EASTER READATHON | My TBR

My wonderful friend Kate started the Easter Readathon last year, which is quite simply four days of pure reading bliss. This year she’s added some extra challenges and reading sprints on twitter. For the full announcement post, click here!

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REVIEW | Vengeful (Villains #2) by V.E. Schwab

Name: Vengeful (Villains #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Books
Format: UK Hardback
Source: Waterstones Pre-Order
Rating: ★★★★★
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Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.

They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then—Eli killed Victor, once and for all.

Or so he thought—but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.

If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?

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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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TOP TEN TUESDAY | Ten Books That Feature Characters Who Have to Fight to Survive

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 found this quite hard to choose what to do this week but as this is my all-time favourite (though possibly overdone) book trope, I thought I would go for this. Basically, if your novel has a character who has a pretty shitty childhood and learns to fight to survive and save the world/their friends then I am there for it.

 

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
The Assassin’s Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, Untitled #7

Celaena Sardothien is without a doubt my favourite fictional character of all time. She is arrogant and fierce and ruthless because she has had to be in order to survive in Adarlan. At sixteen years old, she was the most famous assassin in the land without anybody even knowing her face. Throughout the series, she grows and learns the other ways she needs to fight for those she loves and it only makes me love her more. Celaena is the definition of this trope.

Infamous Assassin, Celaena Sardothien, is released from Endovier salt mines, a prison camp, in order to compete to be the Royal Assassin to the King of Adarlan, her sworn enemy.

Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant

This may be an unpopular opinion but Tris Prior is probably my other favourite fictional character. I have her three ravens tattooed on my ribs, each representing my favourite characters who made sacrifices, similar to her three family members she left behind. Tris started from the very bottom with no experience of fighting or survival and she learned everything she could in order to do the right thing. *SPOILER* She gave her life for the ones she loved and I believe that to be the bravest thing, the right thing at the time. Her arc was one of the absolute best because you had her fall from grace where she was reckless and wrong and then she learnt. She grew. I will defend Tris until the end. 

A dystopia where people are separated based on their personality traits. Upon reaching choosing age, Tris Prior and her brother both choose different factions to their family but Tris is divergent, meaning she could fit into more than one factions. If anybody finds out, she could be killed for it.

 

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice

Rose Hathaway is the definition of fighting for her friends and loved ones. That is all she has trained for her entire life as a dhampir and guardian. Rose is fierce, loyal to a fault, and will do anything for those she loves, but she’s also sarcastic, insolent and rebellious. I am completely in love with her character. This series makes me so happy, it’s my go to when I’m in a reading slump.

Rose is dhampir, born of both human and vampire bloodlines but Lissa is a Moroi Princess, powerfully magical and must be protected at all times from the evil Strigoi vampires. Rose has been protecting Lissa her whole life and is determined to be appointed her offical guardian but after leaving St Vladimir’s Academy for two years due to an unknown threat to Lissa’s life, the pair are dragged back to school where Rose finds she isn’t as good as she thought, and Lissa might still be in danger. 

The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon
The Bone Season, The Mime Order, The Song Rising, Untitled #4, Untitled #5, Untitled #6, Untitled #7

Paige Mahoney is clairvoyant and, therefore, will always be in danger in her society. She’s part of the clairvoyant underworld of London and it is hella cool. Also, when captured and taken to Sheol I, she doesn’t half goddamn fight to get out and save as many voyants as she can. If you haven’t read this series, it’s my ultimate book rec. Samantha Shannon is a gem and every single instalment is magic.

Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing. Attacked, drugged and kidknapped, Paige is transported to Sheol I, a penal colony in Oxford controlled by an otherwordly race. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

 

Monsters of Verity duology by V. E. Schwab
This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet

I want to be Kate Harker. She’s ruthless and without a doubt a would-be villain as she tries to live up to her father’s reputation. She fights with everything in her, firstly to be who her father wants her to be, and then for herself and her life. She is selfish. She is cruel. She’s also one of the best fictional characters in YA. Schwab has a way of writing the most complex and compelling people and Kate Harker is no exception.

Dystopic and monstrous. A city is divided, one half is ruled by monsters and to stay safe, you must pay. The other half ruled by a man trying to protect the human race. Kate and August are heirs to their respective halves of the city and natural enemies, but when thrown together to flee for their lives, things change.

The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter

In reality, all four of the protagonists in each book in the series fights to survive and to save the ones they love. Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter each fight in a different way for the same goal but my ultimate favourite is Scarlet. Reading her book was when I realised that I really loved this series. Don’t get me wrong, Cinder was great but a little predictable. It was Scarlet when I realised I was fully onboard with everything going on. These four women are truly fantastic.

A futuristic take on classic fairytales. Weaving together the tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White in an adventure to save the universe.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin

If you don’t know who Feyre Archeron is, I feel like you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years. If that’s true, then you should pick up a copy of ACOTAR immediately. Having lost everything in her childhood, Feyre learnt to hunt to feed her father and two sisters. She did everything she could for them and when the beast came knocking on their door, she went with him to another world just to ensure her family were okay. In Prythian, she still fights for what is right and throughout this series, she grows from strength to strength. No spoilers but she’s pretty badass.

High fantasy loosely based on Beauty and the Beast – Feyre kills a beast in the forest and is then taken to the land of the Fae as punishment.

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone, Seige and Storm, Ruin and Rising

Alina Starkov is thrown quite literally into the lion’s den when she is taken to train to be Grisha. She has to learn to use powers she never knew she had and fight for the survival of her country against forces of evil which she can’t fully comprehend. This was the first Bardugo book I read which started my now lifelong love affair with Kaz Brekker (of Six of Crows). Her world building is extraordinary.

The Shadow Fold is a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh, splitting the nation of Ravka in two. When Alina’s best friend almost dies, she releases a dormant power which saves his life, causing her to be whisked off to the Royal Court to join the ranks of the Grisha, a magical elite.

 

An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, A Reaper at the Gates, Untitled #4

Laia of Serra is forced into the revolution when her brother is arrested and she cannot leave him behind. A young woman with loyalty and bravery coming out of her ears, she becomes a spy for the rebels in order to gain their help in finding and freeing her brother from evil’s clutches. Laia is fierce and strong with a heart of pure gold, fighting for freedom and the ones she loves.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. An adventure bringing together two young people from opposing walks of life to fight for their freedom.

The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas
The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights

Iolanthe Seabourne is prophesied to be the greatest elemental mage and saviour of the realm, the only problem is that she’s sixteen and has had no training. Her task of defeating the Bane, the most powerful mage and tyrant the world has ever known is suicide and yet, with the help of Prince Titus she still takes on the task.  Throughout the trilogy, she learns, fights and adventures through Victorian England and a magical Middle Eastern Dessert land. There’s even a little bit of a Twelfth Night/She’s The Man feel to it.

A magical fantasy focussed on Ionanthe Seabourne, a young mage with the realm on her shoulders after she is prophesied to be their saviour. She, along with Prince Titus, must learn how to wield her elemental magic in order to defeat the tyrant, the Bane.

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What’s are your favourite book tropes? Who are your favourite characters who have to learn to fight to survive? Let me know in the comments or link me to your TTT for me to check out!


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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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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: Because You Love to Hate Me by Ameriie

Because-You-Love-to-Hate-Me.jpgName: Because You Love to Hate Me 
Authors: Renée Adhieh, Ameriie (Editor), Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon
Genres: Young Adult, Anthology
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .
Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon
BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

KEY WORDS: Villains, short stories, fairytales, retellings.

Having read books by Renée Ahdieh, Marissa Meyer, Victoria Schwab and Samantha Shannon, I thought Because You Love to Hate Me would be a good investment, even if I only enjoyed their stories and, as the title of the anthology suggests, we all love to hate villains. Not only did I really love these retellings of classical, mythical, fairytale and new villains, I also found a load of new authors who I now want to check out.

Each story brings something new to a traditional tale or fabricates their own story from a prompt given to them by a booktuber. The booktuber then gives commentary on the story in a short excerpt after the tale.

I shan’t tell you the prompts of each story because my favourite thing was reading them and trying to work out the prompt which was occasionally quite complex and other times as simple as saying, “This villain. Go!” What I will tell you is to look out for the following stories as these were my favourites (though it’s definitely hard to choose):

  • The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni
  • Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon
  • Marigold by Samantha Shannon
  • You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera

CURRENTLY READING: Because You Love To Hate Me

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

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