Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the US

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team over at The Broke and the Bookish. The theme for this week is books that are set outside of the US. The advantage of living outside of the US is that I have a lot of Aussie YA books (set in Australia) that I can use for this list. But I chose to go with a variety of different locations and settings for my TTT today. Be warned: I have a lot of WWII historical fiction novels on this list…

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Hehehe I’m so predictable. Of course, my favourite book of all time makes it on to this list. This WWII historical fiction masterpiece is set in France and Germany, as well as parts of Russia. READ IT!

2. Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year is the companion sequel to Just One Day. The reason why I’ve chosen to go with Just One Year is because it’s set completely outside of the US, whereas Just One Day was set partially in the US. In Just One Year, our protagonist, Willem, travels around Europe, India and Mexico and overall, it’s just a great time.

3. The Lake House by Kate Morton

This novel is set in Cornwall and was one of my favourite releases of 2015. It’s a historical fiction novel that’s set in the 1930s and has a great atmosphere and setting! The writing is absolutely beautiful too.

4. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Another WWII historical fiction novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is set in Australia as well as Japanese POW camps in South East Asia. It was the Man Booker Prize winner of 2014.

5. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf is an alternate history WWII novel that’s set across multiple continents. The story begins in Germany (I believe?) and features a cross-continental motocross race. We follow the characters across the Middle East, through South East Asia and into Japan. It’s fast-paced and exciting and I can’t wait for the sequel!

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This novel isn’t my favourite of Stephanie Perkins companion series (I love Isla and the Happily Ever After the most) but I’m pretty sure that this one is set entirely outside of the US? I think it’s set entirely in France and I really enjoyed it when I read it.

7. Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali

And yet another WWII historical fiction novel, Max follows the story of a baby who was born as part of the Lebensborn program. We follow his journey from before birth, up until the end of the war. It’s a super interesting and eye-opening story and I highly recommend it. This one is set in Germany.

8. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

The Sidekicks is an Aussie YA novel that’s set in Australia. It’s a really short read but gives you a good kick in the feels. It’s about friendship and grief and is so, so good!

9. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

This is my last WWII novel, I promise! In this novel, we follow Anna and a mysterious man known as the Swallow Man as they wander around Poland for years during the war. It’s a bit of a confusing book but it’s definitely worth the read.

10. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

And finally, I had to include an urban fantasy novel and I’ve chosen The Infernal Devices. This trilogy is set in the London Institute during the 19th century and I love this series so much!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is favourite 2016 releases so far, which is one of my favourite things to post about. I love recommending books and I’ve rated all of these either 4.5 or 5 stars. These are in no particular order and my full reviews are linked.

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

This was my most recent 5 star reads. I absolutely loved everything about it. It’s a beautiful historical fiction novel set in the 1970s in Alaska, following four teens who are each dealing with personal struggles and how their stories collide. I’ll have a full review up on Thursday.

2. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson is one of my favourite authors. She’s an auto-buy author of mine because she writes the most beautiful and relatable summery contemporaries. The Unexpected Everything was amazing and I loved the characters soooo much!

3. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

This was my first John Corey Whaley book and it didn’t disappoint. Featuring an agoraphobic and a wannabe psychologist, this book was moving, powerful and absolutely beautiful. The friendships and relationships in this book are GOALS.

4. Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

This debut novel absolutely blew my mind. Frankie was full of spunk, attitude and just screamed Melbourne and Australia to me. The novel made me laugh and cry and it was just such an experience.

5. A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

This is the third and final book of Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Colour of Madeleine trilogy. It was mindblowingly good and wrapped up the series so beautifully. There were so many twists and turns and my heart was just beating out of my chest the entire time. If you want something magical and whimsical, this series will give you exactly that.

6. Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali

I love my WWII historical fiction and Max is the standout WWII novel that I’ve read this year. It’s translated from French and has such an interesting premise. It follows Max, a product of the Lebensborn program in Germany, from before he was born until the end of WWII. It was amazing and more people need to read this because it’s so underrated.

7. The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard

This book broke my heart and mended it at the same time. It was so beautifully written and had such wonderful relationships. The relationship between Alice and her brother, Joey, made me cry for ages during and after my read. It’s a must-read in my opinion.

8. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Another series finale, The Raven King is the fourth and final book of The Raven Cycle. It wasn’t everything that I expected it to be but what Maggie Stiefvater did give us was absolutely brilliant anyway. The characters are definitely the standout and I’ve enjoyed their journey immensely.

9. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I loved this new Shadowhunters book so much!! It was an awesome start to a new series. It wasn’t quite as good as Clockwork Angel for me but I thought it was a superb first book with some really diverse and interesting characters.

10. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

Another amazing Aus YA book released this year. I really loved The Sidekicks, which is a story about three boys who are each dealing with grief in their own ways and what happens when they lean on each other.


These are just some of my favourite 2016 releases that I’ve read so far this year. I’m sure there will be many more amazing releases to come. What have been your favourite 2016 releases or 2016 reads?

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…

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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%.

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I posted 5 Top Ten Tuesday posts in March: