Monday, 31 December 2018

December Wrap Up

I can't believe we are at the end of the year already! I hope everyone had a great Christmas, I know I did, and you're all looking forward to the new year. There's a lot of great sounding books coming out in 2019 and I've already posted my most anticipated releases list as well as my top books of this year. 

Today I will be wrapping up the final month of the year and listing all of the books I read in December. Overall I read 4 whole books, finished 2 I started in November and I'm halfway through one more. So overall a pretty good month. 


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Stardust by Neil Gaiman 
My edition published 4th October 2007 by Headline Review
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge 36/50

Distortion (Phobos, #2) 

Distortion by Victor Dixen
Published 18th October 2018 by Hot Key Books
Star Rating - ***.5
Goodreads Challenge - 40/50
Review - Blog Review


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Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships that Changed History by Sam Maggs
Published 2nd October 2018 by Quirk Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 37/50
Review - Blog Review

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Everless by Sara Holland 
Published 4th January 2018 by Hachette
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 39/50
Review - Blog Review

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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Makenzi Lee
Published 27th June 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 38/50
Review - Blog Review

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The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
Published 10th January 2019 by Hot Key Books
Star Rating - *****
Goodreads Challenge 41/50
Review - Blog Review


I'm pleased I had a 5 star read this month. The Twisted Tree quickly became a last minute contender for one of my favourite books of the year. 

How many books did you read this month? Which one was you favourite? I'd love to hear about them. 



Saturday, 29 December 2018

Top 10 Books of 2018

2018 hasn't been the best for me reading wise but, as a year in general, it's been great. I had my son in September this year and in August we moved house into what will hopefully be our forever home. These are the reasons I haven't read as much as normal but that's okay because I now have some wonderful things in my life that I wouldn't change for the world. 

I set my Goodreads reading goal at the beginning of this year to 75 but as we made our way through the year I knew I wasn't going to reach this so I reduced it to 50 which is my usual. I haven't quite made this either and, as I type this, I am currently at 39 books but as I said before that's okay. 

I also started to do the diversity bingo challenge at the beginning of this year and I kind of gave up with that very quickly. I've found out this year that set TBRs do not work for me so next year I'm looking into challenges that don't require that. 

Even though I didn't do as well as I originally planned with my reading and challenges I still managed to read some fantastic books. So, that's enough of my rambling, here's what your here to see. My top 10 books of 2018. 



The Cruel Prince by Holly Black 
Star Rating - *****

I'm pretty sure Holly Black is now one of my favourite authors. I read this right back in January and it's stuck with me for the whole year so definitely worthy of a space on this list. 

"I really enjoyed this book, I was completely captivated throughout the story. It was dark with a twisty, turny plot that kept you on your toes until the very end. Full of a complete cast of morally grey characters that you just can't help loving. I cannot wait for the next one!"

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Star Rating - *****

This was a fairly recent read. I've had it on my TBR for a while and I'd heard nothing but good things and I was not disappointed. The thing that particularly appealed to me about this one was the unique way the story was told. I'll definitely be picking up the sequels in 2019. 

"I loved everything about this book I thought it was fantastic. It was compelling and fast paced. I didn't want to put it down."

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 
Star Rating - *****

This was one of a few books that I picked up this year that were outside of my comfort zone and I'm so pleased I chose to do that this year because I enjoyed them all. This one in particular was one of my favourites. It's told in verse and covers some difficult topics in a fantastic way. 

" I thought this was a fantastically thought provoking and emotional read. The story flowed really well and it covered a lot of important topics. This is one I would recommend to everyone, even if it is outside of your comfort zone."


To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Star Rating - ****.5

One of the first retellings I read this year that carried on from my love of retellings from last year. This one was a retelling of The Little Mermaid and it was super addictive. It was also a standalone which was great as often fantasy novels are part of series. 

"Overall this was a really enjoyable story with great world building and great characters. I don't know what more to say other than I highly recommend you go out and buy it. I know I will be!"


Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Star Rating - ****

Another one I read right back at the beginning of the year that has stuck with me. For me, it was the writing that stood out in this book. It was so atmospheric and emotional that I don't think I've ever read anything like it before and haven't really read anything since. 

"Overall I really enjoyed this book. I loved the writing style, I don't think I've ever read anything like it. It made me feel all sorts of emotions and I admire the author for being able to do that. It was a highly compelling and extremely atmospheric read that I would recommend."


The Golden Child by Wendy James
Star Rating - ****

This is the only adult novel on this list as well as the only book I managed to read in one day. This book was really suspenseful and also covered a lot of themes that are really relevant in today's society and this meant I could relate to the story.

"I really enjoyed this novel and I feel it's a very important read that should be read by everyone. It really showed us, as readers, just what devastating consequences cyber bulling can have and how social media and the internet has become highly influential in everyone's lives today. I would definitely recommend this one."


Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Star Rating - ****

The first book in one of many new series I started this year that was a really clever read. Told in duel POVs, the author does a great job of intertwining the two main characters stories. Our main characters were also great, strong and fearsome females are the best. 

"Overall I really enjoyed this one. It's been a while since I got stuck in to a really good YA fantasy story, especially one that's part of a series. I will definitely be picking up the next installment as soon as I can."


Ascension by Victor Dixen 
Star Rating - ****

Another one that was really out of my comfort zone but that surprised me. If you ask me to tell you one thing I don't like to read that's romance and this one was described as Love Island in space, really not my sort of thing. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. There was more of a focus on the development of relationships as opposed to the romance which is why I think I enjoyed it. 

"I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. I made a conscious decision to step outside of my comfort zone when I requested a copy of this book and it has definitely made me want to do that more often. I loved the exploration of the characters and their relationships and that ending has really made me want more of the story. I cannot wait to dive into the next in the series."


A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Star Rating - ****
Review

This is the only book on this list that is a 2019 release so my review isn't actually live on my blog yet, although I have written it. This is another retelling, this time Beauty and the Beast, and it was a great one. An interesting plot and great characters made this a really fun read. 

"It's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and as I've already said I love a good retelling. In my opinion this was a good example of a retelling as there were clear nods to the original story and key plot points but enough individuality to the story to keep it interesting."

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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Star Rating - ****

This book has had nothing but praise over the past year and I finally managed to get my hands on it recently and I dived in straight away. I can see why everyone loved it. It's full of great characters and great representation and the 'adventure' aspect of the plot made it a really fun read. 

"I did enjoy this one quite a lot, especially the second half. I loved the characters and the diversity and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one which is all about Felicity."

Honorable Mention

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The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
Star Rating - *****
Review

I finished this a couple of days before this post went live and I loved it so I knew I had to add it to my list. I loved how creepy and atmospheric it was with great characters, it's one everyone needs to read.

"Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was deliciously dark and creepy. I loved the atmospheric writing style and setting and the well developed characters. I would definitely recommend picking this one up. One of my favourite books of 2018."

So there we have it, my top 10 books of 2018. As I said before, even though it's not been my best reading year, I'm really pleased with all that I have achieved and a lot of the books I have read. 

I'd love to hear all about your favourite books of this year and hopefully find more to add to my ever growing TBR. 


Friday, 28 December 2018

Review - Distortion by Victor Dixen

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Distortion by Victor Dixen
Published 18th October 2018 by Hot Key Books
Star Rating - ***.5
Goodreads Challenge -40/50

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
After a speed-dating show that is literally out of this world, twelve young astronauts are set to become the first humans to colonise Mars. They are also the victims of the cruellest of plots.

LĂ©onor thought she was a pioneer on an extraordinary mission. She thought she had left all regrets behind her on Earth. But when memories are this painful, there can be no forgetting . .

My Thoughts
After reading and really enjoying the first book in this series, Ascension, and being left with that ending I knew I had to pick this one up. I enjoyed this one as well but not as much as the first. I wonder if it suffers a little bit from 'middle book syndrome'. Anyway, here are my thoughts...

What I Liked

• I enjoyed the setting, I liked how it moved between both Mars and Earth. It was interesting to learn more about Mars and it was obvious the author had done some research into what that environment would be like. I actually quite enjoyed the sciencey aspects of this story. 

• The first book in this series focused a lot on the development of the relationships between the boys and the girls and this did continue in this book. It was great to see them finally meet in real life and there was some really positive examples of acceptance however, there are a few things I have a couple of issues with. I also enjoyed learning more about some of the characters back stories and there is still some things left unexplained that I hope we find out about in the next book. 

• The plot really picked up the pace towards the end. The last 50 pages or so moved quite fast and I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen. There are still a lot of things left to be explained and this book ended on a huge cliff hanger! I find myself struggling to make predictions when it comes to this story and I enjoy that as it means I need to read to find out more. 

What could of been better

• This book was a lot slower than the first one. It wasn't as fast paced or suspenseful until it got to the last 50 or so pages. This meant I found myself reading a lot slower than I did the first time round and I felt like I wasn't as invested in the story to begin with as I was with the first one. That soon changed with that ending though. 

• I wasn't a fan of Kris and Alexei's relationship, I didn't like the way Alexei treated Kris. This may have been purposeful as I understand not all relationships are good however, I don't feel like it was challenged enough and therefore could be toxic to some readers. That being said one bad relationship out of six isn't bad and it's not a main point of the story so it's not at the fore front of this novel. 

Overall another enjoyable read. I found it fun but not as good as book one, it felt a bit like a filler to me. However, that ending has got me wanting more and I can't wait to get my hands on the final book in this series. 

Overall Rating (3.5)



Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Top 5 Wednesday - Books you didn't get to in 2018

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme where you discuss your 'top 5' in a variety of different topics on, guess what, a Wednesday. Full list of topics and more information can be found here on the Goodreads group. 

This weeks topic is your top 5 books you didn't get to in 2018 and that are top of your list for 2019. You might recognise some of these titles from a previous T5W post about books I wanted to read before 2019 that, shock horror, I still haven't read but I will try and differ the titles a bit. 

So here are my top 5 books I didn't get to in 2018...

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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Stephanie Garber's books seem to be on every single list I write! This is one of the ones I wanted to read before 2019 but I don't think I'm going to get to it so I am going to make it a priority in 2019, before the release of Finale. 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert 


Another one that was on my 'books to read before 2019' list that I don't think I'm going to get to. I received this as an eARC on NetGalley so I really should have read it already! I will be continuing my goal to read my NetGalley shelf into 2019 so this one will be on there. 

The Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades (Renegades #1)

Another NetGalley book I haven't got to yet so another one I will be reading towards my goal to read my NetGalley shelf. 

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Zenith (The Androma Saga, #1)

Yet another NetGalley book I haven't read yet. Do you see a pattern here!

Warcross by Marie Lu

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I really enjoy these types of books about gamers and online hackers and I picked this one up as soon as it was released. I still haven't read it and I'm dying too so it will be top of my list next year. 

So there we have my top 5 books I didn't get to in 2018. I'm sure there are a lot more I need to read and I know there are going to be a lot more I'm going to acquire next year, the lift of a book blogger hey!

What books did you not quite get around to this year and what is top of your 2019 TBR? Let me know. 



Monday, 24 December 2018

Mailbox Monday - Weekly Book Post

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme that was started by Marcia of To Be Continued. The aim is simple, for people to share what books they received in their mailbox that week. To check out everyone else's posts head over to the Mailbox Monday blog.

This week I received...



Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve


I was lucky enough to win this in a Scholastic giveaway on Twitter. The trailer for the movie looks really good but of course I need to read the book first. 

What books did you receive this week? 

This will be my last Mailbox Monday post, actually my last post at all, before Christmas. I have some scheduled content over Christmas week but I'll be back properly for my end of the year round ups. 

Merry Christmas everyone :)



Saturday, 22 December 2018

Most Anticipated Releases of 2019

Each year seems to be getting better and better for book releases and, as my reading tastes widen, my list of anticipated books gets bigger. In this post I will list 17 of my most anticipated books of 2019. I'm sure there are a lot more that I haven't mentioned and I'd love for you to share those with me but for now here are the ones I am excited for. 

If you want to find out more about any of these books just click on the titles and that will take you too their Goodreads pages. 

January Releases



The Wicked King by Holly Black release date January 8th 2019

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo release date January 29th 2019

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi release date January 15th 2019

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer release date January 29th 2019

February Releases


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas release date February 5th 2019

Enchantee by Gita Trelease release date February 21st 2019

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier release date February 5th 2019

March Releases


Internment by Samira Ahmed release date March 19th 2019

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber release date March 5th 2019

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner release date March 19th 2019

May Releases


Finale by Stephanie Garber release date May 9th 2019

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo release date May 7th 2019

Kingsbane by Claire Legrand release date May 21st 2019

September Releases


The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riorden release date September 24th 2019

October Releases


Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo release date October 2019

November Releases


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern release date November 5th 2019

No Release Date Yet


Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud release date 2019

So these are all the books, so far, that I'm looking forward to in 2019. I think I have a good mix of debuts, series continuations and standalones here. 

I'd love to hear about your most anticipated releases and hopefully watch my list grow. 
















Friday, 21 December 2018

Review - The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue my Mackenzi Lee

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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Makenzi Lee
Published 27th June 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 38/50

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and travelling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

My Thoughts
This book has been on my radar since its release last year. It's had such rave reviews that when I managed to get my hands on it I had to dive in straight away and it's safe to say I wasn't disappointed. I can see why everyone loved it. Here are my thoughts...

What I liked

•The characters were fantastic. They each had their own distinct personalities and I loved them all. I really enjoyed how much they cared for and looked out for each other, even if they didn't always show it, they knew they could count on each other. I loved Monty and Percy's relationship, it was really sweet. I also loved the relationship between Monty and Felicity, it felt like a really real depiction of a sibling relationship, sibling rivalry and all. Felicity has to be my favourite character too. I loved how feisty and independent she was. She didn't depict your usual female stereotype of the time period. She knew what she wanted to do and she worked hard to achieve this. 

•I loved the diversity in this book too. Monty and Percy's relationship was great. The author did a great job at normalising this but at the same time she did highlight the struggles of a male/male relationship in this time period. She also showed us that Monty and Percy didn't care what people thought which was great too. She also did a great job of highlighting the race issues that were around within this time period and again portrayed how this made Percy feel very well. 

•I also enjoyed the 'adventure' aspect of the plot. It added that little bit of something extra to the story and made it that bit more enjoyable to read. I sped through the last half and found myself not wanting to put it down as the action picked up a bit. 

What could of been better

•Going back to the plot, I found the first half to be a little bit slow. The pacing of the book as a whole was a little bit off as it started off quite slow going but, as soon as they hit Paris and the action started, it picked up again. If the pacing in the beginning was a little bit better than I could've seen myself definitely giving this one 5 stars. 

Overall I did enjoy this one quite a lot, especially the second half. I loved the characters and the diversity and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one which is all about Felicity.

Overall Rating