Saturday, 18 November 2017

I Binged All of Renee Ahdieh's Books (And Here are My Mini Reviews)

The Wrath and the Dawn
One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?


You know when you put of reading a book because of the hype? And then you read it a year later and suddenly realise what all the hype was all about... Yeah, that's exactly what happened here. And after reading The Wrath and the Dawn I NEEDED more which is why I read two other books by Renee Ahdieh in the next week.

If you were like me and put The Wrath and the Dawn off because of all the mixed reviews then here are a couple of reasons why you definitely SHOULD read it now.

  1. It was so unique! I loved the cultural aspect of The Wrath and the Dawn with the caliphs and the Arabian desert vibe. Why is there not more of this in YA?
  2. I am a sucker for the good old enemies to lovers trope. It's not for everyone, but I love it.
  3. The writing!! Such a beautiful style of writing that I wanted more and more of (and still need more of)

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


  The Rose And The Dagger
The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.
 


Sequels are never as good as the first book. I still loved this sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, but it definitely wasn't quite as good. Still worth a read if you liked book one. It was a really good book, I just wanted more Shazi and Khalid scenes... I love a fluffy romantic scene, but they spent the majority of this book apart so that's all that let it down for me.

I would advise tissues as well.

ALSO! Exciting side note, there are three novellas which are free eBooks on Amazon so if you do want more of Shazi and Khalid then there is more out there and it's FREEEEE!

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


  Flame In The Mist
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.


I finished Flame in the Mist less than five minutes ago and I am still reeling. This was easily the best book I've read in 2017 and I hate that I have to wait until June next year to read the sequel... After reading The Wrath and the Dawn books last week I honestly did not think Renee Ahdieh could get any better, but she did.

If the pretty cover isn't enough to convince you to read this then let me give you a few more reasons.

  1. One VERY badass girl who's seen as odd, but really she's just too smart for everyone else around her. Mariko kicks butt in every single way possible and I love it.
  2. Samurai. So many badass Samurai warriors.... 
  3. The culture. That is something that Renee Ahdieh has done an amazing job of in every single one of her books, including a cultures that I've never read about before in YA, but now I want more.

“Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain. And you can do anything...”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Have you ever loved an author so much that you had to read all of their books straight away? I don't know what to read next... Someone help!!

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Friday, 10 November 2017

My Audiobook Experience || Yay or Nay?

For a long time I've wanted to give audiobooks a go, but I haven't known enough about them or how to get them and how all the subscription services work so I just never did it. Recently though, Ayla from Books and Babbles wrote an in depth series on everything audiobooks that finally gave me the motivation to go ahead and give audiobooks a go!

I signed up to Audible (not sponsored... lol I wish) and listened to To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. Overall it was a pretty good experience and I'm going to continue paying for my subscription, but I thought I'd also list the pros and cons of my experience with Audible and audiobooks in general to help you decide if you want to try it.

Pros

  • On Audible the first month is free! Yay, we love free things! So if you hate it you can cancel after a month and never have to pay a cent.
Cat Don't Touch My Money GIF - Money DontTouch Mine GIFs
  • The audiobooks stays in your library. You don't lose them when the month is over which is super cool because it means you can listen to them again and let's be honest, some months I'm gonna be super busy and I just won't have the time to listen to an entire audiobook.
  • No more boring trips. Catching public transport? Listen to a book. Driving alone? Listen to a book. Can't sleep? Listen to a book.
Cat Headphones GIF - Cat Headphones Listening GIFs

Cons

  • Sometimes you just won't click with the narrator. And that happens. I tried listening to audiobooks a long time ago and HATED the narrator for the book I was listening to. She just really really irritated me. That's why the samples are so important.
Eyeroll GIF - GrumpyCat Cat GIFs
  • You can't purchase the audiobooks through the Audible app. This is a little thing but it annoys me. You can browse audiobooks and add them to your Wishlist on the Audible app but then you have to pop online to actually download the audiobook and it will then get sent to the app.

I don't know where to put this one

  • The price? Audible is 14.95AUD (12USD). I think that's pretty good, but I guess it depends on your budget and whether you'll use it or not. You also get discounts on all of audibles audiobooks if you wanted to purchase an extra book within the month and you've already used your credit.

(Also I feel like I've said Audible and audiobook in my head so many times that they don't sound like real words anymore... Weird!)

Ayla's Series: A Beginners Guide to Audiobooks

  1. The Basics
  2. Subscription Comparison
  3. Narrators and Sound Effects
  4. Listening Experiences
  5. Activities and Audiobooks
  6. Favourites and Recommendations

What do you think about audiobooks? Do you listen to them? And if not do you think you ever will? Audiobooks aren't for everyone, but if you're interested in giving them a go then I highly recommend checking out Ayla's series!

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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Otherworld, by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller || Why I Loved It and You Will Too

Nerve
The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.
Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.


Why is it always so hard to articulate how much you loved something? The more I like something, the less comprehensive my reviews are so today I'm going to just go back to the basics and write a list of reasons I loved Otherworld. (And hope that you just take my word for it because this book is amazing).

1. The Otherworld


Otherworld is the name of a virtual reality "game" that Simon enters during the book. He sticks on a visor thing and gloves and boots and then suddenly he feels like he's in the middle of a game. At first I imagined it as getting dropped in the middle of nowhere but it turns out you get to create your avatar and then everyone starts in a city and can do whatever they want there. Explore the other realms, fight the creatures that live in the Otherworld or take part in the underground orgy.... I wish I was joking.

I was fascinated by Otherworld. An alternate reality in a game that's so real... It raised some interesting thoughts. A world where you can do anything you're too afraid to do in the real world? It sounds insanely cool, but obviously it comes with a lot of problems. People become addicted to the "fake" world and in this particular case, Otherworld came with all sorts of bugs (literally) including the AI in the game being a little too good and self aware.

2. Simon

CBS shocked vr surprised virtual reality GIF
Simon was the most fascinating protagonist. He was flawed and he was slightly crazy and messed up, but he was loyal and funny. He was human. It's been a while since I've read a book with a character that has so many layers like Simon did. I may be slightly obsessed with him.

3. It was a journey

 an unexpected journey GIF
Otherworld was full of twists and turns and ups and downs. I could not stop reading. It was fast paced  and I almost felt like I was there with Simon and his friends. That's how you know it's really good book, when you feel like you're right there experiencing the action with the rest of the characters and you can't turn the pages fast enough.

4. There were some truly evil characters


In Otherworld you could do whatever you wanted to do and be whoever you wanted to be with pretty much no consequences which brought out some pretty evil characters. Is that what would happen to people if there were no consequences? Would it really bring out the filth in humanity like that? I don't know, I hope not, but probably. Anyway, my point is that evil characters are sometimes the most interesting characters.

5. I read it in one day


This book hooked me.... I felt almost like the players of Otherworld... I read this book in a day and didn't do much else during that time. Luckily I was able to get up during that time to eat and do other things so I didn't wake up in a pile of my pee (and poo) like Simon often did.

But seriously, just take my word for it! Buy this book ASAP! It comes out on the 31st of October and you need to read it!! The only problem I have is how long I'm going to have to wait for the next book... I hate waiting.

Final Thoughts


Have you read Otherworld? Do you plan on it? What do you think of virtual reality games like this... Do you think it's a good idea or..? Let me know! (Also, how cool would this be as a movie?!)

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Monday, 16 October 2017

I Am Drowning in my TBR Pile

A huge part of being a book blogger is struggling with the mountain that is your TBR (to be read) pile. Sooo what better way to celebrate that than to complete this tag. Thank you to Rose over at Tea With Roses Tomes for tagging me in this. You can check out her post here.

How do you keep track of you TBR pile?


I don't?

Kidding. (kind of)

I used to exclusively use Goodreads to track my TBR, but recently I haven't actually updated it that much and my TBR is now mainly in my head... So before I write this post I'm just going to head off to Goodreads and add my mind TBR to my Goodreads TBR to make this post a little more accurate (and also because my TBR pile is not out of control enough so I don't feel like a proper book blogger).

There we go, I got slightly carried away and now I feel the stress of my TBR pile... That's better.

Is your TBR mostly print or eBook?

I mainly use the library to read the books on my TBR so print I guess?

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

ARCs are usually a top priority (at least they should be), but at the moment I don't really have a system for how I choose what to read next and that's proving slightly problematic as I'm now currently reading six books... SOMEONE HELP!

13497818 A book that's been on your TBR longest?

The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling. That reminds me, I still need to read that! Somebody please tell me what they though... I'm afraid I won't like it.

A book that you recently added to your TBR?

I just added Invictus by Ryan Graudin because I saw it on NetGalley and remembered how much I loved The Walled City so I'm sure this will be just as good.

23308087 A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

I judge books by their covers so probably all of them? But especially Flame in the Mist, by Renee Ahdieh. It's so pretty!!! So so pretty.... It's the sort of book that I'd buy and then get a copy from the library to read so that I wouldn't ruin my copy.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading?

There are many series in my TBR list that I never plan on finishing (and I feel guilty about that, I hate leaving series unfinished).

An unpublished book on your TBR that you're excited for.

Um, Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas! Actually that whole DC Icons series! So exciting....

29749085A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you?

Speaking of the DC Icons series, I still haven't read Wonder Woman: War Bringer by Leigh Bardugo and I feel like everyone around me has read and loved it so I need to get onto that.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

I don't know! I've been off the blogging grid for a while so I haven't talked books in a long time.. So tell me, what book does everyone recommend to YOU and then I can add that to my TBR and pretend it was the answer for this question.

18798983 A book on your TBR that you're just dying to read.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. Anything by Renee Ahdieh. I just desperately want to read one of her books. I've heard so many fabulous things and I still haven't read The Wrath and the Dawn... What is wrong with me??????

The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf.

I fake organisation with my TBR by splitting it up into multiple lists...

General books TBR: 34
New series TBR: 27 (that's only including the first book in any series)
Novellas TBR: 5
Unreleased TBR: 4

Total: 70


Is it bad that I'm slightly ashamed by how low this number is... I want an out of control TBR list otherwise I don't feel like a proper bookish blogger. That's what book bloggers have, right? TBR piles that drown them.

Who do I tag?


How many books are on your TBR list? What should I add to mine ASAP so I can finally feel like a proper book blogger who's being crushed by her TBR pile.

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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Why Am I Currently Reading Six Books?

My life is slightly very disorganised at the moment. And that is pretty well reflected by the amount of books I'm currently reading.... According to Goodreads that number is six. Whoops! I didn't realise it was that high, but I guess during my grand reading slump of 2016/2017 I picked up and started a bunch of books without actually bothering to finish them. I'm slowly starting to pull some order back into my life so I had better assess the damage and start to fix the problem of the excessive amount of books on my currently reading list.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling

Started on the 31st of October, 2015 

Wow, that's almost two years ago. I have actually read the Harry Potter series before (multiple times) and this is a reread I've been doing of all the books. Progress is slow and it's taken me a lot longer than I thought it would, but my excuse is that because I've already read the series so many times I just go back to it and read a couple of chapters when I feel like an old favourite.

Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, by Sylvia Plath

Started on the 11th of November, 2015 

This is a collection of short stories and poetry written by Sylvia Plath and if you know Sylvia Plath you'll know that her work isn't always light reading and that's my excuse for still not having finished this. I honestly thought I had finished it and maybe I have and just forgot to update Goodreads, but I'll have to double check because according to GR I still have a third of it left to read.

Lips Touch: Three Times, by Laini Taylor

Started on the 22nd of February, 2016

Laini Taylor is one of my favourite authors so of course I had to read her collection of short stories! Unfortunately I only got through one of the three stories before I had to return the book to the library and I still haven't bothered to get it out again. Maybe I should just buy it since it's such a pretty book... somebody please talk me into buying it


Empire of Storms, by Sarah J. Maas

Started on the 15th of September, 2016

I know, I know... How is this even possible? I bought this on the day it came out... I went to two different book stores because the first one didn't have it... So why is it sitting on my shelf with less than two chapters read?! I DON'T KNOW! Welcome to the horror and the terror of reading slumps. I LOVE Sarah J. Maas and I love this series so I need to get my ass into gear and actually get reading (instead of just talking about reading).

To All the Boys I've Loved Before, by Jenny Han

Started on the 26th of August, 2017

I'm listening to this as an audiobook so progress is slow, but I am making steady progress. I'm about halfway through and now that I'm spending more time on public transport I should be finished within a week. Sidenote: I love audiobooks, it feels kind of like I'm cheating, but it's been so helpful for getting out of this slump.

Otherworld, by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Started on the 10th of October, 2017

I just got approved for Otherworld on NetGalley (why am I requesting ARCs when I have five other unfinished books? I don't know). So now I have to read it. I'm pretty confident that it won't take me two years so you can expect a review for that within the next few weeks. Hopefully

How many books are you currently reading? Please tell me I'm not the only one with a problem... Also which books should I read ASAP and are there any that I should just ditch and at to the DNF pile? Let me know!

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