Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Bought Because of my Happy Indulgence Co-bloggers

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their website for previous and upcoming topics. This week’s topic is recommendations and I’m going to be featuring ten books that I bought because of my co-bloggers over at Happy Indulgence, Jeann and Aila. Some of these are books that they pushed me to buy and others are just books that I’ve seen them review on the blog.

1. Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

When fantasy-lover Aila reads a contemporary YA novel and loves it, I know I have to buy it. She also illustrated some promotional postcards that I absolutely loved! This book is cute and fluffy but also explores some more serious themes like mental illness. I really, really enjoyed it.

2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This was on both Jeann and Aila’s favourite books of 2015 lists so I finally got myself a copy a few months ago. I still haven’t found time to pick it up yet but I know it’s going to be amazing.

3. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

If you haven’t seen Aila’s rap review of this book, you need to go watch it now. It was absolutely amazing and how could I not run out and get this book after watching her rap about why we need to read this novel?!

4. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Everytime I wanted to pick up a V.E. Schwab book, Jeann would encourage me to read Vicious. So I finally did and it was soooo good!

5. Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar

I picked up this awesome Aussie YA feminist read mainly because it was one of the books featured on OzYAY, a monthly ABC radio segment where Jeann talks about Aussie YA releases with two other fab ladies. The show is on the first Sunday of each month at 7pm AEST and you can tune in online.

6. The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn

This was another one of Jeann’s recommendations. She absolutely loves Claire Zorn’s books and recommended this one to me after I was disappointed by Claire’s newest release, One Would Think the Deep.

7. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Both Jeann and Aila love this book and I finally read it a few months ago after lots of encouragement from not only them but also my other close blogging friends. I have yet to pick up the sequel, Golden Son, but I’m hoping to do so before the year is over.

8. Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

I picked up this book a few months after seeing Aila’s review on Happy Indulgence. It gave me some Lunar Chronicles vibes so I decided to give it a go. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be but I still really enjoyed it.

9. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

I read First & Then by Emma Mills a few months ago and loved it. Aila received an early copy of This Adventure Ends back in June or July and said that she really enjoyed it, so I preordered a copy. I’ll be reading this one really, really soon.

10. The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson

I had never heard of this book until I saw it at a bookstore while browsing one day. Upon checking out some of the ratings and reviews on Goodreads, I saw that Aila gave it a 5 star rating! I had to buy it straight away after seeing that!


Have you read any of these books?

Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

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Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: February 23, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 508
Goodreads || Book Depository

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

This is the second book in Shades of Magic trilogy, which means that this review contains spoilers for the first book. Proceed with caution. I also received a sampler of A Gathering of Shadows from NetGalley.

A Gathering of Shadows is the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, and being a chronic non-blurb-reader, I was kind of surprised by the direction that this sequel took. I thought that I had an idea of where the series was going to go after the first book and, while I do feel that this was a good continuation from ADSOM, it felt like this book was taking a bit of a detour. It felt very much like a filler book and I’m not sure that it added all that much to the trilogy. Having said that, I did really like what I read and enjoyed the plot of the story very much.

A Gathering of Shadows is very much about the aftermath of A Darker Shade of Magic and how Kell and Lila are living their separate lives. It’s also about their reunion and about a competition between magicians. Meanwhile, in the background, something dark and sinister is happening, which could cause the collapse of Red London. I loved the pacing of this book. It was extremely slow-paced but I thought that the pacing really suited the atmosphere of the book and what the plot was trying to achieve. There wasn’t really much happening in the first 300 pages of the book but I enjoyed slowly seeing how Kell and Lila are coping with what happened during A Darker Shade of Magic. There was a lot of character development built into this book and I thought it was done very successfully.

I enjoyed every single character in this book. They all served a purpose and I thought that they were all extremely complex and well-developed characters. They were multifaceted and I really enjoyed not knowing exactly what to expect from them. One of my favourite characters of this book was Alucard Emery. His character just gave me so much joy because he reminded me of beloved characters from other books. I also loved the old characters who we’d met in the first book. Kell was a magnificent character as always and I enjoyed Lila as well. I still haven’t managed to warm fully to Lila and I’m still having a hard time seeing why people love her so much but she’s definitely growing on me.

Overall, this was a great sequel, even though it felt a bit like a filler book in the story arc. I can’t wait to revisit these characters in A Conjuring of Light!

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

vicious

Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 340
Goodreads || Book Depository

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates – brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find – aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge – but who will be left alive at the end?

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

I love a good story about ambition and vengeance and Vicious definitely delivered. It’s an intense story about jealousy, ambition and heroism, from the perspectives of a group of antiheroes and misfits.

Despite having heard a million times what Vicious is about, I still managed to be surprised by the plot that unfolded. It was engaging and suspenseful and played out in the most seamlessly unpredictable way. We follow Victor Vale, a man who has just escaped from prison and is intent on getting revenge on his former close friend in college. Victor and Eli were intelligent and driven boys who were intrigued by the possibility of creating ExtraOrdinary people who have superpowers. The boys tested their hypothesis on themselves, and their relationship and their sense of morality deteriorates rapidly soon after. When Victor is locked up in jail, he spends his ten years in prison planning his escape and his revenge against Eli. And when, upon escaping, he realises that Eli is on a mission to ‘remove’ all ExtraOrdinaries from the world, he’s more determined than ever to get his revenge.

There were a couple of things that drew me in to the plot of Vicious. The book starts off with a very intriguing and mysterious first chapter that reminded me a lot of The Raven Boys. I was then immediately captivated by the science in the first couple of chapters and how the boys talked about variables and the scientific method. But all of that was quickly eclipsed by the chilling actions of the boys and how the idea of villainy and heroism was explored. I really liked how Vicious explores what it means to be a hero and whether possessing superpowers makes you a hero. It also explores whether eradicating powers that you think are evil, makes you a hero. I just enjoyed and appreciated how much the novel made me think.

This novel is split into two parts and for the first half of the book, we explore the events that have led up to the present day. We get to see the Victor and Eli from ten years ago, who are experimenting with their lives and going down a dangerous path. We get to see the events from a couple days ago when Victor escapes from prison with his cellmate, Mitch. And we get to see what happens when Victor finds a girl who’s been shot, as well as the things that have happened to her to get her in this predicament. There are lots of different timelines in this book and the chapters jump back and forth between them. I actually really liked this non-linear format because it added some suspense and allowed me to try to put the pieces together before they were revealed. The second part of this book also contains a non-linear timeline but is more focused on the present day. The last 50 pages of the book follows a much more linear timeline, as the book literally counts down to its climax. I really enjoyed the format of the book and that the chapters were short. It made the story very exciting to read.

I also enjoyed the writing of the book immensely. I thought the pacing was slow but it was just the right amount of slow for the tone and atmosphere of the story. It was slow in a dark and dangerous kind of way and I thought it worked really well. V.E. Schwab’s writing drew me in and I just sped through the book because it was so captivating.

Of course, the characters were spectacular in this book and I believe they are what makes this novel exceptional. They were complex and I love a book about villains and antiheroes. I love a book that focuses on morally grey characters and makes them simultaneously relatable and repulsive. There wasn’t a single character in this book who I didn’t like (though like may not be the right word here since we’re dealing with villains and dislikable people). I thought they all added something to the story and represented a different shade of morally grey. The characters were brilliantly conceptualised and I thought they were all developed and utilised to their potential.

I’m really excited about the sequel that’s in the works and I can’t wait to see how the story continues because I loved Vicious a lot as a standalone.

#ReadThemAllThon TBR Pile

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I’m so excited to be participating in the #ReadThemAllThon, created and hosted by the brilliant Aentee @ Read at Midnight. This readathon celebrates our love of books and our newfound obsession with Pokemon Go! To find out more about the challenges and rules, check out Aentee’s sign up post and her TBR pile!

All graphics in this post were made by Aentee except the trainer card that I made below.

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I’m a pretty fast reader so I think I can handle having Magikarp as my chosen Pokemon. Even though it’s kind of useless, it evolves into the fiercest and most wonderful Pokemon there is, Gyarados. In this readathon, Magikarp doesn’t evolve until it reaches 450CP, so I have lots of work and reading ahead of me!


TBR Pile

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So my TBR for this readathon is actually made up of books that I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time. They’re all super popular and I’m finally getting to them now. To break things up, I’ve included one new release but I’m hoping to use these three weeks to finally catch up on some books that I should have read ages ago.
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It’s been a long time coming but I’m hoping to finally read The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. The Mistborn series has been sitting on my shelf for far too long and I’m finally going to conquer it next month!

647 pages, potential +64CP

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I’m not sure if Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys will make me cry, but I’ve read so many rave reviews that have said that it’s emotional and heartbreaking. I’m a book cryer… I cry super easily so I’m sure this one will fit the category.

400 pages, potential +40CP

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For this one, I’ve gone with Vicious by V.E. Schwab. I’ve heard countless good things about it and everyone says it’s their favourite Schwab book so I’m going to trust the hype and dive in.

340 pages, potential +34CP

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The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle is the only newish release in my TBR stack but I’ve been dying to read this book! In fact I want to read it right now but I have too many other books that I need to read first T_T. This will probably be the first book I’m going to pick up for the readathon.

288 pages, potential +28CP

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I’m going to be meeting Rainbow Rowell at the end of August and early September so I’m going to finally read Eleanor & Park this month. It was the first Rainbow Rowell book I ever bought and I actually started it as soon as I bought it… but somehow it remains the only book of hers I haven’t completed. I’ve heard that Eleanor and Park are great together in this book so I’m looking forward to what the romance has to offer 🙂

325 pages, potential +32CP

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For this challenge, I’ll be reading one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I’ve had All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders for months but still haven’t found the time to pick it up. This one has a really interesting synopsis with lots of cool fantasy elements. I’m excited!

432 pages, potential +43CP

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I had a hard time choosing a book for this. I couldn’t really find an unread book on my shelf that had a cover that was entirely red. Until I remembered that I still haven’t read A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. The UK cover for this book is red!

508 pages, potential +50CP

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Everyone’s going to yell at me in the comments about this one… but I’ve never read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Yup. But I do plan on reading at least the first book for this readathon.

374 pages, potential +37CP


There is a +20CP bonus for each gym badge/book I complete, so if I finish all 8 books, my potential total is 488CP!

And since my Magikarp can evolve into Gyarados (+120CP) when it reaches 450CP, I should have a grand total of 608CP before Twitter and review bonuses. BRING IT ON!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016

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Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post. This is a weekly feature hosted by the group over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week I am featuring 10 of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016. I did a list of my most anticipated 2016 debut novels a couple weeks ago so I didn’t include any of them in this list. Click on the link to see what I included in that list!

I could have also included Truthwitch by Susan Dennard and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken on this list (those are out on January 5) but I’ve already pre-ordered those and the release date is so soon that I thought I’d look a little bit further into the future.

So here are ten of my most anticipated releases between February and June of 2016. Their Goodreads pages are linked.

1. Stars Above – Marissa Meyer

This is a collection of short stories featuring the world and the characters from The Lunar Chronicles. I believe this contains 9 short stories, 4 that have been previously released as ebooks and 5 never-before-seen stories. The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series so I cannot wait to read more. Plus we’ve been promised the wedding of the century?

2. A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

I really, really loved A Darker Shade of Magic so I’m highly anticipating this sequel! I read a little bit of an excerpt and I can tell that it’s going to be amazing!

3. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Ever since I finished bingeing The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments, I’ve been looking forward to Cassie’s next release. I really love the Shadowhunter Chronicles and Cassie’s writing so Lady Midnight cannot come soon enough! I’m more excited for her next trilogy, The Last Hours (Book 1 out in 2017), than I am for Lady Midnight but I’ll take anything at this point.

4. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang

Contemporary is my favourite genre and I particularly enjoy ones that will give me all the feels and make me ugly-cry until I cannot function the next day. And this one promises all of those things.

5. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

I marathoned the first three books of The Raven Cycle just last week and I cannot wait for The Raven King to be released! Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, but I have a feeling that The Raven King will be the best one of the series yet! It’s going to be so epic and I want to know if Gansey will actually die! (That is not a spoiler).

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

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses so much when I read it back in July so I’m really looking forward to the sequel. It’s going to be partly a Hades and Persephone retelling, which has me super intrigued! I just really want to know what’s going to go down in the Night Court! (I am Team Tamlin btw)

7. The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

This is another sequel that I’m highly anticipating. The first book in this duology, The Wrath and the Dawn, was so great and we got left at such a heartstopping spot that I need to know what happens!

8. The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

This is one of my most highly anticipated contemporaries. I’ve still only read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson but I enjoyed the coming-of-age story and the character development in that book so much that I need to read more of her writing.

9. You Know Me Well – David Levithan & Nina LaCour

I actually don’t know too much about this book but everything I’ve read by David Levithan has been amazing (review of Every Day) and he’s one of my favourite contemporary authors. This book promises to be an wonderfully diverse LGBTQ+ book so I need to have this in my possession!

10. Summer Days & Summer Nights – Stephanie Perkins

I thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ first short story collection, My True Love Gave To Me, when I read it last year so I’m super excited to pick up her next collection. This collection is written by a whole new group of contemporary and fantasy authors and I cannot wait to see what summery stories are in store for us.


Please share your most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016! I love adding new books to my watchlist and pre-ordering them so let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week I am featuring books that I wouldn’t mind receiving for Christmas. Basically these are ten books that are on my Book Depository wishlist and are the next ten books that I’ll probably order. The intention of this post isn’t to get any of you to buy me these books, so please don’t send them to me (especially because I plan to buy these in the near future anyway)!

These aren’t really in any particular order but the ones near the top of the list are ones that I’m most interested in buying and reading at the moment. I have included Book Depository links, in case you want to buy them too!


1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I’ve wanted to own a complete Sherlock Holmes collection for a really long time. I own some of the free Sherlock Holmes ebooks that I can get for free on iBooks but I want to own a physical copy of the complete collection. I’m thinking of getting this for myself for Christmas this year. Hopefully bookstores will have Boxing Day sales and I can snap this up at a discounted price!

2. The Thing About Jellyfish – Ali Benjamin

This book sounds like it’s right up my alley and the cover is beautiful! It’s also a finalist for the National Book Award so I have high hopes. I have my eyes on the hardback and it will be mine soon! (I had this in my Book Depository basket last week but had to remove it because I already had 10 other books in that basket).

3. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North

I’ve only heard amazing things about this one. It sounds like a suspenseful and intriguing sci-fi novel and I’m super interested in the whole idea of reincarnation. This was another book I had in my Book Depository basket recently but I’m hoping to have this in my hands soon.

4. Bone Gap – Laura Ruby

This is a book that I’ve been hearing about non-stop since it was released! I’ve wanted to buy it so many times but never got around to it. It’s actually not available in Australia yet (as far as I know), which is why I keep forgetting about it and still don’t own it yet.

5. Blue is the Warmest Color – Julie Maroh

I’m going to try to get into some more graphic novels soon and this is one that I’ve heard amazing things about. It promises to be emotional and heartbreaking and I love those types of books. The movie adaptation has had rave reviews too so I know this is one that I need to have!

6. Uprooted – Naomi Novik

Everybody seems to love this book! It’s one of Jeann’s (Happy Indulgence) favourite books so I need to read it! She might revoke my co-blogger status otherwise 😀 Also, I really like this cover and having it in hardback would make my day.

7. The Chimes – Anna Smaill

This novel was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year and I’ve wanted to read it ever since the longlist was released. Sadly, The Chimes has been super difficult to find in Australian bookstores and it’s also a little pricey online. Even though this is marketed as an adult book, it was originally intended for a YA audience, so this would be a great one to read if you’re looking to get into reading some Man Bookers.

8. Nimona – Noelle Stevenson

Another graphic novel that I really want to read! There has been a lot of hype surrounding this one, which makes it sound really promising.

9. I’ll Meet You There – Heather Demetrios

This is a novel that I’ve been seeing around the blogosphere constantly for the last two weeks. I’ve seen it on multiple favourites lists and Lois @ My Midnight Musing won’t stop recommending this to me. It sounds like a great contemporary and I can’t wait to read it.

10. A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

This is a book that I already own and have read (review here). But I have the UK paperback edition and I really want to own the US hardcover, which is super expensive. It’s probably not too high on my list of priorities at the moment, but one day when it’s discounted, it will be mine!


Are any of these books on your wishlist too? Which ones do you recommend I buy immediately?