WRAP UP| Oct '17

Alright, so I'm going to be honest here. I haven't finished a single book since the first week of University. I've been sociable and have been trying to balance flat nights with a heavier work load. Besides, I can't seem to just settle on one book.

That being said, the blog has gone rather down hill hasn't it?

Reading week is fast approaching, so it looks like I'm spending a large majority of my time catching up on reviews that I have yet to write and edit. I know I feel bad. I thought I was on track too.

Books carrying into November:
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  • The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
  • A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

BOOK TAG| Fall Time Cozy Tag

It's that time of the year where I drag up an old book tag to do, because it fits the time of year. And just because I want to.

Crunching Leaves: 
The world is full of color. Choose a book that has reds, oranges and yellows on the cover.
Ensnared (Splintered #3)
A.G. Howard

Goodreads

It uses these exact colours and incorporates nature. It was the first cover I could think of.


Cozy Sweater: 
It’s finally cold enough to don warm cozy clothing. What book gives you the warm fuzzies?

Fangirl
Rainbow Rowell

Goodreads

I could have gone with a few different choices, but this one just popped out at me.


Fall Storm: 
The wind is howling and the rain is pounding. Choose your favorite book OR genre that you like to read on a stormy day.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Susanna Clarke

Goodreads

I am currently reading this via audiobook. And it is perfect to curl up when rain is pounding on the window and loose yourself in a Victorian Magical Realism story.

Cool Crisp Air:
What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter #1)
J.K. Rowling

Goodreads

This one is so obvious. Literally ANY character in the Harry Potter universe. If I had to pick one it would be Hermione Granger.
Hogwarts Library. A little "light" reading. Christmas at Hogwarts. Butterbear. Yes, please.

Hot Apple Cider:
What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

Pantomime (Micah Grey #1)
Laura Lam

Goodreads

Always and forever this book.

Here is my review- go pick up a copy.

Cat, Scarves and Mittens:
The weather has turned cold and it’s time to cover up. What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public?

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Cassandra Clare

Goodreads

Who thought this was a good look?
The later books in the series are better, but who thought topless man is the best cover idea?
Thank goodness for all the updated covers we've received in the last ten years since.
Pumkin Spice:
What’s your favorite fall time comfort food/foods?

I don't have any? Roast dinners become more frequent as the weather goes from being warm to cold. 
As we turn to fall, the increase of christmas snacks like twiglets. Also, I do like a good cinnamon bun in the autumn.

BLOG TOUR| The Last Namsara

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1)
Kristen Ciccarelli
⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Release Date: 12th October, 2017
UK Publisher: Gollancz

Synopsis:

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer. 

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Review

The Cover

The cover for Ciccarelli's debut has grown on me. Quite a bit, even if I do still, kinda, prefer the cover that was used on the proofs.

It's a lot different to the one that Gollancz had originally used for the proofs that were sent out a few months back. Red and gold, with a dragon emblem that spoke of hunting and medieval tones that dragon fantasies seem to embroil. But, as I keep looking at it and seeing the final finishing (the GOLD FOILING?!) overall it's rather pretty.

The Content


This is a fantastic debut novel. 
The concept unique and well put across. 
The characters were well written and their motives believable. And I really connected with the protagonist and her journey to free herself from the binds of her betrothal- let's be honest, what woman wouldn't? Asha is fearless and doesn't let her emotions shroud her decisions, which I really appreciated. Whether or not those decision were bad or not, you'll have to go out and pick up a copy.

There were moments where Ciccarelli's writing fell into writing cliches. Which made it that defining fact of feeling like a debut. And yes, I am talking about the use of: "I let go of the breath I didn't know I was holding" thing that has become rather laughable in YA. So if that makes you see red, please skip over the words and keep reading. (Like I'm going to tell you to not buy this book.)

I'm not too mad, I did roll my eyes a little but nothing could be done for that. 



Links

09.10.2017 - Terror Tree 
                       Winged Reviews

10.10.2017 - Planet Print
                   Scifi Bulletin

11.10.2017 - YA Under My Skin

12.10.2017 - Reality's a Bore
                       Book Mood Reviews
                       Falcata Time

13.10.2017 - Rambling of an Aspiring Author
                       Amy Powis

14.10.2017 - Tea Party Princess
                      The Book Addicted Girl
                      Literary-ly Obsessed

15.10.2017 - The Northern Girl
                       Feeling Fictional

16.10.2017 - The Book Chapter
                       Pink Lemonade & Paperbacks

17.10.2017 - Words from a Reader

18.10.2017 - Bookseller Ravings
                       The Cosy Reader

REVIEW| Stardust [Audiobook]

Stardust
Neil Gaiman [Written and Read by]


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Synopsis:

Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love.
Review

The Cover

The cover really doesn't give much away about the story other than the indication of the title and the falling star in the centre. Like most Neil Gaiman's older works the cover is rather formulaic but look good when they are all kept together. 

The Content

If you have watch the film adaption, throw all your expectations out the window. 
Do it. 
Go. 
Gone. 
Is it gone? 
Good.
This isn't a child's fantasy story. This is an adult fairy tale. Not so much by the increased references to sex, or the odd bit of swearing, but just by the comprehensible way Gaiman uses language and overall themes. That's what I like about this book. It needed to be just that. 

If you like audiobooks, I would recommend picking up the version read by Neil Gaiman, himself. There is something magical about hearing an author read out their own work, as they had intended. Gaiman's prose is simple, easily accessible and creates an ease to reading and flying through the story. that you just fly through as he paints the world of faerie. 

The reason I didn't give it five stars is because I didn't get overly attached to any characters.  I really liked the dramatic irony, as a reader, that I knew of Tristan's heritage and how that plays its own 'magic' in the way that he navigates Faerie.

TBR| October 2017

October is when we get full into spring and embrace all the spooky. I don't really like to read horror or thrillers and prefer the medium of film and tv to get my Hallowe'en thrills. So my October isn't really going to reflect that. But, maybe it will in its Autumnal goodness.

Books Carried Over:
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
Here are my Top 3 books I want to get to this month:

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)
V.E.Schwab

Goodreads

October is that month of spooky goodness. And books with magic that are usually quite dark count. So I'm shoving a 666 page book on here. 

Yes, the UK paperback is really the Devil's number.



Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)
Vic James


Another book that has been dragged along with me. This book speaks Slytherin, so it gets shoved on a dark, spoopy monthly TBR.



I'm really not going over the top this month just because of the sheer mass of texts I'm going to have to read over the next semester, and I already know from last year that I won't have the energy for both.

They're perfect to snuggle up with.

Netgally Shaming

A few weeks ago, I sent out a tweet asking for fellow tweeps to respond with a number between 1-79. I got more than I was expecting thanks to Jim at YAYeahYeah- thank you, Jim!

So, Lauren, what were these numbers for?

Thanks for asking. One of my goals this year was to get my Netgalley reviewing response back up to where it should be. I started this year with over 100 review titles, and a response of 9%.

*ducks*

I know, I know! I'm awful.

But, since the beginning of the year I have gone up to 41%

Anyway, with these numbers, I used them to pick out a random list from across the list of titles and build a TBR for the rest of the year.

No.13

A Pocketful of Crows
Joanne Harris

Goodreads

Release Date: 19th October, 2017
UK Publisher: Gollancz


No.19

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Mathew Sullivan


Release Date: 24th August, 2017
UK Publisher: Random House UK

No.20

Editing Emma
Chloe Seger

Goodreads

Release Date: 10th August, 2017
UK Publisher: HQ

(I cheated a little and ended up reading this in September. Absolutely loved it!)

No.42

Frostblood
Elly Blake


Release Date: 12th January, 2017
UK Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

No.52

Firebolt
Adrienne Woods

Goodreads

Release Date: 19th September, 2014
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing


No.65

Jane Steele
Lyndsay Faye


Release Date: 22nd March, 2016
Publisher: Headline Review

Top 5 Wednesday| Don't Leave Me in the Dark

Top 5 Wednesday is a book meme that was started by Laini from GingerreadsLaini and is now hosted by Sam over at Thoughts on Tomes.


If you ever want to join the fun, join the Goodreads group- here.

This isn't this weeks topic, but next weeks. I really wanted to do this topic rather than one on witches, as I have a blog tour post scheduled for next week and couldn't fit in doing both. The topic is creepy settings, these don't have to be specific to just horror books (thank the stars).

1. The Moors - Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte

I never did finish reading Wuthering Heights during my a-levels. I know! I'm just as surprised that I passed when I did. There is just something so unsettling about the isolation of the moors. 

2. The Lottery
Shirley Jackson

The Lottery is a short story, about- in my opinion- traditions and how although everyone partakes doesn't mean they are necessarily okay. Setting isn't a massive part of the story, 


3. The Toyshop- The Magic Toyshop
Angela Carter

The first of two Carter texts on this list. I absolutely love Carter's works. This story is creepy, unnerving and perfect for a read that is directly in the horror genre.

4. The Bloody Chamber and Other Short Stories
Angela Carter 

Probably the most famous of Carter's works, I had to study this all through my A-levels and loved the unique take on the classic fairy tales.

5. Coraline 
Neil Gaiman 

HOW DO CHILDREN READ THIS?! I was a teen when I first read this and it creeped me the fuck out. I love Gaiman's work and this is one of my absolute favourites, but even I think this shouldn't be suitable for children to read.

QUARTERLY WRAP-UP| Jul-Sept '17

I honestly lost track of of everything the last three months, whilst I was back home. The plan was, catch up and get blog posts ready. Not sure how much of my TBR was actually translated. I did try. But that went quickly downhill when I decided to binge Doctor Who and Game of Thrones (AGAIN!?) and being "forced" to watch Big Brother. Yup.

It has been crazy though. YALC happened. Chester Bennington's tragic passing. Another V.E.Schwab signing. Summer colds. All the fun stuff.

Books left over:

  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark
  • The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
July


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5)
J.K. Rowling
No rating

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Started this way back in February and it only took six months to pick back up and finish it. It was nice just to reread and relive details that I have long since forgotten.



Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4)
Marissa Meyer


Maybe, I shouldn't have taken that year out break from the series. It was a bit slow to begin due to not remembering everything that had happened in Cress. It was a satisfying conclusion, I'll say that.

Out Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)
V.E.Schwab


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I really like this. Another good conclusion.
The Exact Opposite of Okay
Laura Steven



Release Date: 8th March, 2018
UK Publisher: Egmont

I can't say to much, but a review will be coming closer to the release date. All I will say is this is like Easy A meets MTV's Awkward, just toasted with a sprinkling of feminism and discourse of double standards.





August

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6)
J.K. Rowling
No Rating


Another book in my reread down. Just Deathly Hallows to go.

Starborn (The Worldmaker Trilogy #1)
Lucy Hounsom


I had some issues with pacing, but overall I loved the characters, magic and the world's mythology. I'm excited to see how Hounsom progresses in the sequel Heartland.

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)
V.E. Schwab


Will I ever not love a V.E.Schwab book? Her books are my happy place even when everything is burning and going terribly wrong.






A Skinful of Shadows
Frances Hardinge
⭐⭐⭐⭐


Release Date: 29th September, 2017
UK Publisher: PanMamillan








September

A Shiver of Snow and Sky (Untitled #1)
Lisa Leuddecke
⭐⭐⭐⭐


Release Date: 5th October, 2017
UK Publisher: Scholastic UK
Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicles #2)
Jay Kristoff
⭐+


Release Date: 7th September, 2017
UK Publisher: Harper Voyager UK

ER MA GAWD...! Read my review. See how I fangirl, and curse Jay Kristoff's name.

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1)
Kristen Ciccarelli


Release Date:12th October, 2017
UK Publisher: Gollancz

I won't say too much about this one as my review will be going up fairly soon as part of the blog tour with Gollancz.
Moxie
Jennifer Mathieu


A review this won't be making it onto the blog til December, because of how far behind I have got in getting things up. But, just I really loved this book, even if I am not a contemporary reader at all.








Editing Emma: The Secret Blog of a Nearly Proper Person
Chloe Seager


I read this within a day. A WHOLE day. This never ever happens to me. I loved it. Review has been written, but it's on my never ending list... so, expect it to be out by sometime in the New Year. 
No. 
Really.




Gena/Finn
Hannah Moskowitz, Kat Helgeson

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This one was weird. There was this weird emphasis on 'love', and didn't make the clear distinction of love you can feel for family, for friends and for your other halves.

Going to write a review and go more into detail. I'll save it for then. I'll just leave it and say it was okay-ish.

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