Books · Tag

Nope Trope Book Tag!

Hello guys!
It has been a while since I did a tag, so when I saw Emily from BooksWithEmilyFox do this on her booktube channel, I just had to do it too! It was originally created by Zoe’s All Booked.

1. Eavesdropping w/ miscommunication – Name a book you heard great things about and expected to love but ended up hating.

I can name so many for this question but I’ll go with House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas. I am a huge SJM fan (or was). I’ve liked both her previously series, so I fully expected to adore this one like everyone else. I have a ranty review explaining why I hated this.

TL:DR: It’s just a mash up of ToG + ACOTAR. It feels very YA despite being marketed as adult.

2. Love Triangles – Name a series where you can’t pick your favourite book.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
THE cutest graphic novel romance series. I love all of the book so far, I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite!

3. Not Like Other Girls/Didn’t Know I’m Beautiful – Name a book that has a pretty cover but was boring as all hell.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Ugh, it pains me to say this… This book was just such a drag!! More in my review.

4. All-Consuming Love – Name a book that gave you a book hangover

So many!!
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert was the last one I can remember. I didn’t pick anything up for a while after that. It was just so sweet!

5. Douchebag Boyfriend – Name a book that took you a while to get into, but you ended up loving.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

6. Tell us your favourite or least favourite trope!

I love the chosen one trope. I know it’s cliché and quite overdone, but if it’s well done, I will love it.

Least favourite/will never read is those incest-y one *shudders*

I tag:
Morgane – Book Me Some Time

Dhwani – The Written Journey

Allie – The Wandering Nerdette

Books · Wrap-up

March Wrap Up | 2021

Hello everyone!
March was a super busy month for me and I went into a bit of a slump. Uni has been kicking my ass lately and I have a lot of essays to read for that, so haven’t read much outside of uni stuff.
I only managed to finish two books, sadly.

The first book was Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (audiobook)

Salvage the Bones Audiobook | Jesmyn Ward | Audible.co.uk

This was for my climate change fiction module in uni. I liked it more than the previous novel I read by this author (Sing, Unburied, Sing) but I still didn’t love it. I think this will be the last book I read by Ward.

Lastly I listened to *Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (audiobook)

Act Your Age, Eve Brown Audiobook by Talia Hibbert - 9780062941299 |  Rakuten Kobo

Oh my godddd. This was just amazing!
I was so excited to see this on Libro.fm’s ALCs for March. I loved every moment. The whole series is just incredible. I’ll have a review up for this soon.

*gifted


What did you read in March?

Books · Review

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic: 1: Amazon.co.uk: V. E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab:  9781783295401: Books

Goodreads Synopsis:
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


My Thoughts:

The writing – As usual, V.E. Schwab’s writing is beautiful. She writes very prettily, which is nice, but it does make for a slower read. Usually I prefer a faster pace for fantasy, unless it’s based on political intrigue/world building, we don’t really either here. However, it was writing amazingly, I expect nothing less from Schwab. Her writing is always gorgeous and lovely to read.

I can’t say I loved nor hated this book. It was an okay read. In my opinion it was nothing special, nothing bad either. I read this last month and honestly hasn’t left much of an impression on me. This is unusual for Schwab, she usually leaves some kind of impression, I still think about Vicious even years after reading it, I also read Addie Larue back in Jan and I’m still thinking about it. This book, however, the moment it was done, so was interest…

I like the worlds, the concept is pretty cool. V.E. Schwab comes up with such good ideas and concepts, but they always lack something for me. I just wanted a bit more from this book, as a first book in a series. It reads like a standalone, which is fine, but considering most of the book is a bit unmemorable there wasn’t anything particularly enticing me to continue the series. That being said, I own the whole trilogy and will continue it. I am interested to see where the story leads purely on the basis that the first one wrapped up pretty nicely, it didn’t seem to set up for anything else. I also am interested in learning more about the world and magic, hoping it gets developed more in the coming books.

Characters:
Kell: Definitely my favourite character and the most interesting. He seems like such a nice guy and his magical abilities are cool. I so wanted to know more about the antari and the different Londons.

Lila: I’m not a huge fan of Lila. I don’t hate her, but I don’t love her. She can be a tad annoying and tedious sometimes. I did like her interactions/relationship with Kell. Hopefully, I’ll like her more in the next one.

Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed. I didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. It was an okay read.

Rating: 2.5/3 Stars

Books · Wrap-up

February Wrap Up | 2021

Hey bookworms!
Is it just me or did Feb fly by?! I can’t believe it’s March already.
Let’s hope this March is a good one…

Anyway, I had a really good month in Feb! Despite starting back at uni, I still managed to read a lot!
I read a total of 8 books!

*The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe – Rating: 4 Stars
Ice by Anna Kavan – Read for uni/ No rating
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (reread) – Read for uni but have previously read. Rating: 5 Stars
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood – Read for uni/ No rating

Dat’s Love by Leonora Brito – Read for research/ Rating: 2.5 Stars
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab – Rating: 3 Stars (review coming soon)
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler – Read for uni, but this was on my tbr already/ Rating: 3 Stars
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer (audiobook) – Rating: 4 Stars (review coming soon)

How was your reading in February? Any new favourites?

Books · Review

Disappointing | Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.



My Thoughts:

I have really mixed feelings about this, I find myself pretty disappointed.
The reviews I’ve seen have been absolutely amazing and the premise was so interesting and cool, I thought I’d really love it too. The more I think about it more I dislike it. It’s a real shame because it was one of my most anticipated books of 2020.

This is a super short book (less than 300 pages) I thought it would be a quick read. Although I finished it in one day, it wasn’t as binge-able as I hoped.

I’ve now read 5 Matt Haig books, 3 fiction, 2 non-fiction – there is a reoccurring theme. I really love his non-fiction, it resonates with me fully. His fiction on the other hand, always sounds amazing in theory to me, I really like his ideas and concepts, but the execution always lets me down. I was hoping The Midnight Library would break this cycle, unfortunately, it didn’t.

The Midnight Library has such an amazing premise and concept, which I really love and enjoyed that aspect of the novel. The writing was bland and boring – it wasn’t the easiest to read in terms of style or content.

Although I wasn’t super attached to Nora, as we didn’t really get to know her much, I could emphasise and relate to her mental state. I just wish there was a lot more insight to Nora. I feel like I barely know her even after finishing the novel.

The opportunity to see alternate lives in the library should’ve been more fun and interesting than it was. It found myself pretty bored at times. I kept hoping it would pick up and be amazing but it never did. I pushed myself through it, as it was short.

It deals with heavy topics, such as suicide and death, really good discussion points and the overall message is a hopeful and inspiring one. However, due to the lack of development of the protagonist, it really lacked depth for me. It was too brief and too impersonal for me to really feel connected.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Serious trigger warnings for this book. This book is one massive trigger for suicide and death.
If you’re depressed and don’t want to be further depressed, please stay away from this novel.

Have you read this one? What are your thoughts?

Books · Review

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

“Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives–or to find strength in a very long one.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

My Thoughts:

TW/CW: Death, depression, grief, violence, attempted suicide, emotional manipulation, drug use, starvation, sexual acts for payment

When I first started this novel it was super slow and to be honest, I wasn’t really into it. I was really worried I wasn’t going to end up liking this book, the first 200 pages or so I thought this book was going to disappoint me. To my surprise, I ended up really enjoying this book, mostly the second half.
Although Schwab’s writing style is undeniably gorgeous, I found myself a little bored. I didn’t really see where the story would go. Until Henry showed up, then my attention was captured. I needed to know everything!

This is a very character driven novel, if you don’t like Addie then this would be a struggle to get through. It took me a while, but I did find myself attached to Addie and later Henry. This is a very slow paced novel, which isn’t typically my favourite thing. I do, however, really like character driven stories, so long as I can attach myself to the characters. Addie felt real, so very real. Schwab crafted such an amazing character and story; it feels like it should be real. You can tell how much emotion went into writing this.

I’m not typically a historical fiction reader, although I like history and learning about it, I prefer it in visual format usually. This book didn’t really change my mind, I found myself preferring the modern parts more than the flashbacks. It was interesting to see Addie through the different times, but the story felt stronger in the present to me. There were huge time jumps and lots left out, I feel like there should’ve been more interesting things going on in the past. I wanted a bit more plot, yes it’s character based, but there was room for so much more action and intrigue.

It’s a very emotive book. I found myself tearing up at parts (I didn’t fully cry) – I’m pretty heartless and don’t cry easily at books/tv/film but this hit me right in the feels. I had so many emotions reading this, it really does make you feel.

One of my complaints, is the repetition. There’s just so much repetition, it really could’ve been edited down a bit more. Like if I have to hear Addie has seven freckles like stars again, I’m going to lose my mind. It was kind of annoying. Also what Addie did in the flashbacks was pretty repetitive, which mad the book kind of drag in the middle.

Another complaint is the character development we see for Addie. You’d think over 300 years, living through so much would change a person, right? Well not Addie. She pretty much stays the same, which I find a bit odd.

Finally, the whiteness.
As a few other reviewers have noted this book is very white. In the novel, Addie spends all her time in Europe. There’s no POC mentioned or anything really. I knew this going in. It’s quite disappointing considering Addie lives through a lot of history, yet the history of POC is left out entirely. I was aware of this prior to reading, after seeing a lot of reviewers discuss this. So this didn’t disappoint me, as I already knew – but I’m still disappointed. If that makes any sense. ReadwithCindy makes some really good point in her discussion of the novel. It’s a tough call whether Schwab should have added POC. Like Cindy mentioned, she probably would’ve come under fire either way. At risk of writing POC poorly, Schwab didn’t write them at all.

Overall, it is a beautifully written novel. It has some really amazing aspects, but the pacing is a bit off. If you don’t mind a slower read, definitely pick this one up!

If the pacing hadn’t been an issue and it had a little more action in the flashbacks, this could’ve easily been a 5 star read for me. Alas, it wasn’t diverse enough and it was a little too slow going and took too long for me to be invested to gain a 5 star rating from me.

Rating 4 Stars

Disclaimer: I have previously worked with Titan Books. This was purchased by myself. All opinions are my own.

Books · Wrap-up

January Wrap Up | 2021

Happy February!
I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt like January was the lost month ever.
I didn’t read much in Jan, I had a lot going on, I didn’t expect to read much anyway. I’ve been dealing with personal issues on top on uni deadlines. It has been a chaotic month and I’m glad it’s over!
I did manage to read 3 books, which I’m happy with:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (reread)

Graceling by Kristin Cashore | Gollancz - Bringing You News From Our World  To Yours

I kick started the year with a reread. I want to reread this series before diving into the new book, which was released in Jan. I was super worried I wouldn’t like this book upon rereading, it had been 4 years or so since I first read it. I ended up really loving it!
Review here // Rating: 5 Stars

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue: Amazon.co.uk: V.E. Schwab:  9781785652509: Books

Next, I finally read Addie Larue. Which I meant to read last year, but didn’t get around to it. Oh wow. I have so many thoughts on this. I have a full review coming soon (it’s quite a lengthy one). I have so many feelings on this book. I started off thinking I wouldn’t like it, by the end I loved it.
Rating: 4 Stars

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Buy The Midnight Library 9781786892706 by Matt Haig for only £14.

Lastly, I read another book I didn’t get to last year. I really wanted to love this, but I just didn’t. I’ll discuss it more in my review.
Rating: 3 Stars


How many books did you read in Jan? Any new favourites?

Audiobooks · Books

Best Audiobooks of 2020

Hello!
This post is a tad late, but I thought I’d do it anyway!
These are my favourite audiobooks I listened to last year. (Not necessarily 2020 releases).

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Black Girl Unlimited Audiobook by Echo Brown - 9781250248572 | Rakuten Kobo  United Kingdom

This is a really moving, magic-realism semi-autobiographical book about Echo Brown’s life. It’s an amazing story. I haven’t heard many talk about it. It’s severely underrated!
Full review here.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race Audiobook | Reni Eddo- Lodge | Audible.co.uk

Everyone needs to read/listen to this book. It’s very informative and educational. I learnt so much from listening to this. It’s basically required reading.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

Let Me Hear A Rhyme Book Review - Book and Film Globe

I really enjoyed this, it was fun. The music aspect was really cool too, hearing it was really effective. I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed this as much in print.
Review here.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing: The Folk of the Air, Book 3 (Audio Download):  Amazon.co.uk: Holly Black, Caitlin Kelly, Hot Key Books: Audible Audiobooks

This was an unexpected fave. I didn’t plan to finish this series, I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed this conclusion. I ended up binging the entire audiobook in one day…
Review here.

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Odd and the Frost Giants: Amazon.co.uk: Gaiman, Neil, Gaiman, Neil: Books

Neil Gaiman has the most magical, light-hearted short stories. This was one. It was incredibly short but so lovely to listen to. Neil narrates it himself and he is absolutely wonderful.


What were your favourite audiobooks in 2020?

Books · Reread Review

Rereading an Old Fave | Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Goodreads Synopsis:
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.


My thoughts:

I forgot how much I love this book, world and characters. This was one of the first books I read because of the online book community! I read it 4ish years ago, I was afraid rereading it would kill my fond memories, but I was wrong!

Getting back into this world was such a great experience. I remember bits of it but it had been enough time to make me forget a lot!

It’s very much a YA of it’s time. The plot isn’t revolutionary or overly original, it’s fun and engaging. It won’t blow your mind, but it’s a good ride! If YA fantasy is your thing, the plot will be pretty predictable.

The magic is probably the most unique aspect. I really like the idea of people being ‘graced’ with different abilities. It’s a very interesting concept and I loved it again upon this reread. I always wanted more books with graced characters (still do).

Characters:
The characters are so great!
Katsa & Po are just amazing. I love their chemistry and their relationship.
Katsa has some decent character growth, it’s not huge but it’s definitely there. She’s little bit of an odd character, but I really like her strong- woman personality. It did jump on the feminist bandwagon though, it’s very in-your-face with the strong woman trope.
A plus is her attitude towards sex and marriage/relationships is refreshing to see, especially for YA! Not often casual relationships are mentioned, everyone usually wants marriage and children etc. while there’s nothing wrong with that, it tends to be the main message in a lot of YA fantasy.

The first time around I gave this 4 Stars. Now I’m giving it 5 Stars purely for nostalgia and because it was a ridiculously enjoyable reread. I just adored being back in this world. I’ll be rereading the rest of the series too!

Have you read Graceling? What did you think?

Anticipated Books · Books

2021 Sequels, Prequels & Companion Books I’m Excited For

Hello everyone!
Today I’m going to share some 2021 releases that are sequels, prequels and companions that I’m excited to read. I have no idea how many I’ll actually get to this year (final year uni problems) but when I can I’ll be happily diving into these!

The Way of the Argosi by Sebastien de Castell

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I’m not usually super excited for prequels, but Ferius Parfax is such an amazing character, I cannot wait to explore her backstory! If you haven’t read the Spellslinger Series yet, do it! It’s one of the best YA fantasy series. It’s so fun and humorous, you’ll have a blast!


Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

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I have wanted a sequel in this world since I first read the Graceling books years ago. I’m excited to be back in this world with a new story! Graceling was one of the first series I read because of the online book community, I’m so happy to get a sequel!



Beneath the Keep by Erika Johansen

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Another series I read forever ago. I loved The Queen of the Tearling trilogy, even if it did end… oddly. This is a prequel about one of the side characters, I’m curious to learn more about him and dive back into this world. I may have to reread the original books at some point too.


Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

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I love The Brown Sisters, I cannot wait to read this! I’m super sad this is the last book but I have loved every moment of the previous two, I’m sure this will also be a favourite. If you looking for swoon-worthy romances, definitely read this series. It’s incredible!


A Dance with the Fae Rogue by Elise Kova

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After reading (and loving) A Deal with the Elf King I am dying for this companion/sequel! I love a good fantasy romance and fae are my favourite! This sounds like it’ll be amazing, sadly it’s not out until the end of the year 😦


Are any of these on your TBR? What sequels/prequels/companion books are you excited for?