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?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Top Ten Tuesday Seventy Five

Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I've Ever Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week I finally decided to get back into top ten tuesday after having a fair few weeks off from these sort of posts.  I'm always a fan of a good unique read and so thought this week's topic was a perfect one to jump back into and share some of my favourite reads that are quite unique in some way, shape or form.  And so, enjoy!  

This was one of the first one that came to mind as soon as I read the topic for this week, as unlike almost all other books this one is told not just through text, but through documents, messages and many other elements that help to tell the story of Ezra and Kady.  Not only was it told in such a unique way, but the story was also so addicting and one of my favourite reads of last year.  

If anyone ever asked me to really explain what this book is about, I don't think I could ever completely pinpoint or describe the true nature of this story.  I just adore how unique an atmosphere this book manages to create and how real and individual everything about it is, from the plot to the characters to the writing that just makes this book unlike any other. 

This is the most recent of my reads on this list, but one that still managed to draw me in with its unique format and story.  It tells us the story of a relationship and the breakdown of that relationship in one of the most imaginative ways, by taking us right back to the start and taking us through the stories and moments of their time together through the objects they saved from them.  It allows us to see right into their relationship in such a personal and unique way that just makes this book so different from any other YA romance.  

Here is another one with not only a unique format but also a really unique writing style and plot to go along with it.  With this one, I just adored how the photos were such an integral aspect of the story and as well as how different a story it was to anything else I've read, as well as how magical and fantastical an atmosphere it created throughout the book.

This is my all time favourite book and one that has some of the uniquest writing, narration and characters I have ever read. If the fact that this story told to us from the perspective of death is not enough, then this one also has some of the most beautiful writing and story that will draw you in and take you on a journey you will never forget.  

Another one here that is one of my favourites and a story that I have never read something similar to before or since.  I just love the concept of this one of following four completely different people all facing their own problems but who all manage to make the most of the time they have left.  

What are some of the most unique books you've ever read?  Have you read any of these - what did you think! 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

March Wrap Up

April has somehow crept up on me once again, and I honestly can't believe that we are already a quarter of the way through the year!  But despite my surprise, March is firmly over and so its time for another wrap up of all the books that I managed to read during it.  Honestly, March was just an average reading month for me, as I managed to finish 3 books this month and start another, so it wasn't awful for me, but was definitely not a good month either.  However, I will say that I read some amazing books this month and thoroughly enjoyed everything I did get round to, and so that kind of balances out the actual number of books I read.  And so, enjoy! 

This was the first book that I decided to pick up last month as at the time I was still really in the mood for a contemporary, but didn't want to read just another cute romance story.  This one was also on my winter TBR, and so I knew I should get round to it soon before the first book in this series became too much of a distant memory for me as was getting on for a year since I had read The Raven Boys.  As this one is the second book in a series, I don't really want to say too much about this one other than the fact that I adored how the plot and characters developed and grew in this, as well as how beautiful the writing was once again.  I certainly enjoyed this one as much, in fact probably more than the first book and so I can't wait to continue on with this series and see where it goes next!

Rating - 4.75/5

After The Dream Thieves, I knew I wanted another similar to it or one with some fantastical or more magical aspect to it than your usually contemporary, and so this one seemed like the perfect choice.  This is the sequel or companion novel to Everyday, which follows A as they spend each and  every day in someone else's body for just one day, and so this book lets us read from Rhiannon's, a key character in Everyday, perspective.  Everyday is one of my favourite books, and so its safe to say I was a little scared to read this, not only because personally I am not the biggest fan of stories being told from multiple perspectives but also due to the fact that it had been so long since I read Everyday.  Nonetheless, I ended up really enjoying this book and ended up loving returning to this story, likely even more it had been so long since I first read the story, and so everything felt both familiar and new at the same time.  I also adored how addictive this book was and how easy it was to jump back into this world all over again.

Rating - 4/5

Next up I decided to tackle one of the books on my Spring TBR, and so picked up one that I was insanely excited about reading and couldn't wait to delve into.  Throne of Glass was one of my favorite books of last year, and so ever since then I have been trying to hold off just bingeing through this series at an alarming rate, but this month I thought it was finally time to let myself dive back into this world and this story and read the next installment in this series.  Once again, I don't want to say too much about what actually happens in this one, despite how many overwhelming emotions I may have about it, but I did absolutely adore this book with all my heart.  It was so addictive and took so many twists and turns that I literally couldn't put it down and so spent way too many late nights unable to stop reading this.  I loved how we saw all the characters develop and how the plot grew and evolved into something more amazing than it already was and I think its safe to say its not going to be too long at all before I am returning to this world once again.

Rating -5/5

Finally, although I only managed to actually finish three books this month, I spent the majority of this month reading and making my way through this book.  So far I'm about halfway through and really enjoying it, so hopefully I will be able to finish this one along with many more books next month!

What books did you read last month?  Have you read any of these - what did you think?