Wednesday, 10 May 2017

April Wrap Up

As is always the case, May is already upon us and so with its arrival comes the end of April which means its time for a little April Wrap Up.  Once again, I had a pretty mediocre reading month in terms of how many books I actually read, as four has kind of been my average so far.  However, as much as I still managed to read 4 books, in terms of my actual reading habits, April was likely the strangest month I have had in awhile as I read really sporadically, with one book taking me two weeks and then another taking me just a day.  At one point in the month, I was also in the middle of 4 books, something that never happens to me as I someone who swears by reading one book at a time.  Nonetheless, I did still manage to get to a couple of really good books this month, as well as a few that I didn't enjoy so much.  And so, enjoy!

 As I have already said a fair bit, this was one of my most anticipated releases this year, and so I had to pick it up as soon as I got my hands on it at the end of March.  This book is the sequel to The Girl From Everywhere, which follows Nix and her father's crew as they sail through time in an attempt to save her mother.  I really enjoyed this one when I read it around the same time last year, and so I was so excited about picking this one up and seeing where the story went and what happened to the characters in this second book.  Unfortunately though, I really didn't end up enjoying this one.  As much as I wanted to love it I just really couldn't get into the book and honestly just really wasn't a fan of much about it at all.  I really couldn't get into the plot or grasp it half the time, and the characters just felt alot flatter in this one, with the focus also shifted on some of those who I hadn't liked in the first book, and who I actually grew to dislike even more in this one.  Overall this one just really wasn't for me.

Rating - 2/5

After reading The Ship Beyond Time, I was suddenly surprising in the mood for some historical fiction, and so I was drawn instantly to this one which has been sitting on my shelf for way too long now.  This one follows Matthew and Katherine, two characters who continuously meet and fall in love only to be separated before coming back again and reliving their lives throughout different time periods.  One of my favourite things about this book was the continuous switch between the different periods covered in this book, and how we followed so many different stories all at once without it getting too confusing.  However, whilst I did like the basic idea and story of this and liked how quick a read it was, I'm still a little undecided on my overall thoughts for this one but at the minute I do still think that I will be continuing on with the next book to see what happens next and how the story develops.

Rating - 2.5/5

This was when the month began to get a little different for me.  After finishing The Next Together, I really wasn't too sure what I was in the mood for next and so I ended in a bit of a rut where I couldn't decide what I wanted to read and even when I did pick up a book, I could never get into the story at all.  And so, somehow in the midst of this I ended up deciding that if I wasn't really reading anything properly then I might as well pick up this one again and finish off it off at last, and I'm really glad I did.  I ended up really loving this one and enjoying the complexity of the story and characters that we followed throughout this book.  I also just couldn't get enough of the gorgeous writing style that I adored and so whilst I wouldn't say I completely and utterly in love with this one, it is definitely think that this is a book that I would understand and enjoy more reading more than once.     

Rating - 4.25/5

I somehow just managed to squeeze finishing this one off at the end of the month after starting it earlier on during it.  I read To All The Boys I've Loved Before a good while ago now, and so whilst I was excited about reading this one is was definitely not one that I was insanely eager to get to it and so its safe to say I only really picked it up for a easy and cute read.  However, whilst it did take me a while to really get into this one, I actually ended up really enjoying this one and found it was exactly what I needed to read.  I loved how we got to see more of all the characters of the first book as well as the introduction of some new ones as well, and although I am not sure whether I prefered it to the first book, I will definitely be reading the final book in this series, hopefully sometime soon.  

Rating - 3.5/5

What books did you read last month?  Which was your favourite?  Have you read any of these - what did you think?  

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Standalones V Series

As I've said in the past, over the past few months I have been really wanting to mix up and change up some of blog posts that I put up, rather than just always putting up the same kind of things month after month.  I have also been really wanting to do a discussion post for a good while now, but didn't really know what sort of topic to acutally do, so I've just been putting it off for weeks and weeks until I finally decided to give one a go recently.  So, I eventually decided to do an almost series vs standalone type post as I thought this would be a nice little thing to talk about and to discuss whether or not you prefer standalones or series.  And so, enjoy!

Everytime I pick a book to read, one of my biggest debates is whether I want to read a standalone with new characters and a new story that I have never read about before, or whether I want to return to a world I love and read the next book in a series. 

 Personally, I am always a standalone person.  Whilst I do enjoy series and do definitely still love reading them, I am someone who will take so long between reading books in a series, and so alot of the time it will take me years to get through the entire series.  Because of this, I often forget alot of the details of the past books and so it kind of defeats the object of reading a series rather than a standalone as each book it takes me alot of the book to remember and reintroduce myself to a story and characters that I should already know and be familiar with.  As well as this, I am a very big reader of contemporary books, of which most of them tend to be standalones, and so over time I think I have just adapted to generally reading just one book instead of reading alot of series.  

That said, I am definitely not a hater of series, I just personally tend not to read series as often because of my personal reading habits.  However, I have actually been reading alot more of series and leaning towards them alot more in recent months, mainly because I have been reading so much more fantasy than I ever used to.  I also believe that series often work so much better for fantasy books as they often include complex and detailed plots and worlds, and so more books are needed to tell the story without rushing it in one huge book. I just personally tend not to read series  as often because of my personal reading habits.  

Now in order to compare series and standalones properly I thought what better way than to create a list of my favourite things about each!

Everything is wrapped up in one nice little book 

as I've already said, one of my favourite aspects of standalones is the fact that the entire story is just in one book and that there is nothing left out and everything is covered in one story.  I just adore the fact that that book contains one whole story and that you can take 

A sequel or other book in the series can't ruin the book for you  

I can't tell you the times I have adored the first book in a series and hated the second or the third, and as much as my thoughts on later books does not mean I am no longer a fan of the first book, it has to be said that not liking a later book definitely affects my view of the series overall, and so does slightly taint my love for the first book as well.

You feel less guilty when you don't finish the book 

One of my biggest bad habits with reading is always feeling guilty when I'm really not enjoying a book and desperately want to DNF it, and so I often continue on and finish books I know halfway through I'm really not going to be a fan of.  

 The story is less likely to be slow 

Because the whole idea of standalones is that the story is told in just one book, the story is often alot faster paced or not likely to have as many slow moments as series simply because there is not enough time to tell a good story if half the chapters are just fillers.

Character development 

As a lover of characters, this is likely what I believe to be the biggest benefit of a series over a standalone.  Instead of just seeing characters over a short space of time and in one storyline, you get to see them grow and develop through different plots and storylines and in different situations.  

Amazing world building can happen 

Similarly to character development, series give you the opportunity to develop amazing and complex world building that standalones just don't allow you to do.  You get to explore some of the complexities and intricacies of the world in which the story is set without info dumps or without it getting too confusing.

 You get to return to a world and story you love more than once 

It is an amazing feeling when you finish an amazing story with characters and a world that you have fallen in love, but what is even better is finishing that book and realising that you can return to that world and characters in a different book and with a different and brand new story.

More complex storylines and plots can be developed 

One of the key drawbacks of standalones, particularly in fantasy books, is that it is hard to create very complex stories and plots in just one book, and so series are a great way to develop and evolve these as well as adding in so many more different intertwining storylines without it being too complicated or confusing.  

So, what do you think?  Are you a lover of standalones?  Or are you definitely more of a reader of series?  Tell me your thoughts down below!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Spring Book Haul

Recently I have been on a little less restrictive on how many books I have been buying, as it has been a good while I feel since I last allowed myself to pick up a few more books than I needed.  I also recently discovered book depository and so couldn't resist ordering a few books from there when I spotted some that I had been wanting to pick up for a while now.  I've been accumulating these books for a few months now, and so decided it was time to haul them all before I forget to, and so enjoy! 

Firstly, I actually picked this one up about two months ago now after being in a really big contemporary mood and realising how few contemporaries I actually own that I haven't read yet.  I've been wanting to read a Huntley Fitzpatrick book for a while now and so I thought that this one seemed like the perfect one to pick up as it was exactly what I was looking for at the time and something that I'm still really looking forward to reading quite soon.

This one was actually one of my most anticipated releases of this year, as I really enjoyed the first book in this duology, The Girl from Everywhere when I read it last year, and so I had to get it almost as soon as it came out in March.  Because of my excitement I have actually already read this book as I just couldn't wait any longer to dive into this story, and whilst I didn't enjoy it as much as the first one, it was still a fun and very addictive read.  

I have actually been wanting to pick this one up for so long now ever since I heard that it was a beauty and the beast retelling, and so I finally gave it and brought it a couple of weeks ago.  I've heard really good things about this series, and am also currently reading and loving her other series, Throne of Glass, and so hopefully this one will be just as amazing! 

I had been debating picking this one up ever since it was released, after hearing about at the end of last year and instantly being drawn into it.  I have also been seeing this one everywhere over the last few months and so when I saw it on book depository  I just had to pick it up.  This one follows Scarlett as she and her sister finally get invited to Caraval, but as her sister is kidnapped and it is revealed that the first to find her is this year's winner, Scarlett must race to find her before the five nights of the game are over.  

 This is the last of my online book purchases and one that I have been meaning to pick up for so long now.  Ever since this came out last year I have been looking for this one everywhere as I really enjoyed To All the Boys I've Loved Before and so really want to continue on with the series, especially now there is also a third book being released very soon.

I heard so many good things about this book when it first came out last year, and ever since have been wanting to read it, the only major thing stopping me being that at the time, I actually still had yet to finish the Mortal Instruments series, and so desperately wanted to finish off those books before I picked up this one.  However, I have now at last completed that series as I read City of Heavenly Fire in January this year, and so decided it was time to allow myself to pick this one up and hopefully I will be diving into it really soon!

This is another that I picked up because of how much of a contemporary mood I have been in lately, as well as how much I enjoyed Everything, Everything when I read it a couple of months ago.  This one takes place over just one day, as Natasha and her family are just 12 hours away from being deported, and as she meets Daniel in crowded New York City and begins to fall in love with him.  I've also just heard such amazing things about this one recently, and so thought I would pick it up and give it a go for myself.  

I'd be lying if I said that, whilst I am really intrigued by this book and am insanely excited to read it, this one wasn't at least partially a cover buy, as this book's cover is one of the beautiful I think I have ever seen in my life.  Not only is it gorgeous to look at, but I also managed to somehow picked up a signed copy of this one, so its safe to say there was no way I was not picking this one up when I saw it.

 Finally, we have reached the end of all the books I have purchased recently, with my most recent and unexpected buy as I definitely wasn't planning on picking this one up as soon as I did.  Despite enjoying Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, the first book in this series, I wasn't in a huge rush to pick up the second book but still wanted to continue on the series.  So when I saw this one discounted I just couldn't resist picking it up and adding it to my collection!

What books have you recently added to your TBR?  Have you read any of these - what did you think?