Top 10 Books of 2016

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As of right now, I’ve read 198 books this year (trying to power through 2 more to reach my goal of 200!), so it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to just ten favourites. But there were quite a few clear standouts on my list and here they are. If you would like to see other lists of my favourites from this year, I posted my top ten contemporary reads of 2016 on Happy Indulgence and was also a part of Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts’ 2016 Thinking Awards.

10. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

This novel took me completely by surprise. It was a highly anticipated book of mine but I had no idea that I would love it as much as I did. This book is set in Alaska in the 1970s and follows four different perspectives. I thought the writing was absolutely beautiful and there was a wonderful balance in themes. I also especially loved how the four perspectives came together and how seamlessly the book tied it all together.

9. Corruption by Jessica Shirvington

Corruption is the sequel to Disruption by Jessica Shirvington. While I really loved the first book in this Aussie YA duology, it was this sequel that completely took my breath away. It was packed full of action and omg the romance in this duology is just off the charts good. Maggie and Quentin are my OTP of the year! If you haven’t read this yet, you have to pick it up.

8. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I love the Shadowhunter books and Lady Midnight was no exception. In my opinion, it’s actually one of the better books from Cassie Clare. The Infernal Devices is still my favourite but Lady Midnight definitely surprised me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters when I first read about them as pre-teens in City of Heavenly Fire but I absolutely loved the whole cast of characters (yes, even Perfect Diego)!

7. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Trilogy was one of my favourite series that I read this year and The Winner’s Crime was definitely my favourite of the three books. While I really liked The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Kiss, I just thought that this second book had really great tension and political intrigue.

6. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

This book. THIS BOOK. It’s perfect for all fans of magical realism. It had a whimsical and enchanting world and I love Anna-Marie McLemore’s storytelling abilities. The characters were perfection and the themes and messages in the book came across to me so clearly. I thought it was brilliantly executed.

5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

This was my first Ruta Sepetys book and I have no idea why it took me so long to read one of her novels, since I’m a massive fan of WWII historical fiction. What I loved about this book was the research that Ruta Sepetys put into writing her novel. It was obvious from the very first page and I really enjoyed reading about a little-known event in history. This book also transcends time and marketing categories. Even though it’s a YA novel, I can see so many different people appreciating it and loving it.

4. Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

This was one of my most anticipated sequels of this year after I read Wolf by Wolf earlier in the year and it didn’t disappoint at all. There was so much action and the plot twists were almost heart-stopping. There were a few plot points that I didn’t like (not because they were bad but because they hurt my heart) but this book definitely gets all the stars from me.

3. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

This is probably one of the books that I raved about the most this year. I highly, highly enjoyed this Romeo and Juliet-inspired story and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months and months. In fact, I’m still thinking about it. I enjoyed it so much when I read it that I couldn’t bring myself to write a review for it. It’s absolutely beautiful and has a romance that had my heart out of control.

2. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

This is my favourite contemporary read of this year. It had been recommended to me multiple times by different bloggers, so I finally picked it up earlier this year. And it was so good! There was nothing that I didn’t like about this novel. The characters were perfection, the romance was perfection and the plot was perfection.

1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom is without a doubt my favourite book of this year. It was my most highly anticipated book of the year and it definitely lived up to all of my high expectations. It had everything that I wanted from this sequel and it wrapped up the duology in the most incredible way. I didn’t think that I could love it more than Six of Crows but it was absolutely amazing. If you haven’t read this duology yet, I honestly don’t know what you’re waiting for.


What was your favourite book of 2016? Stay tuned for my next post: 2016 End of Year Survey!

Book Haul: September 2016

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I think I was much more restrained this month than in previous months when it comes to my book haul. Even though I acquired lots of books, I only bought 14 of them! Which is still a lot… but it was my birthday this month and I didn’t buy as much as I thought I did. Book haul justified.

BOOK DEPOSITORY

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I love how Crooked Kingdom and The Thousandth Floor have the same pretty black and gold colour scheme! It’s soooo pretty. Half of these purchases from Book Depository were preorders. I preordered Crooked Kingdom, The Thousandth Floor and Phantom Limbs. Milk and Honey was a book that I picked up on a bit of a whim but I’ve since read it and absolutely loved it. I purchased P.S. I Like You because I love Kasie West’s fluffy contemporary romances and this one was just as good as her other ones have been. Finally, I picked up The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (which I used to have a copy of but gave it away to a friend who I thought would also love it) and Isabel Greenberg’s new graphic novel, The One Hundred Nights of Hero. I can’t wait to read it!

KINOKUNIYA

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On the first day of September, I went to the #YAFanFest, hosted by Allen & Unwin, to preview some upcoming titles. There were also some amazing Aussie YA authors there and books for sale by Kinokuniya. I ended up picking up a copy of Swarm 4 weeks before release at the event and got it signed by Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti. I also bought a copy of Garth Nix’s Goldenhand before release at the event too, which I gave away to a friend. The following day, I went to a Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan event at Kinokuniya and I picked up two David Levithan books that I don’t already own, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Are We There Yet? Finally, for my birthday, I bought myself Embrace by Jessica Shirvington because I’ve really enjoyed the three books of hers that I’ve read so far, Disruption duology and Between the Lives.

DYMOCKS

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I’ve been saving up my Dymocks credit points since July so that I can spoil myself on my birthday. However, when I went to the store, there weren’t actually that many books that I wanted to buy. I ended up picking up Graffiti Moon and a finished copy of Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. I also bought Graeme Simsion’s new novel, The Best of Adam Sharp, which was signed. Funny story, after I bought this book from Dymocks, I went to Kinokuniya to browse, and 5 minutes after I left Kinokuniya, I checked my Instagram feed and saw a picture of Graeme Simsion signing copies of The Best of Adam Sharp at Kinokuniya, posted 15 minutes ago. Totally could have gotten my copy personalised if I was paying more attention!

RECEIVED

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At the #YAFanFest event that I went to, there were goodie bags for all the attendees. In my bag, I received The Diviners and London Belongs to Us. Because I’ve already read and reviewed London Belongs to Us, I ended up swapping with Emily @ The Loony Literate for Cooper Bartholomew is Dead. At the event, I also won an ARC of Garth Nix’s Frogkisser! in a lucky dip that he was running. It sounds hilarious and I’m so excited to read it. From publishers, I received Swarm from Allen & Unwin, Replica from Hachette Australia, Witch’s Pyre from Pan Macmillan Australia, and Empire of Storms from Bloomsbury Australia. Empire of Storms actually came last month but I didn’t include it in my book haul last month. My coblogger Jeann @ Happy Indulgence sent me Open Road Summer for my birthday and I’m so happy to now have it in my hands!!


Phew! All done! Which books did you purchase in September and what are you most excited to read?

Wrap Up: September 2016

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Where did the time even go?  How is it even October already? This year has definitely flown by and so has the month of September. I had lots of reading plans in September. I got my wisdom teeth removed earlier this week and I thought I’d have a lot of reading time during my recovery. Turns out, it doesn’t really work that way and I spent most of my time just sleeping. But even though I haven’t made the most of my time off, I still managed to read quite a lot of books this month. Here’s my reading summary and full reviews are linked.

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Reading summary header

1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – J.K. Rowling  4 stars

This was a really interesting guidebook to the different magical creatures in the Harry Potter world. It wasn’t the most entertaining book but it was super informative and made me feel like I was back in the world.

2. Empire of Storms – Sarah J. Maas  45 stars

I was super impressed by this fifth installment of the Throne of Glass series. It wasn’t as good as Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows in my opinion but it was a nice continuation to the series. The plot is really starting to come together and I’m really excited about the finale!

3. The Realm of Possibility – David Levithan  4 stars

I’ve had this book for a while and had never picked it up. I went to a few David Levithan events in recent weeks and hearing him talk about his work made me want to pick up some more of his books that I still have yet to read. This book is written in verse and was a really nice easy read about love and everything that comes with it.

4. Trial by Fire – Josephine Angelini  3 stars

This is the first book in the Worldwalker trilogy and I was a bit underwhelmed by it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and I thought the plot was a bit clumsy and confused. This book just wasn’t for me.

5. PS. I Like You – Kasie West  4 stars

I love Kasie West because all of her books are so cute and fluffy. PS. I Like You was no exception. It was so full of sugary cuteness that I sped through it in one sitting. The book is about a girl who exchanges letters with a boy who sits at the same desk as her at school, and I just absolutely adored it.

6. It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover  35 stars

I’ve heard countless good things about this latest Colleen Hoover novel. Unfortunately I didn’t really connect with the story emotionally. I found it to be a bit dull and the characters also came across as a bit boring to me. I did like the issues that the book explored but I didn’t think the book was amazing by any means. (Trigger warning for domestic violence and abuse).

7. The Thousandth Floor – Katharine McGee  45 stars

I was completely unprepared for how much I loved this novel! It’s the first book in a new trilogy and I loved it so much that I couldn’t stop raving about it for days. It’s a futuristic Gossip Girl-like story set in a world where Manhattan is literally inside a 1000-storey tower. I loved the technology and the world of this book and also really liked the characters and their stories.

8. The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You – Lily Anderson  45 stars

This was another adorable contemporary story. It’s a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing and is set at a high school for geniuses. I loved the entire cast of characters in this book and I thought the main characters, Beatrice and Benedict, were absolutely fantastic and relatable. There are lots of nerdy references in the book and I highly enjoyed the plot.

9. Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler  35 stars

I love Sarah Ockler’s writing and stories and I also really enjoyed Twenty Boy Summer. However, I think you could really tell that this was her debut novel because it wasn’t as polished as her other novels. Despite that, I still really enjoyed it and I liked that it explored the theme of grief in an interesting and relatable way.

10. Between the Lives – Jessica Shirvington  45 stars

Jessica Shirvington hasn’t disappointed me yet. I loved her Disruption duology and this was just as good. The story follows our main character, Sabine, who lives two separate lives. Every 24 hours, she Shifts into her other life and lives that day over again. I loved the concept of this book and I loved Sabine as a character. I thought the plot of the story was spectacular and I can’t wait to read some more of Jessica Shirvington’s work.

11. Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland  3 stars

This was a highly anticipated contemporary release for me and I was left extremely underwhelmed. Pretty much nothing happens for a good 80% of the book and I was just extremely bored. There are also some Manic Pixie Dream Girl elements and it took a lot of willpower for me to continue the novel. I considered DNFing at 100 pages and, in hindsight, I probably should have.

12. The Hating Game – Sally Thorne  5 stars

The Hating Game was a book that I didn’t know I needed. It’s one of the most adorable office romances that I’ve read and every single page of this book gave me intense contemporary romance feels. The main character, Lucy, is absolutely wonderful and I could read 100 more books about her.

13. Heartless – Marissa Meyer  35 stars

I’ve been highly anticipating this novel since Winter came out earlier this year. I loved The Lunar Chronicles and I really love Marissa Meyer’s writing. But I thought Heartless was just… okay. It took me a while to get through the book because I wasn’t really excited by the plot or the characters. I also thought that the romance lacked spark and I just wasn’t feeling it.

14. Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo  5 stars

Oh man… this is probably my favourite novel that I’ve read so far this year. There was literally nothing that I didn’t like about this sequel and it’s definitely on par with Six of Crows. The characters were perfect, the plot was perfect and the writing and pace were perfect. I’ve already read this book twice and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be rereading it again soon.

15. Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur  5 stars

I very rarely read poetry but I really, really enjoyed this collection from Rupi Kaur. There were a lot of free verse poems and that made the experience a little bit easier for me. What I really loved about it was that it was feminist and empowering and I think it’s an important read for all women.

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I only did two Top Ten Tuesday posts in September but I loved both of the topics!

Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: September 27, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 546
Goodreads || Book Depository

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

As Crooked Kingdom is a sequel, this review may contain spoilers for Six of Crows.

Crooked Kingdom is my favourite book of this year. I’ve read close to 150 books so far this year so it’s a big call but I can so confidently put this novel on my list of all-time favourites, right next to Six of Crows. I loved everything about this sequel and there’s absolutely nothing that I would change… except maybe that one tiny plot point at the end of the book that made me cry like a baby.

This book had everything that a great book should have. It had captivating characters whose stories draw you in and make you want to learn more. There’s thrilling action and intrigue that keeps you on your toes. And there’s fabulous writing that just sings and makes you never want to let go of the book. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this review. Let’s start with the plot. I absolutely loved how this book moved and flowed and how everything was planned to perfection by Leigh Bardugo. I thought the plot of this book was so perfectly constructed, with each character playing a crucial role in the ‘job’ and in the novel. There was nothing predictable about the plot at all and I was constantly worrying about my babies because I had no idea what was going to happen. There were also about a million plot twists in Crooked Kingdom and I loved every single one of them. Everything worked out so well and it all made sense together, which made the story a pleasure to read. Also, because the book has multiple perspectives, there was a lot of suspense and mystery in every chapter and this added to the sense of excitement that I felt as I was reading the book. The pacing of the story and the writing was so perfect that I raced through this 500+ page book in a few short sittings.

“This is the city that I bled for. And if Ketterdam has taught me anything, it’s that a guy can always bleed a little more.”

What I love most about this duology is that the characters are absolutely ruthless and it’s just so much fun to read. I will never tire of Kaz’s cruel but seamless plans and his hard exterior. He’s a perfect main character because of his complexity and his soft, gooey, marshmallowy centre. And that’s what I love about all of the characters in this novel. They’re all extremely complex and I’ll never stop discovering new sides to them no matter how many books Leigh Bardugo gives us (I’m devastated that this is only a duology!). I love that the book is peppered with little flashbacks so that we get to see the characters’ backstories and further understand where they came from. While a lot of Six of Crows was about the pasts of Kaz, Inej, Nina and Matthias, Crooked Kingdom places greater emphasis on Jesper and Wylan’s stories. I loved learning more about them because I didn’t really care for them as much as I did the other four characters in Six of Crows. I started to care more about them and see them as more than just side characters, which they were to me in the first book of the duology. And of course, I continued to love the rest of the characters and even developed a bit of a soft spot for Kuwei, who’s a bit of a troublemaker!

“I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together – knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

The relationships and the dynamics between the characters were what made this book for me. I, of course, loved the three couples. I loved how Jesper and Wylan were there for each other and supported each other throughout their family issues and devastating pasts. I loved Nina and Matthias’s relationship and how he was so awkward at expressing his feelings. I love that Matthias is strong and tough but is secretly a romantic, and I love how Nina balances him out by being her shameless, indulgent self. And I love Kaz and Inej, and how they’re both broken but they fit so well together. I love all the things that Kaz does for Inej and how her happiness comes first. But I also really love how all these characters interact with the other characters who aren’t their romantic partners/love interests. I really enjoyed Jesper’s banter with everyone around him, especially Kaz and Kuwei. I loved how Inej brings out the protective older brother in Jesper and Matthias. And, of course, Kaz and Nina hold a special place in my heart that I reserve for great fictional friendships.

But they were his first friends, his only friends, and Wylan knew that even if he’d had his pick of a thousand companions, these would have been the people he chose.

I could go on for another ten days about all the things I love about Crooked Kingdom and the duology in general. There’s really nothing that I didn’t like about the book and I could go on reading about the mischief that these characters get up to for another 100 books (pleeeeasseeeee!). I absolutely love this series and this world and I’m so sad to be saying goodbye.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2016

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week I’m featuring ten upcoming 2016 releases that I’m very highly anticipating. These will all be released in the second half of this year.

1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I absolutely loved Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. It was definitely a step up from her Grisha trilogy. The characters and the relationships between them were so good and I can’t wait to read more about them. I’m so sad that this is only a duology though. I’ve already preordered this one and it comes out on September 27 😀

2. Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf was another book that I really loved when I read it last year. It’s such an exciting and action-paced story and I love that it’s an alternate history novel. I also really enjoyed the prequel novella, Iron to Iron. Cannot wait to get my hands on this sequel. Again, I’m sad that it’s a duology and not a trilogy. November 1 could not come soon enough!

3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is probably my favourite series of all time. So I cannot wait to get my hands on this upcoming release, which is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. November 8 is the release date for this novel.

4. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

I recently read ACOMAF by Sarah J. Maas and didn’t enjoy it very much so my excitement for this fifth book of the Throne of Glass series has dampened a little bit. But I’ve been enjoying where the series has been going so I guess I’m still excited to see where this next book goes. This is out on September 6.

5. Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

I’m highly anticipating this third and final book of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy. I absolutely loved Snow Like Ashes and it became one of my favourite novels of all time… but Ice Like Fire really disappointed me. I have a feeling that this finale is going to be epic though! It comes out on September 20.

6. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I really enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything Everything. It had really interesting formatting and lots of beautiful illustrations. I’m hoping that The Sun is Also a Star will have those elements too. The synopsis also sounds very intriguing and I love a female protagonist who loves science. This novel comes out on November 1.

7. Replica by Lauren Oliver

I haven’t read anything by Lauren Oliver yet but I’m drawn in by the gimmicky nature of this book. The book can be read four ways and I think it’d be great to experience it. Also, from what I’ve read of the synopsis, it sounds like an intriguing sci-fi read. This is out on October 4.

8. PS. I Like You by Kasie West

Who can resist a new Kasie West book? Her novels are so quick and easy to read and absolutely perfect for a reading slump. I’ve enjoyed all of her books so far and I’m keen to read more from her. Also, this one comes out on July 26, so not too long to go!

9. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

This is the sequel to Ink and Bone, which I read earlier this year and absolutely fell in love with. It’s such a great alternate history story that’s all about books and the Great Library of Alexandria. I can’t wait to continue the series and see how it all plays out. This one also comes out really soon on July 5.

10. Cure For the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker

I honestly don’t know too much about this book but it has a really fun cover and the main character is sent to video game rehab. If that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, I don’t know what does. And whoops, I thought this one was out in July but it’s actually out today! June 14.


Which one of these are you also highly anticipating? Also, if you haven’t already, check out my 1 year blogoversary giveaways.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books That I Read in 2015

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the group at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is top books of 2015, so I’ll be featuring my favourite books that I read this year. I’ll be posting my favourite YA releases of 2015 over at Happy Indulgence later this week and I’ll probably do a bookish awards post on this blog at the end of this month! Yep, you guessed it, this is just me cheating and not actually choosing favourites.

On to my favourite books I read this year… I’ve tried to put these into some sort of order, which was the toughest thing I’ve had to do this year… but I did it!

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Is anybody actually surprised by this one? This is my favourite book of all time! This novel follows Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a German Nazi youth, during WWII and what happens when their lives and stories converge. It has the most wonderful characters and plot, and the most beautiful writing I have ever read. PICK UP THIS BOOK!!! JUST DO IT!

(Btw, I have a 6-month blogoversary Twitter giveaway for this book here, ending on December 25 at 11:59pm ADST).

2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

This book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize earlier this year, which was what pushed me to pick it up. A Little LIfe follows four men from their teens until their 50s or 60s. We see their failures and their successes and their relationships. But mostly, this book is about Jude, who ties the four of them together, and his struggle to belong to the group and to the world. This book broke my heart into so many pieces that I’m still slowly putting it back together again. It was amazing and definitely worthy of being a Man Booker Finalist!

3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

My favourite YA novel of all time, I’ll Give You the Sun is about two twins, Jude and Noah, who used to be close but have drifted apart after a family tragedy. They each hold secrets that have kept them apart for years but if they come together again, they can piece those secrets together to form a complete picture of what happened. This book explores so many different kids of relationships and it has beautiful writing that will have you feeling all the feels.

4. Winter by Marissa Meyer

This is the last book in The Lunar Chronicles and was my favourite sci-fi/fantasy read of the year. It was epic, intense and had everything I could’ve wanted. The ending was so satisfying and everything was resolved so neatly (perhaps too neatly, but I don’t care). I’m so sad that this is over and I highly recommend this series, if you haven’t read it. It’s my favourite series of all time!

5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess is the last book in The Infernal Devices trilogy. I absolutely love the Shadowhunter books and this was an amazing trilogy. For me, this is so much better than The Mortal Instruments, and I’d recommend it even if you didn’t like TMI. Clockwork Princess was an absolutely heartwrenching finale. It had me in tears for most of the book and the bromance in this trilogy is just unbeatable. The best.

6. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I was a bit skeptical about Rainbow Rowell’s first fantasy novel, especially because I skimmed through a lot of the Simon Snow sections in Fangirl. But this book was a pleasant surprise and had me raving about it for weeks! Carry On is about Simon Snow, the most pathetic superhero of all time. He isn’t able to control his magic and half the time he ends up blowing up the place. But now he needs to figure out how to save the magical world before it’s destroyed by the villainous Humdrum! This book has my OTP of the year! SnowBaz was just adorable and I’ll go down with this ship!

7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Set in the Grisha world from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows follows a group of six misfits as they travel across the Grishaverse to pull off an extraordinary heist. This book is epic, action-packed and exciting! It has the most wonderful ships that I’m totally on board with. The writing was fantastic and the whole book was just mindblowing!!

8. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

My very first Gayle Forman read has made it into my favourites of the year! Just One Day follows Allyson, a recent American high school graduate, who is on a student tour around Europe. On one of her last days in Europe, she meets a mysterious but attractive Dutch boy named Willem, who invites her on a day trip to Paris before she returns home. She accepts and they spend a romantic day in Paris but when she wakes up the next day, Willem has disappeared. The rest is a coming of age story as Allyson tries to fly away from her mother’s restrictive nest and find her way back to Europe and to Willem. This book had the most amazing coming of age story. The character development in Allyson was astounding and I also thoroughly enjoyed Gayle Forman’s writing!

9. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

A Romeo and Juliet reimagining, My Life Next Door blew my mind! Samantha Reed is the daughter of a senator and her mother has always hated the loud family next door who can’t stop adding kids to their already large family. Sam is forbidden from interacting with the Garretts next door but when she meets Jase Garrett, she can’t stay away. This book was a wonderful story about love, family and doing the right thing. It had the most amazing characters and I am in love with Jase, who I call ‘the ultimate good guy’.

10. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series and it was a fantastic continuation. It’s probably my favourite book of the series so far (though Heir of Fire comes a veeeerrrry close second. Or maybe they’re tied. I can’t decide!). This instalment had the most amazing climax and resolution and it had me bouncing in my seat and so excited for Book 5 to come out!


Are any of these books your favourite? Let me know what your top 3 books of the year are and I’ll be sure to check them out! Don’t forget to head over to Happy Indulgence on Sunday to see what my favourite 2015 releases are!

Wrap Up: November 2015

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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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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 😦

SignedToG

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.

Photo 25-11-2015, 4 51 28 PM


See you next month, and happy reading!

The Burrito Bowl Book Tag

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The Burrito Bowl Book Tag is the brain child of Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Cristina @ Girl in the Pages.  I was tagged by Summer @ Xingsings a couple of weeks ago, but I needed to stock up on chips, salsa and spicy guacamole before I could write up this post.

RULES TO DEVOUR THIS TAG:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you to make your own burrito bowl, linking back to their site
  2. Answer the tag questions
  3. Tag 5 others to create their own bowl
  4. Food coma

THE BURRITO BOWL BOOK TAG

RICE: THE FOUNDATION – “THE BOOK THAT GOT YOU INTO READING (OR BOOK BLOGGING)”

blinky-billthe-magic-faraway-treeBlinky Bill by Dorothy Wall and The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton were both books that were read to me when I was about 5 or 6 years old.

These books really made me interested in reading, and I think as soon as I could read for myself, I read nearly all of Enid Blyton’s books and I followed them up with lots of Roald Dahl as well.


BEANS: THE FILLER – “A BOOK WITH A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING HAPPENING”

a-little-something-different A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall was a whole book of nothing.

It’s a story about two college students falling in love and their journey towards being together… Except they fall in love in the first 5 pages, and the rest of the book is just 200 pages of them staring at each other longingly across the room, talking about mundane things and eating at the same cafes and restaurants. It was actually the most boring romance ever. Definitely not worth your time.


PROTEIN: THE BUILDING BLOCK – “A BOOK QUOTE TO LIVE BY”

I had the hardest time choosing a quote for this question. There are a lot of quotes from books that I like, either because they’re funny or because they make me go all soft and squishy inside. But it was really hard to come up with a quote to live by… I ended up going with a Throne of Glass quote:

My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispers. “And I will not be afraid.
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas


FAJITAS: THE CRUNCH OF TEXTURE – “A BOOK WITH IMMACULATE WORLD BUILDING”

harry-potter-and-the-philosophers-stone Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling was the obvious choice for this one. Although I was going to choose Six of Crows and the Grisha world by Leigh Bardugo, since I read that one recently.

The whole wizarding world in Harry Potter is so well thought out. I mean who doesn’t love Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and the rest of the world? The magic system is amazing… and OMG just everything about the Harry Potter world is perfect.


SALSA: THE DANCE OF FLAVOUR – “A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU ON YOUR TOES”

six-of-crows Okay Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo wins this one. It was super hard to choose between this one and Winter but the whole heist story in Six of Crows definitely kept me on my toes.

There’s so much that happens in this book and there are twists and turns everywhere. Even though the characters have a plan that they need to execute, there are so many surprises and unexpected turns of events that made the book unpredictable!


CORN: THE EXPLOSION OF SWEETNESS – “A MEMORABLE SCENE INVOLVING FRIENDSHIP/ROMANCE”

carry-on How could I choose anything but SnowBaz from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell?!

Every single scene with Simon and Baz are my favourites but I think the scene that made my heart melt the most was their first kiss. It was so heartwarming to see Simon be led by his feelings and nothing else. There was no hesitation on his part, and it was just the most unexpected but perfect scene ever.


CHEESE: THE BOND OF CALCIUM – “TWO CHARACTERS FROM DIFFERENT BOOKS YOU WISH COULD BE FRIENDS”

I have so many friendships that I want to see happen but I chose two characters that I’ve read about recently. Cress from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. They’re both kind of badass in their own ways, but they’re also both really quiet, sensitive and loyal to their friends. They’d be really great besties!


SOUR CREAM: THE TANGY TOPPER – “THE QUIRKIEST CHARACTER YOU’VE EVER READ (PROTAGONIST OR SUPPORTING)”

winter Yes, I chose Winter from Winter by Marissa Meyer (I actually cannot shut up about this book).

Winter’s not quirky as much as she is just plain crazy. She has some crazy hallucinations due to her not using her Lunar powers. She frequently sees blood on the castle walls and also sees herself freezing into a block of ice all the time. But she does some really strange things and also has some crazy one-liners. I love her.


GUACAMOLE: THE COST OF CREAMINESS – “A BOOK YOU PAID TOO MUCH FOR (BASED ON UTILITY EXPERIENCED)”

dream-cities The Dream Cities – Colouring for Mindfulness book was definitely a book that I’ve paid too much for.

I think I’ve coloured in about 20% of a page… and nothing else. I bought this one online and didn’t really like the illustrations in it. I much prefer the other two that I own: The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford and Tropical Wonderland by Millie Marotta. I’ve done a bit more of these ones.


LETTUCE: THE HANDFUL OF CRISPNESS – “A REFRESHING CONCEPT/THEME IN A BOOK”

the-rest-of-us-just-live-here The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

This was a fun and unique spin on the whole idea of the Chosen One in fantasy. It’s a satirical piece that makes fun of the concept of the special group of kids or “the indie kids” who seem to always be running into dangerous situations or saving the world. The Rest of Us Just Live Here focuses on the normal characters that are in the background while the indie kids are doing their thing.


CHIPS: LE PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE – “A MUST-READ RECOMMENDATION IF YOU LIKE [THIS BOOK/GENRE – YOU DECIDE!]”

the-lake-house The Lake House by Kate Morton is a book that I would recommend if you like historical fiction.

My go-to recommendation for historical fiction is always All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is my favourite book of all time. But I thought I’d change it up this time. The Lake House is a wonderful historical fiction novel about the mysterious appearance of a baby in Cornwall in the 1930s and what really took place that evening.


TABASCO: THE KICK TO THE FACE – “YOUR FAVOURITE FIGHT/ACTION SEQUENCE”

queen-of-shadows I haven’t given enough love to Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas lately (btw I’m meeting her on Wednesday!!!)

I absolutely loved the last action scene of Queen of Shadows. It was such an epic climax and ending to the book! My favourite part of that scene was when you know who transforms into a ghost leopard and comes racing through the streets to save the day. That was so epic and it made me love that character even more!!!


I TAG:

I’m going to go back to my old method of sharing the love. Today I’m tagging 5 of my recent followers to make their own burrito bowl 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes From Ten of My Favourite 2015 Reads

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by the team over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week I’m featuring quotes from ten of my favourite books that I’ve read this year. It was really hard to choose just one quote from each book because I love all of these books for their beautiful writing and the quotable quotes…so I did two for some of the books. XD

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Werner hears Marie-Laure inhale, Marie-Laure hears Werner scrape three fingernails across the wood, a sound not unlike the sound of a record coursing beneath the surface of a needle, their faces an arm’s reach apart.

He says, “Es-tu là?

It was so difficult to choose just one quote from All The Light We Cannot See because it’s my favourite book of all time! So I chose a second one 😀 This quote is actually from a radio program that Werner listens to, and it spoke to me because I’m a psychology major and I love the brain.

The brain is locked in total darkness, of course, children, says the voice. It floats in a clear liquid inside the skull, never in the light. And yet the world it constructs in the mind is full of light. It brims with color and movement. So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Wasn’t it a miracle to have survived the unsurvivable? Wasn’t friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely?


I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or fourth) chance.
Remake the world.


Winter by Marissa Meyer

It was unnerving, to think she was being psychoanalyzed by someone who frequently complained that the castle walls had started bleeding again.

This one made me swoon (and it’s directed at someone who you may not expect):

He didn’t apologize. Instead, he set his jaw and met her eye again. “I will protect Winter with my life. Second only to her, I promise to protect you too.”


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

You know it has to be a SnowBaz quote XD ❤

He’s still looking in my eyes. Staring me down like he did that dragon, chin tilted and locked. “I’m not the Chosen One,” he says.

I meet his gaze and sneer. My arm is a steel band around his waist. “I choose you,” I say. “Simon Snow, I choose you.”


Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

“When you fight now, I will be still by you. When you walk in the world, I will be the light at your side, the ground steady under your feet, the force that drives the sword in your hand. We are bound, beyond the oath. The Marks did not change that. The oath did not change that. It merely gave words to something that existed already.”


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

“Stay,” he said, his voice rough stone. “Stay in Ketterdam. Stay with me.”


Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I’m not going to pretend I know how this ends, and I don’t have a freaking clue if it’s possible to fall in love over email. But I would really like to meet you, Blue. I want to try this. And I can’t imagine a scenario where I don’t want to kiss your face off as soon as I see you.

And I couldn’t not include this one:

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever.”


My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Jase and Samantha are one of my favourite couples but I had to go with some George quotes. He’s just the most adorable 4 year old! He’s super knowledgeable, but also super paranoid haha.

“I like eggs and bacon,” George tells me. “But” – his face clouds – “do you know that bacon is” – tears leap to his eyes – “Wilbur?”

Mrs Garrett sits down next to him immediately. “George, we’ve been through this. Remember? Wilbur did not get made into bacon.”

“Then is bacon Babe, Mom? Is it Babe?”

And another great George moment:

“Is Jase already going to marry you?”

I start coughing again. “Uh. No. No, George. I’m only seventeen.” As if that’s the only reason we aren’t engaged.

“I’m this many,” George holds up four slightly grubby fingers. “But Jase is seventeen and a half. You could. Then you could live in here with him. And have a big family.”

Jase strides back into the room, of course, midway through this proposition. “George. Beat it. Discovery Channel is on.”

George backs out of the room, but not before saying, “His bed’s really comfortable. And he never pees in it.”


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.


Thanks for reading. See you in my next post!

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: September 29, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 465
Goodreads || Book Depository

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

Six of Crows is a massive step-up from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy! Every aspect of this book was better. The world was more detailed and intricate. The characters were much more fascinating and developed. The writing and pace of the book were consistent and beautiful. And the plot was much more action-packed.

Six of Crows is set in a completely different part of the world to The Grisha trilogy. It’s set in Kerch and Fjerda, which were not really explored in the trilogy at all. It almost felt like I was reading about a completely different world. Because I read The Grisha trilogy quite recently, it took me a couple of chapters to wrap my head around the new Kerch setting, and distance myself from everything I knew about Ravka from the trilogy. Because the setting is so different, it’s completely fine to read Six of Crows without having read The Grisha trilogy, but you do get a much better understanding of the world and the Grisha system if you’ve read the trilogy.

My main criticisms of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm was the inconsistent pace and lack of action. Those books were action-packed at the beginning and end, but lacked any kind of plot in the middle. Six of Crows did not disappoint me in that regard. The plot has a consistent pace and there’s action throughout the whole book. There were surprises coming left and right, and little twists that will keep you on your toes! The twist at the end was a little bit predictable (I was buddy reading with Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Jesse @ Books at Dawn, and we had kind of speculated and expected it – well Joey did) but there were also elements that surprised me. The ending made me really excited for the sequel, and I’m sad that we have to wait a whole year.

My favourite aspect of the book were definitely the characters. Even though the plot was fantastic, this was definitely a character-driven story. There is an extremely diverse set of characters who hail from all parts of the world, from Fjerda to Novyi Zem. It allowed me to get to know the different parts of the Grishaverse a lot more deeply. I went into the book expecting all six of our heist crew to be Grishas, so I was surprised to find out that most of them were just normal people with some amazing talents. I think I enjoyed the book a lot more because they weren’t all Grisha. The diversity added a lot more dynamics to the book.

“If Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”

Brekkar’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”

“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.

I loved all of the characters and the interactions between them. They joked around together, supported each other, and had each other’s backs. There was no selfishness and the friendships between all of the characters were lovely to read about. Individually, they were sassy and badass, and I really liked how wise and mature they were for their age (though at times, it was definitely hard to believe that these were just teenagers). The ladies were probably my favourite of all of the characters. They’re so fierce and so relatable! Inej is the quiet and sensitive, but completely fearless and talented spy of the group. I love, love, loved her character! Nina is the Grisha of the group and she has the ability to control the organs and bodily functions of anyone she sees.  Aentee @ Read at Midnight called Nina her spirit animal, and I can totally see why. She loves to eat, isn’t a morning person, and is completely unapologetic about it. Just her love of cake and all things sweet makes her my kindred spirit, but when she drops hilarious one-liners, it makes me love her even more.

“Are you aware that I could waggle my fingers and make you wet your trousers?”

But I also really loved the guys too. I thought the back stories of all of the characters were interesting, but Kaz and Matthias’ pasts were the most interesting to me. We get to see some flashbacks throughout the book and I loved being able to contrast the little, innocent boy that Kaz used to be, to the ruthless, soulless but completely lovable Kaz of the present. I also thought that Matthias’ past was fascinating. He is a shamed Grisha-hunter and I enjoyed seeing all his inner conflict and the growth of his character throughout the book. Jesper and Wylan were some unexpected characters with some unexpected talents. I loved the two of them together and thought their interactions were gold!

“You’re sure we can’t just go in as entertainers? I hear Wylan really kills it on the flute.”

The blossoming romances in this book made me fangirl so hard! Kaz and Inej have this very comfortable and trusting relationship, where they support and rely on each other. Every scene they had together made my heart race and I was rooting for them. I loved that they can’t stop thinking about each other and that they’re taking steps to become better individuals so that they may deserve each other. There was also this tension between Nina and Matthias from the very first time we saw them together, and I kept wanting to know what their history was. Their whole love-hate relationship was definitely an interesting one. For me, their romance kind of overshadowed the relationship between Kaz and Inej, but I’m expecting to see a lot more Kazej/Inaz in the next book! I ship!

Overall, this was a great new novel by Leigh Bardugo and I’m incredibly happy to see that her writing continues to improve! If you love great characters or a good heist story, this is the one for you.