September Reading Wrap-Up

It’s nearly October! Which means it’s nearly time for Halloween reads only and horror and spooky books, and I’m SO excited for it. That being said, September was also a pretty incredible month for reading. I really expected to finish more books this month and the fact that I only read five might be disappointing if the majority of them just weren’t so good! Anyway, here’s my brief but very exciting September reading wrap up:

Gilded by Marissa Meyer – I LOVE this book. I never read the story of Rumpelstiltskin so I have no clue how heavily it referenced the fairytale, but it was an incredibly told story either way. The descriptions were magical, the characters were fascinating and the story was well-told, in sections that felt almost like individual short stories but tied together perfectly. 5/5 (the first of many this month…)

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer – like Marissa Meyer, Brigid Kemmerer is another bestselling author that I’ve been missing out on for a pretty long time. This book is fast-paced, unique, very intense and emotional, with a strong, very moral protagonist, a swoon-worthy royal love interest and a fascinating story. I loved it. 5/5

Fools in Love by various authors – this was a really sweet short story collection entirely about love, with each story being based on a popular YA romance trope such as ‘only one bed’ or ‘friends to lovers’. The stories were very diverse and representative and, although some were much better than others, it was really fun overall. 3/5

This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore- if you like traditional YA high-school murder mysteries, you will absolutely love this book. It’s a super quick read with a high-school whodunnit storyline and a very suspicious cast of characters. I would definitely recommend if you’re looking to get out of a slump or for an easy, gripping story. 4/5

Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach – !!! This book exceeded my expectations by SO much. I was hoping for an easy contemporary romance read and, whilst I definitely got that from this book, it also discussed so many important themes and topics alongside its romantic storyline. This book is a masterclass on how to use fiction to genuinely educate on issues without forcing the message and making the story feel artificial, and I adored it. 5/5

And that’s it! Let me know in the comments if you loved any of these as much as I did, and what your favourite read of September was 🙂

August Wrap-Up & September TBR

Hi! How is everyone? Hope August was a wonderful reading month!

I’m back from my first ever blog hiatus and excited to share my August wrap-up and September TBR 🙂 I took it easy in August and had some me-time, so I’m back with an overwhelming amount of books to read – once again – and even more to talk about.

I only read a book per week last month so it’s quite a modest wrap-up, but there are some really fun books on here. So, without further ado, my August wrap-up:

Fire With Fire by Destiny Soria – 3.5/5

This was a really fun read with a lot of action, rivalry, drama and… dragons. It was a fun and easy read with an interesting cast of humans, sorcerers and dragons alike and, if you’re a big fantasy reader, I’d recommend.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager – 4/5

I was in the middle of a slump when I picked this book up, and it pulled me out of it so quickly. This is a fast-paced, set-in-real-time thriller with a lot of twists, a lot of tension, and an insanely unreliable narrator.

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan – 4/5

A story about a girl caught between two rival faerie princes from the Seelie and Unseelie courts??? Honestly, I’m not sure I need to say more, but this was a fun, Cruel-Prince-esque fantasy about handsome princes, dark magic and a fierce heroine.

Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson – 5/5

I think I’d read any book in existence about AIs/VR/futuristic tech at this point. This is a gripping thriller about a girl who falls in love with her morally-corrupt AI and all of the havoc that ensues as a result. It’s such a quick read and I one-billion percent recommend.

And that’s it for August! If you’ve read any of the above, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Although I’m happy with my August wrap-up, I definitely need to be slightly more ambitious with my September TBR to keep on track with my GR goal, so I have quite a lotthat I want to get through this month.

First up, Fools in Love, a short story anthology based on all of the most popular romance tropes out there right now. I’m partway through this and really enjoying it, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – this is absolutely not my usual type of book but my fiancé is obsessed with it right now and really wants me to check it out. I’m really looking forward to trying something difference and seeing what the hype is all about.

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan – this has been on my ARC TBR for so long and I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up already. It’s an intense fantasy YA (ie. right up my street!) and I’m really excited to check it out.

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer – another that has spent too long on my ARC TBR and another that I’m insanely excited about. Corruption, action and a star-crossed romance? Yes please.

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino – I started this one a while ago and really enjoyed it, so I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t finished it sooner. I’m only about 20% in but really excited to see where this one goes. It’s been a while since I read YA Horror, so it’ll be such a fun change from the rest of the month’s reading.

And that’s it! I’d love to read more, but I got some advice to put less on my TBR than I plan to read so that I can branch out a little, and that’s what I plan to do.

What’s the number one book on your September TBR? I’d love some more recommendations and to hear what you’re excited to read.

ARC REVIEW: Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

First things first: THANK YOU to Hodder for sending me an eARC of this amazing book in exchange for a review. I spent half a day screaming when my request got accepted, and then spent the rest of the day reading it so… thank you!

Evangeline has always believed in true love, fairytales and happily ever afters, but her world is turned completely upside down when she discovers that Luc, the love of her life, is engaged to someone else. Convinced that her love’s betrayal is the result of a curse or magic, she runs to the Prince of Hearts – the mysterious Jacks – and begs him to stop the wedding.

But Evangeline soon realises that you should never make a deal with a Fate, as one small agreement with Jacks sets her life on a whole new path, full of danger, betrayal and dark magic.

Caraval is one of my favourite series’ and I’ve had Once Upon a Broken Heart preordered since last year so my hopes were incredibly high, but it lived up to all of my expectations and more. Evangeline was a great protagonist, with a great combination of selflessness, determination and intelligence, without being needlessly reckless like a lot of YA fantasy protagonists are. She was so easy to root for all the way through and I really think she’s one of the most entertaining protagonists I’ve read this year. Jacks was, as expected, the fascinating character that I remember him being, although I definitely loved him more this time around. He was unpredictable all the time and so consistent with his character in Caraval that it was easy to get sucked back into his story almost immediately.

Stephanie Garber’s world-building is incredible, and her writing never fails to impress me. Every setting felt both real and magical, from the little trinket shop to Wolf Hall, and the story that combined them all was a fast-paced quest with elements of romance, fantasy and adventure that kept me hooked from the very first page. I read this entire book in one sitting because I genuinely couldn’t put it down, and even though I finished it over a month ago now, it’s still completely stuck in my head, in the same way that all of her books so far have been.

I genuinely loved every aspect of this book, from the protagonists, to the story, to the setting, and I’m already desperate to read the next book in the series. Once Upon a Broken Heart is absolutely a new favourite for me, and I’ll definitely be telling every fantasy-lover I know to read it.

Rating: 5/5

BLOG TOUR STOP: THE ISLAND HOME by Libby Page

First of all, a HUGE thank you to Orion for gifting me a beautiful copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and a spot on this blog tour! If you want to hear more about this wonderful book, I fully recommend checking out the rest of the tour 🙂

The Island Home follows two women, Alice and Lorna, as they are thrown together during Lorna’s visit to her childhood home.

Alice, a yoga instructor and farm-owner on the Isle of Kip, has loved island life since the day she first moved, and very voluntarily got wrapped up in its sense of community and the comfort of knowing that all of her neighbours are there to support her. Lorna, meanwhile, is visiting from London out of obligation and wishes nothing more than to get in and out of Kip, the island she grew up on, full of former neighbours and lost family, as soon as possible.

When Lorna reaches the Isle, though, she starts to remember the good as well as the bad, and decides to use the time to make amends with her brother (Alice’s husband) and some old friends that she left behind. What follows is a moving, heart-warming story about community, belonging and friendship.

The majority of books I read have very dark content and themes, so it was so refreshing to get completely sucked into such a moving, heart-warming book. It wasn’t always happy and some quite difficult themes were explored, but Libby Page’s writing is so consistently positive and uplifting that, despite some of the tougher content, the book had an overall really heart-warming and comforting tone. So many characters were just so kind and good that it was hard not to feel like I was part of their lovely community and feel supported as Alice and Lorna did when things got slightly tough.

Alice and Lorna had fairly similar voices, making it difficult at times to differentiate between the two, but this also made it easy to love and root for both of them on their individual journeys. At the beginning, Alice is a welcoming and kind character who embodies community spirit wholly in a way that I rarely read, whilst Lorna is a strong, independent, self-reliant woman who shows just what you can be capable of alone. As the story went on, however, it was lovely to read about how their mindsets started to become more similar and watch as they formed a really sweet bond.

This book is the definition of summer reading and would be so perfect as both a beach read and a book to cheer you up on a miserable day. I certainly found myself getting absorbed in the lifestyle of the characters on the Isle of Kip, and would absolutely recommend you do the same.

Rating: 4/5

The Island Home published in HB and ebook on 24th June, by Orion.

April Wrap-Up

Happy May! I have high hopes for this month because, once again, I surprised myself and had a really good reading month in April. I’m really happy with my progress on my GR challenge (30/50 so far!) and I’m crossing my fingers that I can keep going at this rate…

Anyway, here’s a wrap up of the honestly-amazing books that I read in April:

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao – When I saw that this book was available as ‘Read Now’ on NetGalley, after obsessing over the cover since it was first announced, I knew that I needed to read this asap. It’s a very emotional, very sweet book about dealing with grief and learning to move on, and I really enjoyed it. 4/5

The Block by Ben Oliver– My review for this is right here. I loved loved loved this book and all of its creepy, dystopian elements. I’ve been looking for some old-school YA dystopia (think The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave) and this was definitely it. 5/5

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim– If you’ve read my Spin the Dawn review (right here), you’ll know that I fell in love with Elizabeth Lim’s writing as soon as I started it, and this sequel absolutely did not let me down. It was magical and unique and I am obsessed. 5/5

Things to Do Before the End of the World by Emily Barr – I’d already read a contemporary, a dystopia and a fantasy book in April, so for my fourth book of the month, I picked a thriller. This was a fun, unputdownable book that took place across Europe and gave me definite holiday envy, about what people do when the world is about to end. I didn’t connect hugely with the characters but it was exciting and unpredictable for sure. 3.5/5

We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman – New. Book. By. Gayle. Forman! I’ve loved so many Gayle Forman books in the past that I knew I had to read this one immediately. It’s a sweet story about young love, coping with trauma and, most importantly, saving a bookshop. It was very clever and very much Gayle Forman’s style so, if you’ve liked her other books, you’ll likely enjoy this one too. 4/5

The Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner – My review for this one is right here. I don’t read a lot of middle-grade books but this one was a mystery about a carnival that I knew I had to read. It’s perfect for its target audience but, honestly, I loved it as an adult too and would absolutely recommend. 5/5

Dear Azula, I Have a Crush on Danny Phantom by Azura Tyabji and Jackson Neal – I kind of requested this poetry collection on a whim as soon as I saw Azula in the title. I don’t read a lot of poetry so don’t have a huge amount to compare it to, but it was a fun, nostalgic and very short read. 3/5

From Little Tokyo, With Love by Sarah Kuhn– When my copy of this book got delivered, I legitimately screamed. I’ll be posting a review soon, but it was a really fun book about fitting in, learning to love yourself and community spirit, with the added bonus of an adorable relationship, and I really enjoyed it. 4.5/5

Up All Night by Laura Silverman– the group of authors that wrote this book is incredible. It’s a series of short stories by some of the best YA contemporary, fantasy and thriller writers of the last few years, and it was another completely unputdownable book. It contained thirteen stories that I got through in a day, and it was such a varied collection that I wasn’t bored for a moment. 4.5/5

And that’s it! I’d love to hear what your favourite read of the month was and add it to my ever-growing TBR, so please drop a comment if you have any exciting recommendations 🙂

Books That Got Me Into Reading

HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY! I’m super excited about today because it always makes me nostalgic for when I was younger, and the amazing £1 book selections that, honestly, I still buy at age twenty-two… As a book-addict for as long as I can remember, World Book Day holds a special place in my heart and, to honour that, I wanted to take a trip down bookish memory lane.

So, to do that, I thought I’d share a very small selection of some of the books that got me into reading!

Rainbow Magic by Daisy Meadows – this was one of the first series’ I ever read. I only recently found out that Daisy Meadows was a pseudonym for multiple authors, which slightly broke my heart, but that doesn’t take away from how much I adored these. I have at least seventy in a box at my parents’ house (including a World Book Day special!) and I don’t think I’ll ever clear them out.

Totally Lucy by Kelly McKain- I was obsessed with the Totally Lucy book series. I read the second book first, got completely hooked, and then read the entire rest of the series in a couple of weeks. My name is never on anything, but my middle name is Lucy, so I was super excited about the fact that a character almost shared my name, and her love of fashion really resonated with my (clearly very stylish) ten-year old self. I started reading a lot after that, but none of my younger reads stuck with me quite as much as this one.

The Shapeshifter series by Ali Sparkes – This is another series I got completely obsessed with, but this time it wasn’t a series of quick reads, but a really intense, slightly-shorter, action-packed series. It’s middle-grade, but it definitely acted as my bridge into YA, and I loved everything about it. The fantasy elements, the twists and the characters were all incredible and, honestly, I think I would still love this series to this day.

Divergent by Veronica Roth- The beginning of my YA obsession! This is the first YA series I read and, after finishing Allegiant, I never really stopped. I went from this, to The Hunger Games, to The Mortal Instruments and fairly quickly through all of those big YA series from the early 2010s. I got completely hooked on this in 2014, bought merchandise, started buying multiple copies and made my first ever (slightly embarrassing) Instagram fanpage…

Wings by Aprilynne Pike – So you can probably tell from Rainbow Magic that fairies were kind of my thing growing up. I was obsessed with all things fae (and it definitely carried over into my YA love of The Folk of the Air and Wicked Lovely) but Wings is the fairy series that I think I hold dearest. Also, Aprilynne Pike is the first author who ever tweeted me back (in 2014!!) so that holds a special place in my heart too.

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare – This one may be slightly cheating since I was very much into reading by the time I read The Mortal Instruments, but this is another series that made me realise just how deeply obsessed my teenage self could get with books. I wore a rune necklace all through college (and actually made a lot of reader friends because of it) and got hooked on all things fantasy. I never got round to continuing with the Shadowhunter books after The Infernal Devices, but this series will always hold a special place in my heart.

I could go on forever about books that I obsessed over when I was younger, but I think I should probably stop here. I hope you’re having (or had) a wonderful World Book Day, and would love to hear about the books that got you into reading too!

January Reading Wrap-up

Hi! It’s the end of January so I hope everyone is having a (slightly, at least) better 2021 so far.

It’s been a crazy-busy and stressful month for me and it feels like there are a million things happening all at once, so I really thought my reading was going to suffer and was pleasantly surprised when I realised I have seven books for my January wrap-up!

So, the seven books I’ve read so far this year are:

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Turner – I wanted my first book of 2021 to be amazing and I was really struggling to decide what to go for, but I’m SO glad I settled on this one. It was a fun, exciting, super unique read with so much positive LGBTQ+ representation and a really fast-paced storyline. 5/5

To Whatever End by Lyndsey Frydman – this was an easy, and pretty predictable, YA romance. It has a tiny bit of paranormal activity but is primarily a typical romance, and I got through it in a day, which was great. It was pretty cliche and not entirely to my taste, but it definitely seems like a fun read to get you out of a slump. 2.5/5

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn – review to come for this one, but it was a very unique take on a mean-girl thriller, from the perspective of a girl that can only be considered the villain of the story. It was another quick read with a very interesting protagonist and a lot of drama. 4/5

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff – I listened to this one as an audiobook and I feel like that was absolutely the best format for it. It was motivational, uplifting and full of personal anecdotes. It was very much a self-help book, rather than a book for lovers of true crime, but it was a fun and interesting read all the same. 3/5

The Wing Thief by Samantha Atkins – my review for this is here, so there’s not much more to say other than that it was a really cute middle-grade about fairies and discovering where you belong. 4.5/5

The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme – my review for this one is here! This was another book that I adored. With enemies to lovers, royalty, dark magic and a kingdom at stake, this had pretty much everything I look for in YA fantasy. 5/5

The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings – this book is adorable and was pretty much solely a cover-buy. It’s a really sweet graphic novel about a sad ghost who feels completely alone in the world until they discover that there are others in the exact same situation, and is the kind of book you can easily get through in an hour or so. 4/5

And that’s it! How was your reading this month, and what’s been your favourite book of 2021 so far? I’d love to know in the comments below 🙂

Resolutions Book Tag!

So, yes, we’re halfway through January and, no, I did not have any New Years resolutions this year, but I saw this tag and couldn’t resist taking part! It’s a bookish twist on New Years resolutions and an excuse to talk about some really great books I’ve read recently, so I’m really all for it.

This was created by Mikaela Reads and you can check out her original post here!

Exercise More – name a book that has made you want to leap up out of your seat (for any reason)

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Turner made me want to jump up out of my seat in all the best ways. I wanted to scream and cry at some times and I wanted to leap up and cheer at others. I cannot fault this book at all and am honestly always looking for an excuse to talk about this to anyone who will listen.

Get Organised – a book with an exceptional plot

This one took me a while because, whilst a lot of the books I read have amazing plots, I read a lot of very character-driven stuff. I think one that just kept me turning the pages was Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

Learn A New Skill – a book which taught you something

Definitely Foreshadow by Nova Ren Suma and Emily XR Pan. I feel like I bring this book up at every opportunity as well, but here we are. Not only were the stories so interesting that they made me want to write, the essays and the prompts really helped with certain techniques and plotting.

Live Life To The Fullest – a book which inspired you

Shine by Jessica Jung, for sure. This book did not inspire me to become a kpop idol but the protagonist, Rachel, will stop at absolutely nothing to achieve her dreams. She is strong-willed, super talented and willing to look past personal problems to achieve her ultimate goal.

Save more money / spend less money – the most expensive book you’ve bought and was it worth it?

This is the most boring answer but the most expensive books I’ve bought are all textbooks (you probably aren’t interested but Major Problems in American History, I’m looking at you). They helped me get my degree but in terms of whether the books themselves were worth £60? Umm… probably not.

Spend More Time With Family and Friends – a character you would want to be best mates with

Pip from A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson! Her personality is so relatable but, on top of that, she seems super committed to her friends and just like a really fun person to be around.

Travel More – a book with a location you’d love to visit

Warcross by Marie Lu (I find a way to include a Marie Lu book in every tag I do and I will absolutely never stop). Not only do I want to visit Tokyo, I also want to visit dystopian, virtual-reality Tokyo.

Read More – a book you are desperate to read this year

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart is my most anticipated read of 2021 and I am completely desperate to read it. I just got an ARC (praise the book gods) and will likely be dropping everything after writing this post to read it.

If you’re interested in doing this, consider yourself tagged!

I’d love to hear if you agree with my choices too, so let me know your thoughts in the comments😊

ARC REVIEW: The Spiral by Iain Ryan

Thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for the e-ARC of The Spiral by Iain Ryan!

The Spiral tells the story of a young woman named Erma as she tries to cope with the aftermath of being shot by a former colleague. Her life takes a bizarre and disturbing turn, and the closer she gets to figuring out her colleague’s motivations and retracing her steps, the more endangered she becomes.

It was fascinating to read a book where the protagonist is so loosely tethered to reality and the consequences of her actions. Erma has faced a lot of trauma and the way she speaks reflects that completely. The writing style, the storyline, Erma’s behaviour and the choose-your-own-adventure elements blend together to create something unsettling, disturbing and desperately addictive.

I’m fairly sure it would be impossible to go into this book knowing what to expect. I knew that it wouldn’t be a standard thriller, but there was no way of knowing just how many strange twists and turns would be taking place throughout. The unique mix of fantasy, thriller and mystery elements is something I haven’t come across before and, if that sounds like something you’re interested in, I would entirely recommend it.

The integration of the fantasy elements definitely threw me off a little at first, and I struggled to grasp the relevance of these random snippets mixed in with Erma’s story, but it all seemed to tie together and begin to make sense towards the end. The short, no-nonsense way that Erma’s parts were written also made it a little difficult to get used to initially, but this turned out to be a very good way of keeping up the break-neck pace and wasting no time. It’s an incredibly fast-paced story as a result, and it’s absolutely the kind of book you can get through in a day.

This book is very far out of my comfort zone, but it was fast-paced, unique, gripping and I would imagine soon-to-become an essential read for lovers of choose-your-own-adventure and fantasy/thriller blends. If you’re looking for something bizarre that you absolutely have never read anything similar to before, this might be the perfect choice.

Rating: 4/5

DECEMBER WRAP-UP

Happy New Year!

With just seven hours to go until 2021, I finally met my (recently increased) reading goal of sixty books! I’m so happy with how my reading went last year and am even happier that I’ve not really been able to stop reading for the last month- and that, as a result of that, my December Wrap Up is ten books, which is more than I have read in a single month for a long time. So. Here we go.

When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes by Rayna York – I don’t review books on my blog that I don’t particularly enjoy, so I didn’t share this one. This is a summery contemporary about a girl who is torn away from her wealthy lifestyle in California when her father is found to be embezzling company money and forced to adapt to life in rural Ohio. It was a cute book with lots of romance, but sadly was not for me. Still, it was a quick, easy read. 2/5

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson – I’m kind of mad that I didn’t read this as soon as I bought it, but at least I got round to it eventually. I really enjoyed this sequel to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and will absolutely be sure to keep up with book three when it is released. 4/5

Caraval, Legendary and Finale by Stephanie Garber – it has been years since I read an entire series in the space of a week (or even read an entire series full stop…) but this one was so beautiful and magical that I was completely unable to put it down. I loved the set of protagonists in book two just as much as I loved book one’s and found myself experiencing a severe book hangover when I realised that I was done with them at the end of Finale. I will be waiting desperately for Once Upon a Broken Heart. 5/5

The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky – review to come, but I really enjoyed this YA thriller about a girl whose coping mechanism after a home invasion is to turn to horror movies and gore in an attempt to feel safe once again. It had a fascinating set of characters, a very unique storyline, and an enjoyable series of twists that got me through the entire book in less than a day. 5/5

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban – I’ve had this book on my radar since I first heard about it and decided this month to give the audiobook a try. It was a really gripping story with a troubled cast of characters, a high-tension situation and the romance expected of a high-school thriller. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but I did enjoy this book and would fully recommend it as an audiobook, as the narrator was amazing! 3.5/5

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – People on my twitter timeline have been talking about this book for centuries and I’m so mad that I didn’t read it sooner. Also mad because I didn’t realise that the audiobook was narrated by Lin Manuel-Miranda! It was such a sweet and gripping story about friendship and love, and I fell completely in love with both Aristotle and Dante. 5/5

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao – Apparently, this was a month of contemporaries for me. This is another book that I’ve been eyeing for months and finally gave in and bought last week. It was a super cute and easy read about a girl who develops complicated feelings for the boy pretending to be her boyfriend to get her parents off her back. It was pretty cliched and very typical for the genre, but it was quick to read and honestly pretty sweet. 4/5

A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington – which I finished a few hours ago in an attempt to complete my 60th book. I have mixed feelings about this one (again, review to come, when I’ve figured out my thoughts…) but it was a beautifully written, unique tale that combined historical fiction and magical realism. 4/5

And that’s it for the last month of the year. I hope you all had a wonderful year of reading (and a safe year in general) and wish you all the best for 2021!