Animals in Books

As my dreams for the future mostly consist of living in a tiny apartment overrun by animals and having enough books that I can make furniture out of them, these two things play a major role in my life. Who would have guessed?

But recently, I’ve found a way that I can combine these to loves of mine into one. No, I’m not talking about wielding my dark magic and transfiguring cats into novels or anything. I’m taking about animals playing somewhat of a major role in the books I read. After all, why would anyone settle for reading a book with boring old humans when there are puppies, and kittens, and turtles, and guinea pigs to be written about?

Why books with animals are 157% better than books with only humans:

  • I would be quite happy to only speak to animals for the rest of my life, thank you very much. First of all, do you know how RUDE humans can be? I work in a bookshop and a cinema, and WOW. PEOPLE CAN BE AWFUL. Like yes, I know you had to wait five minutes in line, but was that my fault? No. Go curse at the woman in front of you who couldn’t decide to get salted or unsalted popcorn, Karen. So naturally, I want to spend the least amount of time around humans in my leisure time as possible. Including in books. (Aliens and monstrous beings are okay though.)
  • Animals in books are SO MUCH SMARTER than their human counterparts. Did you ever see Hedwig get into a love triangle, or become the Chosen One, or have to kill this dude that had an unhealthy obsession with her? NO. And that’s simply because animals have intuition for this sort of thing, unlike humans that just blunder about this planet with little idea of what they’re doing, or who they really love, or why everything is just so hard as a teenager when no one understands you. I just really want a Harry Potter retelling with just Hedwig, Scabbers, Crookshanks, and Trevor.
  • My trust issues don’t extend to animals. Here, let me pet that random, slightly mangled cat sitting on the sidewalk! Who cares if it has rabies! Animals are just so much easier to love than humans. You don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re plotting your murder (though my own cat looks like she is 99% of the time), and they probably won’t betray you. But, I mean, if that dog goes to roll over for a belly rub in front of someone who isn’t me, that’s betrayal right there. Although when it comes to reading about animals in books… JUST LET ME LOVE YOU. I WILL PROTECT YOU NO MATTER WHAT.

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Fairy Tale Retellings

Girls Made of Snow and GlassAt sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

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Middle Grade Recommendations

This year, I found that I’ve read a lot more middle grade novels than I normally do. I think that’s partly due to the fact that I have more time for reading this year, or maybe that these books have been more on my radar this year. Or maybe it’s because I read some really spectacular middle grade novels and it’s made me realise that this is a readership I don’t want to miss out on.

While YA has a special place in my heart, expanding my reading sphere this year has given me the opportunity to realise that there’s so much more out there and that I don’t just like YA. I love middle grade, and some adult fiction, and some non-fiction, and I just… wow. My TBR is suffering, but in the best way possible. So here are three of the best middle grade books I’ve read this year, and some of the ones that I want to read ASAP!

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Howl’s Moving Castle

5985499Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate.

But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle.

To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

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Spreading Some Blogger Love

It’s undeniable that book bloggers do a lot of work to spread the awareness of books and promote authors. A lot of the time, bloggers do this without recognition and without payment. We do it because we love reading and talking about books, and most importantly, sharing which books we’ve loved recently and want others to read and fall in love with to. But what saddens me more than anything is when some bloggers feel like their thoughts don’t matter or that they aren’t recognised. So today, I just want to spread some blogger love.

I understand how disheartening it can feel when you spew your feelings into a discussion or a review and it doesn’t get as many views as you’d like – I’ve been there. I know how disenchanting it can feel when you think that no one is reading your blog or that no one even notices you’re posting. Sometimes the blogging world is a tough one, and sometimes you might feel like the voices of bigger bloggers drown out all the rest. But no matter what, you have to remember that your opinion matters. You matter.

Whether you’ve been blogging for ten years, or even more, or you just started last month, or last week, I believe that what you’re doing is important. It’s easy to get caught up in follower counts, and stats, and feeling like you’re not getting any recognition for the hours upon hours you spend on each post, and that’s normal. I can guarantee that every blogger has had those thoughts at least once in their life. No one ever said being a blogger was easy or not a lot of work, but we always have to remember the reason why we started – to share the love of books and discuss the issues in the bookish community that are important to us.Read More »

Mini Reviews (THE YEAR IS ALMOST OVER)

I’M NOT FREAKING OUT, YOU’RE FREAKING OUT. Honestly, where did the year go? Wasn’t it just 2013, like, last month?! I’m OLD now, and another year is almost over and have I finished all the books I wanted to read this year? DEFINITELY NOT.

NOT EVEN CLOSE.

But instead of focussing on that fact, today I’m going to share some mini reviews for books I’ve read recently because FULL REVIEWS ARE NO LONGER A THING IN DECEMBER BECAUSE I NEED TO SHARE ALL MY FEELS BEFORE THE NEW YEAR MAKES ME FORGET 2017.

Though I wouldn’t be that sad if I forgot the mess that is 2017. We had some good releases, sure, but beyond that? #NotImpressed. 2017 can go have time out in the corner because I’ve had enough of it. BRING ON 2018 PLEASE.

But also… don’t take me one year closer to death. I still have to read all the books on my shelves before then, so spare me for another 274 years. It’ll take me that long to get through everything – please and thank you.

 

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Special Editions (AKA Why I’m Broke)

For readers and fangirls, there’s nothing more exciting than the words ‘special edition’. There’s something so magical about getting your hands on one of your favourite books that has a whole new design, or graphic unseen before, or extra content. For me, special editions are the death of my bank account, but I don’t think I’ll be able to stop buying them anytime soon. It’s kind of the same addiction as when you buy books because you think they’ll look good on your shelves — and I’m not even sorry. My special editions are gorgeous, and even my bank account cursing me out from the grave won’t make me regret my decisions.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

34496775Kell is one of the last Antari―magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes―Red London―and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

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The Importance of #LoveOzYA

HELLO EVERYONE. I’m very, very excited at the moment because I have SO MANY EXCITING THINGS TO SHARE. As you might know, I co-host a book club that’s based in Melbourne called The YA Room and we’re celebrating all things #LoveOzYA this month. We have a #LoveOzYA Bingo Challenge, we’re posting on our blog and various social media channels every day, and we’re also hosting a picnic. There’s so much going on this month!

We wanted to celebrate everything #LoveOzYA this month over at The YA Room because it only seemed fair to spread love for the community that made us who we are today. We wouldn’t exist without the amazing, supportive #LoveOzYA community. Alex and I would’t have even met if it weren’t for the book launches we both attended last year, and this book club would probably just consist of me and my cat if we didn’t have such a vibrant bookish community in Melbourne. So we want to celebrate that.

If you’re not following us on all our platforms, please do so! We don’t want you to miss out on all this goodness. And check out this post for more information about the bingo challenge!

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Stalking Jack the Ripper & Hunting Prince Dracula

Both Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula had been on my TBR for ages. I mean, historical YA fiction? Forensics and science? Creepy stories? Sign me the frick up.

I’d heard amazing things about both of these books, and even better things about listening to them on audio. So I decided to listen to Stalking Jack the Ripper on audio and read Hunting Prince Dracula and I can 100% say that both reading experiences were different but equally as exciting. These two books were just so spine-tingling and captivating, and I’m so pleased I finally got around to reading them! I need more books by Kerri Maniscalco.

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Just Some SF/F Reviews

Over the past month, I read three hyped SF/F books… which is a lot for me, considering the majority of the books I read are contemporary, followed by straight fantasy. However, I do enjoy reading a good science-fiction/fantasy book from time to time.

But today, I’ll be reviewing four of them for you! These books are everywhere at the moment – they’ve been hyped to the max – and so I’m going to debunk that hype and tell you if these books are really worthwhile.

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19 Years, 19 Books

So… I turned 19 yesterday. It’s kind of that weird age when you don’t know whether you’re still allowed to call yourself a teenager or whether you’re expected to be an adult. I mean, I still don’t know how to cook myself a meal without almost burning down my house and I can’t be trusted to go into a bookshop alone, but hey! In society’s eyes, I’m considered an adult — and that freaks me out.

But now’s not the time for an existential crisis! It’s not the time to think about all the things I haven’t achieved on my time on this planet! I don’t want to think that I’m probably a quarter of the way to my death, or that I might actually die tomorrow, or the world might get engulfed by a solar flare while I sleep tonight, or another war might start while I’m binging Brooklyn Nine-Nine… but let’s not talk about that!

Instead, today I want to reminisce on my nineteen years on this planet by sharing my top read of each year, compared to what was a popular YA book at the time! Are you following me? You’ll pick it up. Just go with it. It’ll be fun, I promise.Read More »