Tag Archives: Read in 2016

Favourite Reads of 2016 | Wherein I am Extremely Late to the Party

So… it’s now almost half way through 2017, and I still haven’t mentioned my 2016 favourites yet. To that end, here they are:

The books listed are ones that I read for the first time in 2016, not just 2016 releases. They are roughly ranked.

In 2016 I read a total of 105 books. You can click here for the full list.

Unless otherwise specified, the titles link to Goodreads.

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The Fairyland Series 

By Catherynne M Valente

This series is adorable and amazing and will forever be one of my all-time favourites. The story is just so imaginative and vibrant, the writing is beautiful and the characters are well-developed and loveable.

The main focus is on friendship, adventure and discovery. Family also plays an increasingly important part as the series progresses, which is awesome to see.

Fairyland is the childhood series I wish I had. I pitch it as Fairy Realm (by Emily Rodda) cross Narnia – the issue is, not many people have read the Fairy Realm series.

I listened to the audiobooks which I 100% recommend doing if you can. Not only are the audios themselves amazing but the style of the books are such that there is a narrator telling you the story, which makes it a perfect audiobook. Also, the author narrates 3/5 of the series, which is amazing.

I also highly recommend this series if you want to get into listening to audiobooks but don’t know where to start.

This is a series that I started in 2015 but finished in 2016, so it still counts.

You can find my full review of the first book here.

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Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)

By Jay Kristoff

I cannot recommend Nevernight highly enough.

A high fantasy featuring blood, death, violence, gore, sass, explicit scenes and what is essentially an assassin training school, Nevernight is a heap of fun with several unexpected plot twists.

The writing itself is fantastic – setting aside the footnotes, which get progressively more sassy and less full of world building as the story goes on – from the first chapter I found the writing engaging and extremely clever.

Surprisingly enough, I read Nevernight before I’d been exposed to any hype. I knew Jay’s writing from Illuminae so when I saw a poster advertising the book launch for Nevernight I decided to give it a go – and I’m ridiculously glad I did.

I will also say that the Australian & UK edition is so much prettier than the US – which is definitely a novel experience.

That said, there has been talk that the racial representation is slightly problematic,  so take that as you will.

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A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

By Sarah J. Maas

While I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses well enough, on retrospect it wasn’t that great. I’d deliberately stayed way from any mention of A Court of Mist and Fury so I was surprised and ecstatic to find that ACOMAF blew me away. As I now say, ACOTAR is simply a necessary evil to reach ACOMAF.

ACOMAF has a fantastic, engaging plot and is full of amazing characters, major character development, and a subtle but apt discussion about unhealthy relationships, PTSD, personal growth, friendships and the impact of people on our lives as we ourselves grow and change.

If you want to get into Sarah’s writing, but Throne of Glass seems too daunting (those books are massive) and you don’t mind a bit of mature content then I would definitely suggest starting with these books.

Essentially, this book is absolutely fantastic and if you’re even slightly inclined to pick it up, please do.

You can find my full review here.

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The Medoran Chronicles

By Lynette Noni

Marketed as Harry Potter cross Narnia, The Medoran Chronicles is a fantasy series by an Australian author that reads somewhat like a contemporary (to me, at least).

Featuring a strong focus on friendship, great characters, a sentient library, a boarding school for the gifted in a parallel world, adventure and magic, Akarnae is a definite favourite of mine. Raelia, the second instalment, also features fae and a hint of romance while Draekora (which I have unfortunately not yet read though I desperately need to) features dragons.

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The Splintered Trilogy

By A. G. Howard 

A somewhat gothic, contemporary Alice in Wonderland retelling (with gorgeous covers!), Splintered is a captivating, whimsical, fantastic read featuring one of the only well-written love triangles I’ve read.

Great for marathoning, I read each of the instalments in a single sitting and the trilogy as a whole over barely four days.

I am a huge fan of this series and I really loved how it concluded. Everything about this book was fantastic and I love it to pieces.

If you feel like Splintered might be your thing, I 100% suggest going for it.

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The Raven Cycle

By Maggie Stiefvater 

The Raven Cycle is one of the series that had been sitting unread on my shelf for over a year, and on my TBR before that – despite the fact that I was sure I would love it (spoiler alert: I did). Thanks to the shrieking recommendation from Cait at Paper Fury and Sam on Twitter, I finally picked it up – my only regret being that I didn’t read it sooner.

A whimsical, distinctly character-driven series, The Raven Cycle is extremely hard to categorise – it reads like a contemporary but one might tentatively label it as magical realism.

I have so much love for this series. The writing, the characters, the friendships, the relationships, the plot, the mythology… but mostly the characters.

The characters definitely make the books, it is their story just waiting to be written. They are some of the most dynamic and real characters I have ever read and I love them, and I love how they love each other – the overarching rightness of it all.

Admittedly, I wasn’t particularly a fan of Adam to begin with, but that just highlights another great characteristic of the series – it’s fantastic and realistic character development. There is also a great LGTB relationship.

There is no doubt: this book, this narrative, is cyclical, and it is made all the more beautiful due to the nature of this series – how it plays with time.

The Raven Cycle is about hope, growth and making your own path but knowing some things are meant to be. 100% recommend.

Trigger warning for domestic abuse.

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Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)

By Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman 

 

While I didn’t like Gemina quite as much as Illuminae I still really enjoyed it. Despite it being over 600 pages, the format and the fast pace meant that I finished it in a single day (and a school day none the less).

I really enjoyed the new characters we were introduced to, though it took me a little longer than with Kady and Ezra. Nick and Hannah were pretty great, though Ella was by far the standout. Ella was severely disabled but she didn’t let that stop her – she was sassy and amazing and an incredibly talented hacker.

In this instalment we also meet Isaac, Kady’s dad, which was great.

I will say, I went into Gemina expecting the surviving crew from Illuminae to come in around half way through, but it was more like two thirds.

I loved all the plot twists – which are essentially staples in both Amie and Jay’s writing. The character one was great, but at the end when we find out what “gemina” means? Genius. (And yes, I am being deliberately vague, thank you for noticing).

There is also much sass, which I always appreciate.

Suffice to say, I recommend this series to pretty much everyone and I can’t wait for Obsidio (in which my name will be included!)

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

By Becky Albertalli 

An adorable, fun read featuring a gay protagonist and nerd culture appreciation Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a book that I should have read ages ago, but which was entirely worth the wait.

The relationship was adorable and fantastic and I love it.

The focus on family was refreshing as most YA books tend to wither feature negative relationships or absent families. The friendships were also prominent and great.

Note: You will likely crave oreos while reading this book. Just putting it out there.

Anyway, I love it, should have read it sooner and must now impasse upon you all the importance of reading this book ASAP.

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Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

By Sarah J. Maas

I love this series to death and have loved it for several years. Therefore, it is no surprise that I absolutely loved Empire of Storms even though, in retrospect, it’s not exactly Sarah’s best work.

Even though it came out on a school day, I devoured it – finishing it barely a day after its release. There’s definitely something to be said about that feeling.

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Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

By Leigh Bardugo 

So, after much delay, I finally picked up Six of Crows and, as anticipated, absolutely loved it.

The plot twists were amazing and the heists excellent, but the characters are what really made it for me – The wit, the chemistry, the genius… I loved it all (especially Kaz). I also just love books surrounding anti-heroes.

The diversity and representation is excellent, featuring characters suffering from chronic disability and PTSD as well as of racial minorities and LGBT orientation (the latter of which I actually hadn’t picked up, but which I believe is explored more in Crooked Kingdom).

Though I’m still not 100% sure that it’s necessary to read the Grisha trilogy before Six of Crows, it definitely helps in terms of understanding the magic system and overall context. I’m also glad that I listened to the audiobooks of the Grisha trilogy as it definitely helped my mental pronunciations of the various terms that otherwise I would have had no idea.

I will say, I kept getting distracted by the sheer beauty of the physical book. I managed to score the black stained hardback and it is utterly gorgeous – the colours are so deep and (again) gorgeous.

I definitely recommend this book and can’t wait for the next one.

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Infinity (The Infinity Division #1)

By Jus Accardo

How do you know it’s love if you’ve only ever experienced it once? What can you really know about a person when you only glimpse them? How do you know happiness is real? How do you separate your feelings for someone if they look exactly the same as the last person you loved?

A surprisingly brilliant read, Infinity features fantastic characters, a great plot, and a focus on perspective. While it had the potential to be extremely tropey and filled with instalove it (thankfully) was anything but that.

Very much a character-driven novel, Infinity was a thought-provoking read complete with a compelling plot.

Infinity focuses on the complexity of humanity and the morally grey area; when is it okay to kill someone? Is the death penalty ever okay? If someone close to you has broken the law or is planning to, where do your loyalties lie? What is the right thing to do?

You can find my full review here.

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Kasie West

Great for getting out of a reading slump or just for an enjoyable read, Kasie West’s books are lighthearted and fluffy with cute (if somewhat angst-ridden) relationships.

The Distance Between Us

A fun story to read in one sitting, The Distance Between Us is full of vibrant characters and dynamics, sarcasm, banter and wit. It has people being people, raw and unfiltered.

On the Fence

Another fun, light read, On the Fence was exactly what I needed to get me out of my slump – I breezed through it in a single sitting.

Reminiscent of Sarah Dessen (who got me into contemporary) it has great characters, an interesting story and deals with more serious issues of identity and family.

The Fill-In Boyfriend

While not my favourite work of hers, The Fill-In Boyfriend was still a great read.

Highlights include expansive character development, a focus on family and friendships, as well as encouraging us all to be better, more authentic and open people.

Kasie has definitely earned her place as one of my favourite contemporary authors and I look forward to reading more from her.

Let’s Discuss!

Even through I’m late to the party, what were some of your favourites of last year?

Have you read any books on my list? Are any on your TBR?

What are some of your favourite books so far this year?

Please share your thoughts, I’d love to discuss with you!

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The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2)

Just a side not before we get into the review: I am aware that I haven’t posted any of my thoughts on Mistborn, but this review has been sitting on the backburner for months and I figured I might as well post it. Just know that I really enjoyed Mistborn and would recommend it.

Also, I will be referring to the first book in this series as Mistborn rather than The Final Empire as that is the title on my copy but they are the same book.

This review may contain mild spoilers for book one.

Finished 10th May, 2016 

Author: Brandon Sanderson

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4 Stars

The second instalment in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, The Well of Ascension, is a young adult high fantasy with a strong political line, a fascinating magic system and brilliant characters. Following on from Mistborn, Kelsier’s crew are forced to deal with the aftermath of a millennial long empire as well as the intricacies and hardships that come with taking over a kingdom and caring for it – all while being threatened by several other outside forces. I found the characters and the magic system to be what really carried the story for me, as well as some really interesting plot revelations.

As much as I enjoyed this book, for whatever reason The Well of Ascension took me forever to read. As in, I have been “reading” this book since January – January! There are several possible reasons as to why I fell into this minor book slump, one of them being that I had hit a part in the book where I was frustrated with some of the characters and therefore wasn’t that motivated to pick it up and read it. Additionally, I do the majority of my reading in small bits and pieces at school whenever I can fit it in – which usually works really well but being a high fantasy and knowing my particular reading traits, I don’t believe that was the best was to go about this particular novel. To put it into perspective, I read Akarnae and Raelia by Lynette Noni (which are approximately 450 pages each) in less than four days during the period I was “reading” The Well of Ascension.

I do want to reiterate that, in spite of my slight reading slump, I did really enjoy this book. It seems to be that whenever anything is said about Brandon Sanderson the most prominent thing that is mentioned is his writing style. Both Mistborn and The Well of Ascension are testament to that. Brandon Sanderson is brilliant at putting in twists that seem completely out of the blue but, once revealed, the foreshadowing becomes obvious.

Another feature that I really like about The Well of Ascension is that we get to read from the perspectives of pretty much all of our core cast in addition to that of our antagonists and several random perspectives to give insight from outsiders. This change of pace is great for both the slower, more political scenes and the battle-heavy ones. These fluid shifts in points of view are one such example of Sanderson’s great style at work.

I’m not entirely sure what I think of Elend in this instalment. I mean, I still really like him and enjoy his character but he undergoes some changes which I personally feel take away from his character. Also, there is an implication that comes about near the conclusion of this novel that makes me slightly suspicious of him – but I’m not sure if it’s just an evolution of his character or something more sinister at work. There were moments in this book where I loved him intensely and others where I felt somewhat detached. Suffice to say, I have mixed feelings but am interested to see where his character is headed.

Vin is an absolutely fantastic character. She is totally kick-ass and her fighting skills are off the charts (I mean, talk about epic) but she is also a flawed, relatable character. She is honestly one of my favourite characters – period – and that includes those outside Sanderson’s universe. I love how she deals with the conflicts thrown her way and how facing them forces her to evaluate herself and, in turn, grow from those experiences. Vin’s character develops significantly within this instalment but the changes are even more prominent when we consider what she was like when we are first introduced to her in Mistborn. 

Occasionally I tend to find that female protagonists – and sometimes just female characters in general – tend to be somewhat awkward and unrelatable when written by male authors, but I did not find that to be the case with Vin (or any of Sanderson’s other cast) in the least.

The other crew members (read: Breeze, Sazed, Dockson, Spook, Clubs, Ham, OreSeur,etc.) are further developed in The Well of Ascension which is a fun time. I really enjoyed getting to acquaint myself with their distinct personalities and quirks, and they really came into their own in my mind. Sazed, Ham and OreSeur are my particular favourites, with Sazed and OreSeur’s complexities and Ham’s general persona. Both Sazed and OreSeur have some great revelations and are really interesting to hear from. Also, Sazed has an adorable relationship with a new character, who I didn’t initially like but ended up really growing on me (and shall remain unnamed due to possible spoilers). I feel that they have a great connection and their dynamic is fantastic. Sazed’s character arc is a particularly interesting one and I feel like he’s the one that experiences the most development within this instalment.

Aside from Vin, Zane is probably my favourite character in this story. Not only is he complex, experienced and fascinating, but he creates some brilliant tension and conflict within the story and poses an interesting dilemma for Vin. I love their dynamic and find his backstory to be very well-thought out and gripping. We are constantly learning new things about him, yet he remains such a mystery to us. Zane is just such a fun character to read and is a real wild card to add to the mix. The chapters that featured him were probably some of my favourite to read.

If I hadn’t dragged out my consumption of this story and had instead read it at my usual pace, I feel that I would have rated The Well of Ascension 5 Stars. As it stands, even though I really enjoyed it, I feel a slight sense of apathy towards it – induced by my reading experience and not the actual content, I’m sure.

I am going to take a temporary break from this series and pick it back up at a later date when I’m more in the mood to read it and am in the position to read it all at once – or at least in several large chunks. I’m interested to see what that will do to my overall reading and whether I’ll be able to get to all of the shiny new books I’m super excited for or if this reading slump will persevere.

 

Let’s Discuss!

Have you read the Mistborn series? If so, what are your thoughts?

Have you read the third book? How does it compare to the rest of the trilogy?

Have you read any of Brandon Sanderson’s other works? Which ones would you recommend me reading next?

Have you ever written a review for the second book in the series and not for the first? (This also happened to me with the 5th Harry Potter book)

Please leave a comment as I love talking to you guys 🙂

October, November & December Wrap-Up 2016

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Hey everybody! It’s been ages but I’m finally back! She say the month before year 12.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be doing a slight redesign as well as uploading new content – I have big plans and I’m really excited about them.

Over these past three months I read a total of 25 books.

Note: like my previous wrap-up this one is extremely long. You have been warned.

 

The Books

All titles link to Goodreads

 

October

 

Omari and the People

By Stephen Whitfield

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3.5 Stars

A character-driven exodus of a people lead by hope and just looking to survive. While this story does have some elements of romance it is more a side element than anything.

You can find my full review here.

 

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)

By Leigh Bardugo

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4 Stars

A great, satisfying read with beautiful writing.

I marathoned this trilogy earlier this year, with the exception of the last two or three chapters of this novel. I really wish I had kept on reading as there were a few things I was slightly confused about upon completion – definitely a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

 

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2)

By Ransom Riggs

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4.25 Stars

I liked this instalment a lot better than the first, which is a relief.

It was a lot more engaging, the characters more developed, the writing better (there were quite a few great quotes!) and the romance between Jacob and Emma a lot less creepy (I’m kind of behind it now, but we’ll see).

I especially liked how Jacob’s peculiarly was further developed and we get a hint at another unexpected aspect (but that could just be me overthinking).

Again, I really liked how the characters were explored. In Miss Peregrine’s I felt rather detached from the cast, but I came to care about them in Hollow City.

To be perfectly honest, I was unimpressed with the first book and had to push myself to read this one. However, I am extremely glad I did and am excited to see how this series ends.

 

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)

By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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4 Stars

Although it took a bit to get into, I ended up really enjoying These Broken Stars.

The character development was definitely a highlight and is what stands out for me. The characters really came into their own and also came to fit with each other really well.

Recommend for people looking for a solid sci-fi survival romance. I’ve also heard it described as “the titanic in space”, though it was more focused on surviving the planet than the high society/world aboard the spaceship.

 

This Shattered World (Starbound #2)

By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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4.25 Stars

This Shattered World was easier to get into than These Broken Stars for me. I really enjoyed the characters (plus those epic action scenes) and the plot was more politics and conspiracy theories than survival, though they both share a strong military vibe.

I really appreciated the diversity in this book; Lee is half Chinese and Flynn is Irish, and there was a fair amount of culture surrounding that, which was really cool.

I will say that I was (and still am) confused about the dream passages that we get every few chapters. It made sense to include them but I’m still rather confused. I preferred the interview excerpts from These Broken Stars in that regard.

I would recommend reading this series back to back if possible, because there are a few subtle references and cameos that are easy to miss.

Tarver and Lilac have a cameo! Which was a lot of fun. I also really liked how there was an obscure mention of Lee in These Broken Stars, Sofia was a minor character in this book and Gideon was also mentioned (though more obscurely). Excitement levels = very high.

Overall, this series so far is an excellent sci-fi with great characters and an intriguing plot. I would recommend to those who enjoy YA books and may want to dabble in sci-fi.

 

Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3)

By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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4.75 Stars

I really loved this book, and reading it also made me appreciate the previous books more.

I was initially disappointed to find out that this finale was only in Sofia and Gideon’s POVs, but it worked out really well.

I loved all the connections between characters that have been woven in from the beginning. Seeing everyone interact and the threads finally coming together was absolutely fantastic and rather fulfilling. However, I must admit, my favourite parts were the excerpts from the whispers before each chapter. My heart soared, broke, and everything began falling into place.

I will say that the characters do feel older than teenagers – but then again, these characters have been forced to face a lot of challenging situations and grow up fast.

The plot took unexpected turns, often throwing me for a loop, which is always great.

An easy read and a solid finale, Their Fractured World is definitely worth the read. Again, I suggest marathoning this series if that is at all possible as there are subtle connections and foreshadowing threaded throughout all three books.

I’m also left wondering if Amie enjoys writing zombies as they have appeared in both her series to some degree…

 

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)

By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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5 Stars

While I didn’t like Gemina quite as much as Illuminae I still really enjoyed it. Despite it being over 600 pages, the format and the fast pace meant that I finished it in a single day (and a school day none the less).

I really enjoyed the new characters we were introduced to, though it took me a little longer than with Hannah and Ezra. Nick and Hannah were pretty great, though Ella was by far the standout. Ella was severely disabled but she didn’t let that stop her – she was sassy and amazing and an incredibly talented hacker.

In this instalment we also meet Isaac, Kady’s dad, which was great.

I will say, I went into Gemina expecting the surviving crew from Illuminae to come in around half way through, but it was more like two thirds.

I loved all the plot twists – which are essentially staples in both Amie and Jay’s writing. The character one was great, but at the end when we find out what “gemina” means? Genius. (And yes, I am being deliberately vague, thank you for noticing).

Suffice to say, I recommend this series to pretty much everyone and I can’t wait for the third one (in which my name will be included!)

 

Matilda

By Roald Dahl

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4 Stars

This was my first Roald Dahl book.

Matilda was a surprisingly good read with a humorous voice, an incredibly intelligent protagonist who loves to read, a horrid antagonist and some great friendships.

In terms of plot, I pretty much knew what was going to happen as I’d seen the movie as a child and saw the musical just before I picked up the book. It’s always really interesting to see different takes on a story and how it changes the meaning. Both adaptations are quite good but there is a definite innocence and charm about the original source material.

A recommended read to all ages, especially if you have seen or are going to see one of the adaptations. Dahl’s narrative voice is certainly one I will be exploring further.

 

November

 

Infinity (The Infinity Division #1)

By Jus Accardo

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5 Stars

A surprisingly brilliant read, Infinity features fantastic characters, a great plot, and a focus on perspective.

You can find my full review here.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3)

By J. K. Rowling

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5 Stars

It’s been years since I first read the Harry Potter series, and I’ve been really enjoying listening to them on audio. It’s amazing the little details you forget even when you think you know the stories so well. Prisoner of Azkaban is perhaps my favourite so far.

 

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them

By J. K. Rowling

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3.75 Stars

Note: this is the textbook, not the screenplay.

I read this in anticipation of the movie. As expected, it was interesting but rather dry as it is, in fact, a textbook.

 

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #3)

By Ransom Riggs

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4 Stars

Library of Souls was an average read for me, but it wrapped up the series well.

This series put me in a slight reading slump as I simply had no read desire to pick it up. I felt no connection to the characters, the plot was okay, the world was decent and it was overall just a “meh” book (and series) for me.

I feel that 4 stars is somewhat generous so that may be subject to change, but we’ll see.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this series but that’s just my opinion – I know several people who love it. However, I feel like these books will ultimately prove forgettable and I’ll likely unhaul them.

 

December

 

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)

By Alison Goodman

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4 Stars

A fun and historically accurate read, (well, excluding the whole demon hunting thing) Lady Helen has a strong, stubborn, intelligent protagonist, an alluring love interest and great female friendship.

I was hoping for more training on Helen’s end but I understand that this was very much an introductory novel where she was still working out where she stood. However, I sincerely hope that there will be more training in the second instalment.

 

Lusus Naturae: A Lord Carlston Story (Lady Helen #1.5)

By Alison Goodman

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3 Stars

An okay read, this is just a short novella from Carlston’s point of view when he first meets Helen. It doesn’t tell us all that much that we didn’t already know, save for the fact that his wife did indeed go missing as her body was never found. Again, I hope that more will be revealed around this in the second book.

 

Saga Volume 1

By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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5 Stars

New to graphic novels though I am, I found Saga to be an absolutely fantastic read.

The art was beautiful, the characters great and the plot intriguing. However, my favourite part was definitely the fact that their daughter is the one narrating the story.

I absolutely flew through these first three instalments – I read them back to back and it took me less than an hour for each. I can’t wait to read the rest. (Shout out to my friend Tara who leant me her copies. You’re a gem.)

However, I will say that there is sex, nudity and violence in these comics. If you’re not comfortable with that, maybe give Saga a miss.

 

Saga Volume 2

By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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5 Stars

 

Saga Volume 3

By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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5 Stars

 

Ms Marvel: No Normal (Ms Marvel #1)

By G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

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4.5 Stars

A whole lot of fun, Ms Marvel was a great read. Kamala Khan is an adorable, nerdy teenager who is also a muslim – that alone had me sold. She writes fanfics too! So relatable and awesome. Her friends and family were also fantastic and I can’t wait to see where this story goes.

 

On the Fence

By Kasie West

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4.5 Stars

A fun, light read, On the Fence was exactly what I needed to get me out of my slump – I breezed through it in a single sitting.

Reminiscent of Sarah Dessen (who got me into contemporary) it has great characters, an interesting story and deals with more serious issues of identity and family.

 

The Distance Between Us

By Kasie West

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4.5 Stars

Another fun story to read in one sitting, The Distance Between Us is full of vibrant characters and dynamics, sarcasm, banter and wit. It has people being people, raw and unfiltered.

Kasie is fast becoming a favourite author if mine, and I’m amazed that I haven’t picked her up sooner – the Sarah Dessen vibes, the light, fluffy story, the rave reviews… I also really appreciate how her stories feature cameos from other stories – One the Fence briefly mentions this protagonist, and has more in-depth mentions from two others.

A great read, I can’t wait to read the rest of her collection.

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4)

By J. K. Rowling

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4.25 Stars

Another great instalment, The Goblet of Fire was fun.

The biggest thing rereading this series has done for me is making me appreciate Ron’s character – prior to the re-read, I simply thought he was an idiot. Now, even though I still sometimes think he’s an idiot, I really appreciate his friendship with Harry.

However, I am left with a question: why is it that Harry can’t see the thestrals at the end of Goblet of Fire but can in the beginning of Order of the Phoenix?

 

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

By Becky Albertalli

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5 Stars

This book is so completely adorable I think my heart has melted. (I mean, I was warned but…)

Everything is just so cute and fluffy and adorable and I love it so much! It does also deal with friendships and family which is cool, but I’m currently riding the high from this book.

I am extremely tempted to immediately reread so I can catch all the adorable moments irl with Blue now that I know who he is (and he’s perfect btw) – I can only remember a few.

Anyway, I love it, should have read it sooner and must now impasse upon you all the importance of reading this book ASAP.

 

Milk and Honey

By Rupi Kaur

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4 Stars

A beautiful, moving, accessible collection of poems that anyone can read and understand.

 

The Fill-In Boyfriend

By Kasie West

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4 Stars

While not my favourite work of hers, The Fill-In Boyfriend was still a great read.

Highlights include expansive character development, a focus on family and friendships, as well as encouraging us all to be better, more authentic and open people.

Kasie has definitely earned her place as one of my favourite contemporary authors and I look forward to reading more from her.

 

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

By Leigh Bardugo

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5 Stars

So, after much delay, I finally picked up Six of Crows and, as anticipated, absolutely loved it.

The plot twists were amazing and the heists excellent, but the characters are what really made it for me. – The wit, the chemistry, the genius… I loved it all (especially Kaz).

Though I’m still not 100% sure that it’s necessary to read the Grisha trilogy before Six of Crows, it definitely helps. I’m also glad that I listened to the audiobooks as it definitely helped my mental pronunciations of the various terms that otherwise I would have had no idea.

I will say, I kept getting distracted by the sheer beauty of the physical book. I managed to score the black stained hardback, and it is utterly gorgeous – the colours are so deep and (again) gorgeous.

I definitely recommend this book and can’t wait for the next one.

 

Blog Posts

 

Other Notable Points

  • The Gemina launch happened! I got to meet so many of my amazing twitter friends for the first time and/or again. It was amazing! Plus, I actually took photos this time.
  • I’m still obsessed with Hamilton. I really don’t think that’s going to stop any time soon.
  • I got my dream job at a bookstore.
  • The school year finished! Hooray for holidays but cue existential crisis about year twelve.
  • I marathoned all of the Gilmore Girls episodes ever and am now obsessed. However, I’m not really a fan of the revival – though there are parts that I like, not least that it’s existence pushed me to start watching the show in the fist place. Highlights of the revival include the introduction and Emily’s story arc.
  • I’ve been organising my life – to some extent. Let’s not talk about the homework that’s glowering at me ominously from the corner. I got rid of a lot of clothes, I unhealed a heap of book, I rearranged my bookshelves and I got a diary.
  • I made my first instagram post, which is cool. I’m @joysofbookworms if anyone cares. However, I doubt I’ll be posting much – twitter is where my heart is. Self-promo much?

 

Let’s Discuss!

So, what have you been reading lately? Any exciting life occurrences? Any new years resolutions?

Have we read any of the same books? Do your opinions differ from mine?

Please leave a comment so that we can discuss!

 

September Wrap-Up 2016

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*Image not mine

At 22 books, I had an absolutely fantastic reading month this September! (A fact which I blame almost entirely on my ridiculously high levels of procrastination)

 

The Books

All titles link to Goodreads

A Monster Calls

By Patrick Ness

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4 Stars

An absolutely fantastic and extremely emotional read. A Monster Calls has a unique and powerful take on grief that definitely pulled on my heartstrings.

Dark middle grade, I recommend going into it knowing little or nothing at all.

 

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

By Sarah J. Maas

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5 Stars

I have been reading this series since only the first one was out and I can safely say that Throne of Glass will always be one of my favourite series, and Sarah one of my favourite authors. This was a re-read for me.

This series, with it’s magic, banter, wit, humour, fae, fantastic characters, sass, character developments and overall story arcs fills my little heart with joy (and addiction). Throne of Glass is one of those books that checks all the right boxes for me, and I am so excited (and scared) to see what’s in store for the finale.

I also got the chance to meet Sarah last year, and she is such a lovely person.

 

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

By Sarah J. Maas

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5 Stars

 

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1)

By Tamora Pierce

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5 Stars

A time-old favourite, the world of Tortall will always be one I will read and re-read.

Criminally under-hyped, this book, series, and accompanying world is a fast, fantastic read full of magic, phenomenal characters, knights and fun times. Likely my third re-read by now (I’ve lost track) it is such a phenomenal story and easy to fly through in one sitting.

 

In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2)

By Tamora Pierce

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5 Stars

 

The Woman Who Rides Like A Man (Song of the Lioness #3)

By Tamora Pierce

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5 Stars

 

Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4)

By Tamora Pierce

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5 Stars

 

Wild Magic (Immortals #1)

By Tamora Pierce

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5 Stars

A sequel series to Song of the Lioness, Immortals stars different characters, but said characters do interact with the crew from Song of the Lioness, which means there are minor spoilers for those starting out with Wild Magic (as I did).

A favourite of many years, this is probably about my fifth re-read of this quartet. Immortals is my favourite series by Tamora and is a quick, fun read with magic, animals, fantasy, dragons, strong female characters and sass.

 

Wolf-Speaker (Immortals #2)

By Tamora Pierce

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5 Stars

 

Emperor Mage (Immortals #3)

By Tamora Pierce

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5 Stars

 

In the Realms of the Gods (Immortals #4)

By Tamora Pierce

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5 Stars

 

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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5 Stars

Another re-read for me, Illuminae was just a fantastic the second time round. With unique formatting, great characters, lots of sass, a slightly evil brilliant AI, spaceships, and a deadly disease that basically turns people into zombies, Illuminae appeals to a broad audience and is definitely worth the read.

Not only is this proudly #LoveOZYA, but I have met both Amie and Jay and they are lovely. I also stalk follow their twitter accounts, and they are often hilarious.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1)

By Ransom Riggs

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3.75 Stars

A solid read, though I wouldn’t say it was particularly creepy or overwhelmingly fantastic. I liked it well enough and will continue with the series, but it certainly does not live up to the hype.

Piece of advice to those thinking of reading: LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Don’t expect it to blow your mind, but enjoy it for what it is. And if you end up loving it? Power to you.

Also, I will say that the romance was kind of creepy because reasons.

 

Splintered (Splintered #1)

By A. G. Howard

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5 Stars

First of all, let me just say that I LOVE THIS SERIES.

Taking only a single sitting, Splintered totally captivated me. The characters, the world, the plot twists… It was all just completely fantastic, whimsical, empowering and generally amazing.

Can everyone take a moment to appreciate the gorgeousness of this book? The stunning cover, the PURPLE print, the pretty headers, the floppiness… The aesthetics are completely on point here.

This is also one of the love triangles that I actually like – and am still not sure which team I’m on… (Though I’m leaning towards Morpheus to be honest)

An overall fantastic, fun, exciting read, if you feel like Splintered might be your thing, I 100% suggest going for it. This is also a great series to marathon (I certainly did!)

Just a quick side note, I’ve interacted with Anita over Twitter and she is so lovely! (I know I keep saying that these authors are lovely but it’s true).

 

The Moth in the Mirror (Splintered #1.5)

By A. G. Howard

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3 Stars

An okay read, The Moth in the Mirror didn’t really add anything to the story for me. As it is mainly told from Jeb’s point of view (as these are his memories) I have discovered that I’m not really a fan of his voice. I did, however, end up loving Morpheus more than ever.

 

Unhinged (Splintered #2)

By A. G. Howard

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5 Stars

 

Ensnared (Splintered #3)

By A. G. Howard

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5 Stars

As previously stated, I am a huge fan of this series and I really loved how it concluded. Everything about this book was fantastic and I love it to pieces (especially the end).

 

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)

By Maggie Stiefvater

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5 Stars

This is one of the series that had bee sitting unread on my shelf for a year, and my TBR before that – despite the fact that I was sure I would love it (spoiler alert: I did). Thanks to the shrieking recommendation from Cait at Paper Fury and Sam on Twitter, I finally picked it up – my only regrets being that I didn’t read it sooner.

Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate just how gorgeous the hardcovers are? I am in love.

 

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)

By Maggie Stiefvater

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5 Stars

 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)

By Maggie Stiefvater

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5 Stars

 

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)

By Maggie Stiefvater

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5 Stars

I love this series so much. The writing, the characters, the ships, the plot, the mythology… but mostly the characters.

Rich and beautiful, relatable and heartwarming, these characters are my children and I love them so. They are so ALIVE and precious and I can vividly picture them as if they were alive and lived here, in our world. They are so developed, so real. Their fears, loves, losses, growth, hopes, dreams… Everything.

The characters make the book, it is their story just waiting to be written. Needing to be written, shared. They are the most dynamic and real characters I have ever read and I love them, and I love how they love each other – the overarching rightness of it all.

There is no doubt: this book, this series, is cyclical, and it is made all the more beautiful due to the nature of this book – how it plays with time.

It is about hope, growth and making your own path but knowing some things are meant to be. 100% recommend.

 

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

By Kristin Cashore

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4.5 Stars

I technically finished this one on October first, but it was 4 in the morning, so I’m counting it.

Graceling was a lot of fun and a solid read. An easy story to read in one sitting, it has strong characters, a great romance, character development, a fast-moving plot and is technically a stand alone.

I’m interested in seeing what the other instalments are like as they focus on different characters, but I’m mostly interested in Bitterblue as the protagonist is introduced in Graceling and I really liked her.

 

Blog Posts

 

Other Notable Points

  • At last, I’m back from my (practically year-long) hiatus. I have lots of exciting ideas and am aiming to post weekly(ish) from now on.
  • I finally got to reading a lot of books I’d been anticipating for quite some time but had been putting off (see previous point about procrastination) and absolutely loved them.
  • I met a number of bookish friends from Twitter in real life for the first time at Dymocks’ Our Chemical Hearts book launch.
  • I reached 200 followers here on Live. Laugh. Read. so thank you all for that! It means the world to me 🙂

 

Let’s Discuss!

What books did you read this September? What was your favourite? Which was the most problematic? Are you reading anything at the moment?

Have you read any of the books I listed? If so, what were your thoughts?

Please leave a comment so that we can discuss!

 

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Note: Though I have done my best to keep it spoiler-free, this review may contain mild spoilers for A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 1; sometimes referred to as ACOTAR). See my ACOTAR review here.

Read on 1st June, 2016

Author: Sarah J. Maas

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5 Stars

Quite possibly the best of Sarah’s novels so far (equal to if not slightly exceeding Queen of Shadows),  A Court of Mist and Fury (sometimes referred to as ACOMAF) is an absolutely fantastic, page-turning read with intriguing, complex characters and brilliant writing.

Note: I would like to mention that this book isn’t necessarily for a younger audience as it contains a substantial amount of sex scenes. They’re not that explicit, but enough that it’s quite obvious as to what’s going on.

If you’re comfortable with that and this book sounds interesting to you (read: fae, magic, fight scenes, hot guys and major character development), I sincerely suggest that you check it out. If not, that’s fine too.

A Court of Mist and Fury is a very character-driven narrative. Yes, there is an interesting plot and the novel is jam-packed with journeys, adventures and all that awesome stuff, but at the end of the day I feel like it is about personal growth, friendships and the impact of people on our lives as we ourselves grow and change.

A Court of Mist and Fury is a celebration of life, a recognition of the heavy toll sacrifice often leaves on our hearts and minds (subtly discussing post-traumatic stress disorders and depression), and also plays with the idea of  what it means to have true freedom.

It is a commentary on love and relationships (both platonic and romantic) – highlighting unhealthy relationships by juxtaposing them with ones based on mutual trust and respect, while realistically displaying how one can be trapped and not even realise that they are in an unhealthy relationship due to not knowing anything else. Emotional manipulation, control issues and possibly even domestic violence are all issues which are hinted at. Corruption, dreams, prejudice and mistreatment are all prominent themes in the novel.

Feyre undergoes massive character development throughout this story. She grows into herself as she is forced to adapt to new situations and her priorities change. Feyre forms unlikely friendships as we are introduced to a whole new cast of rich, vibrant, haunted characters and it is with their help that she is able to begin healing from the traumatic experiences she’s been through. Feyre’s journey from an empty husk who can barely function to acceptance, confidence and assurance within herself and those around her is a very well-crafted and believable depiction.

Although we barely get a glimpse into Rhysand’s character in A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury features him heavily – and I enjoyed every second of it. A lot of his background is revealed, allowing readers to see past his masks and understand his actions and motivations. Be warned: your heart will bleed (and swoon). Rhys is a great big ball of contradictions, raw vulnerabilities and darkness. To say the least, he quickly became my favourite character. Also, while I love Tamilin and Feyre’s relationship in the first book and appreciate how he helped shape her character, I now wholeheartedly ship her with Rhys (a seemingly common theme within Sarah’s books). Quite a few key scenes in A Court of Thorns and Roses are shed new light as we get to see his perspective on them.

Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship – their is full of banter, tension, friendship, respect and trust. They heal each other. Their “note passing” was adorable, made me grin every time.

Without saying too much in fear of spoilers, Rhysand’s Inner Circle – Mor, Cassian, Azriel and Amren – are all absolutely fantastic, amazing, wonderful, complicated characters which I love with a passion. Their friendship and loyalty to each other is amazing, and they are each such unique and distinct characters. I love how Sarah has reflected their unity and cohesion, their interactions and comradely – it is apparent how much they care for each other. I especially love Mor and Azriel’s relationship and would love to see them come together – they would make an adorable couple.

Honourable mentions to Nesta, Elain and Lucien, whom I love dearly.

At around 630 pages and approximately a third larger than the first book, A Court of Mist and Fury is a decently long book – though I would gladly soak up another 600 pages (I’m at the point where I would greedily read anything Sarah puts out) – but it doesn’t drag at all. Character development aside, so much happens in this book – adventures, world building, tension, fight scenes, dancing… Every moment I was entranced; I had no wish to put it down (which resulted in essentially no homework completed, lack of sleep and a highly unproductive school day, despite the fact that I had no less than four tests coming up within the next week).

If you want to get into Sarah’s writing, but Throne of Glass seems too daunting (those books are massive) and you don’t mind a bit of mature content then I would definitely suggest starting with these books.

Essentially, this book is absolutely fantastic and if you’re even slightly inclined to pick it up, please do. A Court of Mist and Fury is quite possibly the best book I’ve read so far this year and I highly recommend it.

Let’s Discuss!

Please come chat with me if you’ve read this as I have a ton of spoiler-y thoughts to discuss and would love to hear your thoughts. What was your favourite part? Who do you ship? Have you read any of Sarah’s Throne of Glass books? Thoughts?