November 2018 Wrap Up

Hello!

I am here with November Wrap Up. This month I read a total of 8 books and a total of 3,238 pages.

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Top 5 Books of 2017

Hi again! I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas and the end of the year. In celebration of this, today’s topic is our top books of 2017

Top 5 Wednesday was created over on BookTube by the wonderful Laniey at gingerreadslaniey and run by the lovely Sam of Thoughts on Tomes . Also you can check out the Goodreads page for past and future topics.

These books are listed in no particular order.


The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

The Trials of Morrigan Crow
 
This is such a fun and whimsical series. I have a full review here if you want to know all my thoughts. Nevermoor might just be the Harry Potter for this generation of young readers. I adore everything about this book. Nevermoor, Morrigan, Hawthorn, Jupiter, The Hotel Deucalion and even Fen. Nevermoor has all the magic and whimsy of our favourite worlds like Wonderland and Whoville. I really hope they adapt this into a movie or tv series because I would love to see Nevermoor come to life.

 


The Boy Made of Snow by Chloe Mayer

The Boy Made of Snow

 
I adore this book so much, which was a big surprise for me since I’m not a fan of WWII fiction.  I have a full review so I won’t ramble on too long. I love Mayer’s writing. It is beautiful. So much so that I found myself slowing my reading pace and rereading sections just to savour it. I could have the whole novel wallpapered in my room and I would be so happy.
 
The narrative is beautifully crafted. It takes the dangers of living during WWII, twists them with the whimsy of fairytales and lets you deep inside a broken family who are trying to hard to be ‘normal’. I’m in awe of the way Mayer was able to balance to historic elements with the fairy tale threads. And I loved that the fairy tales were used to explore the relationship between Mother and Son. Seeing what each character got out of the same story broke my heart. Safe to say I want everyone to read this! Pretty please!


The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

 

Rose’s prose is stunning it has a way of invoking strong images without overusing adjectives. For example, here the Arky, reflects on his life not only about love but about what it means to be an artist and to live creatively:

 

You would be amazed how rare it is for artists to feel moments of true satisfaction. When they’re inside their craft, inside colour or movement or sound, words or clay or pictures or dance, when they submit to the art, that is when they know two things – the void that is life and the pull that is death. The grand and the hollow. The best reflects that. To be such harbingers of truth is not without its cost. It’s no easy task to balance a sense of irrelevance with the longing for glory, the abyss with the applause. 

 

I highly, highly recommend this one, even if you’re not into performance art—I wasn’t. I don’t think it’s something you need to get something from this narrative.

 

Random side note: I am so excited to see two non fiction pieces on my top books of the year. I’ve been trying hard to read more especially after reading these two.

 


The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

 

 

So if you need help, just do as Amanda say and take that doughnut!

The Hate Race by Maxine Benabe Clarke

Hate Race

 

That’s all for me. Comment down below and let me know if you’ve read any of these and which books topped your 2017 reading. 

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and until next time, happy reading!
Dearna

October 2017 Wrap Up

Hello!

I am here with my October 2017 Wrap Up! These are the book I read in October, I kinda failed on the horror, spooky reading but hey Halloween is every day so I’ll get to all those spooky books sometime.

I read a total of 11 books which was way more than I thought. I read 1 Poetry Collection, 1 Middle Grade, 1 Historical Fiction, 1 Horror and 7 Fantasy.

Onto the ratings!

★★★★★

The Trials of Morrigan Crow

The Trails of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend
I have already done a  full review on this book and in case you’ve missed me going on and on about this book; I loved it. I adore everything about it ! Nevermoor, Morrigan, Hawthorn, Jupiter, The Hotel Deucalion and even Fen! Prefect read for any fan of magic and whimsical worlds like Wonderland or Whoville. Waiting for my invitation to the Wundrous Society.

★★★★1/2

Chosen Queen

The Chosen Queen by Joanna Courtney
This is the first book in a series which looks at the three queens of the three man who wanted to rule England in 1066. The Chosen Queen follows young Saxon women, Edyth Alfgarsdottir. Edyth marries the first King of Wales, Griffin. Becoming his Queen catapults Edyth onto the opposing side of a bitter feud between England and Wales. She has to grow up fast but has the support and encouragement of her closest friend, Lady Svana. Years later she ends up in line for the thrown as Harold Godwin’s wife. I adore this book and the thing I love about it is that the friendship between Edyth and Lady Svana is really at the heart of the story. Highly, highly recommend for fans of historical fiction and English medieval history.

★★★★

Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changeling #10) by Nalini Singh
This month was definitely fuelled by my obsession of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling world. I can’t say much since it’s the 10th in the series. This story focuses on Snow Dancer Alpha Hawke and Psy Sieanna Lauren. The war brimming between the three races is still bubbling along under the surface. I think Hawke might be my favourite male lead, but since there’s so many I’d likely change my mind tomorrow.

Tangle of Need (Psy-Changeling #11) by Nalini Singh
Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past. Now comes a new territory, and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to someone else. This was a twist on the whole mating/soul mate story line that I really enjoyed. I love Adria’s character and I think she’s really relatable.

Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling #12) by Nalini Singh
This is the first in the series to have two Psys be the main relationship. We get an inside in the morally grey, almost villain Councillor Kaleb Krychek which I really enjoyed! I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy but I was pleasantly surprised.

Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13) by Nalini Singh
Another Psy/Psy coupling. Tall dark and brooding assassin solider, Vasic falls in love with the empath, Ivy Jane, he’s supposed to protect from danger. I adore Ivy and how determined she is to go after what she wants.

Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #14) by Nalini Singh
Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. Another Psy/Psy paring which I enjoyed but I was really missing the changeling but I did enjoy seeing what was happening in the Psy world and the arrows in particular.

Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15) Nalini Singh
I think this books broke my heart as it exploded with all the warm and fuzzies. This book is like the wrap of the series and is super domestic and adorable. We get snapshots of all the couple we’ve met along the way and it is everything I’ve ever wanted.

Dust of Many by Brian M. Oldham
I was lucky enough to get an ARC copy from the author, so thank you once again Brain! I have done a full review which was all my thoughts and feelings on the story. Overall this is a pretty great start to a new series! I have so many questions and I need to know the answers. Highly recommend if you’re interested in epic fantasy.

 

 ★★★1/2

Peluda

peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva
I have a full review of this collection. I did enjoy the poems and would love to go back to a few of them. However, having no background in Spanish words and phrases I do think I missed some of the meaning. Raw, darkly funny and wholly feminist I would definitely recommend for those poetry fans out there!

 

★★★

Black Tom

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle 
This was my only spooky read for the month. Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. Magic, gangsters in 1920s New York, what more could you ask for? LaValle’s writing is stunning and at times I had to stop and read over lines. It is a retelling or reimagining of one of HP Lovecraft’s stories and because I haven’t read it I think I missed on some important aspects of the narrative. Once I read the Lovecraft story I will definitely revisit this.

 

That’s it for me. Comment down below and let me know what you’re favourite read in October was.
Until next time, happy reading!
Dearna

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Author: Jessica TownsendThe Trials of Morrigan Crow

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books Australia

Published: 10 October 2017

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader

‘A tornado of questions swirled in her head, and all she could do was try to grab them as they flew by.’

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

Miss Morrigan Crow has known since she was born that she will die on Eventide. Although she is the daughter of the distinguished Chancellor Corvus Crow the people of Jackalfax, her family included, will not mourn her passing. Morrigan is wonderful and whimsical eleven-year-old girl, who is desperate to find family and appreciation, all the while resigned to accept the responsibility for all bad luck that plagues Jackalfax. This is the dark reality of being a cursed child. On the eve of Eventide Morrigan receives an invitation to the Wundrous Society sponsored by a man named Jupiter North. Survival and Nevermoor await her.

Morrigan Crow is a fantastic character. She finds herself as the blame of all kinds of disasters from a burnt batch of jam to a boy losing the spelling bee to the Crow’s gardener’s heart attack. But thanks to Jupiter she finds herself living in a hotel that adapts to its guests’ needs and mingles with a cast of crazy characters. She finds out that for her to stay in this wonderful world she must get into The Wundrous Society and in turn face four trails which aren’t what they seem.

This is why I love middle-grade fantasy. I flew through this. It was so much fun and at times suspenseful. There something about this genre that allows the worlds to be innovative, creative and refreshing. Cursed children, brolly rails, secret societies, giant talking cats, magic trails and my new favourite holiday, Hallowmas. Townsend has mixed the whimsy of worlds like Wonderland and Whoville with the dark humour of Lemony Snicket. The Trials of Morrigan Crow is a wondrous adventure, which will ignite the imagination of any reader.

Townsend hasn’t only created a relatable protagonist and an amazingly creative world; she also created a cast of amazing secondary characters. These characters are all well rounded and aren’t just there as props to support Morrigan. Jupiter North is really the child at the heart of this story. He is a mysterious man who is an explorer, hotel proprietor, member of the Wundrous Society and Morrigan’s Patron and guardian. I adore Morrigan and Jupiter’s friendship, mostly how the roles seem reversed with Morrigan being the reserved and sensible one. Along with Jupiter, we have, Fenestra the talking Magnificat, Jupiter’s broody nephew, Jack, a vampire dwarf, an opera singer whose voice summons woodland critters and Hawthorne, Morrigan friend and fellow competitor in the Wundrous Society trials. I adore all these characters and they have—Hawthorne and Jupiter especially—become some of my all-time favourite characters.

I have a feeling this book is going to create a new generation of readers much like Harry Potter did when I was a kid. Please, pretty please can we have some kind of TV or film adaptation! I need to see Nevermoor in Technicolor! All I can say is it’s going to be a long wait for the squeal and my Wundrous Society Invitation.

#TheReadingQuest Wrap Up

Hello!

These are the books I got through during #TheReadingQuest, which took place between Sunday 13 August to Sunday 10 September.

#TheReadingQuest is an awesome four week reading challenge based on video games that was hosted by Read at Midnight. The challenge runs from Sunday 13 August to Sunday 10 August. The challenge runs like a bingo board with each title representing a stage (reading prompt) you must complete. The difference is that you’re starting point on the grid depends on the character class you chose.

I chose the Mage and I was able to get through 4 of the mage quest and 1 side quest. I would’ve liked to have got through more books but a reading slump hit week 3.

reading-quest-board1.png

★★★

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay – Open World 

I have done a full review for this one if you want to know more of my thoughts. This collection is filled with  hard hitting and dark theme. It’s not one I can say I enjoyed reading, in the tradition sense on the word. These stories opened my eyes to worlds I’m lucky enough to not have experienced—sexual assault, abortions, losing a child, mental and physical abuse. This collection with tear out your heart, make your skin crawl but ultimately leave you more empathic.

 

The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley – A Book Based on Mythology 

I am looking forward to reading The Mists of Avalon but my love of the Trojan War myth made me pick this one up first. The Friebrand looks at Kassandra and the people of Troy from her brith to the horrific fall of the city. I did enjoy this, but I think having read a few Trojan War retellings in quick succession meant that this isn’t a favourite of mine. I adore how Bradley portrays her female characters, Helen in particular. I also loved the female friendships in this books. I wasn’t a big of fan of her portrayal of Hector, but I understand why she chose to show him as less of a hero. The narrative sticks quite close to the original myth but nothing felt forced. If you’re a fan of myth retellings, in particular retellings of Troy I would highly recommend.

 

Windwitch by Susan Dennard – A Book With Magic 

I have mixed feeling on this book, most of which I won’t go into as it is the second book of the series. I still adore Safiya and Iseult’s friendship and I love that we got to see more of the world and the different cultures. For me it was a bit of let down. The first book ending on such as high that I immediately pick Windwitch up. However, I found it really hard to get into. It took about 100 pages for me to want to keep reading I think there was one narrative, Merik’s, I didn’t gel with and wished got less page time. I do still love this world and these character so I will continue this series.

 

★★★★

Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr – First Book in a Series 

This book was a lot of fun and I’m excited to get to the other two in this trilogy. In modern day South Dakota there is a town, Blackwell, where all the people are direct descendants of Norse Gods, Thor and Loki, including our three protagonists Matt Thorsen, Fen and Laurie Brekke. The adventure beings when rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and the kids, led by Matt, must stand in for the gods. I adore these characters and love that they each have their own voice. I didn’t want to skip over any. The addition of the illustrations worked really well. These pages are filled with all the humour, confusion and fear of having to stop the end of the world at 13. I highly highly recommend for fans of Rick Riodran

 

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – A Book Set in a Different World 

This wasn’t a series I was really excited about when it first came out. I picked up the books because a friend one mine really loved it and I trust her judgement when it comes to YA Fantasy.

I love this world and magic system, it is nothing like anything I’ve read and Dennard has done a really fantastic job at making this world visceral and fully formed. I adore that the main relationship in this book is a female friendship. I was getting so sick of girls competing against each other for a boy. Safiya and Iseult are amazing. I love that their differences aren’t stereotyped. For example just because Safiya’s outgoing that means Iseult has to be more reserved. There personalities are so well developed and complex that I feel like I know these girls and at times I relate to both of them. This is a fantastic start to the series, I didn’t give it 5 stars because I felt a little lost about the magic system, it took 100 pages or so for me to feel like I knew what was going on but at the same time I enjoyed that there was no info dump.

 

The Quest Board artwork has been created by the wonderful CW of Read, Think, Ponder.

That’s it for me. Comment down below and let me know how your reading challenge went.
Until next time, happy reading!
Dearna

August 2017 Wrap Up

Hello!

I am here with my — belated — August 2017 Wrap Up! These are the book I read in the first half of August. Since #TheReadingChallenge took place in the last half of the month and I will do a wrap up for that.

I read a total of 4 books in the first half of the month, which I’m pretty happy with. You will notice a slight trend in the books I’ve read across August — the reading challenge books included.

Here’s a breakdown of my reading:
Number of Pages: 1,251
Genres: 2 Middle Grade, 1 YA and 1 Historical Fiction
Of these books two are written by the same author, two are male and 1 is female.

Onto the ratings!

                         ★★★★

Percy Jackson and the Sea Of Monsters by Rick Riordan
This was my first time reading any of the Percy Jackson books – took my time I know! I won’t say much about this one as it is the second book. I really enjoyed this book, while not as great as the first I enjoyed the concept and seeing characters from The Odyssey in modern day.

House Of Names by Colm Toibin
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year – even though I didn’t discover it’s existence until a week before it came out. If you’ve been around here for a while you might have noticed that I adore historical fiction and myth retellings. House of Names is the perfect mix of both!

★★★★1/2

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
As I mentioned above I am a 23 year-old women who is reading Percy Jackson for the first time. All I can say is; why did I wait so long?! I adore Percy’s sassy nature and loved seeing the story unfold from his perspective. I feel like I now understand why the fans hated the movie. The book explained the world and gave an insight into Camp Half-Blood which shows why this is such a clever series. I have no idea why the movie changed the plot points. Great start to the series.

★★★★★

The Canary Club by Sherry D. Ficklin
This was my first Net Galley Arc which I was super excited about. I have already done a full review so I will just summaries my feelings on it here. In short; I loved this! This has defiantly claimed a spot on my top books of the year. So go grab a copy, I can’t recommend it enough.

That’s it for me. Comment down below and let me know what you’re favourite read in August was.
Until next time, happy reading!
Dearna