Monday, 3 August 2020

July Wrap Up (2020)

Hey guys, this is Abi here, 
And since we've come to the end of another month, it's time for another wrap up. I'm very happy with how much I was able to read this month (though there's no way I would have been able to read as much as I did with the Reading Rush.) So this one is going to be one heck of a long one! 

I read a total of 10 books this month (which is the most I've ever read, I'd say) and I'm happy to say that even though they weren't all my favourite, most of them I enjoyed. 

1. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3), by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 
Even though this was the first book I read this month, it remains my favourite out of all of them. Such an amazing conclusion to an already fantastic trilogy. Although I wish there were going to be more books in this world, I'm very satisfied with the ending. I can't say a whole lot about the story, because it's the third book in the series, but I can say that a whole load of characters that I like meet, after it seems like a long and intense wait (which I very much enjoyed because there were a lot of other events happening.) 

2. How to Make Friends with the Dark, by Kathleen Glasgow 
How to Make Friends with the Dark is an authentic, heartbreaking, and although it was about a very sensitive subjects, the sweet moments and the hard to read moments were so flawlessly done. Losing your mother isn't something that life prepares you for, but when she's your only family you've ever head, it feels so much worse. Although it was hard to read through some of the scenes in this book, How to Make Friends with the Dark is certainly one that will stick with me for a long time.  

3. Scythe (Arc of A Scythe #1), by Neal Shusterman
4. Thunderhead (Arc of A Scythe #2), by Neal Shusterman 
5. The Toll (Arc of A Scythe #3), by Neal Shusterman 
My opening note- I enjoyed this trilogy a lot less than I was expecting to. I literally had to push myself to get through this most of the time, and when I forgot myself, and actually enjoyed the story, those chapters were few and far between. I think I can safely say that I will never feel the urge to pick this trilogy up again. I'm sure that I will be in the minority with this, because aside from the couple I sought out in Goodreads, the world and it's mother seems to love this trilogy to the moon and back. 

6. Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5), by Seanan McGuire 
Come Tumbling down is the fifth book in the Wayward Children series, and although it wasn't my favourite of the series so far, I did very much enjoy it and I'm kind of sad that I'll now have to wait until the new year for the next book. Once again we return to Eleanor's West Home for Wayward Children and escape to a world that has been visited before. I had high hopes that this would leave me with anticipation for the sixth book, which is out in February 2021, I think, and even though I was a little disappointed, I enjoyed it enough to give it a solid four stars. 

7. Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen 
Out of all the books I chose for the reading rush, Sense and Sensibility was the book I found the hardest to get through. In hindsight, I'm not surprised- it was written in 1811, so the language was what made it difficult to wrap my head around. Aside from that, the print was tiny! But I managed it, in two days, and even though I'm rethinking about whether or not I should try and read more Jane Austen, I'm still intrigued to see why everybody loves these classics. 

8. Dark Blue Rising (The Circle Trilogy #1), by Teri Terry 
Dark Blue Rising is the first book in Teri Terry's new sci-fi series and honestly, right now it's up there with her debut series- Slated- if you've stuck with me you know that Slated is one of my favourite trilogy's that I've read- ever- and I flew through this easily. This is why I stuck it on my reading rush TBR, despite it being the largest of the bunch. Dark Blue Rising starts when Tabby-caught in a car accident is whisked away from her mother-only to find out she's anything but. As more time passes, Tabby's life is full of questions- why was she taken away from her parents in the first place, why is she drawn to the sea? And what does the Circle have to do with all of it? This is such an addictive read, I can't wait until 2021- when I can find out what happens next! 

9. 19 Love Songs, by David Levithan 
19 Love Songs was the perfect book to compliment what else I was reading during the reading rush. It was literally a relief when I didn't want to continue to struggle through Sense and Sensibility, or I needed a break from the intense goings-on in Dark Blue Rising. 19 Love Songs delivered cuteness, fleshed out characters, and compelling plots, in almost every story. I have my favourites within this collection, but that's always the case. One thing I will say is that this certainly won't be my last David Levithan novel. 

10. The Last Children of Tokyo, by Yoko Tawada 
I'm not sure what to make of The Last Children of Tokyo. It wasn't a bad book, but I certainly wouldn't say it deserves more than 3 stars. Although I felt that the setting was explained very well, (The Last Children of Tokyo is set in well, Tokyo, after some huge catastrophe has isolated them from not only the rest of Japan, but the entire world). It centers around a man and his great grandson. What's interesting is that the elderly are living to post 100 years, and it's unlikely Toshiro's grandson is going to make it to adulthood. Although it was interesting to read about these two characters, the story didnt really seem to go anywhere. A nice placeholder, but I doubt I'll be picking this up again. 

1. Ru Paul's All Stars~ Season 2 (Finished)

2. Anne With An E~ Season 3 
I'm one episode into this series, but hopefully I should get stuck in in August.

3. Dragonball Z 
That's right, we're watching this through again! Love getting stuck back in with this series. 

1. Oliver and Company 
This wasn't actually my pick, but Jordan's. Doesn't matter, I'll watch it whenever he wants! This is one of my favourite Disney films, about a cat, called Oliver, and it's based off of the musical. 

-Started training for Boston Half Marathon- which is still going ahead at the moment. 

-Met my friends- social distancing outside- for one of their birthdays. It was nice to do something different. 

Other than that, I worked, read and wrote! 

Okay! I hope you enjoyed that, because that's all I've got! 
I hope you all have a wonderful day, and remember to stay safe! 
I hope you get lots of reading done, and I'll be back with my August TBR soon! 

-Abi xxxx

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Racing to Read Book Tag

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And since I have recently participated in The Reading Rush, I thought I'd do the Racing to Read Book Tag! (Just for the fun of it.) 

Warm Up~ A book that stretches your mind.
Listening to Michelle Obama talk about her life, her childhood, was a time I never knew. It opened my eyes to what it was like 30+ years ago, and I was allowed to get an insight into the world of politics, when Barack and Michelle resided in the White-house. Becoming was the definition of a book that stretched my mind. 

Start line ~ What's a book that you started but never finished?
I don't start many books that I don't finish eventually (like even with Queen of Air and Darkness, which I was reading for three months, I eventually finished.) So I'm going to change it up, and choose a series I didn't finish. 
The Snow Like Ashes trilogy. I remember little to nothing about this series and the reason why I feel no urge to pick this series back up: I bought the first book purely for the cover, and it took me so long to finish it, I lost all interest in the characters, the story, even the world, which was by far the most interesting part of the book. 

Sprint ~ A book you read really quickly?
There are a number of books I've read really quickly- like in one day. But the first one that springs to mind is a book that I read a long time ago:
Boys Don't Cry, by Malorie Blackman

Boys Don't Cry is like every other YA Malorie Blackman book I've read- amazingly written, and I've had to pull my eyes away from the page to get some sleep. But I don't know whether this was a bit easier to get into or what, but I read it in about 3 hours the first time I picked this up. 

Marathon ~ What's your favourite long book?
What counts as a long book? I'm going to say 500 pages. 
I'll say The Final Empire, the first book in the Mistborn trilogy. (It's one of my favourites at least.) I read the Mistborn trilogy just over two years ago, and I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Starsight (paperback edition) so I can devour another Brandon Sanderson book. (It's out 2nd October.) 

Hurdles ~ What's a book that had ups and downs?
Even though I know that this book has a lot of fans, there was a book in a series (that I loved the rest of) that I had some ups and downs in. After an amazing first book, I had high expectations, for this, which never ends well. I did decide to continue on with the rest of the series, but there was just something that didn't sit well with me. That book was One Dark Throne, by Kendare Blake. 

Finish line ~ A book you were proud to finish?
THIS. IT is the largest book I have currently finished, and I was so happy that I managed to complete it. It's a whopping 1166 pages, and it solidified the want to read more Stephen King novels. Since then I've read a couple more Stephen King books, but there are still more that I want to pick up (I'm planning on adding at least two during October this year- so that urge is still going strong.) 

Gold medal ~ Best book you've read during a readathon?
I read this in one sitting- during last year's Reading Rush. Heartstopper is one of my favourite series so far, and I'm so bummed I have to wait until 2021 for the next volume, but I can always re-read this series! I highly recommend this series if you haven't picked it up, it's so cute, I nearly start crying sweets every time I pick up the newest volume. 

Participation ribbon ~ An underrated book you wish got more attention?
Honestly, I have no idea about what to put for this. 
So, I'm looking for recommendations!
What book do you think is underrated! 
Because I'm seeking out the underrated books!

Okay! That's the Racing to Read Book Tag! As always, anyone that wants to do this tag- can! You're all tagged! 

Okay! I hope you have a wonderful night, and I'll see you all soon- with my July Wrap Up (2020)! 

-Abi xxxx

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

A Review on the First Half of the Year

Hey guys, this is Abi here,
And today I will be talking about all the things that I've done so far this year- and everything I want to accomplish in the rest of the year.
This includes series I've finished, TBR jar challenges, series I want to start/finish, and what I'll be focusing on for the remainder of the year.

January-June 2020
1. Series' completed
(I will be including The Illuminae Files, even though I only technically only finished the final book at the start of July- because it counts as a series' completed!)

1. The "This Mortal Coil" trilogy, by Emily Suvada
If you like Teri Terry's books, this trilogy is next in line. I've read the new This Mortal Coil books three years in a row (except This Vicious Cure because that book came out the following January, instead of the September before, like the first two) and I loved every new instalment. This Mortal Coil starts with a virus, which is spread by pigeons, and Catarina, who is lying in wait for her father to return after being taken by the Government. It may be a dystopian novel, but it's also amazing- due to it's crazy and unpredictable chapter endings, which makes you want to keep reading- even if it's 3am and you have to get up in 2 hours. These books are all as good as each-other, none of them are any worse, and they're all wonderful. If you like books about uncontrollable viruses, secrets and DNA- this is the trilogy for you.

2. The "Darker Shade of Magic" trilogy, by V.E. Schwab
I love this trilogy. It totally deserves the hype it's built up over the years. As much as I wish I'd joined the train earlier, as the books were released, I'm glad I was able to read them all at once. My only critique is that I wish there were more books in this world, because I want to read about these characters more! I have to keep hold of the hope that V.E Schwab will release another book with Kell, with Lila, Rhys and everyone else because they I love reading about them. If you haven't read this trilogy yet, please do.

3. "The Call" duology, by Peadar O' Guilin
I read The Call a few years back, and even though I enjoyed it, because it was different to anything I'd ever read before, with the strange description of where the children go when they get "Called" unlikely to survive, it wasn't my favourite book I've ever read. I heard that there was a sequel a few years later, but I didn't feel motivated to pick it up... until I saw it in Waterstones last month, and I decided, why not finish the full story? After reading both of them, I'll say that all in all, it's a decent duology. I liked the direction The Invasion took, I think it added a lot to the first book. If you have a week spare, and you like horror/ magical realism, I recommend this duology. A fast and solid duology.

4. "The Illuminae Files" trilogy, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The Illuminae Files will definitely make my favourites list at the end of the year. There, I said it. I loved everything to do with this trilogy, the characters, the plot, the need I felt to read more, to savour, yet race because something crazy was happening basically every page, and more than any of that- the way it was created- with reports and text messages- was the icing on the cake. The first word I would use to describe this series is explosive. And I'm waiting until next year, but there's no doubt that this will be a series that I'm going to re-read many, many times.

2. Goodreads Reading Challenge
So far I've read a total of 42/60 books (60 is my reading goal), but because of the incredibly successful reading month I had last month (I read 9 books!) I'm now 9 books of ahead of schedule.
So, I guess it's pretty much a given that I'll finish this Goodreads Challenge before December (I always try and finish it with at least a month left.)

3. TBR Jar Challenges Completed
1. The Shades of Magic trilogy, by V.E. Schwab
It was embarrassing how long it took me to get to this series, because the whole of the Booktube community absolutely loves this trilogy. But I loved it, it absolutely deserves the hype. (I do however wish there would be more books because I love the characters so much. Like it's been months since I finished the trilogy, but I still miss them.)

2. Alice Oseman books (Solitaire, Radio Silence & Heartstopper Volume Three)
I finished this challenge back in February/ March I think, and as an answer for how much I loved these books- Loveless is now on my Anticipated Releases post- and my TBR for August. Alice Oseman is now one of my favourite YA contemporary authors.

3. Twin Ambitions, by Mo Farah
Inspired by Paula Radcliffe's autobiography that I read at the end of last year, I decided to include this on my TBR Jar Challenges for 2020. Unfortunately, it's out of print, so I had to listen to the audiobook instead. Surprisingly, although it's not recorded by Mo Farah, it was a very good listen. A solid four stars. Although I haven't read an athlete's autobiography in a few months, I'm still excited to read more at some point.

4. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was the first one I completed out of all of them, and again, it's just as good as everyone says it is. If you're going to give it a try, I highly suggest listening to the audiobook because each character has a different voice actor, and it's just so well done. I can't fault it, hence why I gave it 5 stars.

5. This Vicious Cure (This Mortal Coil #3), by Emily Suvada
I think I put this as a TBR Jar Challenge so I wouldn't let myself skip over it. This Vicious Cure is the third and final novel in the This Mortal Coil trilogy, and it's crazy, and explosive, and it has to do with DNA and tech, and it's absolutely amazing- so you should check it out if you're interested in tech savvy sci-fi novels.

For the Rest of the Year
1. Series' I Want to Start/ Finish
-The Chronicles of Alice duology, by Christina Henry
This is my remaining TBR Jar Challenge and I'm hoping I'll be able to read both in October. I know I'll get to this at some point this year, so I'm looking forward to picking up a book as dark as Alice is. (I've heard it's dark and creepy and I'm living for it.)

-The Nevernight trilogy, by Jay Kristoff
At the moment I'm working through my Series TBR from last year, because somehow I didn't manage to get to any of those series last year, but I think Nevernight will be the next series I reach for, after finishing The Toll this week. I don't know a whole lot about this trilogy, but the hype for Nevernight is huge in the book community, and I've heard it's different to other series'.

- The "Saga", series by Brian K. Vaughan
I don't know why, because it's been years since I first heard about this graphic novel series, but for some reason I've yet to pick even the first volume up yet. But I'm going to, because out of the series' TBR I posted at the start of last year, Saga and Nevernight are the only series left, so I definitely want to get to this by the end of the year.

So those are the three main series that I want to try and get to by the end of the year, but there are certainly a lot more that I want to pick up (which will be on my new series' TBR for 2021!)

2. Standalones That Stand Out
-Loveless, by Alice Oseman
Loveless came out in stores just last week, and it's going smack bang at the top of my TBR for August. I fell in love with Oseman's storytelling with Heartstopper, and my love for her writing has only grown when I picked up Solitaire and Radio Silence. Oseman's stories have so much representation included in her books, if I were to list them, I would be here all night. If you want more detail into what Loveless is about, check out my anticipated releases post from last month.

-Grown, by Tiffany D. Jackson
The same with Loveless, you can check out the in-depth details of what this book is about in my anticipated releases post. But to cut it short, this is about the allegations against R. Kelly. There are a number of trigger warnings: rape, abuse (mental, physical, and emotional), child endangerment, drug use, sexual assault, mental health, suicide, so if any of those are triggers for you, then this might not be the book for you. But ever since I heard about it, I haven't been able to get it out of my head.
Grown is released 15/9/20.

-The Lightness of Hands, by Jeff Garvin
The Lightness of Hands came out in the last couple of months, and even though it's quite a wait to get here, I can't believe I haven't ordered it yet. It's got Bipolar II representative, which I don't think I've seen in a book ever, a road-trip, and a chance to redeem a magic trick that went wrong. I don't know what it is about this book, but I just love the premise. And I know I'll get to this in 2020.

Okay! That took a while, but I definitely had fun writing this!
That's going to be it for now, but I hope you enjoyed reading it!
I do love writing wrap ups and making plans!
Let me know in the comments what your favourite reads have been so far, and what you're looking forward to reading in the remainder of the year!

I hope you have a wonderful day, and I'll see you all soon!

-Abi xxxxx