The Best Books I Read in 2018

the best books I read in 2018

How are there only 2 full days left of the year? It always blows my mind when we reach the end of another year and I think about how quickly the days are passing now that I’m getting older.

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a goal to read 50 books, but unfortunately, I have only read 43 (although I hope to make it 44 by the time Monday comes to an end). I hate that I went through a reading slump for three months because if I hadn’t, I would have been able to smash that goal. However, the 43 (44) books I have read this year were mostly amazing and it was so hard to choose my top 10.

Originally I had wanted to put them in order, but it was too difficult. I put my top 5 in the right spots, and the remaining 5 have no order to them because I couldn’t decide. So, here are my favourite reads for 2018!

1. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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If there is one book that I have talked about the most on my blog and my Twitter page, it is Scythe. I cannot even begin to describe my love for this book and the world that Shusterman created. From the very beginning, I was sucked in and I had to keep knowing more. The concept of there being no disease or wars and that people can only die if gleaned by a scythe was so interesting to me and made me wonder if the world would really be a better place.

There are quite a few plot twists that I didn’t expect and when I reached the end, I knew I had to buy the sequel. This was the easiest 5 stars I have ever given a book and it is one that I will surely read again in the future. You can check out my full review here.

2. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

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I thought it couldn’t get much better than Scythe and I was wrong. Thunderhead took the story to new levels that I didn’t think was even possible. I was on the edge of my seat wanting to turn the pages to find out what would happen. The plot twists were amazing and the character development was incredible.

What I loved the most was finding out more about the Thunderhead and the introduction of new characters who slowly became more important throughout. Even now, thinking about that ending gives me so many mixed emotions; shock, anger, sadness, but most of all excitement. I cannot wait to see how Shusterman will finish off the trilogy. You can check out my review here and if you haven’t read this series, what are you waiting for?

3. The Grisha Verse Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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I was trying to figure out which of these books I enjoyed the most to add to this list and I thought, why not just add all of them? I feel like I was very late to read these books but I am so glad that I did because they are amazing. The world building is some of the best I have ever read. Everything was crystal clear in my mind, with a Russian influence that is clear but not overbearing and the characters were all so interesting.

Alina is one of my favourite main characters and her growth throughout the trilogy was amazing to watch with her growing into her powers. There’s a debate on whether people prefer the Darkling or Mal, but I love them both for different reasons and the ending of this series is one of my favourites! You can see the reviews for Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising by clicking on the links. This is definitely a series I will read again in the future.

4. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this to read and I can’t tell you how much I love this debut novel. I have never read a book so quickly. Once I started, I was hooked with the story of family, loyalty and love. It is about overcoming prejudice and the character development was written beautifully. There is so much emotion in this book and I felt everything that the characters went through, which was a lot.

Some of my favourite parts were the action scenes and that is because they were written so well that I forgot about everything else around me. Sky in the Deep is one of those books you could read multiple times and never get bored, so if you have yet to pick it up, head to your nearest bookstore and give it a read. If you need a little more convincing, you can read my full review here.

5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a review written for this book as it is when I didn’t have a lot of time to blog, but this book was amazing. I had been hearing so many great things about this series, so when the Kindle version went on sale, I had to have it and I devoured it. What I loved was how seamless the dual perspectives were. With some books, it can be jarring to keep switching between voices, but this was written so well. Elias and Laia have such distinct voices and I loved the paths that they took in this first book in the series.

I’ve always been a sucker for books inspired by the Romans, so I knew I was going to like this before I started it. Given that a lot of fantasies are written in the third person, it was really refreshing to read a story told in the first person. I just finished the second book, A Torch Against the Night, which I loved just as much. I advise you to give this series a go if you love action-packed scenes, romance and danger.

6. Vicious by V. E. Schwab

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Vicious is the second book I have read by V. E. Schwab and I am so glad that I bought it because it quickly became one of my favourites. Once again, I was in a reading slump and was struggling to find something to capture my attention until this book came along. It only took me a few days to read and I think that is because the pacing of the book is so quick, especially with the timeline jumping, which is something I wasn’t sure of in the beginning but quickly loved.

There is a sense of urgency when you read it and you just want to get to the end to find out what will happen to Victor and Eli. Their rivalry is one of my favourites, where I could see both sides and why they felt the way they did. They are dark, funny and totally badass, which is one of the reasons why I love this book so much. I already have the sequel, Vengeful, on my shelves to read in 2019. I don’t read many adult books, but this has definitely gotten me into the genre, which is more Sci-Fi than Fantasy in my opinion.

7. Circe by Madeline Miller

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It may seem a little odd to put a book on this list that I haven’t finished yet, but I’m going to do it because I already love it so much. I absolutely adore Greek mythology and devoured so many YA and Adult books based on it when I was younger. It had been years since I came across one until I saw that Circe was on offer for an incredible £0.99 and I remembered how many people had been praising it on Twitter.

Well, I’m already a third of the way through and I only started it yesterday. I am hooked. Everything about this story is so captivating, but the voice is what’s drawn me in. The story-telling is amazing and the story of Circe is so heart-breaking that I feel everything with her. As someone who has at one time or another been an outsider, I can relate to her so much. Circe is actually a goddess that I haven’t heard much about before, which I think is one of the reasons I love it so much. Of course, we see the other famous Gods and Goddesses, but I love learning about the ones I didn’t know of before. I can’t wait to read this book and finish her story.

8. A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas

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2018 was the year I finally read A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin, so it only makes sense that I add them all on here because I loved them. I read all three in the months that I took a hiatus from blogging while I dealt with being made redundant at my job. I absolutely flew through the first book and loved the parallels between Beauty and the Beast. Like most people probably did, I fell in love with Tamlin and swooned at how he cared for Feyre, so you can imagine my surprise at the events that took place in the two sequels. My emotions were all over the place with this series and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The characters were so intriguing and the growth that most of them went through hooked me, especially Feyre. From the beginning to the events of the third book, I watched her grow into this amazing woman who could do anything. I also realised why people like Rhys as a character, although I still held onto the Tamlin from the first book. I won’t lie, it took me a while to get through the second and third book as I was in the middle of a slump, but I enjoyed them. I definitely feel like this is a series I will have to re-read in the future to get all the details.

9. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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If you want to know how much I loved this book, I read it all within a day. I sat down in the morning and I didn’t move anywhere until the late afternoon when I finally shut the book. This collection of stories and fairy tales from the Grisha Verse was the first thing I read from Leigh Bardguo before diving in the Grisha Trilogy that I mentioned above. The writing in it was the most beautiful I had ever read. Everything about it took my breath away and it was one of those books where I held it to my chest when I finished, feeling so grateful I got to read those words.

It’s hard to choose a favourite story when there are six to choose from, each one dark and twisted, but filled with emotion. One of my favourite parts of this book was the illustrations. At the beginning of each story they would start in the corner and as the pages were turned they would keep growing until you reached the full-page image at the end. As an artist, I could appreciate the detail and beauty of each one and how they brought the story to life. If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to, because it is amazing. You can see my full review here.

10. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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There was a lot of hype surrounding this debut novel, which always makes me nervous because sometimes it doesn’t live up to it. However, I didn’t have that problem with Children of Blood and Bone because it was an incredible story and debut novel. I had never read a story based on West African mythology before and I was hooked from the beginning. There is so much detail and action on the pages that I wanted to soak in, but the information never felt like it was overwhelming me, which can sometimes happen with books.

One of the parts I loved the most was the magic system and how intricate it was, as well as being so unique. The adventure that Zelie and the other characters go on is so thrilling, showing how they are growing along the way and discovering new things about themselves. I love this story so much that when a chance came up to meet Tomi Adeyemi, I took it and it was amazing to hear how she came up with the story, as well as her process for writing it. The talk inspired me so much to keep going with my own writing and I will always be thankful for that. If you’d like to see my full review, you can read it here.

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There were so many books that I enjoyed in 2018 that I wish could have been on the list, but I didn’t want it to go on forever. Did you manage to read any of these this year?

Let me know your all-time favourite book for 2018 in the comments below!

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My Christmas Experience for 2018!

Merry Christmas to all my amazing followers, although Christmas is almost over for me as I write this. I hope you’ve all had an amazing day whether you’re religious or not. Personally, I’m an atheist even though my Irish family are Catholic, but Christmas has always been a time to spend it with family, eat delicious food and have a lot of fun!

Which is exactly what we did for Christmas 2018, kicking off the festivities at my mum’s house on Christmas Eve for a buffet and games night, which always gets way too competitive! We also looked through some old photo albums and you can see a very old picture of me below (note: I absolutely loved this outfit, especially the boots). It was so much fun to reminisce and look back on the presents we used to get as kids and laugh at our ridiculous fashion sense.

I feel so lucky to have so many people that love, care and know me so well because I got some great gifts that I can’t wait to use. My dad has been saying for years that my Christmas list needs to be something other than books, so I put down art supplies and that’s exactly what I got. I cannot wait to branch out into different mediums in 2019 instead of sticking with pencils and just look at all those colours!

Of course, I got some great new books, which I will post about in my wrap up for the month, and a controller for the Xbox as my old one broke a while ago, so now I can play with my boyfriend again. Honestly, this is all I could have wanted. It’s harder to buy for people as you get older because when we want or need something, we just buy it ourselves, but this pile of things I love made me so happy.

This year was a little different for Christmas day as it was the first time that my boyfriend and I would be having it on our own in our house. Over the years we have spent it with my mum, with his family and with my dad in Ireland, but we got to do it ourselves and it was so much fun. I’ve done big meals before, so I wasn’t too stressed and everything ended up being timed perfectly for dinner, which was three courses. Unfortunately, I ended up doing too much food for the main course, but it was so delicious I wish I could have it again!

Then we proceeded to watch Ant-man and the Wasp, before walking a few streets away to my aunty’s house where my mum, uncle and some cousins were drinking away. The best part of Christmas is always spending time with family and laughing, and while I wasn’t in Ireland to celebrate, I spoke to everyone on the phone/face timed them (which is a lot of people considering I have 8 auntys and uncles, and two sets of them have two kids each, as well as my granny and grandad).

Now, I am sitting on the couch, feeling so grateful that my year is going to end on a high note because I know the next 6 days will be amazing (even if I have to work for some of them but it’s fine cause I work from home).

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I hope all of you ate some tasty food, got the gifts you were wishing for and enjoy everything that Christmas is! Although, I don’t think I’m quite ready to pack my tree up just yet because I love it too much!!

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Books That Disappointed Me in 2018

Books That Disappointed Me in 2018

I’m getting terrible at this blogging thing but my reason is that I had a migraine for a week and I just about managed to do my regular work, let alone any blogging or writing for myself. Luckily it finally came to an end and I am ready to start doing my 2018 round-up blog posts!

I thought I’d start off with the hardest one for me to write, which is the books that disappointed me in 2018. It’s hard because I don’t want to dislike a book. I always pick one up in the hopes that I fall in love with the characters and the world, but these ones missed the mark for me. However, just because I didn’t like them, doesn’t mean that you didn’t.

If I’ve learnt anything this year it’s that everyone has an opinion, whether it’s good or bad, and we have to accept it. You’ll never see me tagging an author in a bad review on social because that’s just mean and I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me.

So, with that in mind, these are the books that I didn’t enjoy reading as much as I would have liked…

1. Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

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I’m going to start by saying that I like these two authors as people and I often watch Sasha’s YouTube channel. When I heard about their book I was hesitant because I don’t really read sci-fi books. I thought it didn’t like them (which isn’t true because I loved Scythe and Thunderhead) but I did not enjoy Zenith.

I gave it a good go by reading half of it, but I found it boring. I didn’t get why people were raving about it, especially the characters. They were supposed to be these badass girls who killed with no mercy and stole from others, but they couldn’t have been further from it. They were literally telling one another not to swear…but they have no problem attacking people? It didn’t make sense and the world building wasn’t good in my opinion.

It felt like things were just chucked into the story to make it seem like they have this fully developed world, but in reality, it was just confusing when it wasn’t explained and some of it just wasn’t needed. My other issue was to do with how the book read and I think this is because it was written by two authors. It just felt like the flow wasn’t there and you could tell when certain sections were written by one and some by the other, but that’s just how I felt.

I kept this on my ‘reading’ section on Goodreads for months, thinking that I would end up reading it again, but it’s a no from me. Of course, other people love this book. These are just my views, but it’s definitely made me not want to read their books in the future.

2. Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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This physically hurts me to add this book to this list because I wanted to love it so much! There was so much hype and I think that was part of the problem. My expectations were so high that once I’d read the first half, my heart sank. I read 250 pages before I realised I wasn’t enjoying it, which should have been evident in that it was taking me weeks to read.

The simple fact is that I just didn’t care. The characters were supposed to be these badass women and they didn’t really come across that way. I couldn’t connect to them, which was my main issue and I think that is because of their personalities. They just seemed bratty in a way. The second was that the two main characters whose POVs the story is told from were so similar that it was hard to differentiate between them. Then there was the fact that the constant switching between POV was so jarring I kept getting pulled from the story.

When it comes to worldbuilding, there were certain aspects I liked and then there were others that I disliked. The magic system was cool, but the history of the world was so confusing that I still don’t know what was going on. I wanted to love this so bad (and it had a gorgeous cover) but it didn’t do it for me and I don’t think I’ll be giving it another go in the future.

3. Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

36502054I actually liked Sea Witch, but my issue was that I was expecting more. The problem I had was that I felt the pacing was slow, which made it seem like I was taking forever to read it and I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

The last quarter of the book was incredible, but it took too long to get to a point where I was invested, especially in the characters. I did read this as an ARC so I’m not sure if anything changed much with the formatting, but I just felt it read awkwardly at times. That is the main reason why this book is on my list, but I did give it 3 stars overall, which you can read about here in my review.

4. The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

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I was actually given this book to read as an ARC because I thought the premise sounded so unique and I’d never really read a book before that was based on Jewish Mythology. I started off enjoying the book and the direction it was heading in, but I got lost along the way.

I’m pretty sure it was to do with the format of the chapters. One of the siblings was written normally and the other was written in the style of a poem and it kept throwing me. This was also when I was going through a rough reading slump, which could have affected the way I read this book. I did DNF it, but I might come back to it one day as I would like to know how it ends. I just think I have to be in the right mindset for it.

5. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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The Hazel Wood is my final pick to go on this list and the reason for that is I expected something different than what I got. I thought the majority of this story would be about dark fairytales and creepy forests, but almost half of it was spent in the city and travelling on the road. I wanted more of the fantasy elements, but instead, it felt very contemporary for the first half.

I liked the book and ended up giving it 3 stars in the end, but it wasn’t what I expected. My other issue was the main character, Alice, who I just couldn’t connect with because she was a bit rude and unlikable at times. Overall, it was a good book and if you want to know more, you can read my thoughts in my review here.

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I’m really glad that this list isn’t any longer than it is and that three of them were books that I DNF. Like I mentioned in my earlier blog post, ‘Why I’m No Longer Afraid to DNF A Book‘ I don’t see a problem with not finishing a book you aren’t enjoying. After all, there are so many books being released all the time, I’d rather spend my time reading those instead.

Are there any books that disappointed you this year? Let me know in the comments below!

November Book Haul!

Considering I haven’t been blogging regularly for a few months, I’m a little behind on my book hauls as I bought quite a few books in that time. However, it’s too many to go through in a single blog post, so I thought I’d go back to the regular post format of only including the ones from the month before.

It was a relatively quiet month for book buying, mainly because I’m saving up for all the amazing ones coming out next year. I also gave a list to my dad that have the ones I might want for Christmas, so I can’t buy too many.

There were no physical books that I bought in the month of November, but I did buy A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir on my Kindle. I’m currently almost 60% of the way through and I am loving it! If I didn’t have to work, I would have probably already finished it. Plus, that new UK cover looks amazing, I love it!

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I’m hoping I can finish this before the weekend because I have a little TBR I want to get through during the month of December. While that was the only book I bought (for an incredible £0.99!!) I did get approved to read two 2019 releases on NetGalley and I am so excited for them. They are…

The Girl King by Mimi Yu and Descendant of the Crane by Joan He. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to be approved to read either of these because so many people have been talking about them, but I’m so glad I was. These are definitely on my TBR for this month, along with a couple other past ARCs that I never got a chance to read.

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That is all for this book haul! I hope you had a great haul for the month of November and fingers crossed we all get brand new books for Christmas!

Why I’m No Longer Afraid to DNF A Book

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I love reading books because it has always provided me with an escape and I always go into one hoping that I will love it. However, that’s not always the case.

Up until recently, I have always tried my hardest to finish a book, even if I wish I could put it down unfinished. Whenever I wanted to do that, I felt guilty and I was never really sure why. I wanted to support the author, especially if I enjoy the content they put out on social media, but sometimes you just can’t click with a book. Sometimes it’s the writing style, the world building or the characters that don’t capture your attention. More than anything else, I just feel disappointed that I can’t enjoy it, especially when there are others that love it.

I’ve recently come to the realisation that I am completely okay with DNFing a book and the reason why is that life is too short to read or do something you don’t like.

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By sticking with a book I don’t enjoy, I find that my reading pace is slowed until I’m not even finishing a chapter a day, I put off picking the book up, and it puts me in a reading slump. Like most book bloggers, I have a massive TBR that only seems to keep growing with all the new books coming out, which sound amazing! I don’t want to waste my time anymore on books that aren’t for me.

Nobody ever enjoys the same book, which is something I’m learning. I bought a book I was dying to read because the reviews were incredible and everyone was saying it was the best YA Fantasy of this year. I couldn’t get halfway through it. The chapters were confusing, the world building was all over the place and the characters were just boring. I didn’t care about it and that was when I promised myself I would never feel guilty about DNFing a book again. And I won’t just be applying that to the books I buy myself, it will be to the ones given to me as ARCs as well. I have a couple of reviews to write on the books I DNFd to explain why I didn’t enjoy them, but it doesn’t mean you won’t like them. We all have different tastes and interests, so of course not every book will be loved by everyone.

Reading books I didn’t enjoy was the reason I fell into a reading slump that lasted three months and now it means I won’t reach my Goodreads goal. Forcing myself to read a book I don’t like doesn’t benefit anyone, so if you’re feeling like you need to read that book you’re not enjoying, I’m here to say it’s okay to stop. Move onto something else that could completely blow you away and become your brand new favourite. Life is to short to read books you don’t like. I just wish I’d realised that a lot sooner.

Ready for Christmas!

My favourite time of year has finally arrived and I am feeling very festive. It’s going to be a hectic month with work, but I am already looking forward to curling up on the sofa with a good book and watch the lights on the Christmas tree sparkle. Although, if I’m honest, I’m looking forward to Christmas dinner the most and there’s a special reason for that. This year is the first one where I’ll be spending it with just my boyfriend and we’ll be cooking our own dinner.

For the last four years, we’ve been switching between my mum’s house, his parents and my dad in Ireland, but since we have our own place this year, we get to try our hand at cooking the turkey. In fact, I’m way ahead of myself and I’ve already got my shopping booked to be delivered in the 24th, so everything is fresh on the big day.

I also thought I’d show you all my Christmas tree, which you might have seen if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram. It’s the first one that I’ve bought and decorated myself, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. My theme for this year was ‘Frosty Ice Princess’ which matches the main character of my book perfectly, considering she can wield the ice.

 

I get such a warm feeling inside when I see it, although I know my family thinks I’m boring for sticking to a theme compared to their tree, which is full of colour! For my first tree, I’m calling this a success. We’ve also just bought the first chocolate boxes of the year and we *might* have already had a couple.

Hopefully, you’re all looking forward to the festive season and getting ready to read some more books to try and reach your Goodreads goal (unless you’ve reached them already that is). I’ve come to the conclusion I won’t as I’ve only read 40 out of 50, but I’m still happy with that. Here’s to trying to squeeze a few more in before 2019 begins!!

 

Why I Was On Hiatus

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will have noticed I’ve been pretty absent for the last few months and I wish that hadn’t been the case. Especially because I have almost 400 followers (wow) and I want to put out quality content.

The problem is that I’ve been so stressed the last few months with new clients for my freelance writing, working on my own novel and doing art commissions that I haven’t had the time. And when I do have the time, I just want to watch TV and switch off for a while. Not the most glamorous, but it is what it is. I’m going to do a more in-depth post in the near future where I discuss my freelance career and how it’s working out for me so far (spoiler: it’s touch and go but slowly getting there)

Another reason why I haven’t been blogging is that I’ve been in a reading slump. A really bad one.

I don’t know what it is, but hardly any books have caught my attention. I even DNFd two books that I thought I would like, and one of them really disappointed me. I might do a post on those instead of full reviews to explain why because I’m not the only person that had issues with it. I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve loved in the last few months and those were Vicious by V. E. Schwab and A Court of Mist and Fury (as well as the third but it wasn’t as good in my opinion). Although, I started A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir yesterday and I am hooked! It also helps that it was only £0.99 on the kindle, so I couldn’t resist. It’s been ages since I felt like this and I’m so happy. Hence why I feel it’s time to get back into my blogging.

It’s has also made me think about what I want on my blog in terms of content. I know most of you follow me for my reviews and posts on books, but I want to incorporate other aspects of my life too. I want to talk about my own writing, tips and tricks for other people that want to be a freelancer and also show off my artwork. In the new year I want to create more art so I can one day set up a shop and sell prints, as well as taking on commissions.

In fact, I’ll put some of my drawings up so you can all see and if you’re interested at all in a commission you can drop me a comment on this post! I don’t have any Christmas slots but will be opening up for commissions in the new year.

The last few months haven’t been easy, but I’m going to make an effort to keep up with the blog and share my life with you all! It feels good to be back again.

5 Books I’m Most Excited For This Autumn

Autumn, my favourite time of the year! It is perfect for wrapping up with a blanket, a hot cup of coffee on the side and brand news books on my shelves, because there are quite a few new ones that I am looking forward to.

The last three months haven’t been great for my blog or my reading, mainly because things have been so hectic with my freelance work. However, I am finally starting to get into a routine and I want to get back to blogging again. I can’t promise there will be posts on certain days but I will be reading a lot more than I have been (because I’ve been averaging a book a month when I used to read one in 4/5 days). I have to thank Vicious by V. E. Schwab for pulling me out of my three-month long reading slump because I read that book within 4 days and it was incredible! You can expect to see a review on that very soon.

So, the books I am excited to read this Autumn are…

1. Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

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After falling in love with the first one, how could I not want to read the second one? While I may not have it in my possession yet, I will be ordering it when I get paid next week. I’ve only heard great things and some people are saying it is even better than the first! There is something about Schwab’s writing that makes her books perfect to read at this time of year. I definitely got X-Men vibes from the first book, so if you are a fan of the franchise you should check out Vicious.

2. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

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This set of books is one of my favourite darker YA series and I cannot wait to get my hands on the third instalment. While I pre-ordered it back in July I unfortunately have to wait until the end of October to have it as I ordered it with another pre-order that isn’t out until then and I chose to bundle them together to save money on shipping. Either way, people are already loving this book and I can’t wait to see new parts of this dark world that Blake has created.

3. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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In preparation for the final book in the series, I will be reading Tower of Dawn this month and hopefully finishing it before Kingdom of Ash is released. I’ve been having issues with regards to her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, because it took me forever to read the second book and I am still trying to finish the third one. However, I am hoping that Tower of Dawn will be different and can get me excited to see how this series will end.

4. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

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Can I just comment on how beautiful this cover is in the white version because wow…it is my favourite! After the ending of Empire of Storms I couldn’t wait until this book was released because of that cliffhanger. This will be a huge book with 992 pages (lord help me) but I am sure it will be worth it and give the series a satisfying end and hopefully it won’t make me cry. I have no idea what to expect, but I can’t wait to read it!

5. Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

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Again, another book that I don’t actually own yet but I intend on buying it when I purchase Vengeful. I absolutely loved Nevernight because it was unlike anything I’d ever read before and completely captured my attention (and you can check out my review here). Plus, it is dark and moody which is perfect for Autumn when the nights are getting darker and everything is spookier, especially around Halloween. I’ve seen a lot of people say they were upset at the ending, which makes me even more excited to read it and find out what will happen to the characters.

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These are all the books that I hope to get to this Autumn, which gives me until the end of November to read them all. Fingers crossed I can do it! What book are you looking forward to reading the most this month?

Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

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Title: Sea Witch

Author: Sarah Henning

Publisher: Harper Collins UK

Date: 31st July 2018

I would like to start this review off by saying thank you to Harper Collins for giving me a chance to review this book on NetGalley. As soon as I heard about the synopsis for Sea Witch I instantly thought it could be something I would enjoy. I love the Little Mermaid and books that are loosely based on fairy tales are very in at the moment, but this was different. Instead of focusing on Ariel, it would be the character that would become Ursula in the Little Mermaid, but with a twist.

Evie was always the outcast, which was made worse when her best friend Anna died four years ago in a tragic accident. But Evie has a secret and when she meets Annemette, who bears a striking resemblance to her friend that drowned, Evie realises she must keep more secrets from her friend Nik, the prince. Annemette cannot stay on land for long, having cast a spell to change her fin into legs that will last four days, until she can find true love with the prince. Evie will do anything to help her new friend, even if it means harnessing her magic and risking it all.

It took me a little while to read this book and I think it’s because I was going through a reading slump, which might have affected my views on this book. I really liked certain aspects of this book, especially the setting which takes its inspiration from Copenhagen and places like that. There is even a place mentioned in the book that is real, which I thought was really cool. However, this is a very slow book until you get to the last quarter and I think that is why I struggled.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters, especially the main character Evie as it is her point of view we see from. I really wanted to love this book, but it fell a little short for me. With the premise of witches having been hunted in the past and having to hide in secret, I expected more magic and for it to be darker. Unfortunately, not a lot happens in the first two thirds apart from characters having conversations and going to parties.

However, while I had mixed feelings about Evie, I really enjoyed the scenes with Nik in them because he was sweet and charming. Exactly the kind of Prince we need in a story and it was interesting to read his interactions with both Evie and Annemette. You always get the feeling that there is something off with Annemette and as the story unravels we learn more about her, which was quite the shock later on. I love a good plot twist in a story and this had plenty!

I won’t lie, I almost stopped reading this book twice, but as it was an ARC I persevered and was rewarded with the last quarter of the book. I would actually say that the wait is worth it because it was fast paced, intriguing and there was so much going on. I was actually shocked at some of the revelations and I felt that it had the perfect ending with the epilogue.

If you are thinking about picking up Sea Witch, then you need to know that it is quite slow and not a lot of action/magic happens for the majority of the book. If you are okay with that then give this a go because the ending is worth it. I struggled trying to come up with a rating for this but I think a solid 3 stars works well.

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Let’s Catch Up…

So, if you’ve been following my blog for a while now you may have noticed that for the majority of July I was pretty absent. The last blog post I sent out was the 11th, and while I wished I had the motivation to blog…I just didn’t. I’m writing this post to explain a couple of the reasons why I disappeared and how I’m going to try my best to make this blog what it used to be. If not better.

July was a really tough month for me and a lot happened in such a short space of time that I lost a lot of motivation, not just with my blog, but also with my writing (which you all know is something I love). In the first half of the month I was ill twice, which really zapped it out of me, and towards the second half I had some personal issues to deal with, as well as being made redundant. That last one was the hardest to deal with as it happened suddenly and I didn’t have a lot of time to adjust.

Luckily, I had an amazing manager who helped me make my CV and cover letter the best it could be and I managed to get 3 interviews before my notice period was even over. I also have another one to go to this week and I’m waiting to hear back from two on whether I am being offered the job. It’s been so stressful because I’m not living at home anymore and there are a lot of bills to pay, so ideally I need someone to offer me a job this week. Somehow I’m managing to hold it together, but while all this has happened I let all my hobbies slide to the side.

I only read two books throughout the whole month, which is very unlike me and I am behind on reviewing 5 books (which probably won’t get reviewed now but I might do mini ones instead). The books I read (and that I absolutely loved) were:

However, I managed to work on my drawings as well, as I am hoping to open up a website and take commissions soon. So, if any of you are interested in that be sure to drop me a message! Here are the two pieces I worked on, one of which is completed and I gave to my mum for her 50th birthday (she cried):

In terms of my writing, it started off really well in the month and my WIP currently stands at 50,000 words. It is the story of my heart and is so special to me in so many ways. I adore the characters that I have created and I genuinely feel proud of the story, which is something I have never felt before. Then everything went bad and I stalled once I’d reached the major conflict in the novel. However, I started re-reading my work that I’ve written so far to make notes for each chapter (because I have a brain like a sieve) and it’s given me so many ideas to progress the story.

One amazing thing that came out of July is that I found myself an incredible critique partner (CP) called Noelle, and honestly, she is amazing (it just sucks that she lives in Florida). Working through my first five chapters with her has made them 100 times better and she pushes me to work harder because she knows I can do better sometimes. It’s also been incredible to get another persons viewpoint on my story and to hear that it’s amazing and has so much potential is the best thing ever. My confidence as a writer has grown and I truly believe that I could one day publish this book.

I suppose another great thing that happened recently was that I met Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Bone! I won’t talk about that too much as I want to write a blog post on the experience but it was amazing! I’ll just show off one picture of the book that she signed for me and the motivational words she wrote.

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There we have it! Everything that has happened over the last month or so. I just wanted to get all this off my chest and explain to you why I was gone, especially when I didn’t post that I was taking a hiatus. Also, seeing the fact that I have over 350 followers is giving me the motivation to bring you quality content. No, it may not always be book tags and book reviews, there might be the odd post thrown in about my art, my writing and how life is going in general, but that’s what I want this blog to be about.

A great way to also keep up with me is on Twitter (over here) because I am very active there and it’s the perfect place to keep up with my writing and see weekly snippets.

I can’t wait to dive back in the blogging world and catch up with all that I’ve missed!