October Wrap Up

I’ve hit that low point of the year, it’s probably due to being back at work after 6 weeks off, and I don’t have the motivation to blog any more. Every time I go to write something I have that niggling voice in my head saying “what’s the point, Em?”  So, I apologise, and I will get better at posting because I have done and read some amazing things over the past couple of months, especially as I’ve finally gotten out of my reading slump!

I went to the Body Worlds experience in London. It was really weird but interesting. After a while you start to forget that these were once living, breathing people.

Books Read in October

Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan Gold_Star.svgGold_Star.svgGold_Star.svgGold_Star.svg

Talking with Serial Killers: The Most Evil People in the World Tell Their Stories by Christopher Berry-Dee Gold_Star.svgGold_Star.svg

The More You Ignore Me by Jo Brand Gold_Star.svgGold_Star.svgGold_Star.svg

Hollow WorldTalking with Serial Killers: The Most Evil People in the World Tell Their Own Stories

 

Blog Posts

sunday smiles

Sunday Smiles – Cambridge


 

Books I Bought In October.

e-books:

Currently Reading: 

The Life and Loves of a He Devil


Looking Forward To In November…

  • My birthday! We’re going to the Harry Potter themed escape rooms! I’m very, very excited!
  • It’s our 10 year anniversary so we’re going for afternoon tea and to see The Lion King.

How was your October?

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You Only Live Once (Gracie Dart #1) by Jess Vallance 

You Only Live Once (Gracie Dart #1)

Title: You Only Live Once
Author: Jess Vallance
Series: Gracie Dart #1
Publication:  23rd August 2018 by Hot Key Books
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Fiction

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book with a warm atmosphere (centered on family, friendship, love or summer)

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Gracie Dart has always worked hard and she’s got a wall covered with revision timetables and French verbs to prove it. But now GCSEs are behind her and she suddenly starts to think: what was the POINT of it all?

When Gracie thinks she’s dying of a disgusting tropical illness, she starts to worry she’s been wasting her best years being sensible. It’s like people say: you only live once – so isn’t it about time she started LIVING?
(OK, so the tropical illness turned out to be a fake-tan miscalculation. Anyone could make the same mistake.)

When Gracie decides to do something, she does it properly. Gracie Dart is about to live out her dreams. However embarrassing.

My Thoughts

This book is marketed at being good for fans of Geek Girl, which was completely spot on. It also reminded me a lot of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson books. It was funny and enjoyable with some strong themes of friendship.

The book starts with Gracie coming back from holiday after her stressful GCSEs and taking herself off to hospital as, she has Googled it, she clearly has a tropical illness and is dying. Being prepared, she wees into a tub, pops it into her handbag and gets a single bus ticket to the hospital. On the way the bottle breaks in her bag, soaking her in urine. After a few hours wait she sees the Dr, who she off loads onto like a therapist. It turns out she’s not going to die after all! After her near-death(ish) experiece she decides she’s going to live life to the full and stats pushing herself out of her comfort zone by riding a horse along a beach (kind of), bungy jumping (what could possibly go wrong?) and taking her Gran on an impromptu trip to Paris.

It’s told entirely from Grace’s point of view and the author gets the teenage girl’s voice and thoughts spot on; from the humour, to the insecurities, to the dating. It captures family life, both the ups and downs. It even covers cutting friends out of your life because a “better offer” comes along.

A wonderful, funny and enjoyable read.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

ARC August 2018: Wrap Up

ARC-August (1)

ARC August (hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat.) has come to an end and I must say I’m feeling quite pleased with myself. I read a book which has been sitting on my Netgalley shelf for THREE years and I read a book before its release date.


My Goals

My aim at the beginning of this challenge was to get into the 70’s but I really wanted the 75%. I raised my percentage from 69% to 72%

Feedback Ratio: 72%

103 Approved  |  74 Feedback Sent
28 Books on shelf

 

The Books

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo Gold_Star.svgGold_Star.svgGold_Star.svgGold_Star.svgGold_Star.svg

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart Gold_Star.svgGold_Star.svg

Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu Gold_Star.svgGold_Star.svg

You Only Live Once (Gracie Dart #1) by Jess Vallance  (Review published on 5th Sept) Gold_Star.svgGold_Star.svgGold_Star.svgGold_Star.svg

To Kill a KingdomGenuine FraudYou Only Live Once (Gracie Dart #1)

Still on the shelf…

  • Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan (23%)
  • Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (Started)
  • The Break by Marian Keyes
  • The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr
  • The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
  • My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan

 

Have you read any of these books?

Will you be joining in with ARC August?

 

The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu

Title: The Novice
Author: Taran Matharu
Series: Summoner #1
Publication:  5th May 2015 by Hachette Children’s Group
Genre: Fantasy, Teen + YA

Around the Year in 52 Books – An author’s debut novel.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

My Thoughts

As I read this book, Mark Twain’s famous quote kept running through my mind.

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.” – Mark Twain

This book is a mash up of lots of popular ideas, some not really changed at all, added to the interesting, but ultimately not unique, story.

Orphan and blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world. He travels to the Adept Military Academy, a school, to learn more about the art of summoning. He is put through training with commoners and nobility, and newly accepted elves and dwarves. They are told that they will be put in a competition against second year students and the winner will receive a promotion in the military.

The demons are essentially Pokemon. Some of the descriptions and names even remind me of Pokemon – but this is probably because they’re both based on mythological creatures rather than blatant stealing eg. Pheonix, Hydra and Hippogriff all come from mythology, hense the links to other series such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. The demons all have skills and can level up. Like Pokemon, they are separate entities to the summoner and can be controlled.

The part where I got frustrated was with the elves, dwarves and orcs. They were stereotypical of their fantasy-races and it was like reading The Hobbit film. The dwarves did the mining and rode on the back of boars. The elves were agile, graceful and rode on the back of giant elks and used bows and arrows. The orcs were the enemies and there was even a large, albino orc with red eyes.

Image result for thranduil on elk in filmImage result for dwarves on boars in hobbit filmImage result for white orc the hobbit

Add on that Fletcher’s an orphan, we all know his parentage will be someone important. Of course the nobility are mean because all rich people must be horrible, only commoners are nice people. A competition against second years and nobility, who have had years of extra practice, I wonder who’s going to win… groan.

I’m sure this author will achieve and write fantastic things in the future but this book was like reading fanfic rather than any original ideas.

My Thoughts (1)

2-stars

ARC August 2018 – Weeks 3 + 4

Books Completed

The Novice (Summoner, #1)The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu

Release date: 5th May 2015

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

This was like Pokémon meets The Hobbit. For a first book it has a lot of potential but also contains lot of clichés. I’m sure this author will produce fantastic work in the future.

 

You Only Live Once (Gracie Dart #1)You Only Live Once  by Jess Vallance

Release date: 23rd August 2018

Gracie Dart has always worked hard and she’s got a wall covered with revision timetables and French verbs to prove it. But now GCSEs are behind her and she suddenly starts to think: what was the POINT of it all?

When Gracie thinks she’s dying of a disgusting tropical illness, she starts to worry she’s been wasting her best years being sensible. It’s like people say: you only live once – so isn’t it about time she started LIVING?
(OK, so the tropical illness turned out to be a fake-tan miscalculation. Anyone could make the same mistake.)

When Gracie decides to do something, she does it properly. Gracie Dart is about to live out her dreams. However embarrassing.

This book was so funny and such a wonderful summer read. It’s marketed at being good for fans of Geek Girl and this was spot on. It also reminded me a lot of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson books. It was funny and enjoyable with some strong themes of friendship.

 

Books Started

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire #2) – 23%

In total, I’ve managed to raise my Netgalley percentage from 69% to 72%


ARC August is a challenge hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. During August you try and read all those ARCs that you have been neglecting.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud

Title: Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Series: N/A
Publication: 5th September 2017 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book set in Africa or South America.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

My Thoughts

The story is told backwards, beginning with Jule on the run. She’s dressed up in disguise, calls herself “Imogen” and flees when she feels her cover has been blown.

The story is told in third person, by an unreliable narrator. This was one of the only positives I can think of with this book. The unreliability meant I questioned myself as to who I believed and who I felt sympathetic towards. None of the characters were particularly likeable but I think that’s the way they were meant to be portrayed. I also found them completely unrelatable and unlikable because of their attitudes, they were privileged young girls with a lot of money and time to waste.

Being told backwards means it’s quite obvious what has happened. We’re supposed to find out the hows and whys but this didn’t really build up much tension and I found it all very unbelievable and anticlimactic. Being marketed as a mystery, I expected SOME mystery or suspense. There was very little.

I get what E. Lockhart was trying to do and I commend someone for trying a different style but this didn’t quite work for me. I definitely preferred We Were Liars.

My Thoughts (1)

2-stars

 

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Series: N/A
Publication: 6th March 2018 by Hot Key Books.
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Around the Year in 52 Books –  A book that takes place on, in, or underwater.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

My Thoughts

This was easily one of the best books I’ve read this year and definitely lives up to the hype. It’s the type of book that keeps you reading until 2am. It’s the type of book that you find yourself thinking about when you’re not reading it. It’s the type of book that leaves you with a book hangover.

Firstly, I love that this is a stand alone fantasy book which seems to be hard to come by these days. The story is well told and wrapped up beautifully. Add on to that the fact that it’s a twist on The Little Mermaid and I was delighted before I even began. I say it’s a twist because this “mermaid”, who looses her siren song rather than voice, doesn’t want to be a human and bag a prince, she wants to kill him and take his heart.

I was hooked from the first page. The opening is one of the best I’ve read in a while.

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. I count each of them, so I can be sure non were stolen in the night. It;s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there;s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.

The book flicks between the two perspectives;

Lira: the Siren princess, daughter of the Sea Queen who rules the sea kingdom, Diavos. Lira is also know as The Prince’s Bane due to taking princes’ hearts. Her mother is an abusive, manipulating tyrant and isn’t willing to relinquish her throne any time soon.

Elian: The royal prince set to inherit Midas, the city of gold. He is also a cutthroat sea captain, known as the Siren Hunter due to hunting down and killing sirens.

With some books I loath reading from a particular person’s perspective but I enjoyed reading both POV. I particularly loved the banter and the slow burning romance, which is something I don’t normally enjoy.

If you’re a fan of anti-heroines, slow-burning romance, strong friendships and banter, this is the book for you!

My Thoughts (1)

5-stars

ARC August 2018: Week 2

ARC-August (1)

I was on holiday for the first two weeks of ARC August so this is a summary of the first two weeks.

Books Completed

To Kill a KingdomTo Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Release Date: 6th March 2018

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

A retelling of The Little Mermaid; I loved this book! I read it whilst sitting next to the sea, which made it even better. Definitely worth the hype.

 

Genuine FraudGenuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Release Date: 5th September 2017

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

This was a disappointment. It wasn’t believable and was predictable.

Books Started

The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu – 53%

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire #2) – 23%

 

In total, I’ve managed to raise my Netgalley percentage from 69% to 71%


ARC August is a challenge hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat.During August you try and read all those ARCs that you have been neglecting.

ARC August

ARC-August (1)

Today is the start of ARC August, a challenge hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. During August you try and read all those ARCs that you have been neglecting. You can see the rules and sign up here.


My NetGalley

Feedback Ratio: 69%

103 Approved  |  71 Feedback Sent
31 Books on my shelf

My Goals

My aim is to get that percentage up to 75% but my realistic goal is to get in the 70’s.

I have a lot of books on my shelf that I requested when I first signed up and was very click happy.

My Netgalley e-ARCs I’d like to read, in no particular order, are:

  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  • Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  • Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
  • The Break by Marian Keyes
  • The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  • Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr
  • The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
  • My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan
  • Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu

This is obviously way more than I would ever be able to read in a month (especially as it’s been whittled down).

*I’m currently on holiday so there will be no update from me for the first week.*

Good luck and happy reading!

Have you read any of these books?

Will you be joining in with ARC August?