JUL WRAP UP | The Books & the Stats

This month, I’m writing this post on 31st July so if it doesn’t go live until mid-August, at least I started with good intentions. I’m getting better and hey, maybe this is the month that I post more than just my wrap up!

July has been busy, culminating in YALC last weekend. I don’t know yet whether I’m going to do a YALC post or not, but I will say that with that and my birthday, my July haul is off the charts. I’m never going to catch up on my TBR.

Big stat for the month though – this was my most consistently enjoyable reading month of 2019 so far with my star average being 4.63! My next closest was January with 4.42!

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TOP TEN TUESDAY | Top Ten Books on My Autumn TBR

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!

I have so many books on my TBR that I actually have a spreadsheet detailing what I need to read and by when. It’s long and organised and mad but these ten books below are the ones I’m most looking forward to!

Ringer (Replica #2) by Lauren Oliver
Release:
3rd October 2017

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of Replica this time last year and absolutely adored it, so when Ringer was released on Edelweiss, I snapped it up! It’s next on my TBR once I finish Tower of Dawn!

The Replica series tells the story of two girls, Lyra and Gemma, when their lives become intertwined after Lyra and a boy known only as 72 escape the Haven Institute, a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.

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The Fandom by Anna Day
Release:
5th October 2017

I somehow managed to get this beautiful paperback ARC at YALC, moments after I walked into the convention hall. I am really intrigued by the concept and will definitely be reading this one soon.

A YA fantasy, set within a YA fantasy. Cosplayers go to comic-con and, after a freak accident, find themselves trapped within the fantasy world from their favourite fandom.

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A Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Release:
26th September 2017

I am unbelievably excited to be transported back into the incredible Grishaverse. Leigh Bardugo is one of the best world-builders out there right now and I have loved everything she has written. Give me more.

Six short stories set within the Grishaverse which explore familiar lands and new, inspired by myth, fairytale and folklore.

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Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Release:
3rd October 2017

I have read every CoHo book, some more than once, and her books mean so much to me. They tear me apart and stitch me back together. I cry a lot. They are my catharsis and I’ve heard lots of good things about her next novel, her first YA since Losing Hope.

Without Merit explores family dynamics and the layers of lies that tie a family together through the eyes of the imperfect daughter, Merit Voss. 

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Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher

Much like Colleen, I love Tarryn’s writing. Plus, sometimes it hard to like one and not the other considering what a double act Hoover/Fisher are. Bad Mommy is one of the few that I haven’t yet read along with the new release Athiests Who Kneel and Pray. Both are on my bookshelf begging to be read.

When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it’s not because she likes the neighbourhood, or even because she likes the house. It’s because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.

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Illuminae series by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

My friends kept going on and on at me telling me I would love this series so I decided to buy them and now they’ve been sat on my shelves a month or so, waiting to be read. I guess I’d better get on with it!

Kady’s planet has been invaded and she and her ex-boyfriend need to work together to fight their way to an evacuating fleet. Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews and more.

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False Hearts by Laura Lam

Having read the Micah Grey trilogy and fallen in love, I figured I should add Laura Lam’s other novels to my TBR. I’m sure I’ll love this adventure just as much as the last.

Two formerly conjoined sisters are ensnared in a murderous plot involving psychoactive drugs, shared dreaming, organized crime, and a sinister cult. 

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Top of the NY Times bestseller list since its release, The Hate U Give, has been widely recognised as the book to read in 2017… so I read it I must!

A young, black girl, trapped between the two worlds of her poor neighbourhood and surburban preparatory school, has her life turned upside down after she witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed, childhood best friend by a police officer.

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And I Darken by Kiersten White

I purchased this and its sequel, Now I Rise, at YALC having had it on a long list of books I should get for a while. Yet, since its purchase, I have had more pressing things to read. It sounds just like my kind of book so I would love to get around to this soon.

A gender-swapped, historcal YA retelling the story of the Prince of Wallachia, also knowsn as Vlad the Impaler. Political and historical with a ruthless heroine, stabbing, murder and volatility.

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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Another novel that I haven’t stopped hearing about since it’s release so I feel the need to see what all the fuss is about. Especially with the tv series going ahead, I want to read it before that comes out.

A murder mystery surrounding five high school students who have detention together, but only four come out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

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you

What’s on your Autumn TBR? Have you read any on my list that I should read sooner? Let me know in the comments or link me to your TTT for me to check out!


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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

you

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

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Ten Hidden Gem Series

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!

This was a lot more difficult this week because, to be honest, I’m a bit of a mainstream reader. HOWEVER, these are books which I haven’t heard loads of buzz about in the same way that certain series have become almost household names within the book-lovers sphere. Maybe you don’t think they’re hidden but either way, have a list!

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

I’m definitely going to be talking about this series for some time because I cannot believe that I’d never heard of it until I met Laura Lam in March. Now I’m completely mad for her writing. These books were beautifully written and one of my favourite series. If you are a fan of fantasy, magicians, circus and some good old LGBT+ representation, this is for you.

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Shadow Falls series by C. C. Hunter
KEY WORDS: Supernatural, summer camp, teen drama, trashy but great.

I am an absolute sucker for boarding school/summer camp supernatural novels. Vampire Academy is a long-time favourite so when my lovely friend Alys recommended Shadow Falls to me I was all in. It’s a little trashy teen drama but sometimes that exactly what I fancy. Vampires, werewolves, witches, fae, every kind of supernatural you can imagine all in a summer camp for ‘delinquents’. It is fantastic. Plus, with around twelve novels including the novellas and spin offs, it’ll keep you busy for a while.

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Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson
KEY WORDS: Ghosts, investigation, London, murder, mystery.

It’s been a while since I read Shades of London (and we’re still waiting on the fourth book) so maybe that’s why I haven’t heard a lot of buzz. Come on, Maureen, where have you been? Ghosts are all over London and Jack the Ripper is back – contemporary London, plus Victorian London, plus boarding school, plus ghosts. What more do you need, well, except the end of the series…

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The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas
KEY WORDS: Elemental magic, adventure, Victorian London, Middle East.

I can’t actually remember how I found out about this trilogy but I have to say, I haven’t heard very much about it since I started it. I loved this magical series – Victorian London (can you tell I like the Victorians?) crossed with mages in middle eastern desserts. Iolanthe Seabourne is my angel. It’s pretty great, I have to say.

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Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
KEY WORDS: Psychological, mystery, adventure, mind powers, head fuck.

Another great trilogy which I read a while ago but I will be all over The Becoming of Noah Shaw, a spin off from this series, when it releases at the end of this year. Paranormal, weird mind powers and psychological thriller all rolled into three mysterious novels. To be honest, I think a re-read might be in order…

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Law of the Lycans series by Nicky Charles
KEY WORDS: Supernatural, werewolves, trashy, romance.

Welcome to my wildcard entry. Imi will now tell you about her childhood. So I first read The Mating when I was about 15 on my phone in Biology because I hated listening to Dr Penny droning on about something I didn’t understand. I read the trilogy with ease and loved every second. Werewolves + romance = guilty pleasure. I continued to re-read them almost every year since AND THEN Nicky Charles kept writing spin offs and prequels and now there’s around ten of them! They’re all short and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for them.

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Rebellion series by Josephine Boyce
KEY WORDS: Dystopia, Europe, A* female protagonist, fast paced.

Josie is a self-published author who has done the most amazing job at producing a new and interesting dystopian series set in Europe. It seems so real and the politics within it reflect the world we live in now, making it seem all the more like it could actually happen. Due to her self-published status, this series is probably the most hidden of my hidden gems, but definitely a favourite. The first two books which are currently out work well as a duology, though there is a third novel on the way.

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Love Me With Lies series by Tarryn Fisher
KEY WORDS: Romance, amnesia, suspense, all the draaaaamaaa.

I heard of Tarryn Fisher due to my love of Colleen Hoover and if anyone knows Colleen, you’ve probably heard of her and Tarryn’s antics. Now, as much as I love CoHo, I have now become probably more fond of Tarryn’s writing now. She puts so much of herself into her novels and characters and I relate to so much of what she writes. The Love Me With Lies series was her first published novels and her only romance until the recently published Atheists Who Kneel and Pray. If you don’t mind having your heart shattered, repaired and then shattered again, give it a go because I loved this series. A lot of drama, hurt and emotion as well as love.

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I know that’s only eight, but I guess that means I’m failing this week…

HOLIDAY WRAP UP: A Week in Madiera

The perfect holiday read varies for everyone and in the past I have enjoyed intense thrillers, easy-reading romance, high fantasy series and young adult contemporary from the bliss of a sunbed by the sea. As you can see by the novels I ploughed through on my week-long trip to the island of Madeira, the style and genre changed every day.

 

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

This anthology of villainous tales was a perfect sunbed read, allowing me to read a tale before taking a break to hit the pool or get a drink from the bar. I really enjoyed the concept behind it 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).

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 or maybe even read it on your own sunbed next summer, but it’s worth reading.

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.

A few years ago I spent a seven day holiday reading three different fantasy series, Throne of Glass (Sarah J Maas), Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor) and Angelfall (Susan Ee) and that was a lot to handle in terms of world jumping and a lot of books. This time, I conquered just one series and it was everything I wanted. 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. Whether you read them on holiday or from the comfort of your own home by the fire, 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.

Along with The Exact Opposite of Okay, this novel was probably the best format for sunbed perfection. Easy reading and fast paced leading to a pretty chill day. I, however, did not read this on a sunbed, instead I read it in the four hours from leaving my hotel to half way through my flight home. If filled the time well and I enjoyed the story. Worth a read upon it’s release in September and perfect for younger readers in the YA category.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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REVIEW | Micah Grey Series by Laura Lam

MG.jpegName: Pantomime, Shadowplay Masquerade
Authors: Laura Lam
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT+
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Rating: ★★★★★
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In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more . . .

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilisation. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

KEY WORDS: Intersex, queer, magical, circus, adventure, coming of age, SO SO GOOD.

I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Lam at the release party for The Song Rising in Edinburgh in March of this year. She told me about the Micah Grey series and that she would be at YALC in the summer so I figured I would buy Pantomime and read it before I met her again. I failed. I spent half the time too busy with finishing university and the other half staring at my TBR and putting it off. When you meet an author and they talk about their novels with passion and love and all the hard work they put into it you want to love it. Sometimes it makes me put off reading it. I don’t want to not love it and that makes me anxious so I postpone reading it forever.

I should have read it on the train home from Edinburgh the moment I bought it.

If I had done what I should have and read the bloody book before YALC, I could have hugged her and thanked her for writing one of my favourite fantasy series I have ever read.

This magical adventure through high society, circuses, magician’s shows and a land like no other, Lam leads you through the turbulent life of Micah Grey, formerly known as Miss Iphigenia Laurus. A coming of age story which explores gender, sexuality, and growing up in a way no other Young Adult novel could.

From start to finish, I was gripped to the story and Lam’s writing style made it easy to get sucked into Micah’s world. Expect to experience love, loss and everything inbetween in this thrilling trilogy.

CURRENTLY READING: Shadowplay by Laura Lam

Old magics are waking. But will the world survive their return?

Micah Grey almost died when he fled the circus with Drystan – now he and the ex-clown seek to outrun disaster. Drystan persuades his old friend Jasper Maske, a once-renowned magician, to take them in. But when he agrees to teach them his trade, Maske is challenged to the ultimate high-stakes duel by his embittered arch-nemesis.

Micah must perfect his skills of illusion, while navigating a tender new love. An investigator is also hunting the person he once seemed to be – a noble family’s runaway daughter. As the duel draws near, Micah increasingly suffers from visions showing him real magic and future terrors. Events that broke the ancient world are being replayed. But can Micah’s latent powers influence this deadly pattern?

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CURRENTLY READING: Pantomime by Laura Lam

In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more . . .

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

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