January Book Haul

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! Thank God it’s the weekend, am I right? Except, of course, Igiphy just got back from writing a math exam. On. A. Saturday. I am pretty sure that is illegal. If not, then somebody needs to make that happen.

Anyway, I have given myself a few hours off from studying, and I have decided to just quickly type up a Book Haul – these are all the books I got in January. I am pretty happy with it; I didn’t go completely overboard… sort of. It is a little weird, because I bought a lot of my books, like, months ago, but I’ve only just received them… Anyway, here we go!

  • This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner. This is the second book in the Starbound trilogy, and I thought it was amazing. This book followed different characters than the first one, but I love how the old characters were incorporated into the story.
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Already one of my favourite books that I’ve read this year. It was completely amazing, breathtaking, funny – I loved everything about it. Click to see my review here.
  • Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. The first time I saw this book was in Oxford, two years ago. I had decided to not buy it, and I’ve regretted it ever since. I was so excited when I found it at the bookstore in MonteCasino – insta-buy. It was pretty good, but I did not like it as much as I liked Shiver.
  • After the End by Amy Plum. I loved Plum’s other series, The Revenants, but this was such a let down. I really did not like anything about it, to be honest. ‘

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  • Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray. LOVED. This book is the sequel to A Thousand Pieces of You, and the second book in the Firebird trilogy. Parallel universes and good times. You can find my review for it by clicking here.
  • To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Super cute contemporary novel; you can expect a review coming soon!
  • P.s. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. This is the sequel to the previous novel, and I loved it just as much. A review will be coming for this one soon.
  • Soundless by Richelle Mead. I had a good time with this one, I thought it was really interesting… but kind of short. I honestly would have liked a couple more chapters of world building and such. Also, it lacked that spark that exists in VA and Bloodlines, in my opinion.

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  • Da Vinci’s Tiger by L.M. Elliott. I don’t know much about this novel other than it has something to do with Da Vinci? I plan on reading it next, so I’ll let you know my thoughts on it soon!
  • Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR MONTHS! I won’t get this book until Monday, but I am still going to include it in this haul, because I thought that I would get it last Monday. Do you want to know when I actually bought this book? Black Friday, 2015. That was last year! I have no idea what this book is about, but I know it includes some political intrigue and major plot-twists. I need to get on this bandwagon, like, yesterday.
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Same story with this one guys; months of living in agony. I actually saw it at Science Fiction Bokhandeln in Malmö when I was there last summer, but I did not buy it because I already had 20 something books at home. A major regret of mine. From what I can tell, this book is also political with plot-twists, so fun times awaits!

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So… 11 books is not that bad. Yeah, okay, I know – but it can be worse! I got a few books on my kindle as well, but those are my embarrassing romance-y books, so I decided to not include them. If you desperately want to know what they were and my reviews on them, let me know in the comments’ section below, and I’ll think about it. Seriously though, some of the stuff I read is weird.

I also got a book called The Invention of RussiaThe Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War by Arkady Ostrovsky. Yep, this book is for school, as I am doing a large project on Gorbachev and Reagan, vs. Putin and Obama. I have been reading it on and off for a week, and it is going slowly.

Anyway, those are all the books that I got in January. I am going shopping today, so I’ll let you know if I decide to buy any more. I seriously doubt it though, guys; books are pretty expensive, and I have bought a lot recently.

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderfully bookish day, and I’ll see you soon!

/Emilia

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Ten Thousand Skies Above You – Claudia Gray

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By Claudia Gray

Genre: Parallel Universes (is that even a genre?)

Reading Level: Medium/Difficult

Pages: 424

Review: 5/5

Synopsis:

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book. (Goodreads)

Links to purchase:

Opinion:

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! Let me just start off by saying that this is a series that everybody needs to be reading right now; I cannot believe there is not more of a buzz around it. Even after the first couple of pages I was completely hooked on the story.

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I will mention this briefly though, that I had some issues with the main character, Marguerite. Of course, everything she has had to go through has been horribly traumatic and awful, but when she is “done” – sort of – instead of immediately fixing the main storyline’s problem, she goes off to take some “personal time.” Can we not? I felt like that was a major weakness in her character. Now that I have read the novel, I can understand why the author did it that way, but still… me no likey.

I would have just told her to get a grip.

On a more positive note, I love the development of the different characters, and you could really tell the depth of them, and how there is more than the surface-level perfection. Especially through their parallel-selves.

Speaking of perfection – that cover man, that cover. This is a seriously gorgeous series, and I would have bought this book anyway just to display it on my shelf.

The whole story progressed very nicely – with a very good arc – and I am very excited for what is going to happen in the next book. ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THAT CLIFF-HANGER OH MY GAAHHDDD. I was so not expecting that. I am a very gullible person, and I’ll almost never anticipagte those kinds of endings, but I seriously doubt that any reader had been expecting it.

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And when I checked to see when the next book is going to be published, it just said 2016? Vague much? Especially when I need it now 😦

Anyway, I thought this was a really good second book, and I am very excited to see where it is going next!

Have a wonderfully bookish day, and I hope to see you soon!

/Emilia

Reading Corner #4

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! I decided to do a reading corner today, just to let you know on my ideas and goals regarding reading, and basically what I am up to right now.

So, this week has been pretty hectic, but I managed to read two books – Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray, and Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid. I read Ten Thousand Skies Above You throughout the course of the week, and then I just marathoned Happily Ever Ninja yesterday.

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I had one day on Tuesday in which our whole school had to attend this swim gala, so naturally, I hid in a corner and holed up with Ten Thousand Skies Above You. It was amazing, you guys, and if you have not started in on this series, you really have to. I think it is utterly spectacular.

I am really excited though, because I am getting 6 books on Monday. I ordered some on Black Friday via Adlibris to my sister’s place in Sweden, and as my mom is there right now, she is going to bring them back with her. If you didn’t know, I live in South Africa right now, and you cannot trust their postal system. I mean, thieves don’t usually go for books, I know, but I really just don’t want to risk it. And then hiring a currier service just seems like overkill and too expensive for a couple of books.

Anyway, the books I am patiently waiting for are:

  1. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
  2. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  3. To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  4. P.s. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (the struggle of not knowing whether or not to buy the sequel immediately; either you do, where you risk hating the first book and being stuck with the second, or you don’t, and risk living in agony)
  5. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
  6. Soundless by Richelle Mead

I also have two OwlCrate boxes waiting for me, and whilst I have been spoiled for the books, I don’t know what other bookish items are – so no spoilers!

If you don’t know what OwlCrate is, it is a YA subscription box, where each month you get a hardcover book, and a couple of bookish items. It is the best subscription box out there, in my humble opinion, and if you feel like checking it out, click on the link here.

I have four essays due next week, and an math exam on Saturday morning – wtf, I know – but otherwise, it shouldn’t be too busy. Two of the essay’s are in class, so I only have to do some home preparation for them.

So… now you know what is going on with me! Have any exciting new books? Please let me know your reading plans in the comments’ section below!

Have a wonderfully bookish day!

/Emilia

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

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By Becky Albertalli

Genre: Contemporary

Reading Level: Medium

Pages: 303

Review: 5 / 5

Synopsis:

“Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.” (Goodreads)

Links to purchase:

Opinion:

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is an incredibly touching novel, that epitomizes everything that is being a teenager. Albertalli sets out to thematically explore how self-discovery and identity is correlated to a person’s sexual orientation, but more importantly, how they are influenced by our family and our peers.

The protagonist, Simon Spier, undergoes major character development, as seen by his personal transformation when he begins to openly admit that he is homosexual. He is originally very anxious that anybody should find out about his sexual orientation, and the only solace he finds is with his email correspondence with Blue, another covertly gay teenager.

Whilst this book is not necessarily the most difficult read, it contains several subtleties that I believe would go unnoticed unless you are a seasoned reader, specifically the relationships. And furthermore, it so accurately describes group dynamics, and the irrationality present when feelings are involved.    

I genuinely believe that this is a book that all teenagers should be reading. It teaches an acceptance of people who deviate from the norm, it proves that these people are not really all that different, and, most vital of all, it teaches you appreciate yourself.

So, if you want something that will make your year, this is the book for you. It is sweet, it is funny, it is heartbreaking… it is everything that I want in a book

Just some quotes to prove how amazing this author is:

“He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.”

“Sometimes it seems like everyone knows who I am except me.”

“Nothing is worse than the secret humiliation of being insulted by proxy.”

”The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat—soft and persistent, underlying everything.”

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Anyway, have a wonderfully bookish day, and I will see you soon!

/Emilia

 

2016 Reading

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! Can you guys even believe that it is 2016? I sure can’t. During my winter holiday – or summer, as it is in South Africa – I was whisked away into the mountains, where I got a lot of reading done. Unfortunately, there was no wifi, so I couldn’t post anything.

But new year, new resolutions, and mine definitely include to try and post more regularly. But, I am doing my last year of High School right now, and with all my co-curriculars (my AP subjects, cross-country, horseback riding, and finishing my driver’s license) I have a lot to do. So, I am going to do my very best to be better, but… I am also not going to be super hard on myself.

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Overall, I had a pretty good year reading-wise, and I managed to read 151 books. In 2014, I read 221 books, so I feel a little disappointed. My library, however, is depressingly lacking, and I have been buying most of the books that I have been reading. As you can guess, I am severely broke most of the time.

WHY ARE BOOKS SO EXPENSIVE?

Anyway, I have a pretty exciting year ahead (Lady Midnight needs to be out already!), especially when it comes to my reading, so stay tuned! 😀

Have a wonderfully bookish day, and I’ll see you soon!

/Emilia

Lady Midnight Cover Reveal

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! So, if you didn’t know, then Lady Midnight is the first book of the Dark Artifices series by Cassandra Clare, and it is expected to come out on the 8th of March, 2016. Number 1) How are we expected to wait until 2016 to get this book? I am basically dying right now. Number 2) The cover was revealed last week, and I need to talk to someone about it.

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Ta da! It is beautiful, isn’t it? Personally, I think that whoever illustrated this cover did a spectacular job. There is a certain edge to it, with the floaty white clothes, and the sword, in murky water as the moonlight shines through. It is certainly a lot edgier than the other covers, and I just love it for that. Hopefully it is a reflection of an edgier book, which would be just awesome to read.

Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. (Goodreads)

I am ready. This might just be my number one most anticipated release for 2016. Also, forbidden love? SIGN ME UP. Everybody loves that – don’t argue with me, you do – and I am convinced that this book is going to shatter my heart to a million pieces, and leave me gasping in the dark. I can’t wait.

I am not sure if Julian is going to be as delicious to read about as Will, but I am prepared to find out.

So… what about you? Are you also ready for Lady Midnight? Can’t wait to find out what happens? Unfortunately, we still have, like, 5 months to go. Le cry.

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderfully and painfully bookish day, and I’ll see you later!

/Emilia

P.s did I really write 3 posts today? Woohoo!

An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir cover image.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir cover image.

An Ember in the Ashes

By Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Fantasy

Reading Level: Medium/Difficult

Pages: 450

Review: 5 / 5

Synopsis:

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself. (Goodreads)

Links to purchase:

Opinion:

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! Maybe not everybody knows this, but this was one of my MOST anticipated books of the year, and I was SO excited when I finally got my hands on it.

First off, the setting? Can we just agree that it might be one of the coolest settings ever? Like, I can’t get over it. Gladiator is my favorite movie, which might be one of the reasons as to why I really wanted to read this book, but a fantasy Rome? Sign me up. Now. And, after reading the book, might I add that Tahir did an EXCELLENT job of creating this amazing world. My expectations were exceedingly high, and they were met. And then some.

I also loved the relationship dynamics that occurred throughout the book. There were just really interesting, and not what I expected. Again, like everything in this book, there was just more to them than what I’d thought. Elias and Laila, especially, relate to one another in ways which I hadn’t expected. And… ARGH! It is so great.

Plot-wise, this book took me places I didn’t expect – and whoa. I am usually very gullible, and I will believe most things that happen, and I never see plot-twists coming… but did anybody imagine that this book would end where it did? That the stuff that happened actually happened. And it was so brutal sometimes. The things these characters go through – I know I would have cracked under that sort of pressure.

But still, these characters aren’t without their faults. They make mistakes, same as everyone. They aren’t perfect. But they are still so incredibly strong, and frankly, cool. I know that I want to be at least a little bit like them, because their resilience is as admirable as it is infectious.

This is one of my favorite books of 2015, and whether you are boy or girl, young or old, you should seriously consider buying it. It is epic, and I cannot wait for the next one.

Have a wonderfully bookish day, and I’ll see you later!

/Emilia

Let’s Talk About Twilight

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! Lets get this conversation going… Twilight.

I know that recently people have liked to hate on Twilight, to discuss its many faults and make fun of it. But today, I am going to admit something that not everybody knows about me. I am a Twiheart. A quite hardcore one, actually. But look around you? Twihearts have almost been forced to go underground, because liking the books and the movies is like inviting criticism. If I even so much as mention it at school, a tirade immediately follows.

If you didn’t know, then last week was Twilight‘s 10th Anniversary, and I would like to take this opportunity to praise the franchise for all the things it did right.

Twilight explores the power of love. And not just the love between a teenager and a 100-year-old vampire. It thinks about the love Bella has for her mother, and her sometimes complicated relationship with her father. Her love for her daughter. For her friends. Yes, most of all her love for Edward, but it is incorrect of people to claim that that is all there is to it.

And Stephenie Meyer’s writing? Can we please stop dissing it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, other than the fact that it perhaps isn’t always as good as Brandon Sanderson. Some of her phrases are utterly beautiful. “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.” Isn’t that just a gorgeous line? I think so.

Frankly, I just want to thank Stephenie Meyer. Thank you for writing Twilight, and for opening up the world of books to me. Harry Potter and Twilight were the two series that got me into reading; a pastime that has somehow become one of the most important parts of my life. I want to be a writer, partly because I would like to create a story that has an impact on people. And Twilight, indisputably, has impacted many.

So, lets spread the love guys. I am Twiheart, and there is nothing wrong with that. Twihearts should not have to feel embarrassed for liking what is a wonderful story. So… TWILIGHT FOREVER! And fuck the haters.

*Sorry for cussing – I try not to, but this just felt like one of those moments.

October Releases

Hello my fellow bibliophiles! Again, it has been a while, but I just came back from my holiday a little while ago, and I have been SUPER busy with school these past couple of weeks… back to reality, I guess.

October is usually one of my favorite month because it is jeans and sweatshirt season, however, as I live in South Africa and it is currently 29°C, that will not be happening. BUT… October is now one of my favorite months because of ALL THE RELEASES. Guys, prepare yourselves – this is going to be a LONG releases post.

  1. 6th of October – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition. I really… I just… I… I… *sobs with excitement.
  2. 6th of October – Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. If you have read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, then you already know what this book is about. If not, then 1) go and read it, and 2) it is about magical schools and monsters and stuff, and it is by Rainbow Rowell. SO… basically, it has everything you could want in a novel.
  3. 6th of October – The White Rose by Amy Ewing. Okay, so I wasn’t head over heels in love with the first book, but you know what? I still want to read the second book. It could be good.
  4. 6th of October – The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan. Can you even? I love Norse mythology, and having this coupled with Rick Riordan, I am hoping I won’t die from excitement as I read this book. (And by the way, who is just not going to go to work/school on the 6th?)
  5. 13th of October – The Rose Society by Marie Lu. This book is the sequel to The Young Elites, and after that ending? Everybody who has read the book know why I am so excited for this one.
  6. 13th of October – Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch. Loved the first book, I cannot wait for the second one. BRAG I am loving October.
  7. 20th of October – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I have no idea what this book is about, but I know I am incredibly exicted for it? If that even makes sense. It looks cool, okay.

Okay… so, those are actually all of the books that I have time to talk about – I have math homework waiting for me right now – but it is going to be such a good reading month! (And I have so much work to do…. :O)

Have a wonderfully bookish day, and I will see you soon!

/Emilia