Joining The Pre-Ordering Wagon

I have never been hyped about a book enough to warrant even thinking about preordering it…

 I know. I know. Awful, flawed human being that I am I have just never sat and thought “hmm, that book is going to be absolutely amazing, I can tell already let me just go on Amazon/TheBookDepository/Waterstones.com and….” yeah, no – that has never happened. I mean, of

I mean, of course, I do read ARCs that are at times incredibly amusing and I can tell that the proper edition of the book will be amazing, and I can tell that it will eventually end up in my little collection (by little I mean spanning approximately half of my bedroom wall) and yet I was never tempted enough to pre-order it early, even when there were numerous mentions of SWAG and other benefits… Pre-ordering? Not for me.

Or so I thought…

Until this mother trucker came along:

strange the dreamer

Image credits to Hodder & Stoughton

 

Could I resist the blue sprayed edges? The gold foil? The premise of the book?

Absolutely not. I didn’t even try – I knew I had to have it the moment I first lay my eyes on it, and I was going to do anything to get it too (and I mean anything).

This sudden newfound resolve to acquire the book by any means necessary wasn’t helped by the fact that I found out I’d have the opportunity to meet the author on her UK tour, this just fueled my excitement even more, because I’d get to meet the creator of some kick-ass books. I’m currently on a re-read of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and am planning to read the other two in the trilogy as well as Strange The Dreamer before seeing her – perhaps big goals for someone who barely reads anymore, but we can dream – eh?

So yes, I have finally gotten rid of my prejudice towards pre-ordering books AND I’m going to an author event (which is a rare occurrence, usually happening somewhat biannually?) both of which I’m really excited about, so that’s something I wanted to share.

Have you read any of Laini Taylor’s works?  Better yet, have you been one of the lucky few to read Strange the Dreamer early? Are you also going to meet her (I’ll be going to the London event if anyone is going too) or have met her in the past? Drop me a comment 🙂

10 Things You Should NEVER Say To A Bookworm

So quite a while back now I had a rather unpleasant encounter with one of my teachers at my old school… Quite ironically, the little witch (that word would usually start with a different letter) taught me English… And although I usually respect my elders, and of course teachers belong to that ‘category’ – she evokes a feeling of hatred and apathy for all things English related when I see her wonderfully sickening bright green coat appear on the horizon (although this year the coat seemed to have been replaced with a slightly toned down grey one – my eyes are thankful for whatever happened for her to make that change).

During a meeting of this particularly rude individual with my father and I, she seemed it was entirely appropriate to say that I am by far too studious, and reading (and blogging) is not a hobby I should not be doing as it “is not relaxing and you should think about doing sports such as tennis or swimming”.

i beg your pardon julie andrews

I couldn’t help it, I got defensive and proceeded to tell her that blogging and reading are perfectly good hobbies which are more beneficial, and potentially life-saving (seeing as I have yet to master the art of swimming) than her choices off pastime whilst making a mental note to ignore her future “advice”.

But the moment I got back home, I was somewhat inspired So I guess sometimes good things do come out of awful situations, go figure.


So here are 10 things you shouldn’t say to a bookworm based on my own experience…

10. “Ew, you read? Isn’t that like, boring?” 

Yes, yes, I do – and your invalid opinion will do nothing to change that. Also, since when is visiting other countries or maybe even dimensions boring?

09. “Don’t you have enough books? No more books for you.” 

If you try to stop me from placing 12 new books on my TBR…. well, good luck to you my friend because you’re in for a quest and a bit… it’s not going to be a fun one either. Please just don’t try, for your own good and my sanity.

08. “What’s your favourite book?”

You mean my favourite 20? You do not understand I cannot pick just one. That’s almost like  much worse than picking a favourite child. I can give you maybe a top 3-5 from each genre? That will have to suffice. Buckle up, we’re gonna be here for a long while.

07. “Oh that title, I watched the film instead/ prefered the film…”

Whilst you get a bit of credit in my eyes if this particular title is one of my favourites it is unlikely that I am going to applaud you for not realising that the book is most probably much, much better. Or that a book existed to begin with. Or denying the fact that the book might be better because films tend to miss out the best bits and generally don’t tend to convey everything the book does in a satisfying way? (Honestly directors and casting crew, I beg you… get your crap together – I’d much rather watch a perfect adaptation after waiting a long time for it, even if it meant sitting in the cinema for a solid four hours and paying an exorbitant amount, that’s the sacrifice I’d be willing to make to watch my favourite titles come to life before me.)

06.

this is so long, i decline to read it.gif

I mean yes, we all get intimidated by big books sometimes. But that sort of reaction? Nu uh. We see a big book, we conquer it and move onto the next one – it’s like a mountain you see, you don’t just plonk your ass down half way and be done with it. You climb that mountain to the bloody peak and take in the view (even though in the bookworm’s case the view is the TBR pile which has slowly taken over all the floor room in every room of the house…)

05. “Wait… wait, you skipped that party on Friday to read?”

You mean you skipped reading time to get wasted and have a hangover the next day? Yeah… not my idea of fun. Thanks but no thanks, you’re dismissed.

04. “I prefer *insert book format here*”

Well isn’t that great, now consider this: I read all of them…. I know, I know. A wild concept that may be. But ebooks are great to take everywhere with me on a daily basis, my Kindle is my child and I actually cried real tears when my old Kindle broke. Paperbacks, well I have so many of them it seems like I like them, they smell good and are generally an alright substitute for the kings of the book formats (or at least in my opinion) the HARDBACKS. If I could afford it (but then who can when they’re broke and going to stay that way for the foreseeable future given the fact that they’re departing into studentland in the next two years) I would have an entire library full of just hardbacks. But we can’t always have what we want, so we make do. Now shh and consider the fact that not everyone is you.

03. “I want you to read *insert title here* chapters 1-whatever for homework, due next week”

DON’T. Please I beg you, don’t torture me so. School has ruined so many books for me like that, starting with The Woman In Black and ending with Tuck Everlasting and Private Peaceful from good ol’ Year 7 Reading Lists – this is the primary reason I dropped English when going to study A-Levels… other than the fact that it’d be useless in the areas I want to go into in the future.

02. “Uhm…I don’t know where the book you let me borrow is / I’m sorry, it’s a bit ripped/stained/bent/crinkled.”

Honestly at this point just keep it, unless it has been ruined by the tears of baby Jesus and the blood of a pegasus (yes, both are required) just don’t bother returning it. Also, do not expect me to let you borrow another book ever again, not after I misplaced my trust in your abilities to not ruin them – especially if this is one of my signed editions. When I let you borrow a book – just know that this is probably one of the utmost levels of trust I could give you, don’t make me regret it.

01. “IT’S JUST A BOOK”

Yeah, no. That’s where you’re wrong my friend. books are adventure.gif

And no, I will not stop crying, or smiling like a slightly crazed mental asylum inhabitant from the 1800s whilst reading. That’s how I tell the good books from the great books, okay? You’re going to have to accept that. And book hangovers are a thing too, let me experience them.


So this post was a result of a slightly annoyed me, but it also allowed me to vent my anger and channel it into my reading/bookworm pet peeves so that was actually quite nice of it.

Do you have any bookish pet peeves or have you been on the receiving end of any of those phrases? How do you deal with annoying people who don’t understand your love for reading? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

The NetGalley Book Tag

Hello, hello – I think it’s time to take a wee break from reviews so here’s something a little different – even though it may be a tadddd late from the original creation of the tag.

I was (slightly indirectly, but tagged nonetheless) tagged by Kayla @Kdrewthebookworm so a big thanks for that, I do like these questions. And this tag is the original property of Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads  -make sure to check out both their blogs if you get the chance!


The rules:

  • Link back to the tag’s creator (Kourtni Reads)
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too

 Autoapproved: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

From my all-time, long-running favourites most probably Jennifer L. Armentrout, although I will also read anything that Pierce Brown writes and honestly cannot wait until the release of their next books.

Request: What makes you want to request a book that you see on Netgalley?

I’mma say something that will probably hurt a lot of bookworms out there – I judge books by covers and titles… if a book doesn’t have an impressive title and an even worse cover, chances are I will not pay it attention. So I do have to agree with Kayla on this one. These are necessities for me to actually notice a book in the first place. Of course, I will then read the synopsis to see whether it sounds like something I might like to read… but the preliminary actions sort of take priority here.

Oh, I might also check if it is something written by an author I loved previous works of, of course – that tends to be the case more often than not nowadays.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

I definitely do try to review everything that I am given the opportunity to on NetGalley, but unfortunately, sometimes some reviews tend to end up a lot shorter than others mainly because I may not have been able to get into the book enough to be able to form any more solid thoughts. I also, for the most part, review everything on my blog as well (or at least the longer, better reviews that is). However, my actual feedback ratio has only just hit 53% because I made the mistake of requesting too much when I first signed up to NetGalley – so a little tip to anyone starting out… don’t do this, you’ll most probably lose interest in a lot of the titles before you actually get the chance to read them. 

Badges: If you could create your own badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

Um… ummm….. Can I get an effort badge? Like an A++ for effort sort of thing? That’d be quite nice.

There_was_an_attempt.png

(this question is actually horrible to answer)

Wish For It: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

iron gold cover

I need it, and I need it now… Right now – take my soul and I’ll bake you cookies on top of that.

 2017 Netgalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?

The newest ARC that I reviewed was definitely A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, but the latest ARC review that I wrote was A Summer Like No Other by Elodie Nowodazkij because I am backlisting reviews back to like 2015 … because y’know, mistakes were made at the beginning and now I have to fix them.


I tag:

Anyone who wants to do this tag, because I know I’m quite late to the party and a lot of people have already done it – so if you do feel like doing it feel free to say that I tagged you!

ARC Review: Rikki – Abigail Strom

Synopsis: rikki-cover

Ever since junior high and an ill-fated game of seven minutes in heaven, Rikki Eisendrath and Sam Payne have hated each others’ guts. But when they end up at the same college—and the same dorm—they figure it’s time to declare a truce.

They even become friends . . . sort of. But when Sam asks Rikki to model for his sculpting project, they start spending more time together—and her feelings for him get more complicated.

She tries to focus on the guy she’s been crushing on instead. But Sam’s the one she can’t stop thinking about, even though their arguments are starting to heat up as much as the chemistry between them.

With antagonism and attraction this intense, there’s bound to be an explosion. But when the dust settles, will Sam and Rikki be enemies, friends . . . or something more?


I received a free e-edition of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a pleasantly light read, which was definitely helped by its short length. At just over 200 pages, this book was barely over the length of a novella. And yet it contained enough storyline development to appease me which was good to see  – although some things would have definitelly benefitted from more development, I can’t really complain as the majority was developed to a good standard. I also really liked Strom’s writing style, it gave the story the kick it needed at points and definitely was a big bonus of the book.

There were concepts in the story that didn’t sit quite right with me – for one, a person basically a year older than me admitted to sleeping with over 20 individuals… and NO-ONE was even the slightest bit concerned? This is freshman/ first year of university we are talking about, these people are barely adults – when or how have they found the time to do that?? Unless of course they were partial to one night stands, and even then… why did no one question that?

The heroine bugged me at times, but the hero was quite a pleasant addition to the story and made it all the more bearable.

This book was actually quite innocent as far as New Adult novels go, there was the right balance of angst and romance (which was gloriously slow burning unlike many other books of this genre, it was given plenty of page time to develop which made it all the more realistic and pleasing) which created the basis of a good story.

The story did fall apart at one point, when Sam decided to do something that really didn’t seem to fit in his character’s description but Strom managed to pull it back together enough for me to want to pick it back up after throwing it into the corner of despair and shame after a certain event happened.

Whilst I hadn’t really found many bad things in this book, it was much alike to other books in the NA genre and maybe that was where the majority of my problem lay, I feel like I have burned out reading this particular genre and would benefit from a break from it in order to provide more objective reviews.

Overall, I think that the book set up hope for the rest of the series and I will probably look into reading its successors to see whether the story develops complexity wise as more characters are introduced.

My Rating: 2.5 /5 Stars

Book Review: Unforgettable: Always 2 – Cherie M. Hudson

Synopsis:unforgettable-always-2-cover


My name is Brendon Osmond. I’m a 25 year old post-graduate student who knows three things with absolute conviction. I know damn near everything there is to know about keeping in peak physical shape. I have a plan to make a lot of money from that knowledge. I’m an optimist who’s not easily rattled. But then the girl I fell in love with almost two years ago texts me out of the blue and everything I know is thrown out the window.

Am I rattled? No. Not until I fly to the other side of the world and discover the girl I fell for has kept a very big secret from me.A secret that mocks all my knowledge of the human body and how to keep it healthy. A secret that shatters my plans for my own personal training business. A secret with my eyes. A secret who needs me more than I can comprehend. Ask me again if I’m rattled.Now ask me if I’m still in love.


I received an e-edition of this book courtesy of Momentum Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a pile of feels mixed with heartbreak, there were definitely moments when I thought I would require a box full of tissues to mop up my tears. But there were also moments of laughter and slight annoyance with Amanda scattered throughout.

One thing that I really enjoyed about the novel was the fact that it was written completely in a male POV. We don’t get that enough in romance, we really don’t and I wish we did because it’s interesting to be able to get inside a guys head. Hudson did a great job at creating Brendon’s voice which kept my attention for the entire length of the story.

The contents of this book are one huge spoiler minefield so I cannot disclose much without ruining their effects. Be warned though there are definitely some difficult matters brought up throughout.

Although it is part of a series, I read this book as a standalone and didn’t feel like I required more background information than was provided so I wouldn’t say that you MUST read the prequel, although given the fact that Hudson has a pretty good writing style and hell, any story with similar characters by the same author who writes well is bound to be pretty good – so I’d say go for it if you wish.

I definitely liked the realness of the book – the issues were not sugar-coated and the mixed feelings Brendon had throughout really shone through. I could understand why he was so hurt by Amanda and what she had done because her actions weren’t really understandable (although, don’t get me wrong I felt bad for the girl nonetheless because no one deserves to go through what she did ) and I heavily disapproved and wished at points that Brendon would leave before he was really hurt, which caused me to be annoyed as I couldn’t sympathise with some of the decisions that she was making as they seemed quite irrational.

Aside from the fact that I couldn’t connect with the female in this book,  I still definitely would say that this is a great read for fans on NA romances full of angst but with a plot that will make you feel all of the emotions throughout.

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Book Review: The Way We Fall – Cassia Leo

the-way-we-fall-cover

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo comes a twisted and passionate love story that pushes the boundaries of loyalty.

Maybe we shouldn’t have fallen so fast and so willingly.

Maybe we shouldn’t have moved in together before we went on our first date.

Maybe we should have given our wounds time to heal before we tore each other to shreds.

Maybe we should have never been together.

Houston has kept a devastating secret from Rory since the day he took her into his home. But the tragic circumstances that brought them together left wounds too deep to heal.

Five years after the breakup, Houston and Rory are thrust together by forces beyond their control. And all the resentments and passion return with more intensity than ever.

Once again, Houston is left with a choice between the truth and the only girl he’s ever loved.


I received a free copy of this novel courtesy of Gloss Publishing LLC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was… complicated. And so are my feelings towards it.

For one, I honestly cannot remember for the life of me the majority of the plot… and it hasn’t even been remotely long since I’ve read it – which does bring up a few red flags in my mind already and deeper thought about the novel hadn’t even commenced.

The characters made this book difficult to read. Not because they were badly written, but honestly their character traits were far from favourable and I did come to the conclusion that I indeed pretty much hated Houston, and only felt bad for Rory because of her experiences and not because I genuinely cared about her. Houston was the typical douchebag of NA romances… full of himself, with some deeply-set issues (much unexplained) that he clearly wasn’t ready to let go of in order to get his shit together and treat the woman that really loved him right. I honestly had so many other issues with his character I could possibly write my own novel about them, but a lot of them would involve spoiling bits of the story and that isn’t the purpose of a review.

And Rory, well there was nothing particularly wrong with Rory as a person, just I found myself not caring about her as much as I possibly should have. I did think, however, that at points it would have been quite nice if she grew up a little and gotten her act together – and perhaps gotten over Houston. But at no point did that happen.

And so the book was a giant rollercoaster of their relationship and its ups and downs – although if we’re being honest, largely the down as there were only brief intermittent happy scenes scattered through the novel.

Their romance wasn’t developed enough, we really aren’t given much back story other than the whole “they got together as kids” thing – and even then that fact is glossed over so quickly my head was left spinning at the speed.

However, I did like the pacing and Leo’s writing style made the book quite a manageable reading experience. It wasn’t too long, nor too short – it felt just right (I feel like Goldilocks 2.0 after saying that) which helped it not to fall down into a 10-foot deep hole with no point of return.

Also, I quite liked the intensity of everything that was happening within the story. It was almost as though every single emotion that the characters were feeling was ramped up and amplified at least thrice, and I think that worked really well in the context of the story and conveyed the angst-filled, on-off relationship pretty well.

Furthermore, the supporting characters? Solid A grade effort for those – I actually have to say I preferred them to the protagonists and cared for them more too… which may not have been the point of the book??

The cliffhanger end killed me inside, though… it wasn’t a pleasing one and it left me largely disgruntled. To the point where I am willing to read the next book to see if the situation is resolved at all, or if I will continue to be as annoyed with the story as I was.

However, I do have to say that a lot of the problems that I came across whilst reading this novel were probably of my own making and I do realise that others may not experience the same problems and so definitely do encourage others to read it.

My Rating: 2.25/5 Stars 

Book Review: Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

Synopsis:radio-silence-cover

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.


I received an e-copy of this book courtesy of HarperCollins UK, Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

So finally,  it has come.

The review of my favourite book of last year and my favourite read for a very, very long time. Why it has taken me so long to review it, I don’t really have an answer to that; I could only suggest the fact that this book was such an incredible masterpiece that has stayed seared in my brain for so long after reading it that I could not even begin to fathom words that would do it justice. And I still cannot, but this post is going to be a crude attempt at doing so.

let-me-list-my-feels

And feels there were. I am pretty sure I actually cried for a good portion of the story, but with good cause.

Oseman crafted such realistic, diverse and relatable characters it really didn’t take long for me to become attached to them with no way of turning back. And I loved every single one of them.

Frances was a brilliant protagonist (and it was also great to see that she, unlike many other YA protagonists out there had a very supportive, unicorn-onesie-wearing mother in her life to care for her), I think she portrayed the struggles of teenagers in Britain’s sixth forms remarkably well. I mean, with the first-hand experience of how attending one of said institutions feels like – I can definitely confirm that a good percentage of the ‘smart’ individuals definitely have multiple crises a week…

Which in turn leads me to my next point. I honestly feel like thanking Oseman for her realistic take on the British (and probably global) education system. It was not sugar-coated in the slightest – there was failure, it was also shown how easy it is to be deemed a failure; especially by relatives when following a path in life that they do not quite approve of or not wanting to follow a path that they do… This book also dealt with the pressures put on students by the schools themselves, which of course do not help at all when trying to deal with the whole ‘life’ thing whilst being told that it “only gets worse in the real world” whereas, in all fairness, the hardest years will probably be over once school and university for those who want to attend it are over and done with.

Back to the characters, their relationship was so bloody refreshing. A book based solely on the ideas of friendship is rare, especially where there is potential for some romantic chemistry to occur. I mean Frances was bisexual and Aled identified as asexual, so there was basically no reason for them not to get together other than the fact that their relationship was entirely platonic. THANK YOU SO MUCH BOOK GODS FOR FINALLY ANSWERING MY PRAYERS FOR AN AUTHOR WHO FINALLY UNDERSTANDS THAT TWO TEENAGERS OF OPPOSITE SEX CAN BE FRIENDS WITHOUT WANTING TO GET INTO EACH OTHER’s PANTS AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER.

Their friendship was honestly flawlessly written, whilst still possessing flaws – there were fights and disagreements but it was clear that there was a lot of platonic love between them, and paired with understanding and a general love of similar things – they made a wonderful pair.

This book was definitely not an easy read, with the aforementioned reflections on the education system – but also with the general works of being a teenager and trying to find yourself whilst simultaneously losing yourself in the process whilst trying to overcome all the other hardships that life will throw in your way such as familial issues, and general not knowing what to do which comes quite often as a teenager in present-day society which inadvertently pressurises us to get our metaphorical shit together and adult slightly before we are actually ready to in a lot of cases. I mean – deciding what I want to do with my life at 16? No thanks… I’d much rather not, but unfortunately, there is just no escaping it.

I loved every single thing about this book, down to the way in which it was written, the style was easy to read and made the 470 page book shrink down into one sitting of just over an hour and a bit…. The transcripts were a brilliant addition, and I honestly felt as though I could hear Aled speaking when reading them. The concept of Universe City was truly brilliant (have I used the word brilliant enough in this post??) and whilst it definitely made me cry towards the end, I appreciated the messages which it carried.

Also, may we talk about how bloody realistic and relatable this book generally was? Oseman honestly did a brilliant job, and I think that is partly due to her age – there were honestly so many points during the novel at which I simply felt like saying “same” or “that’s me and so and so” and I honestly don’t think enough books have gotten that sort of reaction out of me, so huge HUGE kudos to the brilliant author.

One thing that actually had me bouncing with excitement was the fact that this book was actually set in my home town’s surrounding area. The descriptions of the highstreet and its cobblestone streets rang a bell whilst reading, but it didn’t fully click why it was a little bit too familiar until I found out Oseman’s origins. This in turn left me a wee bit inspired and with hope that I too may be able to create similar wonderful things with my writing if I stick with it… so I guess this is a huge personal thank you for her from me too.

I could easily continue, but I feel as though it would be boring and many of the next points would be bordering on spoilery, so I am going to end my review here. I hope that many of you who read it will choose to embark on the journey that this book provides, because it truly is an extraordinary one that I will likely never forget.

My Rating: More than 5 / 5 Stars

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