming out…at some point. Hopefully I’ll end up in the majority opinion wise. It’s always so disheartening when I’m not *sigh*.

I hope June is progressing well for you all and that you’re finding plenty of books to add to your top ten books of the first half of 2019!

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.

The 80s Movie Tag (Original Tag)

While looking at book tags last month, I came across one labelled the 90s movie tag. I thought it was a really great idea for a tag, and it got me thinking about other movies I consider classics worthy of many, many rewatches. As it turned out, a bunch of the ones that came to mind were 80s movies, and so this tag was born!

There are so many popular movies from 80s. However, finding prompts for them that wouldn’t be ridiculously difficult to answer and hadn’t been done a million times already was very difficult. So if I haven’t included one of your favourites, it’s probably because my silly brain couldn’t come up with a decent prompt for it (You have no idea how sorry I am to skip The Breakfast Club, GhostbustersThe Terminator, and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back).


80s 1A Book That Kept You Up All Night

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J. K. Rowling)

When I first got into Harry Potter, I was about four years old. My mum and I would read the books together and we did this until about book four. By the time Half-Blood Prince came out, I was in my teen years, a very competent and quick reader, and just dying to get my hands on it. I read it during school lunch break, in between netball quarters, in the car, and late into the night. I just couldn’t put it down, I needed to know what happened next! I definitely gave myself a headache from eye strain but it was so worth it.


80s 2A Wonderfully Quotable Book

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

While I definitely quote Harry Potter A LOT, The Perks of Being a Wallflower has some really lovely lines about life, growing up, friendship, and love. Many of them actually made their way into the movie which is wonderful. Here are some of my favourites:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” 

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“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” 

“I just want you to know that you’re very special… and the only reason I’m telling you is that I don’t know if anyone else ever has.”

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“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”


80s 3A Character Who Loves Breaking the Rules

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Kady Grant (The Illuminae Files – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman)

With Kady, if you tell her one thing, you can pretty much guarantee she’s going to do the exact opposite. Kady purposefully fails the testing to place refugees from Kerenza into service and then spends the rest of Illuminae hacking into whatever the hell takes her fancy as well as running around parts of ships she probably shouldn’t. Told to get rid of the crazy AI? Nah, let’s just save it to a datapad. You can also be sure that no matter what’s happening, she’ll be putting her two cents in.

(P.S. How cool is the Illuminae character art by Kira Knight??)


80s 4A Book Couple That Took An Eternity To Get Together

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Damen & Laurent (The Captive Prince Trilogy  – C. S. Pacat)

So, you start this series and get a general idea of the kind of books they are – it’s fantasy but mostly romance involving a lot of questionable content (don’t say I didn’t warn you). It also happens to involve a great deal of banter, sexual tension, and loads of sexual references. For this reason, you’d expect the two leads to get down to it some point soon, right? NOOOOPPPE. You’ve got to make it through the whole of book one AND THEN about two-thirds of book two before you get just about anything. This series redefines slow burn romance. If you’re into these kinds of books (book 2 is a lot better than book one and with far more substance, just sayin’), be prepared for a long wait.


80s 5A Book Involving Time Travel

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11.22.63 (Stephen King)

I read this book after watching the mini-series across a few international flights. It’s a bit of a change of pace for Mr King but it’s very well done. Time travel is key to the plot in that it revolves around an English teacher travelling back to the early 60s in an attempt to stop the assassination of JFK. The characters are good, there’s some mystery and romance, and as usual for King, the writing is great.


80s 6A Character With Unique Style

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Magnus Bane (Shadowhunters Books – Cassandra Clare)

If there are two things we can say about Magnus Bane, it’s that he’s (a) sassy and (b) got some interesting fashion sense  (or perhaps ‘flamboyant’ would be a better word). Glitter, shiny fabrics, bright makeup, leather, crazy prints, Magnus does it all and somehow makes it work, even when he’s running around to help save the world. It’s definitely out there but it’s also an essential component of his character.


80s 8Your Favourite Book involving the Training/Mentoring Trope

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Eragon (Christopher Paolini)

I was definitely not short on choices for this one – you guys know how much I love this trope. So I’ve gone with Eragon. I really love this book. It’s so tropey in general but I don’t care. I enjoy Brom teaching Eragon how to fight, use magic and just generally be a decent dragon rider. Eragon’s a bit of a rash idiot at the beginning but he gets there eventually and this relationship has a big impact on him for books to come.

Special mentions: The Final Empire (Brandon Sanderson) & Nevernight (Jay Kristoff)


80s 9A Book with a Trip that Doesn’t Go to Plan

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Mackenzie Lee)

Poor Monty, Percy and Felicity. All they wanted was to see a bit of Europe and get away from their stuffy parents for a while. Next thing you know, they’re being held up by bandits and on the run from a very angry French aristocrat whilst trying to protect the work of a famous alchemist. Boy, travel is stressful.


IndianaA Book with the Central Character’s Name in the Title

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

I’m going with my most recent read for this one, which I loved immensely. Evelyn is the heart of this story and the book details the events of her life from her teen years up until her 80s. She’s not perfect but she’s certainly interesting.


80s 11A Female Character who Comes out of her Shell

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Piper McLean (The Lost Hero – Rick Riordan)

Piper was my favourite of the newly introduced demi-gods in Riordan’s The Lost Hero. For large parts of the book, Piper’s quite down on herself. She doesn’t realise the full potential of her abilities, chastises herself for not being able to do more in bad situations, and lets herself get pushed around by others. By the end, she realises her value and power, and finds a new sense of confidence. She plays a crucial rule in saving the day, stands up to a bully, takes leadership of the Aphrodite cabin, and convinces herself she’ll win “back” her guy. Go Piper.


80s 10A Death That Took You By Surprise

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XXX (Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor)

Avert your eyes if you don’t want to be spoiled. Sarai’s death is actually disclosed in the first few pages of Strange the Dreamer but for some reason, my brain just didn’t process it as being real. I was like, maybe it’s the past or a dream? Even when I got to the scene in context later in the book, I was like…nahhhhhh, Sarai can’t be dead. Later: Wait, she’s actually dead? Now she’s a GHOST. WHAT THE HELL? Let’s say I wasn’t expecting the story to take the direction it did going into book two.


80s 12An Ending that Left you Both Happy & Sad

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The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)

THUG was such a fantastic and yet gut-wrenchingly real book. The conclusion to the main storyline isn’t satisfying but it’s sure as hell realistic. The fact that this was the way things turned out made me feel absolutely awful for the characters, especially Starr, but worse still because this is what actually happens to African-Americans in the United States. At the same time, Starr’s final pages of monologue are extremely empowering and positive – she’s found her voice and won’t let anyone stop her from standing up for what’s right. She’ll keep fighting. The fact that it’s necessary is terrible but it’s a really strong and wonderful way to end the novel.

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And that makes an even dozen. There are actually two movies on this list that I haven’t seen, Nightmare on Elm St and Pretty in Pink. The first is because I don’t do scary movies and the second, I just haven’t got around to it. Perhaps in the near future?

How many of these 80s classic films have you seen? What’s your favourite 80s movie? 

I Tag 2

I know I actually tagged a list of people when I created my Six of Crows tag a while back but this time around I’m sticking to my usual practice and not tagging anyone. If you’d like to give my 80s Movie Book tag a go for yourself, please do! I would love to see your answers so make sure to tag me!!

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

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

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


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Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles 1#) – Marissa Meyer

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


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The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

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


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

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

Review


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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

One word: Love.

Review


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Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

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

Review


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

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

Review


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

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


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The Princess Bride – William Golding

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


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Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

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


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Red Rising (Red Rising 1#) – Pierce Brown

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

Review

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

Love Ashley

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Jaw-Dropping Book Endings

This week’s TTT topic (courtesy of of Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl) relates to commonly used words in the book titles of certain genres. I’m not really feeling this one so instead I’ve chosen a much older topic to have some fun with: jaw-dropping book endings. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a big, shocking, twisty ending? And by enjoy, I mean have a very complicated love-hate relationship with. Interestingly, there’s a lot of sequels on my list and because of this, and also the nature of the list, I’ll say up front, WARNING:

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Alright, prepared yourself? Good.  Let’s go!

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City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments 1#) – Cassandra Clare

I still remember reading this book for the first time on a lengthy car ride to visit my grandparents. When the plot twist regarding Jace and Clary’s relationship was revealed at the end of the book, I was shocked. My first reaction was, wow, way to rip off Star Wars, my second was, WHYYYYYYYY????? A ship had crashed and burned in front of my eyes (well, or so I believed).

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A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic 2#) – V. E. Schwab

A lot of the stuff in this book is fairly light weight and unrelated to anything that happened in book one. Everything seems to be going okay and then all of sudden right at the end, it all goes to complete crap. Actually. It’s so bad that it takes all of book three for the characters to fix things. Safe to say, I was definitely keen to get my hands on A Conjuring of Light.Divider3Image result for golden son

Golden Son (Red Rising 2#) – Pierce Brown

This book was seriously action packed and then just when you think everything’s settled down, it goes full throttle again in the worst (or is it best?) possible way. The main character is betrayed by a close friend, someone significant dies, and multiple main characters are left in an absolutely terrible position going into book three. I was just a little bit heart broken. Divider4Related image

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer 1#) – Laini Taylor

I only have myself to blame for this one as the ending is revealed at the very beginning of the book. Yet, for some reason I convinced myself that it must have been a dream or something else entirely. Nope, neither of these things. A major character died in a pretty awful way and one of the others was blackmailed into accepting a terrible bargain. Where’s book two already?Divider5Image result for handle with care jodi

Handle with Care – Jodi Picoult

Jodi is known for endings that hit you like a stack of bricks. This was no different. I sat there shocked for several minutes and then just bawled. I rarely cry at books but this one got me, hard. After everything the characters go through in this story, it’s rendered insignificant in the space of only a couple of pages right at the end. Damn you, Jodi, you always know to hit where it hurts!Divider6Image result for shadow kiss

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy 3#) – Richelle Mead

While book two’s ending was definitely sad and shocking, it’s three that takes the cake. Dimitri and Rose are one of my favourite book couples and they end this instalment in an absolutely terrible place after a massive vampire attack on the Academy. I couldn’t believe what had happened and I was desperate for book four to make sure everything turned out okay. Divider7Image result for The Mime Order

The Mime Order (The Bone Season 2#) – Samantha Shannon

The Mime Order is vastly different to book one of the series but still remains a really engaging read. There’s a lot of new elements introduced but somehow everything manages to come together right at the end in an ‘oh, shit’ kind of way, converging the story lines of both books. Quite a few things click into place about people’s behaviour, motivations and plans, and it was certainly enough for me to go: Damn, better read book three. Divider
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter 7#) – J. K. Rowling

This was the book in which everything finally made sense and past events were given entirely new perspectives. The horcruxes, Dumbledore’s history, Harry’s importance, Snape’s true motivations, the reality behind Dumbledore’s death, it was A LOT to take in. Then there was the numerous character deaths and the fact that after that many years it was finally over. Done. Finito. If this book wasn’t a jaw dropper, I don’t know what is. Divider9Image result for atonement book

Atonement – Ian McEwan

What a heart breaker, a soul crusher. The shock of this ending comes from the fact that all is not as it seems. It’s almost like a cruel joke on the reader disguised as a kindness by a major character. You realise that you’ve been reading a lie for quite some time and that not all endings get to be happy ones. You’ll stare at a wall for a while. Trust me. Divider10Image result for Catching Fire book

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games 2#) – Suzanne Collins

And so the revolution began, with a bang and important characters being left behind to be tortured by the Capital. There’s a reveal about the supposedly destroyed District 13, the destruction of District 12, and a spectacular break out from The Hunger Games arena.  We also find out that an important capital official was a rebel all along. All together, it’s a wow ending that sends you running for book three. Divider

Q: What were some of your biggest jaw-dropper endings? Did any of these books get you like they got me?

Love Ashley

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.