The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I’d wanted to start this series for a long time, and had read some of the Shiver series by Maggie Stiefvater years ago and liked that, but only recently did I finally get around to buying The Raven Boys as I picked it up at Yalc and got it signed (Post including Yalc wrap up).

I thought the whole mystic aspect was really interesting especially as the main characters are only really on the edge of it, so I feel like there is so much more about this to come in the following books which I’m excited about. I’d also like to find out more about certain characters in the next books as I’m intrigued by all of Blue’s family, although I felt like this one gave quite a good amount of info etc on the characters. I really liked the way that it was written in 3rd person and then flicked the focus between different characters and scenes as it just made the story feel more in-depth.

I’m a big fan of romance in novels and really liked how it was done here as an undertone to the main story. Without giving any major spoilers, Blue develops a relationship throughout the novel but then there are hints towards a different romance for her too. I felt like this was really interesting because it’s almost a love triangle but without there actually being one – it is just a hint that she will be with somebody else later on. This is completely ambiguous however as it is kept unclear whether it is going to happen or just a possibility. I really like both of the love interests but am more interested in the ‘possible’ one rather than the actual one in this novel so am so excited to see how that all pans out and why.

There’s also a really amazing plot twist with one character that I completely wasn’t expecting but that I can now see was foreshadowed, I really hope that this character is included in, and maybe expanded upon, in the following novels although I think how it ended could also mean that this storyline is finished. I was actually just really confused and kind of disappointed by the ending as I thought that they were only halfway through the last climactic scene when it suddenly seemed like everything was fine again and so I don’t really understand what happened.

I really do now want to read rest of series, as this one was well written and there is just so many things that I want to be tied up and explained in the other books. Have you read The Raven Boys? Agree or disagree with my opinions? Comment below! And my next post shall either be a Duodecathon wrap up or my wrap up for the month, so subscribe if you’re interested in reading either of those 🙂

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I first heard about this book when it was shown on the Hot Key Books Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/HotKeyBooks) and then saw it on a lot of different booktube channels after that. Everyone seemed to be giving it great reviews, and it sounded interesting, but I already had a load of books that I wanted to read and so didn’t get around to it until recently when I bought the Zoella book bundle, and then read it for the September AYearAThon (which I posted about here: https://emlinian.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/ayearathon-september-2016/).

In addition to just having other books to read, I also didn’t really like the sound of the way that it was written as although it was said to be written beautifully, it was also described a lot as ‘poetic’ which I took to mean that it was going to be written well, but also, hard to read, like lots of the ‘poetic’ books that I read for uni. However, I was completely wrong on this, as the writing style was really easy, captivating, and had an amazing flow to it.

Another thing that caught me by surprise was the ‘lying’ aspect to the novel; I found that wasn’t really ‘lies’ at first but a lot of metaphors, and then it was more like everyone was lying to Cadence rather than her, as the narrator, lying to us, which was what I expected. The novel actually follows Cadence on her first trip back to her family’s summer island after she has lost her memory surrounding the summer 2 years previously, and so while I was under the impression that you’d always be trying to figure out what Cadence was lying to you about, it was more like going on a journey with her to find out how her own memory is lying to her. Although, ‘Liars’ is also just a name for her group of friends which I felt was never actually explained.

I absolutely loved Cadence though! I felt like she was sweet and just really relatable in some aspects too. Something that I felt really stood out with her as a character and made her so relatable and tragic was the repetition of the idea that she feels like she has to be normal and has to pull herself together constantly. It was aspects such as this that I think just made the whole novel have this feel of being so very realistic and sad, yet there is also a theme of moving on from tragedy, and from yourself in a sense, and so in this aspect I actually found the novel quite uplifting as well as being so sad.

I don’t want to really say much more in case of spoilers but I just felt like this novel was so amazing, I loved so much about it, and it definitely a new favourite as one of the best books that I have ever read. I think most people would like this book, but especially if you’ve read and enjoyed Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen which is another of my favourites and shares some themes with this one.

Comment below if you’ve also read We Were Liars, what you thought of it, and if it was what you expected. My next post will probably be on The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater which I also loved so subscribe if you want to see that too 🙂

AYearAThon – September 2016

I think this is my first time taking part in AYearAThon despite having been in the Goodreads group for quite a while (which you can find here: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/123987-ayearathon). The theme for this month was small books, specifically under 200 pages, which was quite nice as it made me feel like I was doing a lot more reading than I actually was just because I was getting through the books so quickly (although half of these aren’t really books I guess).

I started off with a small poetry book from my university’s writing society that I got early this year, then went into the the samplers that I got from Yalc in July (which I talked about a little in this post: https://emlinian.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/july-august-book-wrap-up-september-tbr/).

The first sampler was for Ink by Alice Broadway which I thought was amazing and just had such an interesting concept as it’s based in a world where once somebody dies their skin is stretched out and made into a book about their life based on the tattoos everyone is given for certain events in their life. I would say that this was my favourite sampler and would love to read the full book.

My second one was then Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe which is about a girl going to see her girlfriend for the first time since they met online. It was a really cute story, yet I feel like the teaser was a short story on its own, and so although I liked it I don’t think I’ll pick up the whole book.

Next up was This Raging Light by Estelle Laure which was is about a girl whose parents have left her alone with her younger sister and so she’s trying to look after her sister while pretending that her mum is still there and that everything is okay. It was actually my least favourite sampler, mainly because I felt like it was aimed at a younger audience than me so I couldn’t connect with it so much. I’ve still added it to my to-read shelf on Goodreads though so I may still get around to read the whole book.

I then moved onto Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven which I really liked, and is a dual-perspective novel between a boy and a girl as she starts at his school. I like dual-perspective books and I loved the voice of Jack and the concept of a character who can’t recognise the faces of the people around him just because it’s such a foreign idea to me. Another one that I’d really like to read the whole book for.

Next up was All Fall Down by Ally Carter, the first book in the Embassy Row Series, which I feel like I still can’t describe after reading the sampler but I’ve really enjoyed the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society Series’ and even considered picking up this book before so although the sampler was just fine rather than amazing it is still a book that I want to read and will probably get around to.

The last sampler was a book that contained 2 stories; Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt, and Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly. I started with Unconventional and was a bit disappointed as I’d loved the cover but the story wasn’t what I’d thought that it would be, but it still seemed promising so I’d like to read it and found her other novel The Last Summer of Us on Goodreads which I think sounds even better. Broken Sky is then the first in the series and about a girl on the run which seems like it’ll be really action packed, the same sort of feel as lots of Sophie McKenzie’s books which I love. One that I definitely would like to read the rest of.

I then read Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, which I thought was a sampler but actually just a short story, focused on a girl who goes to wait in a line for a few days before a Star Wars premier. Not being a fan of Star Wars, and having never been to, let alone waiting in line for, a movie premier, I didn’t really get into the book in that aspect, but the general story was okay, just not amazing.

I then finished Beyond the Pleasure Principle by Sigmund Freud which I had already started before the readathon. This was just a book I needed to read for uni, and frankly, I hated it because I always find it hard to follow Freud’s writing and so it was just really tedious to read and I’m going to have to look at some summaries and notes online to check I didn’t miss any important points.

Lastly, I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, which is technically over 200 pages, but not by much so I decided that I was going to count it. I am so glad that I read this book because I had wanted to for ages but never got around to it, then I got the Zoella book bundle which included it and thought that I’d read it for the readathon, and it was seriously one of the best books that I’ve ever read. I want to do a whole post just on this book though so that’ll be up later on.

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I’d love to do the AYearAThon again but it depends, on what the themes are as I’m going to have to read a lot more uni books from now and so will be more restricted on what themes I could do, and I’d rather read the books that I own but haven’t read than spend money on new books to fit with the themes.

July & August Book Wrap Up & September TBR

Book Haul

In July I received copies of Cruel Broken Heart by Emma Haughton and These Shallow Graves from a friend, and then went to Yalc (The Young Adult Literature Convention in London) where I bought:

  • How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss
  • Lies by Michael Grant (pre-signed)
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (pre-signed)
  • The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne (which I got signed)
  • The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood (which I got signed)
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (which I got signed)

Here are a couple photos from Yalc, one of a wall of books, and one from a panel that I went to:

And here are photos of all the books and other things that I got from there:

In August I bought Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and got Beyond the Pleasure Principle by Sigmund Freud as an ebook on the Kindle app.

Reading Wrap Up

In July I read:

  • Binge by Tyler Oakley
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  • The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling.

In August I read:

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
  • We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Here’s a photo of all those books (other than Binge because I read that as an audiobook):

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I really loved all of the books that I read over these 2 months which was amazing, and I don’t think I can really pick a favourite but if I had to maybe Fangirl, just because it was the perfect time to read it around going to Yalc, as it was the book I read on the train there and back, and just fitted so well into how excited I was about it all.

September TBR

I’m going back to uni this September so I need to get through quite a lot of uni books but there’s also some readathons I want to take part in and non-uni books that I want to read.

There’s a YearAThon for books under 200 pages that I think I’m going to use to get through the samplers that I got from Yalc, a small poetry book, We Were Liars by E.Lockhart, and to finish Beyond the Pleasure Principle by Freud (a uni book). Then there’s a Duodecathon at the end of the month where I’d like to do the 1200 pages challenge and the favourite colour on a cover challenge but I’m not sure what books this will be with. One that I want to re-read at some point because I’m using it for my dissertation at uni is Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.

I’ll do wrap up posts for both of those readathons and maybe a couple review posts soon, so see you there 🙂 Comment below if you’ve read any of these books or about what you read in these months!

The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

I won this book in a competition run by Maximumpopbooks (https://twitter.com/maximumpopbooks) and despite not having heard of the book or author before the competition I absolutely loved it.

Also, I just really like the name of the book, it suits the whole story so well, and the cover that I have is just so beautiful!

The setting was really interesting, based on a spaceship that is traveling from Earth to follow some sort of sound beacon coming from a far away planet, and so the characters are all of a generation who were born on the spaceship but are also never going to see the place that the signal is coming from. This was great because of the way that this linked into the mindsets of certain characters and made what I thought was just going to be a love story into something that questions the point of life, relationships, and societal norms.

The ship has a ton of rules and laws, but the one that I’d consider being the main law is that love is banned. In this respect the novel is a lot like Lauren Oliver’s Delirium which I also loved, yet the 2 novels are quite different overall, and something that I felt really set The Loneliness of Distant Beings apart was actually the mindsets of the characters. There are so many points throughout the novel where it all seems helpless and like there is no purpose for the lives of these characters, whereas the books that I normally like tend to be quite optimistic, yet rather than this difference making the book just really bleak, it kept me in suspense the entire time that I was reading.

Then the characters were all so interesting too; the main character, Seren, was really authentic and likeable, even when I didn’t agree with her viewpoints or actions, and Dom was so intriguing as I felt like I was always trying to figure his character out and whether he could be trusted. The whole novel really gave a full view of the characters as flawed, and gave a great insight into their viewpoints on major issues such as their purpose in life, rather than just being hero and villain figures like in other dystopian novels.

Overall I thought this was an amazing book that ended up offering a lot more to think about than I thought it would and has left me wanting to read more by Kate Ling. I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone as it combines a lot of different ideas and themes, kept me on the edge of my seat, and can be seen as both a great plot and something that makes the reader question certain things both within the novel and their own lives.

June Book Wrap Up & July TBR

June Reading Wrap Up

Most of my reading through June was for the Tome Topple Readathon which I posted about here:

https://emlinian.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/tome-topple-readathon-wrap-up-june-2016/

So the only books that I actually finished this month were for that and were:

  • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition) by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean
  • Gone by Michael Grant

I didn’t have time for the Duodecathon this month as well so have had to skip it but will hopefully be able to participate in the next one, and catch up on the challenges later.

June Book Haul

I did however buy a lot of books this month!

First off I bought the Zoella WHSmiths Bookclub Bundle which includes:

  • All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  • Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward
  • Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  • Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Then I got Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings because it was on sale and I love Sasha’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/abookutopia).

Before finally using up all of my audible credits to buy:

  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • The last 4 of the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling
  • Binge by Tyler Oakley

July TBR

So I’m actually writing this in July so have already read Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling, both of which are great and I will talk about them in July’s wrap up if not in separate posts.

I would also like to finish Binge, reread Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and read On the Road.

I haven’t planned out the duodecathon yet so I may have to change or add some books, but this is all that I have planned for this month anyway.

 

In separate news, I’m going to Yalc in London in July (the YA Literature Convention) which I’m really excited about, so there shall probably be quite a few books bought this month too, and I hope anyone else going has a great time as well!!

 

Tome Topple Readathon Wrap Up (June 2016)

I took part in another readathon for 2 weeks, the Tome Topple Readathon which focuses on reading tomes (books over 500 pages) and was really fun. I loved how active their twitter account was and the challenges so would love to do this one again sometime.

Wrap Up

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition) by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean – I had already started this so only read 48 Pages but isn’t a tome anyway, just my book for the graphic novel challenge

Gone by Michael Grant

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Challenges

I completed all of the challenges which is awesome so here’s the list and which of my books counted:

Read more than one tome (500+ pages)  – I ended up reading 3 tomes

Take a graphic novel break (doesn’t need to be over 500 pages!) – For this I read the Batman graphic novel

Read a tome that is part of a series – All 3 of my tomes are actually the first book in their series

Read over 500 pages in one week – I read Lady Midnight in 3 days, The Cuckoo’s Calling in 4 days, and Gone in 4 days so I completed this challenge will all 3 tomes too

Read an adult novel – I read The Cuckoo’s Calling for this one

Links

Here’s the link to the main post for Tome Topple including the YouTube video:

Tome Topple Readathon Sign-Up | Readathon + Giveaway

And here is where I find out about readathons:

http://www.littlebookowl.com/p/read-thon-calendar.html

My next readathon will be the June Duodecathon which I will do a wrap up post for too.