Monday, 15 January 2018

What I've Been Reading #24 - No books were read this week, sadly


I hope you guys are well!

This week has passed in a blur of school, stress and anxiety. I haven’t been taking my homeopathic drops, because I was feeling fine, but now I’m feeling decidedly not fine. I’ve been struggling with bad anxiety this week, and it’s been really hard. There’s a lot going on in my life at the moment, and as I started school this week, that’s added to my stress. So I’m a very anxious peanut at the moment. It’s not fun. 

ANYWAY, my parents and I went to Cheltenham on Monday, and I popped into some charity stores there and bought a few books! I FINALLY got a copy of The Night Circus, which I'm dying to read. I was going to loan it from my library, but they never have it in. BUT NOW I HAVE MY OWN COPY. YAY. 

I also went to Bradford-on-Avon on Friday. My mom and I visited some of her friends which was really nice! There was a sweet middle-grade novel I wanted to buy at one of the charity stores there, but after finally reaching the till (I waited forever in the queue) I was told I couldn't pay with a card unless it was over £5. As per usual, I had no cash on me, so I had to leave urgently because my mom's friend's car was running, and we had to go. So I had to leave the pretty. BUT LOOK, I TOOK PICTURES OF THE PRETTY PLACE.

Nothing. TSK TSK TSK. 

Firefight (Reckoners, #2)

IT'S SO GOOD. I think I love it more than the first book?? I LOVE DAVID. Sometimes he makes stupid decisions, but I STILL LOVE HIM.

Calamity (Reckoners, #3)

I DON'T WANT IT TO BE OVER! I'll be reading this next, though! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME I MARATHONED A TRILOGY?? Forever ago. Slight exaggeration, perhaps, but that's what it feels like!

How was your week? What are you currently reading? What was the last book you read? 
Read More »

Thursday, 11 January 2018

The 2017 releases I didn't get to BUT WILL GET TO THIS YEAR

You know, every year I tell myself that I'll try to read more of the books released that year, but every year I manage to do exactly the opposite. 2017 released so many amazing books, and I read barely any of them! I have quite a few on my bookshelf and there are a few out from the library that I'm hoping to get to next year. Have you missed out on any of these?

This book was so hyped when it first came out. I still remember hearing about it and thinking OH MY GOSH I NEED IT IN MY LIFE. Well, clearly I didn't need it as much as I thought I did, because here I am, in January, and I still haven't read it. I have it out from the library, though and I'm so excited to read it! IT LOOKS SO MAGICAL AND SUSPENSEFUL AND I'M READY. 

GUESS WHO GOT THIS FOR CHRISTMAS AFTER PINING FOR IT FOR MONTHS?! Meee! I'm so excited to read it, as I love Laini Taylor's writing. The story sounds utterly incredible and so, so gorgeous. Laini is my #1 writing inspiration. She's a phenomenal author.

THIS BOOK IS LITERALLY SO PRETTY. I have a copy of it on my shelf, and it's so gorgeous. Not that that's the only reason I'm excited to read it, of course. I adore the premise of this book. Apparently it's about virtual reality and hacking and spies and protagonists with rainbow coloured hair? Doesn't that sound like fun?! IT SOUNDS LIKE FUN TO ME.

I feel like this book came out earlier than 2017, but nope – it came out last year. I'm going to be reading this with my friend, Amy, from The Magical World of Words this month which I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT. This book is about music and trolls...and other stuff that I don't know yet because I haven't read it yet!

*EDIT* I read this book a few days after writing this post! GO ME!

Truth be told, I'm 132% terrified to read this book because the first book was SO! MIND-BLOWINGLY! BRILLIANT! That I'm scared the sequel won't be as good. The reviews are great though, so fingers crossed I'll love it!

EVERYONE HAS RAVED ABOUT THIS BOOK (well, mostly everyone). It sounds like such a cute read! It's diverse and it's contemporary and it sounds adorable. I'm here for that.

I got this for £2 from a charity shop. And it's hard-cover. IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?! I've heard so many amazing things about this book, and it sounds like a book that I'll love. I absolutely love fantasy books that have characters who can control the weather/elements – I find it so exciting to read about!

This book sounds so cute! Why haven't I read it yet? It's a Cinderella retelling that takes place in a convention. There's fandoms and fangirling and WHY HAVEN'T I READ THIS YET?!

I think I'm going to really enjoy this book! It focuses heavily on social media, people who become famous overnight because of it (think Alex from Target) and being in love in the public eye. I really like it when YA contemporaries include social media, as it's such a large part of most people's lives these days.

I bought my dad this book for Christmas because a) he likes John Green and b) I like John Green. As soon as he's done reading it, I'LL BE READING IT. I've heard it can be quite intense as it's an own voices book about OCD. Reading about anxiety can trigger my anxiety, and as I'm not in a very good place with it at the moment, I think I'll wait awhile before I read this!

I have this on hold at my library. It sounds so good. We need more dragon books – wouldn't you agree? I've heard the characters, the romance and the dragons are amazing. I AM EXCITED.

This author's writing has been likened to that of Laini Taylor which makes me SO! HAPPY!
I adore the sound of this book, and I'm super excited to dive in. I feel like it will make the perfect winter read.

THE AUTHOR IS AN ASTROPHYSICIST. I WANT TO BE AN ASTROPHYSICIST. Ahem. Anyway, this book sounds amazing. Genetics and hacking and DNA and secrets – ooh, sounds intense.

14.Before She Ignites
DRAGONS AND ANXIETY, DRAGONS AND ANXIETY (anxiety from dragons? I can understand that). Do you know how rare it is to read a YA fantasy with mental health rep?! IT'S RARE. SUPER RARE. I'm so excited to read this: there's dragon smuggling and anxiety. Fingers crossed I'll be able to read it this year!

I haven't read City of Heavenly Fire, The Bane Chronicles or Lady Midnight. I AM SO BEHIND ON CASSANDRA CLARE'S BOOKS. Here's hoping that in 2018 I'll finally catch up!

Have you read any of these? Which ones should I make a priority? What was your favourite 2017 release? Let's chat!
Read More »

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones was my first read of 2018 and what a spectacular read it was!

Title: Wintersong
Series: Wintersong #1
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication: February 7th 2017, Titan Books
Pages: 436 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Titan Books for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4.5/5
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister KΓ€the is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let KΓ€the go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Wintersong was the first book I read in 2018, and it was brilliant. I haven’t felt so immersed in a book in months. It was addictive, mesmerising and rich. Add this darkened fairy tale to your reading list, and fall in love with the magical world S.Jae Jones has composed.

There were many things I loved about this book, but perhaps the most striking thing was the writing. You know when you find a book whose writing you connect with? A book whose writing feels like sugar-iced snow; the sweetest, saddest melody and spun gold? A book that is richly layered and reveals it’s buried secrets the further you find yourself in its pages? A book with writing that is haunting and lilting, a melody itself? The writing in this book was utterly incredible. It was enchanting, sensual and simply otherworldly. The sentences flowed into one another with the elegance and grace of a spinning ballerina. SJJ’s writing is utterly captivating. I have found my new writing inspiration. 

I loved the atmosphere; it was dark, tense and gleaming with enchantment. This book reads like a fairy tale; a sensual, dangerous tale that explores the contradictory emotions of human nature, the painfulness of loneliness and the otherworldly beauty of selfless love. I adored the European setting of the first half of the book, and I adored the macabre beauty of the Underground. It was haunting and eerie, dusted with gold.

The one thing that prevented me from giving this book a full five stars was the plot, or, simply, the lack of plot in the second part of the book. This book is essentially split into two parts: Liesl trying to rescue Kathe from the Underground and Liesl living Underground with the Goblin King. Despite that, I still really enjoyed this book in its entirety. There was a constant air of mystery, danger and trepidation, a constant hint of the fine line the characters walked between chaos and tenuous calm. This book wasn't fast-paced, but it was richly detailed and deliciously in-depth. Once Liesl reached the Underground, there was a deceleration in pace and a fading of plot, but that is where the chiselling, refining and excavating of Liesl and the Goblin King's very beings began. Even though the second half of the book wasn't fast-paced and was slightly repetitive, I couldn't put it down. I read this book in three sittings. The world SJJ crafted captured me and confined me, rendering me incapable of escaping. Intoxicating and alluring like the Goblin King Himself, I couldn't put it down. Despite the second part not being plot-heavy, there were subtle revelations and hinted mysteries that added an extra layer of intrigue to the story and that, alongside the writing and the characters and the romance, compelled me to keep reading.
I loved how this book focused heavily on family as well. I loved Liesl's relationship with her younger brother and her sister. . She was her little brother's confidante, his guardian; he was her teacher and the one who understood her. There was also the loving, yet jealous, relationship with her younger sister. The family dynamics were complex, loving, protective and wounded. I adored how realistic Liesl's relationship with her siblings were: there was fierce, protective love but also jealousy and darker emotions. The relationships were tender and complex and deeply layered. Lovely, but flawed, as many things are.

Another aspect I adored about this book was the musical aspect. I play piano, guitar and I sing (not very well, if I'm being honest). I absolutely adored the musical element this book featured. The all-consuming inferno of concertos, minor scales and ivory keys that sparked the heart of Liesl and her family was beautiful. I could relate to a great deal of the sentiments Liesl expressed, especially the encompassing desire to make music. I have gone through phases where I've felt hypnotised by a melody and compelled to unleash it again and again and again for an eternity. It was as if Jones snatched the beating butterfly wings of the passion in composing, the penetrating power of sung notes and the sheer beauty of music and pinned it into her book, with metaphors and poetry as the push-pin. However, even if you aren't musically inclined, I'm sure you'll be able to appreciate the burning passion and the raw love that the characters felt when creating music. After reading this book I wanted nothing more than to sit at a piano and have my being unravelled by the melody I played.

You know what else I loved? The characters. Oh, how I loved the characters! They were so complex, contradictory, vulnerable, magical and unpredictable. They were so real. There wasn't a single perfect character in the book; it was extraordinary. There's Liesl: dutiful, obedient, plain, ashamed and scared. The music is locked inside her, straining to get out; however, harsh words and belittling circumstances have her made her lose confidence in the brilliance she's beginning to doubt she ever had. Liesl was an interesting character. Not only because she wasn't the chosen one, she wasn't physically beautiful (a fact acknowledged by the characters in this book) nor was she the brave, confident heroine you'd expect to find in a YA fantasy story. She's flawed and she's human. She's jealous and she's wishful and she's selfless. She undergoes immense change and her development is expressed with admirable dexterity. From the first few pages I realised there was the true version of Liesl locked within herself, and as the book wore on, I watched the author stoke the fire and release Liesl's character in an explosive manner. The simmering traits that were laced, hidden, through the first part of the book came exploding to the surface in the presence of the Goblin King. The desire, the brilliance, the raw hunger and the pride roared to life. Liesl went from an ashamed and shadowed girl to a fiercely brave, ravenous, confident woman. Her change was drastic, but not surprising, not unbelievable. I could write more on Liesl's character, but I feel like this is where I should mention the Goblin King. For it feels like Liesl could not exist without the Goblin King. They sustain one another; their souls waltz together; they compliment each other in such a manner that I'm not sure where the one starts and the other ends.

The Goblin King tempted a maelstrom of emotion within me. Initially it was mistrust, anger and shock. With his wolfish, enchanting exterior he was magic, myth and danger personified. I didn't trust him and, at first, I wasn't drawn to him.
And then I was. 
His capricious nature and his deceptive games, his flashes of gentleness and humanity that appeared in lightning flashes chipped away at the mistrust of him I harboured. He was terrifying; he was powerful. Yet I wouldn't dare insult him by labelling him as a stereotypical bad boy: he was far too complex for that. I started out with a hardened heart towards him; I didn't see how I could grow to like him, but SJJ is clearly a remarkable the end of the book I had fallen in love with him. He had softened my heart and moulded it in his calloused hands, leaving his fingerprints all over it. He was terrifying and terrified, in love, ashamed, guilt-stricken and aggrieved. He was tender and lost, raw and exposed. I feel like his character was written with so many layers and such painful honesty. I feel like I could analyse his character, reading this book again and again, yet never quite reaching the bottom of his infinite depth. I'd actually love to reread this in the future, as I know it's the type of book that will relinquish new insights and new depths with every reread. I absolutely loved the Goblin King. He was wild and untameable, passionate and gentle; his personality is incapable of being captured in a few adjectives. I loved how the characters were unravelled and refined, moulded and broken and stitched back together again. They were constantly evolving and constantly offering up previously hidden secrets of themselves. There were moments of epiphany where the threads of who they were formed a breathtaking masterpiece of an image and I (aha!) felt like I truly understood them.

I said I couldn't mention Liesl without mentioning the Goblin King and that's true, which brings me to their relationship. I loved their relationship. It was passionate and gentle; tenuous yet unbreakable; selfish yet selfless. It was contradictory and stark in contrast, so multifaceted that I don't think I can stitch all the pieces together to form an accurate image of their romance in this review. They fitted together so perfectly. The Goblin King was Liesl's catalyst to her growth and her self-discovery and she a balm, a key to his wounded, hidden self. Their differences and similarities pushed and tainted and excavated their true selves. I felt as if they bared their souls on the page, yet they only truly revealed themselves to one another. They were exposed, but only attainable to each other. Their relationship was extraordinary. I loved the romance. I loved how the Goblin King looked beyond the exterior and fell in love with Liesl's entirely; I loved how Liesl prodded and demanded and sought until she found the humanity in the Goblin King. I loved watching the shifting, evolving dynamics between them. Games, tugs of wars for power, and trickery that reached a powerful crescendo before lulling into  a softened hymn of truth and gentleness, understanding and pure love. Throughout the novel, the author added remnants of nostalgia and forgotten memories, liberating traits of innocence that were lost to the surface. A shifting jigsaw puzzle of raw, magical emotions that, when completed, revealed the most heart-rending of love stories. And that's what I found in these pages: a woven tapestry of artistic brilliance that is the passionate, enchanting, heartbreaking, beautiful love story of Liesl and the Goblin King. It was sensual, intimate and complex.

Another thing I found very interesting and what I thought was handled very well, was the faith of Liesl and the Goblin King (more so the latter). This book isn't religious but the Goblin King did have faith. Rarely does one see the mention of God, of Jesus, in fantasy, so it was a pleasant surprise. Especially seeing as it was done so artfully and gently. As a Christian, I loved seeing the Goblin King acknowledge and revere God. If you're going to write a religious character into a fantasy story, that's how you do it.

Wintersong was sensual, dark and enchanting. The haunting words strung together were reminiscent of the melancholic echoes of a violin's dying song that resonated within me. S. Jae-Jones is a remarkably talented writer. The depth and detail, the infinite layers of the characters and the relationships, the unforgettable song of her spellbinding writing and the fairy tale atmosphere that swept me up made Wintersong a spectacular read that I couldn't help but love.

I give it: 4.5 cupcakes

Read More »

Monday, 8 January 2018

What I've Been Reading #23 - My 2018 reading is off to a good start!

The first week of 2018 is over! I CAN SCARCELY BELIEVE IT. This week has gone so slow, probably because I WAS SO SICK. On New Year’s eve I mentally prepared myself for all the exercising I was going to do in the New Year, but then on Monday I woke up with a headache and sore throat that got steadily worse. I was pretty much out of action for 3 days. Everything hurt; my eye kept watering; I KEPT SNEEZING, and my throat muscles were aching. It was terrible. I’m feeling a bit better now though but not well enough to exercise, sadly.

It was my dad’s birthday on Wednesday so there went my healthy eating resolution. We had the most AMAZING mocha cheesecake. It was divine. We were then going to go to the movies to see The Last Jedi, but I was too ill. I said to my parents they could go on without me, but they said DON’T BE SO SILLY (and dramatic). So we’ll go see it another time!

I start school tomorrow, which I’m stressing about, as I have a ton of maths to do. I have 3 sections left of one maths textbook plus another maths textbook to get through, but people have said they’re quite quick to work through. My exams are only 5-6 months away, so I should probably stop stressing. I’m going to be studying a lot from tomorrow, so wish me luck! 

Wintersong (Wintersong, #1)Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)

I read two amazing books this week: Wintersong and Steelheart. I buddy read Wintersong with Amy, and I loved it! I read 73 pages on Monday, 300+- pages on Tuesday and then finished off the last 130 pages on Wednesday. I LOVED IT. The writing was beautiful, the characters in depth and the romance gorgeous. I was super sick Tuesday night and couldn’t sleep, so I picked up Wintersong and sped through the majority of it. It’s been awhile since a book held my attention like that.

I then read some of The Chimes by Charles Dickens, but I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what he was speaking about so I abandoned it in pursuit of something more comprehensible. I started Steelheart, which I KNEW I was going to love but procrastinated reading? Sense? I have none of it. Anyway, I started reading it Friday and I FELL IN LOVE. I couldn’t put it down! I finished it today (because I didn’t have time to read yesterday😭), and IT WAS AMAZING. FIVE CUPCAKES. COULDN’T STOP READING. MANY PLOT TWISTS, ADORABLE MAIN CHARACTER, SO MUCH SUSPENSE AHHH!!! I don’t want the trilogy to be over because it’s AMAZING. I’m typing this post on Sunday night with the sequel next to me; as soon as I’ve finished this post, commented on blogs and wrote a mini review for Steelheart, I shall proceed to start the sequel. 

Firefight (Reckoners, #2)

Well, hopefully by the time this post goes up, I would have started Firefight.

Calamity (Reckoners, #3)

The 3rd and final book in the Reckoners trilogy! I can’t remember the last time I marathoned a trilogy. IT FEELS SO GOOD. I’m hoping I can read these two books this week! But with all my work, I’ll have to see how it goes! 

What are you reading this week?
Read More »

Friday, 5 January 2018

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens stole my heart

Series: N/A
Author: Charles Dickens
Publication: 1845
Pages: 84 Pages
Source: Thank you to Alma Books for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 5/5 cupcakes!
Dickens gave his first formal expression to his Christmas thoughts in his series of small books, the first of which was the famous "Christmas Carol." There followed four others: "The Chimes," "The Cricket on the Hearth," "The Battle of Life," and "The Haunted Man." The five are known today as the "Christmas Books." Of them all the "Carol" is the best known and loved, and "The Cricket on the Hearth," although third in the series, is perhaps next in popularity, and is especially familiar to Americans through Joseph Jefferson's characterisation of Caleb Plummer.
The title creature is a sort of barometer of life at the home of John Peerybingle and his much younger wife Dot. When things go well, the cricket on the hearth chirps; it is silent when there is sorrow. Tackleton, a jealous old man, poisons John's mind about Dot, but the cricket through its supernatural powers restores John's confidence and all ends happily.
GUESS WHO FOUND THEIR NEW FAVOURITE BOOK?! ME! I absolutely adored The Cricket on the Hearth; I'm so happy to have discovered it. The Cricket on the Hearth is the third Christmas short story in the Charles Dickens Christmas short story collection that I got sent to review. I read it in the last week of Christmas, and I'm so glad I did. It's not as Christmassy as A Christmas Carol, but it's such an entertaining, heart-warming, delightful read – I'd like to make a tradition of reading it every Christmas!

I can't quite describe how much I loved this book, nor can I pinpoint just exactly what I loved about it. I perhaps I could say I loved EVERYTHING about this story, but that's not very specific, is it? Let me try to more finely detail what exactly I loved about this book. My feelings are all over the place, so I apologise in advance for my lack of coherence.

So, if you've read this blog for awhile, you'll know I adore character-driven stories. If I can connect to a character, if they feel real to me, I will most likely love a book. I think that's one of the main things I adored about The Cricket on the Hearth: the characters. 

There's the gentle, honest John Peerybingle and his young wife, Dot. There's the clumsy, quirky, lovable Tilly Slowboy, the Peerybingle's housemaid. There's the harsh, jealous “villain” of the story, Tackleton; kind-hearted Caleb and his blind daughter, Bertha; there's May Fielding and her brusque, quarrelsome mother; and, perhaps most importantly, there is the cricket who sits atop the hearth and acts as a guardian angel of sorts, as it remedies the conflicts and the sorrows, and celebrates as it witnesses the jubilation and the love. I grew to love these characters so much. They all had such distinct personalities, and – although this is a mere novella – the complexities of their character was so richly detailed. I developed an unexpected affinity with almost every character in this novel. They catapulted my emotions from sadness to radiant joy. I became so thoroughly invested in their lives; I became wholly intertwined in their stories; I fell so deeply in love with this heart-warming tale about love, family and generosity. This book crept into my heart, and I am completely certain that I will treasure the spectacular humans (for they felt like flesh and blood, not ink and paper) I encountered in this story.

As well as loving the disposition and growth of the characters, I loved the story line. At first I wasn't too sure about it; however, after the first couple of pages I was SOLD. Not too much happens initially in the book, as Charles Dickens spends quite a lot of time detailing the characters and developing the relationships, but man, did things get intense in this book. Towards the end of the novella, I was left gasping and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, BECAUSE IT WAS INTENSE. And slightly mind-twisty. The passionate emotion that permeated the climax was written astoundingly brilliantly; I felt the betrayal, grief, confusion and nostalgic sentimentality of the characters so intensely...Charles Dickens wrote the characters' emotions so brilliantly. This book split open my heart and then filled it with a golden kind of love and wamrth. loved reading the gentle introduction into the characters' lives and their personal stories. I love how Charles Dickens slowly, gently built up to an explosive climax and then ended in festive, jubilant, spectacular manner. The comfortable, friendly warmth with which the novel starts comes full-circle; I loved the feeling of steadiness, completeness and loving reliability that encompasses this novel. Not only that, but I really liked the fairy tale elements that stitched the story together. There are fairies and spirits that reside in the Peerybingle's hearth; these fairies help sooth open wounds, lighten tense atmospheres that plague the household, and paint the air with glittering memories of better times. I was fascinated by the important role they played in the story, and I really liked the fairy tale element Dickens added to the story by introducing the fairy spirits.

Besides loving the story line and the characters, I adored the theme of love that ran through this book. There were various kinds of love that were explored in this heartfelt book. Ranging from the gentle, enduring love between John Peerybingle and his young wife, Dot to the fiercely protective, enduring, gentle love between Caleb and his blind daughter, Bertha. The love shown in this book made my heart ache with a concoction of emotions; I found myself laughing and crying on more than one occasion, and you probably will too. The relationships in this book were complex and genuine and so incredibly heartfelt – I loved it.

Lastly, I love Charles Dickens writing. One sentence can have me contemplating how society dehumanises those in poverty, the next has me in tears (of happiness or sadness) and the other has me in fits of giggles. He's such a phenomenal writer, and I understand now why so many people love his books! His writing is so perceptive and thought-provoking, highlighting the terrific and the terrible qualities of human nature in the most eloquent manner. I also adore how his omniscient writing style allows me to watch the lives of all the characters I love intertwining with one another. I think I've found my new favourite author.

The Cricket on the Hearth is a magical, whimsical Christmas fairy tale. It's filled with a gentle, quiet kind of love; jealousy; heartbreak and immense joy. There's redemption, true love and dire misunderstandings. Reading this book felt like sitting by a warm fire with loved ones and eating custard-drenched Christmas pudding – it was festive and lovely and filled my heart with the warmth. At times comical, at other times heartbreaking and always beautiful, The Cricket on the Hearth was an incredible novel that I will forever cherish in my heart.

I give it: 5/5 cupcakes!
Read More »

Thursday, 4 January 2018

December Wrap-Up and January TBR Pile

I thought I’d read loads in December, but that hasn’t been the case. HOWEVER, I did read all the books on my TBR list! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! NO, NEITHER CAN I. In my 5 years of making TBR piles, this is the first time I’ve actually listened to myself. πŸ‘

I finished two nonfiction books, 2 classic short stories and a YA book! Look at me stepping outside of my comfort zone and all that jazz.

The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward GodPrayer: Does It Make Any Difference?The CallA Christmas CarolThe Cricket on the Hearth

The Case for a Creator - πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’› | Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? - πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’› | The Call - πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›.5 | A Christmas Carol - πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›.5 | The Cricket on the Hearth - πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’› 

The Case for a Creator was SO GOOD, reading it blew my mind. The intricacies and complexities of the human body, our consciousness, our placement in the universe, shows the handiwork of a Creator.

Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? was so good! It highlighted the difficult questions about prayer, testimonies of answered and unanswered prayers, how to was such an enlightening read. Prayer is something I struggle with, so this book really taught me a lot about praying.

I FINALLY FINISHED THE CALL. I started it in September and read 100 pages in one sitting, read some more in October and then finally finished it in December. I’m not entirely sure why it took me so long to read it as it’s not like I didn’t enjoy it. It’s just been super busy the past three months, I guess. Anyway, I really enjoyed the beginning part but it eventually got quite repetitive, so I ended up not enjoying it as much as I thought I would! It was still a solid read, though.

I also read two short stories in the Charles Dickens Christmas anthology I got sent to review! I loved them! I read A Christmas Carol and I thought it was wonderful. I loved the lessons taught and the character arc of Scrooge. Also, I LOVE the way Dickens writes. It was quite an emotional story at times. FULL REVIEW TO COMEEEE!

The second short story I read was The Cricket on the Hearth. OH MY GOODNESS - I LOVED IT SO MUCH I WANT TO REREAD IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. The cast of characters were incredible; I adored the fairy tale theme of the story; the relationships were LOVELY; the plot was great AND I CRIED. BECAUSE I HAVE MANY EMOTIONS. ALSO, FULL REVIEW TO COME.

All in all, a good reading month! 

I have a huge stack of books I want to get through in January. I’m not sure how many I’ll get to from January-June because I’m going to be super busy studying, but I want to try to read at least a book a week! I think I can manage that. ANYWAY (I’m getting ahead of myself), these are the books I’m hoping to get to in 2018.

These are the books I’m hoping to get to in January! My friend (Amy from A Magical World of Words) and I are buddy reading Wintersong in January, which I’m so excited for! I’ve been meaning to read it since it first came out, so I’m excited to finally be getting to it. I’ve heard GREAT things about it - fingers crossed I love it!

I’ve also been meaning to read the Steelheart trilogy forever, so I’m going to binge read it this month. I’ve read the first few pages of the first book, and I have a feeling I’m going to fly through them. 

Lastly, The Fandom and The Extinction Trials are two arcs I have that release in January, so I’ll be reading those two as well! They both sound AMAZING; I’m so excited to read them!

What books did you read in December? What do you plan on reading in January?

Read More »

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2018 Reading Challenges I'm Participating In: Beat the Backlist ft. The books on my shelf I'm making a priority to read in 2018

I LOVE READING CHALLENGES. DON'T YOU LOVE READING CHALLENGES?! Each year I sign up to, like, three challenges; however, I always forget to keep track of them so I'm only signing up to one this year (well, 2, if you count the Goodreads challenge).

This year I REALLY want to try to read as many books from my shelf as possible, and luckily, most of those are backlist books as they were published before 2018 - so I get to participate in this challenge! YAY!

I'm not going to set a specific goal for this, but I'm going to read mainly books from my own TBR shelf that have been sitting there for awhile. I'M EXCITED TO CONQUER THE TBR MOUNTAIN. 

Although I'm not setting a specific TBR or a specific amount of books I'm hoping to read, there are several backlist books that I'm making a priority to get to this year. They are all review copies, and they are all books I'm incredibly excited to read! 

The Books:

Some of these I've only had on my TBR for three months but others have been on here a lot longer. These eight books are my top priority to get to in 2018!

Also, I'm on the Dewey Dragons team (if you were wondering)!

Are you participating in any reading challenges? Which ones? Have you read any of these books? What backlist book will you make a priority to get to in 2018?
Read More »

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Top 10 New-to-Me Authors (2017 edition)

I READ FROM SO MANY NEW AUTHORS LAST YEAR! I actually rarely read from authors I’ve read before, which is exciting! It’s always a fun time discovering a new author, especially if you love them (looking at you, Charles Dickens). I’m hoping to read some more of my favourite authors next year though, as I’ve missed out on some of their newer releases WHICH IS BAD, VERY BAD (I’ll probably make a post of books by my favourite authors that I didn’t get around to last year, so lookout for that. I’ll retreat to my box of shame once it’s posted, don’t worry). 

I’ve read a lot more widely this year. I generally read predominantly YA, but this year I read TONS of DC graphic novels, nonfiction and middle-grade. OH, AND I READ A CLASSIC. GO ME! As a result, I encountered quite a few new authors who I fell in love with.

1. Charles Dickens
WHY HAVEN’T I READ HIS BOOKS BEFORE?! I absolutely love the way he writes, and I’m so excited to read more of his works! I read two Christmas stories of his over Christmas-time and I absolutely loved them. They made me smile, Marvel at the perceptive nature of Dickens and made me a little misty-eyed. They filled me with warm fuzzy feelings. I adore the way he writes. SO MUCH.

2. Laura Ruby

BONE GAP IS MY FAVOURITE BOOK EVER. I reread this book a WEEK after reading it for the first time - I’ve never done that before! I absolutely adore the way she writes. It’s lyrical and like spun gold and magic, pure and simple.

3. Rachel Caine

Again, I absolutely ADORE the way Rachel writes. There’s something so addictive and melodic about her writing style. I love the way she writes dialogue and dynamics between groups. I NEED to read the rest of the Ink and Bone series.

4. Roshani Chokshi

I love the way she writes. Her metaphors are out of this world. I’ve read a lot of books in my life, and I’ve found there are several overused metaphors and similes that feature in YA books; however, Roshani Chokshi writes so many unique, quirky sentences. It’s beautiful and so refreshing.

5. Teri Terry

I don’t know if you’ve read it, but if you haven’t, y’all need to read Contagion. Her writing is fast-paced and fluid, and her storytelling highly immersive. I’m so excited to read more books by her, because if her other books are anything like Contagion, THEN I’VE FOUND A NEW FAVOURITE.

6. Ray Bradbury

I LOVE THE WAY THIS GUY WRITES. I’ve only read Fahrenheit 451 by him, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was such an unsettling but important read, and I adored the way Bradbury phrased things.

7. Kiersten White

AND I DARKEN HAS TO BE ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I’VE EVER READ. Some people might argue that it’s slow-paced, and it is, but she takes time to build up the world, build the characters and the dynamics. It’s steeped richly in history and politics and the complexities of human nature. I can’t describe how much I loved this book. Kiersten details things so beautifully and writes so in depth. I love it.

8. A Darker Shade of Magic

I LOVE VICTORIA SCHWAB. HOLY SCHNITZELS. Her writing is so fast-paced and fluid and addictive; Her plots so mind blowing; her characters so complex and detailed...I love this book so much. I’ve only read one book by her, but I have acquired some more of her novels recently, so I can’t wait to read them!

9. C.S. Lewis

This guy is amazing. He reveals theological truths in the most enlightening and beautiful of manners. He reveals core truths about Christianity and humanity that resonated within me. I love the way he writes and his intelligent perspective of things. YOU SHOULD READ HIS BOOKS.

10. Jeff Zentner

Why do I always love authors who break my heart? I don’t know, perhaps I’m a masochist. I absolutely LOVEEEE the way Jeff writes. His characters are so real and so complex and I can just relate to them all in small ways, and I feel like anyone who reads his books will find themselves in it, you know? I love how unflinchingly Jeff tackles difficult topics like depression, grief and abuse but he does it in a gentle, hopeful manner. I’m really excited to read more of his books but terrified too. 

Those are the top new to me authors of 2017! Have you read any books from these authors and what did you think? Who were your favourite new to you authors you read last year?
Read More »

Monday, 1 January 2018

2018 Goals: Personal, blogging and bookish


Image result for happy new year gif

I really hope we all have a wonderful year: that we laugh hard and often, develop more interests, make more friends and become the person we've always wanted to be. HERE'S TO 2018!!!

One of my FAVOURITE THINGS about the new year is that it feels like a fresh start. I know every day is a chance for a fresh start, but the start of a new year just makes me SO MOTIVATED to accomplish ALL THE THINGS. I adore setting goals for myself every year, and I love going back at the end of said year and seeing how I did.

There are three areas of my life I'm setting goals for: personal, blogging and bookish. I'm going to ensure that they're attainable and realistic, so that I don't end up disappointing myself if I can't achieve them!

1. Drink more water & eat less sugar
Drink less coffee, drink more water. I'm giving up dairy for January because I want to see if it improves my complexion. So whenever my mom and I go for our daily coffee trips, I'll swap that mocha for some water. Gotta get that H20 in, guys. By eat less sugar, I mean only eating some dark chocolate during the week and only eating some milk chocolate on a weekend. I go a little bit crazy with the sugar on weekends, and I should probably stop that.
2. Try to stick to my pilates calendar
I follow the Blogilates monthly calendar and although I stick to it for the first couple of weeks for every month, I tend to slack as the weeks go on. I want to try really hard to keep at my exercising, as it makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER.
3. Go to bed earlier, wake up earlier.
I'm thinking of having the light off by 22:00-22:30 and then waking up at 7? I LIKE THIS IDEA A LOT.
4. Continue doing Bible study every day
I have several tools to help me achieve ultimate productivity, but somehow I never quite end up doing all the things I hope to do. In 2018, I want to set specific things to do every day and actually do them.

1. Read 52 books
One book a week, I can manage that, right? If I'm being honest, I'd like to try to read 100 books this year. That's 2 books a week and I think, if I manage my time correctly, I could manage that. But with exams and all that, I'm not sure how much time I'm going to have!
2. Try to read for at least an hour every day (if possible)
I've realised that I don't read very much per day. I've also realised that I'm not as slow at reading as I thought I was. If I can just make more time for reading, I know I'll be able to get a lot of reading done. I MISS READING. WHY IS LIFE SO BUSY?!
3. Stop taking books out from the library
This is going to be so hard. But I read way too many books from the library, when I actually have loads of my own books to read. I really want to whittle down my TBR pile, guys. However, I will be allowed to take out two books a month. One book being my book club's book of the month, the other being a new release that I'm desperate to read. Two books a month, max. I can handle that. I'll try to only stick to taking out the one book a month, but I'm trying to be realistic here.
1. Schedule more posts
I used to be so good at scheduling posts, and I really want to try to get back into that this year.
2. Blog what I want to blog
Sometimes it might be book posts, sometimes personal posts, sometimes Christian posts and...whatever, really. The past few years I've felt pressurised to blog a certain way; this year I'm going to really just post what I want to post. I'm excited about it.

I'm really excited for 2018! I'm so excited to have another year to accomplish things, make new friends, make new memories and grow as a person. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

What are your 2018 goals? 
Read More »