Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Which 2018 Reading Challenges Will I Be Taking Part In?

This year hasn't been a huge reading year for me. I was in a bit of a reading slump for half of the year and although read 23 books (so far) for my Goodreads reading challenge, I have managed to read 100 books in previous years. 2018 is going to be a big reading year. I can feel it! So to motivate myself I decided to link up to a few challenges.

The Goodreads Reading Challenge (obviously)

The Goal: Read 50 books.

Can I do it? I've read 23 books this year and I spent the majority of the year not reading so I think I've got this! And if I don't I'll cheat and just read a bunch of novellas.... shhhhhhh!

The A - Z Challenge 

The Goal: Read a book for every letter of the alphabet.

Can I do it? Some letters are going to be really easy, but some aren't... How am I going to find a letter that starts with Q... or Z... or X???? Someone help me!

The 2018 Pop-Sugar Reading Challenge 

The Goal: Read a book for every single prompt on this list.

Can I do it? Pretty sure there are 50 prompts on this list... That's a lot! Maybe my goal should be to complete at least 20 of the prompts instead of all of them, but I'm going to keep it open and see how I go!

The Beat the Backlist Challenge

The Goal: Read 20 books released prior to 2018.

Can I do it? I think this one will be easy for me. I read a lot of backlist releases anyway and there are so many books that came out in 2017 that I want to read, but haven't had a chance to yet!

Wanna stay updated?

You can track my progress on these challenges here!

What challenges are you taking part in during 2018? Did you complete (or attempt) any challenges this year - which ones?? Do you have any advice for me?

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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Genuine Fraud, by E. Lockhart || Lies and Murder and Truly Awful People

Genuine Fraud
How far would you go to become someone else? A masterful young adult thriller from the author of blockbuster bestseller We Were Liars.

Imogen is an heiress, a runaway, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a chameleon, and a liar.

Imogen is done pretending to be perfect, and Jule refuses to go back to the person she once was. Somewhere between the mansions of Martha's Vineyard and the shores of Cabo San Lucas, their intense friendship takes a dark turn.

A masterful thriller from the author of the unforgettable We Were Liars.


Thank you to Allen and Unwin for supplying me with a review copy of Genuine Fraud!

I LOVED We Were Liars, E. Lockhart's other novel and I wanted to love Genuine Fraud, but it fell a bit short for me. I definitely didn't hate it... maybe my expectations were just too high after enjoying We Were Liars so much.

What did I like?

  • The back to front story telling! Genuine Fraud starts at the end and as you read you move back in time, uncovering what happened in the lead up to where the book starts... (Does that make sense, the whole book is basically backwards). I don't think I've ever read a book written like this and I really enjoyed this aspect! It added a hell of a lot of suspense made me want to keep reading.

  • The twists and turns. There were so many twists and turns in the plot! Every chapter something new was uncovered. If you love books with a million plot twists then Genuine Fraud is the one for you.

  • It's dark. Genuine Fraud is full of murder and lies and mystery. (I almost wouldn't label it as YA)

What did I not like?

  • The characters. There were some truly awful characters in this book (I'm talking Delores Umbridge sort of awful). On one hand it was slightly fascinating to read about these morally evil people, but on the other hand I didn't quite understand it. And I did not care about any of the characters because they were all such horrible people.

  • A little bit of confusion... I liked the back to front thing, but it did get a little bit confusing at times and there were points that dragged a bit because of the way it was told. I just wanted to know what happened in the beginning but you have to wit for the end of the book to find that out.

I'm not quite sure what to think of Genuine Fraud. There were definitely aspects I enjoyed and it was a pretty okay read, but I can't help feeling a bit disappointed after loving We Were Liars so much. There was just something about Genuine Fraud that I didn't like and I can't quite put my finger on what that was... Maybe it was just because I couldn't connect with any of the characters... I don't know! Overall, I do love E. Lockhart's writing though and I will absolutely be reading her future novels.


Have you read anything by E. Lockhart? If you haven't then I would highly recommend We Were Liars. Have you ever been unsure of how to feel about a book? What book(s)?   


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Saturday, 16 December 2017

Am I Naught or Nice? || The Bookish Naughty List

To get into the Christmas spirit of December, Jenniely created the Bookish Naughty List Tag which she tagged me in. (I was also tagged by Ayla from Books and Babbles. Thank you, Ayla!!). Jenniely has created a list of naughty bookish things and now I'm going to go through that list and figure out whether I'm on the naughty list this year... Uh oh... I have been known to commit quite a few bookish sins...

1. Have you received an ARC and not reviewed it?

I currently have two outstanding eARCs, BUUUTTTTTT I will review them before the end of the year... Does that count? I don't think so.

2. Do you have less than 60% feedback rating on NetGalley?

My feedback ratio is 95%! Wahooo! Go me!! I'm pretty good at staying on top of my NetGalley reviews, and that will be even easier now that most publishers on NetGalley can't (or won't) supply to international bloggers.


3. Have you rated a book on goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never followed through)

Um........ Maybe...


This review is actually still coming.. I promise!

4. Have you folded down the page of a book? 

I have! But only older books, I do like to keep my new books nice and new. I'll fold pages of books that are older or second hand, but I want my new books with unfolded pages and uncracked spines.... Does that make sense?

5. Have you accidentally spilled something on a book? 

Not this year, but a while ago I accidentally dropped one of my Harry Potter books in the bath and I've been traumatised ever since then... I will never read in the bath again.

6. Did you DNF a book this year? 

I DNFed many books at the beginning of this year while I was in a massive reading slump, but I can't even remember what they were. I was in such a huge slump that I never got past a couple of pages so I didn't even bother adding them to Goodreads.

7. Have you bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it?

I've added books to my TBR list just because of their pretty covers, but I've probably bought less than five books this year so they've all been because I actually wanted to read them (if they had pretty covers that was just a bonus).

8. Have you read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)?

Yes.. Most definitely! Somehow I always end up reading the most when I'm supposed to be doing something else.


9. Have you skim read a book? 

If I'm disliking a book so much that I want to skim it then I'd rather just DNF it. (Although, I did completely skim the fourth Harry Potter book the first time I read it and then was so confused during the fifth one that I had to go back and read it properly)

10. Will you completely miss your Goodreads goal?

No! My goal was 10 books and I've more than doubled that!!


11. Have you borrowed a book and not returned it? 

I've returned books very late to the library, but I've always ended up returning those books because I do not want to pay the huge fine you get if you don't return a book to the library.

12. Have you broken a book buying ban?

Books are expensive so I don't really buy physical books unless they're for other people.


13. Have you started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about? 

Yes... Whoops! I found an old review draft this morning and I couldn't remember anything about the book and I didn't even read it that long ago.

14. Have you written in a book you were reading? 

I tried annotating a book I was reading once last year, but my writing isn't neat enough so NEVER again. (That is probably my biggest regret).

15. Have you finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads?

Whhhaaaaat?! I would never do that! I religiously use Goodreads and I don't think I could not add a book to Goodreads... I want my Goodreads to be completely accurate because I love the wee stats that you get.

Naughty or Nice?

I've committed 5 out of 15 of these bookish sins this year. I guess that means that I'm 33% naughty and 66% nice (and 1% other). I'm quite happy with that, I thought I would have committed more bookish sins this year. I guess that means that I'm still on the nice list!

Are you naughty or nice? What's the worst bookish sin you've committed this year?? Please tell me that I'm not the only person who's dropped a book in the bath...

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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman || Why this book is everything and a speech I wrote in high school

Radio Silence
What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.


"Hello. I hope somebody is listening..."

Radio Silence has to be one of my favourite reads of 2017. By far. If you've ever felt unsure about your life (or if you're currently feeling unsure) then read this! Even if you know exactly what you want to do, still read this! It's so good in so many different ways.

First there was Frances

Frances is an overachieving high school student who has a weekly existential crisis about what she wants to do with her life (AKA me in my last year of high school) and I have never related so much to someone in a book. My whole entire last year of high school was me questioning what I wanted to do and I'm now taking a gap year which I would highly recommend to anyone who is unsure!

Radio Silence was very much about being true to yourself. Throughout the book Frances talked about how she was one person at school and somebody else at home (the real her) and while it seemed like she had her shit together at school and she was 'just' a smart girl, there was really a whole lot more to her than that. I loved seeing the change in Frances from the beginning of the book to the end where she let herself become who she really wanted to be.

And Aled

"In distress. Stuck in Universe City. Send help."

Aled was an overachieving high school student who feels like he might have made the wrong choice with university. He and Frances become friends and it has been a very long time since I have seen a friendship in the YA genre that I loved as much as this. There were midnight chats and random drunken videos and working together on projects and turning up at each others houses in the middle of the night in their PJs.. It was just so good and pure. But it was real.

It was diverse on so many levels

I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but Radio Silence is diverse on so many levels without it seeming like it's trying to tick a bunch of diversities off a checklist. (Yet another reason that this book is realistic because our world IS diverse!)

But wait there's more

This isn't just a mish-mash of realistic characters... It was a story of growing up and learning who you really are and all the screwed up things that happen along the way. 

And the writing... The writing was beautiful! I could not stop reading. I sat there and read this book in one evening. It was well past midnight by the time I finished it, but I had to finish it! And now I'm sitting here at 2AM writing this review so I'm sorry if it's slightly incoherent.

“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”

Proof I am Frances

I struggled during year thirteen, my last year of high school. And before that I flew through school.. I loved it and I did well, really well! But thirteen years was just one year too many. So when I was asked to write a speech for an assembly I wrote this... And it was such a huge weight off my shoulders to talk about how I felt.


After that speech I was told that in the future I would have to have my speeches checked before I could present them, but oh well... I said my part and I hope that I helped at least one person in that audience.

Now seriously, just read Radio Silence!


Have you ever read a book where you felt like you could relate to everything? Which book?? Also has anyone read Solitaire by Alice Oseman? It's high on my TBR list now that I've realised how much I love Alice Oseman.   

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Saturday, 9 December 2017

NaNoWriMo Participation Award (AKA I Wrote 10K and Then Gave Up)

If you're following me on Twitter then you'll know that I attempted NaNoWriMo last month. But for those of you who don't know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happens in the month of November and the idea is to write 50,000 words (a novel) within that time.

How did that go for me?


Ummmmm.....

So what happened?

I have a whole series of excuses for why I didn't finish NaNoWriMo, but really the truth is in the graph... I stopped writing one day and then never started again... I just sort of lost motivation. There was so much happening in November, I haven't read much all year, but I finally felt like reading so I did and then I felt like blogging so I did that too, and my novel took a wee bit of a back seat. 

Where to from here?

I'm not sure yet. I'm considering picking this project up again for Camp NaNoWriMo next year, but it's also my first year of university next year so we'll see how that goes first. At the moment, I want to focus on my blog for a little bit and I don't think I currently have the time to blog and read as well as write as well. Maybe my time management will get better next year!


Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Tell me about your novels! How much did you write? Remember that even 100 words is an achievement so I'm totally fine with my final word count of 10,000 words! I hope you enjoyed this little writing update, let me know if you want more!

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Sunday, 3 December 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House, by Stephanie Perkins || WARNING: NEGATIVITY

There's Someone Inside Your House
Love hurts... 

Makani Young thought she'd left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She's found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn't far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.


I am so conflicted about Stephanie Perkins latest release. I was excited when I heard that she was writing a new novel because I love the Anna and the French Kiss series and I was even more excited when I found out it was horror themed, but now I'm not really sure what to think... There were parts that completely pissed me off and there were parts that were okay(ish). Luckily I tweeted as I read so I can break everything down for you with the help of my tweets!

*** WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AND I WILL RANT ***

Things started out well... Not. Maybe it was because I decided to tweet as I read, but I got two pages in and I was already totally distracted. Okay.. Maybe that is because Twitter is a huge distraction no matter what you're reading, but still! Page two!


Anyway! Moving on. So this book started from the point of view of a girl called Hayley (I think it was Hayley?) who was basically a theatre geek, but don't worry too much about her because wait for it... She's dead less than ten pages in.


Rightio, now that we have Hayley out of the way (Stacey? Her name definitely might have been Stacey..) we can move onto the real star of the show. Makani. Let me set the scene for you; Makani is the new girl in a small town. She's been shipped off there by her parents to live with her grandmother because something awfully strange happened in her past. Although of course we're not quite sure what that is yet. At this point I was definitely assuming that Makani had actually killed someone... But more about that later.


So this Hayley/Stacey girl was brutally murdered and now the whole town is freaking out trying to figure out who it is. Pause again, this time because a character mentioned flip-flops and I care more about finding out what everyone calls those in different countries.


Back to reading. Only to find out that Makani's grandmother sleepwalks. For some reason I just could not get into this book. I kept getting distracted! But that might just be because Twitter is damn distracting.


I stopped reading because I was "too tired to concentrate" and then didn't pick it up again for a couple of days (actually more like a week) because I just wasn't feeling it.


I finally managed to read a bit and was actually starting to like it a bit more... During this time Makani and Ollie got a lot of screen time and I realised that maybe I like reading Stephanie Perkins more in the contemporary genre than the horror genre.

A second person is murdered this time by having their brain taken out and chopped up and then shoved back in. Creative. I'm back to not really enjoying this book, but determined to finish it.


Another death. (This one had his ears chopped off)


Makani (of course) is the next victim, but she gets away and we find out who the killer is and what a BORING killer?! It's just some random quiet kid from Makani's school (lol it's always the quiet ones). I had to wait until the end of the book to find out why he was murdering people and how he was choosing them, but I'll spare you the wait for nothing... Turns out he was killing people that had potential and might one day have a life outside of the town they were from.... And that list included his best friend... Yeah... What? I don't even know! This 'grand reveal' was at the end of the book and it was such a let down. It didn't even really make sense to me!


What else happened between finding out who the killer was and finding out why he was killing people? Oh yeah, we found out about Makani's mysterious past. Another let down. The reason she had to move to a tiny town to live with her grandmother was because she was a messy drunk at some team initiation thing and chopped off someone's ponytail. I get that high school kids can suck, but this was built up to be a HUGE reveal and it would have been waaaaayyy more interesting if Makani actually killed someone.


By this point I gave up on tweeting. So how did it end? Happily ever after of course. There were a couple more deaths, but in the end, the killer was caught and the boy and the girl got together. Blah blah blah. That's it.


I'm sorry, but I'm actually pissed off about this book. My last tweet pretty much sums up the entire experience for me. I'm disappointed because I wanted to like this, but I really didn't. Ah well, I'm about to start Radio Silence so I'm hoping I'll like that better!



Have you ever been excited for a book that just let you down? Tell me what you thought of this book if you've read it.. Disagree or agree with me?? I want to know! Tell me your thoughts.


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Saturday, 25 November 2017

Bookish Subscription Boxes || OwlCrate Unboxing


A couple of months ago I decided it would be fun to order a bookish subscription box and after many twitter polls (because that's how I make all important decisions in my life) I decided to order Octobers OwlCrate. The theme for October was Find Me in the Forest and I thought I'd share what I got with all of you so you can decide whether you want to buy one of the future boxes.

Of course each month has a different themed box with different contents, but this post will give you an idea on what sort of items to expect and whether it's worth it or not.

The Book(s)


In this OwlCrate box I received a hardcover (limited edition!!) copy of Wild Beauty, by Anne-Marie McLemore. This edition was exclusive to OwlCrate so that was a pretty cool surprise! Not only that, but it also came with a signed bookplate and a letter from the author.

I believe I read somewhere on the OwlCrate website that one hardcover book is always included and they try to make it a new release so that the majority of people haven't already got it. It would suck to receive a book that you already own.

I haven't read Wild Beauty yet, but it's next up on my TBR.


The Goodies

The OwlCrate box came crammed full of exciting goodies! All to do with the theme of the month and I was very happy with everything I received. I think I got seven (or eight?) goodies overall which seemed worth it to me. And the box really was packed.


My favourite thing was definitely the Harry Potter themed mug.. and the tea... and also the candle.... can I say everything was my favourite? I can't wait to try the tea and light the candle. (although part of me doesn't want to ruin anything by using it which is a little dumb).


Also check out this amazing print!


In the OwlCrate box you get a card with a description of everything on it (the print in the last picture is from Princess Mononoke btw) and also a little magazine with wee activities and tidbits of information related to the books and the items in the box which I thought was a really nice touch!


The Cost (30USD + Shipping)

Owlcrate is 30USD and shipping to New Zealand is 20USD (ouch). To be honest 50USD is probably a little bit much for what you receive and I definitely could not afford to do it every month, but I understand that international shipping is expensive so that's my fault for living all the way out in New Zealand. Shipping within the US is only 6.99USD so that's more reasonable and if that was all it cost for me I would definitely do this way more often!

It's also worth having a look around for discount codes. When I subscribed you got 15 percent off your first box which was a major relief to both me and my wallet so keep an eye out for things like that.

Would I repurchase?

Yes! I definitely couldn't do it every month because of the cost of shipping, but every now and then when I see a theme that looks particularly interesting I will definitely go on the hunt for discount codes and then repurchase. Although I want to give some other subscription boxes a go first to see what else is out there.

I think the cat liked it too. Or maybe she could smell the candle?


Would you purchase OwlCrate? Or have you ever received any bookish subscription boxes? I'm thinking about doing more posts like this if you're interested so which box should I try next?

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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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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Nerve, by Jeanne Ryan || When the Movie is Better than the Book

Nerve
ARE YOU PLAYING THE GAME OR IS THE GAME PLAYING YOU?

Vee doesn't know if she has the guts to play NERVE, an anonymous online game of dares. But whoever's behind the game knows exactly what she wants, enticing her with lustworthy prizes and a sizzling-hot partner. With Ian on her team, it's easy to agree to another dare. And another. And another. At first it's thrilling as the Watchers cheer them on to more dangerous challenges. But suddenly the game turns deadly. Will Vee and Ian risk their lives for the Grand Prize dare, or will they lose NERVE?


A game where players are paid to complete increasingly dangerous dares by a mysterious organisation. Sounds good, right? Wrong! I had high hopes for Nerve, but it really fell short for me.


What went wrong?

Where to start?

Nerve was slightly(ish) interesting(ish) at the start, but from there it just went downhill. I wanted to like this book. I wanted to love this book, but no... I didn't.

The main character Vee (Venus) was seriously annoying. She was the typical shy girl to begin with (cool, that's fine) and then she became an "I'm not like the other girls" kind of girl to prove that she wasn't a typical shy girl (hm.....) and then I don't even know what happened. She liked one boy (theatre geek/arsehole whose name I have already forgotten) and was clueless about another boy that liked her (fellow backstage crew member Tommy) and then met a third boy (Insta-love-Ian). SPOILER ALERT (highlight to reveal) I thought he was going to be the one to turn around and stab her in the back (which would have been more interesting and more realistic than Tommy), but alas, I was wrong. It was a mess and it all felt very forced.

Things just didn't add up. Maybe I've lost the ability to understand subtleties in books during my loooong reading slump, but was Vee using sign language with her best friend.... Did I miss something? How do they know sign language? Or when it said "I signed to her" was it one of those "she's my best friend and we've known each other forever so we can communicate without talking" moments. I found that very confusing and I kept getting really caught up on it. It is likely that I just completely misunderstood something though so if somebody could clear that up... Thanks :)

And how did the secret mysterious organisation actually make this work. How did they get hold of so much personal information like medical files? How did they remain secret? Why did Vee get through to the next round with such a boring dare (pouring coffee over her head)? Why did I read this? So many questions.

One last thing that drove me crazy was that throughout the book, Vee's parents are super strict for some weird unexplained reason and she's constantly grounded and has early curfews. But it turns out that the reason for all this is... SPOILER ALERT (highlight to reveal) that Vee was sitting in her car in the garage with the car running and accidentally almost killed herself and her parents think that she did it on purpose so obviously they ground her and never let her out of the house again. Yeah, everything about that makes sense. Not.

What went right?

This book created the basis for a pretty okay movie that has Dave Franco in it.

That's it.

Just watch the movie.

If you've read Nerve, what did you think? I know that some people have loved it. Has a book ever fallen seriously short for you and then the movie turned out okay?

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