August Wrap-up

Well August certainly flew by! The weather is gradually getting colder, the clothes are getting longer and cosier, and there’s the smell of petrichor in the air – Autumn is on its way! I’ve been home and gone to a new vet practice for placement which I loved and enjoyed so much, then I’ve come back to uni where I’ve done a week at the Blue Cross (which was amazing), did a week of emergency medicine (twelve hour shifts throughout the night!) then I’ve just started anaesthesia! I’m enjoying rotations at uni at the moment but I do miss home! I can’t wait to go back soon.

So what have I been reading? Well, unfortunately not a lot but I did reach my goodreads challenge goal of forty books for 2018!! I kept the goal the same as last year since uni is really busy but I’m glad I still managed it – hopefully I can fit in another ten books and make it to fifty! To say I’ve barely had weekends off this month, I did manage some serious reading and, though the number may seem small, I’m glad to have read a total of three books this month! A couple were fairly chunky and took me a while to get through and the other was a cute middle-grade book.

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Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 531
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a fearsome tale of magic and full to the brim of action. It’s a West African-inspired fantasy alternating between three points of view. It was a completely different setting to anything I’ve read and had some awesome characters in it I grew to love. I totally recommend if you love fantasy and/or if you’re looking for some diverse reads! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to meet the author at YALC this year but let’s face it, it’s one less author I’ve made a fool out of myself at!

 

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A Darkness of Dragons

Author: S A Patrick
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Pages: 416
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I received a proof copy from the lovely Usborne and it’s the first middle grade book I’ve read as an adult. I absolutely loved this magic-filled adventure about rats and dragons and a boy on the run. It has beautiful friendships and some little twists along the way to keep you guessing what happens next. It’s a book to lose yourself in the wonder of magic and the thrill of reading and remember why you love stories so much. Check out my review here.

 

The Sisters of the Winter WoodImage result for the sisters of the winter wood

Author: Rena Rossner
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 464
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

I won a proof copy at YALC and could not wait to start this Jewish fairy tale adventure about two sisters. I loved the contrast between the two sisters and their chapters and writing styles, but for me this book just wasn’t as action-packed and gripping as I was hoping for! It’s set in Dubossary in Moldova and touches on the history of Jews and the pogroms they faced, whilst introducing a Goblin Market-type fairy tale which brings two sisters closer together. It’s definitely one to try if you like new language and a different kind of fairy tale, but it just wasn’t for me!

What was your favourite read this August?

Anticipated Autumn reads

Hey everyone! Can you believe it’s almost September already?? That means it’s Autumn very soon!!! I can’t wait for the oranges and browns to take over, the smell of petrichor wherever you go and the cosy blankets and jumpers I can finally start wearing! I actually had to put a cardigan and trousers on today and they haven’t been worn in so long – it’s  a good feeling.

It’s time for cosy nights in wrapped up and reading by candlelight, so what is there to read this Autumn? There are loads of fabulous books out in September, October and November I can’t wait to read so I’ve compiled a list here with a very quick and brief summary of the book – are any of them on your TBR?

Image result for city of ghosts v e schwabA book that’s actually already out in some bookshops is a middle-grade book by V E Schwab which not only sounds amazing, but has a cat on the front cover! SOLD. It’s set in Edinburgh and all about – yep, you guessed it – ghosts. I might save this read for October for a Halloween read.

Release date: September 6th
Publisher: Scholastic

 

 

 

 

Image result for the caged queen A companion novel to The Last NamsaraThe Caged Queen is a highly anticipated release of mine. The first book was a beautifully written book all about dragons and the magic of stories – definitely one to add to the TBR before its sequel comes out!

Release date: September 25th
Publisher: HarperTeen

 

 

 

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Strange the Dreamer was an absolutely beautiful book and I just know that its sequel, Muse of Nightmares won’t be any different. Lazlo is one of the most adorable characters you’ve ever met and the first book ended on a cliffhanger so it’s a definite must-buy for me as soon as it’s released! If you want gorgeous writing and story-telling, then pick up Strange the Dreamer before this sequel is released.

Release date: October 2nd
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

 

 

 

Image result for kingdom of ashThe highly anticipated finale to the Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash is going to bring this series to an end, but who knows what will happen along the way? Will all of our beloved characters make it? Given Maas’s writing already, it’s clear she doesn’t like to kill off many characters, but will that all change? If you haven’t picked up the Throne of Glass series yet, DO IT NOW! You won’t be disappointed by this fearless assassin.

Release date: October 23rd
Publisher: Bloomsbury

 

 

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I’ve seen this book all over Twitter and bookstagram and it sounds amazing! Every year eight girls are chosen to be Paper Girls to serve the king, but this year there’s a ninth and she’s made of FIRE. She controls her own fate and falls in love. It’s a f/f fantasy that promises not to disappoint. We don’t see many f/f YA fantasies so this is high on my TBR list as soon as it’s released!

Release date: November 6th
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books

 

 

 

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The third in the Burning Glass trilogy, Frozen Reign is an anticipated read of mine, even though it’s not the most heart-stopping fantasy I’ve read, it’s still a sweet series and there were a few twists in the last book so I’ll be reading the last book and hopefully getting some answers and a satisfying ending! Also the cover is absolutely gorge.

Release date: November 6th
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

 

 

 

Image result for crimes of grindelwald bookOf course I have to buy the screenplay since I already have the first and it’s so pretty! Crimes of Grindelwald is the second in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and yes I want to go see it when the film comes out also! But I’ll save reading the screenplay until after I’ve seen the film of course!

Release date: November 16th
Publisher: Little Brown

 

 

 

 

And there you have it! Some anticipated Autumn reads, though of course there are loads more, but my TBR is getting slightly out of hand so I’m hoping to read more of my TBR books before buying more! It will inevitably fail, this feeble plan of mine.

What Autumn releases have you got your eye on? And I’m also looking for some Halloweeny themed reads if anyone has any recommendations! No horror, just more like books set around the season. And some cute Autumn romance reads please!

Have a great Bank Holiday reading everyone, I’m currently reading The Sisters of the Winter Wood which is released in September, a book about two sisters and family secrets!

A Darkness of Dragons Book Review

A Darkness of Dragons
Author: S A Patrick
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Pages: 416
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Synopsis from goodreads:

After playing a forbidden spell-song to save a village from rats, 12-year-old piper Patch Brightwater is thrown in jail. But there he meets Wren – a noble girl under a rat-shaped curse – and together they befriend Barver, a fearsome dracogriff, and set off on a grand adventure filled with sorcerers, dragons, bandits…and one very deadly enemy.

From the depths of the Tiviscan dungeons to the highest peak of Gemspar Mountain, this stunning book reminds us of the soaring joy of adventure, the captivating danger of magic, and of the delight of finding friends in unexpected places.

 

 

I received this proof for a review and all I knew about it was that it was a retelling of Hamelin the Pied Piper with dragons. And I can honestly say I loved it! I don’t really read middle grade stuff but after reading this I actually want to read more! It had all the stuff you could want from a book – magic, adventure, friendship with some awesome unique characters. We have Patch Brightwater, who is a piper and plays a forbidden song which gets him thrown in jail; Wren, a sign language-talking rat that he befriends; then Barver, a dracogriff that joins them on their journey!

This retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin but with some How To Train Your Dragon vibes was brilliant and I loved the twists and turns the story takes to keep you on your toes. We meet a sorceress that can foretell prophecies, monks that can heal and did I mention the dragons? It’s got everything you could want written beautifully in a fairy tale format with magic woven into every word, as well as some humour with the odd joke or comment that had me smiling.

What I found interesting about reading this middle grade book, is how it’s so good and it’s not got all the violence and toxic relationships you see represented in adult books. It was nice to just get lost in a fairy tale that’s all magic and adventure and be filled with a nice happy feeling. I’d definitely recommend reading this if you just want a good story to get lost in, no matter what age you are! I also loved the chapter title font and little dragons and rats that accompany it – it’s these little touches I love to see decorate books. They add to the magic of reading the story.

And to end this review with my favourite quote of the book:

“For there is a truth, one that is all too easy to forget:
There is magic in music.
Listen…”

-S A Patrick, A Darkness of Dragons

 

The fury that comes with mismatched book sizes

It goes something like this:

You pick up a new book that sounds promising, the synopsis peeks your interest enough that you buy it and give it a go with that warm glow of just-bought-a-new-book feeling. You read it and discover it’s definitely going on your five star book list and waiting for that promised sequel seems like forever. But finally, the sequel comes out. FINALLY the day comes where the sequel is out in bookstores and online for you to buy.

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You frantically run to the shops and search for the book till your eyes spot it and OH MY GOD IT’S NOT THE SAME SIZE AS THE FIRST BOOK.

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WHAT IS THIS MADNESS??!!?!?!?!!

But you pick it up anyway (maybe it’s not bigger and you just need to check it’s actually the sequel to your book even though you know it definitely is) and NO GOD NO the font is different too!

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I mean, surely I can’t be the only one who has experienced this? I could not wait for a sequel to come out in a book series I had just started and it was way bigger than the first. So I waited for the smaller version which got printed out a few months later and then the font was completely different too! Why don’t you just change all the characters name as well whilst you’re at it.

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It hurts. It hurts me emotionally to see this happen because I am such a wanting-everything-to-match-and-go-together type of book buyer. Why do they change fonts and formats with the next book? Just keep things the same! Whatever happened to continuity? Why would you think we want books that are different sizes with different fonts changing half way through the series?

The mismatching book sizes is just as awful. You can’t put them on the same shelf on your bookcase! And if you do it looks weird and oddly laid out. A well-known book series did this and I’m still waiting for the release of the fourth book in its smaller paperback version to match my set and it’s just so frustrating! Why change the size?

Just one of the many frustrations of a bookworm. Let me know your frustrations below in the comments – share the vexation!

YALC 2018 wrap-up

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Photo taken from the YALC instagram page

This time last week I had been up since 5am, gotten a lift to the train station, got a train to London, got a tube to Olympia and would now be at YALC – the Young Adult Literature Convention held at Kensington Olympia! I went in 2016 just for the Sunday and loved it, this year I went just for the Saturday and, five years on, it’s still amazing and only getting more and more brilliant! I really hope I can go for all three days next year and really get as much out of the experience as I can.

So what did I do? First off, you just have to have a wander round the various stalls, and I’m so glad they are now featuring more and more bookish merch stalls! GeekyClean was there along with some new shops I’ve not heard of yet: Bookish Burns and some cute little bookish jewellery stalls! I hope they get more and more merch stalls set up because they really add to the atmosphere and I love discovering new artists!

I took eight books with me this year to get signed and I managed to get all of them signed except one, Children of Blood and Bone because stupidly, YALC didn’t realise how popular Tomi Adeyemi would be and so failed to set up a virtual queue like they did organise with Tom and Giovanna Fletcher. So I didn’t get to meet her but I did manage to get all of my other books signed as well as getting all seven signatures on my copy of Floored! I got to meet Holly Bourne, Sara Barnard, Non Pratt, Melinda Sailsbury, Lisa Williamson, Eleanor Wood, Tanya Byrne, Tom and Giovanna Fletcher, and Samantha Shannon. These are all the books I got signed:

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I actually missed any panel events I intended to go to because when I did turn up, they were rammed or I was waiting in a queue to get my books signed. Fair to say, I did spend a fair amount of time in queues waiting to get my books signed, but how often do you get the chance to meet your favourite authors and tell them how much you loved their book? It was worth it. As was the horrendous back and shoulder ache you get at the end of the day! Lugging round books all day isn’t the best for you, but again, worth it.

There were soooo many beautifully designed and amazing bookish stalls from publishers and lots of competitions to have a go at winning arcs and proofs. I actually managed to win a proof of The Sisters of the Winter Wood and I was so happy! When I got home, I had another look inside the book and I actually found a golden feather inside which meant I had won a finished copy of the book when it’s released!! I couldn’t believe it – I won a proof!

I also entered the competition on Twitter by Bloomsbury of taking a photo of you with the snapchat filter #BreakTheCurse to win a proof of A Curse so Dark and Lonely and I managed to win that as well!! What a lucky streak, I can’t wait to get stuck into both of these fabulous books!

I picked up loads of samplers and I only bought a couple of books and a candle (because the stupid cash machine at the station wouldn’t work that morning!) and I somehow managed to speak in a podcast as I was waiting in a queue?? A man came up to me and my friend and asked us why we come to YALC and I probably sounded very stupid and moronic but I was so surprised – I didn’t expect that! Oh yeah and Jason Momoa, aka Aquaman was just walking through YALC all the time which was funny and a bit surreal.

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You just don’t know what to expect at YALC. It’s such an amazing experience and a brilliant chance to meet your favourite authors and get books signed, discover new books and make some bookish friends as well! I love the atmosphere so much and I reallllly hope I can make it to more than just the one day next year!

 

 

YA contemporaries to read this Summer

I love the YA contemporary genre and I think they’re such good summer reads – lay in the sun, lay on a beach or sitting in your usual reading chair, they tend to be quick light reads that flow well and they always pick up my mood. They can help you out of that reading slump you’ve been in and let you discover some fantastic new authors. YA contemporaries can be looked down on by some people that think YA isn’t a ‘real genre’ or doesn’t deal with ‘real issues’ but I would choose a YA contemporary over an adult any day! So here are some of my favourite YA reads and why I love them so much.

The Manifesto On How To Be InterestingImage result for the manifesto on how to be interesting
Author: Holly Bourne
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Pages: 448
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Bree thinks she’s a loser and nothing ever happens to her, so she creates a project for herself called ‘The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting’, setting rules for herself which only leads to trouble and heartbreak.

This book takes you on Bree’s journey, looking in as a reader and wishing you could be the friend she needs to stop her from her antics! It has such a beautiful and heart-warming end message and is a book to treasure for always. And remember, “Being interesting isn’t important. But being happy is. As well as being a person you’re proud of“.

A Quiet Kind of ThunderImage result for a quiet kind of thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 320
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is the first book I read by Sara Barnard and I’ve been in love with her work ever since. Steffi is a selective mute and hardly speaks to anyone but the new boy at the school, Rhys, speaks to her through sign language, being deaf himself.

It’s a beautiful story of a budding romance and showing how we can bring out the best in each other. I adored Rhys and his relationship with Steffi, and I especially loved reading and learning more about sign language and lip-reading! Oh and the title is just perfect, don’t you think?

The Sky is EverywhereImage result for the sky is everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 320
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A story about a girl whose sister, Bailey, dies suddenly, leaving Lennie alone in the world and trying to keep it together as she struggles through college and relationships, as well as a grieving family.

It’s a tragic story but a wonderful read, portraying grief in all its honesty and showing how un-perfect we are sometimes. Maybe a bit heavy for a light summer read, but it’s a book you don’t want to put down. Maybe have a few tissues near by if you do cry at books though! “… if you’re someone who knows the worst thing can happen at any time, aren’t you also someone who knows the best thing can happen at any time too?” 

Under Rose-Tainted SkiesImage result for under rose tainted skies
Author: Louise Gornall
Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 272
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Norah has agoraphobia and looks on the outside world from inside her house. It’s a struggle to even step outside to pick up a package that’s been left just outside her house. Then suddenly a guy moves in next door, Luke and somehow, Norah’s world gets turned upside down from from the inside because life happens, no matter where you are.

This book is kind of similar to the next book I’ll mention, Everything, Everything as they both include a girl stuck inside their house, but for very different reasons. This novel brilliantly explains agoraphobia as a girl tries to navigate through her world in a way not many of us can even imagine. It gives you pause, and I am so glad I discovered this little book.

Everything, EverythingImage result for everything everything book
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Pages: 310
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book is about a girl who has a physical illness that means she’s allergic to just about everything. Trapped inside because of her physical condition, she longs to experience the world outside, and a guy moving in next door just might be the ticket out of the house she has been wishing for.

Very different from Under Rose-Tainted Skies, this is about physical illness and showing the life of a girl trapped inside all day, every day. It was a joy to read and I whipped through it in just a day. Oh, and the film is gorgeous too – read the book first, then watch the film!

FangirlImage result for fangirl book
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 459
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Cath is a fangirl and writes fanfiction about her favourite book series, Simon Snow, with her twin sister, Wren. But now they’re both going to college and Wren doesn’t want to be roommates with Cath, things are changing. But Cath can’t let her beloved fanfiction go.

I LOVED this book! It was such a brilliant YA read and I adored Cath as a character, and when Levi comes along!! It’s such a cute story about growing up and moving on, everything changing… It’s an uplifting story and one to love forever and always, but it also teaches you the important of letting go sometimes… “The whole point of fanfiction is that you get to play inside somebody else’s universe. Rewrite the rules. Or bend them. The story doesn’t have to end. You can stay in this world, this world you love, as long as you want, as long as you keep thinking of new stories.”

FlooredImage result for floored book
Author: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Not Pratt, Melina Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 385
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Seven completely different and under-any-other-circumstance-would-definitely-not-have-met people come together in a lift where from that day forward, their lives are changed forever.

There are some serious The Breakfast Club vibes in this book and I loved it! Seven people meet in a lift one day and then suddenly they meet up nearly every year after, forming unlikely friendships and changing as we watch them grow from shy fifteen year olds into confident twenty one year olds. It’s a story of growing older and wiser, of finding out who and what you want to be. It’s amazing and fantastic and so worth the read.

And there you have it! Seven YA contemporaries that I can wholeheartedly recommend to you after having thoroughly enjoyed them myself so much! Let me know in the comments if there are any you think are missing from this small selection – you know how much I love recommendations from you bookworms!

Happy reading x