November is done. Caput. Over. See ya later. And there’s just ONE month left in 2018. NOBODY PANIC!! *flails*
Now that’s out of the system, it’s time for a good, old fashioned wrap up. As you might be aware, I was on hiatus during October so that means we get two months of wrap up today for the price of one post! And by price I mean entirely free. Free fun woooooo!
Sadie – Courtney Summers ★★★★★ | Review
Man, this was good. And by good I mean terrifying and heartbreaking. The writing is fantastic, the pacing spot on and the attention given to characters and places, wonderful. It’s a dark read with a tough ending to digest but very worth reading. Additionally, the choice to tell the story half in first person and the rest in podcast transcripts was a solid one.
Renegades – Marissa Meyer ★★★.5| Review
I had a few issues with the pacing in this one as well as adjusting to the odd tonal shifts but overall I enjoyed it. The world building is really compelling, the superpowers are awesome and creative, the romance isn’t rushed into (thank god), and the twist works well for the narrative. Yet, I do wish that amongst the very (too) large roster of characters there had been more I’d cared about than the two leads – Nova & Adrian.
The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) – Rick Riordan ★★★★
While I probably should have read this one right after I finished the first book, I did manage to get my head back into it without too many issues. The Son of Neptune was another fun and action packed Riordan book and once again, I really liked the new character additions – Frank and Hazel. The introduction of the Roman side of things was great and I had such a blast learning about their camp, practices, leadership, structure, etc. I’m also loving the more mature Percy.
The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus #3) – Rick Riordan ★★★.5
The Mark of Athena starts off really well but the book does get a little draggy and meandering in the middle. I quite liked the interactions between the characters (except maybe Jason who’s kind of lifeless and seems to gets injured A LOT for a hero type) and Hazel’s side of the story was very engaging. Major pro: Annabeth and Percy being ridiculously cute. The ending was fabulous and left me definitely wanting book 4. My favourite part of this though was getting to see Annabeth have some time in the spotlight without anyone to overshadow her, and she really shined. You go, girl!.
I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson ★★★★.5
I didn’t know what to expect with this one, especially after the first few pages, which almost turned me off because of the artsy-prosey writing style, but I’m so glad I kept going. The characters are deeply flawed and do some awful things to each other, but I love how real they felt and the fact that the book showcases how complex relationships can be. The story just conveys so much emotional depth. My biggest complaint though was the fact that there were a few things that weren’t resolved satisfactorily in the end – e.g. Noah’s relationship with Brian, Jude seeing her grandma’s ghost, etc.
Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy 1#) – Leigh Bardugo ★★★.5
This was a reread for me because I wanted to give the series another go (it may or may not have anything to do with King of Scars coming out…) and surprisingly, I ended up enjoying it more the second time. I still really liked The Darkling as a villain, I saw past more of Mal’s annoying traits, and I find I enjoyed the general narrative more because I knew where it was going. Alina was still lacking definition as a MC but overall, I was reasonably happy.
Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan ★★.5 | Review
I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this one and although I really wanted to love it, I was disappointed. I feel like it had a lot of potential, and major brownie points for both Asian and lesbian representation, but the world building was lacking and I had great trouble connecting with any of the characters. The king as a villain seemed very one-dimensional and while the story picks up at the end with a great climax and epilogue, I wish the plot had showed up to the party earlier on. I do have to say that the romance is well written – the descriptions are lovely and the attraction between Lei and Wren jumps off the page.
Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy 2#) – Leigh Bardugo ★★★★.5
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. The plot clicks into gear very quickly (yay, sea adventures!), the writing is better (go, Leigh!), Alina becomes a much more defined lead character, we get introduced to Nikolai in all his glory, and the climax is fantastically dramatic. I had a fab time reading this, so much so that I went straight into book three.
Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy 3#) – Leigh Bardugo ★★★★
So, this one wasn’t as good as book two but had more meat, stakes and direction than book one. I liked that we got sto know characters that had just generally been circling around in previous books, and to my absolute SHOCK, Mal actually became not just bearable but likeable. Some of the plot points could have been improved (Nikolai, Leigh did you dirty here) but regardless, I really enjoyed myself. The ending has a few wtf elements but the actual end-end I liked – very sweet. I’m so glad I gave this series a second go because I had a great time reading it.
The Rules of Magic – Alice Hoffman ★★★★
I’ve never read the original book, Practical Magic, but I’d heard so many good things about the prequel that I decided to give it a go and it ended up being quite enjoyable. I really like character driven stories where you follow people through a large portion of their lives, get to know the characters, and share their ups and downs. Franny, Jet and Vincent are all very distinct characters and seeing them try to navigate adolescence and adulthood whilst dealing with their family curse was really interesting. Hoffman’s writing is also absoutely lovely. A great pick for magical realism fans.
History is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera ★★★★
I knew this book was going to be hard on the heart just from the title and then the blurb cemented it. This is another book that I feel works well because it deals with imperfect people who screw up, badly, but still manage to turn it around. I really liked the split between present and past here and it worked to give context to events and people over the story. I think Adam deals with the idea of grief really well here and while the book is definitely sad, he manages to break it up with moments of lightness to avoid you getting too bogged down by it.
A Reaper at the Gates (Ember Quartet 3#) – Sabaa Tahir ★★★★
I really should have done a re-read before tackling this one – so much memory searching for important details. The book does take a while to get going but boy, does it get going. I’ve never been too excited by Laia as a character before, nor her romance with Elias, but I ended up finding her more a lot more enjoyable this time around. Elias and Helene, my babies, had a rough time of it this book but I still really enjoyed their stories, especially Helene’s in terms of the political navigating. I absolutely loved the last third of the novel and couldn’t tear myself away. Can every fantasy have an epic battle that draws on my love of the LotR: The Two Towers movie? Because yes, please. I’m so keen for book four!
I already own a normal copy of Six of Crows but have you seen this special edition? It’s irresistably gorgeous and needed to be in my bookcase, okay? It just did. Both Muse of Nightmares and Vengeful are on hold until I can arrange time for a re-read of their previous books (sad face) but it has to be done. I want to enjoy them to their full potential and a refresher is a requirement for that. As I mentioned earlier, Girls of Paper and Fire was an ARC.
NONE. I did not buy a single book. NOT ONE. I am so proud of myself. There were double rewards points promos, black friday/cyber monday sales, and still, not today Satan. HOWEVER, while I didn’t actually buy any books, I did get approved for one ARC from Netgalley which is To Best the Boys by Mary Weber. I’ve never read one of Mary’s books before but it sounds great and I’m loving the maze cover. Also, from the dedication, I’m expecting some serious female empowerment.
Top 10 Tuesday
Backlist Books I Want to Read
Favourite Friendships in Books
Book Tag: R.I.P it or Ship It
Upcoming Releases to Get Excited About
So, I know you’re all asking: Ashley, what have you been doing for the past two months? Just kidding, I’m not that deluded but I’m going to tell you anyway. Truth is, I haven’t really been doing much of anything lately which is both good and bad. Work is extremely busy at the moment so that’s involved a lot of late nights and reduced my ability to have that thing normal people call…what is it again? Oh, right, a SOCIAL LIFE. I’m hoping to find it again once we get past Christmas.
Some of you may know that I wasn’t much of a fan of Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches. The minute the words ‘Vampire Wife’ came up, I was out of there. Jokes, I read the rest of the book because clearly I’m a masochist. And because I make complete, total sense, I decided to watch the new tv series starrring Theresa Palmer and Matthew Goode. And…it actually wasn’t a total diaster? As in, I binge watched all 8 episodes in about two days. Yes, the relationship is still ridiculously over the top and instantaneous but I feel like they’ve fleshed out a lot more elements of the story and given everything more context. Also, ‘vampire wife’ isn’t mentioned so they’re already ahead. It’s still campy but it’s shot beautifully and the acting is pretty good. Probs should do a Page to Screen post for it but we’ll see how lazy I am.
This aside, I’ve been very, very slowly making my way through The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which started off rocky for me but has been improving in quality as I go on. Gosh knows when I’ll actually finish it at my current pace but maybe before Christmas? Shortly after it came out, I also binge watched the hell out of Daredevil Season 3 and enjoyed it immensely. You have no idea of my despair at the fact that it’s just been cancelled. *shakes fist* Damn you, Netflix. Damnnnnnnn youuuuuu.
I’m a million-gazillion years late to the party, but I’ve recently gotten super into Marina and the Diamonds. I just love her style – she’s electric and poppy but still manages to have these fantastic lyrics with such depth. Also, have you seen her music videos? They are fabulously shot.
I also recently bought the new 5SOS album, Young Blood. Believe me, I’m more surprised than you are at this fact. Turns out it has a ridiculous number of bangers on there. I’m loving their sound right now – it’s catchy, got a good level of base and there’s a decent mix of boppy to slower songs. Great for rocking out to in the car.
Aside from reading, I love playing video games. These days my time is on the limited side so I don’t get to do as much of it as I would like but this month I’ve been getting reacquainted with a very old friend, Spyro the dragon. Toys for Bob recently released the Spyro Reignited Trilogy in which they’ve remastered all three of the original games. My sister and I have had so much fun replaying them and the graphics are gorgeous.
And that’s it for another month. Well, two in this case but you get the point. Time to catch me up, how was your October and November? And what books are you planning on reading before the end of the year?