Wrap-Ups

HUGE January Wrap-Up! [2019]

Well, what a reading month January was for me! I managed to read a staggering 15 books, thanks to Biannual Bibliothon and Buzzword Readathon in the middle of the month where I had a few days off work and was able to just REEEEAAADDD! I also checked off my monthly goals of reading one classic per month and one non-fiction book per month, so starting 2019 off strong! Yay!

 

monthly wrap up

 

 

dumplin’ – julie murphy 18304322

format: Kindle

length: 371 pages

Goodreads

The first book I read this year was unfortunately a stinker. The main character basically rubbed me the wrong way and didn’t like her personality or how she treated other people. In my eyes, this was not the ‘body positivity’ book I was expecting. Instead it felt like a temper tantrum from an overweight person. In particular, I found it quite unhealthy when body types try and push down other body types just so they can feel better about themselves. Willowdean entered the pageant with the objective to humiliate her mother and her career, which felt really immature and unnecessary to me. I guess Willowdean was meant to be unlikeable, but to me she was so bad that it could not be redeemed. I did post a full-page rant review here if your interested.

1.5 stars


 

 

25526296every heart a doorway – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 170 pages

Goodreads

After the first book, I needed to pick myself back up by re-reading a good book. I forgot how much I loved this book! I just click with this story! We follow children at a boarding school, and not just any boarding school, one for kids who have gone through doors to ‘otherworlds’ and have been sent back to reality and are struggling to adapt back. I love how much there is so much packed inside this tiny book, very much like a Mary Poppins bag! I enjoyed the characters and the world building. I just love the potential this series has! So many worlds that can be explored!

4.5 stars!


 

 

25493853the bear and the nightingale – katherine arden

format: hardback

length: 328 pages

Goodreads

Oh blimey. Everything about this I loved! It was so magical, mystical and lyrical. I absolutely adored the gorgeous atmosphere and winter setting, and the characters are beautiful to read about. I really enjoyed following Vasilisa as she grew up, seeing the spirits and also being so headstrong and (not) doing what she believed. Her relationship with her family and the spirits was incredibly developed and I could not get enough of the different spirits and folklore that was incorporated into the story. The story built so beautifully and I did not find it slow at all. I honestly cannot wait for the sequel when it arrives!

5 stars!!


 

 

464164harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban – j.k. rowling

format: paperback/audiobook

length: 317 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

5 stars!!


 

 

37569318empress of all seasons – emiko jean

format: Kindle

length: 389 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

3.5 stars


 

 

43305952fire and heist – sarah beth durst

format: hardback

length: 304 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

3 stars


 

 

36146483every last lie – mary kubica

format: Kindle

length: 384 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Buzzword Readathon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

2.75 stars


 

 

36385827last time i lied – riley sager

format: Kindle/audiobook

length: 368 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Buzzword Readathon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4 stars!


 

 

31931941eliza and her monsters – francesca zappia

format: Kindle

length: 385 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4.5 stars!


 

 

13455462the alchemist – paulo coelho

format: paperback

length: 177 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4 stars!


 

 

31450908down among the sticks and bones – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 187 pages

Goodreads

This was another re-read in order to continue the series, and I loved it just as much as the first time! I was always intrigued by Jack and Jill’s backstory and that was precisely what this was. I loved how Seanan McGuires main focus was how each of their childhoods have impacted how they are now. The Moors were so atmospheric and spooky, and again I do not know how she fits so much into a tiny book! The characters they encounter were all very intriguing.

5 stars!!


 

 

36114409the language of kindness – christie watson

format: hardback

length: 322 pages

Goodreads

I wrote a full-page review which will be linked here, but for the sake of the wrap-up, I’ll try and summarise! I absolutely loved this and it’s such an important book regarding the healthcare system in the UK. We follow the author as she starts off training as a nurse and throughout her career in different wards of the hospital. It was incredibly informative but delivered with a sense of empathy and kindness, everything was truly heartfelt and genuine. It showed the true sense of a hospital and how it has grown, in a good way and a bad way. It was heavily emphasised that the healthcare system in the UK is in crisis and staff have to work incredibly long hours for not much pay. I loved this!

5 stars!!


 

 

27366528beneath the sugar sky – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 174 pages

Goodreads

This book sparked my re-read of the series, because I really wanted to catch-up before the next instalment ‘In An Absent Dream’ is released. I really loved this one, just not as much as the other two. We see the land of Confection and also have a lot of the characters from book one re-enter the story which was a great surprise! We see further development in them and see where they end up and it was beautiful. The story was so whimsical and full of nonsense. I thought the world-building was really well done, as well as the contrast between characters from nonsense and others from logic, those interactions were very entertaining!

4 stars!


 

 

9279177the lover’s dictionary – david levithan

format: Kindle

length: 211 pages

Goodreads

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite as unique as this. It is told in dictionary entries from A-Z, and highlighting a brief and personal insight into a relationship. It was beautifully written and truly an innovative way to relay the insecurities, emotional highs and fluctuating lows of a relationship. It is a great piece of poetry and felt so honest and genuine, and a lot of the entries can be relatable to other people’s own relationships. Such a huge fan of everything I have read from this author and I am definitely going to read as much of his work as possible!

4 stars!


 

 

26240663seven ways we lie – riley redgate

format: paperback

length: 343 pages

Goodreads

I wasn’t too sure how to rate this, this had amazing representation and a great cast of characters, but I didn’t find myself massively attached to the plot and I felt disconnected to a lot that was going on. It was amazing reading from seven distinct characters and knowing there are different characters, but also I was able to find myself within each and relate to some of the personal issues the characters were going through. I definitely related to Kat the most, and understood her character more within the second half. My favourite was definitely Matt, and I didn’t really like Claire (definitely not after what she did to Lucas). The massive representation doesn’t automatic make it a great book, but I still enjoyed myself.

3.5 stars


 

 

So there is my very long wrap-up (if you made it this far, you deserve a tasty treat!) which could not have been a better start to the month, I read a lot but also enjoyed a lot.

 

How many books did I read off my official TBR? Let’s see!

TBR books:

The Bear and The Nightingale – Katherine Arden

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesca Zappia

Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sagar

Daisy Miller & The Turning of the Shrew – Henry James

The Lie Tree – Frances Hodgsen

= 6/8 TBR books!


 

So what did you guys read in January? Got your 2019 goals off to a good start? Any new favourites? Have you also read any of these and if so, what did you think of them? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

 

 

Wrap-Ups

My Best Books of 2018

Alas, this is the forth and final part of my books of the year, where I discussed my worst, most disappointing, most surprising, and best books I read in 2018! I love doing this every year as it allows me to reflect on all the books that I read in the year. All of these books are my absolute favourites of the year, so obviously I gave them all 5 stars. Enjoy!

 

 

2373188112/ Very Good Lives – J. K. Rowling

Published: 2015

Goodreads

NON-FICTION, ESSAYS, SELF-HELP

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.” What an inspirational speech, and I loved the illustrations that came along with the words. This was the speech that J. K. Rowling gave to Harvard graduates one year. Overall it’s such a beautiful book, inside and out! I now have this book on my bedside table, and I will pick it up and read through it whenever I need a touch of uplifting. It’s only 74 pages so there’s not much else to talk about, I just loved it!

 

11/ Love Her Wild – Atticus 33208115

Published: 2017

Goodreads

NON-FICTION, POETRY, ROMANCE, CONTEMPORARY

My goodness. I can’t even pick one line for this review, I loved so many of the works within this book! I won’t call them poems as such, because some of them are only a few lines long. But that doesn’t devour from the actual quality of these pieces… they all gave a punch! It was separated into three categories: ‘Love’ ‘Her’ and ‘Wild’, and I think ‘Her’ was my favourite section. They were not all about love and relationships, there was also pieces about mental health, youth, life, etc. I had tabbed so many pages, something I haven’t done to a poetry collection in ages! It really got me back into loving poetry. I also thought the photography that went along with the pieces fitted well and were also visually stunning alongside the works.

 

 

10/ Highly Illogical Behaviour – John Corey Whaley29231988

Published: 2016

Goodreads

YA, CONTEMPORARY, LGBT, MENTAL HEALTH

This book was amazing! Solomon has panic disorder and agoraphobia, and Lisa befriends Solomon as a ‘project’ for her scholarship, and don’t worry, that problematic theme is addressed so heavily! It is addressed that mental health is not something that can be ‘cured’ by confidence or positive thinking, and that someone is much more than just a label of ‘mental illness’. Solomon is someone much more than that, that he is a sweet kid with a nerdy side and great sense of humour and not just ‘the one with a mental illness’ and that’s such a positive message in this book! Clark, Lisa’s boyfriend, develops a close friendship with Solomon. It was beautiful to see their friendship develop and Solomon appearing more comfortable. Solomon’s family are brilliant and funny and so likeable. I was able to connect with the characters and loved watching them develop, I wish I can just continue reading about them forever! Everyone was so supportive towards Solomon towards his growth and development. A great representation for mental health and LGBT!

 

 

9/ The Female of the Species – Mindy McGinnis 25812109

Published: 2016

Goodreads

YA, CONTEMPORARY, MYSTERY, THRILLER

I knew this one was going to be heavy but I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. People have been praising this book and saying it was important, and they weren’t lying! This book takes a hard look at rape culture and human nature. It’s brutally honest and unapologetic. I am still finding myself thinking about this book and probably will do for a long time. I found Alex’s character extremely fascinating and I loved her for how she stood up for what she believes in and doesn’t care what others think. The friendship that develops was incredible, and we saw so many women standing up for other women and I was all here for! It really did shed a light on what rape culture is like and casual sexism occurs in schools. So important! That ending though… it broke me!

 

 

8/ Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes35710320

Published: 1966

Goodreads

CLASSIC, SCIENCE FICTION

One of my favourite classics ever. It covers so many questions and topics which are just as important today as they were when the book was first published in the sixties. A man with a low IQ gets invited to participate into a scientific experiment to increase intelligence. The way the book was written was ingenious; in the beginning his writing and vocabulary is very basic and simple, and also full with grammatical and spelling mistakes, and as he goes through the experiment, we slowly see his intelligence develop more advanced. But we also see how one can be intelligent but very unhappy; at first all he very wanted was to be ‘smart’, and then he is plagued with thoughts, especially the realisations of how he was poorly treated as a ‘retard’ and now very well-liked and respected, how many now want to know him just because of his experiment and new-found intelligence. I just thought this was incredibly thought-provoking and shows an important message that being the smartest is not all that matters.

 

 

 

7/ The Sleeper and The Spindle – Neil Gaiman23301545

Published: 2014

Goodreads

YA, FANTASY, SHORT STORIES, RETELLING, FAIRYTALES

I devoured this within half an hour, and I loved every second, wishing the novella had another 400 pages after it. Neil Gaiman just has a way with words, he’s like a wizard of literature. He was able to blend together two of my favourite fairy tales (Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White), and also add his own whimsical, dark twist on a brilliant story. The Queen took a feminist lead, and took matters into her own hands, and the Sleeper was not a typical girl ‘waiting for her prince to come’. The story flowed in such a way it felt like it came straight from the collections of Grimms Brothers or Hans Christian Anderson, but with a modern twist and dark atmosphere. And the illustrations were absolutely captivating. They truly added to the story, the black and white illustrations, along with a hint of gold lining. It really is a beautiful book, inside and out.

 

 

337843736/ Hunting Prince Dracula – Kerri Maniscalco

Published: 2017

Goodreads

YA, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERY

I really enjoyed the first instalment of this series so naturally it took me a bit of time to get to this one because I kept putting it off. But I loved it so so much! Much more than the first one! The gore, the mystery, the romance… it was all bigger and better. I had no idea what the twist was and I was completely engrossed! I loved the new characters, and the development between Thomas and Audrey was beautiful. It was refreshing to see Thomas trying his best to be supportive towards Audrey as she tried to recover from the trauma that happened at the end of book one, I found it so sweet, and even though he made mistakes, it really added to his overall character. Again, Audrey is still my favourites. We saw a vulnerable, weakened side of her, yet she was still so determined to overcome her trauma and the sexism from the Headmaster (who was detestable I might add). It was eery and atmospheric when they were exploring the grounds and the castle. I can’t wait to jump into the third book!

 

 

5/ Scarlet – Marissa Meyer 13602234

Published: 2013

Goodreads

YA, FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION, ROMANCE

This story had me from the very start, we have a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in France. Not only was it interesting the whole way through but the way Cinder and Scarlet’s stories weaved together in the end was faultless. Each character is uniquely their own and really fun to get to know, and both the female protagonists were strong, smart women that made educated decisions. And it was one of the rare situations where I loved the build-up and tension between the main romantic plot. Even though Cinder and Kai move to side characters they continue to develop well! We see Kai as emperor and how he handles it wonderfully, and Cinder still on the run and trying to figure out what to do in every new problem she came across, and also learning to control her newly discovered powers. And she does it all without a ridiculous amount of whining. Things were wrapped up beautifully and yet we were still left on the edge, and things have been left well for the continuation.

 

 

4/ Down Among The Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire 31450908

Published: 2017

Goodreads

YA, RETELLING, FANTASY, HORROR

The writing in this series is too, too stunning. I was wanting a backstory for Jack and Jill as I found them very intriguing in book one, and I got what I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with the result! This story was perfect. Creepy, dark, and filled with tension! I’m a sucker for dark fairytales, and these books definitely fit that bill. I thought the story was told excellently– I was so glad to spend more time with the twins, I loved the focus on their upbringing and how that informed the choices they made in the Moors and also in the first book. Reading these books makes my heart ache in the most peculiar, odd way. They have a desolate and melancholy feel to them that is slightly unsettling, but it makes you draw into the story and surroundings. All in all, this prequel gave me the same whimsical, transported feeling I got from the first book, and this is quickly becoming one of my favourite book series!

 

 

 

1/ The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid33160963

Published: 2018

Goodreads

ADULT, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE, HISTORICAL, LGBT

I didn’t want this book to end. I was so absorbed in the characters lives, felt for them, cried with them. It felt as if I was reading about a real-life Hollywood star, and wanted to further research the films and famous people mentioned. This book did such a great job of depicting the cost of fame, and how things are not always as they appear within headlines. The LGBT rep was flawless, and so positive. The message being that you shouldn’t be afraid of loving someone because of how you might be judged, and that life is too short. I could’ve read an extra 1000 pages of this and still find it just as enjoyable and gripping. It was just so easy to read as well, which was great because recently I was struggling to keep interest in what I was reading. I love this. so so so much. Everybody should read it, the hype is truly deserved.

 

 

1/ Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung 34536956

Published: 2017

Goodreads

GRAPHIC NOVEL, MEMOIR, MENTAL HEALTH, CONTEMPORARY

I  tried to take a picture of each strip I related to, a third of the way through i was taking a picture of every single one. I found this book to be so incredibly relatable, as someone who is introverted, has social anxiety, and also has a partner who’s more extroverted than I am. It was heartwarming as well as heartbreaking, and incredibly honest in a way I haven’t been able to put into words myself. And the art design is spectacular. If there has to be only one book for introverts, I want it to be this one! I loved it so much!! I am forever going to buy Debbie Tung’s future works.

 

 

1/ The Martian – Andy Weir 18007564

Published: 2014

Goodreads

ADULT, SCIENCE FICTION

This was perfect. I didn’t want this story to end! It had me at line one: I’m pretty much f**ked. The narration from Mark Watney was so entertaining and witty. He still showed a lovable sense of humour even when the odds of him surviving were next to nothing. I thought it was interesting seeing the scientific/mathematical elements, and it was great seeing Marks incredible problem solving skills. You also get scenes back on Earth at NASA and other space programs around the world, as they try to do everything possible to bring Mark back home. The last paragraph nearly had me in tears by how beautiful it was, and it’s something that will stick with me without a doubt. My only slight *slight* criticism is that I would’ve liked a bit more about the aftermath and Mark actually coming back to earth, but that does not make any dent in the 5 star rating. It was flawless. The pacing was excellent, and you felt like you were there in the room as everything unravelled and came down to one moment. I loved Mark Watney and if I can listen/read him narrating the rest of his life, I’ll be happy.

 

So there we have it! My top books of 2018! I tried to order them to my absolute favourite but I just couldn’t choose between the top three, so they are all tied as my favourite book of the year. So what were your favourite books of the year? Any new recommendations? What are your reading plans for next year? And if you also read any of these books, or the ones mentioned in my other lists, what did you think of them? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

My Most Surprising Books of 2018

Here is part 3 of my review for 2018! I am going through my best and worst books of the year, also my most disappointing and surprising books!

So now the negative ones are out of the way, these books I didn’t have high expectations for (either due to mixed reviews or lack thereof), but ending up really enjoying and loving! I’m usually more tempted to pick up a book if there are mixed reviews because I’m curious to know where I fall. Luckily in these cases, I absolutely loved them!

 

5/ Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde 28245707

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.92

Goodreads

I wasn’t expecting anything amazing from this – I initially picked it up because it looked like a quick and easy read, but it was so much more than that! I thought it was extremely cute (without being cheesy) and I loved all the messages and representation in this book! One of the main characters is Australian/Chinese and bisexual. Another main character suffers from anxiety and has autism. There’s a lot of discussion in this book about racism, sexism, homophobia, slut-shaming, and loads of social justice points. Another thing I really loved about this book is the fact that it takes place at a comic con, and all the fandom references. I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did!

 

 

4/ Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough 31285838

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.75

Goodreads

I had low expectations for this, I’m not gonna lie. I have always been hesitant with ‘thrillers’ recently and never really enjoy them. However, this one was different. You either love the twist or hate it, and I loved it. I loved the supernatural aspect which didn’t become clear until the final quarter of the book. I was always guessing and was kept intrigued to find out how it was going to end! It was great being inside Adele’s twisted mind… I couldn’t figure out what was going on until it happened. I really enjoyed this!

 

 

3/ Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty37648119

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ave Rating: 4.24

Goodreads

As this book was quite hyped in general by most people, I didn’t expect it to be that amazing. But it turned out to be much more than a simple Chick Lit book. It was really well-written, and the plot was well-paced and kept the suspense going all the way through. The characters felt real and flawed in their own way, and each had their own problems to deal with along with all the craziness going down. Also the main twist I didn’t see coming, and in hindsight it pieced together well.

 

 

323332002/ The Rattled Bones – S. M. Parker

Rating: 4/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.97

Goodreads

I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected, I had no idea what it was about and was mainly a cover-buy, but I’m so glad I read it! The main character was so different and intriguing towards other female MC’s I’ve read. She lives in a fisherman’s village, so there was a lot about the industry included, which I found was really interesting and unique. The paranormal aspects I found very enjoyable and kept me hooked until the very end. The developments of the characters were spot-on and well fleshed-out, and Rilla’s constant battle about whether she stays or goes to college was done well.

 

 

1/ One Day in December – Josie Silver34879283

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Ave Rating: 4.09

Goodreads

I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading this; it was adorable without being cheesy, it was predictable in a few bits but still felt realistic. I adored the relationship between Laurie and Sarah, such a genuine female relationship to read about. I got huge ‘One Day’ vibes thorough-out the book, with a bunch of ‘almost’ moments and ‘will they/won’t they’ vibes. One of my biggest pet peeves in books is when a simple bit of communication would’ve solved a lot of issues, but in this case it sort of made a bit of logical sense. The ending really felt like something out of Bridget Jones, which I was all for. I wasn’t expecting to love a fluffy, rom-com book as much as I did!

 

So those were the books I was mostly surprised with! Not quite favourites, but I liked them a lot better than I anticipated, and some of these will always stick with me. What were your most surprising reads of the year? Any unexpected favourites? What are you reading to end the year? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

My Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

Here is part 2 of my review for 2018! I’ll be going through my best and worst books, as well as my most surprising and disappointing books, and I’ll finish off with my goals and yearly TBR!

These books were not all particularly ones that I disliked, but I was expected to love them and sadly didn’t. Luckily there were only five which really disappointed me, and I know many people enjoy these books so these are my opinions. I rated these around 3 stars, so I still enjoyed them to an extent, but was expecting to give them 4 or 5 stars. All the average star ratings I including were from Goodreads and were accurate as of 28th December 2018!

 

 

5/ A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnis 24376529

Rating: DNF (3 stars at DNF)

Ave Rating: 3.79

Goodreads

The cover looks awesome, the blurb sounded awesome, I was expecting to devour this and love it. It started off being what I expected… the gory, twisted, insane asylum. However it soon became a strange murder mystery, which didn’t make much sense! It felt like Grace and the other girls were supposed to be apprentices, learning about how to solve murders, and this made the plot seriously go downhill. It became tedious and boring and I could not continue unfortunately.

 

 

 

359974194/ Exit West – Mohsin Hamid

Rating: 3/5

Av Rating: 3.81

Goodreads

I loved the premise and thought it was such a fantastic concept, however I found the writing to be too simplistic and dry, and because of this, I found it quite difficult to fully connect to the characters. They were portrayed very well and felt like real people, but it seemed like it was missing something, their full emotions perhaps. As much as I enjoyed the idea of the doors, it did feel a bit out of place to have an easy and magical way out as suppose to the actual danger that would’ve been the forefront of a refugee story, there were suddenly no stakes on the line for them to escape which took away most of the emotion.

 

 

 

3/ The Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer39758489

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Av Rating: 4.15

Goodreads

Very heart-warming and enjoyable read. It was clearly well-researched and a lovely book to breeze through, but I don’t think it’ll leave a lasting impression. I was expecting to love this, but the format of letters made it quite difficult to feel attached to the characters and get immersed into the plot. So many people have this as a favourite, and a must-read for book lovers, and I got that, but I did find myself bored sometimes. I ended up liking the movie more than the book, which to me is a huge disappointment on the book.

 

 

258689182/ Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

Rating: 3/5

Ave Rating: 3.92

Goodreads

I was really disappointed with this, after reading and loving Jane Eyre, I thought I’d love a Gothic serial killer retelling! I read the first half quickly, and enjoyed it a lot. I found the plot compelling and I liked how Jane was a serial killer for wicked people; she killed those she thought were deserving of it. And I thought it was clever how the author kept close enough to Jane Eyre, but still entirely different. But I unfortunately lost interest ever since Jane went to be a governess for Mr Thornfield; she lost her spunk and the momentum of the plot dragged. I couldn’t grip myself to what was happening and I started to care less and less until the novel was over. Very anti-climactic, unfortunately.

 

 

1/ Uprooted – Naomi Novik27827627

Rating: 2/5 stars

Average Rating: 4.11

Goodreads

Yeah… I was so disappointed I didn’t like this. It was like ACOTAR, but without all the bits that I loved about ACOTAR. I did not get the relationship AT ALL (the Dragon was a douche) and did not get on with the main protagonist. The few action bits I enjoyed, and I found the writing beautiful but that was pretty much it. I had hyped this book tremendously in my head, so that is why it was really disappointing to me. I do know people either love this or hate this, and unfortunately I fell into the latter category. But I’m still going to try and read Spinning Silver as I heard it’s completely different to this, so hopefully that I would enjoy better!

 

 

So those were the books that I found the most disappointing this year. Did any of you read these books, and if so, what did you think of them? What were your most disappointing books of 2018? What were the best books you read this year? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

My Worst Reads of 2018

It is quickly creeping to the end of the year and it’s time to find out what books were my best, worst, most surprising and most disappointing! I’ve seen a lot of people doing their worst/best reads of the year and I find them really enjoyable! As always, these opinions are all my own, and I am aware that some I mention may be favourites of some of you, and I fully respect that and love that you enjoyed the book, but sadly I just didn’t. I have included the average Goodreads rating for these books as well, and these were accurate as of December 2018.

 

 

314261166/ A Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet

Rating: 2/5 stars

Ave Rating: 4.11

Goodreads

The first quarter I loved, it started off with so much potential but it just turned stale so suddenly. The main character was constantly acting juvenile and childish in her thought processes, for example, there was a lot of “urgh. I hate myself.” for accidentally day-dreaming about the male character. I was expecting fantasy with a hint of romance, but it turned out to be an extremely smutty romance in disguise of a fantasy book. Admittedly I did think it was written very well, and I enjoyed the premise, however the book seemed to deviate from that for most of the book. Basically a smutty Stockholm Syndrome with magic and mythical gods.

 

 

5/ Life of Pi – Yann Martel 170453

Rating: 2/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.89

Goodreads

I am not religious, which was a bad start in terms of enjoying this book. I got the impression that the author could not comprehend someone not being religious. It was extremely slow, to the point it felt painful. This is just another lonely survival story, but one where I feel it wasn’t handled as well as it could have been – mostly because the author clearly had an ideological message that he felt was more important than the plot. In the end I really couldn’t care less about the plot or Pi. Some of the animal scenes in the second half I enjoyed, but by that point nothing was going to rescue me from giving anymore than two stars unfortunately!

 

 

 

4/ The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli 30653853

Rating: DNF (1.75 at time of DNF)

Ave Rating: 4.01

Goodreads

I really wanted to give the author a second chance, I disliked Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda, but I did enjoy Becky Albertalli’s writing, so I was hoping that if the plot was be good, and the characters were better, I would’ve liked it. But unfortunately I could only stomach two-thirds of the story. The first 100+ pages was just introducing each character and simply stating their race and sexual orientation, like this was all you needed to know about them..? And the story didn’t seem to go anywhere and I was incredibly bored. Nothing was encouraging me to keep going so I just DNF’d the book, I didn’t care what happens. Because I DNF’d this, I feel unfair listing this as a worst book of the year, but this was a book that still stuck out for me unfortunately, and I know this book (and this author) are extremely beloved amongst the Booktube community! So I guess I’ll just ‘appreciate’ the author from afar… Great writer, rubbish characters.

 

 

3/ The Mockingbirds – Daisy Whitney8987191

Rating: 1.5/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.79

Goodreads

This did sound very promising, but I realised straight away that the writing wasn’t for me. I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters and I could not distinguish one from the other. I was exceedingly bored and found the story bland despite the intriguing plot. I didn’t understand why all the teachers were written to be ridiculously clueless, especially for an ‘elite school’..? It feels like a lot of the positive reviews purely show the importance of addressing date rape. As much as that is an important topic to bring light to, and I applaud the author for doing so, I don’t think that means the book deserves 4-5 star ratings on that point alone. This was a debut novel and sadly, it did read like so. I did enjoy the references to To Kill a Mockingbird, so there’s that!

 

 

157344642/ 12th of Never – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Rating: 1/5

Ave Rating: 4.01

Goodreads

I’ve read the first few books of the series and really liked them, but this, 12th in the series, didn’t feel on par. The first ones were written solely by James Patterson, and it’s pretty obvious that he had little to no input for this book. Maxine Paetro has taken a pretty good series and made it quite mediocre and bland. Half was about the actual plot and the courts, and the other half was about her baby which was not relevant and nor did it follow the pattern of the other books. I’m glad I haven’t read books 4-11, because I feel like I would’ve wasted my time and seen the series fall slightly book by book. I think it’s safe to say that this series has had its day.

 

 

1/ Birdie – Tracey Lindberg23590716

Rating: 1/5 stars

Ave Rating: 3.64

Goodreads

I read this for the Read-EH-Thon that Booksandlala created and hosted, and she recommended this book. But I found this to be a complete mess, I’m sorry to say. I could not understand the first half of the book AT ALL. It was so illegible and indecipherable I could not explain anything that happened. I had to look up several reviews to get more of an understanding of what actually happened, and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed with that either! It really annoyed me when things jumped from past tense to present or future tense without any explanation or warning. I honestly don’t know how anyone can enjoy this book.

 

 

 

So those were the worst books I read this year! These are all my opinion so sorry again if any of these were your favourites, they just weren’t for me! What books did you not enjoy this year? Any of you agree with my views? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Read-a-thons · Wrap-Ups

A Very Merry Readathon 2018 Wrap-Up!

I’ve finished my second readathon of December and I’m definitely in a Christmassy mood! I have been really enjoying the Christmas-themed readathons and I’m happy with myself that I managed to complete all the challenges! I guess I am feeling determined to finish as many books as possible before the end of the year! Some books have been swapped around from my TBR, but nevertheless all challenges were completed!

 

~~CHALLENGES~~
Read a book that is set during the holidays.
Read a book with a christmassy colour on the cover (I.e. red, green, silver, gold, blue).
Read a book with illustrations in it.
Read a book that was given to you as a gift.
Read a book just because you want to.

 

 

1/ My New Crush Gave to Me – Shani Petroff33158563

Format: Kindle

Length: 266 pages

Goodreads

Challenges: Read a book that is set during the holidays, Read a book with a Christmassy colour on the cover.

Incredible cheesy and not-at-all original… But I still enjoyed it and it made my heart flutter from the cuteness. It read like a typical winter rom-com, you knew what was going to happen, but you still wanted to see the ending… and I actually loved the idea of planning a romantic Secret Santa to show your feelings, it was cute and well-done! Such a cute, quick, christmas read! I never really like ‘love triangles’ and communication problems, but it seemed to work in this book, and the female friendships were really good. I enjoyed the main character as she was sensible in dealing with her emotions and was not typically naive like I see in loads of rom-com scenarios.

3.5/5 stars

 

 

 

390885081/ Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul – Nikita Gill

Format: Hardcover

Length: 176 pages

Goodreads

Challenges: Read a book with illustrations, Read a book that was gifted to you.

I can’t even begin to explain how amazing this collection was. It flowed beautifully from different fairytales and folklore we all know, and each and every one had a superb re-imagining; not only with feminist views but also general self-empowerment, believing in yourself, and being more understanding of others’ pasts. Each imagining was clever and well-thought out, and the writing was lyrical and mesmerising. I tried to list all the ones that stood out to me, but I was writing down about 98% of the pieces! There was a good mix of poetry and short stories, and didn’t feel forced or dragged out. It was perfect – I will re-read this to my children one day.

5/5 stars!!

 

 

 

1/ Very Good Lives – J. K. Rowling23731881

Format: Hardcover

Length: 74 pages

Goodreads

Challenges: Read a book because you wanted to. (Also qualifies for ‘Read a book with illustrations’)

I quickly swapped this book from another I had on my TBR because it can lead on into the next readathon. I am so happy I read this, I knew J.K. Rowling gave a speech at Harvard but I never got around to watching/listening to it, and my God! It is so inspirational. My favourite quotes were “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.”, and “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all- in which case, you fail by default.” Would recommend this to EVERYONE. We can all take something from this speech.

5/5 stars!!

 

Those were all the books I have read for the A Very Merry Readathon, completing all 5 challenges! What books have you been reading recently? Anyone sprinting to the end of the year to complete their reading goals? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

 

Read-a-thons · Wrap-Ups

TisTheSeasonAthon 2018 Wrap-Up!

The first readathon of December has finished, and I had a blast! Even though I only had one short book to read for it, I still went out and read other festive books. So I doubt it needs to be said that I completed all the challenges! Except for the voluntary group book, which I have bought and will read outside of the readathons.

 

~~CHALLENGES~~
Read a book with red or green on the cover.
Read a book whilst listening to Christmas music.
Read a warm and fuzzy book.
Read a short book.
Read a holiday themed book.
*Group Book: SNOW IN LOVE – MELISSA DE LA CRUZ, NIC STONE, KASIE WEST & AIMEE FRIEDMAN.

 

 

 

1/ The Deal of a Lifetime – Fredrik Backman36229962

Format: Kindle

Length: 96 pages

Goodreads

Challenges: Read a book with red or green on the cover, Read a book whilst listening to Christmas music, Read a warm and fuzzy book, Read a short book, Read a holiday themed book.

I am slowly making my way through Fredrik Backman’s books, only because each of his books so far have pulled at my heartstrings. I really liked this book, it was told from the perspective of an older gentleman getting ready to meet his son after leaving him and his mother years ago, and he ponders about his life, the mistakes, regrets, and excuses. He is then met with an opportunity to make something right. Even though this was a very short book and was over within an hour, I still felt my heart aching at the end. Of course I would’ve liked a bit more of a developed story, but I fear if it was, I would’ve definitely cried at the end. Silver linings, right?!

3/5 stars

 

 

348792832/ One Day in December – Josie Silver

Format: Paperback

Length: 417 pages

Goodreads

Challenges: Read a book with red or green on the cover, Read a warm and fuzzy book.

Technically this wasn’t part of my official readathon TBR, but because the other book was so short and I pretty much read this during the readathon week, I might as well add it in! And I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading this; it was adorable without being cheesy, it was predictable in a few bits but still felt realistic. I adored the relationship between Laurie and Sarah, such a genuine female relationship to read about. I got huge ‘One Day’ vibes thorough-out the book, with a bunch of ‘almost’ moments and ‘will they/won’t they’ vibes. One of my biggest pet peeves in books is when a simple bit of communication would’ve solved a lot of issues, but in this case it sort of made a bit of logical sense. The ending really felt like something out of Bridget Jones, which I was all for, but it was over very abruptly and I wanted more about after the kiss. Overall I got my fluffy, holiday romance kick out of this book, and it totally got me into the mood to read more!

4.5/5 stars!

 

So that’s my wrap-up for the TisTheSeasonAthon 2018! They have recently announced that they would be bringing it back next year which is music to my ears! I’m excited to see what Bookables will bring to the readathon next year!

So what did you guys read during this readathon? Did you complete all the challenges? What are your reading plans for the rest of the month? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx