Sunday, 15 January 2017

New Year Bookish Resolutions

Despite it already being a couple of weeks into the new year, today I thought I would share with you some of my book and blogging related new year's resolutions and goals that I hope to have achieved by the end of 2017.  Last year was definitely not the best year for me in any aspects of reading or blogging or just generally having much motivation at all, and so unfortunately many of my goals from last didn't get met by a long shot.  So, I figured that a new year brings a new start for me to finally get back into all the habits I fell out of in 2016 and what better way to do that than to set myself some challenges for the next twelve months.  And so, enjoy! 

It's no surprise that after my horrendous reading year last year, I only managed to read 28 books last year, which meant I was miles off my goal of 40 books.  So, despite falling very short last year, I have decided to actually up my goal from last year by 10 books, which means I am back up to the same number of books I challenged myself to read the first time I ever completed the goodreads challenge.  I also hope that this will keep my motivation going as it is a very high target for me, especially for this year coming, and so it will take a lot of work to reach, whilst still being realistic!  

This goal is actually more or less a repeat from last year, as before then I had read a total of zero classics outside of the ones I had to read in school.  And although I didn't do amazingly well on this goal, only reading two classics throughout the whole year, I am proud that I managed to pick any up at all considering my previous record.  But I would still love to read so many more classics this year, which is why instead of setting a general resolution to read more classics, this time round I have actually challenged myself to read 5 classics throughout the year, which might not sound like much, but would be a huge accomplishment if I could actually achieve it.  

 Not only did my reading slump have a huge impact on my reading, but it also meant I didn't blog anywhere near as much as I wanted to, so one thing that I am determined to get back into this year is blogging regularly as well as making sure that I am proud of everything I post.  Last year I did aim to write more discussion posts and posts that differed from the usual book review, TTT or TBR, but unfortunately I had a huge lack of motivation to blog as well as to read, and so most of the stuff I did put up was very similar and lacked creativity.  So, I am going to turn this around in 2017 and from now start not only putting posts up regularly, but also hopefully making them different and more unique than I have before.  

But as much as I want to write more creative posts this year, I still want book reviews to be a major part of what I post, as I absolutely love writing them when I actually do so soon after I finish the book.  However, one of my worst habits and something that is becoming a major problem for me is not actually reviewing books or even making notes on them after I read them, instead letting them sit there whilst I read other stuff, so that when I finally do come to review them, not only have I forgotten half of what I thought about the book at the time, but I am also nowhere near as invested or as motivated to write about a book I read a good while ago.  

Therefore, in order to stop this from happening, I am going to get back into the habit of making notes on books while I read them and then review them as soon as I finish them, even if I don't put that review up straight away, so that I can actually enjoy writing reviews again and be motivated to do so. 

Finally, one of my biggest bookish accomplishments last year was finally starting my bookstagram account in the summer, which not only allowed me to connect with so many more people but also helped me feel even more involved in this community.  Unfortunately, like everything at the end of last year, my motivation for it waned and so my posts have become so much more spread out and I have felt so much more disconnected from it since.  So, to try and get back into something I really love, I am determined to post at least once a week to begin with, hopefully alot more when time goes on, to get back into bookstagram and become more active than I ever have been on there.

So there are my five bookish goals for 2017 - let's hope I can achieve them all!  

What are some of your bookish new year's resolutions?  

Friday, 13 January 2017

Winter TBR

With Christmas and New Year now over, and the cold starting to settle in for good, a new TBR is more than needed to give me some good books to look forward to and motivate me to start my reading year off well.  I am determined to leave the Great Reading Slump of 2016 far behind me and start this year a fresh, with new goals, new books and new blog posts that hopefully will be a little bit more regular than last years.  And so, enjoy!  

If I'm honest, I really don't understand how I have left this book unread for so long, and how this series has taken me so long to get through.  After the ending of the fifth book, City of Lost Souls, I can't wait to see where the story is going to go and also to see how everything will wrap up in this conclusion.  I am also desperate to finally see what the hype is about The Infernal Devices series, but am in such need of finishing this one first that this book is going to be my top priority for the month - if I only read one book, it will be this one. 

When I first heard about this book I absolutely adored the sound of it and couldn't wait to pick it up and read it.  It follows Katherine and Matthew who are continuously brought back to life, fall in love, change history before being tragically separated again and again. Unfortunately though, as often happens with me and books, instead of reading it the moment I bought it, it has instead been left on my shelf for far too long now while my enthusiasm about this story has drained.  So, I really do feel as though I need to at least give this one a go pretty damn soon as whilst I am still interested and intrigued by the concept of this book now, I am scared that if I wait too long, I no longer will have much desire to read it at all.  

This is another one that has been on my shelf for far too long, and is immediate need of being read, especially as I also would love to start reading more contemporary again as well.  This story follows a couple in the process of breaking up and goes back to show each item of their relationship and its significance.  I absolutely adore the unique concept of the way this story is told and set out, and so can't wait to see how it will turn out and what this book will hold! 

This is a series loved by so many people, and so after reading the first book in this series, The Raven Boys, early last year I am determined to continue on and not just leave this sequel sitting unread for much longer.  I loved the mystical and fantastical elements of the first book, and so can't wait to see and learn more about them in this one, as well as returning to a band of characters I have already fallen in love with.  

Looking back over what I read throughout last year, it is clear that books from one specific genre are severely lacking - historical fiction.  This story is an alternative history novel set in a world where the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule, as our main character Yael enters a motorcycle race in an attempt to kill Hitler.  As soon as the read the synopsis for this one, I knew it sounded like my perfect novel, as adore the concept of it and just can't wait to see how it plays out!

What books are you hoping to read over the next few months?  Have you read any of these - what did you think? 

Friday, 30 December 2016

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff review

With Illuminae gaining so much hype at the end of last year, its no wonder that so many people were insanely excited about its sequel, Gemina being released, myself included.  I couldn't wait to see where the story was headed and to return to a format I loved, and so it wasn't long after the release of Gemina that I finally picked it up after anticipating it for so long.  And this one certainly lived up to expectations. 

One of the most unique and talked about aspects of Illuminae was it's completely unique format that saw the entire story written through messages, camera footage as well as in many other formats, so it was no surprise that Gemina continued and somehow improved on this further.  Not only does this make the story even more addicting and engaging than it already is, but it also seemed to make it all seem that little bit more realistic and immersive, as you feel as if you are in the action rather than being told it.

Unlike Illuminae, this book instead follows two main characters, Hanna and Nik, who are on board the Hypatia when it is invaded by a Beitech squad who take the ship hostage.  Like Kady and Ezra in the first book, somehow once again I loved both of these characters, with Hanna being the smart and strong commander's daughter and Nik being the morally grey character who slowly reveals his true kind nature.  I also really enjoyed watching the relationship and bond between them slowly grow as they became closer and closer, and found it added just the right amount of romance to the story without it ever being too much or overpowering in any way at all.  

But as much as I loved the new main characters introduced in this book, I also loved our new side characters, as well as seeing some old faces crop up again too.  One of my favourite secondary characters had to be Ella, who provided some of the best humour of the book whilst also giving us the amazing bond she shared with Nik.  I also adored how strong a character she was for how much she went through and how she never gave up even when almost everyone else did.  Surprisingly, I also really enjoyed seeing more of the antagonists in this book, as we often got to see things from their point of view as well as Hanna and Nik's.  And let's not forget the amazing reunion we got with some of our favourites from book one, with Kady, Ezra and even possibly the coolest computer ever, AIDAN, all making a welcome appearance as well.  

But what good is a book without a pretty damn amazing plot?  Thankfully, Gemina had exactly that.  I loved almost every aspect of this plot, from the key storyline of the invasion of the ship to some of the others that slowly weaved their way throughout the book as well, such as the deadly creatures.  I also really enjoyed seeing how the plot developed as more became revealed as the book went on, this not only keeping me reading as I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but also making the story unpredictable and full of some great plot twists.

One aspect of the plot though that I adore more than the rest has to be the continued storyline from Illuminae, that this time sees Beitech attempt to remove any witnesses of the attack on Keneza.  For someone who doesn't read a lot of sci-fi at all, for some reason I adore the idea of this almost war and battle in space against this huge co-operation, which is why I loved seeing how the storyline of this book fit into and continued the one in Illuminae.  I really liked how this one, whilst still having its own individual plot, still managed to tie into the overall story in the most perfect way.  

Overall, I think its safe to say this was a pretty damn amazing book and sequel.  It gave me everything I loved in Illuminae and more, and while Illuminae will always hold a special place in my heart, this one definitely meet and exceeded any expectations I had.  Now, I just have to patiently wait until next year to read the next installment in this phenomenal series!

Character: Nik
Scene: Hanna and Kali fight in the grav-rail car
Quote: 'It's not about what I say, right?  It's what I do that matters here.'

Relate a:
Song: Halo by King No One
Other Book: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


Have you read Gemina - what did you think?  

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Seventy One

Top Ten Best Books of 2016

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  Despite these posts have been few and far between on my blog recently, I decided that this was one topic I could not miss out on as there was no way I was missing out on the opportunity to talk about some of my favourite books I read this year.  Although my reading year was definitely not a good one in the number of books I read, that doesn't mean it wasn't an amazing one for the quality of exceptional books I did manage to read over the last 12 months.  And so, enjoy!

I decided to pick this one up mid way through the year as my reading slump was just beginning to take hold, and I'm so glad I did as not only was it an amazing and addictive story, but made me fall in love with fantasy.  Everything about this book was just so detailed and beautifully written, with characters that were flawed and realistic and plot twists that I never saw coming. 

One of my main goals for this year was to read more classics, so when I had to read this for my english class it gave me the perfect opportunity to finally do so.  I instantly fell in love with the story and the gorgeously poetic writing and narration that along with the phenomenal atmosphere of the 1920's in America means I can safely say I will almost definitely be rereading this one for years to come.  

For a book I picked up super spontaneously, this is not one I ever expected to love as much as I did, let alone to be one of my favourites from the entire year.  This story just transported as soon as I started it, and was one of the most addictive books I read all year - I honestly could not put this down!

2016 was not only the year when I discovered my undying love for fantasy, but also the year I finally read and loved one of the most talked about books in YA.  I honestly can't believe how long it took me to finally jump onto the bandwagon with this one, but I am so glad I have now discovered the beauty and perfection that is this book, and can now join in with the hype that is constantly spread about this series.

Throne of Glass wasn't the only huge series I started this year, as I also finally decided to give The Raven Boys another go at the start of the year.  This time, I managed to push through and really get into the story, so much so that I ended up loving this book, plot and particularly the amazing characters that make this book as good as it is.

If there was one book that I was most excited about being released this year, it was this one, so I can't tell you how happy I am that this lived up to all my hopes and expectations and more.  The story, writing and characters were all just as, and possibly even more beautiful than in We All Looked Up, and I think its safe to say Zelda has become one of my most memorable characters of the year as well.  

Finally, one of the biggest releases of last year became one of my favourite reads of this year after I decided to join the hype surrounding this early this year.  Everything about this book was just so amazingly unique, from its completely different format to its bold and individualistic characters and plot, that it was almost impossible not to adore this exceptional novel. 

What were some of your favourite books of 2016?  Have you read any of these - what did you think? 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Seventy

Top Ten Books I'm looking forward to for the first half of 2017

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week's topic was one I was really excited for, as I love to see what amazing books are coming our way soon, but especially as I am already declaring 2017 as the year of reading.  After my awful year this year, I saw no better way to really motivate myself to get back into reading and blogging than to give myself a few releases to get excited about in the new year.  And so, enjoy!

The Hundred Lies of Lizzy Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti - 3rd January -

If there's one genre I have read an awful lot less of this year, its contemporary, and so whilst I hope to just generally read alot more in 2017, I also would love to get back into the genre whilst still keeping my love of fantasy and such as well.  This one intrigued from the moment I started reading the synopsis and I'm so desperate to find out what will happens in this book that I'm so glad its release date is very early next year.   

Poison Kiss by Breeana Shields - 10th January -

As soon as a book mentions assassins, you know I'll be interested, so I was very excited when the synopsis for this one mentioned a teenage assassin who kills with a single kiss.  I also love that this one is based in Indian folklore and am determined to pick this one up when its released.  

A List of Cages by Robin Roe - 10th January - 

Recently, contemporary novels like this have held no interest with me whatsoever, yet for some reason this synopsis just drew me and actually left me really intrigued and wanting to find out more.  I love the concept of their being more than meets the eye, as well the main character having ADHD, and so I'm excited to see what this one holds.  

Caraval by Stephanie Garber - 31st January - 

I've seen this one floating around for a while, but had yet to actually check it out myself and find out what it was about before now, when I realize what all the hype was about.  This book just seems to include so many different aspects that I love, such as the idea of the performance or game being more real than it seems, and there is honestly no doubt in my mind that I will end up picking this up at some point next year. 

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas - 21st February - 

Since my love of fantasy has grown enormously this past year, I couldn't help but instantly want to read this story that follows our main character, Freya , who ends up as heir to the throne after all those in line before her die at a royal banquet.  I'm really interested by all the royal politics as well as the mystery of the murders and so I hope I do end up picking up and reading this one at some point.  

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig - 28th February -

The Girl from Everywhere was one of my favourite reads from the year, and so there was before I even began looking at some of the releases for next year, I knew this would feature somewhere.  I'm so excited to see where the story goes next, especially as this is also the final book, and just hope this second one is just as addictive and captivating as the first.  

Definition of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor - 4th April - 

This is another contemporary that I'm actually surprised caught my attention, as it sounds nothing like what I have been reading in the last year or so.  I think one of the main things that interested me with this one was the idea of the the lives of these three individuals all intertwining, but I'm also super excited to see what happens with the rest of the story and what this book holds.  

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh - 2nd May -

Finally, I'll be honest and say that the it was the gorgeous cover that first drew me to this one, but it was the synopsis that kept me interested.  I've been really trying to read a hell of a lot more fantasy this year, and this one just sounds like such an interesting one, with the whole idea of our main character hiding out as a boy in the rebel army. 

Are you excited for any of these?  What 2017 releases are you most excited for?