Reading Update!

With only a few weeks of college left until the summer holidays, I’m already dreaming of days in the sun reading books (and I say this staring out the window as the rain pours down – good old British weather there haha).

And I’m happy to say I’m reading more than usual –  I feel like the slump I’ve had lingering over me for about a year now has finally lifted! I finished reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard yesterday, and I enjoyed it so much. My review will be up sometime this weekend, so watch for it!

I also have some other good (non-bookish) news: I finished my last exam today – yay! Now I have even more time on my hands to read books, and hopefully to blog, too.

Anyway, on with the reading update!

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

 

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If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she’s scared that Grace might never come back. When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it’s a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back – and how to bring her sister home?

Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he’s only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.

As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro’s disappearance – and return – their planets start to collide. Linny’s life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.

I got some awesome book-mail last week! I saw on Twitter that My Kinda Book had a few ARCs of If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak up for grabs, so I asked for one and I’m so happy I’ve received it. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to be reviewing this book before its release; I’ll hopefully be starting it later today!

What are you currently reading?

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

Mini Book Review | Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Publishers: Delacorte Books For Young Readers

Publication Date: 1st September, 2015

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

This was such a sweet, touching novel. It’s the fastest I’ve read a book in a while, and it broke my heart, but also made me feel alive with the feels.

This is the first book I’ve read by Nicola Yoon, and to say I’m impressed is to say the least. The writing was stunning! I loved how engaging and easy to read it was with the illustrations along with the normal prose.

Our characters were great, and I really liked Maddy as our MC. I could relate to her in certain aspects (namely how much she loves reading), and I sympathised with what was going on in her life. I loved Olly, and they were both very interesting characters. As a pair, they made my heart swoon; they were just so adorable!

“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”

I only had one issue with Maddy: how she started acting towards a certain someone at the end of the book. I can understand why she felt the way she did, but it seemed rather cruel, considering the circumstances (I can’t say much else because we’ll be heading into spoiler territory, but hopefully that makes sense).

The plot twist didn’t surprise me if I’m honest, as I’d already guessed what was going to happen before I even started reading the book. I’ll be honest though: it still made me cry. And the ending – where do I begin? It broke my heart, and I wish it hadn’t ended where it did. I wanted to find out more; I wanted everything to be fixed. But life isn’t like that, and books can’t always tell the perfect story. There was a small plot hole right at the end of the novel, but the rest of the book made up for it.

Nicola Yoon tells a beautiful tale of love in this novel – the kind of love that warms your heart and gives you that feeling of happiness in your bones. If you enjoy Young Adult contemporary novels, Everything, Everything is definitely for you.

Topic Awareness:

  • Mentions of death
  • Illness

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

May Wrap-Up!

The month of May has gone in the blink of an eye, and I can’t believe we’re halfway into 2017 already.

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We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

My Review | Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book, and gave it four out of five stars! I did have a couple of issues with it, but overall it was a great YA contemporary.

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

My Review | Goodreads

The Queen that is Cassandra Clare released the second book in her most recent series, and it was amazing! I loved it, and I’m not sure how I’m going to cope until the third book is published in 2019 (which is literally years away; I could cry). However, I’m sure it’ll be more than worth the wait!

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Book Harmony | A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Quick Reading Update | May

I Want More Books | May Wish List

Why Being A Bookworm In Exam Season Sucks

Pinterest + Other Shenanigans!

Lord of Shadows Release Day!!

Fun Fact: My May Wish List post came true! I bought all three books that I was wishing for this month, and I finished reading one today (Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – my review will be up some time next week). I’m so happy to have these books!

This month has been an interesting one for sure. I sat my first exam last week, and this time next week I’ll have no more exams for the year – whoop! I’ve still got a few college assignments to work on, but I feel much less stressed, and I’m reading more than usual, which is awesome! Maybe I’ll be able to bring my physical TBR down to less than a hundred books (I joke but help – my bookshelves are overflowing).

What have you read this month?

Thanks!

 – Emma

Read On!

Book Review | Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

 

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Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

Publishers: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 23rd May, 2017

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again? And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear-before it’s too late.

*Read this post at your own discretion: If you haven’t read Lady Midnight, there may be slight spoilers for it.*

I feel like I’ve been on an intense journey the past couple of days reading this book. I really liked it, and desperately didn’t want it to end, but I’m also relieved it did – the length of it was pretty much perfect (699 pages), though it’s easy to imagine if it had gone on for much longer I would have felt a bit overwhelmed.

I knew I was going to love this book before I read it, because it’s Cassandra Clare and I love her books, and I love the Shadowhunters franchise. This book had a lot to live up to when it came to my expectations, and it really didn’t disappoint.

‘He picked up the sketchbook, turning it so she could see his work – a gorgeous rendition of a stone bridge they’d passed, surrounded by the drooping boughs of oak trees.

“You could sketch me,” said Emma. She flung herself down onto her seat, leaning her head on her hand. “Draw me like one of your french girls.”‘

The writing was stunning, and I easily found myself lost within the story. However, I have to mention that it felt like something was missing. It was an amazing book, but I feel like this was a filler novel of sorts – a lot of stuff had to happen to get us to this point where the main story-line can play out, and though these events carried us through the book, nothing overly major happened.

I’m pretty good at guessing what things are going to happen in a book, so I’m not caught off guard most of the time. When there was something that I hadn’t anticipated, I wasn’t overly shocked though. There was none of that sudden burst of emotion where I’m like ‘OMG NO WAY’, which is a factor I’ve come to fear, but also happily expect from Cassie’s novels. However, that’s not to say I wasn’t surprised by this book: I was, and I was still desperate to know what happened next.

This series has a bunch of amazing characters. I really like our main group – Emma because name twins are cool and she’s a badass; Julian because he continuously fights for his family; Kieran and his strength; Mark with his kind heart, and Cristina for her bravery.

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There wasn’t just a focus on the main characters, though – we really got to know everyone. We uncovered a whole other side to all of the characters, and it was wonderfulI loved how Kit fit into the story (I mean he is a Herondale, so how couldn’t I love him?), and his blossoming friendship with Ty was completely ship-worthy, if you get my drift.

I thought it was awesome how diverse this novel was, too. I can honestly say I feel like Clare is one of the most realistic YA fantasy authors out there – there are characters from all different backgrounds and lifestyles, and it’s great to see so much representation. I was so happy that we explored Ty’s autism as well – I don’t have autism, but I could draw similarities between Ty and myself, and it was lovely how Kit was there for him.

I can’t actually figure out how many possible ships there are in this novel; everywhere I turn another possible OTP is blooming. (I have to quickly mention that we also encountered some characters from past Shadowhunter series, and I may have fangirled a lot slightly.)

‘“We get used to living one way, even if it’s a bad way or a hard one. When that’s gone, there’s a hole to fill. It’s in our nature to try to fill it with anxieties and fears. It can take time to fill it with good things instead.”’

I felt a bit disconnected from the ending. Not because of what happened, but because of what didn’t happen. It felt slightly lack-lustre to me, but feeling this way is definitely my own fault. I saw people hyping up the ending on Twitter, and I thought something else was going to take place which hit my heartstrings much harder (and bought tears to my eyes), but it didn’t, so what did didn’t effect me as much as it would’ve (though a certain character’s reaction made me cry a little, I’ll admit).

I wish I’d had the time to read this book in just a couple of sittings, because I think the time it takes to read a novel really effects how I think about it, and perhaps with less time to speculate I really could’ve focused on what actually happened (because there was a lot) instead of what I thought was going to happen.

There are many things I haven’t mentioned about this novel that are awesome, because my review would likely never end. This book has left me with so many questions, and I’m desperate to know the answers. I think Lady Midnight was perhaps the better book in terms of plot, but Lord of Shadows comes out on top when it comes to character depth, and sheer volume of events. I have a feeling the third and final novel of The Dark Artifices series is possibly going to be one of Cassie’s most dramatic works yet, and I can’t wait!

Topic Awareness:

  • Violence (with vivid descriptions)
  • Death (with vivid descriptions)
  • Romance / Mentions of sex

I can’t recommend this book enough! If you’ve read it, what did you think?

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

Lord of Shadows Release Day!!

The most anticipated day of the year has finally come along – the day the mastermind behind the Shadowhunter world, Cassie Clare, releases her new novel! (Okay, perhaps only the most anticipated day for me and other hardcore fans.)

In case you haven’t seen the posts where I’ve gushed about the writing Goddess that Cassandra Clare is, I feel the need to say again how much I love her books. The Mortal Instruments series is the reason I’m the book fanatic I am today (it may also be the reason I’m poor and have books stacked everywhere in my room), and I’m very emotionally invested in the Shadowhunter novels.

Lady Midnight was the first installment of The Dark Artifices series, and it came out over a year ago! It feels like it’s been a couple of centuries that the fandom have been waiting for the next book, and I’m beyond happy to say it’s here!

So without further ado, here’s the book itself (I actually managed to snag a special edition version, so prepare to feast your eyes on some bookish beauty right now, fellow bookworms):

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Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare

Isn’t it beautiful?! I’m in love! I’m so desperate to start reading and find out what awesomeness lies in the pages, but life is cruel and scheduled my exam this week, so unfortunately I can’t start reading it yet. I have to revise instead.

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But I’m very excited to read it, and as soon as I’m out of that exam, I’m not doing anything except read Lord of Shadows.

Anyway, I’ll stop my fangirling and move on to the other books I bought today (you can’t expect me to just buy the one book I left the house for; no way).

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A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out, especially since I’ve seen so many people loving it. I’m happy to finally have it, and I’ll hopefully be reading it during the summer.

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The Memory Book by Lara Avery

One of my friends told me how awesome (and emotionally crippling) this book was, and that’s all I needed to know for it to be sold to me. I’m planning on this being my next read after Lord of Shadows, and I can’t wait.

I’m so happy with my mini book-haul from today! Are you planning on reading any of these novels, or have you already?

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

 

Pinterest + Other Shenanigans!

I’ve had Pinterest for a while now, and I’m pretty addicted to it. It’s like a haven for finding new things to experiment with, particularly when it comes to my bullet journal (which I’m planning to post about soon!).

Earlier this week I decided to start uploading my own photos to my Pinterest account, which I’m finding fun!

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You can check out my account here!

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A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) by Sarah J. Maas

I’m hoping to read A Court of Wings and Ruin soon, I haven’t been able to start it yet because of exams and assignments coming up (I know if I start it I won’t be able to put it down or stop thinking about it).

Saying that, I’m technically reading Noteworthy by Riley Redgate at the moment, but I haven’t picked it up in a few days. Through no fault of it’s own though – I’m enjoying it a lot, I’m just busy!

In other news that isn’t related to books in the slightest, I’ve started a music blog! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll know that I’m notorious for starting blogs on a whim. But I”m actually studying music tech, and I’m thinking at the moment that I’d love to write about music as a career. If you’d like to check it out (and maybe give it a follow), I’d really appreciate it! You can check out Pop Punk Bliss here!

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

Book Review | We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishers: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 24th, 2015

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

This blurb doesn’t do the book justice – it makes it sound like this cliche YA contemporary, but it’s really not.

(Okay, I’ll admit there are some cliches. But pretty much all books have them, and they don’t overwhelm the novel, and that’s what’s important.)

‘The best books, they don’t talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you’d always thought about, but that you didn’t think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you’re a little bit less alone in the world. You’re part of this cosmic community of people who’ve thought about this thing, whatever it happens to be.’

(I love that quote!)

I have seriously mixed feelings about this book – because it was great, but there are some things I’ve got issues with, even days after reading it. 

Let’s start off with what I liked about it!

The story wasn’t what I thought it was going to be – which is good. I thought it was going to be a bunch of teenage misfits (I say misfits when I really mean popular kids labelled as misfits for marketing purposes) all hanging out in a group, feel crappy because hey, the end of the world is right round the corner. But then as their impending doom came closer to becoming reality, they’d all turn wistful and realise life could’ve been a heck of a lot worse and suddenly they’re all buddies. 

But that wasn’t the plot, and I’m glad it wasn’t. (I won’t lie though, I totally would’ve read that if it were a novel, too.)

Instead, we’re given this honest, believable story. The reality element in We All Looked Up was almost intimidating, because it was so truthful. Tommy Wallach hasn’t shied away from anything – and it’s sad to think that if Earth suddenly had a date with an asteroid in two months time, I’m pretty sure the world would resemble something very similar to the horridness in this novel. 

Our story follows the lives of a group of high school students after they’re told they have two months until the world could end (which is highly likely, it would seem). Told by four characters perspectives, I was impressed by the way Wallach wove the tale so seamlessly between the different POVs. Not once did I feel lost or confused, as everything fit together perfectly. 

And the characters themselves were interesting to read about. They all had such vastly different personalities, and were coming from different backgrounds. It was refreshing to have characters who actually had their own identities – I often read novels where one character blurs into another, so this added another level to the reality factor. 

‘Why had he assumed time was some sort of infinite resource? Now the hourglass had busted open, and what he’d always assumed was just a bunch of sand turned out to be a million tiny diamonds.’

Everything in this book was pretty hard hitting, and I think it’s because of this very simple fact: There’s no zombies roaming the streets of New York, or aliens invading Manhattan – there’s just an asteroid on a course straight to destroying Earth. And that’s something that (though extremely unlikely) could actually happen. 

I know I’ve mentioned it quite a bit, but this book was so realistic. I think it’s actually one of the things I didn’t like about it. Not because realism is a bad thing, but because I just found it hard to read something that was just so truthful – but it’s also what made it as good as it was!

I was close to giving this book a higher rating (I also considered giving it a lower one, too), but something happened in one of the last sections that sort of spoiled the read for me. 

Here’s why: I wasn’t expecting it, and to suddenly come across something that I felt didn’t really fit with the novel, or the characters personalities, was sort of shocking. I won’t go into details because this is a spoiler-free review, but I will say I’m a bit disappointed at what happened. 

But I’m sort of glad I was caught off guard, because it’s given me the motivation to do something I’ve been thinking about recently: Trigger warnings. 

I think it’s really important for people to be aware of things that could trigger them in a novel, and I want to help others who want/need a heads up before reading a book.

So I’ve decided to include Topic Awareness – warnings for certain subjects that I think some people may want to be aware of before reading a book. They’ll be placed at the end of my reviews, so it won’t affect you being able to read my review if you don’t want these warnings.

Topic Awareness:

  • Terminal illness
  • Violence / Death
  • Alcohol & Drug abuse
  • Mentions of sex
  • Theft / Vandalism

If I’ve missed anything that you think is a potentially harmful subject in this novel, please let me know.

Have you read this novel?

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!