30 September 2017

Monthly Wrap-Up // September 2017

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I know I say this all the time, but I don’t know where this year is going. This month has just flown by. I’m sure this has to do with the fact I was on holiday for part of it so time passed way faster as I had such a great time away. But being away means I’ve got out of the routine of blogging and work and those are the things which I usually use to keep track of my days so time has passed at a crazy pace. Add in the fact that so many terrible things have happened this month and it’s also felt like such a long month as well. I know I don’t need to remind you all but with the earthquakes in Mexico and the hurricanes which have hit the Caribbean and some places in the US so it’s also sucked because why does all this stuff keep happening? And then there’s just Donald Trump, that dude, I just can’t even. Basically, my personal life and reading life, that’s been awesome this month, outside of my personal bubble the world just seems to have gone tits up, it really has.

Can’t Stop Listening

Sky Is A Neighbourhood – Foo Fighters
Younger Now – Miley Cyrus
What About Us – P!nk

September Reads

The NaturalsKiller InstinctAll InBad BloodThe Wall of Winnipeg and MeDear AaronKultiMoxie
East in ParadisefirebloodAcceptance18192717The SilkwormCareer of Evil
TrustWhen It's RealUnder LockeLingusThe Hook Up

September Posts

September Links

I’ve been away and during my hiatus I read posts but did no saving (sorry guys, they were some good posts too). I promise to get back on it in October, I want to show the blogger love.

I’m sure I’ve missed September stuff, lots of it. This has been my month, though, disorganised and fun, for the most part. Anyone got some September highlights they want to share? What was your favourite book of the month?

27 September 2017

Wintersong // A Breath-taking Read I Wanted To Reread As Soon As I Finished

Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones
Published: 7th February 2017

Source: Bought

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

My Rating:
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
Wintersong has been on my shelf since its release. I was so excited for it. Everything about the book looked like it would tick my boxes and when I got it (both on Kindle and a physical copy) I allowed it to gather dust. There was no reason for it. I was no less excited once I got it but I just wasn’t in the right mood for reading at that point. Now, several months later, I was ready.

I adored every page of this magical book. It is not fast-paced. It is not action-packed. It was heart-wrenching and heart-breaking and utterly a work of beauty. It’s a book filled with flawed characters and flawed people learning who they are, what they love, and who they wish to be. I was sucked in from page one and when it ended I just wanted to go right on back to the start and reread.

I was sucked straight into this story and the magical writing. The words are almost musical, there is a rhythm to the writing. If I knew more about music I would describe the pacing in musical terms but I do not and I currently can't be bothered to google it. It's safe to say a love of music is apparent throughout this book. I wanted to listen to all the classical music whilst I read and the care for the music within the book is obvious. It’s not stated that Liesl loves music, but it’s obvious within every word the characters who have music in their blood and those who do not.

This is a character-driven book and Liesl was not always the most sympathetic character. She is jealous and melancholy. She is prone to self-pity and self-loathing. She doesn't see the light and beauty within herself and that is frustrating to read as she caring and talented and so willing to sacrifice her own needs for others. Even when she acts selfishly there are grains of goodness in it. I both loved and hated her and she was spectacular. It was only after I finished reading that I learnt that the author actually made Liesl bipolar like herself and so the mood changes within Liesl and her ups and downs. Her obsession with creating perfect music and then her dispassion at other times becomes understandable and I really do think that was done brilliantly. When Liesl is up she is magnetic and charming and you love her dedication to what she does. She is fascinating. When she is down she is moody and prone to self-pity and at those times it’s very easy to dislike her.

As for the Goblin King, he was swoon-worthy and brilliant. He was awful and mischievous and utterly captivating. I understood the fascination with him and I wanted to learn all of his secrets. He seemed so utterly different at times. There was the Goblin King of Liesl’s childhood who was sweet and played games with her but could be trusted. Then there was the wicked king who stole Liesl’s sister away and forced her to follow him to her kingdom. The one who played games and deceived Liesl constantly. And then there was the one who just wanted Liesl to open up to him, to share her music and believe she is more than she thought of herself. That she deserved more and could be more. It was that final Goblin King who didn’t always show himself but was always there who I loved. He was so much more than he appeared and I know Liesl saw it too, had seen it when she was younger. The romance between him and Liesl was breath-taking, I adored seeing their feelings develop with one another. I was there cheering them on every step of the way. It was amazing and the romance is the element I adored. It made the book for me.

Whenever I put this book down it was constantly on my mind. At first, I thought I wasn’t too absorbed in the story due to the slow start as the story developed but it's one of those books which holds your attention even after finishing. I wanted more and got just enough. It was brilliant and fantastic and I loved every page. Every word. Just everything. I'm glad I read it and it has been firmly placed within my favourites to be reread continually until the next book is out.

Is there a book you waited far too long to read and utterly adored? And have you read Winterson, do you agree with my take on it?

25 September 2017

Fireblood // My Expectations Were Low But It Wasn’t Terrible

Published: 7th September 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
My Rating:
In this action-packed sequel to Frostblood, the future of Ruby's world and a court ruled by the love of her life depends on the uncovered secrets of her past. Perfect for fans of Red Queen and Throne of Glass.

Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby's powers and past....

Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax - which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.
I was wary going into this one for a lot of reasons. I enjoyed but didn't love Frostblood so I obviously had a few doubts about the sequel, Fireblood. The mere fact the summary implied there was a love triangle didn’t help matters at all. I may not have been head over heels for the romance, but I did like it in that first book so I didn’t want some interloper ruining things for me.

In the first book, the romance bothered me some. I didn't feel like the characters had spent enough time together to feel as strongly for one another as they did. In this second book, I really believed the passion between Arcus and Ruby far more, even if they do spend a lot of the book apart. That pleased me. I think I could feel they had a connection even if they had a few miles between them. Maybe the romance was just written better, I don’t know. I think it helped that the time they did spend together there was a fire between them and they obviously cared for one another. Arcus was adorable throughout and even when he was a jealous belly he was still sweet.

The third point to this love triangle was newbie Kai. I thought I would hate him on principle but he was actually a good character. Whilst Arcus was reserved (on the outside anyway) Kai was impulsive and flirty and just the opposite of Arcus (obviously because the two in a love triangle are always opposites) but they were similar as well. Both were acting for the best of those around them. They cared for Ruby in their own way and were looking to prevent harm coming to her. Kai wasn't a bad guy and I think once I got past the forced love interest feel I really liked him.

The story was still no more standout in YA fantasy but it was enjoyable. I won't reveal the plot but the journey and trials in Sudesia were easy to read even if they lacked originality. I sped through the story and whilst I rolled my eyes at the progression of the whole prophecy and at the reveals which were so obvious I did enjoy myself.

I admit to skimming the book at times as the story did feel a bit stale but I will still be checking out the next book if I get a chance because whilst it lacks originality it does kind of suck you into the story. And Blake is skilled at killer cliffhangers too.

Anyone else found themself continuing a series when the book summary has left them with doubts? Anyone else read this, what did you think?

24 September 2017

Sunday Summary // 24.09.2017

Sunday Summary
Hi guys! I’m back, You’ve probably seen my name cropping up in comments again, I got back off my holidays on Monday. I walked into my house at 2am and was both wide awake and exhausted. I had a great break. I sat and read lots and really had a great time away. I was surprised how much I both did and didn’t miss blogging. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? I missed the comments and reading the posts and writing posts but I also didn’t miss the stress I put on myself. I am quite a chilled person and so when I was taking a planned break from blogging I definitely noticed that I felt far more chilled not blogging and I realised I was obviously putting more pressure on myself than I realised. I’m back now, though. I am not going to stress myself out and I will blog as and when I can and I’m so excited to get back to it. I really did miss writing posts, I found myself thinking of lots o posts I wanted to write when I got back. Let’s hope I remember everything I wanted to say.

I thought I’d be back sooner than this but then figured I’d focus on catching up on blog reading. I mean, I mostly caught up on Monday but then I thought I’d focus on writing posts in advance for next week and then just have this nice Sunday post which is really the past three weeks (I think). It’s totally crazy, I’ve basically been gone most of September when I think about it.

So, I’m trying to think of everything which has happened while I’ve been gone. I spent time seeing friends before I went on holiday. I had a very lovely meal with some folks from work and an old member of the team, we went to this really great Indian restaurant near me and I really enjoyed it. They do really great food and the folks there are really friendly as well. I also saw one of my friends and helped her with a DIY project she has going in her new house. She’s attempting to create a distressed look on her bed frame and I think we sort of figured it out but I went on holiday before I could see the finished result.

Obviously, I’ve been on holiday. I went to Cyprus for a week with my mom and we had a lovely relaxing holiday. We didn’t do loads but I kind of like that. We spent a day or two by the pool but we couldn’t spend too much time in the sun in the middle of the day because it just got too warm. We also went to the beach a couple of times and can I just say how nice that was. I live in the middle of the UK so the nearest beach is about a 4-hour drive or something stupid so I get excited every time I see the sea. And the sea was so blue! And it was warm! Mostly, though, we read. I think I get my reading habits from my mom because we read a whole lot. I read 8 books while I was away and she read 12 and it was brilliant. The best part was we went out to eat each night, I ate a whole lot and I had so many delicious meals without having to walk too far from my hotel room. We also found this really great bar which did a lot of different cocktails so I drank a lot of cocktails during my week away. Like a whole lot.

I was glad to return, though. I missed my bed and I really missed feeling cold and wearing jumpers. I wouldn’t cope well permanently living in a warm place, I think. I was impressed I came back with a vague tan (I am very pale so the fact I came back without sunburn was a huge success for me).

Sadly, when we came back me and my mom found out my stepdad’s mom had been rushed to hospital the day of our flight which obviously put a dampener on things. She’s ok, she’s up and about again now and seems to be alright. It was just one of those terrible things to come back to.

Once I was back I was straight back to work and I feel exhausted. We’re behind on work (again) and so it was all about playing catch up as soon as I walked through the door. It was the same when it came to blog catch up as well, I still need to reply to comments and my grand return to blogging may get delayed another week because my laptop is giving me grief. I booted it up when I got home and the screen is dying! I think it’s a loose connection or a faulty wire with the screen connection but I’m annoyed because it means I need to get a new one and I was hoping to be able to put off getting a new laptop for another few months. I could see a purchase on the horizon but I hate being pushed into doing things. Hopefully, I’ll get a new one and get it all set up reasonably fast but we’ll see. I’ve basically spent my days outside work reading up on laptops and figuring out what I’m looking for.

What I’ve Been Reading

All InBad BloodEast in ParadisefirebloodAcceptance18192717The SilkwormCareer of EvilThe Wall of Winnipeg and MeTrustWhen It's RealDear AaronKultiUnder Locke
Guys, I have been reading all the books! I have so many reviews to come and a new favourite author. It was really a good few weeks of reading. As you can see, it’s been a pretty good three weeks of reading. I am impressed with myself and I am proud. I went through a mystery phase and then while I was away I could feel a book hangover threatening as I read the three Cormoran Strike books and adored them so I immediately turned to the romance I’d loaded my Kindle up with and I fell head over heels for Mariana Zapata. I will religiously reread her books, there were awesome. The only miss of her books so far has Been Under Locke and that was more of a me thing, I’m not the biggest fan of motorcycle gangs and I didn’t fall for Dex like I thought I might (he was way cuter in his Kulti cameo). Kulti, Wall of Winnipeg and Dear Aaron, though, I had the silliest grin on my face reading those by the pool.

New To Me

All InBad BloodHunting GroundThe Wall of Winnipeg and MeTrustWhen It's RealDear AaronAfterlifeNorthern LightsThe Subtle KnifeThe Amber SpyglassKultiUnder LockeLingusRhythm, Chord & MalykhinWait for It
I feel no shame in my purchases, I bought a whole bunch of Kindle treats to ensure I stayed entertained whilst away and I read a few of them, but not as many as my spending would make it seem I planned to. And, some of these were bought while I was away or during Kindle deals because being in a foreign country is not enough to curb my spending, yay for no roaming charges!). I bought Mariana Zapata’s entire back catalogue (obviously). And a couple of other books. As a whole, it wasn’t obscene amounts of spending but with me getting a new laptop (hopefully) I will be trying to not buy too much because this was not what I was expecting to be paying out. Good job I’ve just gotten myself a whole heap of books, isn’t it?

And that is my time away. I hope to be about next week but I might not have as many posts up as I hoped because technology is against me. How has everyone been while I was away? Anyone got books they absolutely must recommend?