5-Word Wrap Ups | October 2016

I am going to try out this thing where I review my month’s reads in five words. Like a review for those on the move that don’t have time to read 573 paragraphs to learn if a book is worth their time or not.

  1. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole – Apocalytpic storytelling from a teenager
  2. Endless Knight by Kresley Cole – Why I’m attracted to Death
  3. Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole – End of the World Bachelorette
  4. Goodwood by Holly Throsby – Small town people, big problems
  5. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga – It’s all in the title
  6. V for Violet by Alison Rattle – History without too much mystery
  7. The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout – A little racist and predictable
  8. Jack West Jr and the Hero’s Helmet by Matthew Reilly – A cute little Jack interlude
  9. The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly – All of the fucking yes!
  10. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler – “Modern” must be a exaggeration

Is it useful?

Does it make you want to read any of them?

Any that you will now avoid?

What was your favourite book of October?

 

Book Haul | October 2016

Every month I spend all the money all the books.

This is what sent me broke this month:

1. Every Move You Make: Chilling True Stories of Stalkers and their Victims | Victoria Heywood
2. Deadly Games: Kids Who Kill Kids | Gabrielle O’Reilly and Liz Frame

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I have recently gone into this True Crime Binge that is creepy as f*** and there are so few people in my circle of friends that I can fangirl over this stuff with. But to quote the great T-Swizzle, “Haters gonna hate!” You only need one true crime true friend who really understands you to get through this.

3. The Last Beginning | Lauren James
4. Gemina | Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
5. Crooked Kingdom | Leigh Bardugo
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Illustrated edition) | JK Rowling
7. The Four Legendary Kingdoms | Matthew Reilly

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This was a month of sequels – ones that I have been highly anticipating!

The Last Beginning is part of The Next Together duology (I screamed when I found out this was a duology) and the first book made me so ridiculously happy. It’s not quite like anything else I have read before and it is about the reincarnations of these two people who are, for lack of a better term, soul mates.

GEMINA! Do I really need to talk about this? Surely you are just as excited as I when it comes to the Illuminae Files by these beautiful Australian authors. I will never not be proud that they are Australian and have written one of the most badass books (and I assume series) in the world. In case you have just abandoned your hermit life and the first thing you did was check out my blog then Illuminae is a story told in report style – about two people who escaped their destroyed planet and are now dealing with a plague aboard their spacecraft that is doing some real nasty shit to people. Gemina picks up minutes after the end of Illuminae and I can’t wait to devour this book (by the time this is released I may have read it already *spooky*)

Crooked Kingdom is my life. This is the book I am going to read for my really huge Goodreads event – my 1000th “read” book!! *and the crowd goes wild*

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This is another duology, one that I am desperate for. I took a while to read Six of Crows because I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Grisha trilogy – I only ended up reading the first two books :\ But SoC was beyond epic, the characters were intriguing and different, the story was badass AND IT ENDED ON THE BIGGEST CLIFFHANGER WHICH IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO TO A HUMAN BEAN!

The Four Legendary Kingdoms is something I read almost immediately after buying because I couldn’t hold out any longer.

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You can find my review here.

8. Three Dark Crowns | Kendare Blake
9. Vassa in the Night | Sarah Porter
10. Holding Up The Universe | Jennifer Niven

Three Dark Crowns was The YA Chronicles’ September book (as well as Owlcrate’s), so now I have two delicious copies of the book. I didn’t know that Kendare Blake had started another series until I opened up my Owlcrate and it was sitting there winking at me. It was a scream of excitement for the ages. This is a story about three sisters – triplets – that must fight to the death for the position of Queen. Oh, and they are sixteen…

Vassa in the Night is the book I prayed for in Owlcrate’s October box AND I GOT IT! It is a Russian folklore retelling, and I heart me some retellings.

11. Lumberjanes Volume 1 | Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis & Brooke A Allen
12. The First Third | Will Kostakis
13. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire | Rosamund Hodge

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Lumberjanes is by Noelle Stevenson. That’s all I needed to know before I made the snap decision to buy it. I don’t know what it is about apart from 5 kickass ladies doing their thing. I am sure it is going to be perfect.

The First Third is the second book by Kostakis. I have read his most recent novel “The Sidekicks” and adored it with every fibre of my being. A friend told me they liked TFT even more than the The Sidekicks so not buying it wasn’t even an option. The ‘thirds’ are described like this: “Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.” I can already tell that this book is going to make me laugh and cry so hard.

Rosamund Hodge has easily become one of auto-buy authors. Her books aren’t perfect, but they are always interesting and I never regret reading them. There is always a unique universe that I am diving into and the female characters are always strong but vulnerable, flawed but enviable. She is one of my Queens of Retellings and this latest book is a Romeo and Juliet retelling. With necromancers.

glee

Top 5 Wednesday | Favourite Spooky Settings

 

 

This week’s theme is SPOOKTACULAR!!

I haven’t necessarily been spooked while reading them, there has just been something kind of eerie about each of these – whether it be the plot, characters or the setting. As you will see, I really fancy books which don’t feel like a particular time or place. So here we go!

5. Crimson Bound | Rosamund Hodge

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“Every day for the last three years, she had thought she deserved to die. She still didn’t want to. She wanted to live with every filthy desperate scrap of her heart.”

It was tough choosing between this book and Cruel Beauty because they are both pretty spooky. I decided on this one because of the lore that Hodge has written into the story.

This book was stunning. I sort of forgot just how wretchedly beautiful it was until I looked into it again. It is set in Durendal – a fictional city with a quite disturbing Great Forest.

Rachelle is our protagonist – Hodge’s interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood – and she is a protector, assassin and guard of the realm. Her main goal throughout the story is to end/stop the Devourer – this dark creature that wants to destroy the world.

The characters are intense and violent. The story is thorny and twisty. There are many dark creatures killing townspeople. It’s just a very spooky village!

4. The Raven Boys | Maggie Stiefvater

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“I guess now would be a good time to tell you,” He said. “I took Chainsaw out of my dreams.”

What makes this book so spooky is that you are never quite sure what is happening. You are kept on your toes. The story is told from many perspectives but you still aren’t 100% sure of people’s motives – you can’t trust everybody. And I love it when fantasy elements are wrapped into real-life situations. It raises the intensity of the story.

3. Her Fearful Symmetry | Audrey Niffenegger

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“There was only the cemetery itself, spread out in the moonlight like a soft grey hallucination, a stony wilderness of Victorian melancholy.”

This is about two sisters who are mirror twins. They are completely identical except that one sister’s organs are on the opposite side of the body, so it’s like looking into the mirror of yourself.

They inherit their Aunt’s flat and it is here that their unusually close relationship starts to crumble. The other inhabitants of the building have their own issues and they start to seep into the sisters’ lives. Mistrust and paranormal activity keep the sisters and the reader on edge. It was an intense and almost stressful book to read.

2. In the Shadow of Blackbirds | Cat Winters

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“We live in a world so horrifying, it frightens even the dead.”

Not only is this one of my favourite books but it is one of saddest and creepiest. It explores one of the great questions: Are ghosts real? Is there an afterlife?

This book is atmospheric. Winters really encapsulates American life in 1918 – it’s close to the end of the war but many people are still dying, especially from the Spanish Influenza. Not only are the supernatural elements strong here, but it is also exploring the social elements of life for a 16 year old girl in this time. There is strength and horror and fear.

1. The Diviners | Libba Bray

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“There is nothing more terrifying than the absoluteness of one who believes he’s right.”

I am ashamed to say that I still haven’t finished reading this! I am currently listening to the audiobook which is either the greatest or worst decision I have ever made. The narrator is spectacular! Her accents and the story she is telling really places the reader in 1920s New York and I feel like I have stepped through time to see this story play out.

There are some pretty graphic murder scenes in this book and one of the creepiest villains ever – he just feels insubstantial and his motive for killing beyond “Because I want to and can” aren’t 100% clear yet. And the fact that he sings while hunting his prey really makes my skin crawl. So even though I am only about 1/4 of the way through the book this is by far one of the creepiest settings for a book that I have come across.

Honourable Mentions

  • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Supernatural Murder Mystery with a side of quirky humour – count me in! There are creepy characters and the setting is atmospheric, but it wasn’t too spooky to me. Dry, hot desert doesn’t really scream “Bump in the night”.

  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This just missed out because the setting falls too much into the realm of surreal rather than spooky. An incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking story though.

 

Unboxing | Owlcrate | October 2016 | Once Upon A Dream

I am very pumped about this month’s box!

It was one of the cutest boxes that Owlcrate have put together and I was particularly excited about the book.

Vassa in the Night | Sarah Porter

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This book guys, this book! It was included in last month’s Fairyloot box and I was so sad that I didn’t get that box, so when I saw this I screamed.

Blurb: “In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…”

Retellings can be hit and miss, but this is one that I am not worried about. As usual this came with a delightful letter from the author, and it also came with a signed bookplate and temporary tattoo. Owlcrate choose the most giving authors for their boxes.

Bookmark

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This stripey piece of beautiful was an excellent edition. One can never have too many bookmarks, especially one this adorable.

It is created by My Heart My Tribe – I can’t find their store, but here is their Instagram account.

Notebook

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The next item was an Oz Passport notebook. It’s so freaking adorable and notebooks are always useful. This one was created by The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild.

Bracelet

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After the book this was my favourite item. I’ve already worn it a bunch of times and it the jingliest, cutest bracelet ever. It has a Sleeping Beauty theme and that is one of my favourite Disney movies. Those fairies slay me!

Beanie

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Come on guys! You are killing me with cuteness! In Australia we are starting to get into hotter weather so I won’t be able to wear it for ages, but I will appreciate it from afar until that time.

This Peter Pan beanie is by Whosits & Whatsits and ya’ll need to get your own.

 

Top 5 Songs | 17 October to 23 October 2016

Haiiii!

I have decided that I want to branch out a bit with this blog because there are things other than books that I love.

One of those is music. I love me some musak. I don’t really care what type of music it is, I can usually find an artist inside a genre that I can enjoy, but I definitely do love the mainstream stuff.

So I am going to attempt to give you my top 5 songs of the week every week starting from now. These will just be any five songs that I have not been able to stop listening to over the last week.

5. Blue Bayou | Roy Orbison | 1955

I have a bizarre fascination with talent shows on television and I was watching random performances from The Voice (America) and I came across someone called Alisan Porter who just nailed this song, and I had to go see who originally sang it. Should have known it would be bae.

4. This Town | Niall Horan | 2016

I am making heart eyes at this cutie patootie! I feel like this is an underrated song because it’s such an even-tempered one. There is no big chorus, it’s just peaceful and beautiful in its simplicity.

3. Lost | Major Lazer ft. MØ | 2015

This is a cover of Frank Ocean’s Lost and I feel that they have made it their own. The beat is there and I love that they have techno-ed it up. I have been listening to it non-stop for the last week so I can already feel myself hitting the “so over it” stage, but it has been a fantastic week.

2. Crash | Usher | 2016

HE.

IS.

BACK.

Usher is too talented to not be performing so I am so ridiculously happy that he is releasing his own music again.

1. Fade | Kanye West | 2016

I don’t even know where to begin with this. A lot of my love comes from the video – I can not look away from Teyana dancing because she is hypnotising and such a ridiculously good dancer. But the song is also catchy and I am always sad when it ends. Maybe I am just proud of Kanye for making a video that’s not about him…

October Reviews | 15 October – 21 October 2016

V for Violet | Alison Rattle | 15 October 2016 | 3 stars

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I started this week with V for Violet by Alison Rattle. I usually put in a book blurb so you can see for yourself if you would be interested. After reading the book I decided the best thing I could do for you is not tell you because any description you read is about 78% spoiler. No joke. They give away a bunch of things in the blurb which are meant to be secret and mysterious.

So I am here to tell you DON’T READ ANY GOSH DARN BLURBS FOR THIS BOOK!!

I will tell you that it a historical murder mystery set in Ireland and that is all you need to know.

I liked that I was reading about a character that wasn’t very likeable (no idea if that was on purpose or not) – she’s so angry and a little angsty and she reminded me of me at her age. “No one understands me, my interests are different, why don’t I fit in”…the whole shebang!

It’s hard looking at an historically-set book with a modern brain because all my feminist hackles are raised by the quite disgusting sexism and victim blaming in the book, but at least it feels a bit more historically accurate by not shying away from it. It’s tough being a proud and disgusted reader at the same time.

The romance is a bit insta-lovey but it wasn’t the focus of the book so it didn’t phase me too much. Just a tiny bit of an eye-roll occurred over the main character falling for the “bad boy”.

The Problem With Forever | Jennifer L Armentrout | 18 October 2016 | 2.5 stars

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“When Mallory was a kid, she was bounced from one horrible foster home to another. At thirteen, a terrible accident got her removed from the group home where she was living to a hospital where she met the parents who would adopt her. But when she starts a new school and encounters an old friend from the foster system sparks start to fly.”

I found that there was nothing overly wrong with this book, but after reading some reviews I realised that she was not great – sometimes even offensive – at representing Puerto Rican people. Knowing nothing about their culture I didn’t want to make some misinformed judgements about it, this is just a warning for those that may find themselves really offended by it.

My main issue was that it was just really predictable. Within 50 pages I had predicted almost every single thing that would occur in it. Conversations and thoughts were repetitive and it made the story drag on a bit. Only so much internalised agonising by the protagonist can be handled by me. People can struggle to converse in social situations and still think straight instead of being a complete mess at all times.

I don’t feel like this story added anything new or unique to our understanding of children welfare in America or things like social anxiety.

Like I said, not a great book, not a bad one, just majorly average.

Jack West Jr and the Hero’s Helmet | Matthew Reilly | 19 October 2016 | 4 stars

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“Late on Christmas Eve, decorated SAS officer and Egyptologist Jack West Jr is about to make a discovery that could rewrite history.

In the ancient Temple of Dendur, housed in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a legendary weapon has lain hidden for millennia.

But Jack is not the only person who knows about the artifact’s existence. As Jack examines the temple in the deserted museum, he is watched by a mysterious figure. A man intent on stopping him at any cost.”

THE HISTORY OF HOW JACKY BOY GOT HIS HELMET!! ALL THE SCREAMING!!!

Please tell me there are other Matthew Reilly fans here because this man writes the most fucking epic books! And I refuse to apologise for swearing. He deserves to be sworn over.

This was just a 20ish-page badass interlude that you can find here. It acts as a reintroduction to Jack and other characters (because sweet baby chestnuts it has been ages since the last book). I lubbed it ❤

The Four Legendary Kingdoms | Matthew Reilly | 21 October 2016 | 4.75 stars

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“There are sixteen contestants, but only one will survive.

The last thing Jack West Jr remembers is arriving for a meeting at a top-secret military base with his family in tow.

Now he awakes to find himself in a hellish scenario. Jack has been selected to take part in the Games, a series of deadly challenges designed to fulfil an ancient ritual. If he chooses not to compete, both he and his daughter will be killed.

With the fate of the Earth at stake, Jack will have to traverse diabolical mazes, fight ruthless assassins and face unimaginable horrors that will test him to the limit.

In the process, he will discover the mysterious and powerful group of individuals behind it all: the four legendary kingdoms.”

Well this is a first.

I legitimately felt giddy while reading this. Giddy. I only get this excited when squealing over smoochy kitties. It’s probably weird that I was smiling as much as I was while reading about a bunch of dudes murdering each other, but I like me for me 😉

But this, THIS, was everything. Worth the 63 million year wait.

Myth, action, heroes, legends, death, bizarre-o science that I don’t know even where to begin for fact-checking purposes, more death, friends, enemies, even more death.
Well, compared to his other books the death count isn’t actually that high. He didn’t George RR Martin us!

If you are reading this I don’t think you need to be told to read Reilly’s books, but I’m going to anyway. READ THE THINGS!

Top 5 Wednesday | Favourite Non-Canon Ships

This was so difficult because there is a reason that I love authors: they give me exactly what I want in my Ship Life.

But I did find 5, some I feel more strongly about than others.

WARNING: This will contain spoilers and I apologise if you are spoiled by anything I say, but really, you’ve brought doom upon yourselves…

5. Alina and the Darkling from the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

(Photo cred: maveybarrow)

I haven’t finished this trilogy because I had issues with the second book, but I did find out what happened between these two and the disappointment was a bit strong. I just love me a bad boy!

4. Victor and Eli from Vicious by VE Schwab

(Photo cred: lokoba)
Romance was not the point of this book but I totally got sexy vibes from these two. Can’t be this much hate and anger without the love.

3. Robin and Cormoran from the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

(Photo cred: twiggymcbones)

It physically hurt to read Robin getting married to a human that is not Cormoran. I adore these two to bits and they need each other more than I need oxygen. If I donate my oxygen can Queen Rowling please make it happen?

2. Theodore and Violet from All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

(Photo cred: ireneephan)

Hmm not sure if it counts but they don’t end up together. THEY DON’T END UP WITH ANYONE!

I can’t. I just can’t. There aren’t words to describe the pain this book caused. Please go read the thing if you haven’t yet.

1. Sam and Celaena from the Throne of Glass series  (The Assassin’s Blade) by Sarah J Maas

(Photo cred: celaenasardothiencloset)

These two are my precious smoosh face babies and it broke something in me to not see them together. If you want to be emotionally crippled then defs go read this book.

Don’t get me wrong, Rowan is a babe and a half, but with Sam being a part of Aelin’s/Celaena’s past I can’t fully enjoy him. I just can’t ship them as hard. Samlaena 5lyf!

0.5 Me and Rhysand from my Imagination

(Photo cred: charliebowater)

Please?

Yes?

Thanks!

*dies*