Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Midyear Book Freak Out Tag

I've seen this tag circling around booktube and the blogosphere and even though I wasn't tagged by anybody, I'ma do it #somuchrebel. BECAUSE I LOVE TAGS. So if you want to do this, I tag you. You're welcome. 

I can not believe it's midyear already! I swear it feels like it was January a month ago. I think the reason my year has flown by so quickly is because I've had so much school work and my life has been utterly consumed with studying, coursework and past papers this year. The days go by so quickly when you're working so much and it's going to be even busier from September. Please send help. ANYWAY, I've read quite a few good books this year. I haven't read a lot of books but I've read a substantial amount, some have been brilliant, others not so much. LET'S GET INTO THE TAG!

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017?

I think you mean best books. I can't simply choose one! The amount of favourite books I've discovered this year is pitifully small compared to previous years which makes me sad. Am I getting fussier or am I just not reading absolutely amazing books? THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW. However, I have read three amazing books this year that have made it onto my favourites list. I present to you:
THESE THREE BOOKS MAKE MY LIFE. I read the first book on the second of January this year and if I even think about it I want to start crying. It's one of those books that made me think and it made me feel (boy, oh boy, it made me feel) and I thought about it for months afterward. It was hard-hitting, it was raw, it was funny, honest, unflinching...I loved everything about it. I read it in one day (that virtually never happens) and I stayed up super late reading it and I remember having bad chest pain during *that* scene because I got so, so emotional. Gee, this is turning into a mini review. ANYWAYS, it's absolutely amazing and you should definitely read it! 

Windfall was such a cute story that I also read in a day. I just loved the characters, the themes, the plot, the writing, the romance, the family dynamics - it was so brilliant! Maybe I should reread it soon because I LOVED IT SO MUCH. You can read all my thoughts here: http://blogofabookaholic.blogspot.com/2017/03/16-reasons-why-i-loved-windfall-by.html


Bone Gap...holy heck, Bone Gap. Let me tell you a little story about this freaking gem of a novel. It's magical realism, right? Magical realism and I don't get along. At all. It was a book I was offered to review and I think the only reason I accepted was because I had heard a few bloggers say they had loved it even though I wasn't sure *I* was going to love it but you never know, right? Anyway, I put off reading it for months because there were other books I wanted to read that I was certain I was going to love so it took me awhile to get around to reading it. Then I opened the book. Read a couple of pages. And immediately fell in love. I devoured it, it became a part of me. I loved it so much that a couple of days after finishing it, I read it AGAIN. I HAVE NEVER DONE THAT. EVER. It's such a magical story and you should definitely read it. Here's my review: http://blogofabookaholic.blogspot.com/2017/03/my-2450-word-love-letter-to-bone-gap-by.htmlIt's 2450 words long though, so make sure you have a cup of tea and a snack before you read it. 


Honourable mentions: First Girl by Gloria Whelan, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr, Darkmere by Helen Maslin

2. Best sequel of 2017 so far?

I just realised I've read pretty much no books that are part of a series this year, they've mostly been standalones and the sequels I have read I didn't LOVE enough to mention here. BUT I did read one sequel that I LOVED and that was ...And a Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne. I absolutely LOVEEEE the Spinster Club trilogy and this novella made me so emotional, it made me laugh and it made me cry and I absolutely loved it! 

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THEM. I'm literally so far behind it's actually pathetic. My top ones that I NEED to get to but haven't yet are: 
CaravalCarve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)Once and for AllOne of Us Is LyingFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)Never Say Die (Alex Rider)

AND THESE AREN'T EVEN ALL THE 2017 RELEASES I NEED TO GET TO. *runs around screaming, having an existential crisis, the usual* I have Carve the Mark and Once and For All on my bookshelf waiting for me! I'm hoping to purchase Strange the Dreamer (LAINI TAYLOR, I LOVE LAINI TAYLOR), Never Say Die (Alex Rider is one of my all-time favourite series) and Lord of Shadows (Cassandra Clare, duh) soon because I've loved all the authors' other books. I've reserved Caraval, Flame in the Mist and One of Us is Lying from the library so hopefully they'll come in shortly! 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS BECAUSE WONDER WOMAN I LOVE WONDER WOMAN (even though I still haven't seen the movie UGH) BUT I LOVE THE COMICS AND THE ANIMATED FILM AND JUST EVERYTHING DC FOREVER YES PLEASE.

5. Biggest disappointment?

The Monstrous Child

This book sounded perfect and can we just admire that cover?! IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL. I really thought I'd love it because NORSE MYTHOLOGY. I hadn't read a book before this one that involved Norse mythology, I'd only read books revolving around Greek mythology. I was fully expecting to love this but it was so boring and the main character whined constantly and I was just so disappointed because it had so much potential. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME PRETTY BOOK, WHY?! Also: you can read my full review here. It's slightly ranty but those are fun, right?

6. Biggest surprise?

Darkmere

I loved this book so much more than I thought I would have and in fact, I never would have picked it up if it weren't for it being chosen as my library's book club's choice of the month. I was under the false impression that this book was about horses. Dark horses, to be specific. Dark horses in the literal sense and not the metaphorical sense, to be more specific. I swear I saw this book with a horse on it once and also "mere" and "mare", it's easy to misread one for the other. So yes, I avoided this book purely because I thought it was a horse book. I LOVE horses but I don't like reading about them. Anyway, IT'S NOT ABOUT HORSES. THERE ARE PRETTY MUCH NO HORSES IN THIS BOOK. It's actually about haunted castles and ghosts and tragic, gothic romances. It's dual POV from a girl in the 21st century and a girl in the 19th century. It's an absolutely incredible book that I loved a lot and it was definitely a brilliant surprise! You can read more of my thoughts here.

Image result for surprised horse gif

7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)? Freaking Laura Ruby and Jeff Zentner! They're absolutely incredible. I adore Laura Ruby's writing, it's utterly beautiful and golden and GOALS (to put it simply). I also LOVEEEDDD being introduced to Jeff Zentner's books. He writes everything with so much honesty, his books feel so real and I love how he's not afraid to talk about difficult topics and I appreciate that he talks about said topics in such a lyrical, poignant manner. 


If you two read this (which I doubt but miracles do happen)...I LOVE YOU AND YOU INSPIRE ME SO MUCH AND YOUR BOOKS HAVE MADE A HUGE IMPACT ON MY LIFE.
Ahem.

8. Newest Fictional crush?

Let me tell you about my boy, Aidan, from Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt. He's a writer and he's funny and he's sweet and adorable and he writes books that make you feel as if they were written for you. He's so adorable and I love him muchly. You can read more of my fangirl ramblings on Unconventional here!

9. Newest favorite character(s)?

OKAY BUT LIKE, THIS IS A REALLY HARD QUESTION BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY, HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO ANSWER THIS?? *heavy breathing because pressure*
Okay, so I'm just going to add an s on the end of "character" (who knew I'd turn into such a rule breaker, not I). There we go. Better. 

So, I LOVEEE Dill, Travis and Lydia from The Serpent King. So much. They're all so vastly different and complex and they feel like genuine, real people. I hope I can write characters half as good as Jeff Zentner because he's utterly incredible at writing characters. Dill and Travis have such horrible home lives due to their fathers and Dill is this quiet, wonderful character who I fell completely in love with and Travis is this gentle giant who wants nothing more than to reread his favourite fantasy series over and over again. Lydia is bubbly and has big dreams for herself (she's a highly successful blogger) and I absolutely adored her, too. I just love those three so muchm I can't quite describe it. 

Then there's Finn and Sean O'Sullivan, Petey and Roza from Bone Gap. FREAKING HECK I LOVE THOSE FOUR. Finn and Sean are also so different but so wonderful. Finn is gentle and kind and quiet and a dreamer and Sean is big, gentle and caring - I LOVEEEE THEM. Then there's Petey and Roza who are so inspiring and definitely some of the best female protagonists I've ever encountered. I could fangirl about these four all day but you can go read about that in my freakishly long review. 

10. Book that made you cry?

Counting by 7sThe Serpent King

THESE TWO FREAKING BOOKS TURNED ME INTO EMOTIONAL WRECKS. Counting by 7s is an utterly beautiful, heartbreaking story about a twelve-year-old genius who loses both her parents in a car crash. Reading about that hit me hard because it's my utter worst nightmare. I'm with my parents pretty much all the time and I rely on them a lot because I still have bad anxiety that makes it hard for me to do normal stuff. I'm a lot better but not where I want to be. ANYWAY, it's an incredibly moving story and actually such a positive one which I was surprised about. I cried a lot though.

What a surprise. The Serpent King broke me. I cried three times before I was even halfway through the book and I thought that was the only crying I'd be doing. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Ah, the naivety. I cried so, so much more than I thought I would. I didn't actually cry at *that* scene (if you've read it, you know what I'm talking about) because I was so shocked and I didn't actually think it had happened. I thought I was going to have a panic attack though because I was so upset so I'm going to count that as crying because SEVERE EMOTIONS RIGHT THERE.

11. Book that made you happy?

Othergirl

Othergirl made me happy because it was SO MUCH FUN to read! It had superheroes in, friendship, romance...it was just such a cute book and it definitely made me happy!

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year?

I HAVEN'T SEEN ONE. *cries* I'm waiting on Everything, Everything to be released in the UK (next month!) and I'll definitely be going to see that as it was one of the best books I read last year!

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year? 

Bone Gap review. Very words, much fangirling. GO READ IT, PLEASE. I also quite like my Windfall review, it's in list form which I've never done before so THAT WAS FUN.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year? 

ALL OF THEM. No but really, I want to try to read quite a lot of 2017 releases before the year is over! And 2016 releases too. WHY AM I SO BEHIND?! I'll probably make a separate post on this because there are SO MANY I want to try to read before the year is done!

THERE'S MY TAG! If you want to participate, I officially tag you. Yes, you. Now go forth and answer these snazzy questions! If you want, leave the link to your post in the comments section so I can check it out!

ALSO, tell me one book you're going to make a priority to read before the year is over?
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Monday, 17 July 2017

What I've Been Reading #17


HELLO!

How's your week going so far? Mine is going quite well! I volunteered for the first time on Saturday and it was so fun. I also volunteered today and on Tuesday - I'll write a full post on how I'm finding it so far! (Spoiler: I'm loving it)

I read a heck of a lot last week but I didn't finish very many books because a lot of the books I was reading were a) really thick and b) nonfiction. I read almost 100 pages of my French grammar book and several pages of this 800 paged theology book (SUCH A BIG BOOK. TINY WRITING. MUCH INTIMIDATING). I also read two YA books which I enjoyed so much! 

OthergirlWonderboy

Other Girl by Nicole Burstein ⭐ | Wonder Boy ⭐.5

I really enjoyed these two and I read them each in a day! Super fun superhero stories with fantastic storylines and lovable characters. I absolutely loved the action and that both books were from the point of view of a normal person with no powers and a character whose superpowers aren't as advanced as other of the superheroes. It's always nice reading from the POV of the underdog.

Mere Christianity

GUYS, this book is so good and it's definitely going to get 5 cupcakes from me! I don't read much non-fiction but lately I've been on a non-fiction kick and I'm LOVING IT. I would highly recommend this book, even if you're not a Christian. In fact, if you have questions about Christianity, about God, about Jesus etc I would really recommend that you read this because C.S. Lewis lays out everything so nicely. He doesn't shove religion down your throat, but he lays out the facts on Christianity and the ideas behind it and the evidence behind the ideas in such an accessible manner. If you are a Christian, it will strengthen your faith and help you understand concepts of Christianity that you might have struggled to come to grips with before. C.S. Lewis is an amazing writer - I MUST FINISH THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.

The Sign Of OneThe Hiding Place

I'm hoping to get to these two next! The Sign of One sounds like a fantastic sci-fi dystopian thriller and I'm so excited to read it. The Hiding Place is a nonfiction, autobiography and it sounds incredible! 

What did you read last week, what are you currently reading and what do you think you'll be reading next?

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Stacking the Shelves #105 - Charity store bargains!


HELLO EVERYONE!

I hope you are all well.

I'm currently writing this Friday the 14th of July so when this post goes up I'll have started my library volunteering work which I'm so excited about and I can't wait to share how it goes with you all. My first day is today (if you're reading this on Saturday the 15th of July) and I'll be working for 3 and a half hours. I'll be helping kids sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge and I'm also supposed to help them choose books to read (if they need help!) and discuss the books they've read with them – it's literally the perfect job for me. I'm going to be volunteering 3-4 times a week so I'm going to be spending so much time in the library which makes me really happy because it's literally my favourite place in the world. I'll let you guys know how it goes!

I've had a really good reading week. I've read several books and I've read a lot of nonfiction (French grammar, theology etc) but because they're quite big and dense and require a lot of concentration, I haven't finished any of them so I don't feel like I've made that much progress. BUT YAY FOR READING A LOT!

I've also picked up quite a few books this week which I wasn't expecting but...these things happen, as I'm sure you know. My library has an ongoing book sale and they keep adding new books so I've picked up some really interesting ones there. I also went to a couple of charity stores this week and I got some books I've been dying to read. My last few library reservations also came in so I'm excited to show you those too!

The Canary ClubThe Diabolic (The Diabolic, #1)

I'M SO EXCITED FOR THESE AND I CAN'T BELIEVE MY REQUESTS WERE ACCEPTED FLAIL WITH ME PLEASE. I've been dying to read The Diabolic since I first heard of it, so I'm super stoked to read these. I also requested Canary Club because it sounds INCREDIBLE. Gangsters, secrets, murder, a romance between a wealthy gangster's daughter trying to take control of the city through politics and manipulation and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks IN 1920S NEW YORK (!!!). Here's the blurb: DOES IT NOT SOUND FREAKING INCREDIBLE?!
Bad Luck” Benny is a fella from the wrong side of the tracks. Recently released from jail, he has vowed to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But he also needs to care for his ailing sister and the rest of his struggling family, and he’ll do anything to make that happen—even if it means taking a position with a notorious crime boss. He soon finds himself in over his head—and worse still—falling for the one dame on earth he should be staying away from.

Masie is the daughter of a wealthy gangster with the voice of an angel and gun smoke in her veins. Strong-willed but trapped in a life she never wanted, she dreams of flying free from the politics and manipulation of her father. A pawn in her family’s fight for control of the city, and with a killer hot on her heels, she turns to the one person who just might be able to spring her from her gilded cage. But Masie is no angel, and her own dark secrets may come back to burn them both.

Two worlds collide in this compelling story of star-crossed lovers in gritty prohibition-era New York.

Image result for excited gif

AM I EXCITED? YES, YES I AM.




I was really good at the library this week and only took out the books that I had reserved a few weeks back (#selfcontrol) and I'm SUPER EXCITED to read them!

SQUEEE V.E. SCHWAB AND KATIE MCGARRY. I literally LOVE Katie's books so much, I can't even begin to describe how much I love them BUT I LOVE THEM A LOT OKAY. I've heard sooo many great things about V.E. Schwab's books so I'm so excited to read them! Ink and Bone is going to be the book club book of the month in upcoming weeks so I need to read that (it sounds AMAZING) and I've got all the Reckless books out of the library now so I'm going to binge read them soon! Have you read any of these and what did you think?



The Double Shadow | Liberty | Before I Fall | Shiver | Pure | Who Could That Be at  This Hour? | Cold Spell | The Last Leaves Falling | Eon: Dragoneye | Five Things They Never Told Me 

These all look so amazing! I've been wanting to read Liberty (IT'S A SPY/ESPIONAGE BOOK - YES, PLEASE!), Shiver (I bought the other books ages ago!), Before I Fall is a book I've been dying to read (pun not intended­čśé) forever and I've been wanting to read Eon: Dragoneye for such a long time too! I'm definitely going to be going on a book buying ban soon! I NEED TO.

What books did you acquire this week? Have you read any of these? DON'T YOU THINK THE CANARY CLUB SOUNDS AMAZING?! 
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Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Most Agonizing Moments in a Bookworm's Life


I don't know about you, but as a bookworm, I've encountered a lot of agonizing things. And I still do. On a regular basis. Nerd life is the best life but it's most certainly not for the faint of hearted. Below I have listed some things we experience on a regular basis, they may break our hearts and frustrate us but it's worth it because BOOKS AND FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. 

1. People who criticise the fact that you a) read b) read ____ (insert specific genre here) c) BOTH
I CAN NOT TELL YOU the amount of times someone has made a comment about the books I read. I've very lucky that I haven't had a lot of people tell me that reading is stupid/a waste of time etc (maybe because I'm so straight-forward about the fact that I like reading they don't feel the need to say that? I don't know) BUT I have had SO MANY PEOPLE be like “Ew you read YA? That's such a waste of time, those books have no substance, read something more educational” blah blah blah. THE OTHER DAY this lady that we had just met was speaking to my mom and my mom was like “Ja my daughter wants to be an astrophysicist etc” and then a few moments later I pull out my Batman graphic novel I was reading and the lady was like “I can't comprehend how a clever girl like you can read Batman comics” and I was like hahaha but in my head I was like YO, BARBARA, WHY DON'T YOU JUST LET PEOPLE ENJOY THINGS. DON'T RAIN ON MAH PARADE. I was very much annoyed.


2. Paper cuts
The other day I was innocently paging through a book, enjoying the fast-pace, flicking through the pages at a rapid speed when the book decides it needs to slice me and draw blood because it's a vindictive little fiend. AFTER ALL I'VE DONE FOR YOU. GIVEN YOU A HOME. KEPT YOU WARM. LOVED YOU. So much betrayal in this world. Rude.

3. Not enough room
Books are taking over my life (what a shocker) but no seriously, I have a whole bookcase in my room, a box of books that don't fit on the bookcase in the spare room, another book case for my recently purchased books and library books. I have books downstairs, I have books on my bed, I have books next to bed and books on the floor. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. But I'm totally okay with that. Who needs to see the floor anyway?


4. Sequels that take approximately 543 years to come out
I read this really, really good contemporary once when I was 14 and the book was supposed to be out that year. FOUR YEARS LATER, STILL NO BOOK. It makes me sad. My ship was getting prepared to sail off into the sunset. The sequel would've had that ship sailing way out, man. Then, you also get books that you read and YOU NEED THE NEXT BOOK LIKE, YESTERDAY but then you only find out that it's released next year OR THE YEAR AFTER. Or two years from now. That is when I curl into a fetal position and curse this cruel world. This leads me onto the next point...

5. Not feeling those same ~feels~ when you eventually get to the sequel
You know when you read a book and it gives you ALL THE FEELS and you have 4 new OTPs and the writing is so beautiful you could eat it and the characters are incredible but you have to wait 5000 years for the next book. Then by the time that book comes out, you've forgotten what happened, you have a vague memory of loving the book but you can't remember why and your feelings have kind of...disappeared? It doesn't happen with every book, but it has happened a lot for me and it's SO FRUSTRATING. I then want to go reread the former book(s) but I can't because a) I'd rather spend that time reading new books and b) I have this not-so-irrational fear that I might not like the book this time around and that makes my heart bleed.

6. The sinkage of OTPs
ISN'T THAT THE WORST? When you ship a ship so much it physically hurts and then they don't get together? They stop talking? They fall out of love? THEY DON'T KISS AND MAKE UP LIKE THEY SHOULD BUT INSTEAD GO THEIR SEPARATE WAYS. OR WORSE, CHOOSE THE OTHER BOY/GIRL. WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS?! 

Image result for tyra banks gif we were rooting for you

7. No money
There are hundreds (read: thousands) of books that I so badly want to buy but I can't because I'm broke...from buying all the other books. I need to buy Lord of Shadows, the new Alex Rider book, Strange the Dreamer but I literally have 65p. Time to start looking for a job! Or start buying less books. Or both.


8. Spoilers
THE AMOUNT OF TIMES I HAVE BEEN SPOILED. You know when you see a spoiler and a part of you just dies inside and your eyes burn because you were supposed to find that out for yourself. Fun fact: Once my friend – EVEN THOUGH I TOLD HER I HADN'T READ IT AND I WAS PLANNING TO – told me the ending of We Were Liars. Worse. Moment. Ever.

9. Fictional characters dying
It PAINS me when this happens. The second book I read this year had a character death in that absolutely broke my heart, I had actual chest pain from it and I still think about it and it's seven months later. It's a painful, painful thing for a bookworm to experience. ESPECIALLY WHEN THAT CHARACTER IS A KIND GENTLE GIANT WHO IS THE MOST AMAZING HUMAN AND SHOULD'VE BEEN PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS- I'm getting choked up again.


10. Damaged books
There is not a time that I feel more like a monster than when I damage my books. Today I was carrying a book in my bag that I'd bought at a charity store and when I took it out the front cover was bent. WHAT KIND OF MONSTER AM I?! I SHOULD NOT BE ROAMING THE STREETS.


11. Slow delivery time
THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. I order a lot of books online and it pains me when they take so long to arrive. I like to think of myself as a patient person but when it comes to a new release that I've been dying to read...patience? I have none.

12. Library reservations that take forever
I RESERVED A BATMAN COMIC TWO MONTHS AGO AND IT NEVER CAME IN. #butwhytho I'm also currently waiting on the third book in this one trilogy and I reserved it weeeeeks ago and it still hasn't arrived. BUT THAT'S OKAY because I have tons of other books to read in the mean time but I hope it comes soon so I can photograph all the pretties together.



13. Cliffhangers
NEED I SAY MORE?! Books that end on cliffhangers are the worst (but they're actually the best, let's not lie) especially if you don't have the next book on hand! I absolutely LOVE it when books leave me shrieking and crying and saying “SHUT UP, did that actually just happen? DID IT ACTUALLY END LIKE THAT?!”. It's one of the best things...but also one of the most agonizing.



14. When a book is good but then includes something that makes you say NOW HOLD UP A MINUTE, SON
ISN'T THIS THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING EVER?! There have been numerous instances when I'm reading a book and everything is good, the sun is out and the unicorns are dancing but then I come across something that makes me inwardly groan, cringe and bring my hands to my face. It could be something offensive towards mental health/religion/homeschooling (yes, that's happened) or it could be a trope that is harmful (romanticizing mental illness/abuse/UNECESSARY DEATH OF MY PRECIOUS CHARACTERS etc) or it could just be something like the characters beginning to swear too much/take drugs etc (I'm in the minority when I say I don't like reading books where the teenagers swear/drink/take drugs, even though it is quite realistic) but ANYWAY. It breaks my geeky little heart when the book is amazing and then something happens that makes me say “Oh. Oh, no.”

Can you relate to any of these? How many times have you been hit with the “Ew, you read YA/fiction/etc?” question? Can you think of any others to add to the list?
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