Saturday, 22 July 2017

#24in48 TBR

Ann isn't setting a TBR for 24 in 48 because she kind of just wants to see where her mood takes her! 
The One Memory of Flora BanksGirlhoodAfter the FireLetters to the Lost
The Start of Me and YouMoxieOrbiting JupiterHistory is All You Left Me
I'm going to try to read all of the Zoella and Friends Book Club picks because I am super excited for all of them and they are all relatively short, quick reads so should be more fun for a readathon!! I am probably most excited for Moxie and Girlhood but they all look incredible!!

If you are also doing 24in48 you can follow us on twitter (@dualreads and @annstone24) or Ann will also be posting updates on our Instagram (@dualreads). We're very hopeful but just excited to see how much we can get done!!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Friday Reads 21st July 2017

Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice and Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader. The idea is to share a sentence or so from the first page and the 56th page of the book you are currently reading!

Final Girls
Book Beginning:
"The forest had claws and teeth."

Friday 56:
"I sound more panicked than I intend to, my voice lightly dusted with anger."
I'm actually only about 30 pages in to Final Girls so far but I'm really enjoying it! I love horror movies so the final girl trope is really familiar and appealing to me and I'm excited to see where the story is going to go! I already have some theories (mostly based on a policy of trust nobody) but I'm generally rubbish at figuring out thrillers so I'm probably not going to guess until the reveal anyway!!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

My Favourite 2017 Releases So Far!!

I've been on a (tentative) book buying ban for most of the year. But the thing is - I'm really bad at book buying bans. I allowed myself pre-orders (cause they totally don't count) and my Fairy Loot subscription so whilst my book buying isn't as extreme as it was last year - it does mean I've read a lot more new releases. And 2017 has been a stellar year for books so far!! These are in no particular order.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
This was everything I wanted it to be. Road trip adventure, cute romance, amazing friend dynamics. It was very close to perfect and I am not off the charts excited for the companion novel following Monty's sister! 

Sweet Lake by Christine Nolfi
Sweet Lake: A Novel (Sweet Lake, #1)
I was sent a copy of this for review and was just blown away by the characters and the setting. I think I got more involved with this story and the romance than I have done with any contemporary in a really long time - the whole thing was incredible and I am looking forward to the second book which I believe is releasing soon!

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)
Pirates are one of my reading weaknesses. They're kind of everyone's reading weakness right? So a kickass female pirate captain with an amazing and loyal crew on a secret mission with magical powers thrown in? I was so on board. I wasn't massively looking forward to the romance (wanting to focus on the pirate-badassery but the romance totally surprised me and I ended up loving it as well.

Frostblood by Elly Blake
Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)
This was packed full of tropes YES but have you considered how much fun tropes can be? I've gotten so used to being bored by the familiar in YA but this was so comforting and exciting and I loved the characters so much. I didn't love this despite the tropes I loved it with them and bonus; this book got me out of one of my worst reading slumps of the year. 

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)
Lisa Kleypas is pretty much always going to make my favourite lists. She is an auto-buy author for me and I love her historical romances. This was the third book in the Ravenel's series but also featured Evie's son (from the third Wallflower book - Devil in Winter) and I loved tying the two series together and seeing old favourite characters whilst meeting new favourites!

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Done Dirt Cheap
Two perfect, yet wildly different, romances and one incredible girl power friendship. Both main characters were strong and relatable and very unique. This wasn't at all what I had expected going in but I absolutely loved it and raced to the ending. 

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1)
My first Elise Kova book and I absolutely adored it. Ari keeps popping up in my posts this year because I fell head over heels for her. The world was so unique and interesting and there was no info-dumping which I really appreciated. It took me a few chapters to immerse myself in the world but once I had there was no going back!

Dreamfall by Amy Plum
Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
A real surprise because I went in expecting something quick and fun and exciting and came out thrilled and desperate for the second book. This book features characters with insomnia relating to different causes which I related to (I have insomnia related to anxiety and depression) and I thought the mental illness was handled really well. The nightmares were also genuinely frightening which made this a book I could not put down!!

Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Proof of Lies
One of the best sister-relationships I've ever read which was exciting! The romance was believable but didn't overpower the story and the plot was thrilling and compelling but I was totally on board even with the bits that seemed unlikely. Plus the settings were gorgeous and felt so real to me. Venice was my favourite (it will always be my favourite) but all of them were so well described.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe
A List of Cages
This book broke my heart so many ways and I feel like a different person having read it. I genuinely recommend this book to everyone (with caveats for triggers - please be careful if abuse is a trigger for you) but I'm having a lot of trouble describing how I feel about this book so why not go and read Vera's incredible review of this over at Regal Critiques - since she is the one who convinced me to read this!!

Ararat by Christopher Golden
Horror is a relatively new genre for me. I've loved horror movies for a long, long time (my Dad got me into them) but I haven't really read horror before this year. And I am loving it. It's definitely a new favourite genre and I've learned that I enjoy suspense far more than gore - so if you also love suspense then definitely read this. The characters were unlikable yet lovable and I was rooting for everyone to get off the mountain even knowing that was incredibly unlikely!! Thank you to the publisher for sending me this for review!

Crimson and Bone by Marina Fiorato
Crimson and Bone
I received a finished copy from the publisher for review. Marina Fiorato has been one of my favourite historical fiction writers for a long, long time. Possibly my absolute favourite. And this is her best book so far. It was creepy and compelling and so emotionally manipulative. I wanted the main character to be happy so badly and I could not stop reading at any point because I just had to know what would happen next. 

Let me know what your favourite reads of 2017 have been so I can torture myself (and my TBR) with them! AND what books are you most excited for in the last half of 2017??? I have so many! 

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wednesday Catch-Up 19th July 2017

Every Wednesday we are linking up with WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is hosted at Taking on a World of Words and asks 3 questions: What are you currently reading?, What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you'll read next? You can click any of the images to go to the Goodreads page for that book!

Currently Reading:

DoonBecause You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
I am a little way through Doon currently and am loving it! I'm a big musicals fan so I was automatically intrigued by this book based on Brigadoon (and also now super want to re-watch the movie) but it's also an original spin and doesn't feel like a copy at all! I'm looking forward to continuing it! I am also reading Because You Love to Hate Me which is an anthology of stories about villains. I have only read one story so far which I liked but didn't love but I am planning to read one story a day and hoping for great things!

Recently Finished:

Broken Sky (The Broken Trilogy, #1)DisplacedThe Himalayan Summer
If you like dystopias then you would probably enjoy Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly. I've discovered that I'm a little over dystopia as a genre in general but I can see others enjoying this a lot more than I did. Displaced was informative and interesting, the writing was a little jolty at times if only because it's a translation and seems a little off in places but the main character and the plot were both excellent! And then The Himalayan Summer was beautiful and romantic and very tragic. It was filled with unlikable characters and was so compelling!

Planning to Read Next:

Final GirlsSee What I Have DoneMoxie
Next up I am really, really excited to read Final Girls by Riley Sager. This was recommended to me by Vera @ Regal Critiques and it just looks so good! I love horror movies and I am just starting to get into horror books! The "best book of 2017" claim on the front cover seems ambitious but I am sure I will enjoy it! Then Vera and I will be buddy reading See What I Have Done and Moxie to kick off the 24in48 readathon this weekend. Ann is also taking part in this (and did really well last time) and we are all determined to do so, so much reading. See What I Have Done is about Lizzie Borden and since I am (as of recently) kind of obsessed with Lizzie Borden I am really intrigued by it and Moxie looks like an incredible feminist read - I'm especially excited about this because I got a special early-release copy from WHSmith when I was expecting to have to wait until September to read it!!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Monday Highlights #15

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!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sunday Post 16th July 2017

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. As always you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the Goodreads page for that book if you're interested in finding out more about it or click the title to go to the review.

Last Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #14
  • Clare Reviews: The Ultimatum by Karen Robards
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • Clare Reviews: What Goes Around by Julie Corbin
  • Friday Reads: Maestra by L.S. Hilton

Books We Got This Week:

There's Someone Inside Your HouseThe Canary ClubNyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins: Just off the charts excited for this one! I love horror movies, the cheesier the better, so a YA horror book sounds incredible.
Canary Club by Sherry D. Ficklin: All I know about this one is that its set in the 20s and I think involves gangsters? Which super intrigues me. 
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen: This has been compared to The Maze Runner and to Illuminae which is an intriguing combination! I'm really into Sci-Fi at the moment and this sounds awesome.

Accidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay, #3)Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of VillainyThe Last MagicianThe Handmaid's Tale
Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis: I adore Jill Shalvis's books and I've been really looking forward to this one! 
Because You Love to Hate Me: An anthology of villain stories sounds like entirely my thing and I am so excited for it! I haven't had a look to see what any of the stories are yet but the list of authors involved is impressive!
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell: If you follow me on Twitter (@dualreads) you'll know that I've been talking about this book a fair bit recently because I am STUPID excited for it! So I obviously had it pre-ordered and hopefully I can read it very, very soon!
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: I've somehow never read this book but I NEED to. I also want to watch the adaptation once I've read the novel! 
The InvitationThe Curious Tale of the Lady CarabooSawbonesDoon (Doon, #1)
The Invitation by Lucy Foley: This is one of those "I picked it up because it was £1 and I like the cover" deals. I know next to nothing about the plot (sorry) but doesn't it look summer appropriate?
The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson: Shout out to our Mum here who is always telling us the story of Lady Caraboo (apparently it all took place near where we live?) which made me really intrigued when I saw this one!
Sawbones by Catherine Johnson: By the same author and just looks super dark and creepy. I may have to save this one for Halloween actually. 
Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon: Vera @ Regal Critiques sent me this as a surprise and I was so excited when it arrived!! I've been wanting to read Doon for absolutely ages so will definitely be picking this up (probably next, dropping everything else if I'm honest).

Reading Update:

Broken Sky (The Broken Trilogy, #1)DisplacedMaestra
Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly: 3 stars, This is a relatively underrated book on Goodreads - if you love dystopias and/or you love books set in the 40s then you should definitely pick this up. I really liked the main character and I am one of those people who believes in horoscopes so that was intriguing. I think I've just read one too many dystopias and become jaded!
Displaced by Stephan Abarbanell: 3.5 stars, I love the main character of this book and the setting was very informative (without being an info-dump). I feel like I definitely learned a lot about the period after WW2. The mystery element of this was less compelling although still interesting and the translation seemed a little off in places (this was originally published in German I believe) but I definitely recommend it! 
Maestra by L.S. Hilton: 2 stars, This was... a book. God. It was an experience. I'm not an easily shocked person so it didn't really bother me but kind of the opposite happened in that the more shocking things occurred the more blase I became about them. And when you think "meh" over the death/accidental murder of a character then your disattachment from the story is a problem. I liked the concept and if you like to be shocked constantly give it a go. I just generally prefer one or two big twists that truly surprise me rather than dramatic events happening every five seconds. If I was the main character of this book I'd go lie down in a room somewhere for a week just for a break.

Next Week on the Blog:

  • Monday Highlights #15
  • Wednesday Catch-Up
  • Friday Reads
  • Clare Reviews: The Himalayan Summer by Louise Brown
You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Friday Reads 14th July 2017

Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice and Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader. The idea is to share a sentence or so from the first page and the 56th page of the book you are currently reading!

Book Beginning:
"If you asked me how it began, I could truthfully say that the first time, it was an accident."

Friday 56:
"I opened a savings account and watched the numbers begin to stack up."

I'm heading into a bit of a reading slump at the moment so I'm hoping thrillers are the way to go to yank me out of that! I don't know... anything about this book really. The blurb tells me its "deliciously decadent" which sounds fun and alliterative. Plus watching the numbers stack up is basically the dream right? Mine mostly just plummet alarmingly. If you've read this one let me know what you thought of it because I'm going in so blind!

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Clare Reviews: What Goes Around by Julie Corbin

What Goes AroundTitle: What Goes Around
Author: Julie Corbin
Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 323
Rating: 4/5
Blurb: Two women, two secrets, one murder...
What Goes Around is the story of two women - Ellen and Leila. Ellen is the ex-wife and Leila is the new woman, living in Ellen's house, sleeping with Ellen's husband. Each woman has her own secrets to keep. Leila's brother is back in her life and is determined to rake up their past while Ellen is out for revenge. She wants her home back and she wants Leila to pay for breaking up her marriage. Her plan will make her do things she never thought herself capable of - but it will also put her in danger. Because Ellen has no idea what sort of a woman Leila is and when she finally finds out, it could already be too late...
One of the women will end up dead. But which one?

I wasn't entirely prepared for this story by the blurb. Which is, I think, a good thing. Thrillers should be surprising and unexpected. And the characters in this were definitely not who I expected them to be.

From the start I preferred Ellen to Leila. It's hard not to. Ellen is the more sympathetic of the two and with her devotion to her family, her sense of humour and her loyalty  and all her vulnerabilities I just wanted to hug her and make everything OK. So I found it pretty easy to get on board with her "revenge" plan. Mildly disapproving sure, but whatever makes her happy. Leila, on the other hand, comes across as cold and manipulative and at times downright terrifying. However by the end of the book I was wildly in love with her character.

First of all, apart from the initial surprise of the characters I wasn't hugely surprised by the revelations in this book. There were some that really took me aback but the "biggest" plot twist was one I saw coming from fairly early on. Although it definitely didn't detract too much from the shock I felt at the reveal. Ellen was a fairly straight forward character. She is a comfortable character to view the story from because, despite her OCD and her anger, she is so very normal and human and relatable to any reader. In the midst of the madness and destruction and pain that is Leila's story - Ellen is a safe space. 

And I think it was really clever of the author to write them like that. We switch viewpoints between the two of them and they were definitely very distinctive. If you took away the indicators at the beginning of each chapter you'd still be able to tell who was speaking simply by the way they viewed the world and their actions. 

The "revenge" of the blurb doesn't play as large a part as I expected which I am actually fairly happy about. Me being me I spent much of the book wishing Ellen and Leila could become friends, they were so different but they could have helped each other so much. So I'm glad that they even developed some level of respect and understanding of each other. Some measure. Definitely never became best friends.

I can't speak too much about the true antagonist of the story without spoilers but they were creepy as heck in that very skin-crawly way. From the moment they first appeared on page they just made me so uncomfortable. But in the best possible super-engaged-in-the-story kind of way. 

What Goes Around wasn't as twisty or as surprising as I wanted it to be but I was surprised by the depth of my attachment to the two main characters and I was thoroughly engaged in the story-line. I'm definitely excited to read more from Julie Corbin and do highly recommend this!

Trigger Warnings between brackets:
(mental health, domestic abuse, animal cruelty, incest, rape - Note; these were fairly well handled but still very impactful so definitely be wary if these are triggers for you.)

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Wednesday Catch-Up 12th July 2017

Every Wednesday we are linking up with WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is hosted at Taking on a World of Words and asks 3 questions: What are you currently reading?, What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you'll read next? You can click any of the images to go to the Goodreads page for that book!

Currently Reading:

Broken Sky (The Broken Trilogy, #1)Displaced
I have just started buddy reading Broken Sky with Vera @ Regal Critiques, I've heard a lot about this one but I'm not too sure what to expect! I am also about a third of the way through Displaced which is so far really good. I love the main character and I am excited to see where the plot goes.

Recently Finished:

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueThe Ultimatum (The Guardian, #1)What Goes Around
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was as good as I had expected to be. Which means it was amazing! The characters were incredible and the plot was super engaging. I am greatly looking forward to the next one. The Ultimatum was also excellent, my review for this went up yesterday and it was a very promising start to the series. And then I read What Goes Around which was a very good thriller with compelling characters although the plot wasn't as surprising as I would have liked, my review for this will be up tomorrow. 

Planning to Read Next:

The Himalayan SummerPretty FierceThe Dragon’s Legacy (The Dragon's Legacy, #1)
Next up is The Himalayan Summer by Louise Brown which looks evocative and intriguing. I love the cover and I'm intrigued by the setting and the plot. Then I want to pick up Pretty Fierce which I've heard mixed things about but am still excited for because I love all things undercover and assassin. And then finally The Dragon's Legacy which I am very excited for because I love dragons and this looks incredible! 

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare), Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we are reading.