Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sunday Post 24th September 2017

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it or click the title to go to the review.

We're BACK! We vanished for a couple of weeks because we were both starting new jobs and a new year of college/university so we've been insanely busy! But I am so glad to be back blogging and reading (not a lot of reading done in the past few weeks). 

Last Week on the Blog:



Books We Got This Week:


Clare:
Chasing Christmas Eve (Heartbreaker Bay, #4)Firefly (Redemption, #2)The French Exchange Whale and Other Rejected Book IdeasHow to Hang a Witch (How to Hang a Witch, #1)
Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis: I'm already amassing Christmas books? This was sent to me for review which I am delighted about because I adore Jill Shalvis's writing!
Firefly by Molly McAdams: Another review book and one I am very excited for because I've heard some amazing things about this series!
The French Exchange Whale by Cal King: I requested this because it looked funny and cute and (I am currently reading it) it is definitely both! I've laughed out loud a few times and I could easily flick through this book very quickly but I'm trying to slow myself down a bit!
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather: I've seen a lot of hype for the second book in this series - plus it looks like a very Halloween appropriate book! 
Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)Speak Easy, Speak LoveWarcross (Warcross, #1)One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, #2)
Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett: Mountaineering and sisters - this sounds so fascinating and unique. The book itself is so beautiful as well!
Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George: A SHAKESPEARE retelling set in the TWENTIES!? Yes. All the yes! 
Warcross by Marie Lu: I loved Legend so I've been super intrigued by this one. Plus I love anything to do with gaming!
One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake: Because after the ending of the first book how could I not grab this the second it arrived??



Reading Update:

Clare:
DevotedThe Diviners (The Diviners, #1)House of Ash
Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu: 5 stars, I read this as part of an upcoming collaboration with Vera @ Regal Critiques and I loved this book! It surprised me in so many little ways and I was so glued to the page the whole way through! Review coming soon(ish)!
The Diviners by Libba Bray: 5 stars, This was a re-read to refresh my memory before the third book comes out in October and I loved it even more than I did the first time I read it! Libba Bray's writing is excellent and the world is so creepy!
House of Ash by Hope Cook: 1.5 stars, Super disappointed with this one. It looked and sounded creepy and exciting. Although the concept itself was great I found the actual execution to be very flat and din't care about any of the characters. 


Next Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #25
  • Top Ten Books Featuring Bisexual Characters
  • Top 5 Books I've Read Because of Blogging
  • October Releases I'm Dying For
  • Friday Reads
  • Clare's September Wrap Up & October TBR


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Monday Highlights #24


The idea is to just link your favourite blog post from the past week (for example a post you're very proud of or just had a lot of fun making) and then I, and hopefully others, can discover new blogs to follow and interact with and discover more posts from blogs we may already follow!




You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Endings I'm Not Over (And Never Will Be)

For me endings are the most important section of a book. It's my final impression, the thing that sticks in my mind and usually does a great job of wrapping up a story with characters I love. But sometimes it doesn't quite work that way. Most of these endings aren't "bad" endings, some of them are just too tragic for me to recover and one of them was so confusing that it's three years later and I still don't understand. There will be spoilers ahead so be wary (I've tried to avoid specifics but it was hard)!


The High Lord by Trudi Canavan
The original book that broke my heart. This is one of my favourite fantasy trilogies of all time. And it's definitely not a bad ending. It's a great ending. But oh god my poor baby heart. My absolute favourite character dies right after everything starts to go better for them and I just. Every so often I start thinking about what could have been if they had survived. This is one of those character-deaths that I just took way too personally. But again - not a bad ending - a great one and if you haven't read this series already I highly recommend it!

Tempest by Julie Cross
This book is the reason I don't often read time travel. Some backstory for you in case you haven't read this - the main characters girlfriend dies. So he goes back in time (more or less by accident actually) to fix it. This all happens right at the beginning by the way and is in the blurb I believe so not a spoiler. Now the spoiler-y part. He changes the past so that he and his girlfriend never met, which meant she was never in danger because of her association with him and so never got shot. But my problem comes when - if she didn't get shot - he had no reason to go back in time. Which means none of the time travel stuff happened, which means nothing got changed. I just can't handle the paradoxes here so never continued the series. 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
What would a list of Endings be without this book? Honestly I wasn't even that saddened by this character death. I was just mad. For a variety of reasons it felt unnecessary and whilst I can handle tragic endings I do get annoyed when the tragedy seems thrown in for dramatic effect or to be a talking point. Which I guess worked since I'm talking about it now. But still, this ending soured a series that I otherwise really loved. 

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen
This is the "mind blown" entry on the list. Another great ending. I just did not see it coming at all. For this, and a number of other reasons this has become one of my benchmark thrillers and all other books get measured against it. 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Because obviously. This is honestly the best book ending ever. But my heart. The first time I read A Tale of Two Cities I threw my copy to the other side of my bed in anger and said "No" so loudly my Dad came in to check I was OK. I instantly regretted it because I have a gorgeous copy of A Tale of Two Cities but it remains in my mind as the only book to ever make me so angry/sad that I had to actually throw it. 

Alice's Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Just the worst. I love this book. It was the first book I ever read and it's framed so much of my love for reading. But dear god that ending. "It was all a dream". Really? REALLY? No. Just no. 

Let me know what some of the endings you'll never get over are - either the great ones that stick in your mind, or the bad ones that made you mad or ruined a book for you!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Monday Highlights #23


The idea is to just link your favourite blog post from the past week (for example a post you're very proud of or just had a lot of fun making) and then I, and hopefully others, can discover new blogs to follow and interact with and discover more posts from blogs we may already follow!



You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Sunday Post 10th September 2017

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it or click the title to go to the review.

Last Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #22
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • 6 Times I'd Visit If I Had a Time Machine
  • Clare Reviews: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody


Books We Got This Week:

DevotedOdd & True
Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu: I'll be doing a collab with Vera @ Regal Critiques soon which involves this! She has been recommending it to me for a while now so I am very excited to read it!
Odd & True by Cat Winters: One of my most anticipated reads of the year - I've already read it so my thoughts are below!


Reading Update:

Daughter of the Burning CityWater in MayOdd & True
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody: 5 stars, Just OMG so in love with this book honestly. I will definitely be re-reading it (and auto-buying anything Foody writes in future). 
Water in May by Ismee Amiel Williams: 4 stars, There were some homophobic things that annoyed me in this but otherwise I really enjoyed the story and rooted for the characters. The friendship group was great.
Odd & True by Cat Winters: 5 stars, Started reading this the second it arrived and it did not disappoint. Loved the characters and the setting - I should have a full review up in October. 


Next Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #23
  • 5 Books to Read Without Reading the Synopsis
  • Endings I Will Never Get Over
  • Friday Reads
  • Music + Books Tag


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading. 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Clare Reviews: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning CityTitle: Daughter of the Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Source: Received via Netgalley for honest review
Format: ARC
Pages: 384
Rating: 5/5
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.


It's been a while since I've read a book that left me so breathless with anticipation! From the depravities and delights of the Gomorrah festival itself to the thoroughly lovable characters and tense plot I was thoroughly entranced.

Sorina is one of my favourite lead characters. She is tough (downright scarily ruthless at one point in the story) but loving and trusting. The care she had for those she loved was so wonderful and made it lovely being inside her mind. Before starting the book I was unsure how I'd view her "illusions" - were they people in their own right or would they seem more like figments of her imagination. It was definitely the former. I loved reading about each and every one of her family and felt like I got to know them very well. There were some, like Nicoletta that had maybe a stronger presence than others - but they were all delightful to read about. And Luca was just an incredible love interest - the kind you can fall in love with as you read and not too perfect!

The central mystery kept me on my toes the whole way through. Much like Sorina I would swing between options - thinking it was an outsider then thinking it had to be someone from the festival itself. And even there the number of possible guilty persons was starting to make me distrust everyone. It was so incredibly tense never knowing what would happen next and I was genuinely saddened by any death in the book (I actually cried at one point). 

The world Amanda Foody has created here is maybe my favourite part of the whole book. It's not just the festival - although that felt so tangible I could almost taste the smoke - it was also the surrounding world. And I need more of it. Whilst this story is very self-contained and definitely doesn't feel unfinished - it is still a world I want to spend more and more time in. I am intrigued by the political side of the world for example and would definitely read a book with a different main character set in the same world. 

Whether it's this world or a new one though I am incredibly excited to read more of Amanda Foody's books. This was delightful. And the representation was excellent. There was a bisexual main character - the love interest was demisexual. And both were never a big issue. It was so lovely for me to read a bi main character just being. If you're at all interested in fantasy or festivals or illusions then I highly, highly recommend Daughter of the Burning City. 


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

6 Times I'd Visit If I Had a Time Machine

InvictusTime flies when you're plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.






This post is inspired by a recent read (and recent release) Invictus! The crew of the Invictus were lovable and felt very real and the plot was incredibly exciting. It was the first book I had read by Ryan Graudin but definitely won't be the last! It also refueled by desire to build a time machine and go holidaying through time and space!

For the sake of making this list a little more regulated I'm gonna use those standard time travel rules in Invictus. Don't change the past. And Don't travel to the future. As tempting as both of those might be. I'm hugely interested in History so the idea of a time machine is immediately appealing to me (as long as I don't have to think about the science of it) and who hasn't wanted to join the Doctor on his adventures at some point or another?? So here are the places (or times) at the top of my time travelling itinerary! (I'm also working on the assumption that I have tech that lets me speak all the languages? - And no dates purely because I might love history but I am the absolute worst at remembering years).


1) Regency Era London
Because I've read ALL the Historical Romance so I at least have some small hope of blending in! Plus - the dresses! The dances! The literature! I couldn't live in the regency era but a visit would (I hope) be lovely. 

2) Tudor England
Specifically I would go and see some Shakespeare plays. This is a difficult one because the whole Tudor period (and then the Stuarts) is my specialisation - it being what I studied in school and what I'm most interested in. So if I could I'd probably spend all my time travel in this era - but that's an unimaginative answer! So Shakespeare it is!

3) Ancient Egypt
All of Ancient Egypt fascinates me but I'm thinking I'd love to meet Cleopatra. She is such an underappreciated woman who was so intelligent and tough and I just really wish I could meet her!! If I go back to when Caesar was around I could meet him as well (less interested in Marc Antony to be honest). 

4) Meet King Charles II
OK I know I said I wasn't going to spend all my time in the Tudor-Stuart time but but but I love King Charles II. I just. I have a bit of an historical crush on him and his reign is a big deal historically speaking. 

5) The Mayans
I actually haven't studied the Mayans since I was in primary school but I was intensely fascinated - and retained a fair bit of that information which is more than I can say about some of the other things I studied in primary school! 

6) Cretaceous Period
Because my little brother loves Velociraptors. I got him to watch Jurassic Park once and suddenly it became his favourite film and he is now obsessed. With all dinosaurs sure but mostly velociraptors. Not sure how safe it is to show up in a time machine and go on a raptor sighting but hey whats the worst that could happen? 

So those are my 6 top times to visit. Let me know when you'd visit if you had the chance! And if you've already read Invictus let me know what you thought of it as well - I really enjoyed the characters and the time travel and only wish there was more of the story! 


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Wednesday Catch-Up 6th September 2017

Every Wednesday we are linking up with WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is hosted at Taking on a World of Words and asks 3 questions: What are you currently reading?, What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you'll read next? You can click any of the images to go to the Goodreads page for that book!

Currently Reading:

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)
I am finally, finally reading A Court of Wings and Ruin! I felt myself falling into a reading slump so naturally I picked up the 700 page book I'd been too nervous to read? But I am loving it so far - I'm about a quarter of the way through and so anticipating wherever this is going!

Recently Finished:

About a Dog (A Bluff Point Romance #1)The Hearts We SoldDaughter of the Burning CityWater in May
About a Dog was a cute romance with an even cuter dog - if you're a fan of the genre this is definitely one I recommend picking up. I didn't fully fall in love with the romantic interest which was a shame but I adored the main character's friendship group! The Hearts We Sold was an intriguing premise. I really loved the characters and the writing, there were some flaws with the world building but for the most part I really enjoyed this (and absolutely love the Daemon). Daughter of the Burning City I LOVED. Loved. So much. I adored all the characters, the world, the plot, the writing - it was just everything that I had been hoping for. I will have a full review up for this on Saturday! Water in May was a good read, all the characters were compelling. I did have some issues with comments made about the LGBTQ community. 

Planning to Read Next:

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire, #2)The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)Given to the Sea (Given Duet, #1)
I am in the biggest fantasy mood at the moment - which is good because I have a ton of unread fantasy on my shelves! The Wish Granter is one I've been really excited for. I loved the first Ravenspire novel and can't wait to dive into this one! The Bone Witch got a lot of hype and I'm frustrated I didn't pick it up when it first came out (my copy took a month to arrive despite being preordered) but I love the whole concept. And Mindy McGinnis is one of my all time favourite authors so I have fairly high hopes for Given to the Sea (although I have heard some bad things).


You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Monday Highlights #22


The idea is to just link your favourite blog post from the past week (for example a post you're very proud of or just had a lot of fun making) and then I, and hopefully others, can discover new blogs to follow and interact with and discover more posts from blogs we may already follow!



You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Sunday Post 3rd September 2017

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it or click the title to go to the review.

I've had to drop out of the Reading Quest which breaks my heart but life has been manic and I can't help pressuring myself to complete ALL the challenges so I've decided to just stop putting pressure on myself and read what I want for now. Which sucks, because this was such an amazing read-a-thon! I can only hope it takes place again so I can really do it!

Last Week on the Blog:


Books We Got This Week:

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)Codename VillanelleDark Breaks the Dawn (Untitled, #1)Genuine Fraud
Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo: ITS SIGNED and I'm dead. My most anticipated book of the year from one of my all time favourite authors and its signed. 
Codename Villainelle by Luke Jennings: Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this for review. It sounds right up my alley - with assassins and spies - I just need to read it.
Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson: Total cover lust. Not too sure of the plot but the cover gives me Swan Lake vibes which is my favourite ballet. 
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart: Signed. Again. Waterstones is the best shop on the planet confirmed. Just very, very, very excited for this one.

Reading Update:

InvictusAbout a Dog (A Bluff Point Romance #1)The Hearts We Sold
Invictus by Ryan Graudin: 4.5 stars, Really good time travel. It made sense, didn't confuse me too much (although my complete lack of time travel understanding meant there was a little confusion) and the characters were hugely lovable. Highly, highly recommend this one.
About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay: 3 stars, Super cute romance. The dog was my favourite thing about the novel (as it was always going to be) and I got so mad at what Tulip had suffered. If anyone hurt my dog like that I'd be murderous. I did have a few niggles with the romance but nothing major.
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones: 5 stars, God this book. Firstly the writing is superb. I 100% believed in every character and every situation. I could see events happening in my head which I always love (although was a little mentally scarring here jeez). This was honestly much more than I was expecting which is always a lovely surprise. 

Next Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #22
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • 6 Places I'd Visit If I Had a Time Machine
  • Friday Reads
  • Clare Reviews: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.