Wrap Up: May 2016

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Can you believe another month has passed? I can’t believe it’s June already and that the year is almost half over. It feels like February was just yesterday! This month was really eventful for me and flew by in a flash. I went to Florida for a week to present at a vision sciences conference, which was a really great experience, and I got to meet my Happy Indulgence co-blogger Aila @ One Way or an Author. Just two days after coming back from my Florida trip, I went to the Sydney Writer’s Festival where I got to meet my other co-blogger, Jeann @ Happy Indulgence (and reunite with Aentee @ Read at Midnight), as well as other bloggers too.

But because my month was so busy, I didn’t read for a whole 10 days in the middle of the month. I did still manage to read 13 books though and most of them were 4 stars or better! I’m also currently 35 books ahead on my Goodreads challenge, which makes me exceedingly happy. Let’s get into my reading summary!

May16

Reading summary header

1. I’ll Meet You There – Heather Demetrios  5 stars

This was probably my favourite book of the month. It was such an incredibly well-written story about a small town girl who just wants to get out but life keeps throwing her curveballs. The novel also explores PTSD and it was done so fantastically. It has the sweetest and most realistic romance and I’m so in love with the characters and their stories. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

2. The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson  5 stars

Morgan Matson’s newest release definitely doesn’t disappoint. I’ve read every single one of her books and I haven’t rated any of them less than 4.5 stars. The Unexpected Everything isn’t my favourite of her books (Second Chance Summer takes the crown) but it had the same great balance of romance, family, friendship and coming-of-age elements that all of her books have. This one is especially cute because there are lots of adorable dogs in it.

3. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater  5 stars

The Raven King is the fourth and final book of The Raven Cycle. I absolutely love this series and The Raven King was also amazing. I wouldn’t say that it was everything that I’d wanted because there were so many unexpected things that happened, but ultimately I’m very satisfied with how it all ended.

4. Yellow – Megan Jacobson  4 stars

I wasn’t actually intending to read this book because the synopsis didn’t have me convinced that I’d enjoy it. However, Megan Jacobson was the guest for May’s YABookmeet, which is hosted by Dymocks Sydney, so I felt like I had to read the book before I went. It ended up surprising me with how enjoyable I thought it was. Yellow is about Kirra, a girl who’s being bullied by her friends at school and whose family is very dysfunctional. One day, she gets a call from a ghost from a telephone box, who ends up giving her a lot of life advice.  In exchange, Kirra has to bring his murderer to justice. ..

5. The Honest Truth – Dan Gemeinhart  45 stars

This is a middle-grade story about a boy who has been battling cancer his whole life. The story begins when he gets fed up with being the sick kid and runs away from home to take a journey up Mount Rainier. He has nothing but a little bit of money, the clothes on his back, and his dog for company. It’s a sad book with a lot of honest truths and I absolutely loved it and ugly cried for ages.

6. A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas  3 stars

ACOMAF was a really highly anticipated release for me but I had a lot of issues with it. I hated the way that Sarah J. Maas turned her characters into people who were unrecognisable from the ones we met in A Court of Thorns and Roses. I also had some problems with Feyre and how her character became even more of a special snowflake than she was in the first book. And I was definitely disappointed with the plot and how absolutely nothing of substance happened.

7. Kindred Spirits – Rainbow Rowell  4 stars

Aila @ One Way of an Author was amazing and managed to get hold of a copy of Kindred Spirits for me (which she gave to me IN PERSON when we met in Florida). Kindred Spirits is a short story about a girl who is obsessed with Star Wars and what happens when she decides to wait in line for a week outside the cinema for the newest movie to be released. It was cute and funny and a great story if you’re after something short that you can finish in a short sitting.

8. The Star-Touched Queen – Roshani Chokshi  4 stars

Another book that I received from Aila, The Star-Touched Queen is a beautiful book inside and out. The writing is rich and descriptive and the world was incredibly magical. The book follows Maya, a princess who’s just one of many women living in the palace. She longs to be seen and make a difference to the world, so when she’s given the chance to rule side by side with Amar, the ruler of a kingdom she’s never heard of before, she jumps at the opportunity. But Amar is hiding some secrets… I enjoyed this book a lot but there wasn’t a lot that actually happened plot-wise. I’m looking forward to what the sequel brings and hopefully it’ll be even more exciting than this first book.

9. Nimona – Noelle Stevenson  45 stars

I very rarely read graphic novels but I picked up Nimona during a comic book/graphic novel sale at my bookstore. It’s a very action-packed and unique story about a supervillain and his sidekick who are trying to save the world from the “good guys”. Confusing, I know. This graphic novel was super fun and fast to read. I loved the characters and thought they were really funny and full of heart. Noelle Stevenson’s art style is also amazing!

10. The Crown – Kiera Cass  2 stars

The Crown is the final book (hopefully) in The Selection series. This is a series that I read for the laughs. I really did not like the first three books but the characters and the drama of the books is so strangely addictive that I’ve been continuing the series. I didn’t mind The Heir and thought it was actually the best of all of the books… but this final book was just a huge disappointment. It lacked the drama of the previous books and just fell super flat. The romance, I saw coming from a mile away and I honestly wasn’t a fan of it. Of any of it.

11. Summer Skin – Kirsty Eagar  4 stars

I read this book because Jeann will be talking about it on radio on Sunday night. I’d heard nothing but good things about it from around the Aussie blogging community and I thought I’d give it a try. It was a really fun and feminist new adult novel that has a little it of a Romeo and Juliet, forbidden love feel to it. It was a really quick read and I enjoyed the characters and their relationship a lot.

12. The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord  4 stars

I read When We Collided by Emery Lord a few months ago and really enjoyed the writing style and story. I decided to give this one a go when I saw it in a Barnes and Noble when I was in Florida. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did When We Collided but I still thought that it was a cute, contemporary read and featured a romance that I could root for. My problem was that I couldn’t really connect with the main character, which made me feel a bit disconnected from her story.

13. The Square Root of Summer – Harriet Reuter Hapgood  3 stars

This book was simultaneously amazing and confusing at the same time. I don’t think I can fully explain what this book was about (but I do have a full review linked where I attempted to do so). The novel features a lot of theoretical physics that I could follow as I read the book, but I found that I couldn’t put all of the theories and ideas together at the end of the book. I was left a little bit confused about the ending what the whole story meant. Having said that, this book has a lot of unique elements and I absolutely loved the reading experience.

T10T

I only did two Top Ten Tuesday posts this month because I’ve realised that I’m terrible at replying to comments on them and the more TTTs I do, the more behind I become on replying and commenting back.

Photo 22-05-2016, 12 57 53 PM

Aentee @ Read at Midnight, me, Jeann @ Happy Indulgence, and Emily @ Loony Literate at TeenCon

Aentee & me

Aentee @ Read at Midnight and me at TeenCon

Aila & me

Aila @ One Way or an Author and me at The Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida

Wrap Up: April 2016

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I read 13 books this month, which is a little less than what I usually read each month but I’ve been really overwhelmed by work and the PhD life recently so I don’t feel too bad. I’m still way ahead with my Goodreads goal (currently 29 books ahead) so that’s all that matters right now.

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1. Dreamology – Lucy Keating  4 stars

This was a really interesting and cute read about two people who have dreamed about each other and had multiple interesting experiences together in their dreams. However, they meet in person one day and have to figure out why they’ve been dreaming about each other for years. I liked the majority of this book but thought some of the dream aspects were a little bit unresolved. Things just worked themselves out without explanation and I didn’t like that at all.

2. A Hollywood Deal – Nadia Lee  2 stars

I don’t read adult romance novels a lot because I find that they all sound the same. But I’ve read some of Nadia Lee’s novels in the past and they’ve been pretty entertaining. When I heard that she had a new release, I bought the ebook straight away. However, it was super underwhelming. On top of that, it was like part 1 of the story and ended on a cliffhanger to be continued in the next book, which is something that I don’t think any of her other books have been like.

3. The Winner’s Kiss – Marie Rutkoski  45 stars

This was one of my most highly anticipated series finales of this year. The Winner’s Crime was such an amazing second book that I had really really high expectations for The Winner’s Kiss. It wasn’t as epic and intense as I wanted it to be so I felt a little bit disappointed with it. But I still really enjoyed it and thought it was a great end to the series.

4. The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler  45 stars

The Book of Broken Hearts is about Jude who comes from a Hispanic family. Her father has early onset Alzheimer’s and Jude thinks that the only way to cure him is to restore his motorcycle, which holds a lot of precious memories. However, the only person who can fix this bike is a sworn enemy of her family’s…I can confidently add this book to my list of favourite summer contemporaries. It had wonderful characters and was a really great book about family, romance and resilience.

5. The Forbidden Wish – Jessica Khoury  3 stars

I’ve heard so many great things about this Aladdin retelling and had really high expectations. But this book fell flat in so many different ways for me. I absolutely hated the romance and thought that it didn’t work at all. The plot for me was okay but there were so many things that were just really convenient or ridiculous. I just wasn’t a fan of this one.

6. Exquisite Captive – Heather Demetrios  45 stars

This was a really great book about jinn that I flew through in less than a day. I adored the complex characters in this one and thought the urban fantasy setting was really unique. It was just a super addictive story and I loved the plot so much. It was definitely a much better novel for me than The Forbidden Wish.

7. The Haters – Jesse Andrews  2 stars

This is the second Jesse Andrews book that I’ve read and haven’t enjoyed. I hated Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and this one wasn’t much better. I didn’t really connect with the humour of the book and since the whole book was carried by the humour, I had a hard time getting through it.

8. The Passion of Dolssa – Julie Berry  4 stars

I love historical fiction and when I found out that this one is set in the 13th century, I had to check it out. Religion plays a huge part in this book and initially I had some trouble getting into it because of the themes. The writing style was also really difficult to get into but once I’d gotten past the first 50 pages, I was hooked. The characters were fantastic and easy to love and I absolutely loved the plot.

9. Love, Lies and Spies – Cindy Anstey  3 stars

The synopsis of this book promises a Jane Austen-inspired 19th century story about a young lady who would rather be a scientist than get married and a man who is a spy. However, I felt like this blurb was a bit deceiving because there was almost no science in this book and not as much spying as I would have liked. It was mostly about the romance, which was pleasant to read about, but I was completely underwhelmed because I was expecting so much more from the characters and the plot.

10. Bittersweet – Sarah Ockler  4 stars

This book is about Hudson, a girl who’s a talented figure skater but whose life fell apart when her dad left. Now she’s stuck in her small town, making cupcakes and waitressing at the diner that her mother owns. She’s given the opportunity to get back into figure skating and her life slowly starts to change. I didn’t always enjoy Hudson in this book but I loved her coming of age story and how she developed throughout the book. It had a lovely wintery setting that I love to read about in books (but hate to experience).

11. Hate is Such a Strong Word – Sarah Ayoub  4 stars

This book is one that every Australian teen should put on their radar. It has such a strong message about culture, ethnicity and racism. In this novel, the main character, Sophie, lives in a tightknit Lebanese community in Sydney. She attends a Catholic school where everybody is Lebanese and everybody’s family knows each other. She feels completely stifled by the old-fashioned rules and traditions that her family imposes upon her and is struggling to be heard. I absolutely loved Sophie’s character and how she transformed and blossomed throughout the book. It was a highly enjoyable read.

12. The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh  45 stars

I’ve been looking forward to this sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn ever since I finished the first book and it didn’t disappoint. I went into it without any expectations as to what would happen next and was really delighted by what I read. I thought the characterisation was really strong and, although the plot wasn’t as intense as I would have liked it to be, I really enjoyed everything… and even shed a couple of tears. I’ll have a full review up for this sequel in a couple of days!

13. Honor Girl – Maggie Thrash  4 stars

This is a graphic memoir about Maggie Thrash’s teenage years and her first crush on a girl. It was a really lovely and honest story that I felt really connected to. The artwork was great and I could reread this one over and over. I’ll have a full review up on Happy Indulgence next week.

REREADS

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell  5 stars

I could never get sick of rereading this book. It was just as relatable and adorable this second time around and I love Rainbow Rowell so much! I can’t wait to read her next release (or you know… finally read Eleanor and Park).

DNFed

Dreaming the Enemy – David Metzenthen

I just couldn’t get through more than 50 pages of this book. This is a historical fiction novel about the Vietnam War, which is something that I’m interested in but don’t know a whole lot about. Unfortunately I couldn’t get past the writing style and confusing plot. I had no idea what was happening and it was too much of a struggle to keep going.

T10T

I posted four Top Ten Tuesdays this month:


How many books did you read in April and which was your favourite of the month?

Wrap Up: March 2016

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Welcome to my 200th post! Can you believe I’ve posted 200 times on this blog? I’m super proud to say that 120 of those posts were book reviews because I love sharing my opinions and spreading the love. I’ve also done 39 Top Ten Tuesday posts… so I guess the remaining 40 posts are wrap ups, hauls and tags.

I did pretty well this month with my reading. I did feel a little bit slumpy in the middle of the month and I wasn’t reading as much at that time. But I came home strongly and did a lot of reading during the Easter break. I read 17 books this month and I’ve completed half of my 2016 Goodreads challenge already. Right now, I’m about 26 books ahead so I’ll probably end up increasing my goal this year. I was also in a blogging slump this month. I usually review almost every book that I read, and this month… well, you can probably see how many I actually reviewed from the lack of review links down below…

March16

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1. What I Saw – Beck Nicholas  3 stars

An Aussie YA book about alcohol-fuelled violence that focused too much on the romance and not enough on the issues that it needed to explore. It was middle of the road for me.

2. The Yearbook Committee – Sarah Ayoub  4 stars

A lovely novel set in Sydney that focuses on friendships and the bonds that can be created between people who are very different. This book is written from five different perspectives, but it never felt like there was too much going on.

3. The Sidekicks – Will Kostakis  45 stars

This is another Aussie YA novel that focuses on friendship and grief. The book is about three boys who shared the same best friend and what happens when that best friend passes away. It’s a really short book that packs quite a punch.

4. Dirty Rowdy Thing – Christina Lauren  35 stars

I read Sweet Filthy Boy, the first novel in this companion series, last month and wasn’t that big of a fan. But I decided to give Dirty Rowdy Thing a go because everybody seems to love these books and I wanted to see if it could change my opinion. And… again, it was good but not great. I’m not sure that I’ll continue with Book 3 but these are great NA books if you’re feeling slumpy.

5. Trouble – Non Pratt  2 stars

This book is about teen pregnancy and I couldn’t really connect with the story or the characters. I was just really frustrated with the characters and the author’s writing style. I’m glad that I read it but it wasn’t anything special.

6. Iron to Iron – Ryan Graudin  45 stars

This is a novella that follows one of the side characters from Wolf by Wolf. It was wonderfully written and if you enjoyed Wolf by Wolf, you’ll enjoy this novella. If you haven’t read Wolf by Wolf, I would definitely deter you from reading this novella until you’ve read Wolf by Wolf because it will ruin your reading experience of that novel.

7. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare  45 stars

I was so excited to have a new Shadowhunters book in my hand but I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy this one because I wasn’t a big fan of Emma Carstairs or Julian Blackthorn when I met them in City of Heavenly Fire. But this book was SO GOOD! Everything was wonderful, besides the very last part of the book, which had one of my most hated tropes… It was the only reason why I took off half a star.

8. Prince’s Gambit – C.S. Pacat  35 stars

This is the second book in the Captive Prince trilogy. I didn’t really see what all the hype was… I thought this book was just a little bit better than average. I liked the characters and the romance but the actual plot of the book was kind of lacking. I had a hard time remembering who everybody was and even though there was lots of political intrigue and strategy, I had a hard time following it all because it wasn’t very well-developed.

9. Kings Rising – C.S. Pacat  4 stars

This is the final book in the Captive Prince trilogy and it was better than the first two books. I still thought the plot was a little weak but overall, I enjoyed it a lot more.

10. Identity – Milan Kundera  3 stars

This was a book that I started reading about 7 years ago but never finished. I finally picked it back up this month and it was really good. I just wasn’t really in the mood for literary fiction and I think I could have enjoyed it more if I had really spent the time trying to delve deeper into story and the messages.

11. Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard  2 stars

This book had me shaking my head so hard. It’s a book about friendship and I just did not enjoy it at all because I disliked all of the characters and thought the friendship was a very unhealthy one. The main character is highly frustrating and ignorant and I just wanted to slap her across the face.

12. The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman  4 stars

This is a bind-up of the two volumes of Maus by Art Spiegelman. It’s about Spiegelman’s father’s story and how he survived the Holocaust. The story was very meta – it followed not only his father’s story but also the story of how Art learnt about what happened from his father. While I enjoyed that aspect of the book, I also didn’t really like it because I found Art very dislikeable. I probably would have liked the graphic novel a lot more if it was just about WWII and the Holocaust.

13. The Way I Used To Be – Amber Smith  2 stars

This is a story about rape and the main character’s struggle to deal with what happened. This book is split into four parts and each part follows one year in the MC’s high school life. I really didn’t like this book at all. It’s basically a story about self-destruction and we just see the MC be increasingly nasty to everyone around her until she hits rock bottom. I couldn’t connect with her or her story and didn’t find it to be emotional at all. The book had no effect on me and I couldn’t really see what messages the author was trying to convey.

14. The Girl From Everywhere – Heidi Heilig  4 stars

This was a really fun time travel book. I really enjoyed the characters and the romance that was in the book. It was a really quick read and I thought it was great. The only thing that I struggled with was some of the time travel aspects. I didn’t think the rules were set out very well and I had a little bit of a hard time following some of the logic of the story.

15. Love is the Higher Law – David Levithan  4 stars

I love David Levithan’s writing and this was another wonderful book. This book follows three people’s experiences with 9/11 and how it affected them at the time and afterwards. As someone who was really young and half a world away when 9/11 happened, I really appreciated being able to see the impact that it had on New Yorkers and how the event continues to stay with people.

16. Frankie – Shivaun Plozza  5 stars

This was a really amazing Aussie YA debut novel about disadvantaged youths. It was a beautiful coming of age story, with a fantastic set of characters and writing that everybody can relate to. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read more by Shivaun.

17. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang  3 stars

This novel was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. It started off as one thing and then quickly morphed into something that I wasn’t completely expecting. The book had lots of great messages about rape and sexual assault and I enjoyed the plot. However, I was disappointed with the characterisation and didn’t really like the two protagonists. I just couldn’t connect with them enough to give this book more than a 3 out of 5. A review of this will be up next week.

DNF-ED

The Chimes – Anna Smaill

While the writing in this book was undoubtedly beautiful, it was much too flowery and purple for me to get into the story. The syntax was strange and there were so many big words that I didn’t know the meaning of that I pretty much was just skimming over the text. I pride myself on my wide range of vocabulary, and to read a book that made me consult a dictionary every second page… was just not enjoyable. I just didn’t understand what I was reading so I DNFed this at 30%.

T10T

I posted 5 Top Ten Tuesday posts in March:

Wrap Up: February 2016

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I had another pretty good reading month in February but I went through a tiny bit of a slump in the middle of the month when I wasn’t really enjoying what I was reading. I’ve been slowly overcoming that though and hopefully March will be a stellar reading month. I guess another reason why my reading month was a bit sluggish this month was because I was in the process of moving house and I was just too exhausted to read and enjoy my books (shelfie coming soon, I promise!). Continue reading

Wrap Up: January 2016

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I am so excited about 2016 because there are so many fantastic books coming out this year! I’ve had the pleasure of reading quite a few 2016 releases this month and I can’t wait to share my brief thoughts on each book! I read a total of 17 books this month (plus one reread) and I’m super ahead in my 100 book challenge!

I wanted to talk briefly about my reading goals for this year. I’ve created a new page called 2016 Reading Challenges that lists my 4 goals for this year. In addition to reading 100 books this year, I’m hoping to read The Complete Sherlock Holmes by the end of the year. This month, I read A Study in Scarlet, one of the four novels in the collection. I’ve also signed up for one reading challenge, which is to read all of the Youth Media Awards YA Books of 2016. You can check out the challenges on my Reading Challenges Page. Lastly, I’m also planning to participate each month in Aentee @ Read at Midnight‘s new Diverse YA Book Club!

[edit: I completely forgot about the Aussie YA Bloggers 2016 Book Club Challenge! I’ll be adding a section on my Reading Challenges page later].

Jan16

January16

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As always, these books appear in the order that I read them and their reviews are linked. I am a co-blogger at Happy Indulgence and I also post YA reviews there.

1. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods – Rick Riordan (illustrated by John Rocco)  5 stars

A beautifully illustrated guide to the 12 major gods (and goddesses) of Olympus. It also contains chapters about the beginning of the world and the Titans. I absolutely loved this and will treasure this book forever.

2. Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice – Kathleen Benner Duble  35 stars

This is a historical fiction novel set in France during the French Revolution. It follows a young orphan girl who is a thief and steals from the rich. One day she is given the opportunity to work as an apprentice for Madame Tussaud and discovers that the world doesn’t work the way she thought it did…

3. The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski  45 stars

This is one of my new favourite series now. It has a superbly constructed plot and world. The characters are magnificent and the tension will have you rolling around in anticipation.

4. The Winner’s Crime – Marie Rutkoski  5 stars

One of my favourite novels of all time! This was the perfect sequel to The Winner’s Curse. The yearning and tension and political intrigue in this book was out of this world!! Cannot recommend this one highly enough and it was, by far, my favourite book of the month,.

5. Passenger – Alexandra Bracken  4 stars

A scavenger hunt through time and space, Passenger follows the story of a violin virtuoso who discovers that she comes from a family of time travellers.

6. Chewy Noh and the March of Death – Tim Learn  25 stars

The third instalment of the Chewy Noh series, this one was a little bit disappointing since I enjoyed the first two so much. I still found the Korean culture and the mythology to be fascinating though.

7. The Distance from A to Z – Natalie Blitt  3 stars

A short and fast-paced contemporary romance about a girl who attends an intensive French language course during the summer. She falls in love with her French speaking partner… and things happen. I wasn’t a big fan of this one. It was a pretty average plot with a frustrating and dislikable main character. This book also had a large amount of dialogue that was in French, with English translations provided at the end of every line, which felt very repetitive to me since I’ve studied French in the past. It also kind of broke the flow of the book a little. This novel was just kind of average.

8. Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson  5 stars

This is one of my new favourite coming of age stories. It’s a beautiful summery contemporary about forgiveness and second chances. It had wonderful characters and the perfect balance of family, romance and friendship.

9. Yuki Chan in Brontë Country – Mick Jackson  35 stars

An adult novel about a Japanese girl in a small English town during the winter. Yuki is on a quest to find out what led to her mother’s death a decade ago. This was a beautifully written story about a girl travelling alone to a foreign country.

10. Truthwitch – Susan Dennard  4 stars

The first book in a new four-book high fantasy series, Truthwitch was one long escape/survival story. It has some amazing characters and ships and an intriguing magic system, but lacked a little on the world building.

11. Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin  4 stars

A unique and eye-opening novel about a gender fluid character. There’s a lot of information about gender fluidity packed into this book but it felt a little bit plotless at times.

12. Not If I See You First – Eric Lindstrom  35 stars

Another eye-opening read about a blind main character and her discovery that things aren’t always as they seem. It was a fast-paced read and I enjoyed how the book explored blindness. It was lighthearted and showed how the main character is able to do things that others can do.

13. Max – Sarah Cohen-Scali  5 stars

Written from the perspective of a boy who was conceived and molded into the perfect Hitler youth, this book follows Max’s journey from birth until the end of WWII. This book is profound and disturbing and I enjoyed reading about the Nazi Regime from such a unique perspective.

14. Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman  4 stars

A paranormal fantasy, set in Regency London, this book follows Lady Helen as she discovers that she’s not just a regular young lady in 19th century London. She discovers a clandestine world full of tentacled demons and becomes sucked into the action and horror of it all.

15. The Year We Fell Apart – Emily Martin  3 stars

This is another fast-paced contemporary, second-chance romance story. The premise of this book seems very similar to Second Chance Summer. However, this debut novel wasn’t quite as good and I had some problems with the plot and main character.

16. The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry  4 stars

This was a bit of a strange read for me. It’s not quite contemporary, not quite fantasy and not quite magical realism. There were lots of things that I didn’t understand but it was still, strangely, enjoyable?

17. The Stars at Oktober Bend – Glenda Millard  45 stars

I actually finished this at 2am on Feb 1, but I’m going to sneak this one in here. I could have read this one faster but the writing was so beautiful that I had to read the whole book out loud. This is a moving Australian YA novel about overcoming adversity and living with hope and courage. A review will be coming soon.

REREADS

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli  5 stars

I reread this one for the Diverse YA Book Club this month and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time I read this book.

T10T

I posted a Top Ten Tuesday list each week of January:


What was your favourite book of the month?

2015 End of Year Survey

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2015 is over and now it’s time to wrap up my reading and blogging year! I saw the End of Year Book Survey on Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner‘s blog and I thought it’d be a neat way of reflecting on my year and looking ahead to 2016. There’s a link up on Jamie’s page of other bloggers who have filled out the survey, so head over there to check out some other blogs!


 

2015-reading-stats

Number of books I read:

read-books-2015

Number of rereads: 1 (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

Genre I read the most from: Contemporary


 

best-in-books

1. Best book I read in 2015

all-the-light-we-cannot-see a-little-lifeill-give-you-the-sunAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr tops the list!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson come in second and third. I have a full top ten books of the year post if you want to see more.

2. Book I was excited about and thought I was going to love more but didn’t

a-study-in-charlotte i-was-hereA Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro is a 2016 release that I read an eARC of. I love all things Sherlock-inspired so I was really excited for this novel. Unfortunately, I was a little bit let down.

I also didn’t enjoy I Was Here by Gayle Forman. I’ve loved all of her other books but this one was kinda average and didn’t do it for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book I read

finding-audrey Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella definitely was a wonderful surprise for me.

This is a book about a 14 year old girl who suffers from severe anxiety. I wasn’t expecting this novel to be funny but it was exactly that. There were so many hilarious scenes and I loved Audrey and her family. The book starts off with a bang and the rest of it followed in the same manner. I could not get enough of it!

4. Book I “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)

all-the-light-we-cannot-see miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-childrenAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr has appeared in almost every Top Ten Tuesday or tag post that I have done on this blog. My love for it has pushed some people to read it (thanks Aentee) or at least put it on their TBR.

Another one is Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. CW @ Read Think Ponder read it after reading my review (sadly, she didn’t like it) but I saw in the comments of her review that lots of people bought the book due to my recommendation.

5. Best series I started in 2015? Best sequel of 2015? Best series ender of 2015?

I think I can answer all of these with The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Winter was just the most fantastic finale!

6. Favourite new author I discovered in 2015?

what-i-thought-was-true My-Life-Next-Doorthe-boy-most-likely-toHuntley Fitzpatrick! I’ve given all of her books 4.5-5 stars.

What I Thought Was True
My Life Next Door
The Boy Most Likely To

Patrick Ness is an honorable mention. I really loved his Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls but wasn’t in love with The Rest of Us Just Live Here (though I still enjoyed it).

7. Best book from a genre I don’t typically read/was out of my comfort zone

blue-lily-lily-blue the-coldest-girl-in-coldtownI don’t typically read a lot of paranormal fantasy books but I read and loved nearly all of Maggie Stiefvater’s books. My favourite book of hers is Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the third book in The Raven Cycle.

I also really liked The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. It was a wonderful paranormal novel and I want a sequel really badly!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year

winter

9. Book I read in 2015 that I am most likely to reread in 2016

carry-on Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

It was fast-paced and magical. The characters are fantastic and I could read about them over and over again. It also has a really great romance and I could read about Simon and Baz over and over again.

I wanted to reread this as soon as I had finished it so I’ll definitely pick this one up again.

10. Favourite cover of a book I read in 2015

I loved all of the hardback covers of these books! The shimmer of the covers of All the Light We Cannot See and Blue Lily, Lily Blue are beautiful. I love the intricate illustrations on the Everything Everything and A Darker Shade of Magic (US) covers. And the cover of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown has the most amazing texture!

all-the-light-we-cannot-see   blue-lily-lily-blue   everything-everything   the-coldest-girl-in-coldtown    a-darker-shade-of-magic

11. Most memorable character of 2015

I had a hard time choosing since I loved so many characters this year. But I choose Nina from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

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12. Most beautifully written book in 2015

all-the-light-we-cannot-see ill-give-you-the-sunthe-strange-and-beautiful-sorrows-of-ava-lavender All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson are my favourite novels of all time because of their spectacular writing. But The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton also deserves a mention!

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015

a-little-life I don’t want to put down All the Light We Cannot See again, so I’ve gone with A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

This was a beast of a book (720 pages) and there wasn’t a single page in the book that didn’t affect me deeply. It was the most heart-shattering and emotional book I’ve ever read and I had the craziest book hangover after I finished reading it. It was a really dark but cathartic read and I’m so glad that I gave it a chance.

14. Book I can’t believe I waited until 2015 to finally read

the-lightning-thief I finally read The Lightning Thief and the rest of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian books by Rick Riordan in December!

I cannot believe I waited this long to read it since this was everybody’s childhood (to be fair, I didn’t find out about this series until last year). But I am now completely in love with Percy and Rick Riordan! I’ll be marathoning The Heroes of Olympus series soon and I also have Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Greek Heroes!

15. Favourite passage/quote from a book I read in 2015

I have so many favourite quotes from books I read this year (I have a whole Top Ten Tuesday post with my favourite quotes). For this question, I had to choose a quote from my favourite book!

“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

16. Shortest and longest book I read in 2015

shortest-longest-book

17. Book that shocked me the most

crown-of-midnight the-knife-of-never-letting-goThere were character deaths in both Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness that really shocked me.

I think I’m still slowly recovering…

… nah, there’s no recovering from what happened. I’ll never get over it.

18. OTP of the year

carry-on Simon and Baz from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is my OTP of the year! I will go down with this ship!

Some honorable mentions: I loved Kaz & Inej, and Nina & Matthias from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I loved all four pairs of characters from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I loved Will, Tessa & Jem from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. And Celaena & Rowan from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.

19. Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year

clockwork-angelthe-knife-of-never-letting-go My-Life-Next-DoorI loved Will and Jem in The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. Favourite bromance EVER. Todd and Manchee were adorable together in The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I also loved George’s relationship with everyone in My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

20. Favourite book I read in 2015 from an author I’ve read previously

saint-anything Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen was one of the first YA authors that I read when I was a teenager. 7 or 8 years ago I read everything she had released up to that point in time. I absolutely loved her writing and I’m so happy to be reading Sarah’s books again! Saint Anything was the most beautiful story about family and self-development. I enjoyed all of the characters and their stories. It definitely did not disappoint!

21. Best book I read in 2015 that I read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure

a-little-life the-knife-of-never-letting-goI picked up A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara after seeing Max (WellDoneBooks on Youtube) do a rave review of the book. And it turned out to be a great decision.

I read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness after months and months of intense, non-stop peer pressure from Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Aentee @ Read at Midnight.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book I read in 2015

William Herondale, of course ❤

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23. Best 2015 debut I read

simonvs I enjoyed Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli so, so much! It was adorable, sweet, funny and everything I want from a contemporary novel. It also has some wonderful messages about diversity and LGBTQ+ issues.

I am so excited that Becky is writing a companion novel to Simon vs and that we’ll get to read more about Simon and Blue. Also happy to hear that they won’t be broken up 😀

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting I read in 2015

six-of-crows Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I love the Grisha world in Leigh’s books so much. While I thought the Grisha trilogy was kind of weak when it came to plot development, pace and characterisation, I can’t deny that it had a great world. I was so happy to have a whole new duology set in the same world. Six of Crows took the world to a whole new level and the setting was so vivid. I enjoyed all the places that the book took us to!

25. Book that put a smile on my face/was the most fun to read

carry-on   simonvs   finding-audrey   harry-potter-illustrated-edition-cover

26. Book that made me cry or nearly cry in 2015

I am a book crier. I cry all the time. This list is never ending so I’ll just include 10.

all-the-light-we-cannot-see   a-little-life   clockwork-princess   the-knife-of-never-letting-go   the-last-time-we-say-goodbye   me-before-you   a-monster-calls   the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower   the-storied-life-of-ajfikry   if-i-stay

27. Hidden gem of the year

the-last-time-we-say-goodbye The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

I loved this book more than words can explain. In early 2015, I read a whole pile of books about depression and teen suicide and this novel tops the list for me. It explored grief, depression and suicide wonderfully. While some of the other novels with the same theme were emotional tear-jerkers, a lot of them either misrepresented depression or didn’t explore it enough. This book had everything!

28. Book that crushed my soul

Pretty much every book that I mentioned in Question 26. But particularly Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I remember having to take the next day off work because my heart was shattered from the feels.

29. Most unique book I read in 2015

illuminae Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I don’t think there can be any other answer. The formatting of this book is just so unique and I’ve never read anything like it!

I was lucky enough to attend the book launch in Sydney and meet Amie and Jay. They were super lovely and I even though I didn’t totally love Illuminae, I can’t wait to read Gemina!

30. Book that made me the most mad

sway Sway by Kat Spears

I don’t think a book has ever made me as angry as I was after reading this book. I found it very offensive towards everybody and everything and I just could not  get past it. I didn’t see any character development. There was insta-love. The protagonist is a douche. The love interest forgives all his douchey-ness even though she dumps some other guy who was less of a douche. I just can’t.


 

blogging-bookish-life

1. New favourite blog I discovered in 2015

I only started book blogging in June of 2015 so pretty much every blog I’ve discovered is my new favourite.

2. Favourite review I wrote in 2015

I love writing reviews and I love most of the reviews that I have posted. I don’t think I can choose one so I’ll go with my most recent review (that isn’t a sequel), The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

3. Best discussion/non-review post I had on my blog

I haven’t actually posted any discussions on this blog (yes, I know). So my favourite non-review post was a Top Ten Tuesday post on dinner dates that I want to be granted.

4. Best event I participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc)

I was so lucky to be able to meet Holly Black and Cassandra Clare and have my books signed by them in August. They were so lovely and it was an absolute honour to meet them (except Cassie was running a poll of everybody’s favourite characters so that she could figure out which unpopular character to kill off. Beware, guys). I also got to meet Sarah J. Maas in November and omg, she’s so funny!

cassie-holly-event   sjmaas-event

I also really loved participating in Top Ten Tuesday every week. I haven’t missed a Top Ten Tuesday since I started!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015

The best moment was definitely being chosen as a co-blogger for Happy Indulgence! I love chatting with Jeann and Aila every single day. They’re so much fun to be around and we have hilarious inside jokes 😉 They’re also super talented and Aila draws us adorable things all the time!

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happy-indulgence-drawing

6. Most challenging thing about blogging in 2015

I’ve been a bit lazy with replying to comments and blog-hopping lately. I used to reply instantaneously but now I end up replying to everything a day or two later. Hopefully I can change my habits and start fresh in 2016!

7. Most popular post on my blog in 2015

My most viewed post on my blog is my review of Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs.

8. Post I wished got a little more love

I don’t really have a single post that I think is unloved… but sometimes I do wish that my reviews of Aussie YA books or indie books on this blog were better received. They’re some of my least viewed posts but I love promoting Aussie books and self-published books.

9. Best bookish discovery (book-related sites, book stores, etc)

I am so happy to have discovered HelloHappyCo on Etsy at the very beginning of this year! I have bought so many magnetic bookmarks from them, including the Six of Crows and The Infernal Devices bookmarks I showed above. I’m also happy to have discovered RedBubble. I buy so many mugs and fandom tote bags from them!

10. Did I complete any reading challenges or goals that I set for myself at the beginning of 2015?

GR-reading-challenge-2015


 

looking-ahead

1. One book I didn’t get to in 2015 but will be my number one priority in 2016

eleanor-and-parkLet’s be real. I have lots of books I didn’t read in 2015 that I’d like to read in 2016 (AKA my whole TBR). But I’ll choose Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

This was the first Rainbow Rowell book I ever bought and it’s now the only one that I haven’t read. I started reading it when I first bought it but then real life happened and I had to put it down after about 40 pages. And I have yet to pick it back up.

2. Book I am most anticipating for 2016 (non-debut)

lady-midnight I did a Top Ten Tuesday post earlier this week featuring all the non-debut early-2016 releases that I’m highly anticipating.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare is one of my most anticipated releases of 2016. I cannot wait to start another Shadowhunters trilogy! I am also highly anticipating Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, the sequel to Six of Crows. That one doesn’t come out until later in 2016 but I am already dying from the wait. I NEED!

3. 2016 Debut I am most anticipating

I absolutely cannot choose just one but I did a Top Ten Tuesday post on my anticipated 2016 debuts a few weeks back.

4. Series ending/a sequel I am most anticipating in 2016

snow-like-ashes ice-like-fireRight now I am most excited for the last book in the Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch, Frost Like Night.

Snow Like Ashes is one of my favourite YA books and I was really excited for the release of Ice Like Fire. Unfortunately, that sequel fell a bit flat for me and had second book syndrome. But I know Frost Like Fire will be really, really epic!

5. One thing I hope to accomplish or do in my reading/blogging life in 2016

I am hoping to be better at commenting and replying to comments in 2016. I have seriously been slacking off in the last few weeks.

I also want to experiment more with graphics. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to graphics. I just use the same ones over and over, with some small modifications. In 2016, I want to spend more time on them and play around with different things. I tried to do a different header for this post and it didn’t take me that long to make so hopefully I can play around a bit more. I still want to stick with the simple and minimalist theme I have right now though, so I don’t want to go overboard.

6. A 2016 release that I’ve already read and recommend to everyone

a-study-in-charlotteI have a whole pile of 2016 releases waiting to be read but the only one I’ve read so far is A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro.

Which I wasn’t the biggest fan of. However, it’s got some pretty good reviews and ratings on Goodreads, so I’d encourage you to check it out anyway if you like detective stories or Sherlock Holmes. My expectations were probably just too high. I’m a pretty hard person to please when it comes to retellings of Sherlock Holmes.


I hope you enjoyed this wrap up of my reading and blogging year for 2015. Happy new year!

Wrap Up: December 2015

December15wrapup

The month of December is over (and so is 2015!) and I’m here to tell you about all the wonderful books I read this month. I read a huge amount of books this month and I’m super happy with how I ended the year (2015 wrap up coming soon!). I read a total of 21 books this month, with 7 of them read in the last 4 days of the month. It’s also interesting that those 7 were the ones that I read after I completed my 2015 reading challenge (I guess I read faster when I feel liberated?). Without further ado, let’s check out what I read!

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Reading summary header

As always, these books appear in the order that I read them and their reviews are linked. I am a co-blogger at Happy Indulgence and I also post YA reviews there.

1. A Corner of White – Jaclyn Moriarty  4 stars

A wonderful contemporary and fantasy cross-over involving parallel worlds, this novel reads like a contemporary story, set partly in a fantasy world. This is the first book in The Colours of Madeleine, an Australian YA trilogy.

2. The Cracks in the Kingdom – Jaclyn Moriarty  35 stars

The second book in Jaclyn Moriarty’s YA trilogy, The Colours of Madeleine. A really, really great sequel to A Corner of White. This book reads a bit more like a fantasy novel and the ending made me really excited for the third book.

3. Sway – Kat Spears  1 star

This contemporary novel was not for me. I found it to be pretty offensive and I disliked all of the characters, as well as the romance.

4. A Study in Charlotte – Brittany Cavallaro  3 stars

This is the first book in a Sherlock-inspired trilogy that’s set to be released in March 2016. I was highly anticipating this one but it fell a little bit short of my expectations. A review of this will be live on Happy Indulgence in mid-February.

5. The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan  45 stars

I finally read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series this month. The Lightning Thief was a really enjoyable first book and I absolutely fell in love with the world and Percy.

6. The Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan  5 stars

This was a wonderful sequel to The Lightning Thief and is probably my second favourite book of the series. I loved the characters that were introduced in this book and Percy’s quest was so much fun!

7. The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan  4 stars

This was my least favourite book of the PJO series but it was still a great book. I found the beginning to be kind of slow, with nothing much happening, but the rest of the book was great.

8. The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan  4 stars

I also thought this fourth book of the PJO series was slow at the beginning. But their quest through the labyrinth was so action-packed and so much fun that I couldn’t help loving it too. I just didn’t always enjoy Rachel Elizabeth Dare…

9. The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan  5 stars

This is the last book of the PJO series and my favourite of the five books. It was action-packed from the very beginning and the whole book was just epic. Rick Riordan couldn’t have written a better ending to the series.

10. Feeling Sorry for Celia – Jaclyn Moriarty  4 stars

A hilarious Australian YA contemporary, written entirely as a collection of notes and letters. We follow the life of Elizabeth as she exchanges letters with a penpal from a nearby school. It’s a great story about friendship, family and romance.

11. Emmy & Oliver – Robin Benway  4 stars

Another wonderful contemporary with the most sweet and adorable romance, I loved this one so much! I had some problems with the plot and pace of the book, but it was a great book anyway.

12. The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater  45 stars

A mysterious and magical story about a teenage girl and a group of boys from a private and elite high school, the Raven boys. This novel had amazing writing and the most atmospheric setting.

13. The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater  45 stars

The sequel to The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves follows the story of Ronan, one of the Raven boys. We get to learn more about his past and his unique abilities in this book.

14. Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater  5 stars

This is my favourite book in The Raven Cycle so far. It was faster-paced than the others and had a plot that moved along nicely. I just can’t get enough of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing.

15. Snowflake Wishes – Maggie McGinnis  4 stars

A holiday-themed novella about a second chance romance. This was short and sweet, perfect for a winter’s day.

16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Illustrated edition) – J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay  5 stars

I highly enjoyed rereading this first book in the Harry Potter series. The illustrations were the perfect accompaniment to the story and I loved all of the intricate and beautiful drawings. I could reread this over and over again.

17. One Hundred Great Books in Haiku – David M. Bader  4 stars

A really funny collection of haikus. I laughed out loud on so many pages. The author tried to capture the language and theme of the original works and was pretty successful at it.

18. Marly’s Ghost – David Levithan  3 stars

A reimagining of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with a Valentine’s Day twist. This book is about a boy who loses his girlfriend to cancer and has a hard time letting go. Spirits visit him during the night to show him the past, present and future. My problem with this was that the plot was unoriginal and predictable. I needed some sort of twist in the book to keep it interesting.

19. Hark! A Vagrant – Kate Beaton  35 stars

This is a collection of comics by Canadian, Kate Beaton. They focus on important moments in history as well as important works of literature. I found a lot of the comics to be funny but there were also many about Canada or North American history that I didn’t understand. The book does have some descriptions to help those who are really struggling though.

20. This Raging Light – Estelle Laure  1 star

A contemporary novel about a girl whose parents both disappear on her and her younger sister. She has to learn to take care of both herself and her sister while keeping the situation a secret. I didn’t like the writing, characters, romance or plot in this book.  A full review of this will be up on Happy Indulgence next week.

21. Everything Leads to You – Nina LaCour  4 stars

An LGBTQ+ book about a girl who works in set design. It was fast-paced and charming and I really enjoyed it. I should have a review of this up soon.

I did three best books of 2015 posts:

T10T

In December, I did five Top Ten Tuesday posts:


 

Happy New Year! I will have my End of Year Survey post up on Saturday!

Wrap Up: November 2015

November15wrapup

Welcome to another monthly reading wrap up. I had a really great reading month and I read a lot of high quality books. I have so many new favourites! A lot of the books that I read this month were really chunky too (e.g. Winter, Carry On, Chaos Walking). I read a total of 6739 pages!

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Reading summary header

The books appear in the order that I read them and my reviews are linked. I am a co-blogger at Happy Indulgence and I also post reviews there.

1. Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo  4 stars

The second book in the Grisha Trilogy. It was a step-up from Shadow and Bone but it lacked action and plot. While enjoyable, it was a filler book and we didn’t really learn anything new.

2. Ruin and Rising – Leigh Bardugo  45 stars

The final book in the Grisha trilogy, Ruin and Rising was by far the best book in the trilogy. It had more action and the pace of the book was more consistent. Also, the epilogue was amazing!

3. The Intern – Gabrielle Tozer  25 stars

An Australian YA novel about a shy and awkward girl who gets an internship at a popular fashion magazine. It was much too cliched and full of contemporary YA tropes for me to enjoy.

4. Faking It – Gabrielle Tozer  25 stars

The sequel/companion to The Intern. I felt exactly the same way about it as I did about The Intern. It was a novel that made me feel like I was too old for YA…

5. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell  5 stars

An amazing, amazing fantasy novel. It is Rainbow Rowell’s take on the Simon Snow series that was introduced in Fangirl. The characters, magic system and world were all phenomenal!

6. Love and Other Perishable Items – Laura Buzo  4 stars

Another Australian YA novel. This book is set in Sydney, Australia and explores self-discovery, growing up and first love. It is very realistic and relatable and I loved it!

7. Winter – Marissa Meyer  5 stars

The fourth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles series, which is my favourite series of all time. It was an epic, action-packed conclusion and I’m so sad that the series is over. I could read 10 more books set in this world, about these characters.

8. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo  5 stars

A new fantasy duology set in the Grishaverse. This is an epic and intense heist story that features a cast of complex and interesting characters! I absolutely loved all of the characters and the setting and world building in the book was amazing.

9. Denton Little’s Deathdate – Lance Rubin  4 stars

This is a contemporary novel with some sci-fi elements. This book is set in the near future, in a world where everybody knows their deathdate. The book takes place over 48 hours, starting on the day before Denton Little is scheduled to die.

10. What We Saw – Aaron Hartzler  45 stars

A deep and thought-provoking story about doing the right thing. I have written a review of this that will be going live on Wednesday.

11. Night Owls – Jenn Bennett  4 stars

A cute and sweet contemporary romance featuring two artists that fall in love through their art. It involves a realistic and honest relationship.

12. A Step Towards Falling – Cammie McGovern  35 stars

This book features characters that have developmental/learning disabilities. It also explores the idea of doing the right thing and not judging people by their appearances.

13. The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness  45 stars

The first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, this book is fast-paced, unique and terrifying. It has some very realistic but strong individuals and the relationships and character interactions in this book will give you all the feels.

14. The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness  45 stars

Book 2 in the Chaos Walking trilogy. It was a fantastic sequel, full of action and politics.

15. Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness  5 stars

This is the final book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy and it was an amazing conclusion! For me, this was the best book of the trilogy, and if you haven’t read Chaos Walking yet, I highly recommend it! A review of Monsters of Men will be up on Sunday.

16. The Weight of Water – Sarah Crossan  45 stars

A novel that’s written in free-verse and extremely quick to read! This is an emotional coming-of-age story about a 12 year old Polish girl who moves to London with her mother in search for her father who has left them.

T10T

I posted four Top Ten Tuesdays in November:

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BTCYA (HARPERCOLLINS YA EVENT)

HarperCollins Australia held a YA event in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in November and I went to the Sydney event on November 20th. We looked at upcoming 2016 HarperCollins YA releases and also took home a VERY generous goodie bag! I have done a full event recap over at Happy Indulgence (along with Jeann, who went to the Brisbane event), with photos and all that good stuff.

SydneyBTCYA

Photo credits: HarperCollinsAU

SARAH J. MAAS AT KINOKUNIYA, SYDNEY

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I went to the Sarah J. Maas event in Sydney last week on the 25th and got to meet her and have some of my books signed. It was an AMAZING day and she was so funny, bubbly and nice! I was also lucky enough to snag a front row seat!

Sadly, there was a 3-book signing limit and only one of them could be personalised so I got my copies of Throne of Glass, Queen of Shadows and A Court of Thorns and Roses signed. Initially, it was a 5-book limit, but they had to change it to 3 in order to keep it consistent across all of her Aus/NZ events 😦

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We weren’t allowed to film or take posed photos with her (they threatened to kick us out if we did – there were a billion other rules too) but I did manage to get a candid shot with her. When she was signing my books I asked her if there’s a character she’s ever regretted killing off (e.g. my beloved Sam). Her answer was no, because the character deaths had to happen in order for the story to progress. But she did say that when she was writing Queen of Shadows, she wished Sam was still alive and that she misses him.

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See you next month, and happy reading!

Wrap Up: October 2015

October15wrapup

Hello everybody. Wow, the month has flown by pretty quickly! Where did all the time go? Before we get into what I read in October, I should share my exciting news that I announced last week. I am now a co-blogger at Happy Indulgence! Head over there to see more from me! My first post (a review of The Next Together) is now up!

I had a fabulous reading month in October. I read some pretty high quality books and I’m now 30 books away from my 2015 reading goal of 200 books! I think 15 books in November and December sounds doable (I’ve already finished my first book of November, this morning at 2am!)

Let’s get started with what books I read this month. As always, these appear in the order that I read them throughout the month and my reviews are linked.

October15

Reading summary header

1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs  45 stars

A wonderfully mysterious and creepy book about a cast of peculiar children with peculiar powers living in the 1940s. It contains some amazing black and white photographs and beautiful writing!

2. Hollow City – Ransom Riggs  5 stars

The second book in the Miss Peregrine’s trilogy. This was my favourite book in the trilogy and definitely was not a ‘filler’ book in the series. It had me dying to read the next book.

3. Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs  45 stars

The final book in the Miss Peregrine’s trilogy. This was action-packed and thrilling, and everything I wanted this last book to be. Has a completely resolved ending and I’m sad that the series is over.

4. Zeroes – Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti  35 stars

The first book in a new series about a group of kids with special abilities. It was exciting and filled with action. I fell in love with some of the characters and cannot wait to read more about them in the next book.

5. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness  5 stars

This was a really dark and emotional read for me. It had a wonderful story with beautiful writing.. and it gave me all the feels.

6. Chewy Noh and the Fall of the Mu-Dang – Tim Learn  35 stars

The first book in a middle-grade series by an indie author. This book features a Korean main character with a unique superpower and how he deals with his bullies!

7. Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter – Tim Learn  4 stars

The second book in the Chewy Noh series. It did a great job of blending in Korean mythology and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Korean culture.

8. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo  4 stars

The first non-fiction book I’ve read in a while – this book had lots of great tips and tricks on storage and decluttering.

9. A Little Something Different – Sandy Hall  15 stars

This was an extremely disappointing new adult contemporary. It was written from 14 different perspectives and was done quite unsuccessfully. I had many problems with the plot, characters and writing.

10. Outspoken – Lora Richardson  4 stars

This is probably the best self-published novel I’ve ever written. It was an incredible YA contemporary debut about finding your own voice.

11. Ice Like Fire – Sara Raasch  35 stars

The second book in the Snow Like Ashes trilogy, this book fell a little bit flat for me. There wasn’t very much that happened plotwise, and many of the characters went through some massive changes.

12. The Next Together – Lauren James  4 stars

A unique blend of contemporary, sci-fi, mystery and historical fiction. This book follows two characters that are reborn over and over, but end up together each time. It was filled with little notes and email exchanges and I thought it was a great debut novel.

13. Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  4 stars

The first book in a sci-fi trilogy, Illuminae is written completely as a collection of classified materials. The formatting and graphics in the book were amazing and it was a unique reading experience.

14. The Billionaire’s Forbidden Desire – Nadia Lee  4 stars

It’s been a while since I’ve read an adult romance book and this one caught my eye as I was browsing through the iBooks new releases. It was good but had too many sex scenes for my liking.

15. The Lake House – Kate Morton  5 stars

This was my favourite book of the month. It’s a fantastic mystery, with the most beautiful writing and very realistic characters. I also loved the historical elements of the book and really enjoyed the 1930s Cornwall setting.

16. Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo  35 stars

The first book in the Grisha trilogy, Shadow and Bone didn’t really wow me. It has some interesting characters and a world that I enjoyed reading about, but I found it to be a little bit lacking. A full review will be up soon.

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This month I did four Top Ten Tuesday posts:


Thanks for visiting. Did you read any of these books this month and what did you think of it? What was your favourite book of October?

Wrap Up: September 2015

September15wrapup

I read quite a lot of books in September but I kind of got stuck in a bit of a slump towards the middle of the month. A Little Life was so good that I had a bit of a book hangover, and it also didn’t help that I read a string of books that were quite average after it. But let’s get into what I read because I still managed to complete my 150 book challenge on Goodreads (which I’ve now increased to 200 books).

I am currently reading Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Stay tuned for a review on that!

September15

Reading summary header

As always, these books are listed in the order that I read them during the month, and my reviews are linked.

1. Queen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas 5 stars
This is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series and it was so good! A really great continuation to the series and it ended so epically as well. Looking forward to Book 5!

2. Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between – Jennifer E. Smith 4 stars
This new contemporary release from Jennifer E. Smith did not disappoint. This book is about two high school graduates and their last night together as they try to figure out whether to break up or go long distance.

3. Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon 45 stars
A fast-paced and cute contemporary about a girl with SCID. This book has received so much hype and it’s all well deserved.

4. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara 5 stars
This was by far the best read of September for me. It took me 2 weeks to read but it was so worth it! Check out my review for in depth thoughts because this book is not for everyone.

5. Supermutant Magic Academy – Jillian Tamaki 3 stars
This was my first graphic novel in a while and it was just okay for me. I didn’t find it to be as funny as some other reviewers found it. It’s a very slice-of-life kind of book.

6. Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe – Milly Johnson 4 stars
This was a really fun book about female friendships and getting revenge on the men who have wronged you.

7. Fans of the Impossible Life – Kate Scelsa 1 star
A book about friendship and mental illness… I had many, many problems with not only the messages but also the writing style. Wasn’t really worth my time.

8. Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy 35 stars
A book with a great message about body weight and confidence. I loved the messages in this book but there were some things that I wish had been better executed.

9. Mosquitoland – David Arnold 35 stars
A really enjoyable book about a crazy road trip and friendship. There was a lot that I enjoyed about it but it was a bit too purple prose-y for me to fully enjoy.

10. The Replacement Wife – Rowena Wiseman 1 star
This is my least favourite read of the month, and probably one of my least favourite reads ever. I requested this on NetGalley because the author is Australian and it was a short book. Worst. Decision. Ever. It was a book full of terrible decisions and terrible writing.

11. The Substitute Bride – Kathleen O’Brien 4 stars
I just realised that this book has pretty much the same title as the previous one, but this was a much better read. I saw this in the free books section on iBooks so I downloaded it to give it a go. It was a really charming and enjoyable book.

12. The Rest Of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness 4 stars
My first Patrick Ness book did not disappoint. It had a great premise and was executed really well. This is a book about all the other kids in the world and what happens to them when the chosen ones are off saving the world.

13. The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood 3 stars
A married couple living in a chaotic and anarchic world sign up to live in a utopia forever. They soon realise that this utopia is definitely more of a dystopia. A bit of a weird read for me. I still don’t really know how I feel about it.

14. Tonight The Streets Are Ours – Leila Sales 45 stars
This is a love story, but it’s not about romance. It’s a book about loving yourself and putting yourself first. This was definitely the surprise of the month!

15. The Landing – Susan Johnson 35 stars
Set in a small coastal town in Australia, an exploration of the joys and disappointments of love and humanity.

16. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll 35 stars
I don’t think this needs any introduction. I’ve read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland before but this was my first time reading Through the Looking Glass. It was wonderful in parts but a bit draggy in others.

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I did five Top Ten Tuesday posts this month:


I also did a giveaway this month to celebrate my birthday. And the winner of that giveaway was Kelly @ Dancing Through The Pages!

If you’ve done a September wrap up, leave me a link in the comments! I would love to check out what you’ve read!