Jo Talks Books: On Mid Series Cover Changes

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week, mine has been relatively quiet for the most part. I wasn’t really sure what to write about for this first discussion post of August, but then this week with all of the talk around the new covers for Sabaa Tahir’s Ember in The Ashes series, I figured that it was the perfect opportunity to talk about one of my biggest pet peeves: mid series cover changes.

I’d like to preface this by saying that Ember’s cover changes were merely an inspiration for this post, I think it’s great that Sabaa Tahir insisted on changing the covers so that POC could see themselves on book covers and I’m excited to collect the series with the new covers, I’m talking about mid series cover changes in a general sense here, it was just inspired by today’s announcement.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this before, you start reading a series, you fall in love, but not all the books are out yet. You wait and you wait and you wait for the title and cover for the next book in the series to be released only to discover….the cover has been changed! The horror! What ever shall you do? Do you buy the series over again with the new covers? Do you collect the series with mismatching covers? Do you stop reading altogether? (Okay that last one is seriously over-dramatic and I would never do that, but you get it, mid series cover changes, big deal for me).

I’m sure publishers have perfectly good reasons for changing series covers, there could be a theme that better suits the book, they want to attract new readers with brand new covers, they want to refresh the series…..I don’t know the reasons could be endless. But for me and I’m sure plenty of other readers like me, I need my covers to match. I need my series with the same covers in the same format. And I wouldn’t be surprised if publishers were exploiting that, knowing that readers like their covers to match, so they release new ones in order to gain even more sales, knowing that die hard fans will buy the books over again so that their covers will match with the new ones. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me being cynical, but it would explain why so many series get multiple different covers!

But here’s the thing: I’m a student, I don’t have endless money to be spending on multiple copies of books when they suddenly redesign the covers mid series. The same goes for the teens who are the primary audience of these books, they’re not necessarily going to be able to afford multiple copies of the same book just because the cover has changed. Waiting until the series is over to publish copies with new covers? Cool, more choice for everyone! Changing the cover mid series, forcing those who really cannot manage having mismatched covers, who may not actually have the money to do so? Not so cool.

Also I tend to find that I don’t like the new covers as much as the original ones? Now of course there are exceptions to this (there are some really great Harry Potter covers out there, the Throne of Glass covers are way better than the original one) but for the most part, cover redesigns don’t usually improve on the original cover. We then end up with an ugly book, alongside our pretty ones, which not only doesn’t match, but is also not as good as the originals? Hell no.

You also get the much feared movie tie in cover, when a series book becomes a movie and suddenly that book’s cover needs to be changed to the movie poster. These covers are usually really ugly and when the movie tie in cover comes out, the original cover suddenly becomes scarce and you can’t get hold of it, meaning you either have to wait until all the movie tie in covers are released in order to have a matching set (which will likely not be as pretty as the original cover), or you have one book with the movie tie in cover and the rest without. Not ideal.

But Jo, you say, not all cover redesigns are bad. And I agree, not all cover redesigns are bad, I’m not saying that the principle itself is a bad thing. Redesigning the cover is basically like a book undergoing a regeneration for future readers and if it helps introduce new readers to the story, that isn’t a bad thing. Harry Potter for instance has undergone multiple cover changes. As have Cassandra Clare’s books, as have The Hunger Games. The difference here is that the series was complete when the redesigns occurred, so no possibility of mismatching covers.

It wouldn’t be a discussion about covers, without some examples, so for the rest of this post, I’m going to pick out some book series that underwent mid series cover change and talk about whether I liked them better before or after the redesign:

First off, the mid series cover changes I didn’t like:

  1. The Bone Season

20590667Before cover change

Image result for the bone seasonAfter

I just started reading The Bone Season series this year (have now read the first two released books and have only the third to read) and I got the first two covers pre cover change as I really liked them. Of course I then realised that those covers weren’t available for book three (I think she did some limited ones with the same covers as books 1 & 2) so I now have a hardback with a different cover (#bookwormnightmare). I actually liked the original cover so much better for this one, you have the Seven Dials, the poppy anemone and the anchor of Scion all represented, plus the blue background is so much more captivating. The new cover with the white background and the red flower is perfectly fine, and it’s not a bad cover redesign per se, but I do think the first one just pops a bit more.

2. Throne of Glass

So the Throne of Glass series has actually been pretty consistent so far, I think there was a cover change at the start of the series but all the UK covers have been the same thus far. Until now. So for some reason the publishers have decided to go with a different theme for the upcoming Chaol book. Now how hard would it be to have a guy in a wheelchair in a similar pose to the one Celaena does normally? No instead, the cover is a symbol on a blue background. Me thinks I smell a rat here……

Original TOG series cover

13519397

Tower of Dawn cover:

31450852

Not only does the Tower of Dawn cover not really have a cohesive connection with the other books (YOU WOULDN’T NEED THE WORDS A THRONE OF GLASS NOVEL, if it was in the same style as the rest of the TOG books) but the fact that the only book in the series not to have a person on the cover is the book that features a wheelchair-bound protagonist………yeah that’s not cool at all.

3. Young Sherlock Holmes

Image result for young sherlock holmes andrew laneBefore

Image result for young sherlock holmes andrew laneAfter

Okay this one really bugged me because by the time they did the cover change, there were already 6 books in the series out! So I have books 1-6 in the first cover style and books 7 & 8 in the second cover style and of course 7 & 8 haven’t been released in the original style, so yup, you guessed it, my covers don’t match! I wouldn’t say the original covers were my favourite series covers anyway, but I really hate the new covers. The stock model cover photo trend is just not something I like? I would say that both covers need to relate more to the book, as I wouldn’t say you can really tell much about the story from either cover, but I still think the first one is more engaging.

4. Unbound

So the first four books in the Unwind series have this theme:

Unwind (Unwind, #1)It’s cool, it’s creepy, the black, white and red work so well together and they look so cool together on the shelf.

25551332Okay so the unravelling string does kind of go with the theme of unwinding, but it doesn’t match the rest of my books, and I know it’s a short story collection in the universe rather than a continuation of the series, but I feel like it should still match? And the first cover was so much cooler and creepier!

Now, the ones I did:

  1. Throne Of Glass

Yup okay, so I have it on both sides of the list, I know, it’s weird, but TOG actually had a cover change early in the series as well. Luckily it never made it across this side of the pond, but it could have done if it hadn’t been changed!

Image result for mid series cover changes

(Before)                                                                    (After)

So I think we can agree the after is way better right? This is probably just me again not really liking the whole cover model trend, but I feel like the girl on the right is much fiercer than the girl on the left?

2. Shatter Me

Image result for shatter me cover change

(Before)                                 (After)

Now I haven’t read this series, so I can’t speak to which one represents the book better, but I much prefer the floating eye to the girl in the dress, I feel like it’s more striking? I don’t know, honestly neither is my favourite cover in the world, but I think the one on the right definitely has the edge.

3. Tales of The Peculiar

Okay so this is a bit of a weird one as like Unbound, Tales of The Peculiar isn’t really part of the Miss Peregrine’s Series, it’s a collection of short stories set in the same universe as the Miss Peregrine’s series (also one I haven’t read). But unlike with Unbound, I actually prefer the cover of Tales of The Peculiar to the original Miss Peregrine’s series, though I can’t speak to how either reflect the book as I am yet to read them!

So this is the original Miss Peregrines cover:

Image result for miss peregrines cover changeI mean it’s not a bad cover and I know that old photographs are a feature of the book, so it makes sense that this would be the cover, but little girls kind of freak me out so the idea of having this on my shelf……..not great.

And this is Tales of The Peculiar:

29358487This cover however, is gorgeous and doesn’t freak me out at all!

4. Red Queen

This is a slightly different case to the others as there is now a collectors edition of Red Queen as well as the original cover, so you don’t actually have to buy mismatched covers, (can I get a hallelujah?) but I actually like the collectors’ cover more than the original!

Image result for red queen cover changeOriginal Cover

I love the minimalism of this cover and from it, you can see the main theme of the series, the red blood dripping from the silver crown, symbolising the Reds Vs the Silvers.

Collector’s Edition

Image result for red queen collector's editionThe collector’s edition follows the same theme as the original cover, with the crown and the blood, but I think the red background just pops a bit more. Of course, I can’t be sure they’ll do collector’s editions of the entire series, so I won’t buy them, but if they were to do the other covers in this design too, I would be welcoming of the change!

So there we go, some hit and some miss mid series cover changes. It was much easier to come up with the ones I didn’t like than the ones I did! I don’t really consider myself to be obsessive about many things, but I definitely like my book covers to be matching, and books in the same format. It just makes for a more pleasing bookshelf! Having said that, I would never boycott an author’s work just because I didn’t like the cover. After all the contents are the most important thing are they not?

What do you think? Are matching covers important to you or do you not care? Can you think of series that have undergone mid series changes for the better? Or for the worst? Do you like the new Ember covers (if you’ve seen them)? Let me know in the comments!

I will have another August discussion post up, probably quite soon as I know what I’m going to be writing about, I’m going to be talking about fans expectations of authors and whether we’ve come to have a sense of entitlement about getting to interact with our favourite authors. In the meantime, I’m hoping to have a new review up by the end of the week, although I can’t promise anything, it’s dependent on me finishing my current read!

 

Top Ten Tuesday #120

80e8d-toptentuesday

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good weekend, mine was pretty cool, I got to go and see Mamma Mia with my friend Ellie on Saturday, it was so much fun! However this week I’ve had to start packing to go back to Uni, so not so much fun, as I loathe packing! Anyway, it’s Tuesday, which means another Top Ten Tuesday prompt and this week, the lovely ladies from the Broke and The Bookish have rejoined us, with official prompts once again, can I get a hooray? The first prompt of their return is Top Ten Recommendations For X. I’ll be honest, I was struggling to decide what to fill X with because I always do Fantasy and end up recommending the same ten books, I wanted to do something different this time, so I’ve decided to do Top Ten Recommendations For Those Who Like Books Without Romance. This might be a tricky one to do, but as a reader who frequently grows weary of the fact that every YA book has to have romance in it, I feel like I should share some of the gems I’ve found that show you don’t have to have romance to be a good YA book. So here we go:

  1. Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein

If you like female friendship and women generally being awesome, then Maddie and Verity’s story is definitely the one for you. It has female pilots, female spies, an unreliable narrator and absolutely not even a whiff of romance.

2. This Savage Song-Victoria Schwab

Whilst not my favourite of Schwab’s books, this story about humans and monsters and the blurred lines between the two is still pretty darn engaging, and the main characters are a boy and a girl with a platonic friendship. Platonic male/female friendships people! It can be done!

3. Challenger Deep-Neal Shusterman

This is a beautiful, heartbreaking story about mental illness, and the book is entirely focused on Caden and his journey, there’s no romance angle because the book simply doesn’t need it.

4. The Book Thief-Markus Zusak

Sure, there are inklings of first love between Liesel and Rudy, but they’re pretty tame and honestly the book is more about family and war and friendship and death than it is about romance!

5. Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer-Rick Riordan

The second book dives a little bit more into the romance plotline, but this book is all about the action, there is no love interest for Magnus, he is simply trying to stop the end of the world with his best friends, one of whom is a girl and they have a totally platonic relationship and it’s awesome and can we have more of this please?

6. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

The second and third books in the trilogy do delve deeper into the romantic storyline (which I actually liked because it was done well and the characters have a real connection. I feel like I rant about romance so much that people don’t know that I actually do like it when it’s done well, I just don’t think it’s always necessary), but this first book, has no real discernible romance to speak of, Kell and Lila are just friends, there is the occasional kiss but it doesn’t go further than that, it’s all about the action!

7. Skulduggery Pleasant-Derek Landy

There is romance later on in the series (isn’t that always the way?) but in this first book, Valkyrie is 12, and just diving into the world of magic, so it’s all about her and Skulduggery’s friendship and her discovering magic and learning to be a detective and no romance to be seen! In fact the entire series is pretty light on the romance in general, it’s only really in the later books that there is any kind of romance and even then it’s pretty light, so if you’re someone who prefers action and magic and friendship to romance, I would definitely recommend this series.

8. Artemis Fowl-Eoin Colfer

I think there might be a smidge of romance or at least hints towards it in the later books, but that was around books 6-8 in the series and really isn’t that prominent at all, in the first book and for most of the series, there is no romance whatsoever, it’s all about Artemis being a criminal mastermind and him and Holly Short working together to bring down the bad guys, in a platonic relationship, she actually kind of hates him at first (which is fair enough since he kidnaps her in the first book). If you like books with criminal masterminds, antiheroes who redeem themselves, and all variety of magical creatures and basically no romance, then this series is definitely one for you.

9. Asking For It-Louise O’Neill

No romance whatsoever in this one cause you know, RAPE IS NOT ROMANTIC PEOPLE (I get very tired of non consensual sex being portrayed as romantic as you can probably tell). It’s a very important story about consent and slut shaming and sexism and rape culture and I think it’s a book that all teenage girls (and boys too) should read.

10. A Series of Unfortunate Events-Lemony Snicket

It’s been a long time since I’ve read these books, so I can’t remember if there might have been some hints of romance towards the end of the series, but for the most part, the Baudelaire kids are far too busy evading Count Olaf, trying not to die and getting into one scrape after another to have any degree of romance.

That’s all I have for this week, it was hard to even come up with ten books that had little or no romance in them! Have you read any of these books? What are your favourite books with little to no romance in them? Let me know in the comments!

I will have a new TTT for you guys next week, as Broke and The Bookish are back to their regularly scheduled topics, no more scrambling to come up with topics, yay! Next week is a Back To School Freebie, so you’ll have to wait and see what Back To School related topic I choose! In the meantime, I have a discussion post that I’m hoping to get up at some point this week, so stay tuned for that.

 

 

Hogwarts Tag

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a fun week, mine has been relatively quiet so far, but I’m going to see Mamma Mia with my friend Ellie tomorrow as an early 21st birthday present (in a happy coincidence tomorrow will be exactly one month till my birthday!), which should be awesome! Anyway I was tagged for this by Never Not Reading and I’m super excited to do it because I’m sure it’s no secret by now how much I love Harry Potter (if it ever was), so this tag is right up my alley (I would make a bad joke about Diagon Alley here, but I’ll spare you). So here we go, the Hogwarts tag:

Are you a pure blood, a half blood or a muggle born?

Neither of my parents are particularly into Harry Potter so I guess I’m a muggle born? Just like Hermione!

Which wand chose me?

Picture of wand

My wand is a 12 1/2 inch, spruce wood with a phoenix feather core. It has surprisingly swishy flexibility. Apparently spruce is a difficult wood and requires a firm hand (so basically, it’s stubborn, just like me!). Pottermore describes the ideal user of a spruce wood as a bold spellcaster with a good sense of humour. Phoenix feathers are the rarest core types and are often very picky when it comes to potential owners and are hard to win over but have the most versatility when you do-that’s good, I wouldn’t want an easy wand, I prefer a challenge! I’m surprised I got such a flexible wand, I’m not the most flexible of people!

Did I take an owl. cat or a toad with me?

I took an owl, obviously! I’m not big on cats and there’s no way I’d want a toad. This is only of the options though, if I had a choice of any animal I could bring to Hogwarts with me, I’d want a puppy!

Where did the sorting hat put me?

Hufflepuff!

What house did I want to be in?

Well when I was a kid I wanted to be a Gryffindor, but I think now I’d rather be a Ravenclaw.

What lessons are my favourites and least favourites?:

Favourites:

-History of Magic-Okay so Binns is supposed to be really boring, but imagine you get taught by someone else, I think this class would be fascinating! I’m a total history geek, so of course I’d love learning about the history of magic.

-Charms-This seems like one of the classes you learn the most magic in? So I think I’d like it.

-Transfiguration-Turning random objects into other things? Sign me up! Plus I love McGonagall 🙂

-Quidditch-Does this count? I just really want to do Quidditch and the real kind, not the muggle version that involves running around with a broom between your legs.

-Defence Against The Dark Arts-If you had a good teacher like Lupin, this class actually sounds really cool!

Least Favourites:

-Herbology-I am so not a gardener! I’d probably kill anything I tried to grow in this class.

-Muggle Studies-Okay so I’m sure this is seriously interesting if you’re a pureblood (and not an ass who believes muggles are beneath you) but if you’re a half blood or a muggle born you’ll have experience of the muggle world, so I doubt it would be as fun.

-Ancient Runes-I’m sure this class would be interesting, but it sounds really hard!

-Divination-Sorry, I don’t believe anyone has the ability to tell the future!

The form my patronus takes

According to Pottermore, it’s a Manx cat, which uhhh…..no? I don’t even really like cats much. I’ve always thought my patronus would be a horse, like Ginny.

What does a boggart look like to me?

My boggart would be the same as Ron’s, I’m absolutely terrified of spiders!

Do I partake in any magical hobbies or school sports?

Like I said, I’d love to play Quidditch! I’m terrible at ball sports and don’t have great aim so I probably wouldn’t make the team, but I’d love to give it a try!

Where would I find myself hanging in my free time?

I reckon I would probably spend a lot of time at Honeydukes’ since I have a bit of a sweet tooth!

What would I most likely get detention for?

Probably being late! I wasn’t always the best at making it to class on time so that would be likely.

What career do I want after leaving Hogwarts?

I don’t really know! I’m a journalist, but I wouldn’t want to work for the Daily Prophet. Being an Auror sounds way too dangerous. I wouldn’t want to be a teacher, not even at Hogwarts. I don’t know, I might just have a muggle job!

Any Harry Potter fans out there, considered yourself tagged!

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) Review

23006119Book: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

This book was my #RockMyTBR read for August. It was one of the books I was most excited for on the list that Twitter chose for me at the end of last year and probably one of the most hyped books on the list. My friend absolutely loves this book as well, and we have very similar tastes in books, so usually if she loves a book, I will too. Still, it’s always a bit nerve wracking when you read a book that’s so well loved, as you always have it in the back of your mind that you might be the black sheep who doesn’t like the book as much as everyone else. Luckily this wasn’t the case with Six of Crows, I really enjoyed it! It did take a while to get into it, as a lot of the book is purely set up for the heist-which I suppose is to be expected in a heist book, but once the action started, it was very hard to put the book down. I also loved the cast of characters Leigh Bardugo put together and their development over the course of the book. Here is a short synopsis of it:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

The opening was pretty engaging, but it did bother me that the opening chapter came from a character that you never hear from again in the rest of the book. I get that it sets up the whole thing with the Grisha, which is an important part of the rest of the book, but when the opening chapter feels completely separate from the rest of the story, that’s a bit of a problem for me. I mean, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story, but I feel like the opening would have made more sense if it had come from a member of Kaz’s crew rather than this weird outsider who we never hear from again.

This book is a spinoff from the author’s original Grisha series but I don’t think it’s necessary to have read them before you read this? I don’t know, for me personally, I found it easy enough to follow and the Grishas sufficiently explained that I could follow everything without having read the original trilogy, but I have heard that some people have found it confusing and it did seem as if the world building expected a certain level of prior knowledge about Grisha, so it’s up to you whether you want to read that first or this, it would probably give you a better understanding of the Grisha war (mentioned a few times) & why the Grisha are considered slaves, but I don’t think it’s necessary (although I did find that the difference between Heartrender and Healer wasn’t explained, is that something you know from the original Grisha books?).

I’d heard so much about Kaz before I read this and I was expecting to really like him, extremely clever anti-hero with a talent for thievery, he sounded a lot like an older version of Artemis Fowl, whom I loved. However I didn’t find myself loving Kaz quite as much as I hoped I would. I’m not really sure what it was, it’s not that he’s completely immoral or a bit of an ass, I’ve loved characters like that before, maybe it’s that he’s quite distant and that makes it hard to connect to him? I don’t know but I didn’t feel the same rush of love as everyone else. I did feel sorry for everything he went through and I really appreciated seeing his touch phobia represented as I can relate to that? I don’t have a phobia, but I do find close contact uncomfortable so it was nice to see that in a character.

I loved most of the rest of the characters though. Nina and Inej were without a doubt my favourites of the cast, Inej was so strong, both physically and emotionally and Nina was hilarious but also fierce (and she loved . I loved that they would put the boys in their places whenever they said or did something remotely assholey! I also loved their friendship, they’re so supportive of each other, there’s no jealousy there, no girl on girl fighting, just wonderful, supportive female friendship. We need more of this in books people! Inej is a former brothel worker but she’s never slut shamed for it. Nina is an unapologetic flirt but she’s also never shamed for it. I love this, women with agency people! This is how you do it!

Jesper was adorable, he’s kind of the comic relief of the group, and I do love the funny guy, so he had my heart instantly, but don’t let the comic facade fool you, he could kill you pretty quick with his sharpshooting skills. I loved his flirting/banter with Wylan and actually wished we could have seen more of the two of them, him and Wylan kind of get pushed to the side for Kaz/Inej and Nina/Matthias, which was a shame. Wylan was definitely my cinnamon roll for this book, he’s too precious for this world and must be protected.

I hated Matthias to begin with. He was all holier than thou and ooh I can’t love a Grisha and what you’re doing is totally wrong and was generally kind of an asshole but he undergoes some great character development through the book and by the end I actually quite liked him. Not as much as Inej or Nina but I didn’t want to hit him anymore, so I’m calling that progress!

All the characters are quite different which I loved (and the voices were distinct enough that you didn’t always have to look at the chapter heading to know who was talking), it made for a good group dynamic, although I will say that during the heist, the group is very much split into their respective pairs, so you don’t get to see them work together as much as I might have liked.

There’s great diversity in this book, you have two main POC characters (Inej and Jesper), a disabled character (Kaz), who also has PTSD, so there’s mental illness rep there too and a confirmed bisexual character (Jesper), Wylan who is strongly hinted to be gay but there’s no on page confirmation, so I’m not sure if that counts?  and a fat character (Nina). They were all treated well as well, no fat-phobia, racism, ableism or homophobia as far as I could tell, so that was great. I also liked that both Matthias and Inej are religious (though obviously their Gods are different to ours) as you don’t tend to see that very often.

I didn’t love that conveniently there were six main characters, who all got paired off with each other. Must we have romance in every YA book people? Can’t we have a group of six friends doing a heist without them all being paired? The romance wasn’t a huge part of the book which I felt glad of, as the only pairing I was really rooting for was Wylan and Jesper, they were so cute and their flirty banter so great. Nina/Matthias started as a captor/captive romance, which I didn’t love, although I did like how Nina made Matthias loosen up a bit more and I think this is a ship I could get on board with given more time. Kaz/Inej, I know I was supposed to love but I didn’t really see anything there? I don’t know maybe I will in the next book. It felt like I was constantly being told that Kaz and Inej felt things for each other, but I didn’t really see it. Nina and Matthias I saw it, I didn’t always love it, but I saw it (and I loved that there was a scene with them spending the night together but it was all about survival not sex! When you’re freezing to death, nah you will not be thinking about sex!). Jesper/Wylan aren’t even an official couple but I saw it. Kaz and Inej? I didn’t really see it. And it was kind of selfish of Inej to insist she must have Kaz “without armour” when she knows about his issues with physical contact? So that was a little offputting, much as I loved Inej.

There were some really great action sequences particularly in the latter half of the book, when the pace really picks up, somewhat making up for the lag at the beginning of the book where it is mostly set up. I mean I understand set up is necessary for heist stories, I just don’t necessarily want to read several hundred pages of it!

The characters all have quite complicated backstories, which I thought was good, as it fleshed them out, but I can understand that keeping track of all these characters and their backstories could be a problem for some people! I would have liked it if Wylan and Jesper had been a little more fleshed out, we tended to only get the flashbacks from Inej, Kaz, Nina or Matthias, which meant we didn’t really get to see Wylan or Jesper’s pasts, only hear snippets of it which was a shame. The lengthy flashbacks were interesting but they did also take you out of the main story and not always at the best times.

Some of the chapters were a little overlong at the start, which contributed to the pacing problems, but this got much better once we got into the heist proper.

I wasn’t expecting how much humour there was in this book, Leigh Bardugo writes great dialogue and some awesome witty banter and I found myself laughing out loud several times during the story.

There were a lot of twists throughout the book that I didn’t see coming, which made it more entertaining. Even though it’s a foregone conclusion that they will make it out of the Ice Court (there’s a sequel so you know things will go okay), there’s still a lot of obstacles on the way to achieving their goal. On occasion, I did feel like the story was trying to be a bit too clever though and I got a little confused? I don’t know, there are just some things that weren’t really explained as much as I would have liked. I also felt that there were times when everything was a little too neat? Saying exactly where would be a spoiler but there were definitely things that worked out just a little too well for the characters that it wasn’t quite believable.

The world building was pretty good, with the Grisha and the parem and all the different cultures of the world and everything, but I still felt like there could have been more? I don’t know, it’s probably just me, I love world building so I want to know everything! The setting was really cool, all dark and gritty, I hope we see more of Ketterdam in the next book.

Leigh Bardugo’s writing was really good, but I definitely preferred her dialogue to her description, I couldn’t really put a reason on it, I think it’s probably just my personal preference for dialogue.

The characters read as much older than they were, aside from Wylan and Jesper, I had trouble believing they were all teenagers, it felt like I was reading about a bunch of 20+ adults.

Van Eck was totally awful, I wanted to punch him!

The book tackles a lot of difficult issues, gambling problems, prostitution, death, drugs, PTSD etc and I thought Bardugo did this well and with sensitivity.

The end I had problems with. Not only was it anti-climactic, but the fact that it was only the girls in trouble at the end smacked of a little subtle sexism to me, which rubbed me the wrong way, the author had been doing so well for most of the book, so it made me a bit made that even a book that has really good rep and all of the sexism is countered, had some subtle sexism in it’s ending. I’m not sure if the author was meaning to, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

I really enjoyed this book, it had it’s problems, but even with the pacing problems, it was an engaging read with a great cast of characters, good diversity, some awesome twists and turns and an interesting magical system, I look forward to seeing more of these characters in the next book!

My Rating: 4/5

My next review will be of the latest Skulduggery Pleasant book, Resurrection.

 

Top Ten Tuesday #119

80e8d-toptentuesday

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week last week, mine was quiet for the most part, but I did get to spend the weekend in Amsterdam celebrating my sister’s birthday which was nice. I’m also going to see Mamma Mia in London on Saturday as an early 21st birthday celebration (my birthday is in about a month’s time), with one of my best friends, so I’m really excited about that! I’m back with my final makeshift TTT topic before the official Broke and Bookish prompts return next week (is it just me or did that six weeks go really quickly?). Anyway, this week I’ve decided to do Top Ten Older Books I Don’t Want People To Forget About, as I think as bloggers we do have a tendency to focus more on the shiny new pretties and forget about some of the amazing older books there are out there, so I’m going to talk about some of my favourites today! Here we go (these will all be books published more than 5 years ago):

  1. Noughts and Crosses-Malorie Blackman-First published 2001

Malorie Blackman’s dystopia about an alternate society where the dark skinned Crosses are in charge and treat the pale skinned Noughts as second class citizens, is even more important now in the current political climate. It’s such a powerful story about love and race and prejudice and it was one of my favourites when I was an actual YA (I first read it when I was about 13 and have devoured it again several times since).

2. Ballet Shoes-Noel Streatfeild-First published 1936

Yup a really old one! This was one of my favourite books as a child, it’s such a lovely story, not just about dance, but also choosing your own family and discovering who you are. Years later and I still really love the Fossil sisters!

3. Unwind-Neal Shusterman-First published 2007

I feel like a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily know about this one or remember it because it was published before The Hunger Games started the massive craze of YA dystopias. It’s an amazing, thought provoking, kind of creepy book set in a dystopian world the likes of which I’ve never read before, it’s such a unique concept, the whole kids being taken apart whilst alive in order to provide organs thing. Definitely read this one, you won’t regret it!

4. Blind Beauty-KM Peyton-First published 2001

No, it’s not like Black Beauty. It’s the story of Tessa, a troubled young girl and her horse Buffoon and the love they have for each other and the obstacles they overcome together. It’s such a beautiful story and again was one of my favourite books when I was an actual YA.

5. Pure-Julianna Baggott-First published 2012

This is a book that I feel may have been lost in the haze of YA dystopias, but it’s a very dark and gritty dystopian, set in this post-apocalyptic world after a nuclear apocalypse that has left most people with strange fusings and only the lucky few who were taken into “The Dome” are Pure, ie have no fusings. It’s a really cool world and a great concept and I feel like it’s often overlooked or not really heard about.

6. Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants-Ann Brashares-First published 2001

This was another of my favourite YAs when I was a teen, and if teens today aren’t reading this beautiful story of female friendship then they are definitely missing out on something.

7. The Heartland Series-Lauren Brooke-First Published from 2000-2003

These books were among my favourites when I was a pre-teen/in my early teens, I completely devoured any and all stories about horses and these books about Amy and her family and how she healed troubled horses were definitely ones I loved to read. I now love the TV series even more than I loved the books.

8. Artemis Fowl Series-Eoin Colfer-First Published from 2003-2012

I never hear anyone talking about these awesome middle grade fantasies which is such a shame! They’re so much fun and have one of the best anti-heroes I’ve ever read. It’s all fairies and pixies and centaurs and elves, it’s a classic type of fantasy story, which I just love and don’t think there’s enough of nowadays!

9. Between Shades of Grey-Ruta Sepetys-First Published 2011

I know Salt To The Sea was a big hit last year but I don’t want people to forget about her first book, Between Shades of Grey, it’s a beautiful, harrowing story about a family under Stalin’s deportations, and the sorrow but also the amazing strength and hope of people in that time.

10. The Roman Mysteries Series-Caroline Lawrence-First published 2001-2009

I never actually read the entirety of this series, I think I got to about 10 of 17, it just got impossible to find them after about the 10th book. I used to love them though, I would get them from the library every week when I went there and own a couple of my favourites from the series. I’m probably a little old to finish the series now, but I did love these when I was younger and would encourage any young reader interested in History to give them a try.

That’s all I have for this week, I’m going to be good and just stick to ten! Have you read any of these books? What are your favourite older books? Let me know in the comments!

I will have a new TTT for you guys next week, when the Broke and the Bookish girls return officially with new topics! The first topic back is Ten Recommendations for……..X, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to use in place of the X, so you’ll just have to wait until next week to see. In the meantime, I have lots more planned for this week, so stay tuned!

 

 

Get To Know Me Tag

Hi everyone! I hope you all had an awesome week, I was in Amsterdam with my parents, visiting my sister for her birthday over the weekend, which was a lot of fun! This is another tag that I haven’t technically been tagged for, but I saw it on Fernanda @TheWanderlustReader’s  blog and it seemed like it would be a fun tag to do, even if you guys probably already know me pretty well by now! Check out her answers to the tag here:

https://thewanderlustreaderofficial.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/get-to-know-me-tag/

And now for the tag (warning, this is gonna be a long one!):

Books

Can you stop reading at any time, or does it have to be a certain page or chapter?

I like to stop at the end of a chapter, or section, I hate leaving off in the middle or worse, just a few pages from the end. This is why books with really long chapters bug me because it makes it much harder for me to leave off at the end of a chapter if the chapter is 20-30 odd pages long and I’m reading at like 2am!

Do you eat or drink anything whilst reading?

Not usually, I don’t want to accidentally spill on my book!

Can you read listening to music or watching TV?

I nearly always listen to music whilst reading (it helps on public transport to block the people around you out), but I couldn’t watch TV while reading, that would be too distracting!

One book at a time or several at once?

I can only do one physical book at a time, but I often read Netgalley e-ARCs alongside them!

Reading at home or everywhere?

I read anywhere! In fact most of the time I’m not reading at home as I tend to read on public transport a lot.

Reading out loud or in your head?

I think I do a little of both? I won’t actually say the words out loud, but I do occasionally mouth along with my book while I read!

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I have been known to do both! It tends to be when I’m really excited/really bored and just want to see what happens. I’ve been trying to stop doing it though!

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

I honestly don’t see how people read without breaking the spine!

Do you write books or just read them?

I’m a writer too! I finished the first draft of my YA fantasy This Is Not A Love Story earlier this year and have started writing a new story, also a YA fantasy, tentatively called Underground Magicians, but that will probably change.

Five Favourite Books (ouch!):

1. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire-JK Rowling

2. The Book Thief-Markus Zusak

3. My Sister’s Keeper-Jodi Picoult

4. Unwind-Neal Shusterman

5. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

(I have so many more though!)

The last book you read:

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. I’m almost done with Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows though, will have finished it tonight.

About Me

Name:

Joanne

Name meaning:

Apparently it means ‘God is Gracious’, which is ironic, considering that I’m an atheist!

Hair Colour:

Brown

Eye Colour:

Brown

Birthday:

12th September

Height:

Around 5’2-5’3, I’m pretty small!

Place of Birth:

London

Star sign:

I don’t really believe in them, but I’m a Virgo.

Best feature:

My eyes

Piercings:

Just my ears (and only the lobes!)

Tattoos:

None, I’m terrified of needles!

Righty or lefty?:

I’m right handed.

Pets:

I have a black labrador called Otis, and a ginger cat called Benjamin.

Siblings:

I have an older sister who lives in Amsterdam.

Kids:

None and don’t plan on having any!

Are you married:

No!

Dream job:

Author!

Hobbies:

Horse riding, trampolining, running, reading, writing

Favourites

Films:

Non Disney: Moulin Rouge, 10 Things I Hate About You, Hairspray (2007), Definitely, Maybe, The Proposal

Disney: The Lion King, Beauty and The Beast, Mulan, Hercules

Songs (this is gonna be long!):

-Come What May-Moulin Rouge

-Your Song-Elton John (but I love the Ewan McGregor version from Moulin Rouge too!)

-Can’t Take My Eyes Off You-Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

-White Horse-Taylor Swift

-Black Roses-Nashville Cast

-She Used To Be Mine-Sara Bareilles

-Thinking Out Loud-Ed Sheeran

-El Tango De Roxanne-Moulin Rouge

-You’ll Be Back-Hamilton

-Without Love-Hairspray

-I’m Not That Girl-Wicked

-Defying Gravity-Wicked

-All Too Well-Taylor Swift

-Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts-Bonnie Bishop

-Blind-Nashville Cast

-Can’t Help My Heart-Nashville Cast

-Coming Home-Country Strong soundtrack

-Dancing Through Life-Wicked

-Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet-Nashville Cast

-Dreamer-Kari Kimmel

-Elephant Love Medley-Moulin Rouge

-Evermore-Beauty and The Beast

-Galway Girl-Ed Sheeran

-Girl In A Country Song-Maddie and Tae

-Give In To Me-Country Strong soundtrack

-Won’t Say I’m In Love-Hercules

-Be Our Guest-Beauty and The Beast

-Gravity-Sara Bareilles

-History of My Heart-Nashville Cast

-How You Learn To Live Alone-Nashville Cast

-I Will Never Let You Know-Nashville Cast

-I Just Can’t Wait To Be King-The Lion King

-Hakuna Matata-The Lion King

-Clean-Taylor Swift

-Blank Space-Taylor Swift

-I’ll Make A Man Out Of You-Mulan

-I’m On It-Nashville Cast

-Just The Way You Are-Bruno Mars

-A Life That’s Good-Nashville Cast

-A Love That Will Last-Renee Olstead

-Love Will Find A Way-The Lion King 2

-Loved-Lucy Hale

-Just Another Song-Lucy Hale

-Makes No Sense At All-Nashville Cast

-Can’t Stop A Heart-Nashville Cast

-It Ain’t Yours To Throw Away-Nashville Cast

-Every Time I Fall In Love-Nashville Cast

-Casino-Nashville Cast

-Love Story-Taylor Swift

-Love Like Mine-Nashville Cast

-The Lucky One-Taylor Swift

-Need You Now-Lady Antebellum

-Nervous Girls-Lucy Hale

-Nothing In This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again-Nashville Cast

-Our Song-Taylor Swift

-Ours-Taylor Swift

-Mary’s Song-Taylor Swift

-Back To December-Taylor Swift

-Reflection-Mulan

-Sad Song-Nashville Cast

-Sanctuary-Nashville Cast

-Say Something-A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera

-The Scientist-Coldplay

-Fix You-Coldplay

-Shake It Out-Florence and The Machine

-Shape of You-Ed Sheeran

-Castle on The Hill-Ed Sheeran

-Shine-Take That

-Should’ve Said No-Taylor Swift

-The Show Must Go On-Queen

-Don’t Stop Me Now-Queen

-Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen

-Somebody To Love-Queen

-Since U Been Gone-Kelly Clarkson

-Piece By Piece-Kelly Clarkson

-Because of You-Kelly Clarkson

-Breakaway-Kelly Clarkson

-The Story of Us-Taylor Swift

-Style-Taylor Swift

-Long Live-Taylor Swift

-Last Kiss-Taylor Swift

-Fifteen-Taylor Swift

-Fearless-Taylor Swift

-Sweeter Than Fiction-Taylor Swift

-A Thousand Years-Christina Perri

-Jar of Hearts-Christina Perri

-Tied Together With A Smile-Taylor Swift

-Tim McGraw-Taylor Swift

-Teardrops on My Guitar-Taylor Swift

-The Way I Loved You-Taylor Swift

-When I Was Your Man-Bruno Mars

-Wild Horses-Natasha Bedingfield

-Wrong Song-Nashville Cast

-You Belong With Me-Taylor Swift

-All About You-McFly

-The Other Side of The Door-Taylor Swift

-Fifteen-Taylor Swift

-Change-Taylor Swift

-Girl on Fire-Alicia Keys

-Human-Christina Perri

-If I Were A Boy-Beyonce

-Angels-Robbie Williams

-Love Song-Sara Bareilles

-Skyscraper-Demi Lovato

-Mine-Taylor Swift

-Photograph-Ed Sheeran

-Lego House-Ed Sheeran

-Out of The Woods-Taylor Swift

-Wildest Dreams-Taylor Swift

-How You Get The Girl-Taylor Swift

-Supermarket Flowers-Ed Sheeran

-Nancy Mulligan-Ed Sheeran

-Save Myself-Ed Sheeran

-The A Team-Ed Sheeran

Sorry guys, I know that was a lot!

TV shows (another long list ahead):

Friends, Gilmore Girls, Merlin, Ugly Betty, Gossip Girl, Nashville, Game of Thrones, How To Get Away With Murder, Reign, Jane The Virgin, Heartland, IZombie, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Pretty Little Liars, Devious Maids, New Girl, Desperate Housewives, Sherlock, Orphan Black, The Tudors, Outlander, Lucifer, Strictly Come Dancing, Wild At Heart, Switched at Birth, Daredevil, Jessica Jones

YouTubers:

I don’t actually really watch any? At least not on a regular basis!

Food:

Pizza, ice cream (specifically Ben and Jerry’s), sausages, cake, anything with salted caramel, oreos, pringles (sour cream and onion are the best), chocolate

Drinks:

Smoothies, milkshakes (but with ice cream, not milk), cookie shakes (from Millies Cookies, they’re the best), orange juice, appletiser, Fanta

Restaurants:

Pizza Express, Peppenero’s (great Italian in London), Bella Italia, Carluccio’s

Shops:

Waterstones, Foyles, H&M, New Look, CEX, Paperchase, The Body Shop

Animals:

Horses & dogs

Perfume:

The ones I use are an Accesorize floral one and The Body Shop’s Spiced Apple scent.

Colours:

Purple is my favourite colour closely followed by pink.

Music Genre:

Musicals, movie/tv soundtracks, pop, country, some rock

Do You

Believe in love at first sight?

Nope.

Believe in ghosts?

Nah.

Believe in aliens:

No!

Believe in soulmates:

Hell no!

Believe in heaven and hell?

Atheist, so nah.

Believe in yourself?

Only thing on this list that I actually do believe in!

What

If you won the lottery what would you buy?

A house with floor to ceiling library, a cinema in the basement and lots of land for me to keep my horse!

Your favourite/worst subject in school?

Favourite:

History (and English up until GCSE)

Worst:

Maths!

Something you wish you were talented at:

I wish I could sing! Ooh and play guitar. Actually to just be musically talented in general would be lovely!

First thing you notice about people:

Usually their eyes.

On top of your bucket list:

Travel! I want to go everywhere!

Your biggest accomplishment:

Finally writing my novel! It’s only a first draft and it’s nowhere near polished yet, but I’m so proud of myself for getting something that was just an idea in my head, down on paper (so to speak, it’s actually on my laptop!).

Something you look for in a partner:

Sense of humour, an ability to laugh at yourself is key! I would also probably need someone with the same level of wanderlust as me, I don’t plan on staying in the same place forever!

Something you dislike:

Hoverers! Anyone who hovers over me when I’m doing anything, reading, watching a movie, doing work, whatever, I hate it if there is someone behind me watching!

Favourite fairytale:

Beauty and the Beast!

Random final questions

Favourite season:

Winter! I love snow and you know….Christmas.

Furthest you’ve ever been from home?:

I’ve been to the US three times, and I think that’s the furthest I’ve been?

If you could live anywhere in the world, where?:

So many places! Paris, Edinburgh, Berlin, Munich, Bath, Rome, Amsterdam, Ireland, Naples, I could honestly go on forever! I would love to live abroad someday.

Sweet or savoury?

Sweet!

Last time you cried?

I can’t remember? Maybe a month or two ago?

If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself:

I’ve no idea! I hope so!

Scary movie or happy ending?

I don’t like scary movies, so happy ending.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

I don’t really know? I love florals and polka dots, so maybe patterns? I don’t know, I like dresses and skirts, but I also like jeans and t-shirts and trackies. I just want to be comfortable so I’ll wear whatever I feel comfortable in.

Are you competitive:

Yes.

Describe yourself in one sentence:

The resident sarcastic friend.

Who is your role model:

I have so many, my family, the authors I love, the musicians I love, my friends, basically anyone who inspires me.

If you could give your younger self advice what would it be?

Things will get better, don’t worry about all the bad stuff you’re going through now, because you’ll get through it and be better for it.

I tag anyone who wants to do this crazy long tag, to do it!

Thursday Quotables #47

I know, I know, I have been shoddy at doing these over the summer, I keep meaning to and then I just totally forget! I have a few ideas for more posts for the rest of the summer, so hopefully I should be able to get a few more of these up before the summer is over as once I get back to Uni, I probably won’t have as much time to post. Today I’m going to share some of my favourite first lines from books, after all first lines are very important, they introduce you to the book and let you know what you could be getting yourself in for in the next however many hundred pages. These are some of the best first lines that had me instantly hooked:

  1. “Mr and Mrs Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” -Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling

I mean this first line is iconic now right? By starting with the declaration of how normal the Dursleys are, you instantly start to wonder about what is abnormal in this world (enter witches and wizards!).

2. “Look I didn’t want to be a half-blood” -The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan

This first line has you instantly intrigued, whilst also setting up the humour that runs all the way through the series.

3. “Joost had two problems, the moon and his mustache” -Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

This is the book I’m currently reading, and the first line definitely packs a punch. I’m still confused as to what Joost has to do with the rest of the book but ah well, I’m sure I’ll find out soon!

4. “Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she had been told she was going to kill her true love” -The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater

This first line definitely sets up for what is a very weird, yet wonderful series of books!

5. “The early summer sky was the colour of cat vomit” -Uglies, Scott Westerfeld

It’s not pretty, but it’s definitely a memorable first line, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any books compare sky to cat vomit other than this one!

 

6. “It is the first day of November and so today someone will die” -The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater

Because naturally it being 1st November means someone will die, this first line develops a sense of mystery and has you instantly intrigued.

7. “Kell wore a very peculiar coat” -A Darker Shade of Magic, VE Schwab

Not only does this first line immediately introduce you to one of the main characters of the series, it leaves you wondering exactly what is so special about this coat and in turn, what is so special about Kell.

8. “Here is a small fact: You are going to die” -The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

I’m cheating a little here, this is actually the ending line of the first paragraph of The Book Thief, but I think the end of that paragraph actually packs more of a punch than the beginning.

I’m going to keep it short and sweet this week and stop there. What are your favourite opening lines from books? Share them with me! I hope I’ll have another one of these for you guys next week, but if I don’t, I will definitely have more up before I go back to Uni in September! In the meantime, I am away this weekend in Amsterdam, so you probably won’t hear from me again until next week.