Tuesday 28 February 2017

February Wrap-Up.

I thought I was going to do a little better than five this month because I got off to a great start! Sadly, my reading flow sagged a little in the middle of the month and I ended up with the same result instead. Five isn't bad though, but I'd really like to read more in March! Most of this month's reads have been a little too far on the just 'okay' side of things, but there were a couple of gems!

  1. 'The Loneliness Of Distant Beings' by Kate Ling. This is the first science fiction read I've tackled in a long time and I was actually pretty excited about it! And elements that I like about the genre it displayed pretty well (world-building, technical talk, space,etc.). The insta-love and lack of likeable heroine let this book down a little but I have to say that the final scene really hooked me and restored my desire to want to continue with the series. 3.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'Under Rose Tainted Skies' by Louise Gornall. Attending YALC 2016 really got me excited for this book (in fact, I purchased it there) and it was well worth the hype I've seen on it around the Blogosphere. The second YA Contemporary this year to make me re-evaluate my usual mixed feelings on the genre, this book handled some sensitive (even dark) topics brilliantly. I will always root for books that highlight mental health issues and Gornall's debut has a cute, shippable romance to boot. 4.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'Stargirl' by Jerry Spinelli. With so many mixed reviews on this book, as well as controversy and bans surrounding it in schools, I was surprised to find that I only found it a mediocre read. Spinelli provides a great analysis of human behaviour and the 'hive mind' feeling that can be found in both the classroom and society as a whole. The story was well written too and never got boring. However, Leo was a boring narrator with no dimension to him, and some of Stargirl's behaviour was...creepy. This made it harder to sympathise with her poor treatment. 2.5/5 Stars.
  4. 'Orangeboy' by Patrice Lawrence. There were some great things about this book, and it's one I've been looking forward to for quite some time purely because of the PoC representation. Firstly, it's East London setting was wonderful because that's where I'm currently living! So many recognisable settings really helped me to envision the action. I also loved the strong women in this story, particularly Marlon's mother, who deserves a book to herself and a medal. Marlon himself however was less impressive, and become one of the most frustrating narrator's I can remember reading for a long time. 3.5/5 Stars.
  5. 'Ruin & Rising' by Leigh Bardugo. Finally! I finished this series! It took me far too long I'll be honest, especially as I've ended up rating all three books so highly! Bardugo does a great job at writing a fast-paced, action-packed story with easy, humorous dialogue between characters and a lot of depth for a Fantasy. I love the world of the Grisha and can't get enough of the Russian cultural references. This was the perfect finale, though I still couldn't get on board with Mal. It's a shame because other characters such as the Darkling or Nikolai are crafted so much better! 4.5/5 Stars.

Now it's time to see how I did with my challenges this month!

This month I have read three books for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to seven. My reads were:

- The Loneliness Of Distant Beings
- Stargirl
- Orangeboy

This month I have read zero books for the 2017 New Releases Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to two.

This month I have read zero books for the LGBTQIA Challenge, bringing my yearly total to zero.

This month I have read three books for the Diverse Reads Challenge, bringing my yearly total to eight. My reads were:

- 'The Loneliness Of Distant Beings 
   [Optional Mini Challenge]
- 'Under Rose Tainted Skies'
- 'Orangeboy
   [Optional Mini Challenge]

Here is my finished Bookish Bingo card and continued Story Sprites board!

Alternative Format: Dragon Slayer Number Nine; Intisar Khanani
Set Abroad: Saint Death; Marcus Sedgwick
Sequel: Memories Of Ash; Intisar Khanani
Own Voices: Under Rose Tainted Skies; Louise Gornall
Banned Book: Stargirl; Jerry Spinelli
2017 Debut: A Girl Called Owl; Amy Wilson
Romance: Ruin & Rising; Leigh Bardugo
GR Choice Nominee: Heartless; Marissa Meyer
Pink Cover: A Quiet Kind Of Thunder; Sara Barnard
White Cover: Stealing Snow; Danielle Paige
Freebie: --
Science Fiction: The Loneliness Of Distant Beings; Kate Ling
Crime: Orangeboy; Patrice Lawrence
Survival: The Bone Sparrow; Zana Fraillon
Blue Cover: Rebel Of The Sands; Alwyn Hamilton
Nature On Cover: The Bear & The Nightingale; Katherine Arden

Book With Multiple POVs: The Bear & The Nightingale; Katherine Arden
Story Regarding Anxiety: A Quiet Kind Of Thunder; Sara Barnard
'Chosen One' Trope: Ruin & Rising; Leigh Bardugo 
A Science Fiction Novel: The Loneliness Of Distant Beings; Kate Ling
Story Centred Around Social Issues: The Bone Sparrow; Zana Fraillon
Male MC With Female BFF/Sidekick: Stargirl; Jerry Spinelli
Dark Contemporary: Under Rose Tainted Skies; Louise Gornall
Mostly Blue Cover: Rebel Of The Sands; Alwyn Hamilton
PoC MC: Orangeboy; Patrice Lawrence
Book Addressing Socioeconomic Topics: Saint Death; Marcus Sedgwick

Book Review: Ruin & Rising; Leigh Bardugo.

I have a really strange relationship with this series, and even now I don't quite understand it. On the one hand, while reading I've always really enjoyed the books and given them high ratings. On the other hand, between novels, I find it really hard to remember why I liked them and can only think about the tiny things I didn't enjoy which is why I end up putting them off for so long. This book was no different!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Ruin & Rising
AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo
SERIES: The Grisha (#3)
PAGES: 368
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

What I Liked:
  • Bardugo did it again with the characters (for the most part) and it's not only the development of them individually that I liked, but also the way that they interacted with each other. The dialogue is always easy and real, injected with humour. Alina grew on me during this book which I'm glad about as she's the narrator. I also adored Nikolai's scenes (of which there were a lot more) and once again found myself reminded of why the Darkling is such a wonderful, multi-faceted villain. Bardugo certainly manages to make her characters individual, whether we're seeing awkward David, vain Zoya or grumpy Bhagra. Fantastic characters all!
  • The world-building in this series is always spot on. I love it's references to Russian culture, as it gives it a different feel to other Fantasy series. I also loved the rest of the information that we gleaned from Bardugo's imaginings of other areas of Ravka. War, politics and historical context all play a big part in the story, as does the landscaping of the world itself. 
What I Disliked:
  • Part of my biggest problem with this series has always been the romance because I just don't feel it. Mal is not a great love interest, in fact I think he's the only predictable character in the entire thing. Sullen, moody, constantly wanting to sacrifice himself and as a result, boring. His interactions with Alina don't hold any real chemistry in my opinion and though I didn't really hate the way they ended, I didn't love it either. I simply didn't care.
Overall Conclusion:
It seems that no matter what he does, Mal and I are never going to get along. He's just not gained the same kind of development that other characters in this novel have and that's a real shame. However, I still loved this finale, because absolutely everything else about it was perfect! There was plenty of action, mixed with many thrills, twists and turns to keep me interested and Bardugo did a great job at making each member of her rather large cast stand out. I'm glad I finally finished 'The Grisha' series, as at last I can start 'Six Of Crows' which I've been waiting to read forever! Hooray!

Monday 27 February 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (20th February - 26th February)...

Once again, I must express just how quickly the month has gone by! Only two more days of February left! Sadly, not an awful lot went on to talk about, which left me time to finish 'Orangeboy' (that book took me so long to get through) and do a few bits I've been meaning to, but not an awful lot else! Mat and I have been getting through some great TV programmes and films though. We even finished Season 1 of 'Stranger Things', which was so good!! If you haven't watched it yet, I recommend that you do ASAP! We started a few new series, most notably 'The Walking Dead', 'Lucifer' and I've been re-watching 'Hustle' and continuing on with 'Trollhunters' in my spare time. I've also been taking a good, long, hard look at my life in general and been trying to think of ways to make myself more productive and mindful of my mental health, which as of late has felt a little fragile.

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Upside Of Unrequited' by Becky Albertalli: Approved by Netgalley (23/10/17)
- 'H.P Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction' by H.P. Lovecract: Bought on Amazon (23/10/17)
- 'The Wrath & The Dawn' by RenĂ©e Ahdieh: Bought on Amazon (23/02/17)
- 'Hello Me, It's You' by Hannah Todd: Approved by Netgalley (26/02/17)
- 'The Raven Boys' by Maggie Stiefvater: Bought on Amazon (26/02/17)
- 'How Not To Disappear' by Clare Furniss: Bought On Amazon (26/02/17)

Friday 24 February 2017

Book Review: Orangeboy; Patrice Lawrence.

Yet another diverse read I've been looking forward to for a while, this book took me longer to get through than I'd hoped. I'm really glad I got through it because not only was it a pretty good read, it counts towards my Monthly Motif challenge!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Orangeboy
AUTHOR: Patrice Lawrence
Hodder Children's Books
PAGES: 448
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Marlon has promised his widowed mum that he'll be good, and nothing like his gang-leader brother Andre. It's easy when you keep yourself to yourself, listening to your dead dad's Earth, Wind and Fire albums and watching sci-fi. But everything changes when Marlon's first date with the beautiful Sonya ends in tragedy; he becomes a hunted man and he has no idea why. 

With his dad dead and his brother helpless, Marlon has little choice but to enter Andre's old world of guns, knives and drug runs in order to uncover the truth and protect those close to him. It's time to fight to be the last man standing.

What I Liked:
  • Lawrence did a really great job with developing her characters! I was very excited to see strong women in particular, namely Marlon's mother. My goodness, that woman gave and gave and expected nothing back. I loved her kindness, her dedication and her unwavering love and belief in family values, Marlon's character and the power of good. Read this book just to read about her. Please.
  • The setting was so cool for a slightly unusual reason, because it was East London which is where I live! This meant a huge number of recognisable places like Westfield shopping centre for example. I go to that place a lot, in fact Mat works there! It made the chase through it all the more entertaining and thrilling to read. It also made me realise how awesome London could be as a setting.
What I Disliked:
  • Sadly there was one major thing that meant I really couldn't get on board with the book completely. The narrator, Marlon. I didn't hate him, and I actually found him an intriguing character to begin with. I certainly liked his story. However, as a narrator he was so frustrating. He made so many reckless, stupid decisions and refused to tell other people about them and to me, it meant I couldn't feel sorry for him when he got into dumb situations. I screamed at him for the entire book.
Overall Conclusion:
While there were issues with the book's MC, and I also felt that pacing was a problem at certain points (definitely a few 'blink and you miss it' moments) I ended up mostly enjoying this read. Fantastic character development, strong women, great setting, and most importantly a focus on some great themes: the effects of drugs, family values, gang warfare and the power of friendship. I would definitely love to read more of Lawrence's work in the future and it's definitely a gorgeously diverse #ownvoices novel.

Monday 20 February 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (13th February - 19th February)...

Boy! February sure is racing by! I've been a bit naughty as of late with the whole blog and reading thing, but what can I say? It's been a busy old month for me and I'm doing my best to stay on track. Last week (Valentines of course) was especially nice and filled to the brim of me taking a break from...well basically my life? I really want to get back into focused mode but I'm finding it hard, so Mat and I used our time off together to just relax and enjoy each other's company. 

Then, the day after Valentines, we went down to Ashford for a couple of days. On the 15th, after a quick haircut, we went to Mat's family first and spent the day there. It was lovely to catch up though a little sad that we couldn't be there for longer. We went out for a meal at our favourite restaurant in our hometown too and it was so nice to see how much everything had changed while we've been away. The food was even better than I remembered! Late evening we arrived at my parent's house and stayed up till quite late for a catch-up with the family, before then spending the next day getting a few bits and bobs done while they were at work. After dinner at mine, we made our way back up to London to resume normal life. Like I said, lovely but short-lived.

I Read...


I Received...

- 'Noteworthy' by Riley Redgate: Approved by Netgalley (14/02/17)
- 'Reckless: The Petrified Flesh' by Cornelia Funke: Approved by Netgalley (14/02/17)

Monday 13 February 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (6th February - 12th February)...

Last week has been totally work filled (six days in a row, yikes!) and left very little time to do things for myself. Nevertheless, I'm still impressed with the amount of reading that I got done, and blog planning too. Also, Mat and I finished watching A Series Of Unfortunate Events (great series) and started watching Stranger Things (also an awesome series so far)! I had a small blip towards the end of the week where I ended up feeling a little unwell and got sent home from work, but I was back in the next day. Still recovering, but feeling much better!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Traitor To The Throne' by Alwyn Hamilton: Approved by Netgalley (06/02/17)
- 'The Best Of Adam Sharp' by Graeme Simsion: Approved by Netgalley (06/02/17)
- 'Dragon Of Ash & Stars' by H. Leighton Dickson: Bought on Amazon (09/02/17)
- 'Ensnared' by Rita Stradling: Approved by Netgalley (11/02/17)

Saturday 11 February 2017

Book Review: Stargirl; Jerry Spinelli.

I didn't know that 'Stargirl' was such a short book, but nevertheless I'm pretty pleased with how little time it took me to get through it. Having seen such mixed reviews of it on Goodreads (also many schools consider it a classic while others have banned it) I was expecting to feel a lot more strongly one way or another with this one. I'm actually almost disappointed that I ended up going with an 'okay' rating.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Stargirl
AUTHOR: Jerry Spinelli
Orchard Books
PAGES: 272
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

RATING: 2.5/5 Stars

Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of colour and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’ s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first. 

Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal.

What I Liked:
  • I fully endorse Jerry Spinelli's message in this book, and can 100% see why many are calling this book a contemporary classic. 'Stargirl' exists to try and promote individuality and uniqueness. The moral, as it were, is that while conformity is safe it is not what our nature wants. Really, we all think and do tings that are considered 'weird' and we shouldn't ostracise others for that. Be happy and kind to people, don't just follow the social norm.
  • Other than it's message I thought that the book was written pretty well and Spinelli's study on archetypes was pretty cool. Everyone seemed to fit a high school cliche (Hillari as the ultimate queen bitch, Wayne Parr as Mr hot and empty-headed, Kevin as the gift-of-the-gab class clown, Archie as a 'wise old man' etc.) and using Leo, Spinelli did a great deal of thinking on how these stereotypes think and work. I like these kind of clever, relatively subtle reflections that most readers will be able to relate back to people they know.
What I Disliked:
  • While the message was clear, in some ways it didn't work because some of the issues that the students had with Stargirl, I sort of agreed with. I'm all for cheering for both teams or helping people, but the stalking and turning up at stranger's funerals is actually very disrespectful in my eyes. When Leo visited her office at the end, I found it way too bizarre. A;so, speaking of Leo, it's a shame that his only purpose was to be a narrator and as a result I felt like he had absolutely no character development whatsoever. He talked, breathed and thought only of Stargirl and was so dull. A real shame.
Overall Conclusion:
I expected, one way or another, to be blown away by this book. Either hating it or loving it, I wanted to understand the controversy that everyone else was feeling. Sadly, mediocre is the best I can do. I loved the message, thought Spinelli wrote well and found some pretty good reflective content in there too. Sadly, I also fund the girl I was supposed to root for way too creepy and the narrator whose eyes I was seeing her through monotonous and repetitive and just a tad too predictable. 

Thursday 9 February 2017

Book Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies; Louise Gornall.

Usually, I would call contemporary YA a bit of a touch and go gene for me. I have some great experiences but also find a lot of the story-lines very similar, a lack of representation and insta-love that puts me off pretty much straight away. But recently I've had a really good run of them, and this read was yet another one I enjoyed!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Under Rose-Tainted Skies
AUTHOR: Louise Gornall
Chicken House
PAGES: 272
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.

For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths...

What I Liked:
  • There were so many aspects of this book that I enjoyed! More than anything, I loved the focus that Gornall gave to mental health: in particular, OCD, Agoraphobia and self harm. I realised in fact that I have never read a book that focuses on self harm which is disappointing because it's an issue that a lot of teens face nowadays and I think should be properly discussed. I don't have Agoraphobia or severe OCD like Norah but the anxiety thing was 100% spot on, that's for sure. Also, bonus points for the positive outlook on therapy!
  • I really did have a lot of love for the romance in this book, and that's a great compliment from me because that genre is not something I usually enjoy all that much. Luke was absolutely adorable and really meshed well with Norah. I loved the cute letters through the post box and his unstoppable enthusiasm and understanding of Norah's situation AND the fact that Luke wasn't there to 'cure' her. In fact in some ways, he made things worse. His backstory made for an interesting read too. Norah was likeable enough as an MC and I was impressed that Gornall put so much development into all her characters (except maybe Amy, who definitely fit a 'trope').
What I Disliked:
  • There were a couple of issues with this book that stopped me from giving it the full five stars, and they mostly arose from the ending...or lack of. I understand that mental illness doesn't just stop and life goes on, but the whole someone breaking in thing felt a little forced and bizarre and the recovery from the hospital didn't satisfy like the rest of the book had. It didn't address the self-harm, nor did it give any 'where do we go from here' hints. 
Overall Conclusion:
This book definitely lives up to the hype it's been receiving in the Blogosphere and I'm glad that I ended up enjoying it so much. Don't be fooled by it's pretty pink cover, this book goes dark when it needs to and I think it will be triggering for some people that read it. However, it covers a lot of important issues really well and does a wonderful job of introducing a cute romance story-line in the process. I just wish that the ending had been as well thought out as the rest of the book!

Monday 6 February 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (30th January - 5th February)...

I can't believe how quickly January went, and that we're already on February! This week hasn't been overly busy for me so this won't be a long paragraph as I mostly worked throughout the week. My time off is well and truly over so my days off around it were spent relaxing and recuperating. I found good time to read, blog and game around that which was nice though!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'One Of Us Is Lying' by Karen M. McManus: Approved by Netgalley (30/01/17)
- 'Sea' by Sarah Driver: Approved by Netgalley (02/02/17)
- 'The Seventh Miss Hatfield' by Anna Caltabiano: Bought on Amazon (05/02/17)
- 'The Voyage Of The Basilisk' by Marie Brennan: Bought on Amazon (05/02/17)
- 'From The Editorial Page Of The Falchester Weekly Review' by Marie Brennan: Bought on Amazon (05/02/17)


I Posted...

Sunday 5 February 2017

Book Review: The Loneliness Of Distant Beings; Kate Ling.

After such a long time away from this genre, it's actually really refreshing to be reading a Science Fiction book again. I don't tend to read them much, but when I get into them, I find them so good!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Loneliness Of Distant Beings
AUTHOR: Kate Ling
SERIES: The Ventura Saga (#1)
Little Brown Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 320
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Even though she knows it's impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It's something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you're floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can't help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they've ever known, or to each other?

What I Liked:
  • The world-building in his book held a lot of promise and was probably my favourite aspect of the book. Ling did an awesome job of actually considering what life aboard a space ship might be like, and I liked that there was a lot of advanced tech but the whole thing didn't feel overly complicated and full of unnecessary teleportation devices and lasers and goodness knows what. Also, the climax of the story has some really cool 'flying' speak and gave a good insight into flying a craft. The level of detail is really nice.
  • Ling wrote the story itself really well. I liked the narrative despite not being a fan of the MC (I'll get to that later) and enjoyed the solid pacing and the fact that Ling struck such a good balance between giving us the information that was necessary to the story but without info-dumping which is a great danger in Science Fiction. I liked the constant thrills and plot events too so that I never felt bored or uninterested while reading. In that sense, Ling did a cracking job.
What I Disliked:
  • As I said, I wasn't a fan of the MC. Seren definitely wasn't the worst POV I've read from, but I found her too selfish, immature and frankly a little bratty even though I agreed with most of what she was saying. In fact, most of the characters I couldn't really get on board with because I either felt like they were a little one-dimensional (Pandora - uber bitch, Captain Kat - pure psycho, Seren's Grandad - cold as ice, Seren's Dad - Mr. Mopey, etc.) or suddenly went against their characterisation big time (Ezra...I liked him in the end and he was definitely horrible to begin with). I only started getting emotionally attached during the last 'scene' where I actually began getting excited for the possibility of a sequel.
Overall Conclusion:
I really liked the premise of this Science Fiction novel and for the most part it was really well done. I loved the world-building, and the plot but felt that some of the characters could have done with a bit more attention. I did like the diversity that Ling included within the book, especially by including a male love interest from a different culture. The final fifth of the book was awesome too: fast-paced, action packed, and more emotional than the rest of the book combined. It gave me hope for a better sequel so I'm actually excited at the prospect of another book.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Planned Reads For February.

Wow, are we already on month two of 2017? Crazy! I have a couple of leftover reads from January that I'm dying to get to, as well as six awesome new picks that I'm excited about.

  1. 'The Loneliness Of Distant Beings' by Kate Ling. I've started this one already (I'm about a quarter of the way through) and I have to say I'm enjoying it so far though intrigued to see where Ling is actually going with this. It's been on my list for a long time, provided by Netgalley an age ago.
  2. 'Under Rose Tainted Skies' by Louise Gornall. I've been looking forward to this book for some time, and it was one of my most anticipated reads from attending and buying it at YALC. It's focus on mental health, anxiety and in particular Agoraphobia will definitely make for an interesting read I'm sure!

  1. 'Ruin & Rising' by Leigh Bardugo. Finally I am going to actually read this book and finish the series. I've had some ups and downs with it: I love the world-building, villain and plot but not so keen on the romance. I hope that this last book will convince me that this is a good series because I desperately wanted to finish it before starting 'Six Of Crows'!
  2. 'Orangeboy' by Patrice Lawrence. In a bid for more diverse reads, this was next on the list. Reading the description made me think fondly of my love for Malorie Blackman's 'Noughts & Crosses' series, as this focuses on gangs, racism and family. I've heard great things from bloggers that I trust, so I look forward to it!
  3. 'Stargirl' by Jerry Spinelli. This classic contemporary is another Netgalley approval that combats the idea of having to fit in and calls out bullies as wrong. I strongly believe that people should be allowed to express themselves in any way that they want without judgement and I look forward to reading a book that promotes this message.
  4. 'The Rest Of Us Just Live Here' by Patrick Ness. It's time to read some more of the weird and wonderful by this guy! I love Ness' ability to cross genres so easily, and the way that he so flawlessly includes diverse characters within his stories. I love the premise of this story too, so it has a lot of promise to be a 5 star read I think!
  5. 'Ash' by Malinda Lo. This LGBT retelling of Cinderella has been on my TBR for ages! In fact, I'm pretty sure I pledged to read it a ton of times in 2016 and then never got round to it, so I really want to not keep dragging that out in 2017 too. It's received some great reviews and I've seen Lo's name pop up a few times on the Blogosphere regarding her newer release 'Huntress' too.
  6. 'Small Great Things' by Jodi Picoult. Another book that focuses on social issues that feel really relevant right now, but this time from another name that I hear frequently and have never read: Jodi Picoult. I often saw her books around but felt they just weren't something that would interest me. This is new territory for Picoult though, so perhaps a good place to start?