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

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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!

Book-Tube-A-Thon 2015!!

I HAVE PARTICIPATED IN MY FIRST EVER BOOK-TUBE-A-THON AND IT WAS RADICAL! I have done a weekend-long readathon before but this was on a whole other level.

We were given a week to read as many books as possible while trying to complete set challenges. I ended up reading five books due to university commitments (yet I somehow had time to write this blog…why didn’t I read instead? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!)

Anyways, these were the books I munched on:

1. Read a book with blue on the cover

BT2015 - These Broken Stars

Title: These Broken Stars

Author: Amie Kaufman | Meagan Spooner

Rating: 8.8/10

2. Read a book by an author who shares the same first letter of your last name

BT2015 - Easy

Title: Easy

Author: Tammara Webber

Rating: 2.4/10

3. Read someone else’s favourite book

BT2015 - Yes Please

Title: Yes Please

Author: Amy Poehler

Rating: 8/10

4. Finish a book without letting it go

BT2015 - In The Skin Of A Monster

Title: In The Skin Of A Monster

Author: Kathryn Barker

Rating: 8.2/10

5. Read a book you really want to read

BT2015 - Magonia

Title: Magonia

Author: Maria Dahvana Headley

Rating: 8.6/10

So I ended up reading five books, which turned out to be about 1640 pages! I have also been doing a buddy read with my friend during the week so we have slowly been making our way through A Game Of Thrones, so that is about another 150 pages on top of that. I feel like quite the champion, even if I didn’t succeed in completing all seven challenges. Next year I will just have to take the week off work “sick” and make sure I am not studying 😀

Top 5 Anticipated Pre-Orders for 2015

SO SO SO SO SO!!! THERE ARE NEW BOOKS COMING OUT OVER THE NEXT 5 MONTHS THAT ARE JUST EVERYTHING AMAZING IN THE WORLD AND I CAN’T EVEN!

Here are my Top 5-ish. I am going to pretend that I can’t count and that will be why there are more than five here. Cough.

Here. WE. GOOO!

On the 1st of September, 2015:

Top5 Queen of Shadows

This is legitimately one of my favourite series at the moment and I can’t wait to read more about Celaena. I feel like I have been waiting for this book for a bajillion years – which is a completely accurate measurement of time.

On the 8th of September, 2015:

Top5 Stand Off

JDGJKFGCVNXMCVIUSYJSKFOAISGJHDFJGFKHGDFGFPSGITUEJFDDVL!! <– This is the only way I am able to express my feelings about this sequel.  Just a tad excited.

On the 6th of October, 2015:

Top5 Carry On

Now I am not the biggest fan of Rowell’s – don’t get me wrong, I love her books and I am excited for this but I am not making inarticulate screeches because of it. I am hoping for a winner here.

On the 20th of October, 2015:

Top5 Career of Evil

Queen Rowling – as Galbraith – is back! I absolutely adore her crime novels and I can’t wait to mentally munch on this.

On the 3rd of November, 2015:

Top5 The Revolution of Ivy

These are my feelings:

On the 10th of November, 2015 we have two releases. TWO!

Top5 November 9

Yes. Yes…ALL THE YES!

Top5 Soundless

A new book by one of my all-time favourite authors? Put me down for 57. Thanks.

Book Review: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

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Book: Maybe Someday

Author: Colleen Hoover

Rating: 9.8/10

I don’t even know where to start with this. So much love was felt for this book – on my CoHo scale it sits right beneath Ugly Love but above Hopeless.

CoHo Book Scale

This was definitely more of a romance than her other books, in that it was more about the relationship developing than about sexy-times or dealing with major life issues. I suppose that it makes it unique in that the two main characters aren’t bonding over their tragic circumstances; they seem to have a genuine connection that grows over their love of music.

This is one of the rare times when I have not absolutely loathed a love triangle in a story. I feel that a lot of the time it is used to add unnecessary tension and drama to a story. Yes, it is basically what drives this story, but it feels inevitable. Our male protagonist – Ridge – is a sweet, sensitive, funny and attractive guy. It is not a far-fetched idea that he would already be in a relationship, and with somebody as equally awesome as he is. This poor guy has two very different feelings of love towards two very different women and Hoover handled it beautifully. I must commend her for not taking the easy way out and making the other female – Maggie – somebody who would be easy to hate. Quite the opposite, she is adorable and fun, and in some ways perfect for Ridge.

Our female protagonist – Sydney has some great and some terrible qualities. I probably shouldn’t like it, but I love that she got a little violent. If her douchebag boyfriend cheated on her and she took it meekly I would have been mad on her behalf. (But yes, violence against others is BAD!) I like that she knows that she needs independence in her life. It’s also cool that she is following her own path in life even though it goes against her parents’ wishes and it makes life a little more difficult or her. What I don’t like is her attitude towards other women in the book. The first time she meets Tori (her new roommate) she looks down on her for what she is wearing – “being bossed around by a bitchy Hooters waitress.” Way to belittle someone based on nothing substantial. Sorry we can’t all be Susie Sunshine 24/7.

On a side note, can I just say that I am really glad that Tori has her own book (Maybe Not) because she was basically used as a prop against Sydney during the entire book – a “look how good I am compared to her” sort of thing.

The love triangle did develop and end in a fairly predictable manner, but it was still amazing to read. These two characters – Ridge and Sydney – develop feelings for each other quite naturally and they know it is wrong and everyone knows that Maggie doesn’t deserve it and it goes against their basic nature to be cheaters. It is just three amazing people in an impossible situation…until it isn’t impossible 😉

There is an element of the book I didn’t get to experience and that was the music that was created for the novel to listen to while you read it. Next time I read this book (and there will be a next time) I will come back and see how much it affects the story and reading experience.

Book Review: Winger by Andrew Smith

Book Haul_Winger

Title: Winger

Author: Andrew Smith

Rating: 9.7/10

 

THIS WAS SUCH A GOOD READ AND I DID NOT WANT IT TO BE OVER!!

Characters

Ryan Dean West, also known as “Winger”, is magnificent and flawed, which just makes him all the more perfect. I can’t even deal with my love for this kid. He is 14 years old but is advanced. Being a sarcastic, funny, jock-ish genius isn’t easy. One of his greatest characteristics is that he is frightened of a lot of things but he still does whatever he feels he must – even if it means tackling someone twice his size.

Ryan Dean (that’s his entire first name … don’t ask) is, like many teenage boys, obsessed with the ladies. His main love interest is a lass called Annie Altman. The writing was good enough that I believed that he was in love with her, but I didn’t understand her appeal – she pretty much spends the entire book calling him a pervert (which he is), telling him to shut up (which he should) and talking about how she can’t love him because of the age difference (which is lame) – I just didn’t feel like she was a well-rounded character.

Chas Becker is Ryan Dean’s room mate and *sometimes* tormentor. JP and Seanie are his friends and *constant* douchebags. Joey Cosentina is his best friend and *always* beautiful. The dynamics between everyone in the story are great. You expect Ryan Dean to be teased mercilessly and bullied – and he is – but there are also levels of respect coming from unexpected people, while people who should be looking out for him are the ones betraying him.

Story

It is a fairly simplistic story – it could be labelled a “coming of age” story if one felt inclined to do so – but Lorde is it a great one. It is set in the US but it feels like a British boarding school because of all the hijinks and whatnot. What amazed me was the epic change in tone that the story has right near the end. Without giving away any spoilers, the majority of the story is comedic, even melodramatic sometimes, and then BAM! it’s a little frightening and a lot tense.

Basically, the story broke my heart.

Writing

Some of the writing was a little tedious and repetitive – this was generally Ryan Dean mooning over the hotness of some female – but it was always quirky, witty and funny so I wasn’t overly bothered by it. I was constantly laughing throughout the entire book. The sketches were a brilliant addition – in the story Ryan Dean likes to draw cartoons and us readers get to see these! It’s such an amazing contribution and gives us greater insight into the comedic genius that is Ryan Dean.

 

This will definitely be a story I reread, and probably soon. I read it so quickly because I felt I had to absorb as much as I possibly could as quickly as I could. Now I need to go hug my kitty and cry for a while. You understand.

Book Review: Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman

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Book: Love Hurts

Author: Malorie Blackman

Rating: 5.8/10

This had some amazing excerpts in it and I am keen to look into some of these stories and authors now! A large problem with these is that the majority are excerpts, so when taken out of the context of the story they don’t make sense and characters are not as gripping as they could be – this is when they received a lower rating.

Here are the individual ratings for each story:

Humming Through My Fingers | Malorie Blackman: 3.5☆

This is definitely an author who I need to check out – her other excerpt from Noughts and Crosses was particularly brilliant.

More Than This | Patrick Ness: 3.5☆

I remember thinking that it was way too short because I just wanted to read more and more.

The Infinite Moment Of Us | Lauren Myracle: 2.5☆

A little too contrived for me, as in it sounded like they were trying too hard to be deep and meaningful. The characters sounded more like college-aged students rather than the teenagers they actually are.

If I Stay | Gayle Foreman: 4☆

This is one I hadn’t read yet despite its popularity. I watched the movie and was greatly disappointed and decided to avoid the books – this has made me change my mind. I will be seeking these stories out.

Tumbling | Susie Day: 5☆

Tumblr : Sherlock : Fangirls
This was so freaking cute and funny! I am incredibly upset that this is not an excerpt from a larger story but a short story in itself.

Trouble | Non Pratt: 3.5☆

The writing style was kind of awesome, but the story had me rolling my eyes a bit.

Rani And Sukh | Bali Rai: 0.5☆

I could not connect with these characters on any level. They were just so melodramatic! And the story is not something I am into – sort of Romeo and Juliet-ish from what I can gather.

You Against Me | Jenny Downham: 0.5

Stupid. I hated this. I don’t care what the characters are meant to be like, I don’t want to read about how a girl was “asking for it”.

13 Little Blue Envelopes | Maureen Johnson: 2☆

Just sort of “meh” – wasn’t good, wasn’t bad.

Junk | Melvin Burgess: 0.5☆

I can’t even comprehend what the frack was happening in this.

Noughts & Crosses | Malorie Blackman: 5☆

ALL THE YES

Gentlewoman | Laura Dockrill: 5☆

This was perfect and beautiful to read. I was disappointed (again) by the fact that this was a short story rather than an excerpt. It’s like I am being teased with something amazing!

Heroic | Phil Earle: 3☆

Another “meh” story. I didn’t feel strongly either way about this one.

Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat | David Levithan: 4☆

This was entertaining and angsty – a very good mix.

I Am The Messenger | Markus Zusak: 5☆

I have already read this entire book so it was great to reread one of my favourite scenes. There is an honesty to it that is incredible.

Grasshopper Jungle | Andrew Smith: 4☆

I am yet to read any Andrew Smith (although Winger has been sitting on my shelf for yonksies) but he is moving high up on my TBR!

Echo Boy | Matt Haig: 3.5☆

This was intriguing and had a lot of promise. If I have the time and money I may check this one out.

Forbidden | Tabitha Suzuma: 4.5☆

I had already heard a million amazing things about this story and I can already tell it is going to be a heartbreaker. So many feels.

Endless Love | Lauren Kate: 2.5☆

I am not a huge fan of the Fallen series so I am not a huge fan of this excerpt. I don’t believe the relationship between Luce and Daniel to be that fantastic. It can even be a little horrendous at times.

Midwinterblood | Marcus Sedgwick: 0.5☆

This was another one where I was just confused because of the lack of context. The title of this book is “Love Hurts” and it was about some person choking on water. Mmmk!

The Liar’s Girl | Catherine Johnson: 4☆

Much good! The writing is pretty spectacular. It kept me intrigued and I am excited to read something else by Johnson in the future.

The Unicorn | James Dawson: 3☆

Not a huge fan of flashbacks in writing, and the relationship in this, although very interesting and most likely a fairly accurate representation of homosexuality during that time, lacked something.

Northern Lights | Philip Pullman: 0.5☆

Too short to mean anything or cause any feelings.

We Were Liars | E. Lockhart: 4☆

This is another that I have already read so it was good to revisit one of those amazing, doomed relationships.