Monday, 31 December 2018

December Wrap Up 2018

What I Read:


Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R Tolkien - 4 STARS
This was such a nice Christmas read.  It's a collection of letters from Father Christmas that J.R.R Tolkien wrote to his children each year and it was a lot more heart warming than I expected it to be.



A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic book 1) by V.E. Schwab - 4 STARS
I finally started this series after hearing so many great things about it and I'm glad it didn't disappoint me.  I really enjoyed this book and find the world and characters that V.E. Schwab has created very interesting. 


My December Bookstagram pictures (xo_reader_kyla):


December is always my worst reading month so I wasn't too surprised that I didn't read many books.  I did also read a short story called 'The Little Match Girl' by Hans Christian Andersen, which was such a short sad story but I'm glad I read it.  I had a fun Christmas with my family, Christmas time is always one of my favourite times of the year!

What books did you read in December? 

Monday, 24 December 2018

The Festive Christmas Book Tag



I'm back with another Christmas book tag.  This time I'm doing the Festive Christmas Book Tag, you can find the original video here.  

QUESTIONS:

1) A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with?


I love my family and can't imagine spending Christmas with anyone else even fictional characters, but if I could choose someone to join us for dinner I'd probably pick the Night Court in A Court of Thorns and Roses or spending time with the characters in the Throne of Glass series.




2) A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?


Clockwork Angel necklace from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.



3) A fictional character you think would make a perfect Christmas elf?


Roar from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi



4) Match a book to its perfect Christmas song. 


I think the Christmas song What If by Kate Winslet really suits the tone of Clockwork Prince (Book 2 in The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare.



5) Bah Humbug. A book or fictional character you've been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list?


What If It's Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli - Although there are some things I enjoyed about this book, overall I felt really disappointed in it.



6) A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserve to be put on the nice list?


A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood - I feel that hardly anyone has read this book and it's such a shame since it's so good.



7) Red, Gold and Green. A book cover that has a wonderfully Christmasy feel to it.


I did a post recently on wintry covers that you can find here but I also feel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo really matches the Christmas colours although the book isn't Christmasy.



8) A book or series you love so much, you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it and love it too?


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid or The Diviners by Libba Bray.



What book or series would you want people to find under their Christmas tree?

Friday, 21 December 2018

Friday Excerpts: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Today I'll be sharing some book excerpts with these bookish features:
Book Beginnings is a weekly feature (hosted by Rose City Reader) where you post the first sentence of the book you're currently reading. 
The Friday 56 is a weekly feature (hosted by Freda's Voice) where you get a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% on ereader) then post a interesting sentence from that page with no spoilers. 

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic book 1) by V.E. Schwab 


Blurb:
Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London...


Beginning:
1.
Kell wore a very peculiar coat.
It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.


Friday 56 (page 56):
The initials on his knife.  There were so many things he didn't understand⎯would never understand⎯about the weapon, its monogram, and the life that went with it.


My Thoughts:
I'm about 30% through this book and I'm loving the world that V.E. Schwab has created and the characters are so interesting to read.


Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic? What are your thoughts on the quotes from it? 

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Top Ten Tuesday- Winter 2018 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is: Winter 2018 TBR.  


A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic book 1) by V.E. Schwab
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman 
Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox book 1) by Julie Kagawa



The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Archangel's Prophecy (Guild Hunter book 11) by Nalini Singh
Nana Vol 1 by Ai Yazawa 


What books are on your Winter 2018 TBR?

Monday, 17 December 2018

The Joy of Christmas Book Tag



I seen this tag going about Booktube and I really liked the questions so I thought I'd do it.  The original video can be found here.  So let's get on to the tag!

QUESTIONS:

1) Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman - This is the first book in the Aurora Cycle series and it isn't released until almost mid 2019 but I'm so excited for it.  I loved the Illuminae Files trilogy and the blurb of this sounds just as amazing.

2) Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing its praises?

Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles book 1) by Helen Scheuerer - I absolutely loved this book when I read it at the beginning of the year and I feel like not many people know about it so I can't help but recommend it to people. 

3) Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world building?

Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire - I really like the worlds that Seanan McGuire has created in this series and I love how intricate they are.

4) A Christmas Carol: Favourite classic or one that you want to read

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - I haven't read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland but I've seen a lot of quotes from it that makes me really want to read it. 

5) Christmas Sweets: What book would you love to receive for Christmas?

Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices book 3) by Cassandra Clare - This book has been out for nearly two weeks now and I still haven't read it yet even though it was one of my most anticipated reads of the year.  I definitely plan on reading it by the end of the year but I'm just in a bit of a reading slump now but hopefully that will pass soon. 

6) Candles in the Window: What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling?

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson - I read this graphic novel a few years ago and I was so surprised at how much I loved it.  I loved both the story and the artwork.

7) Christmas Trees & Decorations: What are some of your favourite book covers?

Wither by Lauren DeStefano and We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.

8) Christmas Joy: What are some of your favourite things about Christmas And/Or some of your favourite Christmas memories?
Christmas is my most favourite time of the year.  I love having fun with my family and just generally getting in the festive mood. 


What are some of your answers for these questions?  

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Top Ten Tuesday- Wintry Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is: Freebie, which means you can choose any topic you want.  I decided to do: Wintry Book Covers.



▪ We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
▪ Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater
▪ Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely book 1) by Melissa Marr
▪ Home for the Holidays (Night Huntress book 6.5) by Jeaniene Frost
▪ Unravel Me (Shatter Me book 2) by Tahereh Mafi



▪ Shadow Heir (Dark Swan book 4) by Richelle Mead
▪ My True Love Gave to Me (anthology) edited by Stephanie Perkins
Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels book 7) by Ilona Andrews
Wild Justice (Nadia Stafford book 3) by Kelley Armstrong
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis


What are some book covers you think have a wintry look?

Monday, 10 December 2018

Book Review: Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Book: Mirage
Series: Mirage book 1
Author: Somaiya Daud
Genre: YA fantasy, sci-fi
In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon. 
But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. 
As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancĂ©, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

My Rating: 4 STARS

My Review:
I liked how Mirage blended the genres of both fantasy and sci-fi together, this was one of the main things I liked about the book.  I found it really interesting how things were described with both fantastical and futuristic elements, it made such an intriguing read.

The world building was also very interesting, although it did feel a bit overwhelming at the beginning with the new terms to understand but I began to appreciate the complex world building a lot more near the end of the book.  

The writing was another thing I really liked about Mirage.  It flowed really well and kept me captivated by the story.  I liked the overall storyline of Mirage, I was fully into the story by the end of the first few chapters and really wanted to know what was going to happen next.  I loved the political intrigue in the story and I liked how Amani (the mc) dealt with being thrown into the thick of it.

The characters were all interesting and I liked their interactions with each other.  Especially the interactions between Amani and Maram, their relationship with each other is very up and down and I liked how complicated it was.  A lot of the characters were very complex and it made them fascinating to read about.

Overall I really enjoyed Mirage.  I liked the writing and how the world was described.  The characters and storyline were captivating to read and I'm excited to see where the next book goes. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Top Ten Tuesday- Cosy Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is: Cosy/Wintry Reads. I feel like cosy/wintry reads mean something different to a lot of people.  I've chosen to go with some fantasy/ paranormal books that I think would be great to snuggle up and read on a winter day. 


Vicious (Villains book 1) by V.E. Schwab
Written in Red (The Others book 1) by Anne Bishop
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo


Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children book 1) by Seanan McGuire 
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels book 1) by Ilona Andrews 
Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles book 1) by Helen Scheuerer


What are some of your cosy reads?

Monday, 3 December 2018

Book Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Book: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genres: YA Contemporary

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster. 
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try. 
Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. 
But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

My Rating: 4 STARS

My Review:
I liked the beginning of Eliza and Her Monsters and loved how Eliza described how much her blog meant to her.  I haven't read many books (I know there are probably a lot of books out there that I'm not aware of) that centre so much on social media and the feeling of being online, it was refreshing to read.  I liked the focus on friendship made on the internet and the dilemmas over them being 'real' friendships.  Eliza and Her Monsters also delved into mental health topics such as anxiety and depression and I liked how it dealt with them.

I didn't like the romance at all and felt it really brought down the book.  I felt Eliza changed a lot when Wallace (the love interest) came on the scene.  She started thinking differently and although that is realistic and not necessarily a bad thing, I really felt like Wallace became the centre of everything and I felt Eliza wasn't her own person anymore.

I found Eliza hard to like in the beginning of the book but I did end up liking her a bit more by the end.  I really disliked Wallace, I thought he was a bit of a bland character in the beginning but then grew to be really unlikable.  The way he acted near the end of the book was so entitled and I wish he would've got called out on it more.  I did like the chats Eliza had with her friends online, they felt more real than the friendships she had offline and I felt the personalities of her friends really shone through in their chats.

Eliza's relationship with her family was surprising.  At the beginning I didn't like how their interactions (between Eliza and her parents, and her and her siblings) were described, they came across as very cold to each other but as the book went on I began to understand their family dynamics more and I really liked the family centred parts of the story near the end of the book.

I also really enjoyed the parts of the book that told snippets from Monstrous Sea itself, I wish there was more of them because I was really into the story of it.

Overall I do have some complicated feelings on this book.  I disliked the parts of the book that centred on the romance and there were a lot of those but ultimately I liked how the book talked about mental health and I enjoyed the focus on online media.        

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Quote Sunday #6

Quote Sunday is a post I do every two week's where I post one of my favourite quotes. This week's quote is from:

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss



Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. 


What are some of your favourite quotes?

Saturday, 1 December 2018

November Wrap Up 2018

What I Read:


Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass book 7) by Sarah J Maas - 5 STARS
What a wild ride of emotions this book was, I loved it so much.  So many things happened in this book and I'm so happy at how far the characters have come since the first book.  This book felt like such an epic journey.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia - 4 STARS
I didn't like the romance of this book but I did really like that the book is about a girl who posts fan art on her blog and I enjoyed reading those parts of the book.  I'll be doing a full review of it soon.

Mirage (Mirage book 1) by Somaiya Daud - 4 STARS
I liked this book, the writing, world building and characters were all interesting.  Mirage really held my interest throughout the story and I'm very excited to see where the next book goes.

Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy book 3.5) by Ilona Andrews - 4 STARS
This is a novella so it was quick to read but I really enjoyed reading from Catalina point of view and it's made me more excited to read her story in future books in the series.

The Lost Sisters (The Folk of the Air 1.5) by Holly Black - 3 STARS
This is a short story from Taryns point of view.  I liked how the story was an apology from Taryn addressed to Jude but ultimately I didn't see much point to this story and I still don't like Taryn much.


My November Bookstagram pictures (xo_reader_kyla):



MUSIC - I've been listening to Stray Kids' Get Cool, Opposite (N/S) and Mixtape#3 on repeat and I also love the music videos of them.  And I've been loving Twice's Yes or Yes song in November as well.  I also went to see BTS' Burn the Stage movie in November and really loved that too! 
TV - I don't think I watched much TV shows in November, I really need to watch more this month.

What did you read, watch or listen to in November?