2018 · Wrap Ups

November Wrap Up (2018)

I’m writing this after a nine hour philosophy studying session, so my brain is a bit fried but I thought I could use talking about the books I read this month to wind down!

Books read: 7

Pages read: 2059

DNF: 1

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51CBSQW0CbL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1) by Jeff VanderMeer

The first book I finished in November was inspired by the movie of the same name that came out this year, directed by Alex Garland. I absolutely fell in love with the film, how dark and fascinating it was, so I was very happy to find the book in a charity shop for 50p!

The premise of this science fiction story is that there is a stretch of land called Area X, a complete mystery behind its ever encroaching border. The only knowledge gleaned from the many, many failed missions to investigate it, is that there is a lighthouse inside Area X, perhaps where the centre of its energy lies. Each of the missions has ended tragically and there were no survivors as they each tried to make their way to the lighthouse. Now, four women are tasked with the twelfth expedition into the deadly and undiscovered Area X.

I was so engrossed with this book that I didn’t even look up from it for the first hundred pages, which for a book only slightly over double that length, is an achievement. The suspense and the nervous energy was so high, even when we hadn’t reached the climax of the scenes. My heart was pounding.

I would be pretty comfortable calling this a thriller as well as science fiction, because it is dark, and you are constantly looking over your – or the characters’ – shoulder. There’s such a presence Area X has, that was just so well done and made for a fantastic reading experience.


27366528Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3) by Seanan McGuire

As this is the third in the Wayward Children series, I won’t give a spoilery synopsis, but if you don’t already know, the WC series follows children who return from portal fantasy worlds, back into our world. The stories are really about what happens when these children return, the idea of home and identity, and what lengths you’ll go to to hold onto those values.

I read Beneath the Sugar Sky for Lalathon, and decided to go the audiobook route, as I was already physically reading a book. I have to say that maybe that wasn’t the best idea, because I was a little let down by this?

I have no issues with the audiobook, I thought it was narrated brilliantly and I did enjoy listening to it, but it just didn’t have that same oomph the other books gave me, so I think physically reading the Wayward Children series is the way forward for me from now on.


8d6be556f1d456393d10e8deb861a77e.jpgRevival by Stephen King

This is the first Stephen King I’ve read in a while, after I burnt myself out reading all of his massive books (I’m looking at you Under the Dome, It and The Stand).

Revival follows a man named Jamie Morton through childhood to late adulthood, and how his old pastor Charles Jacobs and his obsession with electricity haunt him through his life.

I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this book, mostly because there wasn’t as much of the thriller aspects as I’d been expecting, and so when I was reading pages and pages of this guy just living his life, I was left wanting more.

However, I have to say that when those thriller moments jumped up, they were suitably creepy. Not quite as terrifying as some of his other books, but I think this book was more rooted in reality than previously – that is, until the ending, which I’m still not sure what to think of.


A1IwQuYSFFL.jpgA Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

I listened to this book on audio through Scribd after reading and absolutely loving Nova Ren Suma’s other book, The Walls Around Us. I have to say that I did enjoy Walls more, but I still really enjoyed A Room Away From the Wolves. 

This book centres around Catherine House, a place for wayward girls, with dark secrets. When Bina runs away from home to the big city, to pursue the dreams she once shared with her mother, she finds herself on the doorstep of Catherine House, and entangled in a history she had no idea about.

It had all the creepiness and atmosphere of Nove Ren Suma books, but as with Seanan McGuire, I think I’m better at physically reading her books.


34433755Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1) by Natasha Ngan

Ohh, wow. Maybe new addition to my favourite fantasy list? Maybe new addition to my favourite book of the year?

I loved every second of reading Girls of Paper and Fire, and I can’t wait to see where Natasha Ngan takes this story, and anything else she writes. I just connected so much to the writing, the plot, and these characters.

I have a full review here full of my thoughts, but I highly recommend you pick up this book at the first chance you get. Trigger warnings for violence, sexual assault, and rape.


51DXoB9h2eL.jpgBridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

I won’t get too far into my thoughts on this book as I have a review coming out this week, but I absolutely adored it. This book had me bawling at midnight, and then kept me up until the early hours long after I’d finished, just thinking about it.

Bridge of Clay follows five brothers and their failed relationship after the death of their mother. The story jumps between present day with the brothers, and back to their parents’ childhood, and how they met. It’s a story about dysfunctional families, grief, and forgiveness, and totally broke my heart.

I know there are a lot of mixed reviews and I will say that if you go into it expecting it to be like The Book Thief, you’ll be disappointed. It’s very slow and very character driven, and a bloody big book, but I thought it was amazing.


51QKsHAoy0L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

I barely made it through 10% of this book before I knew it wasn’t for me. Ragdoll is a crime thriller, and it really didn’t pull me in. I had the biggest problem with the writing. The was so much purple prose and redundant filler words that really slowed down the pacing.

The characters just were not likeable. Either they were immature and insensitive, or just purely unrealistic.

I could go on, but I don’t see the point and don’t want to criticise something that is cleared up after the point I stopped reading.

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Well, I loved pretty much all of what I read in November! I can only hope for another beaut reading month in December too!

What did you read in November? Have you read any of these books? Let me know and we can chat! 

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2018 · Book Reviews

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan Review

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Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

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TW: sexual assault, rape, violence, death.

I flew through this book so fast, considering I was sick when I read it, and when I couldn’t pick it up, the story and the characters were always on my mind. I don’t often stay up late because I’m always exhausted, but this book kept me up long into the night.

I have to say that Girls of Paper and Fire is definitely harrowing at times, to the point where I was cringing for pages, and wanted to just reach inside the story take the characters out of the horrible situations they found themselves in. That being said, I think Natasha Ngan did a very good job of making these difficult scenes effective and painful, without ever dipping into romanticisation or the violence becoming gratuitous. I found everything to be done with a great deal of respect, while also delivering that gut punch when it needed to.

Continue reading “Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan Review”

2018 · Wrap Ups

October Wrap Up

October flew by in one snap, and I can’t even pinpoint whether it was a good or bad month. I can barely remember what I did! At least that means there’s no long intro this month!

PS: I know this is so, so late, but hey – I’ve been sick! On the mend now, though.

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1. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

This graphic novel was just a total delight. I loved each and every character, the art, the story, the feels, and just the whole vibe. It really made me nostalgic for some reason, but ultimately I couldn’t stop grinning while I was reading. Nimona follows a young shapeshifter girl taken in by a villain, who is in turn plotting to expose the heroes in the kingdom for the frauds they are. But there’s more to the relationship between Blackheart (the villain) and Goldenloin (the lead hero). There’s the trope of the bad guy being terrible at being evil, which is something I love so much. It’s a very quick read, if you’re looking to squeeze in a book to bump up to your Goodreads challenge!

2. The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

Unfortunately this was my only DNF of the month. The synopsis is purposely vague and I didn’t get too much of the bigger picture, but it follows a boy/young man as he returns to an isolated retreat called The Loney with his family and their church group. There’s an overarching mystery which I didn’t get far enough to dig into.

I did enjoy the very beginning of the book and found it atmospheric enough, but I was uncomfortable with the way the main character’s disabled brother was used in the plot, as well as a girl introduced at the 25% mark. I lost interest and didn’t want to pick it back up, so I set it aside.

3. The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

This is a perfect choice for a short Halloween book if you’re still feeling spooky! It’s one of the Penguin Little Black Classics, so really is short, but packs a punch. The first story The Yellow Wall-Paper, which follows a woman struggling with her mental health in the 1800s. Her husband is a doctor and confines her to her bed and forbids her to do anything more strenuous than taking a turn in the fresh air. She is forbidden from writing, but manages to write in her diary in the moments he isn’t looking, and it is these entries we read.

There’s a whole lot of symbolism that isn’t too taxing, and I just loved the central feminist theme. It is is also genuinely creepy. The other stories were also very entertaining. I’m willing to bet Gilman had a few men in her life in mind when she was writing these!

Continue reading “October Wrap Up”

2018 · Readathons · TBR

Lalathon TBR

Lalathon is basically a read-a-thon running from November 1st – November 9th, which I believe stemmed from Lala wanting to re-read her favourite books, and snowballed into a read-a-thon where we all read her favourite books! She explains it better in her video.

I’m really excited to participate in this read-a-thon because I have similar reading tastes to Lala, and going through what she considers her favourite books gave me a push to finally pick up these few books that I’ve had my eye on for a while.

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332942001. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

This book is, from what I can gather, written in verse and follows a young Afro-Latina girl called Xiomara Batista, who discovers slam poetry as a way of combating the various obstacles in her life. I think it’s a book about frustration, adolescence, religion, and finding your voice, which honestly sounds incredible. I’m going to try and find the audiobook for this one because I’ve heard good things!

Continue reading “Lalathon TBR”

2018 · Book Tags

2018 Marvel Avengers Book Tag (Original-ish?)

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this on my blog before but I am a huge Marvel fan, the MCU in particular. I never grew up with comics or graphic novels because they both were expensive and gave me migraines, but I’ve grown up with the films.

I’ve wanted to do this tag for a long time and know there are a few variants floating around, but I couldn’t find one with all of the characters I loved. So, I’ve decided to do a mashup of all of the Marvel tags I could find, and then added/adapted a few of my own.

Credit to: YA By the Way

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1. Captain America – A character you would follow into battle.

Elias from An Ember in the Ashes (review here) is a character I would follow to the end of the earth. Granted, I would probably die, but I’m too far gone for that to stop me now. He messes up but his heart is always in the right place. Plus, Laia would (and does) give him hell if he was being too reckless.

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2. Thor – A book you finished and made you immediately shout – ANOTHER!

The last book that did this to me is The City of Brass (review here). I have no idea how I’m going to be able to wait for the next book in January.

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3. Okoye – A female character you would fight alongside/hide behind.

It’s difficult to think of someone other than Okoye I would want to fight alongside, mostly because she’d deal with any situation in the seconds it would take for me to get my weapon out. But, if I had to go for another wing woman, I would go with Zélie from Children of Blood and Bone. Not only could she kick anyone’s ass, I would die just to see her and Okoye in five feet of each other.

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4. Iron Man – A character with a big ego, but a bigger heart.

I’m going with Cole from The Darkest Minds trilogy. I’ve only read the first two books so I’m not sure if this changes in the last book, but Cole always has his confidence and swagger, but he seems to genuinely care about his brother and

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5. T’Challa and Shuri – Siblings who mess with each other, but would rip you apart for doing the same.

Zélie and Tzain from Children of Blood and Bone came to mind straight away when I came up with this question. I loved their banter and the love and exasperation they have for each other, and I would not want to mess with Zélie and Tzain, or T’Challa and Shuri.

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6. Phil Coulson – PSYCHE! A character who would pretend to be dead just to mess with the other characters.

You know I’ve got to go with Nimona. Nimona is the ultimate jokester and would drive me to probably throttle her if I ever had to spend any time with her. I’ll give it to her that she would make me laugh, though.

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7. Loki – A character with kickass development/arc.

Laia from An Ember in the Ashes! Listen, you know how much I love Laia’s character development and the journey she goes through not only in the first book, but the rest of the season. I go way more in depth in my review but yeah, I adore her. She’s head and shoulders above Loki!

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8. Bucky – A character who needs a hug but could also kill you in the same second.

Dara from The City of Brass, without a doubt. I love him so much, and want nothing more than to just hug him and tell him everything will work out, but I have a feeling he would just tell me to shut up and break my neck or something. I think he and Bucky would get along either very well, or end up killing each other within the first ten minutes of meeting one another.

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9. Rhodey/Sam Wilson – ‘The people that shoot at you usually wind up shooting at me.’ – A character who’ll stand by their friend, but also exasperatedly try to drag them out of dangerous situations.

I’m going to do a full post on this soon, but the character who inspired this was Jacob from City of Ghosts. He is the level-headed, rational one trying to reign Cassie in, but when he’s unsuccessful, he’s going with her anyway. You definitely see that with Rhodey and Sam, as well as with Zélie and Tzain again, too. It’s a trope I never get tired of seeing. ALL THE FRIENDSHIP ALL THE TIME, OKAY?

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10. Shuri – A beautiful, clever bean who must be protected.

Confession – I wrote this question initially without a character in mind, and so have left it blank for a few days. That was until I read Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and I immediately thought of Shuri. Binti is the cleverest protagonist I’ve read, with more courage than I can ever hope to have, and who I would protect with my life. And it fits even more because Nnedi Okorafor is writing the Shuri comics right now! Please, if you haven’t picked up Binti yet, you must.

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11. Spiderman – A character you want to take under your wing.

Another recent read, I’m going with Sadie from Sadie by Courtney Summers. While I wouldn’t be a mentor to Sadie, I just want to wrap her up in a blanket and tell her not to worry. I’m very protective over my girl and never want anything bad to happen to her, because she’s had enough of that in her life.


It would be awesome if you wanted to do this tag, so I tag you! Please link back so I can check out your answers!

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2018 · Book Reviews

Sadie by Courtney Summers Review

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Congratulations,Class of 2018!

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


TW: murder, rape, sexual assault, pedophilia, child abuse, drug abuse, alcoholism, death.

Congratulations,Class of 2018! (1)And it begins, as so many stories do, with a dead girl.

This is a book I went into knowing I was probably going to love it and give it five stars, which as you can see, ended up happening, but I still managed to underestimate how much I loved Sadie. 

I listened to the audiobook, and it is without a doubt, my favourite ever audiobook. There are so many voices, and the podcast formats just lends itself so well to audio. Every performance was superb, and just took the emotion to a whole new level. If you can get your hands on the audiobook, I’d definitely grab it!

Continue reading “Sadie by Courtney Summers Review”

2018 · Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Weight of Stars by K. Ancrum

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine which highlights upcoming releases we are excited for!

This week, I’m going with…

Weight of Stars by K. Ancrum

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Release Date: 19th March 2019

Publisher: Imprint

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/Contemporary/Romance

I am so hyped for this book, not only because it centres around protagonists of colour, is apparently queer as all hell, and is about space, but because it also just seems so damn up my alley.

Have a scan of the synopsis and tell me it doesn’t!

Continue reading “Waiting on Wednesday: Weight of Stars by K. Ancrum”

2018 · Book Reviews

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab Review

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Congratulations,Class of 2018!Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

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Congratulations,Class of 2018! (1)

I went into this book with pretty much no expectations because I don’t read a lot of middle-grade, and so don’t really know what to look out for in terms of what I do/don’t like. I understand that I’m not the intended audience so kind of had to rethink the way I approached the book, which was interesting. I also feel that because of this, I’m going to review the book in a slightly different way.

So, this is going to be a sort of mini-review.

City of Ghosts is eerie enough to firmly belong in the paranormal genre and to give kids a Halloween kick, but doesn’t reach quite to the traumatising levels Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, for example, does – which I don’t think is a bad thing! I know Schwab is capable of going a lot darker, but I get why she didn’t with this one.

Continue reading “City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab Review”

2018 · Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine which highlights upcoming releases we are excited for!

This week, I had to go with The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty.

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Release Date: 8th January 2019

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Genre: Adult/Historical Fantasy

I know this release is quite a way away but it is a book I am just way too excited for. The Kingdom of Copper is the sequel to the perfection that is The City of Brass which I read and loved recently. My review is here!

Because it is a sequel and I don’t want to spoil, I’ll leave the synopsis for the first book below.

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

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Have you read The City of Brass and if so, will you be picking up The Kingdom of Copper? Are there any 2019 releases you can’t wait for?

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2018 · Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at That Artsy Girl which I absolutely love. I often don’t manage all ten, but I give it a good go! Check out the link for a list of previous and future topics.

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The theme this week is the longest books we’ve ever read, and I’ve read some pretty long books – whether or not they were worth it remains to be seen!

5162hC5K0FL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_1. The Stand by Stephen King

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The first two on this list shows my Stephen King phase, and phew, that guy writes some chunky books. The Stand is the longest book I’ve ever read and I do remember enjoying it, even if it was very dense and long.

51xPIEYPWWL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_2. It by Stephen King

1116 Pages

This is my favourite Stephen King book, just because of how absolutely terrifying it is. I’d love a re-read some time soon, when I can carve out the time!

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books I’ve Read”