Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Top Ten OTP's

I'm back, after taking a lot of time of due to personal reasons I am coming back to the blog! I've read a lot of books with a lot of different relationships and storylines but I have to say I like some of the romances more than others. One of my favourite relationships in books are hate to love romances because to me they seem a bit more realistic than insta-love.

1) Clary and Jace - Shadowhunters
I know this one sounds like an obvious one but I can't help it Clary and Jace are adorable and yes their relationship was a bit weird at points but they are possibly one of my favourite couples from a book series.

2) Alec and Magnus - Shadowhunters
I mean why doesn't love Magnus and Alec they are perfect for each other and I don't think I can trust someone who doesn't love them together. Also its great seeing their relationship on a TV show as well as reading about it too.

3) Katy and Daemon - Lux
I only just read this series recently but I have to admit, like I said, I have a soft spot for a hate to love romances, they are a lot more realistic than insta-love relationships and this is a great hate-to-love romance.

4) Abigail and Charlie - Jackaby
This is another book that I only just read, and although their relationship isn't the key focus of the series, it was still adorable although it could have had a better ending than it did.

5) Alexia and Lord Maccon - Soulless
I've only read the first book in this series so far but I still think that their chemistry is great although I think Lord Maccon is a bit horrible to her at some points that I have seen in the manga books.

6) Anna and Kaidan - Sweet Evil
I only read this series last year and then reread it this year and one of my favourite parts of the book is their relationship and the development, they work well together despite what was going on in the book.

7) Androma and Dex - Zenith
Zenith is one of the books that I managed to get at Yalc and I honestly couldn't wait to read it and it definitely did not disappoint. The chemistry between the two characters was amazing.

8) Simon and Izzy - Shadowhunters
When Simon and Izzy first met in the book I was hoping they would end up together and as the series progressed their relationship developed and it was great.

9) Katniss and Peeta - The Hunger Games
This pairing isn't one of my favourites but I do still love them together both in the book and the film version. Their ending was definitely different but it was still a nice ending.

10) Penny and Noah - Girl Online
Girl Online is one of my favourite series and I really like how Penny and Noah's relationship develops through out the books, its a more realistic relationship in a more typical world which is a change from most books that I read.

Let me know some of your favourite couples in YA or whether you share my love for the ones I've chosen! Also, tell me what your favourite romance trope is because I'm super interested!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Monday Highlights #42

The idea is to just link your favourite blog post from the past week (for example a post you're very proud of or just had a lot of fun making) and then I, and hopefully others, can discover new blogs to follow and interact with and discover more posts from blogs we may already follow!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Sunday Post 11th February 2018

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader.


Last Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #41
  • Top Ten Oldest Books on My TBR
  • Clare Reviews: Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin

Books We Got This Week:

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)Shadowsong (Wintersong, #2)The Belles (The Belles #1)
Scythe by Neal Shusterman: I've been wanting this ever since it was released last year, the paperback release was a good excuse to pre-order it!
Shadowsong by S. Jae Jones: I really enjoyed Wintersong last year and have been impatiently waiting to find out how it all ends ever since!
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton: One of my most anticipated books of the entire year. Clayton's writing is so good and this book sounds incredible.


Reading Update:

Spare and Found Parts
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin: 4.5 stars, This was such a unique and beautiful story. Check out my review to see more of my thoughts. 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Clare Reviews: Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin

Spare and Found PartsTitle: Spare and Found Parts
Author: Sarah Maria Griffin
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher for review
Pages: 416 
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

This was just so unique. I know I'll remember this book for a long time because every aspect of it was so well thought out. The first thing that jumped out at me were the perspective shifts. The first chapter is written in second person which is unusual in itself and then the remaining chapters switch between second and third (with a few actually in first). I was worried that this would be off-putting and whilst it might be for some people, personally I found it very effective. It personalised some elements of the story whilst maintaining a narrative effect for the rest.

The main character was that beautiful kind of unlikable that works so well. There were parts of the story where I wanted to shake her for being so cruel to the people around her and then other times where I just wanted to cheer her on. It was sometimes uncomfortable reading her thoughts because she thinks in such a different moral way to me, but then that's a great thing about reading - discovering new perspectives.

A lot of the robot/android chapters went over my head. If I'm honest, I preferred the build up to her creation rather than the creation itself which felt almost anticlimactic to me. Io has potential to be interesting but wasn't in the story long enough for me to really care about them, although some of the events that happened after their creation were dramatic and made me feel all the things. I wish there were an actual word for that, I felt triumphant and disgusted and shocked and angry - it was amazing. I absolutely loved the seamless way Griffin included diversity in the story. It felt so nice to be reading a book where almost every character is diverse. The main character is bi, or seems to be - it's never explicitly stated, which if I'd known going in, I would have been even more excited about reading it because I am always, always looking for bi MC's. 

Whilst the story did have a resolution to it, I feel like there is so much more story to be told in this world and with these characters. Ruby and Oliver especially are so, so interesting and didn't get a chance to get their voice across enough in this book. Whether it's in this world or not though I will be incredibly excited to pick up whatever Griffin may write next! 

Top Ten Oldest Books On My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. You can find the list of future topics here! This was actually a perfect topic for me! When we moved I reorganised my TBR shelf by "date acquired" (which now I'm writing it down seems dorky af)! So these are the oldest books on my TBR shelf and next up on my to-read list (after review books). 

The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)Starborn (Worldmaker, #1)The Taxidermist's DaughterThe Passion of DolssaThe Amber Shadows
The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1)Red Rising (Red Rising, #1)The Forbidden OrchidRuined (Ruined, #1)And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)
There are a lot on here that I am very excited for. I've forgotten, between buying them and now, what The Taxidermist's Daughter and The Amber Shadows are actually about but I love historical fiction at the moment. And I hear nothing but good things about The Final Empire and And I Darken which are probably the two I am most excited for! 

Monday, 5 February 2018

Monday Highlights #41

The idea is to just link your favourite blog post from the past week (for example a post you're very proud of or just had a lot of fun making) and then I, and hopefully others, can discover new blogs to follow and interact with and discover more posts from blogs we may already follow!




Sunday, 4 February 2018

Sunday Post 4th February 2018

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader.

Last Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #40
  • Clare Reviews: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Books We Got This Week:

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen, #1)The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)Reign the Earth (The Elementae, #1)Blood and Sand
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: I am so, so excited for this. I really enjoy how dark Holly Black makes her characters and fey are always fun!
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh: LGBT necromancer fantasy? It's like all my favourite things in one so my hopes are sky high!
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare: I adore Dare's romances so I am very much looking forward to this when I am in a light, romancey mood.
Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen: I know very little about this, but the cover is gorgeous and all the reviews I've read praise how feminist it is which is exciting!
Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk: Again, I don't know a lot about this but the premise "female Spartacus" immediately grabbed my attention!

Reading Update:

Alive (The Generations Trilogy, #1)Watch the Lady
Alive by Scott Sigler: 3.5 stars, Sigler did a really really good job of keeping the mental age of the characters 12 (so often 12 year olds who wake up in adult bodies suddenly become more mature by magic). It was also pretty brutal. I don't know if I'll continue the series but I'm definitely intrigued.
Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle: 4 stars, This is my favourite period of history and it was so exciting to read about someone I knew nothing about before. I know a fair amount about the Earl of Essex drama but never really studied his sister and it looks like she really deserves more. This was a very dramatic and fast paced read and seemed historically accurate to the best of my knowledge! 

Next Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #41
  • Top Ten Oldest Books on My TBR
  • Clare Reviews: Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
  • Clare Reviews: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  • Clare Reviews: Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cumming

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Clare Reviews: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1)Title: The Hazel Wood
Author: Melissa Albert
Series:
The Hazel Wood #1
Format: ARC
Source: Received at YALC
Pages: 357
Rating: 5/5
Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

My thoughts on The Hazel Wood are mostly excited capital letters and a bunch of exclamation marks so I wasn't initially sure how I'd ever manage to write a review for it. I've always loved fairy tales so the premise of this book appealed to me a lot, and what I got was even better (and darker) than I had expected. The writing is gorgeous and evocative. There were so many times when a sentence demanded to be read aloud because it just sounded so damn good. I got lost in this story in a way I very rarely do and it was a wonderful feeling. 

Alice was an amazing, multi-layered main character. She was so normal and relatable but had this dark undertone the whole way through the book. I loved reading about her in the Hinterlands the most, perhaps because it was here that she truly began to show her darker fairy-tale-esque attitude. Finch was a lovely side character, he felt like a real person in so many ways and as angry as I was at him sometimes for his obsession with the stories - he was still utterly lovable. There are also a whole host of deliciously dark side characters ripped from the fairy tales. I'm a sucker for the darker fairy tales (less happy ever after more whole lotta murder and dark powers) and The Hazel Wood had these in spades.

I loved the story of the book and, whilst I did see one of the twists coming, it was such a brilliant and surprising read. The story is equal parts road trip and fairy tale (which also sums up Alice's entire life) and I loved both parts. The fairy tale elements definitely stuck with me more, which is fairly predictable. But I was surprised by how much I loved the first half of the book as well.

The relationships between characters were fascinating. Ella and Alice had a dysfunctional but loving mother-daughter relationship whilst Alice's relationships with everyone else tended to be more volatile. She says herself that Ella is the only person she really cares about (later expanding this to include Finch) and by the end of the book she has opened up a lot. The last paragraph was probably my favourite part of the book because it hints at so much darkness still uncovered woven into the "normal" world. 

I have learned that the Tales from the Hinterland will be an actual book at some point and I am super excited to read some new, dark fairy tales. I also desperately want more of Melissa Albert's writing. 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Monday Highlights #40

The idea is to just link your favourite blog post from the past week (for example a post you're very proud of or just had a lot of fun making) and then I, and hopefully others, can discover new blogs to follow and interact with and discover more posts from blogs we may already follow!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Sunday Post 28th January 2018

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, it's a chance to post a recap on the past week, show the books we have received and share what we plan for the coming week. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality and the aim is to show our newest books and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops or downloaded on to their e-reader.

Last Week on the Blog:


Books We Got This Week:

Cinder & Ella (Cinder & Ella, #1)The Girl in The Tower (The Bear and the Nightingale #2)Storm Raven (Storm Raven, #1)The Darkest Magic (Spirits and Thieves, #2)
Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram: Sent to me by Vera @ Regal Critiques! She recommended this book to me once and I've wanted it ever since so I am super excited to read it!
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden: I haven't actually read the first book yet but had this pre-ordered. Hopefully I can read both books soon! 
Storm Raven by K. Hanson: Thank you so much to the author for sending me a copy of this! I love all things piratical so this is high on my list!
The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes: I somehow never read A Book of Spirits and Thieves even though I love the Falling Kingdoms series. The last book is coming out soon so I'd like the read this spin-off series before then! 



Reading Update:

The Sacrifice BoxWaR: Wizards and RobotsI Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)The Light Between Oceans
The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart: 4.5 stars, This was really, really good! I have a review up for it here if you're interested. It's a super creepy, fun read and I am so excited for whatever Martin Stewart writes next!
Wizards and Robots by Will.I.Am and Brian David Johnson: 4 stars, This was so, so much fun! My review has gone up and you can check it out here
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga: 4 stars, Really enjoyed how brutal this book got. It definitely wasn't stingy with the details which made the whole thing feel more realistic. Continuing the series wont be a priority for me but I would like to at some point.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman: 4.5 stars, OMG did I cry. The last few chapters of this book were just a total sob-fest for me. There were bits toward the beginning that were a little slow but by the end they served to feed into all the feels. Definitely a super emotional read.



Next Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #40
  • Clare Reviews: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  • February Releases I'm Excited About
  • Clare's January Wrap Up and February TBR