Monday 31 December 2018

December Wrap-Up.

2018 is over! I'm totally flabbergasted! But I did manage a good four books in December, though I diverted from my original reading list a little when I received my Christmas presents.

  1. 'Starfighter [Ch. 2]' by Hamlet Machine. Even though I was a little dubious about Chapter 1, I was intrigued enough to continue with this series, and I did like Chapter 2 a little better. There was still a bit of dubcon but I am a little more invested in Cain & Abel now. Also, the art is stunning.   3.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'Feminists Don't Wear Pink (& Other Lies)' cur. by Scarlett Curtis. I absolutely adored this collection, and it's a real top read of mine! I'm trying to read more non-fiction as of late, and Feminism is a real hot topic for me.  The contributions from such a variety of women were varied and really interesting, and I liked them all a lot! 5/5 Stars.
  3. 'Useless Magic' by Florence Welch. I received this for Christmas and was very pleased with it. I'm a big fan of Florence & The Machine and I love Florence Welch so much. The design of this book is lovely: I liked reading the lyrics so beautifully presented and the poetry section at the end too. 4/5 Stars.
  4. 'Stars Above' by Marissa Meyer. This was an AMAZING read and the perfect one to end with this year. I've missed the world of 'The Lunar Chronicles' so much, and this collection of short stories made a great addition to the world and the character arcs. I particularly liked the last story! 5/5 Stars.
This month I read two books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total thirty seven.

- Starfighter [Ch. 2]
- Stars Above

This month I read one books for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total two.

- Stars Above

I read two book for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total seventeen.

- Feminists Don't Wear Pink (& Other Lies)
- Useless Magic

I read zero books for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, making my yearly total twenty three.

Here is the result for Pretty Deadly Blog's Bookish Bingo card.

Last Week's Shenanigans (24th December - 30th December)...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It's already Christmas 2018? WHAAAT? I always feel that, aside from January which is the slowest month in the world, every year goes quickly. I can't BELIEVE that it's almost 2019, the year I'm getting married! But for now, Merry Christmas everyone! 

I'm very pleased with how lovely my Christmas was this year, after spending last week with my family I spent the Christmas Eve to Boxing Day solely with Mat (and a few friends on Christmas Eve, which was lovely). There is nothing more wonderful to me than 'a quiet Christmas'...does that mean I'm getting old? I'm pretty pleased with the stash I received this year, particularly from Mat who showered me with books.

Thanks to everyone for their wonderful gifts, even the kittens had a great time and were totally exhausted by the end of it. Mat then went to visit his family on 27th so I was left alone in that weird, timeless period between Christmas and the new year! While back at his parents, Mat got a PSVR for Christmas, so on the evening of the 30th, a friend of mine came round and we had a ton of fun playing scary games on it!

 I Read...

I Received...

- 'Useless Magic' by Florence Welch: Gift (25/12/18)
- 'Stars Above' by Marissa Meyer: Gift (25/12/18)
- 'The Song Of Achilles' by Madeline Miller: Gift (25/12/18)
- 'Pride' by Ibi Zoboi: Gift (25/12/18)
- 'Crooked Kingdom' by Leigh Bardugo: Gift (25/12/18)
- 'The Surface Breaks' by Louise O'Neill: Gift (25/12/18)
- 'Shadowsong' by S. Jae-Jones: Gift (25/12/18)
- 'The Well Of Ascension' by Brandon Sanderson: Gift (25/12/18)
- 'The Burning' by Laura Bates: Netgalley (26/12/18)
- 'Men Explain Things To Me' by Rebecca Solnit: Bought (26/12/18)
- 'The Golem & The Djinni' by Helene Wecker: Bought (26/12/18)
- 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke: Bought (26/12/18)
- 'The Silent Companions' by Laura Purcell: Bought (26/12/18)
- 'Elantris' by Brandon Sanderson: Bought (26/12/18)


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope To Find Under The Tree

Saturday 29 December 2018

Book Review: Stars Above; Marissa Meyer.

I have been waiting to read this book. Merry Christmas to me! I'm so happy that I got this book for Christmas, it was one I'd been hoping to find under the tree come Christmas morning!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Stars Above
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
SERIES: The Lunar Chronicles (#0.1-#0.6, #1.1, #3.1, #4.5)
PUBLISHER: Square Fish
PAGES: 400
GENRE: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Short Stories, Retelling

RATING: 5/5 Stars

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories - and secrets - that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories - five of which have never before been published, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

What I Liked:
  • These stories were everything I'd ever wanted or needed for extras to one of my favourite series of all time. I loved 'The Lunar Chronicles' so much that I was very pleased to have not just one but nine extra short stories from the series. The characters were just how I remembered them, and I have to say, the thing that I appreciated most was that I learnt something more about each of them with every story.
  • Obviously my favourite thing about this was getting to see the gang again, and so my favourite story was 'Something Old, Something New' because everyone was there and everything about it was so pure. I also liked 'The Little Android' a lot as it contained a whole new story with different characters, and was a great retelling of 'The Little Mermaid'.
What I Disliked:
  • I personally didn't dislike anything about this book at all. I found all of the stories insightful, a lot of fun, they added something to the overall world-building of the series. My least favourite story was 'The Mechanic' because it was a scene from Cinder but from Kai's POV. It didn't really add much. But I still loved it.
Overall Conclusion:
Thank goodness I finally got to read this book. It was well worth the wait! Nine fantastic stories with interesting plots, well-crafted world-building and the loveable characters that I remembered from before. I laughed a lot but also got a bit emotional at some of the sadder backstories, namely Cress's first introduction to her lonely satellite and Winter's decision to never use her gift again. Fans of the series, get this book.

Friday 28 December 2018

Book Review: Useless Magic; Florence Welch.

I'm a huge fan of Florence & The Machine's music, and Florence herself is a huge inspiration to me so I was really happy to receive this book for Christmas. I read it as soon as I could!

TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: Useless Magic
AUTHOR: Florence Welch
PAGES: 288
GENRE: Poetry, Lyrics, Non-Fiction

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Lyrics and never-before-seen poetry and sketches from the iconic vocalist of Florence and the Machine

Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don't know what I'm trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn't do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.

What I Liked:
  • This book is stunning. I honestly really enjoyed reading through this, mostly because I felt like I gained an insight into Florence's creative process, as well as seeing her gorgeous lyrics written out before me. My favourite part was probably the poetry at the end, seeing as I'm loving more poetry recently!
What I Disliked:
  • Personally, I didn't dislike anything! This is a gorgeous book. But I can imagine that some people will be a little disappointed by the lack of content, other than lyrics to the band's songs and a little extra lyrics/poetry. There could have been a little more insight from Florence about some of her life experiences or passions.
Overall Conclusion:
Fans will probably really like this a lot. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the book, and I loved the different elements found instead: scans of inspiration scraps, typed up lyrics, jotted down notes, doodles, etc. There could have been a bit more written content I think, but personally, I didn't miss it too much. I think that people who don't really listen to Florence & The Machine won't get much from this, but fans will like it a lot!

Tuesday 25 December 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books I Hope To Find Under The Tree Today'.

It's CHRISTMAS DAY! And with that, I'm really hoping for some bookish goodness under my tree! I have a list of ten books I'd particularly love to see!

1) 'Stars Above' by Marissa Meyer.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know I'm a huge fan of The Lunar Chronicles, and I was gutted when I finished the series, despite loving it so much! So when this collection came out I was really hopeful that I'd get my hands on it at some point. Fingers crossed!

2) 'Useless Magic' by Florence Welch.

I think Florence is just one of those musicians that I'll always adore. She's beautiful, free-spirited and her music makes me cry. I love her and this recent release of hers has me so excited. A chance at a glimpse of process? Yes please!

3) 'Pride' by Ibi Zoboi.

'Pride & Prejudice' is one of the few books I can remember studying and loving at school. When I heard of Zoboi's PoC retelling I knew I had to get my hands on it. I'm really intrigued to see where she goes with it.

4) 'Song Of Achilles' by Madeline Miller.

I am crying at the idea of owning this book because it's had so many good reviews, and it's an LGBT retelling of the events of the Trojan War, and that is everything. Sign. Me. Up.

5) 'The Surface Breaks' by Louise O'Neill.

That cover is stunning first off. I'm always drawn to books with gorgeous covers, no matter what the old proverbs tell me! But the premise of an Irish, feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid has me totally sold. Please, please, PLEASE Santa!

6) 'Blanca & Roja' by Anna-Marie McLemore.

This mash-up of Snow White & Rose Red and The Swan Princess looks absolutely stunning. I love a little bit of magical realism in books, I love stories about sisters, and I also like curses. So this book really would do a good job of ticking all three of those boxes!

7) 'Crooked Kingdom' by Leigh Bardugo.

I read 'Six Of Crows' earlier this year and absolutely adored it. Since then, I've been waiting desperately to be able to get hold of 'Crooked Kingdom' and finish the duology, but thus far, I haven't managed it. It went straight on my Christmas wishlist though!

8) 'The Bone Witch' by Rin Chupeco.

I have been wanting to read this series for some time actually, and it was a late addition to my list so I suspect I'll be unlucky with this one. But I think the cover is stunning and the synopsis sounds so good, so here's hoping!

9) 'All Out' by Various.

This gorgeous anthology is another late addition but it looks so good that I had to add it to the list! I love LGBT+ reads, and I am really on board with the idea of a short story compilation! There are some great authors contributing too!

10) 'Shadowsong' by S. Jae-Jones.

Another book that's been on the list for a while, and will help me to finish a series! But I really want to know what happens in the end. Also, this fantastical, dark re-imagining of Labyrinth would be a wonderful read for the winter.

Monday 24 December 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (17th December - 23rd December)...It's Christmas Eve!

Had a busy old week leading up to Christmas! It's been lovely being at home for some of it with the cats, and I got to speak to my fellow Podcast hosts on Tuesday as we recorded another episode of Between The Tealeaves! 

After that, on Thursday, I went back to my hometown to stay with my parents for a few days! I always like to visit them around Christmas time, and see my sister too. I stayed with them until the 23rd and while I was there we also went to visit other members of the family and I met up with a couple of friends (one of which is my Bridesmaid) and caught up with them! It was a really lovely time away even though I missed my cats immensely (and my fiance of course).

And with that, I'm now back! And it's CHRISTMAS EVE! I'm real excited, and I would like to wish everyone HAPPY HOLIDAYS and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Raven's Tale' by Cat Winters: Netgalley (17/12/18)
'Wakenhyrst' by Michelle Paver: Netgalley (17/12/18)
- 'What If It's Us' by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera: Gift (19/12/18)


Top Ten Tuesday: Winter 2018/19 TBR List

Friday 21 December 2018

Book Review: Feminists Don't Wear Pink (& Other Lies); cur. Scarlett Curtis.

It's been a while since I last read a Feminist book, and this is actually the next chosen read for our Podcast! I was so glad that this book turned out to be everything I hoped it would!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: Feminists Don't Wear Pink & Other Lies
AUTHOR: cur. by Scarlett Curtis
PAGES: 364
GENRE: Feminism, Non-Fiction, Essays, Poetry

RATING: 5/5 Stars

A collection of writing from extraordinary women, from Hollywood actresses to teenage activists, each telling the story of their personal relationship with feminism, this book explores what it means to be a woman from every point of view.

Often funny, sometimes surprising, and always inspiring, this book aims to bridge the gap between the feminist hashtag and the scholarly text by giving women the space to explain how they actually feel about feminism.

Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN's women's foundation, royalties will benefit the charity.

What I Liked:
  • I loved that this book, made up of so many passionate voices and stories, still had one very distinctive message. Feminism is a huge topic and often incites very different viewpoints, but although every contribution showed a new experience, they all wanted to say the same thing.
  • Every piece was really great and I didn't find myself disliking any of them. A few stood out of course: Kiera Knightley's, in particular, was fiercely powerful and phenomenally written, and I laughed out loud several times at Kat Dennings's 'KIDNAPPED' list. Being a bookworm, I also appreciated Emma Watson's 'Our Shared Shelf' recommendations. Great choices!
What I Disliked:
  • I don't think I disliked anything about this? Seriously! I really think it was well put together, with many different, interesting accounts, and even a small poetry break!
Overall Conclusion:
There's not much more to say on this one - a fantastic read that gave me the same feelings as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'We Should All Be Feminists'. They should put this book in schools and everyone should buy it for at least one family member for sure!

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books On My Winter 2018/19 TBR List'.

I've been looking forward to creating another TBR actually, as it gives me a chance to really think about the books I want to read over the next few months. I anticipate a lot of fantasy, enchantment and magic to be in this one, as well as anything with a snowy theme!

1) 'The Last' by Hanna Jameson.

Something about this book just really appeals to me. It seems like a bit of a cross between The Shining, and And Then There Were None. A murder mystery set in snowy Switzerland right after Nuclear War. What could possibly go any more wrong?

2) 'The Sisters Of The Winter Wood' by Rena Rossner.

Anything magical set a dark, cold night in a slightly creepy forest is a win. Combine it with a fairy tale feel, Jewish folklore and family as the main theme and I am sold 100% on the concept. BONUS: That cover is gorgeous.

3) 'Enchantée' by Gita Trelease.

Recently sent to me by My Kinda Book, I am feeling so lucky to have received this GORGEOUS proof and I'm so excited by the premise! Magic, historical Paris in 1789, and the French royal court. It sounds like such a great story, and I'm hoping the world-building will hit my high standards.

4) 'Last Night In Montreal' by Emily St. John Mandel.

I absolutely adored 'Station Eleven' by Mandel, and I've been meaning to read another book of hers since. I really like the look of this thriller and am looking forward to a little bit of mystery in the author's unique style.

5) 'Stars Above' by Marissa Meyer.

I've asked for this one for Christmas because I really miss the world of The Lunar Chronicles! I loved the finale of that series, but I have read the synopsis of some of the short stories and I am so on board with getting a little more conclusion for some of the characters!

6) 'The Winter Of The Witch' by Katherine Arden.

Set in gorgeous Russia, I love Katherine Arden's 'Winternight' trilogy because from the very first book she has totally drawn me into her historical, fantastical world filled with speatures and creatures and swoon-worthy frost demons. Not to mention that Vasya is a badass

7) 'Crooked Kingdom' by Leigh Bardugo.

I read 'Six Of Crows' earlier this year and loved it so much, so I am all over the idea of reading number two and finishing the series would be perfect. Especially as 'King Of Scars' is coming out next year! I have such high hopes for the resolution of the character's stories too!

8) 'Shadowsong' by S. Jae-Jones.

I read 'Wintersong' last Winter too, and I really liked the setting and Labyrinth references. It's one of my favourite films actually so I've been looking for a sexy, darker retelling of the cult classic film! 'Shadowsong' is the finale to the duology and I hope to love it as much as the first one.

9) 'Ash Princess' by Laura Sebastian.

I have been putting this book off for too long, and I'm not really sure why! Everything about the synopsis, the Cinderella references and the kickass sounding heroine seem like a great book to me! I'm sure I'll get to it this winter.

10) 'The Enchanted Sonata' by Heather Dixon Wallwork.

When it comes to winter fairy tales, The Nutcracker is the cream of the crop. And this is a retelling! It reads like it's going to be a good one too, so I'm excited to see if anything fresh is brought to the story!