Monday, December 31, 2018

December Wrap-Up

*Contains spoilers for the December Wildest Dreams and FairyLoot boxes*

Here are the books I planned to read this month . . . 


 The Light Between Us by Katie Khan - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid - ARC - 3.5/5 stars.
Untamed (Untamed, #1) by Madeline Dyer - eARC - 2.5/5 stars - read my review here.

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton - paperback - 3/5 stars.
Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff - audiobook/paperback - 4/5 stars. I finally finished this! I had been listening to the audiobook of this for months and as I neared the end I got to a big plot twist and decided to buy a physical copy.

 Sadie by Courtney Summers - eARC - 4/5 stars - read my review here.
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway - 3.5/5 stars.


 Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) by Jay Kristoff

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth - this is the December Wildest Dreams book. It's beautiful! It even has French flaps.

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1) by James S.A. Corey - this was a Christmas present and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - this was from a trade.

Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst - this was the December FairyLoot book. I hadn't heard of the author before but it sounds like it should be a fun read.

Written in History: Letters that Changed the World by Simon Sebag Montefiore - this was half price in Waterstones and I treated myself to a copy. It sounds really interesting and my sister wants to read it because there are letters between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in it.

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1) by Kalyn Josephson - this is an ARC and was a bonus book in the December FairyLoot box.

Fire and Blood: A History of the Targaryen Kings from Aegon the Conqueror to Aegon III as scribed by Archmaester Gyldayn by George R.R. Martin - this was a Christmas present and there are some really nice illustrations inside.



The Ember Blade (The Darkwater Legacy, #1) by Chris Wooding

I'm just over halfway through this beast of a book at the moment. It's over 800 pages and is taking me longer to get through than I'd hoped.

How was your December?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Book Surprises and Disappointments of 2018

As with any year there have been numerous books that surprised or disappointed me in 2018.



To Kill a Kingdom, The Nowhere Girls, City of Brass and Sadie were all books that I didn't think would live up to the hype - I usually have unpopular opinions when it comes to hyped/popular books, so I was pleasantly surprised (and relieved) when I enjoyed these three.
And they're actually all in my Top Ten Books of 2018, which can be found here.

Adrift was a surprise because it doesn't have the best Goodreads rating and I wasn't expecting it to hold my attention, but I thought it was action-packed and suspenseful. I had no idea what was going to happen next. 
Read my review here.

Kindred was a surprise because I didn't expect it to hit me emotionally the way it did.
The plot was interesting and tough to read at times.
The main character, Dana, went through a lot and her relationship with Rufus was very complicated but intriguing.
My review can be read here.


There were quite a few books that I could have added to this list, but I've shortened it to the most disappointing otherwise this post could go on forever.

 Mortal Engines, Crazy Rich Asians and Ready Player One were all books that I read in preparation of watching the films.
In the end I only saw Crazy Rich Asians at the cinema and I definitely preferred the film to the book.
The Mortal Engines and Crazy Rich Asians books were disappointing because I didn't like the wrting styles and struggled to stay interested. Mortal Engines had a very middle grade feel to me.
And while I did enjoy Ready Player One overall, I didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else seemed to.

 I expected to love The Wrath and the Dawn, Mirage and The Poppy War, but all three were disappointing.
In the case of The Wrath and the Dawn, I think that I waited too long to read it and that I'd built it up a lot in my head and expected something mind-blowing. I did like it, but not enough to want to read the sequel.
Mirage started off well and I liked the sci-fi aspects and the mythology but the romance ruined the book for me and I have no intention of continuing with the sequel. Read my review here.
I have mixed feelings when it comes to The Poppy War. It wasn't really what I expected but there were some things that I liked about it. My review can be found here.

Children of Blood and Bone is another book where the romance ruined it for me. It seemed forced and unnecessary. 
Read my review here.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is very popular, but I don't really get what the fuss is about. I think this is another case where it wasn't what I expected.

So that's it!
Are there any books that disappointed or surprised you this year?


Saturday, December 29, 2018

My Top Ten Books of 2018

At the time of posting this I have read 102 books this year which I am pretty darn happy with!

It's not very often that I give a book five stars - my sister moans that I'm too picky - and while I only gave one book five stars this year, there were several books that I really enjoyed.

Here are my Top Ten Books that I read in 2018 . . .

10. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed - 4/5 stars

Pages: 404
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 5th October 2017

Blurb from Goodreads:

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They're every girl. But they start with just three.

Grace, the preacher's daughter who moves into the former house of a girl whose pain adorns the walls.

Bold Rosina, who dreams of a life of playing music instead of waitressing her uncle's restaurant.

And misunderstood Erin, the girl who finds more solace in science and order than she does in people.

They are brought together by the idea of changing the narrative of Lucy Moynihan, the girl behind the graffiti in Grace's bedroom. When Grace learns that Lucy was run out of town for accusing the popular guys at school of gang rape, she's incensed that she never got justice. Together, Grace, Erin and Rosina form the Nowhere Girls, and decide to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew.

Why I Liked It

 I really liked the characters and the writing style in The Nowhere Girls.
The subject was hardhitting but handled well.

9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - 4/5 stars

Pages: 438
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 28th February 2017

Blurb from Goodreads:

"What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?"

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Why I Liked It

This was an emotional, important book.
I loved the family dynamic and I really felt for Starr.


8. Uprooted by Naomi Novik - 4/5 stars

Pages: 435
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 12th May 2016

Blurb from Goodreads:

A dark enchantment blights the land.

Agnieszka loves her village, set in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest's dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. A young woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all she values behind.

Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she is everything Agnieszka is not - beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he takes.

Why I Liked It

To be honest, it took me a while to get into Uprooted and I was sure that I was going to end up giving it three stars. But then I found myself getting hooked and by the end I really enjoyed Uprooted.
I liked the magic and the characters.

7. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo - 4/5 stars

Pages: 358
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 6th March 2018

Blurb from Goodreads:

I have a heart for every year I've been alive.

There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle just to check they're still there. Buried deep and bloody.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and revered across the sea until she is cursed into humanity by the ruthless Sea Queen. Now Lira must deliver the heart of the infamous siren killer or remain a human forever.

Prince Elian is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world and captain to a deadly crew of siren hunters. When he rescues a drowning woman from the ocean, she promises to help him destroy sirenkind for good. But he has no way of knowing whether he can trust her …

Why I Liked It

There was a lot of hype around To Kill A Kingdom, so I was scared going into it that I wouldn't like it. However, this was one popular book that I actually liked too!
I loved the banter between the characters in this and the brutal take on The Little Mermaid.
Read my review here.

6. Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands, #3) by Alwyn Hamilton - 4/5 stars

 Pages: 506
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Release Date: 1st February 2018

Blurb from Goodreads:

Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.

The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.

Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero...

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan's armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

Why I Liked It

I love the mix of magic, western, and mythology in this series.
I also adore the characters and I'm so sad to say goodbye to them!
This was a great end to the trilogy with lots of heart-felt moments and action.


5. Sadie by Courtney Summers - 4/5 stars

Pages: 378
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 4th September 2018

Blurb from Goodreads

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial-like podcast following the clues she's left behind.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Why I Liked It

Sadie is told partly in podcast form and partly from Sadie's point of view, which I thought worked really well.
I really liked Sadie as a character and the writing style and plot kept me hooked.
I would definitely recommend this but there are some dark things that happened so if you are triggered by things like sexual abuse and paedophilia I would give this a miss.
Read my review here.

4. A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood - 4/5 stars

Pages: 356
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 5th July 2018

Blurb from Goodreads

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, seventeen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer - a handsome, dashing brother and sister - Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.

But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions... And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning Gatsby-esque backdrop, this is perfect for fans of I Capture the Castle and Eva Ibbotson.

Why I Liked It
I loved the Great Gatsby feels I got from A Sky Painted Gold.
I really liked the family aspect and that the book was set in Cornwall.
I loved Lou as a protagonist and I adored the romance. It makes my heart so happy just thinking about it!
Side note - the author is lovely. I talked to her through Twitter when the cover was revealed and she remembered that when I met her at YALC in July, which I'm still super shocked about. Blogger goal. Tick! :)

3. The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1) by S.A. Chakraborty - 4/5 stars

Pages: 544
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: 8th March 2018

Blurb from Goodreads:

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

Why I Liked It

I definitely wasn't expecting to enjoy The City of Brass as much as I did.
The characters were flawed and relatable and I loved reading as they interacted.
The world in The City of Brass was really interesting and intriguing.
It did take me a while to wrap my head around all the terms that were introduced, especially as one term could mean different things.
Read my review here.


2. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde - 4.5/5 stars

Pages: 402
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 2nd August 2018

Blurb from Goodreads:

Every Winter, the human population hibernates.

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, and devoid of human activity.

Well, not quite.

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it's your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses.

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact borne of the sleeping mind.

When the dreams start to kill people, it's unsettling.

When you get the dreams too, it's weird.

When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity.

But teasing truth from Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping and stamp collecting, ensure you aren't eaten by Nightwalkers whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food, and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk.

But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you'll be fine.

Why I Liked It

 Jasper Fforde is my favourite author so I couldn't wait to get stuck into Early Riser.
The plot was interesting and, as usual, Jasper Fforde has created a detailed, unique world that sucked me in.
 Read my review here.

1. Somebody to Love by Aurelia Fray - 5/5 stars

Pages: 370
Release Date: 29th March 2018

Blurb from Goodreads

Henry was only tasked with fixing the leaky office pipes. So, when a crazy woman barges in and confesses all her secrets like a challenge, he’s faced with two choices: Tell her he’s not the man she’s looking for, or roll with it.

Rachel knows there’s something amiss about her new shrink—he’s far too handsome for starters—but she’s desperate to straighten her life out. With only three weeks to find a date to her best friend’s wedding, she’s willing to try anything. Even rely on a complete stranger to help her find love.

An unlikely pair, an impossible mission, and a hilarious hunt for somebody to love.

Why I Liked It

Aurelia Fray always writes characters that are relatable and likeable.
Hilarious and gripping, I didn't want Somebody to Love to end!
Read my review here.

Honorable Mensions

 Ms. Marvel Volumes 7, 8 and 9.

 Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff
The Light Over London by Julia Kelly
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

What are your favourite books of 2018?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

My Top Ten Films of 2018

I love going to the cinema and can usually be found at my local cinema at the weekend with my sister a.k.a. my partner in crime.

This year I saw a record number of SIXTEEN films at the cinema!
And I didn't even get to see all the films I wanted to see.

Here are my top ten films that I saw at the cinema this year . . .

10. Bohemian Rhapsody

I'm a big Queen fan so I just HAD to watch Bohemian Rhapsody.
I enjoyed it and thought that Rami Malek was amazing as Freddie Mercury.

9. Black Panther

 I didn't enjoy Black Panther as much as some people I know but I really liked the characters. 

8. The Shape of Water

I really enjoyed The Shape of Water
I could have done without the fish sex but I liked the story and the characters.

7. First Man

 I love anything space-related and Claire Foy is an amazing actress.
Also ever since The Nice Guys and La La Land I see why everyone likes Ryan Gosling.
First Man was a very enjoyable watch and it was stressful at times even though I knew what was going to happen.

6. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I really enjoyed Into the Spider-Verse.
The animation was gorgeous and I liked the soundtrack.
The plot and characters were good. I laughed out loud several times.
This is definitely one of my favourite Spider-Man films.

5. Ant-Man and the Wasp

 I loved the first Ant-Man film and I was not disappointed with the sequel!
There were some really funny scenes in Ant-Man and the Wasp and while it wasn't perfect, I really enjoyed it.
Hope a.k.a. The Wasp is so badass. I loved the fight scenes.

4. BlacKkKlansman

 This is such a good film!
The acting was really good and the plot was really interesting.
The cinema was silent at the end of the film.
Definitely a must-watch movie!

3. Incredibles 2

I LOVE the first Incredibles film so I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy Incredibles 2 as much. But I did!
I LOVED this film so much!
It was everything I wanted.
I loved basically everything about it. 
My only gripe is about the Underminer, but maybe if there is a third film he'll return?

2. Mission Impossible - Fallout

I really enjoyed the previous two Mission Impossible films in the series so when I watched the trailer for Fallout I was so excited! Especially seeing as a certain Mr Cavill was going to be in the film.
OMG you guys this is possibly the most STRESSFULL film I have ever watched. This is definitely my favourite action film ever.
If you haven't watched this WATCH IT!   

1. Avengers: Infinity War

Forget Mission Impossible - Fallout. THIS is the most stressful film EVER!
I've only watched this once as I haven't quite been able to bring myself to watch it again.
I'm still not over that ending!
This was another film where the cinema was silent at the end because ahhhhhhh I did not see that coming!
SO SO GOOD! But also bad because of what happened and I am so scared of what's going to happen in Avengers: Endgame O_O

Do you agree with my top ten?
What's your favourite film of the year?