May Recap

I think I fell into a tiny reading slump this month; I only got through nine books in May, and while that’s still a decent amount, I can normally read a lot more. I think I got a little too caught up with work and just life in general. Still no worries, I’m now successfully over the little road bump slump and I have a lot on my to-read list for June.

It’s not all doom and gloom this month though; I’m back to posting my monthly recaps on time, and not a couple of days late, and three of my most anticipated books were released, read and reviewed by me this month (all five stars as well so they more than lived up to my expectations).


Reviews

April-May Book Haul, #4

The Raven Cycle Series

Number one of my most anticipated releases for this month. Ever since finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue back in January I’ve been counting down the days until the release of The Raven King. I was desperate to find out how everything ended for Gansey, Blue, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, especially with the prophecy handing like a scythe over Gansey’s and Blue’s heads. This book exceeded even my highest expectations, and was a perfect ending to the series. However I’m not ready to give up on The Raven Cycle series and am keeping my fingers crossed for more stories from The Raven Boys.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater


Into the Dim

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

I love time travel books so when I first read the blurb this was an obvious addition to my to-read list. It’s been described as Outlander for young adults and, while I haven’t read Outlander, I can say that Into the Dim is definitely an amazing story. I can’t say it’s the best time travel book I’ve read this year, it has some very stiff competition, but it was enjoyable and I am definitely going to be picking up the next book in the series when it’s released.


April-May Book Haul, #1

May Recap, #1

The Wrath and the Dawn Series

Number two of my most anticipated releases, and a lot of other people’s as well based on some of the reviews. I saved the novellas until the second book had been released so I could jump straight from one into the other and I enjoyed all three, though a little short they offered different perspectives and glimpses into the backgrounds of characters we were introduced to in the first book. The Rose and the Dagger was amazing, I had no faults, I thought it was a perfect end to the series and a brilliant finale to Shahrzad and Khalid’s story.

The Moth and the Flame by Renee Ahdieh

The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh

The Mirror and the Maze by Renee Ahdieh

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh


Bone Gap

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

This was a re-read for me. The first time I picked up this book, on a whim, I loved it and the second time I thought it was even better. This is the book which introduced me to the magical realism genre, the book that made me fall in love with modern fairytales, and the book which, no matter how many times I read it, I will probably love more and more. At the moment this is my favourite magical realism book and, though I haven’t read much in the genre, it’s going to be tough to top Bone Gap.


May Recap, #2

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

And finally number three in my most anticipated releases for this month. I jumped onto the Sarah J. Maas fan bandwagon late but now I can’t get enough of her books. I really loved A Court of Thorns and Roses, possibly more than the Throne of Glass books, but A Court of Mist and Fury was so much better. The story was more action-packed, the characters deeper and more developed than before, and we saw so much more of the world Maas has created in this series.


The Crown's Game

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

I wouldn’t say this was a book I had high expectations for, however reading it I was left underwhelmed. I loved the concept of this story, the blurb sounded amazing and the fact that it promised it was perfect for fans of The Night Circus had me picking up The Crown’s Game eagerly. However there were inconsistencies with the world-building and the concept of the game itself that left me confused, and that’s to say nothing of the love triangle and insta love aspects present, both of which are two tropes I am not fans of.


Top Ten Tuesday

I took part in five Top Ten Tuesday topics over the course of May.

Top Ten Characters I’d Love to Re-Visit in Ten Years

Top Ten Websites I Love That Aren’t About Books

Top Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

Top Ten Books I Felt Differently About After Re-Reading

Top Ten Books on my Beach TBR List


Waiting on Wednesday

I featured four books as part of the Waiting on Wednesday tag.

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

Waiting on Wednesday #6


Next month I have more than a few books to catch up on and I will post my reviews for the Shatter Me series which I have nearly finished, only one more book to go. I’m finally going to start the Percy Jackson series and, if the weather gets nicer here in England, I’m planning to make a dent in my summer TBR list which is full of contemporary romances with travel, sun, and happy endings.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Beach TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic for bloggers to choose and list their top ten. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books on my Beach TBR List.

For a book to make it onto my summer TBR list there are a few requirements. I prefer standalones because the I don’t have to wait for another book to reach a happy ending, I want there to be a cute romance story, and I want it to be full of sun, fun, travel and happy endings. It’s why most of my summer reads end up being contemporary books. This year I already have way more than ten on my to-read list; all of them perfect for sitting on the beach one day while on holiday, or sitting in my garden when the sun is out and I have nothing else to do all day.


Top Ten Tuesday #24

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Totally Should’ve Book Tag

I’m a little (a lot) ashamed by how long it’s taking me to get through my tags at the moment. I am steadily working through them I just think in the future I’m going to have to post more each month to make a dent in my queue.

I was tagged in the Totally Should’ve Book Tag by Husfa at The Clockwork Millennial, you should all definitely check out her original post, and while you’re there her blog as well because it is amazing. Thanks so much for the tag as well Husfa, I’d seen this around a lot before I was tagged (not so much after for some reason) so I was really excited to be able to take part and post my own answers.

Totally Should've Book Tag

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The Crown’s Game

The Crown's Game


Title: The Crown’s Game

Author: Evelyn Skye

Series: The Crown’s Game, #1

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: May 17th 2016

Rating:

Three Stars

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters – the only two in Russia – and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with – beautiful, whip smart, imaginative – and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear…the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

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A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury


Title: A Court of Mist and Fury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2

Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

Rating:

Five Stars

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Felt Differently About After Re-Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic for bloggers to choose and list their top ten. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I Felt Differently About After Re-Reading.

I’ve started re-reading a lot of books since I started blogging, and for most of them my opinions have changed after going back to them a second time. Some got better as I noticed things I missed the first time – little nuances and subtleties which made the story so much more enjoyable – some I didn’t enjoy as much as I noticed plot inaccuracies or character quirks which became more and more annoying as the story progressed, and there are a small amount which, no matter how many times I read, I will always love.


Top Ten Tuesday #23

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Liebster Award

I am still very behind on my tags and awards (I’m going to have to start posting more of them each week to start making a dent in the queue I’ve got building up) so while I do have more than 200 followers now at the time I was nominated for this award I had less.

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Heather at The Sassy Book Geek and Gracie at Gracie FM. Thank you both so much for the nomination, I’m only sorry it took me this long to get around to posting my response to both your questions. If you haven’t visited either of their blogs then I would highly recommend it, they are both amazing people who have some wonderful posts you should seriously consider checking out.

The Liebster Award

The Rules:

  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
  • Answer 11 question that the blog gives you.
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers.
  • Let the blogs know you have nominated them.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.

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A Postcard from Venice

Italy is probably my favourite country in the world (at the moment, there are still countries I’ve never set foot in). I’ve been once to Milan and twice to Rome so when my friend suggested going to Venice this year I jumped at the chance.

I’d heard a bit from people who’d already been there before; how it was really overpriced (for most things I didn’t really find that to be the case), how it was smelly (yes the canals had a slight sea weed-y odour but in May it wasn’t that bad), and that the gondola rides were a rip-off (we didn’t even look up the prices for those). For me, however, my first impression of the city was how unique, quaint, gorgeous it was.

I think Venice is more of a shopping destination that a tourist one, like say Rome for example. While there are still some amazing attractions to visit, and a lot of history that makes up this city, most people will go for a city break to Venice for the shopping.

Venice (1)

Venice (2)

Venice (3)

My friend and I walked all over the city and saw everything it had to offer; it isn’t that large so it was easy, while tiring, to go everywhere on foot. We wandered along the main streets where shops and cafes lined the pavements, we walked along the grand canal with gelatos in hand, we travelled alongside the smaller canals, side streets, and past quaint markets.

They say all roads lead to Rome but in Venice all roads seemed to lead to Piazza San Marco. It seemed to be the centre of the city; home to Saint Mark’s Basilica, a truly beautiful and breathtaking building which offers beautiful views of not only the cathedral inside but the whole square, and Doge’s Palace.

Venice (4)

For me Venice was a spontaneous trip, we didn’t have anything planned so we wandered to our hearts content, crossing the Rialto Bridge and passing the Bridge of Sighs, visiting the museums and seeing all the history Venice had to offer. Of course we ended up spending a lot of money on gelato, souvenirs and more gelato but that’s part and parcel of being in Italy I guess.

Venice (5)

Venice (6)

Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)

  • Don’t forget the sun cream…This was a really bad mistake on my part because by the end of the second day my back, shoulders and chest were burnt and of course I had no sun cream. Venice can get really hot, especially in the summer, and walking around you won’t realise you’re starting to burn until you get back to the hotel and look in the mirror.
  • Drink plenty of water…The reasons for this are obvious.
  • Be wary of tourist traps…The only places I’ve ever encountered this is in Italy. Most restaurants close to major attractions don’t care about repeat customers because they know tomorrow there will always be more tourists walking through their doors. If you’re not careful you can get caught with hiked up prices, cover and service charges and by the end of your meal you’re left with a bill that’s way more than you would have thought. So be careful because it can put a real damper on your day.
  • Don’t take a gondola…Unless you really want the experience and you have the money it’s just not worth it. You can walk pretty much everywhere and anywhere in Venice, and if you want to travel by the canals then you can take the water bus for a fraction of the price.

A Postcard from Venice (2)

If you ever get a chance to go to Venice one day try and go during the Carnival. Everywhere you go in Venice you will see masquerade masks for sale. They’re such a big part of the culture and honestly so beautiful you’ll want to buy them all. Every year during Carnival the streets are filled with masked party-goers and from what I understand (I wasn’t in Venice during Carnival much to my disappointment) it’s an elaborate and beautiful affair.

A Postcard from Edinburgh

Hopefully this post is a case of better late than never.

Back at the end of March, over the Easter weekend, my friend and I took a trip up to Edinburgh. I’ve been to a fair few places on my travels so far but before heading up to Scotland for the weekend I’d never been to another country that makes up the United Kingdom, and my knowledge of Scotland was minimum at best. For me it was whisky and shortbread and the Loch Ness.

But there is so much more to Scotland, and so much more to Edinburgh; it’s an amazing city, so full of culture and history.

Our first stop was Edinburgh Castle, which felt like the centre of Edinburgh’s old town. There’s so much history within its walls and honestly just walking around for an hour you can learn so much about the past of both the castle and Edinburgh itself. Then from the Castle you can walk down the Royal Mile which takes you all through the Old Town of the city; a mixture of shops, restaurants, pubs it will take you past Tron Kirk and through Parliament Square as well as other tourist attractions. If you have the time just wander through the streets and side streets and see what wonders you can find.

Edinburgh Castle (1)

Edinburgh Castle (2)

If you’re feeling up to a hike, and even if you’re not, then definitely make the climb up to Arthur’s Seat. It’s a tough journey but when you get to the top the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel will be more than worth it, and it offers some spectacular views of Edinburgh as well.

It took my friend and I quite a while to get to the top, I needed to stop a couple of times for a break and we wandered off the path to explore other sights a couple of times, but the view when we got to the top was more than worth it. And when heading back down again, and seeing the people just starting off the journey was kind of fun as well, knowing how long they had to go before reaching the top (I’m a cruel person at times).

Arthur's Seat (2)

Arthur's Seat (1)

Arthur's Seat (3)

Now in my opinion going to Scotland and not seeing the highlands is not acceptable. We booked a day trip which took us to some of the best sight’s within Scotland’s beautiful highlands. We saw Glen Coe and Ben Nevis, saw the Loch Ness and took a boat ride around part of the famous Loch (sadly we didn’t catch a glimpse on the monster itself). There is so much more to the highlands than what we saw but we got a great taste as to what else Scotland has to offer.

Loch Ness (1)

Loch Ness (2)

Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)

  • Take good walking shoes…There is a lot of walking if you want to experience the best of the best of Edinburgh and plenty of hills as well which brings me onto my second point…
  • Take breaks…Don’t push yourself too much at the beginning of the day because by the time it gets to the late afternoon, no matter how comfy your shoes are, your feet will be killing you.
  • Book ahead…If you want to skip the queues at Edinburgh Castle, if you want to go on a highland tour, and if you want to see many of the other attractions Edinburgh has to offer see if you can pre-book tickets. It will skip you past the queues and ensure you actually get what you want.

A Postcard from Edinburgh (2)

Like with every holiday I’ve been on take a day or an afternoon to just wander around the city. Some of the best experiences I’ve had while travelling have come from when me and my friend, or me and my sister have had nothing else to do and just wandered around the city. We saw what we could find and ended up doing something we wouldn’t have planned on a whim. Planning is good don’t get me wrong but there’s a lot to be said for some spontaneity as well.