Tuesday, 31 January 2017

January Playlist

Today I have something that I have been wanting to do for so long now, but each time the month seems to pass so quickly and suddenly I'm left with another month gone where I haven't put this up.  As much as this blog is dedicated towards and hugely centered on books, I have recently been really wanting to and trying to expand from that just a little bit, and so one the ways I thought to do this was by sharing some of the music I have been listening to and loving in the past month.  I first saw this idea over on abbieemusicblog (definitely check out her blog - her posts are always great fun to read and her graphics are insanely gorgeous!) and instantly fell in love with it as music is another thing I adore and would love to start including more in my blog.  

This month I really got back into discovering both some new bands, like The Technicolours, as well listening to some new music from some of my favourite bands and artists.  It's safe to say I was more than happy when Ed Sheeran and The Maine both decided to release stuff this month!  I also got to see Cage the Elephant this month which was absolutely amazing and so its safe to say I listened to alot of their music throughout the month as well. 

What artists did you listen to this month?  What was your favourite song you listened to this month? 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Top Ten Tuesday Seventy Two

Top Ten Favourite Ships from books I read in the last year or so

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This weeks topic was actually a freebie and so I choose to redo a topic that I did as TTT quite a while ago now - my favourite OTPS!  Since I have already done this topic, I decided that instead of doing my all time favourite ships, I would share some of my more recent ones, and so this there are a fair few of my favourites missing here.  These ships are also not all canon, and some of these series I have yet to finish, but nonetheless, here are some of my favourite ships from books I've read in the last year or so.  And so, enjoy!  

Despite so many of my reasons for loving this series not being associated with the romance, its safe to say I still ship these two pretty damn hard.  One thing I am definitely into is two characters who slowly but truly fall for each other which is definitely the case here, and honestly they just care for each other so much but are still both so strong both individually and as a team.  

Through all the action and events that take place throughout these books, one thing that is always is apparent is the complex relationship between these two.  They go from almost rivals to friends but it takes alot for them to trust each other despite going through so much together but in the end I truly believe these two are meant to be together.  

I have shipped so many of Amanda Hocking's characters throughout her books, but these two are definitely one of my favourites.  I think I honestly just adore how normal they are and how much they love each other without drama and how truly happy they are!  

I don't know whether its more simply my love for the character of the Darkling or whether I just really think these two fit together well, but either way these two more than definitely belong together in my mind. 

As much as Magnus and Alec will always and forever by my all time OTP, recently in the last few books I can't help but begin to really ship these two as well.  I just love how open and caring she can be towards Simon and how she really does truly care for him as much as he does for her.  

Okay, so I have only managed to read the first book, The Raven Boys, in this series so far, but already I can safely say that I am desperate for Blue and Gansey to get together.  Not only do I love the idea of their almost deadly and fated relationship but I also just love the dynamics between them as well! 

From one of my favourite books comes one of my favourite pairings in the form of these two.  I just adore how different they seem at first but then how slowly as each of them is stripped back we get to see their similarities and how well they work together.  

Whilst reading this first book in the series, I had a huge debate with myself over who I shipped Celaena with until around halfway through the book when I realised that as much as I adore Dorian so much as a character, in my mind Celaena and Chaol just fit so well together and have a lot more in common, although we'll have to wait and see how a feel a little further into this series! 

Finally, these two were a pair that I shipped from almost the moment the book started, with their friendship something I couldn't wait to see turn into something more! 

Do you ship any of these couples as well?  Who are some of your OTPs?

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Wolf by Wolf review

After finishing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in the first week of January, I decided to finally knock one of my TBR that whilst not being a hugely overdue read, it has already been on countless monthly TBR's for me, and so I knew it was time to finally get to it.  I've also been missing historical fiction recently and felt the real need to read some after looking over what I read last year and realizing how little I ever reached for it.  

This book follows our main character Yael, a death camp survivor, as she impersonates Adele Wolf, the last winner of the Axis world motorcycle race, in an attempt to assassinate Hitler.  Personally, I absolutely loved the character of Yael throughout the book and really enjoyed seeing her grow and progress throughout the novel.  I also really liked how we slowly learnt more and more about her as the story went on as well as how realistic she seemed.  She wasn't presented as a just a cold tough character but was shown to be strong despite her fears and her weaknesses, and as someone who does makes mistakes. 

One thing I particularly enjoyed though was the small glimpses we got into her past and how we were able to see how she became the person she is by the time she enters the race.  I also loved reading about her ability to skinshift and the story behind it again, and really liked the different aspect this brought to the story as she impersonates Adele.  

Luckily though, whilst Yael was definitely my favourite, the other characters didn't fall far behind her, especially Luka and Felix, who both individually brought so much to the story.  I really enjoyed learning more about both of these characters, particularly Luka, as the story progressed, but how they still managed to surprise me even at the end of the novel.  I also adored how contrasting but yet amazing similar they seemed to be at different points, with Felix being just the nicest character who would do anything to save his sister, and Luka being this perfect Aryan boy who wasn't ever what he seemed.  

One of the key things that drew me to this book was its historical aspect, particularly how it was set in an alternative past and not a straightforward historical fiction.  However, that didn't stop this one from being filled with so many little gems and hints of factual historical information that made me so happy whilst reading this.  I also loved how accurate and realistic it felt, even when the information was no longer factual, and how anything that happened past our real history still felt like it could have been what would have happened and wasn't miles away from reality.  

Given that I loved all of these things, it is no surprise that the plot was just as good as well.  Whilst I was the slightest bit skeptical beforehand about whether a book about a motorcycle race would actually hook me, I ended up addicted to all the action and strategy and politics it brought.  I loved reading about all the different tactics the race brought, as well as seeing how the racers themselves actually interacted and how the relationships between them developed.  I also adored how many good plot twists this brought that were so unpredictable and came at some of the best moments, particularly at the end.  My only exceptionally tiny bugbear came with the middle of the book, where the flashbacks stopped and the story felt just a little bit repetitive and lacked the pace and energy it had the rest of the way through.  

Whilst I knew the plot was likely to interest me, one thing I was scared about not enjoying was the writing style, and the pace of the book, so I was so glad when this one not only kept me hooked but was also written in a way that made it so easy to get into and get immersed in.  I also loved how the flashbacks were interwoven into the story in small pieces, slowly given to us instead of all at once, and think this really helped change the pace of the story at times as well as keep it going and keep both storylines moving along.  

Finally, as if this book wasn't good enough already, the ending just had to come along and blow all my expectations away.  Not only did it end in a way that was so unpredictable and that I was definitely not expecting, but it also set everything up so well for the next book without forcing the story into a sequel.  It ended so well and exactly how I wanted it to without being expected in any way at all.  

So all in all, I definitely enjoyed this one an awful lot more than I was initially expecting to.  I loved the plot and adored the characters, and now can't wait to read the sequel to see where the story goes next! 

Character: Felix 
Scene: The Victors Ball 
Quote: The world was not just moving.  It was alive.
And it was ready to fight. 

Relate a:
Song: An Act of Kindness by Bastille 
Haunting by Halsey
Other Book: The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough 


Have you read this one - what did you think?  Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

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?