JUN WRAP UP | The Books & the Stats

Okay, I know I’m just making excuses now but the end of June / start of July was horrendously busy. I had friends staying, then I got a new job (YAY!) and then I had my birthday weekend, which if you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I was all over the country celebrating! And that is why I haven’t posted my June wrap up until today.

On the plus side, I think I’ve kicked my reading slump in the arse and I got loads of books for my birthday so now if I just get some free time, ya girl is gonna read.

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MID-YEAR CHECK IN | Books that made me laugh, cry, sigh and squeal!

This post is based on the questions for the ‘Mid-Year Freak Out Tag’, but I’ve edited it to suit my needs a bit better. I’m pretty sure most of these will be to no one’s surprise but let’s see! I’m still going to be doing a June Wrap up, which you will be able to find here, but for some more specific check ups, here’s how my 2019 is going!

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MAY WRAP UP | The Books & the Stats

This is becoming a theme now, but welcome to the mess that is my life. I haven’t posted in over 20 days and that’s the longest I haven’t posted all year. I’ve said this at the start of all my wrap ups, but I’m still proud of myself that it’s only 20 days. Last year I was less consistent and my 2019 views for 5 months have already exceeded the entirety of 2018!

I’ve been having some issues with reading slumps and moods – I’ve been very much on a romance kick without having a lot of unread romance on my shelves. Also just life has been kicking me in the bum so Imi’s been absent – sorry, kids. Expect a comeback sometime soon.

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APR WRAP UP | The Books & the Stats

WELCOME to Imi hit a book slump at the end of March and couldn’t catch up with herself. This is a love letter to my book slump and how much I hate her, BUT let’s also consider the positives here. I am still doing wrap ups. It’s the fifth month of the year and I am still here. While April was not good for reading, or blog posts, the fact still remains that I’m coming back and I am still determined to continue making this better. I also have 28975982759 blog post ideas, what I lack is the time to write them.

Shout out to Lauren / Siz/ Provider of Doggo Pics / Personal PA and Nag for forcing me reminding me to write this post. This one is for you.

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BLOG TOUR REVIEW | The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll

Name: The Words That Fly Between Us
Author: Sarah Carroll
Genres: MG, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Uncorrected Proof
Source: Hashtag Reads
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Lucy’s father is a successful lawyer making a killing on the property market. She and her mother want for nothing. Nothing, that is, that can be bought.

But money cannot buy Lucy the words she needs. The words to stand up to her bully of a father. The words to inspire her mother to do something about the family life that is suffocating them both. The words to become the person she wants to be.

Then Lucy finds something else: An escape route…

Soon she discovers that every building on her row is connected, through the attic, to the next. As she explores the inner lives of those who live on her street, Lucy realises that she is not the only one to suffer in silence. She also sees ways she can help some, and ways to punish those that deserve it.

But as the mighty fall, Lucy is forced to realise that while she can affect the lives of others from the safety of the attic, she will need to climb down to face her own fears.

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#ARCAUGUST | That’s Not What Happened, These Rebel Waves & City of Ghosts

So #ARCAugust is an annual challenge hosted by Read Sleep Repeat – I’m not necessarily participating in the official challenge, but feel free to go check it out on their blog and see what their plans are.

For me, I just want to read as many unreleased ARCs as I can that have been building up for me, so I’ve come up with my own personal goals for August.

  1. Read at least 6 unreleased ARCs from my TBR.
  2. Review at least half of what I read on my blog.
  3. Mini-review all books on my twitter and insta stories.
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AUGUST WRAP UP

I’ve done pretty well this August, making my way through quite a few books on my TBR, those I managed to buy/scavenge/win at YALC and all while holidaying in Madeira, enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, house hunting and actually packing up to move! Check out my August wrap up to see what I managed to devour this month…

 

Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Villains, short stories, fairytales, retellings.

I really enjoyed the concept behind this anthology and the execution was delightful, leading me to find some new favourite authors as well as falling in love again with the writing styles of my faves (hi there, Say Sha and Schwab). Having the stories followed by the booktubers’ prompt and commentary made this a more intriguing read as well as meaning I got to try and guess each prompt as I read the tale. Highly enjoyable.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Feminism, high school, slut shaming, guys are douchebags.

While not being released until March 2018, The Exact Opposite of Okay was exactly what I needed to read in the heat of a summer holiday. It was laugh out loud funny while still tackling important issues of high school bullying, slut shaming and revenge porn. Read this book when it comes out in March. Just read it.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Micah Grey series by Laura Lam ★★★★★
KEY WORDS: Intersex, queer, magical, circus, adventure, coming of age, SO SO GOOD.

This series was everything I have ever wanted, but didn’t know it. At this time, I would say that all three novels in the Micah Grey series are up there in my favourite books I’ve read this year. If you love fantasy and adventure, read these books because they made my life infinitesimally better.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James ★★★☆☆
KEY WORDS: Diary entries, emails, space travel, easy reading.

Easy reading and fast paced leading to a pretty chill day. And it releases today! Happy Release Day to Lauren James – head on down to Waterstones! Worth a read and perfect for younger readers in the YA category.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Treatment by C.L. Taylor ★★★☆☆
KEY WORDS: Mystery, adventure, adolescents vs. government, psychology, brainwashing.

The perfect thriller for younger readers. Intriguing story with great writing, making it a good read for all ages but especially perfect for those a little too young to get stuck into Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn just yet. If you’re a fan of these authors but not YA then check out Cally’s adult novels (I’m yet to read them but after reading this, they’re next on my list).

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes ★★★★★
KEY WORDS: Adventure, thriller, mystery, Berlin Wall, Cold War, friendship, family.

Probably my favourite book of the month. A beautiful stand-alone mystery which follows the lives of three seemingly unrelated people who are thrown together one summer. Molly Mavity, a soon-to-be-orphan whose mother committed suicide and whose father is on death row for commiting arson. Pepper Al-Yusef, a boy failing out of High School who struggles to speak to girls. Ava Dreyman, known as “The Anne Frank of the Cold War”, whose diary and death incited revolution in East Berlin leading to the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

I loved every second of this beautifully written mystery.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Mystery, adventure, sisterhood.

My first middle grade novel in what feels like forever, but still a very enjoyable read. A lovely little fanatasy that seld-describes as ‘Frozen meets Prison Break’ – Valor is on a mission to save her sister and break her out of the most secure and cruel prison in the land.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Wunderkids Part 1: Wildwood Academy by Jaqueline Silvester ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Adventure, boarding school, mystery.

An intriguing boarding school adventure which leaves you on a crippling cliffhanger as you wait for the second installment, due to release in March 2018. When Nikka is accepted to Wildwood Academy for Talented Youth she thinks it’s heaven, then things start going wrong.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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stats.png

Books read: 10
Pages read: 3,728
Approximate words read: 932,000
Books bought: 4
ARCs recieved: 6

NEW
New authors read:
 16 | New series started: 4

FORMATS
Hardbacks read:
 0 | Paperbacks read: 9 | eBooks read: 1

TYPES
Standalones read:
3 | Books within series read: 6 | Anthologies read: 1

GENRES
New Adult: 0 | Young Adult: 9 | Middle Grade: 1
Fantasy: 4 | Sci-Fi: 2 | Thriller: 2 | Contemporary: 1

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What books did you read in August? What was your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

REVIEW | Prisoner of Ice & Snow by Ruth Lauren

35382914Name: Prisoner of Ice and Snow
Author: Ruth Lauren
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Publication Date: 7th September 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.

No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …

An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable.

 KEY WORDS: Adventure, mystery, sisterhood.

*I received an eARC of this novel from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

It’s been a while since I’ve read a middle grade novel, and I didn’t actually realise it was MG when I got this from Netgalley. However, it was a fun and easy read that clensed my palette after a really heavy, mind-consuming novel.

Prisoner of Ice and Snow is a really beautiful story of sisterhood and adventure, set in a matriarchal kingdom which is exactly what girls should be reading at school age to empower them, stregthen their friendships and familial bonds and make them realise that they can do anything. The protagonist, Valor, and her sister, Sasha, a twin sisters and daughters of the Queen’s Head Huntwoman (their mother) and Adviser (their father). Just the fact that the mother was the huntswoman and not adviser made me smile. Tough women who know how to fight is everything I love and having that as a role model to 13/14 year old Valor is brilliant. The royal succession goes down the female line and, okay, yes it’s still inequality and no, our society shouldn’t be that way, but I love the idea of young girls reading that women can be Queen instead of their younger brothers as in British history. That was the worst realisation for 6/7 year old Imi. I digress…

The novel is short and easy reading for those younger readers, taking you on a sweet journey that is surprisingly like the tag line of ‘Frozen meets Prison Break’! Even as a MG novel, it still captivated me enough to stay up late to finish it. I would definitely recommend this more to younger readers but if you fancy something less intense, then this might be the next read for you!

CURRENTLY READING: Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 7th September 2017

Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.

No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …

An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable.

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TOP TEN TUESDAY | Back To School Freebie: Ten Books That Should Be on the School Syllabus

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and I love a good list so here goes!

 

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
(Primary/Secondary/Sixth Form)

I think I will probably end up having Harry Potter on most of the lists I do for this. It has influenced so much of my life that it seems reasonable for it to continually appear. Rowling, through a magical world of wizards, witches and Hogwarts, taught us all the most important life lessons which we will always hold with us – love, friendship, bravery, loyalty – and these fantastic stories should undoubtable be told and taught in schools for the rest of time.

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven 
(Secondary)

Laura Steven’s debut novel which is to be released in March 2018 discusses the incredibly important topics of high school bullying, slut shaming and revenge porn. If nothing else, the themes within this book are ones that need to be addressed in schools and, for me, this is the most important release of 2018 which I have read so far.

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Gone series by Michael Grant
(Secondary)

This came to me like a revelation because it’s been years since I read this series but it truly is fantastic. Set in a dystopia where one day all the adults just disappeared and this world is now run by adolescents – it has a similar feel to Lord of the Flies but with mutants thrown into the mix. Basically, it’s the perfect update for the GCSE syllabus if you want a more modern story which young people are more likely to connect with.

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Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
(Secondary)

Another debut novel, this time from Katie Webber, telling the tale of determined Wing Jones who, following a family tragedy, goes out and makes something of herself for the sake of the ones she loves. Heart-warming and inspiring and the perfect addition to English for Years 7-10.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

I strongly believe that Laini Taylor is one of the greatest writers of this generation (with the other two also entries on this list) and the beautiful way she crafts worlds, lives and stories should be studied by all. Her metaphors and similes, especially in this fantastic novel, deserve to be on the syllabus.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Narrated by Death, a novel set within the depths of World War II which I wouldn’t be surprised to already find on the syllabus – it just wasn’t when I was still at school. Historical background, while conveying the power of literature, all with a far more interesting narrator than your average GCSE or A Level text.

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Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Entry number two in the greatest writers of this generation category is Leigh and her incredible spin-off duology in the Grishaverse. Her world-building is easily the best I have encountered and this tale of gangs, magic and mystery is undoubtably a favourite. If it had been on my syllabus, maybe I would have done better in A Level Eng Lit.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Easily the most important book I read during my school years which has stuck with me ever since and I still quote as being the best book I’ve ever read. The Kite Runner was on my A Level syllabus so why can’t this masterpiece be on it too? Following the life of a young Afghan woman through war, loss, life and fate.

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

I would say this is probably my wild card entry. I am a sucker for a CoHo novel and It Ends With Us is the one that impacted me most. I spent all night sobbing into my pillow until I could compose myself. A heart-breaking story of domestic abuse and the strength required to live through and confront it. It allowed me to question whether I could leave someone in the same situation and that is important for everyone to question.

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A Darker Shade of Magic series by V. E. Schwab
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

The third and final, ‘greatest writer of our generation’ for me goes to the Queen of all things fantasy, Victoria Schwab. Everything she writes deserves to be taught to all and read by all. This particular series is rife with detailed characters, intriguing plots and the most beautifully built worlds – three different Londons to be precise.

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