Top 10 Tuesday: YA Contemporaries on my Summer TBR

This week’s topic is to do with cozy winter reads (thanks Jana) but as usual, I live in the Southern Hemisphere which means, to my horror, we’re now in summer. Basically in AUS that means the country is flooding, on fire, and in drought all at the same time. There’s also been word of a giant cow somewhere. Anyway, I’m finally getting on board with the whole ‘summer is a great time to read YA Contemporaries’ thing. In my case, it’s probably more like: summer is a great time to catch up on all the YA Contemporaries everyone else in the world seems to have read ages ago and I haven’t. So here are ten that I’m hoping to read at some point over the next few months of icky, sweaty, humid, bug infested Summer.

Image result for alex approximatelyAlex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett

Essentially this is You’ve Got Mail (which I really enjoy) in a modern, teen setting. So, as you can imagine, I’m very much on board. I like the whole enemies to lovers trope where it involves gaining a new understanding of someone you thought you knew and this definitely seems to check that box. I’m just preparing for a chick flick in book form, really.

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Image result for fangirl rainbow rowellFangirl – Rainbow Rowell

I bought this one a few months back now and still haven’t gotten to it despite the fact that it’s one of those YA Contemporaries everyone RAVES about because it’s apparently so relatable. The cover is cute, the blurb’s cute, and yes, it does all feel very relatable. The lead is an introvert who writes fan fiction and absolutely loves books..sound like anyone you know? I also kind of like the fact that it’s set at university rather than high school. Time to see what everyone’s been talking about. Cath and Levi, I’m coming for you.

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Image result for what if its usWhat if it’s Us? – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

I was majorly anticipating this particular release and while I have certainly bought it, as usual, I still have yet to read it. I love Becky’s books and after reading my first of Adam’s books last month, I’m super keen to read their joint baby. I’ve seen a few mixed reviews on it since its release but I’m hoping that adorable characters and theatre vibes will make it a winner for me.

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28919058Autoboyography – Christina Lauren

This one was recommended to me by someone at the bookstore after I finished Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I’ve heard Christina’s books are really sweet and there is honestly so much love for this book online. I also feel like it’s pretty important to read some more books with diversity. The cover is super pretty and I think the concept in itself sounds really lovely. It may also be because like every other book worm out there, I, too, like to write.

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33385229They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

This one’s a little different from the other YA Contemporaries on this list because its technically set in another world but it’s still classified as one anyway. After reading and enjoying History is All You Left Me, I’d love to read some more of Adam’s work and this one seems to be the most popular of the bunch. I can tell it’s going to be another heart wrecker but hey, emotion is good. I think this will be a great reminder to live life to the fullest and appreciate the little things. At least it won’t be a shock ending, right? RIGHT?

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25756328Love and Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch

Um, what’s more summer than romance, gelato and Italy? Nothing, that’s right. Okay, there’s probably a lot of things but regardless, I get the feeling this will be a perfect summer pick. I’ve used this book in other posts before but because I still haven’t got there, it’s showing up again. Sue me. I absolutely adore Italy so it’ll be nice to read something fun and light set there. I’m not expecting anything too substantial but sometimes that’s okay. I can’t read books about life and death questions all the time.

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18304322Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ has been on my radar for a while but I’ve been putting it off because there seems to be some people that love it and think it’s wonderfully body positive, and others that have a heap of issues with it and complain about it being hypocritical. I’m far from the skinniest person you’ll ever meet so I’m hoping I’ll end up finding something in the former camp. Plus, the Netflix adaptation comes out later this week and I’m one of those people for which nothing spurs me on to read books I’ve been putting off quite like seeing an adaptation trailer.

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31952703Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley

A book about BOOKS. Can you imagine anything more perfect than that? Even better, people connecting and falling in love by leaving notes for each other in books! It’s basically my romantic dream. No direct socialisation and spending heaps of time in bookstores. *swoons* This is suposed to be a short read but it’s also got a great reputation for being a really beautiful book about love, loss and learning to move on with your life. Why do so many books on this list want to wreck me emotionally? BONUS, it’s set in Australia! Horray! And yet, I’m still determined to get my hands on the US cover because gosh the UK/Aus cover is a snooze. Zzzzzzzz…

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18460392All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

This book has come up a lot in YA circles. It’s on the 2018 top 101 list at my local bookstore, won a Goodreads choice award back in 2015 and has an average star rating of 4.18. Yes, it’s another love story but this seems like it deals with a lot of bigger things too such as mental health and suicide so I’m expecting to get that giant hole in my heart by the end of it. However, apparently it’s a bit John Green-esque which, no shade to Mr Green, hasn’t really been my thing so far. Eh, we’ll have to see!

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31351689Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake

Okay, this isn’t exactly what you’d call an easy, breezy summer read but it’s YA, contemporary and I am hoping to read it during summer. I’ve got a lot of love story books on this list and I feel like it might be nice to have something a little more serious. This book deals with rape, trust, relationships and it looks intense but it’s supposed to be fantastic and I’m hoping for a really great read which successfully tackles some heavy themes.

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That makes 10. I’ll be realistic, it’s unlikely I’ll get anywhere near to reading all of these during the next few months because I do need to break things up with some other genres for variety but it’s always nice to have goals.

Have you read any of the YA Contemporaries on this list? What are some of your favourite books in this genre?

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Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Friendships in Books

This week’s TTT topic, thanks to host Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl, is platonic relationships in books. I’ve decided to go all basic and just do friendships because there are few things I love more than balanced, well developed and amazing friendships in the books I read. So here are ten of my favourites, of which there are TOO many (and yes, expect to see a lot of frequented choices, sorry not sorry).

Will Herondale & Jem Carstairs (The Infernal Devices Series – Cassandra Clare)

  • They’re so close, they’re basically brothers
  • Jem tells Will when he’s being ridiculous, risky and over the top (demon pox). Will encourages Jem to get out and have hope for the future even though he’s technically dying
  • Even though they’re in love with the same girl, they’re both willing to accept Tessa’s choice and just be happy for their friend because they honestly believe he deserves it *heart tingles*
  • Badass parabatai warriors

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Rose Hathaway & Lissa Dragomir (Vampire Academy series – Richelle Mead)

  • Rose dedicates her whole life to protecting Lissa and is willing to beat up anyone who hurts her (even emotionally)
  • Lissa brought both Rose’s boyfriend, Dimitri, AND Rose back from the dead at risk to her own sanity
  • Their skills and temperaments make up for what the other half lacks and when they work together, they kick ass
  • They have a magical bond that allows Rose to know what Lissa is thinking and feeling, meaning she always knows when her friend needs support

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The Inner Circle (A Court of Thorns and Roses Series – Sarah J Maas)

  • They’ve managed to be friends for god knows how many years and still aren’t sick of each other (well, mostly)
  • Snow ball fights and jokes about wingspans
  • They perfectly span the spectrum of very serious to massive shit stirrer which makes for fabulous dinner parties
  • Would die for each other
  • Basically family and in some instances, probs a better family than actual family

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Harry Potter, Ron Weasley & Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling)

  • All bring something different to the table – humour, intelligence and…err, sass and chosen one-ish-ness in order to save the day, repeatedly
  • Do not give two stuff about school rules
  • Stick by each other even when things look awful
  • Took down big evil wizard and saved the wizarding world together
  • Bicker in a way I find very amusing
  • Just generally give me life, okay

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Sevro Au Bacca & Darrow (Red Rising Series – Pierce Brown)

  • Sevro stops Darrow from getting a big head when things are going too well and Darrow stops Sevro from going on massive murder sprees except where it serves his agenda= goals
  • Fought side by side during epic space battles and have saved each other repeatedly
  • Trust each other so much they’re willing to follow the other person’s plans even when they’re absolutely insane and more likely to get them killed than succeed
  • That banter

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Nikolai Lantsov & Alina Starkov (The Grisha Trilogy – Leigh Bardugo)

Choosing to ignore the whole potential romantic interest thing and focus on awesome friendship instead because it was honestly one of my fave parts of this series.

  • Can have serious heart to hearts but also two second later switch to Nikolai being a cocky bastard and Alina saying she doesn’t like him at all (LIES)
  • Just generally get each other
  • Alina not being freaked out by Nikolai even when he’s a flying, fangy, people eating darkness creature
  • Nikolai following Alina around while being said people eating creature and still recognising her

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The Losers club (IT – Stephen King)

  • Teaming up to throw rocks at asshole bullies
  • Brave enough to go into scary, dark, icky sewers looking for a child eating clown and to vow to come back and kill it if it ever returns
  • Put up with Richie being a little pain in the ass with terrible impressions (who’s still loveable somehow)
  • Help Bev clean her bloody bathroom after Pennywise badly redecorates

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Anne Shirley & Diana Barry (Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery)

  • Because they’re kindred spirits and bosom friends
  • Anne saves Diana’s little sister’s life when she gets super sick one night
  • Diana doesn’t get mad at Anne for accidentally getting her drunk off mulled wine when she thought it was raspberry cordial
  • Diana indulges Anne’s insane dramatics and fantasies
  • Anne encourages Diana to live a little and have fun, even though it may be bending the rules

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Eragon & Saphira (Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini)

  • Can read each other’s thoughts – so basically know all the good and bad parts of each other
  • Work in sync to be the dream team in big epic battles
  • Tell each other when they’re being stupid – mostly Saphira telling off Eragon because he does a lot of stupid things and gives her plenty of opportunities for snarky commentary
  • Just generally have a great dynamic

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Kell & Rhy Maresh (A Darker Shade of Magic Series – V. E. Schwab)

Pretty much brothers but great friends too.

  • Kell brought Rhy back from the dead by binding Rhy’s ife to his own. Now that’s friendship.
  • Rhy tricks Kell into going out to bars, drinking and socialising = basically the kind of friends my introverted, couch potato self needs
  • Kell is willing to threaten Rhy’s romantic interests with immense violence to make sure they don’t break his brother’s fragile little heart
  • Rhy encourages Kell to enter a magic competition to blow off some steam even though it is clearly a very bad idea

SPECIAL MENTIONS: Frodo Baggins & Samwise Gamgee (LotR), Mia Corvere & Mr Kindly (Nevernight – Jay Kristoff), Madeline, Celeste & Jane (Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty)


What are some of your favourite bookish friendships or other platonic relationships?

Top 10 Tuesday: Backlist Books I Want to Read

I’mmmmm backkkk! It’s been about a month and here I am again, ready to get stuck into some Top Ten Tuesday fun.

Is it just me, or are there about a zillion and one amazing looking books released every few months? I go to cross one anticipated release off my TBR list only to find I have to add five more to it. For this reason, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in new releases and neglect the poor book babies which have been angrily screaming, ‘You promised to read me last month’ for about five years.

I also need to consider that every so often I find my reading tastes and interests change or expand a little. This tends to open my eyes up to a whole bunch of amazing books from years ago which I may not have been aware of before. For example, I only really started getting into YA contemporaries last year which means I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of the super popular books in that category.

Here are ten books published at least 2 years ago which I’d like to read at some point:

Image result for siege and stormSiege & Storm – Leigh Bardugo (2013)

I now own all three books, and having finally done my re-read of Shadow and Bone at the end of October, I’m planning to push on to Siege & Storm soon. I’m looking forward to finally getting a proper introduction to Nikolai, who people can’t seem to discuss without swooning. I didn’t mind book one but I wasn’t in love with it. Still, I’m willing to give the rest of the series a go because 1) Leigh is awesome and 2) I’d really like to read King of Scars when it comes out.

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Related imageFangirl – Rainbow Rowell (2013)

As I mentioned above, I only jumped on the YA contemporary bandwagon last year so I’m still working my way through the so called holy grail books of the genre. Fangirl seems to be one of them. Weirldy enough, I’ve already read Carry On which came after (and only because of) this book so it’ll be interesting reading the fan fiction sections. Hopefully I find it as cute and relatable as people (constanty) keep saying it is. I mean, I am a bit of a hermit and I have written fan fiction so the odds are in its favour.

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28165439The Long Walk – Richard Bachman aka. Stephen King (1979)

I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled across this one. I think I may have been googling lists of the best Stephen King books? (Totally normal bookworm behaviour, of course). This one peaked my interest. It’s about a race in which 100 boys have to keep walking above a certain speed for as long as possible. They have three warnings and if they exceed them, they get murdered. Winner gets whatever their heart desires. It sounds super dark but really compelling. It’s also a reasonable length, unlike some of King’s more famous pieces, but then again, he published this one under a pseudonum. I’m hoping it’s an interesting read.

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10576365The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken (2012)

I’ve mentioned this one on some other lists recently so apologies for being an uncreative and repetitious dork. I was never super motivated to actually read TDM until the movie came out but everyone raves about these books so I think I need to find out what the fusss is about. Also POWERS. I LOVE POWERS! I’m hoping to find some loveable characters but I’m a little worried about the book just feeling like every other dystopian YA I’ve read. I also tend to get bored with over the top military/government organisation involvement in certain kinds of stories so fingers crossed it doesn’t happen with this one.

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16069030The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski (2014)

This series seems to come up a lot in YA fantasy/dystopian circles, especially when people are talking favourite ships. I’ll admit, the books look a little trashy – the covers give me some serious The Selection vibes (which my guilty pleasure lovin’ self had sooooo much fun with) and I’m worried there will be a heap of tropes, instalove and a lack of proper development. STILL my curious brain cannot be dissuaded. I have to do it. I’m hoping they end up being as enjoyable as everyone says. If so, they’re short reads and they’ll look gorgeous in my bookshelf, triple win!!

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10626594The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater (2011)

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been in the bookstore, picked this one up, thought about buying it and then decided to hold off. The plot sounds really exciting (intense live-or-die race involving water horses? Um, Yes!) and I’ve heard a heap of good things about it (it’s slow but really atmospheric and poignant). Plus, it’s a standalone so no need to wait years for pesky sequels which may or may not live up to expectations. I may not always adore Maggie’s books but I have to admit that she always has interesting characters and concepts.

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943402Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist (2009)

I’ve been curious about this one ever since I saw the american adaptation years back. I’ve now seen both the Swedish and US versions so I’d really like to read the source material to see how it compares. After how romanticised vampires have become in literature over the years, it’ll be cool to read something with a darker, scarier, and more violent approach towards them. I’ve heard it’s quite intense and creepy so it should be a good change of pace.

 

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Image result for the name of the windThe Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss (2007)

I’ve been putting this one off for a very long time for three reasons. First, it’s not a small book  and 2018 Ashley seems to find that frightening. Second, I’ve heard it takes some time to really grab you. Third, it’s taking Rothfuss FOREVER to write the series, and who needs that pain and suffering in their life? However, pretty much everyone who loves fantasy has really enjoyed this series and I’m looking forward to seeing what all the hype is about. Please don’t end up being boring and disappointing.

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Image result for the well of ascensionThe Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson (2007)

I’ve had this book in my bookcase for a few years now and I keep putting it off because I know I’ll need to re-read The Final Empire before I read it. My memory is basically swiss cheese these days and I remember nothing about book one. Okay, nothing other than the fact that the magic system is super cool and that Sanderson actually surprised me by killing off a major character before the climax. This is another series everyone who loves the fantasy genre gushes about. I enjoyed the first book and it’ll be interesting to see where the series goes after how it ended. Sanderson is a really amazing writer so it’ll be nice to get some more exposure to him.

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Image result for since you've been goneSince You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson (2011)

Morgan Matson is another one of those YA contemporary authors that people seem to really enjoy. I read the blurb of this one and though it’d be a great choice for my first book of hers. The cover gives me such Summer vibes so don’t be surprised if this one shows up on a summer reads related post later on. I really love reading about well written female friendships in books and it seems ike Since You’ve Been Gone will have one at it’s core. Give me some cute moments and make me feel all the feelings, pretty please!


What are some of the backlist books sitting on your TBR at the moment? Why haven’t you gotten around to them yet? Perhaps you’re like me and keep getting distracted by shiny, pretty new releases! 

Top 10 Tuesday: Books by my Favourite Authors, and Authors with the Potential to Become Favourites, that I Still Haven’t Read

After thinking about this week’s TTT topic for some time, I came to the rather bizarre conclusion that unlike my teenage self, adult me does not have that many favourite authors. *jaw drop* Why, you ask? Well, while I do read a lot of books, I’ve noticed that they seem to come from a much wider array of different authors than they used to. In other words, I don’t read enough books from particular authors for them to BECOME favourites. You can see why this would be problematic for a list like this.  Then there’s the other issue that for some of my favourite authors I don’t actually have any books (already released, that is) still to read.

SO.

To make up the numbers I’ve decided to extend this list to also include authors that I’ve read something from and would like to see more of. In other words, books I’m keen to read by authors with the potential to become favourites. Let’s get stuck in.


Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King

Image result for sleeping beauties uk

I’ve read a few of King’s novels now and largely enjoyed them. I bought this brick of a book (typical SK) shortly after it came out but I still haven’t tackled it. I’m expecting it won’t happen until I hit a holiday period but I’m definitely still determined to get there. There have been some mixed reviews on this one but the blurb continues to suck me in.

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Image result for the storyteller jodi picoultThe Storyteller – Jodi Picoult

During my high school years I consumed Jodi Picoult novels like a machine but I haven’t read one for some time (not for any particular reason though). They’re always emotionally crushing but I just love how well done her characters are. Plus I respect her willingness to tackle some really heavy issues through her writing. This one relates to WWII German history and with an average goodreads rating of 4.27 I’m expecting it to be a great one to get me back on board with her books.

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Image result for the archivedThe Archived – Victoria Schwab

Schwaby. How I adore you. I’ve had this one on my GR to-read shelf for what feels like FOREVER and I still haven’t got there. With the recent release of both The Archived books in one release, The Dark Vault, I’ve been reminded of just how much I want to read this one. I mean, it’s set in a library, that should be enough alone.

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Image result for one true loves taylor jenkins reidOne True Loves – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I completely fell in love with Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo last month and I’m now determined to read some of her other novels. One True Loves is considered to be one of Reid’s best novels so I’m hoping lightning strikes twice. It’s a completely different story from Evelyn Hugo but I’m expecting to find more beautifully done characters and great writing. A woman whose husband dies in a helicopter crash and turns up alive years later after she’s already remarried? I’m ready for ALL the emotions!

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Image result for the song risingThe Song Rising (The Bone Season 3#) – Samantha Shannon

Here’s another one that’s been on my shelf for ages. I really want to read it but I’m being held up by the fact that I need to do a re-read of The Mime Order first to ensure I know what the hell is going on. At this rate Sam’s enormous tome The Priory of the Orange Tree (which also looks great) will be released before I finally read The Song Rising. Get cracking, Ashley!

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9275658Legend – Marie Lu

At this point I’ve only read Marie’s Warcross duology but after these two, I’m very keen to see more. Her Legend series seems to be extremely popular and has quite a high average GR rating, so I’m thinking this will be the one I tackle. However I am a little bit worried about it including a too quickly developed romance.

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12983171I’ve Got Your Number – Sophie Kinsella

Sophie is another author that I used to read a lot of back in the day but haven’t for some time. Her books are light contemporaries which are always a bit of fun. They make me laugh and are great pick me ups when you’re feeling down. Sure, some of it gets repetitive from time to time but this one sounds cute anyway. The concept here is that the MC, Poppy, finds a lost phone which happens to belong to the ex-PA of cute businessman, Sam. Poppy starts trying to manage Sam’s life using the phone and as you can imagine, hijinks ensue.  Cue romance.

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Image result for unwind neal shustermanUnwind – Neal Shusterman

Picking up Scythe by Mr Shusterman earlier this year was one of the best things I’ve done for myself in 2018 and the sequel, Thunderhead, was pretty damn awesome as well. NS’s worldbuilding skils are amazing and by the looks of the synopsis for Unwind, Scythe wasn’t just a fluke. The plot of this one sounds fascinatingly creepy and I’m extremely intrigued. The idea that teens between the ages of 13 and 18 can be simply killed and their organs shuffled on to other people without their consent sounds terrifying. Bring it on.

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28421168Renegades – Marissa Meyer

I could just as easily have put Winter here but I’ve gone with Renegades. I’ve read the first three books in Marissa’s The Lunar Chronicles series and have had a great time with them. I think she’s great at balancing more dramatic writing against humour and her ideas are wonderfully creative. For this reason I’m really looking forward to reading more from her, especially since this one sounds epic.

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37922797Iron Gold (Red Rising 4#) – Pierce Brown

Yes, I know, I know. I keep bringing this one up because I still haven’t gone back and finished it. The bloody thing has been sitting on my bedside table with a bookmark in it at about page 200 since April. APRIL for crying out loud. I love this series and Pierce’s writing is amazing so I know I’ll get there eventually but when, that’s always the question.


Which books by your favourite authors are you yet to read? And which authors are you eager to see more from?

Top 10 Tuesday: Binge-Worthy TV Shows

It’s been a while since I last did a Top 10 Tuesday post so I thought it was about time I dive back in. This week’s topic is actually a non-bookish one for a change and relates to movies or TV. Like anyone, I love a good binge-worthy series – the ones that are so consuming you just have to watch the next episode, and the next, and the next, to find out what’ll happen. You know it’s good when you’ve watched so much that Netflix is checking whether it should play the next episode or not. TV tastes vary quite a lot so this is a hard list to create and still appeal to everyone. For that reason, here are ten shows that I, personally, binge-watched like a fiend (of which there are MANYYYYYY).

Stranger Things

stranger things netflix GIF

Gotta love a bit of 80s nostalgia. Stranger Things feels like if Spielberg and Stephen King had produced a TV baby. This is a binge watch for me every time I see it, especially since each season is only 8 episodes long. I love the characters (Dustin and STEVE!) and I’m a big fan of shows involving supernatural elements. For those few people who haven’t seen it, Stranger Things is set in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. After 12-year-old Will Buyers goes missing, Will’s friends and family launch an investigation which suggests the explanation may be otherworldly in nature.

TV 2

david fincher GIF by NETFLIX

There’s just something about twisted crime pieces that sucks me in. It’s a mood, okay? Don’t judge me. Mindhunter follows two FBI agents as they interview serial killers in an attempt to learn more about the way these individuals think in the hopes it will allow them to develop better profiling techniques. The acting is great and the show just has this gritty and dark atmosphere that’s so addicting. It’s also produced by director, David Fincher & actress, Charlize Theron. It’s not an action-packed kind of show but if you’re into slower, more subtle entertainment, it’s a solid pick.

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Image result for daredevil gif

I had to include at least one Marvel show on the list. I really loved Jessica Jones‘s first season but because I’m behind on season 2, I’ve gone with Daredevil. The action sequences are amazing, the characters are well done, and Charlie Cox is some serious eye candy. A blind superhero who’s not really blind is also a very cool concept. When the second season came out, only work was able to drag me away from my Netflix account.

TV 4

Image result for unreal tv show gif

This one is a major guilty pleasure binge. I’ll admit, I enjoy watching The Bachelor when it’s on (however, the Australian version is a little less insane than the US) and Unreal was created by a former producer on the US Bachelor & Bachelorette. The show is set behind the scenes of a very similar fictional tv series called Everlasting in which we witness the antics on set and the absolute crazy lengths creators will go to in order to keep making high rating TV. It’s got strong female leads and some of it is just hilarious (if a bit dark)

TV 5

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Yes, this is a controversial one but having seen the first season twice and the second season once, I’ve binge-watched each time. If you weren’t already aware (where have you been??), the premise of the show is that following the suicide of student Hannah Baker, 13 cassette tapes she made are sent around to a group of people whom Hannah claims to be the reasons behind her decision to take her own life. I powered through season one because I had to know why Clay, the show’s protagonist, was included on the tapes and even then, I needed to see how it’d end. It’s a tough show to watch at times and definitely DO NOT if you have experienced depression or suicidal thoughts before. Otherwise, it’s deeply emotional, well acted and has some nice underlying messages about how we treat others.

TV 6

Image result for the end of the f***ing world gif

This show is so British, it hurts (in a good way, of course). It’s a very quirky, dark-comedy – a little bit Wes Craven, a tad Quentin Tarantino, and massively odd, but it’s also really funny and a hell of a ride. There’s only one season so far (greenlit for a second) and it’s 8 episodes long, perfect for binging. The show revolves around two teens –  angsty Alyssa, who wants to escape her home life, and James, who thinks himself a psychopath and is set on murdering Alyssa. The two decide to run away and end up on a road trip full of crazy stuff including a paedophile, exploding car, and petrol station attendant called Frodo. I wasn’t sure how I felt at the start but it really does grow on you in a way you don’t expect.

TV 7

Image result for broadchurch gif

Another crime series. I don’t watch many mass season crime shows these days, with every episode a different case. However, I do enjoy limited episode series with confined season long investigations. And because of the need to find out who did it and how, I tend to binge them. Broadchurch is a great watch. David Tenant (LOVE) and Olivia Coleman are absolutely fantastic and each of the three seasons is well written and fabulously filmed. The first season deals with the murder of an eleven-year-old boy and showcases the investigation, the impact the death has on his family, and the various personalities of people living in the small coast-side town.

TV 8

Lifetime Telly GIF

Oh, man. Now, this is guilty pleasure town. Netflix recently put a few older seasons of this up and I’m addicted. I will honestly sit for hours and just watch episode after episode of people frantically sewing clothes into the late hours of the morning and bitching about each other behind their backs. Reality tv at it’s most mind-numbingly enjoyable.

TV 9

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BtVS is one of my favourite tv series of all time. Easy. I could watch this thing through 1000 times and still not be sick of it. Yes, it can be a little campy and the special effects are definitely on the dated side, but it’s such a great show and one of Joss Whedon’s best productions. The characters are wonderful and the show itself perfectly straddles action, horror and comedy with some romance thrown in. Watching Buffy and friends kick ass and save the world from vampires, demons and everything else creepy-crawly is one of the best ways to spend a night in.

TV 10

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While the revival is certainly questionable, the first five or so seasons of Gilmore Girls are one of my favourite things to binge. Every time I watch, I feel like I’m teen again, watching with my mum. It’s such a comforting, heartwarming and fun show that never ceases to make me smile. Watching mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory go about their lives and witnessing the crazy hijinks of the tiny town they live in is definitely my idea of bingeable entertainment. It’s also funny and ridiculously quotable. Oy, with the poodles already!

What are your favourite TV shows to binge watch?

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.


1

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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.


3

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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: Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far)

This week’s top ten Tuesday topic is a list of your favourite reads of 2018 so far. I touched on this briefly when I did the mid-year freak out tag a few weeks ago but since it’s always fun talking about fantastic books, I thought, why not expand on it here. Creating this list was really tough in places because I’ve read some great books this year. If you were to ask me the same question again tomorrow, I’m likely to have changed the list by then, it’s just that hard. I’m so indecisive – did I like this book better than this book? Oh, but I rated this book higher, but then I read this one super quick, it’s just crazy. So here are the ten I’ve come up with for today. The books are listed in order of the date I read them (because who wants the grief of trying to rank them, heaven forbid)


1

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

★★★★★

I feel like I’ve raved about this one enough for you guys to know how much I enjoyed it. Like I said in my review, it’s better than Oreos – sweet, funny, emotional, and uplifting, this is the definition of a good YA contemporary.

Review here.


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A Torch Against the Night (Sabaa Tahir)

★★★★

It’s always a nice thing when books avoid sequel suckage syndrome. This was a great adventure. I love both Helene and Elias so it’s was really interesting watching them play cat and mouse across the country. The prison scenes were also extremely entertaining and the book ended in a place that left me super excited to read A Reaper at the Gates.


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The Cruel Prince (Holly Black)

★★★★

I’ve never been a huge fan of fairy books, with a few exceptions, but it’s books like this that have started to change my mind of late. Yes, the world building is a little lacking and some of the plot is on the slow side but I had a great time reading this one. The characters are morally ambiguous, there’s scheming and backstabbing, and the ending is fabulously dramatic. I can’t wait for The Wicked King.

Review here.


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Red Rising Series (Pierce Brown)

★★★★★

Yes, this is three books so I’m cheating but 1) they were all excellent and 2) I didn’t want a third of this list to just be RR books. I loved this series. LOVED. Well written characters, epic action scenes, dramatic twists, amazing world building, and some intense emotional moments, what more do you want? Also, unlike some other series, it finishes even stronger than it begins. Definitely would recommend to sci-fi fans!

Series review here.


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Call Me By Your Name (Andre Aciman)

★★★★

This book was such a change of pace for me. I picked it up after falling in love with the film and the novel is just as magical. The writing is absolutely beautiful and the book itself is just heartbreaking but so, so worth it.


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Warcross (Marie Lu)

★★★★.5

This was my first experience with Marie Lu and it was wonderful! The Warcross matches themselves were so much fun and Emilka was a strong, smart and well developed MC. The plot twist at the end is predictable but still enjoyable because of the direction it takes the story. The sequel, Wildcard, is one of my most anticipated releases for the second half of 2018.


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Scythe (Neal Shusterman)

★★★★★

I had to wait for ages to get this book in Australia but it was worth it. The world is unique and extremely well constructed, the book deals with some big questions about morality, power, and life itself, and the characters are complex but likeable. The plot will be a bit slow for some people but I enjoyed it immensely!

Review here.


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Leah on the Offbeat (Becky Albertalli)

★★★★.5

I’ve had a good year so far with Becky Albertalli books. Leah was one of my least favourite characters in Simon but after this book, I gained such a new appreciation for her. She has her stubborn moments but she’s also super relatable and I loved the development of her relationship with Abby. Plus I got to spend some more time with the other adorable Simon characters. Winner!


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The Last Olympian (Rick Riordan)

★★★★.5

Up until this book I’d had fun reading the Percy Jackson series but I had yet to reach a book where I was genuinely super keen to find out how it would end. That was this book for me. The plot was exciting and actually felt like it’d have a lasting impact on the world of the books instead of just being Percy and co’s latest adventure. I loved that the stakes felt real and there was a chance for characters to showcase true bravery. It was a much more mature read and I really appreciated that!


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The Song of Achilles (Madeline Miller)

★★★★.8

Wow. I cannot believe I waited so long to read this one because it was AMAZING. Miller puts so much detail into the book but without bogging down the story. I loved Patroclus as a narrator and the romance between him and Achilles is beautifully done. The downside, however, is that the book leaves you an emotional wreck at the end.

Review to come soon!

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And that rounds out my top ten! Are there any favourites we’ve shared? What have been some of your best reads of 2018 thus far?

Here’s to many more fantastic books in the second half of the year!

Love Ashley