Friday, 28 July 2017

Summer Reads

Although for alot of people summer is already well under way, this week actually marks the start of my summer, and so after my TBR just went up on Sunday, I thought that I would look back at some of my favourite books that I've read in the last few summers and to recommend some perfect books for this time of year.  Summer is also most definitely the time I read so many more contemporaries, and so as much as I have tried to add some other books from other genres on here as well, this list does include quite a few contemporaries within it.  Another thing I also tried to do with this list was to pick books that I not only think are perfect to read in the summer, but ones that I myself also read in the summer, which is something that I actually found myself naturally doing anyway as I feel like alot of people gravitate towards similar sort of books that are summer reads at this time of year.  Anyway, here are some of my recommendations for some amazing books to read in the warm summer months.  And so, enjoy!

Whilst all of Morgan Matson's books scream summer and so almost demand to be read in the warmer months, this one might just be my favourite of hers that I've read, and so the one that I would definitely recommend picking up.  This follows Emily as her best friend, Sloane, suddenly disappears at the start of the summer, leaving behind her a list of 13 things for Emily to do that pushes her out of her comfort zone and sends her on some very unexpected adventures.  This book honestly is just such an amazing read that will hook you, but also inspire you to make the most of the summer, and move away from your comfort zone, even if just a little bit.

Next up, this one is a little bit of a darker contemporary, and so also one that is a little different to your normal summer read as it follows four different characters as they are told that they have only two months to live before an asteroid hits the earth.  Not only does this one have such an amazing concept that is executed so well, but the writing is also so unique and will draw you in and make you fall in love with this story and these characters whose lives all begin to intertwine, and who all individually grow so much through the course of this book as well.  

Whilst I would be lying if I said I wouldn't recommend recommend this book at any time of the year, I think that summer is definitely one of the best times to pick this one up and give it a go.  This one is a contemporary that follows our two main characters of  Natasha, who is fighting to stop her family from being deported back to Jamaica, and Daniel, whose Korean parents want him to go to Harvard but whose own passion lies in poetry, not in becoming a doctor.  It is just such an amazing book that you will fly through without even realising and that includes two stunning main characters who are very different but both just as spectacular as each other, and who will both take you on a epic one-day journey as they both face their own problems whilst also trying to figure out the growing relationship between them.  

If fantasy is more your thing, then this one might be a better recommendation for you, as it tells the story of both Elias, a Mask who soon plans to desert and risk death by doing so, and Laia, a Scholar who has to call on the Resistance for help to recover her brother after the Masks take everything from her.  This is another book that will hook you from the very start, and will take you on such an unpredictable journey with so many twists and turns that you won't see coming.  

This is another one that is a perfect summer read and has everything you might want from one without being your typical contemporary story.  Instead, this one follows Nix and her father as, along with their crew, they travel back in time in an attempt to save Nix's mothers life, despite the fact that if they survive in doing so, they put at risk Nix's entire existence.  This not only takes you to some amazing places, but also some romance, adventure and is a completely addictive read that you will not be able to put down. 

Finally, this recommendation comes from another weird reading habit that seems to come with the summer months, in which I always seem to pick up some sort of horror book every year.  This was the first of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's books that I read, and follows a family as they move to a coastal village in an attempt to escape the war, but who strange things begin to happen to as they get wrapped up in the mystery of their houses previous owners.  This is a perfect mystery that will leave you guessing and entice you with an amazing story that is accompanied with just as gorgeous writing, and will almost definitely send a few shivers down your spine as well.  

What books do you recommend for the summertime?  Have you read any of these - what did you think?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Summer TBR

The summer holidays are finally here for me, and so with them comes the time of year when I read by far the most books.  This is also the time of year when I pick up some of those books that I have been meaning to read for a while, as I can now finally dedicate the time to them, and so this TBR includes some books that have been on my shelf for so long now but that I've been too intimidated to actually pick up before now.  Along with those, this is quite a typical summer TBR in the fact that quite a few of the books that I do hope to read are contemporaries, as just like so many others, I love to read them around this time of year and so know that I will definitely be in the mood for quite a few of them over the next few weeks or so.  And so, enjoy! 

Starting off with one that has been on my shelf for a while now, this is definitely one of those books that I will most likely only really get round to in the summer.  Not only is this quite a big book, but I also always seem to read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's books in the summer for whatever reason, and so its just habit now for me to pick these up at this time of year.  This one follows our main character as he discovers someone is destroying all copies of the books by an authors whose work he finds solace in, and is likely his most famous book.  I'm super interested to see what its like and what this story holds, and the concept of this one also sounds super intriguing, so I really need to actually get round to it and see what I think of it.  

This one is definitely more of my stereotypical summer read as its a contemporary that follows our main character Lina, who is spending her summer in Tuscany after her mothers dying wish was for her to get to know her father.  I've actually been wanting to read this one for a while now, simply because it does sound like such a perfect book for this time of year, and so I had to pick it up when I saw it for really cheap a couple of months ago.  I'm also really excited to read this one as it takes place in Tuscany, and it feels like its been so long since I've read a book about travel or with some aspect of that, so I can't wait for this one.

This is one that I have seen so much about recently, and that I've seen so many people loving since its release, and so I am desperate to finally get round to reading it myself.  It follows Dimple and Rishi, who are arranged to marry each other, as they attend the same summer program and unexpected things start to develop.  Not only have I heard such good things about it already, but I also love the sound of this one, as it sounds so unique, and quite different to any other contemporary I've read.  Once again, it also seems like the perfect time to read this one, as its summer, and summer is contemporary time for me, so I am definitely hoping to read this one very soon.  

Here is yet another contemporary book that I can't believe I didn't read last year when it was released, as I was so excited to see Morgan Matson was releasing another book, yet somehow I never got round to actually reading it.  This one follows Andie, a politician's daughter whose plans get destroyed after a scandal that leaves her discovering the fun in the unexpected.  I feel like all of Morgan Matson's books are just made to be read in the summer, and so I always tend to read them at this time of year, so am in desperate need of getting around to it soon before, once again, the summer is over and I haven't managed to get round to this one.

Unfortunately, this is another one that I was so excited about before it was released, and one that I actually pre-ordered just so that I could read it as soon as it did come out, yet it still has not been read.  This is a kind of companion to My True Love Gave to Me, and is an anthology of 12 short stories by 12 different amazing authors that all take place in the summertime, and so is a book that almost demands to be read at this time of the year.  This summer I am determined to get round to it, and actually already have an exact time in mind to read this one, so hopefully this one does not once again end up getting put off for another year.

Finally, I thought I'd give myself a little break from contemporaries with another book that I desperately need to read soon, as everyone seems to love this duology and I haven't even read the first book in this series yet.   This book follows a gang of deadly criminals brought together by Kaz Breaker in order to attempt to pull off an almost impossible heist, and honestly just sounds so good that I can't believe I haven't read this one yet.  This book has been on so many TBR's now and I feel like I've mentioned it so much as one that I really need to get round to, that now definitely the time to finally read it before it ends up sitting on my shelf forever.  

What books are on your summer TBR? Have you read any of these - what did you think?  

Friday, 14 July 2017

Quick Reviews - In Which I'm Not Loving Contemporaries But Am Loving Maggie Stiefvater

After deciding to take a little break from blogging in May and so having a fair bit to catch up on come mid-June, I found myself with quite a few books that I wanted to review, but couldn't really find the time to actually do so because I had so many other posts already lined up.  So, I decided to give an idea that I've been wanted to try for a while a go; to combine my reviews into one post in which I can give you more of my thoughts than in a wrap up, but less than in a full review.  I've seen quite a few people already do so many posts like this, and thing its such a good idea that I knew it was the only way I was going to be able to review more books without having every other post on this blog as a review.  In this one, I will be reviewing three books that I read in June, as I really wanted to talk about each of them, and so thought they would be perfect for this.  I was also toying with the idea of then doing these sort of posts monthly, combining a few of the books I've read in the past month but haven't reviewed, but we'll have to just wait and see if that actually happens.  And so, enjoy!

 Its A Slow Read! 
Whilst I am normally someone who loves a book that I can fly through in almost no time at all, I also have to admit I am a sucker for slower books that draw you in bit by bit until you are so invested into the story that even though its taken you that little bit longer to get through, all that means is that you are so much more attached to it.  Plus, it also meant that we got to see the relationship between Sean and Puck develop so slowly but so perfectly that you couldn't not fall in love with them.

 How Gorgeous Was This Setting?!
Every time I talk about this book, I always end up gushing about the beautiful setting of this story.  I loved the island backdrop of this book, as it not only fitted so well with the story, but also gave us just such a beautiful atmosphere and allowed for some amazing side characters that all joined together to create such a great community setting within this book.

 I Just Want To Forever Read Maggie Stiefvater's Writing
I don't think I will ever not adore, let alone ever get bored of Maggie Stiefvater's gorgeous way with words.  Somehow in every book she writes she manages to perfectly capture the essence and atmosphere of the story and setting in her beautiful, magical writing.

Need I say more?  Side characters are my one true love and so if there is one short fire way to make me like a book, its to give me amazing side characters and a fair few of them!  This book just contained so many amazing side characters who all helped to add so much depth and complexity to this plot, as well as to create such a rich community atmosphere that really made the setting and story itself so realistic as it immersed in these local characters and their lives as if you were in the story yourself.

'There are moments that you'll remember for the rest of your life and there are moments that you think you'll remember for the rest of your life, and its not often they turn out to be the same moment.'



 All The Tapes Connected Together
As much as I was not a big fan of the whole idea of the tapes once I started reading this one, I did really enjoy seeing how characters who appeared at the very beginning of the book came back again and had some connection to the story later on.  It not only made the story so much more interesting, but also allowed us to see more of the characters and so get to know them alot more than we otherwise would have.

 It Was a Quick, Addictive Read
Whatever my problems with this book, one thing I have to say is that I did manage to fly 
through this one in just two days, something that does not happen often to me.  I don't know whether it was because I knew I had to get this book read, or because it was just that addictive a read, but either way it was definitely not one that took me long to get through at all.

 How It Represented Suicide
I'd heard a couple of people talk about this before I read this book, so I was aware that it might have problems before actually reading it.  However, after reading I now have to say that I join those people who do not like how this book represented suicide and mental illness, as by using the tapes, that each blamed someone else for Hannah's death, it portrayed almost like revenge suicide.

 It Was So Repetitive
Whilst I understand completely the concept of this book, and know the book is set up the way it is because of that, and that this book is dealing with suicide and everything, what I don't understand is why this book was so repetitive.  As much as this is meant to be sending a message about suicide and how much peoples actions affect others, it is still a fictional book aimed at young people, and so it needs to be engaging and entertaining in order for you to get that message across.

 We Didn't Actually Get to Meet Almost All Of The Characters 
Throughout this entire book, the only other voices we ever got to here were Hannah's, Clay's and Tony's - everyone else we only heard through Hannah's stories, and so only ever got to see her view on that person.  We never got to meet these characters for ourselves and hear them speak themselves, and so only ever got a biased view of them, and also never got to see their reactions to Hannah's death in the aftermath.


 Mixed Format
Whilst pretty much the entirety of the book is written in the normal, standard way, every so often we did get a few pages of text messages or emails that filled my desire for that sort of thing right up.  They were in no way a prominent feature of this book, but still brought something a little different to the story and gave us almost a different perspective or a deeper look into the relationships between the characters.

 I'll Admit, The Romance Was Quite Cute
Yes, it was not the most unique or the best written romance I've ever read, and different did follow some cliches and tropes that I have seen a few times before, but that did not meant that I didn't enjoy it.  It was still very cute and I did like reading about Aidan and Lexi's relationship and watching it develop throughout the novel.

 This Book Was Pretty Much All Set In A Convention 
As most contemporaries are often set against a similar sort of backdrop, it was quite refreshing to read a book where we almost never saw the main character go to school, and where most of the events that happened in this book took place at conventions.  I love how unique a setting choice this was, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed seeing everything unfold against this backdrop, as it gave something different to the story and definitely made this one stand out a little more from the crowd of YA contemporaries.

It Was Still Pretty Similar To Alot of Other YA Contemporaries
So even if the setting was quite a cool one, unfortunately the rest of the book did not follow suit and ended up being alot more generic and similar to other books than I would have liked.  Whilst it was still an enjoyable read and one I wouldn't ever say not to give a go, the plot of this one did seem to be quite predictable at times and followed the same storyline of a lot of other YA contemporary romances.

'Funny things, words.  Big words, small words; words that are bigger on the inside and packed tight with feeling.  They can make us fall in love, and they can break our hearts and we're powerless against them.'


Have you read any of these - what did you think?

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

After seeing this tag going all around Booktube, and really enjoying watching so many of them, I decided to give it a go myself for once as I thought it would be quite interesting to look back onto my reading over the past 6 months.  I also recently saw Paper Fury do this tag (check out her blog if you somehow you haven't already - its truly gorgeous), and so I thought why not give it a go as well as I always see these tags going around, but never actually get round to doing them myself.  So far, I think 2017 has been quite a good reading year for me, as I have already read 22 books, which whilst still places me behind in trying to reach my goal of reading 50 books this year, is so much better than last year when I only read 28 books throughout the entire year.  Of those 22 books, I have also fortunately enjoyed so many of them, so hopefully the second half of the year can be just as good as the first.  And so, enjoy! 

As much as I have read so many amazing books this year already, I think that recently I have made it quite clear that The Sun is Also a Star has definitely taken this title.  I absolutely adored everything about this one, from the amazingly diverse and unique characters to the gorgeous plot this book followed.  But one of my favourite aspects has to be the format that just allowed this story to be told in the beautiful way that it was and was the perfect way for this book to be written.

Honourable Mention - History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
I was definitely not expecting to fall so in love with this story.

Unfortunately, this was definitely not as easy as the first question, as I have already read two fantastic sequels this year that I just couldn't decide between for so long.  but eventually I decided that whilst I did adore both of them, The Dream Thieves has to hold the title of my favourite sequel of the year so far, as it was just so good and exceed all expectations I had for it.  I loved where the story went in this book and adored seeing and exploring more of Ronan's character, and just couldn't believe how much I started to love his character, as well as how much my love for all of the other characters just grew and grew even more.  

Honourable Mention - Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Because how was this book even better than Throne of Glass?!

This year I have been so bad with new releases, and have only read a couple of books that have been released in 2017, so its safe to say I definitely did not find it hard to think of some books for this question.  The one I am most annoyed at myself for not reading yet has to be Caraval, as not only was I anticipating its release before it came out, but it also didn't take long for me to buy this book myself, so there is nothing stopping me from picking this book up and reading it.

Honourable Mention - Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I may be slightly intimidated by the size of this one and by how many people have loved it...

This was one of the few questions in this tag that I knew the answer for almost instantly.  Ever since I read Thanks for the Trouble last summer, I have been desperate to get my hands on Tommy Wallach's next book, Strange Fire, that comes out on the 3rd October, and just sounds so intriguing.  Both his first books instantly became favourites of mine, and I can't wait to dive back into his writing and into a new story of his.  

Honourable mention - All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Because this year has definitely been the year I have fallen truly in love with Maggie Stiefvater, so of course I'm excited for this one!

Luckily so far I haven't read too many disappointing books, so for me it was quite easy to say that The Ship Beyond Time was definitely my most disappointing read.  I was so excited for the release of this one, as I had adored The Girl from Everywhere, but unfortunately I didn't enjoy this one half as much, and just couldn't find myself connecting to the story or the characters as I had before.

Fortunately this is another easy one for me, as The Scorpio Races completely exceed all my expectations when I read it fairly recently.  I was not expecting much from this book at all, and so when I actually read it I was so surprised to find such a gorgeous story that contain such real characters who just wanted to root for so badly.  This book was just so atmospheric and had such a rich setting supported by so many amazing side characters that it was hard not to get lost in this world of the water horses.  

Honourable mention - Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
No one told me how gorgeously this book took us inside these two characters relationship.

Although I know this Author will make so many appearances on this list because of my complete love for one of her books, Nicola Yoon has definitely already become one of my new favourite authors.  This year I have already read both of Nicola Yoon's books, Everything Everything and The Sun is Also a Star, and have loved both of them, with their addictive writing style and gorgeous stories.  I am already excited for anything else she writes, but for now don't think I will ever stop talking about how amazing The Sun is Also a Star is, and anyone whose books can make me do that is definitely one of my new favourites.  

Honourable mention - Adam Silvera
History is All You Left Me was most definitely good enough to make him one of my new favourite authors.  

Whilst there have been many books already this year that have contained several amazing male characters, of all them Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races definitely stands out as my newest fictional crush.  I just loved how quiet and secretive he was, as well as his relationship with Puck that I really enjoyed watching slowly develop throughout the book.  I just generally loved his nature and his love for his horses, and could happily read many more books about him.   

Honourable Mention - John Ambrose McClaren from PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
I think everyone who has read this book has to have a little bit of a crush on him.  He was just too cute not to.  

Not only was The Sun is Also a Star my favourite book of the first half of the year, but it also contained my newest favourite character in Natasha.  I loved her determination and her stubbornness as she refused to give up in her attempts to stop her family from being deported.  She was so unapologetic and always completely herself that I couldn't help but completely fall in love with her character.  

Honourable Mention - Luka from Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
I just loved his character for all his slyness and unpredictable nature. 

Its safe to say that City of Heavenly Fire completely destroyed me!  I was not expecting this series finale to contain so many twists and turns that I didn't see coming and for it to pull on my heartstrings as much as I did.  That ending was so good but so heartbreaking, and I honestly don't know if I'm over it even now.  

Honourable Mention - History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
I dare you not to get emotional over a book about a boy grieving over the death of his best friend and first love!

I'm going to have to go with quite a classic answer here, as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban definitely made me very happy.  I just loved returning to this world and to these characters, and as much as I enjoyed the first two books, this was definitely the one that made me fall completely in love with this series.

Honourable Mention - PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
If this contemporary doesn't fill you with even just a little bit of happiness, then I don't know what will.

For this, as much as I have brought some gorgeous books this year, I had to go for Blue Lily, Lily Blue because have you seen this cover?!  If this book wasn't amazing enough already, I just adore all the colours that make up this gorgeous artistic cover that also fits the story inside so perfectly.

Honourable Mention - Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I think I would struggle to find someone who is not in love with this cover.

Despite loving all of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's books that I've read, I still have to pick up A Shadow in the Wind, what is likely his most popular one.  I have owned this for so long now and still somehow haven't picked this up, likely just because it is quite long.  I'm also currently convincing myself that I need to read this at the right time, when in reality there is clearly never going to be a right time to read this book, so I just need to bit the bullet and actually read this book before the year is out.

Honourable Mention - A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
If I don't read this soon I will definitely forget absolutely everything that happened in the first book!

Whats your favourite book that you've read so far this year?  Have you read any of these - what did you think?