Wrap-up: April 2018

April was such a stressful month for me, I literally have no idea what happened during these 30 days. Since I had so much work to do for uni, I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to but those books that I did manage to read, were absolutely wonderful, I think I gave five start to all of them. So these are the books I managed to read in April:

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #1)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • The Curse by Jina S. Bazaar (Roxanne Fosch #0.5)
  • Heir of Ashes by Jina S. Bazaar (Roxanne Fosch #1)
  • The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud (Lockwood & Co. #2)

I also managed to reread some of my feel-good novels from the lovely Joss Stirling and these two were the ones I picked:

  • Angel Dares by Joss Stirling (Benedicts #5)
  • Summer Shadows by Joss Stirling (Benedicts #6)

Since I wrote full reviews on most of these books, I won’t get into too much details. Besides all of the books listed above I also read some short stories from Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories by Diana Wynne Jones. Now, I started reading this collection at the beginning of the year but something just seems off about it, I honestly have to struggle to finish a story. I adored the Crestomanci short stories but these are just weird and not my cup of tea. I only have one left, but it’s a pretty long novella, so it will take me some time to finish.

My lovely Benedict brothers brightened my too-dark days and I’m really glad I bought the entire series. I just keep going back to them and when there’s nothing left, I read fanfiction. I normally don’t read fanfiction but this series is the exception and I even wrote two stories myself, about my favourite Benedict brother, Victor. Honestly I have no idea why I’m so obsessed with this series. *sigh*

May is going to be even busier than April so I probably won’t have time to read as much. That’s okay, though, I will catch up during the summer. Now if I had to pick my favourite book of last month, I’d probably pick Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society though I also adored The Bear and the Nightingale. But Guernsey just broke my heart and I know this book will always have a bit of my soul.

Speaking of this absolutely stunning novel, my bookish friend Samanta and I (https://samyinbookworld.wordpress.com/) started our very own book club! And this was the first book we read together. We’ll write a joined post on it somewhere in the (hopefully near) future. And we already decided on what our next read will be. Now we just need to find the time to start reading it.

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The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud (Lockwood & Co. #2)

In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn’t made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood’s investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.

Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George’s curiosity attracts a horrible phantom.Β 

Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood’s annoyance. Bickerstaff’s coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found. (blurb taken from Goodreads)

 

Jonathan Stroud’s writing is filled with magic and great character development, but I still think there was something missing in this book. I much preferred The ScreamingΒ  Staircase because it was more character driven and the plot was just absurdly genius. This book however… I still liked it, don’t get me wrong, I just didn’t fall in love with it quite the same way.

The ending was utterly shocking, but then again so was the ending of the first book. What Stroud does so well is he creates this incessant need for his books, like you just have to read the next one or else you’ll burst with anticipation. That is a brilliant way to write a series because it urges the reader to go on and continue with it.

Lockwood, Lucy and George are still one of my favourite characters of all time but I felt like they had a side role in this book. There was a lot of insinuation regarding Lucy and Lockwood (YAAAS!) and I kept waiting for something to happen and nothing did. You better not disappoint me in the third book, Stroud! George was as awkward and lovable as ever and he is just the central part of this group in my opinion.

Some scenes were so outrageously hilarious, I laughed at loud till I started crying! Stroud is such a funny author, I adore his humour. The plot line was a bit predictable, especially the identity of the villain, I had a hunch about them from the beginning. It wasn’t as scary as the first book, which was also a bit disappointing (and I dislike scary books!). That extra something just wasn’t there for me.

I am really curious to see what happens in the third book, especially after that shocking ending! And I do hope we see Lucy and Lockwood’s relationship progress (oh, please, please, please). Despite the fact that this is classified as YA, I think fans of fantasy will adore this series. It has just the right amount of humour and action and the characters feel like family when you read about them.

Heir of Ashes by Jina S. Bazzar

Roxanne Fosch had a perfectly normal life at the age of twelve. Cool, popular, pretty, smart. Her dreams of a perfect, successful and prosperous future seemed well within her grasp.
By the time she was twenty-two she had become a commodity. A fugitive. She was being hunted.
As Roxanne embarks on the dangerous quest to search for half-truths about her past, she discovers she’s not just an abnormal human, but a rarity even among her Fee peers.
She is hunted by scientists, keen to exploit her extraordinary abilities, as well as other beings far more dangerous whose plans for her she cannot fathom. (blurb taken from Goodreads)

I read The Curse which is the prequel to Heir of Ashes first and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! The story line was so complex and original, though I did wish for more explanations but since it is just a prequel it works perfectly. We were introduced to this mystical world of supernatural beings and to an unlikely love story which ended tragically. This was the opening to Roxanne’s story and it was by far the best prequel I’ve read.

Heir of Ashes was a wonderful urban fantasy novel though I did wish it would contain more fantasy elements, like the prequel. Roxanne was such a great main character, strong, independent, flawed, but still determined to gain her freedom and lead the life she wanted. I admired her courage and the fact that she didn’t sulk and gave in to self-pity. She knew how to handle herself and exploit her strenghts.

Logan was also a great character though I wish we’d learn more about his past (maybe in the next book? I sure hope so.) and his relationship with Archer and Roxanne’s father. The only thing that bothered me about Roxanne and Logan was the fact that Logan kept rescuing her. I mean she’s way stronger than him, why couldn’t she save herself? I do wish the tables will turn in the next book and that Roxanne will get a chance to save him from a deadly opponent or something similar.

The action scenes were a bit too long for my taste and the book itself is quite long which at times didn’t work so well. But overall I really enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend it to fans of urban fantasy and fantasy novels. The one thing I LOVED about this book was the fact that Roxanne wasn’t a teenager. Finally we get a twenty-something-year-old for a main character! How refreshing!

I am very curious about Roxanne’s next move and her relationship with Logan and about the entire supernatural world. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of that in the next book. The writing style was superb and the story kept moving in a fast pace, so I wasn’t bored. I also felt like a lot of thought went into the dialogue which I highly appreciate because a lot of YA fantasy novels are pretty predictable regarding that.

Thank you Jina S. Bazzar for sending me a copy of your book for review, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading it and Logan is probably somewhere in my top ten favourite fictional boyfriends. Roxanne was such a delight and I feel like the story really explored her pysche and her background and we got to know her pretty well. I can’t wait to see where life takes her next!

Spring fatigue – the real thing

Last week some of my classes got cancelled (and some of them I just skipped) so I ended up staying at home for four days straight. I had this great idea in my head that I will finally catch up on some uni reading and I’ll start writing papers and generally be productive. Well, the reality was the complete opposite.

After giving myself Thursday off to finish reading Guernsey’s Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I woke up on Friday morning completely exhausted and with absolutely zero energy and motivation to leave my bed. I did eventually get up but I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything that day. The same thing happened on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon I finally mustered enough energy to do what I neeeded to get done for my Monday classes.

I’ve always thought that spring fatigue was just a myth, something that affected other people. Well this year the little elf knocked on my doors as well and on his way out, he took all my energy and motivation. I am left empty and exhausted and in a constant state of worry and anxiety.

Some of this is also directly connected to my unstable mental health and so now I have to deal with draining mood swings which leave me disoriented and fragile. And I hate this feeling of helplessness, of thinking that no matter how much self-love you practice, some days you just wake up and the world crashed down on you and you have to crawl beneath the rubble to find your way back to the surface.

Okay, I’ll stop complaining now. University has been hectic lately and I can’t wait for mid May when things will calm down a bit. I have so many wonderful books on my TBR pile that I can’t wait to read. I’m also super excited to start a book club with a fellow bookblogger – though I don’t know when we’ll find the time to actually start reading what we want, not what we have to.

These past few days I’ve started reading some cheesy romance novels, just to take my mind off everything I have to do for uni. I love the predictability and the fact that my brains can rest for a while. I roll my eyes at the cheesy bits but since I only skim through the pages it’s not that bad. Sometimes you just need something easy and light to keep you company in the evenings. So this is where you’ll find me these days – licking my wounds with a romance novel in one hand and a chocolate bar in the other.

Wrap-up: March 2018

The sun is shining and it’s finally getting warmer. After a long and bitterly cold winter, I welcome the spring like a cat sunbathing on a tiled roof (which is what I was observing during my classes on Thursday because why would you listen to the professor if you can admire a stray cat sitting on a roof next door?). March wasn’t actually a good reading month for me because I sort of hit a slump. I felt pressured into reading review copies and so I ended up reading what I had to instead of what I wanted to. Plus when I finally got to read what I wanted, the book disappointed me big time and I just became angry and frustrated.

Despite my reading slump I did manage to read 6 books which isn’t at all bad. Besides that I also reread some of my favourite feel-good books but since I only read the parts I loved, not the whole books, I will list them separately. So here are the books I read last month:

  • The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
  • SonΒ by Lois Lowry
  • Happily by Chauncey Rogers
  • Legend’s Legacy by Amanda Witow
  • Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
  • Keepers by Sacha de Black

Rereading:

  • Finding Sky by Joss Stirling
  • Seeking Crystal by Joss Stirling
  • Misty Falls by Joss Stirling

My favourite book of last month was Keepers by Sacha de Black and I actually finished reading it on the last day of the month! So despite the previous disappointments, the month ended pretty good. I posted an entire review of it just this week so I won’t get into too much details here. Suffice it to say I absolutely loved the book and I am (im)patiently waiting for the sequel to come out.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night was my second favourite of the month. Jen Campbell is my favourite booktuber and I love watching her videos, her voice has a surprisingly calming effect on me. While I really enjoyed reading her short stories, I was impressed by some and indifferent towards others. This always happens with short stories so it’s hard to rate the entire book. But I would definitely recommend it to fans of fairytale retellings and magic realism.

Next I read two books which were sent to me by the authors in exchange for an honest review and since I already posted reviews on both of them, you can stroll back through the review section on my blog and read more about Happily and Legend’s Legacy. Also, I won’t get into too much detail about the biggest disappointment of the month, Mariana, because I ranted about it in a separate review, so go read that as well if you want to hear my opinion on it. While the story seemed compelling after reading the blurb, the actual writing was just terrible.

I finished a series this month, and although I loved the first three books in the Giver quartet, the final book Son didn’t deliver it for me. I felt like the book could’ve been way shorter, like the others in the series, and some parts were just redundant. The ending was a bit rushed and I would’ve liked to see more of it. Overall I was highly impressed by this series and I totally understand why readers are in love with it, the story is so unique and complex and it offers a lot in merely 200 pages per book.

Last of all, I reread some of my favourite feel-good/guilty pleasure books in my beloved Finding Sky series. I know this series isn’t the best of what YA has to offer but I just adore the characters and the writing and the warm sensations I get when I pick up the books. Whenever I’m feeling sad I reread some of my favourite parts of the books and it makes me feel less alone. And isn’t that the whole reason behind why we read?

My bookish friend and fellow bookblogger Samanta from Samyinbookworld (https://samyinbookworld.wordpress.com/) is hosting a readathon this weekend and I wanted to join her if even for a day but our kitchen is being remodelled and I have a presentation on Monday so unfortunately I had to pass on the offer. I am however thinking of doing a readathon later in the month, perhaps before or during spring break. I do have a lot of books to read so it would be a perfect oportunity to cut down the size of my TBR pile. Even though I am constantly adding new books to it so it’s pretty much a mission impossible to have any kind of control over it.

Have a lovely bookish weekend!