January 2020 Wrap Up

The start of 2020 could have gone better. I began the new year and the new decade with a cold. The rest of this gloomy month hasn’t been great either, but on the plus side I have managed to do quite a bit of reading.

Reading

I finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas at the beginning of the month and loved it! Her stories just really manage to draw me in; I’ve totally fallen for her books. I gave my first 5 stars of the year to Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s so creative and visual, and I enjoyed reading something that used such different storytelling techniques. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao came in Illumicrate’s December box. Although I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it as much as other YA fantasy books I’ve read. Finally I finished reading Claudia Gray’s Defy the Fates, the final book in the Constellation trilogy. It wasn’t as good as the first book, but I still loved returning to the characters and seeing how their story ended. Now I’ve just started reading Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

Book Haul

I got two books this month from Illumicrate. The first is an exclusive edition of The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag with sprayed edges, which is absolutely gorgeous. The other was a bonus book – Infinity Son by Adam Silvera.

Writing

Having finished the first draft of my YA fantasy book at the end of December, I decided to have a few weeks break from writing so that I could come back to edit it with fresh eyes. Over the last week or so I’ve been making notes of things I need to work on or change, and am now ready to start work on the second draft! I’m excited to return to working on it, as I’ve really loved building this world and being immersed in the story.

Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Book Covers of 2019

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is a book cover freebie so I’ve decided to do my top 10 favourite covers from books released in 2019. There are so many stunning covers out there, these are just 10 that stand out to me in particular. I haven’t actually read any of these books yet but I have some of them on my shelf waiting to be read.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – This cover is just stunning. I love that the character isn’t just static; it’s a great action pose that really brings it to life.

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson – This cover is illustrated by Charlie Bowater, who is getting a name for illustrating really gorgeous YA book covers.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – The colours and fonts used on this cover are really eye-catching. Also that title is so intriguing. I really want to read this one.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is the 10 most recent additions to my bookshelf! Two of the books on this list were Christmas presents. Number 1 is the most recent book I’ve bought working back.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

1. Defy the Fates by Claudia Gray

2. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Collector’s Edition)

4. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

5. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (10th Anniversary Edition)

7. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

8. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

9. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

10. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Of these, I’ve read Blood Heir and Illuminae (and have already read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and City of Bones in the past) and am halfway through The Assassin’s Blade. I’m currently reading Defy the Fates, which is the final book in a trilogy.  

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas  

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publishing Info: May 2016 by Bloomsbury Children’s

Pages: 626

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

As I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses so much, I was very excited to read the sequel. Lots of new characters are introduced as Feyre enters the world of the Night Court. It didn’t take long for me to become invested in all of them. I loved meeting Mor, Amren, Cassian and Azriel, and I also enjoyed discovering other parts of Prythian as A Court of Thorns and Roses was focused on the Spring Court.

Maas does a such a good job with Feyre’s character, showing the impact the events from A Court of Thorns and Roses has on her. At the beginning of the book she’s haunted by what happened to her, and the lives she was forced to take to save Prythian. Feyre grows and develops over the course of this book, coming to terms with what happened Under the Mountain and gaining new perspective of her time with Tamlin. Speaking of Tamlin, I really don’t like his character. I didn’t like him in the first book and I didn’t like him in the sequel either. He’s a very boring character who just comes across as moody and lacking in personality. So I was glad he wasn’t a main character in this book!

Unfortunately I did feel it was longer than needed to be. If it had been a bit shorter, just trimmed in a few places, it would have had better pacing. However I appreciated the time taken for character development, as I felt I really got to know all the central characters, not just Feyre, which made me more invested in their fates. I also loved the slow development of the romance. It was predictable who would end up together, but there was no instalove here.

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Film Review: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Film Review: Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker

Release date: 19 December 2019

Director: J. J. Abrams

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher

Runtime: 142 minutes

Genre: Science-Fiction

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Rise of the Skywalker is the final film in the new sequel trilogy and also, apparently, the final film in the Skywalker saga. But we all know how it goes when they say it will be the last one, so we’ll see if it really is the last one. There has, once again, been a mixed response from fans.

As a film, just looking at it on its own, it was very good. The film is very action packed and exciting, with a lot going on. The pacing was very fast. In some respects, there was too much packed in. Usually I think films are too slow and drawn out, but in this case the pace needed slowing down in just a few places. Some of the scenes were rushed. Some scenes needed space to breathe. If they had been given that space, allowing the viewer just a second longer to absorb what had just happened, it would have improved the pacing of the film. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad it wasn’t slow and boring, but it felt like the film was rushing from scene to scene to try and get through everything the filmmakers wanted.

I usually try to avoid spoilers in my reviews but in this case I don’t think I can talk about this film properly without giving anything away. So, to conclude the spoiler free section of this review, it was a fun, action packed ride which I absolutely enjoyed. I’m really glad I saw it in the cinema as it looked great on the big screen. If you don’t want to see any spoilers, I’d stop reading this review now (and go and see the film!). 

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Books I Want to Read in 2020

I don’t set myself a monthly TBR as I’m more of a mood reader. I like to read what takes my fancy, but I do always have some books in mind at the beginning of the year that I want to read at some point in the coming months. This year I’m going to try and read a good mix of new releases, books waiting on my shelf, and books released a while ago that I haven’t read yet.

There are many series I’m midway through that I’d like to continue reading. I’ve been making my way through Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I’m looking forward to reading more of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse as I still need to read Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars. A book I wanted to read last year was Fear by Michael Grant – the fifth book in the Gone series – but that’s one I didn’t get round to. I only have the last book in Marie Lu’s The Young Elites trilogy left to read – The Midnight Star – so I’d like to be able to finish that series this year. And of course I want to continue reading Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters books. Next on my radar is Lady Midnight.

I have on my shelf a few books released in 2019 that I haven’t read yet. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim and A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer are two in particular I really want to read in 2020. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zao came out right at the end of 2019 and I’m planning on reading that this month for the Illumicrate monthly readalong.

The 2020 releases I definitely want to read this year are The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman and The Damned by Renée Ahdieh. Both are sequels to books I read in 2019. I’d also like to discover some new authors in 2020 too.  

Let’s see how many of these I actually end up reading! What books are you planning on reading this year?

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

A lot of popular authors are bringing out new books in the first half of 2020, but there are also some debuts and new authors I’m looking forward to discovering.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – How could this not make the list? I’ve been waiting for so many years for something new from Suzanne Collins, whether that be in the Hunger Games world or something different. This new book is set before the Hunger Games trilogy. Not much information has been released about it yet. You can be sure I’ll be buying it when it comes out. 

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman – I was pleasantly surprised that The Devouring Gray ended up being one of my favourite books of 2019. So of course I’m excited to see what happens next in Four Paths.

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