Uncategorized · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: June 2019

Hello! This is my monthly wrap up for June.

Generally, it has been a really good month although I feel like I have recently hit a reading slump.

What I am reading:

The Beckoning Shadow by Katharyn Blair

What I plan to read next:

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Books I’ve Read:

(1) The Beholder by Anna Bright:

  • 3 stars
  • It was a fun read with many references to fairy tales and mythology but the characters were a bit unrealistic and the romance contrived.

(2) Below by Alexandria Warwick:

  • 5 Stars
  • One of the most original books I’ve ever read and it certainly made for a magical ride.

(3) Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson:

  • 5 Stars
  • I adored everything about this book! The characters, the plot- it was all perfect!

(4) Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart:

  • 3 stars
  • I enjoyed it more than the first book but it was still far, far too slow paced for my liking.

(5) The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen:

  • 4 stars
  • It was an intriguing, imaginative read- I especially liked the magic system!

Books I’ve Reviewed:

My favourite post of the month:

I’ve two favourite posts!

My first is my post detailing the winners of the exciting event I recently held on my blog- The Book Character Awards. Read it here: The Book Character Awards | Winners!!!

The second is my post about my favourite names of characters and locations in fantasy books. Read it here: The Best of Bookish Names!



That’s my reading and blogging in June all wrapped up! What was your month like? Let me know in the comments!

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The Best of Bookish Names!

Names are important. They help us understand the world and form a key part of our identities. Without them, everything would be frightfully confusing. In books, the names of characters and places are an integral part of the world building and help us to imagine the text-world more vividly.

This post is dedicated to the best of bookish names. Character names, location names and everything in-between. They’re mainly going to be fantasy names because they’re the most interesting (and I mostly read fantasy).

Character Names:

Here are some character names that stand out to me and why:

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius (Throne of Glass): Her name sounds very long , regal and flamboyant and I think it matches her character. Also, I heard that aag means ‘fire’ in Hindi and her initials spell out A.A.G which is clever because she has fire magic.

[Spoiler ahead] Also, I do know that it is technically Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius (which I love even more) but I wanted to avoid spoilers! [End of spoiler]

Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows): I like the alliteration of the hard, sharp ‘k’ sound because it definitely mirrors his flinty personality.

Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass): I know this post is dedicated to the best of bookish names but I’ll make an exception for a name that I don’t like. Chaol is such a ridiculous name that I didn’t even know how to pronounce properly until I read the pronunciation guide! It’s supposed to be ‘kay-oll’ but it could easily be ‘chay-ol‘ or ‘chaa-oll’ for all I know. I actually have a friend who is adamant in calling him ‘chole’. Furthermore, ‘kay-oll’ just sounds like a vegetable.

Bleak (Heart of Mist): It’s a rather miserable name and that’s why I’ve included it.

Delilah Bard – nicknamed ‘Lila’ (A Darker Shade of Magic): I like the way ‘Delilah Bard’ nicely rolls off of the tongue. Delilah also seems like a deceptively innocent name for someone as intrepid as she is.

Kell (A Darker Shade of Magic): I like the story behind his name. According to the book, he was found as a young child with a dagger inscribed with the initials ‘K.L.’. No one knew what these letters stood for so they just merged them together and named him ‘Kell’.

Esha (The Tiger at Midnight): It’s a very beautiful name!

Lazlo Strange (Strange the Dreamer): Lazlo Strange is so quirky and different that I had to mention it!

Sarai (Strange the Dreamer): It’s a rather lyrical name and it suits her whimsical and gentle character.

Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thráin, son of Thrór (The Hobbit): It sounds very fancy and regal and I like the way his full name tells a story of his past experiences and his ancestors.

Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit): Bilbo Baggins is a very quaint name, reminiscent of the rolling hills of the Shire. I love it!

Meadow Sircha (A Shifting of Stars): Meadow is also a lovely, cosy name.

Hesina (Descendent of the Crane): I find this name very pretty.

Zafira (We Hunt the Flame): It sounds very pretty and apparently means ‘victor’ or ‘triumphant’.

Avalkyra Ashfire (Crown of Feathers): It’s a super cool, fierce warrior name!

Greening Grandemalion – nicknamed ‘Po’ (Graceling): This is the funniest, most random name I have ever seen. It’s even more hilarious that ‘Greening Grandemalion’ inexplicably shortens to ‘Po’.

Lemon Fresh (LIFEL1K3): It’s a very unusual name but it chimes with her fabulosity!

Kvothe (The Kingkiller Chronicle): It’s such an awesome and mysterious name!

Location names:

These are some of my favourite location names with one adjective that I would associate with it!

  • Velaris (A Court of Thorns and Roses): glamorous
  • Terrasen (Throne of Glass): verdant
  • Lothlórien (The Lord of the Rings): majestic
  • Mordor (The Lord of the Rings): intimidating
  • Arawiya (We Hunt the Flame): illustrious
  • Weep (Strange the Dreamer): despondent
  • Zosma (Strange the Dreamer): resplendent
  • Elfhame (The Cruel Prince): whimsical

So these are my favourite bookish names! What are yours? Let me know in the comments!

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Grace and Fury

Book: Grace and Fury

Author: Tracy Banghart

Year published: 2019

  • Plot: 2/5
  • Characters: 2.5/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 2.5/5

Grace and Fury was an incredibly slow paced book about a world where women have no rights and no voice. To be bluntly honest, I didn’t enjoy it much.

The story revolved around two sisters- Serina and Nomi.

—Serina—

Ever since she was a child, Serina had been training to be a Grace to the heir to the throne. Her goal was to be the supposedly ‘perfect model’ of how a women should be: obedient, graceful, subservient and beautiful. Like an object on display, a pretty vase of flowers on a shelf. One of the things she had to learn how to do was become a living statue and stand very still on a pedestal in extravagant poses during special events. That was her plan, until she was sent to a women’s prison for the ‘crime’ of reading a book (something that she didn’t even do) where she had to learn to fight for her survival on an island full of women who had lost too much and bled from many scars.

—Nomi—

Nomi was Serina’s younger sister and at the start of the book was the complete opposite to her. She had a fiery soul and thought that women deserved better treatment and should be allowed the same rights as men. She also learnt how to read even though it wasn’t allowed. She hated the idea of Graces, how they were chosen even if it was against their wills. But then she was chosen to be a Grace instead of Serina. Instead of fighting for her survival she ended up untangling court intrigue and being weaved into plots involving the Heir (Malachai) and his younger brother (Asa).

Despite my low rating I did like how at the beginning I assumed Serina was ‘grace’ and Nomi was ‘fury’ but then my expectations were completely reversed.

The characters were as flat as a paper snowflake and the plot was as unrealistic as a pigeon tap dancing on the moon. Nomi was extremely naïve and although I can understand that she was being manipulated, the entire plot she was apparently lured into didn’t even make any sense. It was sloppily thrown together and had almost no planning behind it and I don’t think this story line was properly done. Malachai, Val and Asa had no nuances to their characters. Malachai was serious and moody all the time. Val was just nice, nice, nice. And Asa was the classic two-faced evil villain character. Furthermore, the plot moved so slowly that I was perpetually bored whilst reading and couldn’t wait for the book to end because barely anything interesting happened!

Please don’t not read this book just because I didn’t enjoy it- there are people out there who loved it. It didn’t work for me and I have tried my best to explain why and despite everything I will still read the second book.

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Top Ten Tuesday · Uncategorized

Top Ten Tuesday: My Summer TBR (which I will TRY to stick to!!!)

Happy summer book dragons!!!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week I’ll by making my summer tbr list (to be read list)!

This shouldn’t really be called my summer tbr- it’s more of a list of books that I should read and hopefully will. The problem is that I can’t stick rigidly to any form of tbr because I’m a 100%, signed and certified, mood reader and if I don’t feel like reading a book, I won’t.  I think the only thing that would make me follow my tbr is one of those unbreakable vows from Harry Potter but, sadly, they don’t actually exist (or do they?).

I’m one of those people who randomly sees a book in a bookshop, library or online and says, “Oooooh that looks interesting, I’m going to read that!” and conveniently forgets about all of the other books they were planning on reading.

A while ago I did a Top Five Wednesday post about books I wanted to read in spring and I read precisely two of those five books during spring.

However I do have a few arcs I need to read before they are released in autumn and I have books I want to read for the Popsugar reading challenge so I will try my best to stick to this!

Anyway, here are my books:

(1) Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (arc)

(2) The Beckoning Shadow by Katharyn Blair (arc)

(3) The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

(4) The Orphanage of the Gods by Helena Coggan

(5) Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

(6) Tiger Queen by Anne Sullivan (arc)

(7) The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco (arc)

(8) The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young (arc)

(9) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

(10) Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

What’s on your summer tbr? Let me know on the comments!

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#SixforSunday · Uncategorized

#SixforSunday: Couples Who Need a Sequel

#SixforSunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot.

This week’s theme is, ‘couples who need a sequel’ so here are six bookish couples that, in my opinion, need a sequel right now!

(1) Cress and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles

Cress and Thorne are extremely cute together and a sequel where they go soaring through the skies in the Rampion, saving the world and other extraordinary things would be amazing!

(2) Agnieszka and Sarkan from Uprooted

Uprooted ends with many unanswered questions and I’d love a sequel detailing what happens to Agnieszka and Sarkan. I can just imagine them living in the valley and practising magic and spells every second of every day.

(3) Elisabeth and Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

I love these two so much. They don’t just deserve a sequel but an entire book series about their lives.

(4) Inej and Kaz from Six of Crows

Kaz and Inej just deserve to be happy and writing about them really makes me want to reread Six of Crows!

(5) Thyon and Ruza from Strange the Dreamer

They’re perfect together and I think a sequel about them would be hilarious.

(6) Manon and Dorian from Throne of Glass

Personally, I would have preferred Manon and Dorian to be very good friends and allies instead of being in a romantic relationship but I would still read a sequel about them. After the events that unfold in Kingdom of Ash, they are both in very dark places (especially Manon) and a book where they come to terms with these things and start to heal would be wonderful.

Which bookish couples do you think deserve a sequel? Do you agree with any of mine? Let me know in the comments!

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Book: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Year published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 10/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Sorcery of Thorns was an utterly enchanting read and I feel miserable now that it’s over- especially because it’s a standalone. The thought that I will never read about these characters again makes me want to cry.

Elisabeth was an orphan who grew up in a Great Library. It was not an ordinary library full of ordinary books but one full of grimoires– books of sorcery with a mind and life of their own. As she grew up among the rustle of pages and the scent of magic, she developed an affinity for grimoires, a deep understanding of their being. The library was her home. However, damaged grimoires morph into grotesque beasts called Maleficts and when powerful Maleficts started to escape from all of the Great Libraries and Elisabeth was wrongfully labelled as a traitor, she was thrust out into the world and her adventure of sorcery and courage began.

Elisabeth was one of the most hilarious, genuine and kind characters I have ever read about. Her tendency to charge into dangerous situations, whilst waving around a sword, to try and help or save others often got her into terrifying predicaments but her sheer ferocity always got her out of them. She was very endearing but when times got tough she had bucket loads of valour and my favourite thing about her was that she was always herself and she was proud of it. She never tried to be someone she was not or allow other people to pressure her into doing certain things or behaving in certain ways. Basically, she’s the type of person I wish could be my best friend.

Nathaniel was a well-known sorcerer and he accompanied Elisabeth in her quest to deliver justice. On one hand, he was incredibly funny , very sarcastic and generally amazing, but on the other hand, he was afraid of the destruction his sorcery was capable of bringing about and was weighed down by many years of guilt and grief. The relationship between Elizabeth and Nathaniel was adorable and I felt like their personalities complemented each other in every way. They’re both slightly insane and that’s probably why they were so in love.

Sorcerers obtained their power by bargaining away several years of their lives to a demon and Silas was Nathaniel’s demon. Although I’ve already rambled about how much I love Elisabeth and Nathaniel, Silas most certainly stole the show for me. He was always trying to convince everyone that he was a horrifying demon that can’t be trusted when in reality he was very prim and proper and very caring. Demons were supposed to be callous and indifferent by nature but Silas broke free of that mould and learnt the meaning of love. I’m really struggling to explain this in coherent words but in a nutshell: Silas is such a legend and the best character in existence.

The only reason that I knocked off half a star is because the character’s opinions surrounding sorcery were quite contradictory. The people who worked in the libraries hated it and seemed to think it was something to be contained but at the same time sorcerers were prominent and respected in society and they were allowed to access and use the grimoires however they wanted, to an extent. I found this very confusing and I wish it was explained better.

In essence, Sorcery of Thorns was a book about books. If you like hilariously lovable characters, sorcery, sword-waving and foiling intricate plots to dominate the world, then this book is for you!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Margaret Rogerson for proving me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Top Ten Tuesday · Uncategorized

Top Ten Tuesday: My Most Anticipated Reads!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week I’ll be writing about the books I’m bubbling over with excitement for that are being released in the second half of 2019!

Honestly, it’s a bookworm’s curse. Just as we think we’re conquering our sky high tbr piles (to be read piles), more extremely exciting books are released and the pile increases until it touches the edges of the universe.

So here are the amazing books that will soon feed my all-devouring tbr pile (in order of release date):

(1) Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (9 July):

Spin the Dawn is based on Chinese culture and inspired by various fairy tales and it’s about a girl who has to sew three dresses: one from the sun, one from the moon and one from the stars. The premise seems so whimsically magical and it sounds exactly like the sort of story I enjoy.

(2) Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (3 September):

I LOVE The Nevernight Chronicle and I can’t wait to read the conclusion. Actually, I was lucky enough to receive an arc but I still haven’t gotten round to reading it yet. I think it’s partly because I’m terrified that once I read it, it’s going to be over forever and that’s really upsetting.

(3) The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (24 September):

It’s about struggle of slavery, it’s a story about a boy born into bondage with mysterious powers. Slavery was and is a massive problem and it’s one of the biggest crimes rife in our world today. Any book that speaks out about the suffering slavery already has and still does cause has a place on my tbr.

(4) Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (1 October):

Leigh Bardugo is an amazing writer. I would read anything that she writes. She could publish her grocery list and I’d still read it.

(5) DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff (3 October UK):

I really enjoyed LIFEL1K3 and my favourite character was definitely the fabulous Lemon Fresh so I can’t wait to read more about her!

(6) Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo (8 October):

I loved Christo’s first book, To Kill a Kingdom, and the premise of this book sounds intriguing too. When I read the blurb I got lots of Six of Crows and A Darker Shade of Magic vibes which is always a good sign!

(7) The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (5 November):

I completely and utterly fell in love with The Night Circus. I was bewitched by the loveable characters, the enchanting writing style and all of the magical brilliance of the circus. When I heard that she was writing a second book I knew I had to read it. When I read the blurb I knew that it was the type of book I’d been waiting for my entire life. Also, Waterstones are making a beautiful exclusive cover of this too and I really want to get it!

(8) The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (5 November):

Here are three fundamental truths: it’s a retelling of the Arthurian legend about Guinevere. It’s by Kiersten White. I need it in my life.

(9) The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (19 November):

After the heart-rending ending of The Wicked King I don’t know what to do with myself! I’m so, so glad that this is being released in 2019 instead of 2020- it’s the best piece of news I’ve received this year so far!

(10) Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (3 December):

I enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone so much and I am very interested to know what will happen next to all of my favourite characters!

Which books are you most looking forward to in the remainder of this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

#SixforSunday · Uncategorized

#SixforSunday- Baddies Who Deserve their own Story

#SixforSunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot. This week’s theme is, ‘baddies who deserve their own story’.

The funny thing about villains is that everyone tends to hate them but at the same time they are very intriguing and I always find myself wondering what happened to them to make them the way they are.

So here are some baddies I think deserve their own story:

(1) The Darkling from The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo:

According to the books he is supposedly hundreds of years old so I suppose he’s been on lots of adventures and done lots of terrible things. I think he’d have some very interesting but probably terrifying stories to tell.

(2) Arobynn Hamel from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas:

We never find out much about Arobynn like how and why he became an assassin, what he had to do to become the King of Assassins and why he decided to take in Celaena. I think he deserves his own background story because he’s so horrible and we never know why.

(3) Smaug from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein:

Smaug is the gold-hoarding dragon from The Hobbit and I think a story about him would be fascinating for the same reason I think a story about the Darkling would be fascinating. He’s been alive for hundreds of years and has seen so many things that lots of weird and wonderful things must have happened to him.

(4) Legend from Caraval:

He is such a mysterious figure it would be cool to have a story from his perspective and find out what motivates his actions.


Which baddies do you think deserve their own story? Let me know in the comments!

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Below

Book: Below

Author: Alexandria Warwick

Year Published: 2020

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

Below was a tale of love, brutality and how love can survive despite brutality. It was inspired by Inuit mythology, and it engulfed me in an unceremonious world of snarling frost and piercing cold and took me on the most enchanting ride.

How do we define our identities? Is it our faces? Our families? Our heritages? Our cultures? Our names? The legacies we leave behind? The lies and truths we tell ourselves? It’s all of these things and more. This book explored the idea of who we are when all of these fundamental things are stripped away from us, what is left to cling on to, what kind of lives we can lead if we don’t know who we are or have people around us to witness their passing.

The protagonist was Apaay, who was constantly trying to prove herself to the world and never feeling as if her efforts were enough. She wasn’t the strongest hunter or the most skilled tracker in her village, she wasn’t the cleverest or the kindest or the most beautiful. All she wanted was to be recognised and praised for something- to prove that she wasn’t useless. She loved her family and she wanted to make them proud and be able to support them no matter what.

One day, the mysterious demon called the Face Stealer struck her village and stole Apaay’s sister’s face, leaving her with only two tiny slits on her face for breathing. Torn apart by grief, sorrow and anger and the desperate desire to prove her worth, Apaay set off across the tundra to find the Face Stealer’s lair and retrieve her sister’s face. However, to accomplish her mission, she must play the games of a twisted girl named Yuki and the Face Stealer and navigate her way through a magical labyrinth.

Apaay was an amazing character and I admired her strength and determination. She was physically and emotionally battered, bruised, burnt and broken in every way but she never gave up. Her love for her sister very literally sent her to the ends of the earth. Along the way, she also went on a journey of self-discovery and realised that she was enough as she was. She didn’t need to be the best tracker or hunter or the kindest person in her village. She didn’t need to try to be someone she was not because she already was formidable in her own right- she just never realised it. She was fierce, courageous, resilient, resourceful and she persevered no matter what.

Below was an original and imaginative novel- it was impossible to predict what fantastically terrifying predicament would befall Apaay next. It’s a book that I would definitely recommend and I’m so excited for the next book in the series!

Thank you to the author for providing me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: The Beholder

Book: The Beholder

Author: Anna Bright

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3/5

It’s important for people to know exactly what they’re getting into, so to avoid confusion: this book is not a retelling of a specific story. Rather, it incorporates many myths and fairy tales into the storyline. Also, it is most certainly not a retelling of The Odyssey– the characters travel on a ship to far away lands and there’s a person called Homer but the similarities end there.

The Beholder was an alternate history novel, set in a world slightly similar to ours but heavily influenced by myths and fairy tales. It wasn’t perfect but it was still alright I did enjoy reading it.

The story followed Selah, the seneschal-elect of Potomac. After an embarrassing rejection, her troublesome step-mother forces her to travel across the ocean and meet a myriad of suitors in various countries that she must choose from in order to ‘do her duty’. Selah seemed like the average teenager trying to find her place in the world. She was quite shy, bookish and had a great love for fairy tales. During the duration of the book she grows in confidence and comes into her own which was a pleasure to see. However, some of her and the other characters’ actions were very unrealistic and the romance element was cute but contrived.

It wasn’t amazing but I liked it and the ending leaves many unanswered questions which I hope will be answered in the next book.

Thank you to HarperTeen and Anna Bright for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.