Short Reviews from a (Somewhat) Fast Reader

I don’t know about you, but my reading progress has been pretty good this month so far. Whether or not that’s because I’m always more motivated in the beginning of the year, because the bookshop has been fairly quiet and I’ve been able to read on shift, or maybe a combination of the two. But I’M PROUD OF ME NEVERTHELESS. I mean, if I keep reading at this pace, I could crack 200 by the end of the year. Just sayin’. JK IT’S NOT A COMPETITION AND WHETHER YOU READ ONE BOOK OR ONE THOUSAND IS GREAT AND I’M PROUD OF YOU. You’re doing amazing, sweetie.

So today I’m going to share some mini reviews of the books I’ve read so far this month in the hopes that I’ll continue to read as much as I have in the past two weeks or so. FINGERS CROSSED. I might need to increase my reading speed to enable me to read eight books a day for thirteen years in order to get through my TBR, but I’LL GET THERE ONE DAY!

… Okay fine, you’re right. I’m never getting through all the unread books on my shelves. YOU CAUGHT ME OUT. I’M A FRAUD.

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Like this movie? Read this book!

If there’s anything I’m marginally knowledgeable about besides books, it’s movies. I work at a cinema, I watch an average of three movies at the theatre per week, and I also subscribe to both Netflix and Stan. I have a problem.

But, like most people, I disguise the fact that I spend more hours watching movies than I spend sleeping each week by rationalising it! Movies are a form of storytelling, right? Therefore watching movies makes me more adept at storytelling, which will help my career as an author, allow me to be published, and finally achieve my dreams of ruling the world!

Completely rational.

So today I wanted to combine my love of books and movies by telling you which book you should read based on what movie you like! And I’m not including book-to-movie adaptations and pairing them together because that’s cheating.

You’re welcome!

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10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

As my last post of 2017, I’ve been thinking back on my time as a blogger and what I’ve learned throughout those years. How long has it even been now? Four years? Five? I’ve lost count. WOW I JUST REALISED THAT IF I’VE BEEN BLOGGING FOR 4.5 YEARS OR LONGER, THAN MEANS I’VE SPENT A QUARTER OF MY LIFE DOING THIS. I can barely even remember a time before WordPress. Wow. That’s kind of scary.

BUT ANYWAY. Let’s move on before I have another existential crisis and stare off into the distance for three hours lifelessly. Help.

So today I thought I’d share 10 things I wish I knew when I’d started blogging. Just, you know, to look back on how terrible and embarrassing I was in my first few reviews. Well, more like my first 200… Nope, I’m still awkward and embarrassing. I’m not past that stage yet.

Yes, my first ever review is still on my blog. No, I’m not linking it here. If you scroll back far enough, you can probably find it. Or, if you’ve been following me from the very beginning, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Let me say something to those people: I’m sincerely sorry for everything I’ve put you through. Thank you for supporting me, despite my colossal spelling and grammar errors, constant forgetting of characters’ names, and unreliable posting schedule. You are the real angels of this world.

ANYWAY. Let’s get into my advice! Although my advice is usually dubious at best, I do hope this helps a new blogger out there. Blogging can be tough at times, but we’re all in this together. And please know that you can always chat to me or ask me anything! It’s so scary starting off, so please reach out if you have any questions or you just want to talk about your favourite books! I don’t bite. Unless you’re a red velvet cupcake, and then you should be very afraid. And you shouldn’t be reading my blog either — it’ll only make you feel bad about not having eyes. Or hands. Or the capability to read a book.

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Top 17 Books of 2017

I honestly can’t believe it’s that time of year again when I’m talking about my favourite books. Yes, I am SO READY for this year to be over, but also, WHERE THE HECK DID THIS YEAR GO? WAS IT NOT, LIKE, 2012 LAST YEAR?! Ahh, it was a simpler time back in 2012. I miss the good old days.

But what I do love about coming to the end of the year is looking back on all my reading progress and seeing how many books have worked their way into my heart! I think I say this every year, but I feel like I’ve read more books that I just ADORED AND WOULD BE WILLING TO TAKE A BULLET FOR compared to any other year. Yes, I would take a bullet for some of those books. Those gorgeous, non-feeling, non-sentient pieces of paper that are glued together.

So without further ado, here are my top 17 books of 2017!

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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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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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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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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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