#RockMyTBR January-March Update (2020)

Hi everyone! It’s slightly unusual for it to be April and me to be doing my first TBR challenge update of the year, but then nothing about this year has exactly been usual now has it? I did intend to keep up to date with these whilst I was away in Cape Town, but I just didn’t have the time/the internet, to be able to. So instead, you guys get a super chunky update of everything that I’ve read in the past few months! I’m going to do slightly longer thoughts on the books I’ve read as I don’t have reviews for them, so this is kind of going to act as a mini review round up as well.

Anyway, for everyone who isn’t familiar, the #RockMyTBR Challenge is a challenge originally started by Sarah K at The YA Book Traveler, which I’ve kind of taken for myself over the last few years. The aim of the challenge is pretty simple: you take a list of books from your TBR (I always do 12, one for each month of the year) and read them over the course of a year. I usually do one of these updates each month to keep you guys posted on what I’ve been reading, but I didn’t do any whilst I was in South Africa from January-March, so this is going to act as a reading roundup for the last three months. In that time, I read 10 books, which is pretty decent for me:

42425501. sy475 Crossfire (Noughts and Crosses #5) by Malorie Blackman:

I was really excited for this one, as the Noughts and Crosses series was one of my favourites when I was a kid, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. Potentially that’s just me now being a lot older than I was when I first read Noughts and Crosses, but I felt like it just didn’t have the same emotional impact as the other books in the series. I also wasn’t a massive fan of the new protagonists, Libby and Troy, though I did enjoy catching up with Sephy and Callie Rose. Still, it was a fast read, and it left off in an exciting place, so I hope there’s a sequel. I read this one from 30th December-9th January.

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Libby discusses the upcoming student elections with her friends.

44048331. sx318 Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack The Ripper #3) by Keri Maniscalco:

This was definitely my favourite of the Stalking Jack The Ripper series! I loved the setting of the cruise ship and I thought the murders were really creative, whilst not be overcomplicated like the ones in Hunting Prince Dracula. It’s probably not too much of a surprise that this was my favourite book, as it features a travelling carnival and I’m trash for circus/carnival stories. I read this one from 6th-16th January. I highly recommend doing the audiobooks for this series, I read them in that format for books 2-4 and the narrator, Nicola Barber is brilliant!

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Audrey Rose and Liza discuss her scientific reading.

41045102. sy475 Circe by Madeline Miller:

This one was my January #RockMyTBR read. I’m a massive Greek mythology nerd, so we probably all could have predicted that this would be a great one for me right? As expected, I really loved this one, Madeline Miller has such a beautiful writing style and I love how she interwove all of these other Greek myths within Circe’s story. It felt like a really timely examination of women and power as well. I read this one from 9th-25th January.

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Circe and Penelope talk about witchcraft.

52136105. sx318 sy475 Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin:

I was really excited for this one, but I found it such a letdown. It was trying to do the same thing that Circe did, I think, look at women reclaiming their power after being abused by men but I don’t think it did it as well. I appreciated that Capin allowed Jade to be angry and I definitely think there’s more room for that in fiction, and I loved the idea of a Macbeth retelling, but I just didn’t think it was executed all that well. I didn’t love the writing style and I felt like all the characters were kind of flat. I read this one from 6th January-1st February (on and off).

BECHDEL TEST: FAIL-All the girls conversations revolve around their revenge plot on the boys.

43523326. sx318 Capturing The Devil (Stalking Jack The Ripper #4) by Keri Maniscalco:

And so we go from my favourite book in the SJTR series, to my least favourite. I had really high hopes for this one and definitely ended up disappointed. The mystery could have been good, but the author spent far too much time focusing on the romance between Audrey Rose and Thomas that everything else kind of got lost. The mystery ended up being rushed and it didn’t feel like the satisfying conclusion to this series that I wanted as I spent most of my time being frustrated at both Audrey Rose and Thomas! I read this one from 18th January-5th February.

BECHDEL TEST: FAIL-All of Audrey Rose’s conversations with other women revolve around Thomas.

29588505. sy475 Truthwitch by Susan Dennard:

I’ve been really wanting to try a Susan Dennard book after loving her social media for the past few months, and Truthwitch did not disappoint! I really loved the characters and the world, though I did find some of the world-building a little confusing. The plot did feel a little slow paced at times, but on the whole, I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the sequel soon. I read this one from 25th January-14th February.

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Iseult and her mother discuss her escape.

44651522. sy475 Wilder Girls by Rory Power

I reckon this one was more a case of wrong book, wrong reader. I liked the concept of this, but I’ve never really been much of a horror reader, so I did find parts of it incredibly gross. It was also kind of slow paced and dull for most of the book, we barely know what’s happening and then when we do find out, it’s cut off abruptly. This had the potential to be a great story, but it just didn’t quite live up to that potential, at least for me. I read this one from 22nd January-23rd February.

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-The girls talk about the Tox.

21518344. sy475 Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell:

This was my February #RockMyTBR read. Again, we had a great concept, not so great execution, it seems to be a theme so far this year. I loved the idea of a Peter Pan/Captain Hook retelling, but in practice, I didn’t love this book. It TOOK ME SO LONG TO READ and it wasn’t even that long of a book! It was so slow paced, and I can’t say I really LOVED any of the characters. It got better towards the end, but still kind of disappointing. I read this one from 15th February-8th March.

BECHDEL TEST: PASS: Olivia and Gwen have a brief conversation about Gwen’s mother.

45046766Night Spinner by Addie Thorley:

The inside of this one was definitely as beautiful as its cover! It’s a Hunchback of Notre Dame retelling, and though I’m not really familiar with the original story (only the Disney movie), I loved what Thorley did with it. It was such a unique world (kind of arctic tundra like) and concept. I really enjoyed the world building and the characters and though it was maybe a tad slow to start, when it got going, it really got going! I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel. I read this from 10th February-15th March.

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Enebish, Inkar and Oyunna talk about their faith.

42815556Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim:

And finally my most recent read. This was my #RockMyTBR read for March. Again, I loved the idea but in practice, it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. It felt like two story ideas combined into one and neither was developed to the extent that it should have been. I read this one from 8th March-1st April. I actually do have a review for this one, so you can check out more of my thoughts here:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/spin-the-dawn-the-blood-of-the-stars-1-review/

BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Maia and Lady Sarnai talk about the dresses.

So that’s everything that I read from January-March of this year, here’s what I have coming up in April:

The City of Brass-S.A. Chakraborty

This was originally going to be my June #RockMyTBR read, but I switched it with The Gilded Wolves, as Brittany from my Goodreads book group (YA Addicted Book Club) picked it for me to read this month as part of our monthly Pick It For Me. I’m really excited for this one, it sounds so good and I’ve heard such good things about it from so many people.

The King of Crows (The Diviners #4)-Libba Bray

I’ve been slowly making my way through this since February, and I’m very nearly done, I’ve got about two hours left on the audiobook! I’ve had mixed feelings about this one, there’s things I’ve really loved and things I haven’t so much, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting from the last book in this series. Still, I’m getting excited about the way things are turning out.

Havenfall-Sara Holland

This is my current Netgalley read, I’ve only got about 9 chapters left so I should have finished it soon. I’m not really sure how to feel about this one, I like the idea and I usually love portal fantasies, but I’ve found this one a bit….dull? I don’t know, we’ll see how the rest of the book goes.

Coraline-Neil Gaiman

The YA Addicted Book Club have chosen this as our monthly read for April, and I’m really excited because I’ve never read any Neil Gaiman before. I watched the film of this a while back, but I’ll be interested to see what the book is like.

Windwitch-Susan Dennard

Like I said above, I really enjoyed Truthwitch when I read it back in February and as Coraline is a very short book, I should be able to get to the audio of this before the month is over. I’ll be interested to see where Safi, Iseult, Merik and Aeduan go on their adventures next.

The Enigma Game-Elizabeth Wein

I love Elizabeth Wein’s historical fiction, so I’m really excited that I got approved for her new one on Netgalley. I’m hoping I’ll love this one just as much as Code Name Verity.

What has everyone else been reading in the last few months? How has your Goodreads Challenge been going? I’m 4 books ahead of schedule on mine, so I’m really happy with that. What books are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments!

#RockMyTBR December Update (2019) & Wrap-Up

Hi everyone! I know I said my last Top Ten Tuesday would probably be my last post before I went to South Africa, but I realised I had yet to post my wrap up for my 2019 #RockMyTBR Challenge, so I wanted to get that done before I left. 2019 has been kind of a weird transition year for me, I graduated Uni back in June which was an amazing achievement, but the whole period between graduating Uni and now has been a bit strange, going from being a student to working full time and now heading off to a whole new country for three months, it’s definitely been a whirlwind year! I mean I wrote my whole 10,000 word Journalism project in 3 months, I graduated, I’ve had two jobs, I went to YALC again, I’ve been to see not one, but three amazing West End shows, I’ve had a great holiday with my friends, who I’ve been able to see more since I’ve been back down south, I sent my book out to agents, I turned 23, it’s been a very full on year, but I did so much that I’m proud of in 2019 and I’m hoping that 2020 will be as good.

Anyway, I’ve been spending most of the last few days organising stuff for South Africa, I can’t believe I’ve only got two days left to go now! December went okay in terms of reading, I would have liked to have read more, but I did read two books, which took me over my Goodreads Challenge of 40, to end the year on 42, which is the best I’ve ever done since I started doing the Goodreads Challenge in 2015 so I’m massively pleased with that! As with last year, this post will be a tad longer than my usual ones, because I’ll be recapping what I read in December, rounding off this challenge for 2019 and looking forward to what I’ll be reading this month, so I hope you’ll stick with it till the end!

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Reign of The Fallen By Sarah Glenn Marsh:

My final #RockMyTBR book of the year! I liked this one but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I was hoping to! I liked the idea, but I didn’t really think that it was developed well enough and it just wasn’t quite as exciting as I was hoping for. I read this one from 13th-29th December. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/reign-of-the-fallen-reign-of-the-fallen-1-review/

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Keri Maniscalco:

My audiobook read of December and my final read of 2019. Again, I did like this one, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one, and I’m definitely enjoying the third one more. I thought the mystery in this one was just a tad overcomplicated and hard to follow and that the story was quite slow paced, though I loved the setting and the new characters. I read this one from 17th-30th December. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/03/hunting-prince-dracula-stalking-jack-the-ripper-2-review-audiobook/

So that’s it, my final update of 2019, or first of 2020, I guess! I put together my list of reads for my 2020 Challenge at the beginning of December, which will be the third post down under the #RockMyTBRChallenge Tab, marked #RockMyTBR 2020 Challenge, if you want to see what I’m planning on reading for my challenge this year. For the rest of this post, I’m going to recap what I read for this challenge in 2019 & look forward to what I’m going to read for the first month of 2020:

What I Read This Year Ranked In Star Order:

  1. To Kill A Kingdom-Alexandra Christo-5 stars

I had two five star reads this year, but I decided to put this one first, because Alexandra Christo was definitely one of my favourite author finds of last year! I loved this book so much, it was so dark, and twisted, with so much fun banter, and Lira was just such a badass heroine and the enemies to lovers romance was done brilliantly.

2. The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue-Mackenzi Lee-5 stars

This one was just so much fun! Monty was brilliantly funny, I loved his friendship turned romance with Percy and I loved watching their hijinks around Europe. I also really loved Monty’s sister Felicity, and I’m so excited to read her book this year.

3. Stalking Jack The Ripper-Keri Mansicalco-4 stars

I really enjoyed this one, I can’t say that murder mysteries are something that I read often, but the concept for this one really caught my eye and I have to say I really enjoyed it. The mystery was kind of simplistic yes, but I enjoyed the characters and the writing and have so far enjoyed the rest of the series as well.

4. Siege and Storm-Leigh Bardugo-4 stars

Whilst I definitely prefer the Six of Crows duology to the original Grisha trilogy, this book was definitely my favourite out of the three. I just love Nikolai, so, so much okay, the humour level in this book was much higher, and though the plot still felt largely padded, it was much more enjoyable than Shadow and Bone.

5. Catwoman: Soulstealer-Sarah J Maas-3.5 stars

I’m not a massive comics fan so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this but it actually worked out a lot better than I was expecting. I really enjoyed the crew of Selina, Ivy and Harley, the plot was relatively fast paced and engaging and it was nice to read something by Sarah J Maas that wasn’t a massive tome! I think this was the first book of hers since Crown of Midnight to be less than 400 pages!

6. Reign of The Fallen-Sarah Glenn Marsh-3.5 stars

I definitely thought this book was underdeveloped in some areas, the character and world development could have been a lot better, but I loved the concept and I loved that there was so much LGBTQ+ representation. I’m hoping the world will be expanded more in the sequel.

7. An Ember In The Ashes-Sabaa Tahir-3 stars

I was expecting to really love this one, and whilst I didn’t hate it, I did feel like it was somewhat overhyped for me. It was definitely a decent debut novel, but I didn’t love the characters, they felt quite flat to me, as did the worldbuilding. I will probably read the sequel but I’m not really in a rush to get to it.

8. The Last Namsara-Kristen Ciccarelli-3 stars

I liked the stories and mythology for this one, but basically everything else fell kind of flat. Asha was pretty bland, as was Torwin and the other side characters were all kind of flat as well. I also didn’t really feel like the world was all that developed and there weren’t enough dragons. I don’t think I’ll read the companion novels for this one.

9. An Enchantment of Ravens-Margaret Rogerson-3 stars

This book was fine, but I just felt like nothing really happened? It was a whole 300 pages of basically just meandering journeying and the world and characters were hardly developed at all. I’m hoping that her second book, Sorcery of Thorns, which I have on my TBR for this year, will be better.

10. Uprooted-Naomi Novik-3 stars

I liked the idea of a fairytale type story that wasn’t a direct retelling, more inspired by Eastern European folktales, but I didn’t love Novik’s writing, I didn’t love the characters and I wasn’t a fan of yet another romance between a 17 year old girl and a man who is several hundred years old.

11. Alex and Eliza-Melissa De La Cruz-3 stars

To be honest I rated this 3 stars when I read it, and I probably would go more like 2.5 now, looking back. It wasn’t at all historically accurate really, the characters were flat and not well realised and I honestly didn’t think the writing was that great.

12. Strange The Dreamer-Laini Taylor-2.5 stars

I’m starting to think that perhaps Laini Taylor’s books might not be for me after quite a few disappointments! Strange The Dreamer for me was just confusing, I couldn’t follow the plot, I couldn’t connect to the characters and it felt like all the issues with the book were kind of glossed over by pretty writing.

So that’s a recap of everything I read in 2019, here’s what I’m planning on reading in the first month of 2020:

I’ve actually already read my first book, Crossfire by Malorie Blackman, so I’m not going to include it here, though it will be on my January update!

Circe-Madeline Miller

My #RockMyTBR book for January, which I just started reading today. I haven’t really got far enough in to make a judgement, I’ve only finished the first chapter, but I’ve heard good things, so I hope I enjoy it.

Escaping From Houdini-Keri Mansicalco

I’m reading the third Jack The Ripper book on audio right now, and I’m really enjoying it so far, the mystery is a little clearer than in Hunting Prince Dracula, but I still have no idea who is committing the murders!

Foul Is Fair-Hannah Capin

My Netgalley read for this month, I’ve only just started it and I’m enjoying it so far, though again, I’m not all that far through it yet.

Capturing The Devil-Keri Mansicalco

I’ve really loved reading the rest of the Stalking Jack The Ripper series on audio, Nicola Barber is a brilliant narrator and I can’t wait to see what happens to Audrey Rose and Thomas in the final book of the series.

I’m so pleased with how much I read this year, 42 books is so good, but I’m not going to be pushing myself to read even more this year, I want reading to be fun and if I get over 40 books again this year that would be great, but honestly, as long as I enjoy what I read, I’m happy! I also managed to read all 12 of the books on my challenge list last year, which made me so happy. Here’s to 2020 being another great reading year!

How did everyone else’s December reading go? What was your first read of 2020? What did you set your Goodreads Challenge at this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

#RockMyTBR November Update (2019)

Hi everyone! This is much later than planned, we’re about halfway through December, and I usually try to get my update posts up in the first couple of days, but it took me a while to finish my last book of November and so that kind of pushed it back a little, so sorry about that. November was a pretty stressful month for me workwise, but I did have a lovely “Fake Christmas” with my friends Hannah and Zoe a couple of weeks ago, which was so much fun, always one of my favourite things in the run up to Christmas.

November, like October was a much slower month of reading than I would have liked. I read three books (though honestly the last one was largely read this month!) and I was once again largely reading the same book through most of the month. For anyone who is new to the blog, #RockMyTBR is a challenge set up by Sarah K at The YA Book Traveler, and I’ve borrowed it for my blog over the last few years. It’s pretty simple, you basically just pick a list of books from your TBR (Twitter chooses mine for me), and read them over the course of the year. My total this month did take me to my challenge goal of 40 though, so I’ve officially completed my Goodreads challenge, which is awesome. Here is what I read in November:

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Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas:

My audiobook read of the month, I FINALLY finished this one in November after reading it on and off for a year! I did enjoy it in the end, it was a satisfying ending to the series, but it was WAY TOO LONG. It did not need to be 980 pages. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/16/kingdom-of-ash-throne-of-glass-7-review/

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Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo:

This was the YA Addicted Book Group’s Book of The Month for November and as it was one of my most anticipated books of the year, I joined in. Unfortunately I didn’t love this one quite as much as I hoped, it was good but it was so slow paced and I was kind of overwhelmed with the worldbuilding. I read this one from 30th October-22nd November. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/ninth-house-alex-stern-1-review/

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson:

This was my #RockMyTBR book for November, and I was quite disappointed, for a 300 page book, it was incredibly slow paced, and lacked depth, both in the characters and the world building. I read this one from 22nd November-12th December. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/14/an-enchantment-of-ravens-review/

So that’s what I read in November, here’s what I have coming up for the rest of this month:

Reign of The Fallen-Sarah Glenn Marsh

My #RockMyTBR read for December, and final one of the year. I started it on my train journey up to Stirling from Cambridge yesterday, and it’s been pretty good so far, I’m hoping I will finish this challenge on a high.

Hunting Prince Dracula-Keri Maniscalco

My final audiobook read of 2019, I really enjoyed Stalking Jack The Ripper when I read it back in September, so I’m hoping this one will be just as good.

The Fowl Twins-Eoin Colfer

Honestly I haven’t really been feeling this one, but my Netgalley ratio is not doing so good, so I’m hoping I can finish it before the year is out.

So I’ve obviously finished my Goodreads Challenge now, but how are yours going? Anyone getting close? How did your November reading go? Let me know in the comments!

#RockMyTBR 2020 Challenge

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it, but it’s almost the end of the year, I only have one more full book to read in order to complete this year’s #RockMyTBR Challenge, so that means it is time to draw up my list for next year. For those of you who don’t know, #RockMyTBR is a challenge originally created by Sarah K at The YA Book Traveler, where she challenges you to draw up a list of books to knock of your TBR over the course of a year. She hasn’t done it in a couple of years, but I really enjoyed doing it, so I’ve kept on doing it for myself.

I’ve stuck with my tradition of 12 books, as it’s worked well for me in the past, and it allows me some structure, but also choice to read other books as well, as I usually read two or more books in a month. As I did last year, I got Book Twitter to choose my books for this challenge because it’s fun and I don’t like having to choose between books, plus, they’ve picked some really great ones in the past! I’ve had kind of a mixed bag again this year, some new favourites, some just okay, and a couple that really didn’t work for me. I’m hoping next year’s offerings will also yield some new favourites:

  1. Circe-Madeline Miller-My friend Hannah loved this one when she read it this year, so I have high hopes! I am a total Greek mythology nerd, I’ve heard a lot of really great stuff about this book and I can’t wait to read Madeline Miller’s take on Circe’s story.
  2. Unhooked-Lisa Maxwell-Whilst I’m not as big of a Peter Pan fan as my friend Nicola, I did like Once Upon A Time’s take on Captain Hook, and I’m interested to see how this retelling tackles the story. I’ve not actually heard much about this one, so I’ll be interested to see what it’s like.
  3. Spin The Dawn-Elizabeth Lim-I was really intrigued by the comparison for this book, Mulan meets Project Runway, it sounds really different to a lot of books I’ve read, and YA fantasies do tend to become a bit same-y for me sometimes, so I’m hoping this book will be as refreshing and different as it sounds!
  4. The Gilded Wolves-Roshani Chokshi-I’ve heard mixed things about this book, some people say it’s really great, others that it’s very confusing. I’ve been really loving historical fantasies lately, and I’ve been wanting to try something by Roshani Chokshi for ages, so I hope I’m one of the ones who loves it!
  5. The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy-Mackenzi Lee-I loved Gentleman’s Guide when I read it back in June, and Felicity was my favourite character in that, so I’m definitely excited to see where she goes next.
  6. The City of Brass-S.A. Chakraborty-I’m trying to expand my Adult Fantasy reading, and my friend Nicola loved this one, so I’m really looking forward to reading it. It sounds really different, I love that it’s a historical setting, and I’ve never read anything set in Egypt before, so I’m super excited for that.
  7. King of Scars-Leigh Bardugo-Nikolai’s book! I meant to read it this year, but I was feeling a bit burned out on the Grishaverse after spending the entirety of January reading the remainder of the original trilogy, and then I just never got around to it. I’m super excited to see what Nikolai and the others get up to in this book and really glad that Twitter picked it!
  8. The Dead Queens Club-Hannah Capin-I’ve not really seen much about this since it came out, but I’m hoping it will live up to the hype I’ve got in my head, I love the Tudors, so the idea of a Henry VIII’s wives retelling is definitely right up my street!
  9. Sherwood-Megan Spooner-I’ve been wanting to read a female Robin Hood retelling for so long, so I’m so glad that Sherwood exists and I’m going to be reading it!
  10. City of Ghosts-Victoria Schwab-I’ve read Schwab’s YA and Adult books, so I’m intrigued to see how she handles MG. I am aware that this one will probably feel a little young for me, but it’s Schwab, so I’m excited anyway!
  11. Assassin’s Apprentice-Robin Hobb-My friend Nicola got me this one for my birthday, it definitely sounds right up my street, assassins, royalty and animals, yes please. I’ll be interested to see how I like this one, as the last fantasy from the 90s that I read was Harry Potter!
  12. Sorcery of Thorns-Margaret Rogerson-I’ll admit, I haven’t loved An Enchantment of Ravens as much as I would have liked to, but I still have high hopes for this one. I’ve heard good things, and it does sound right up my street: libraries, sorcerers, demons. It definitely sounds like something I should enjoy, so hopefully I will.

There we go, my list for 2020! If you’ve read any of these, please let me know what you thought about them. For the third year running, all of the authors on my list are female authors, and 8 out of 12 of them are new to me as well, so that’s great.

Thank you to the lovely people of Book Twitter who voted for my list for 2020 and I hope you all enjoy reading my thoughts on these books over the next twelve months. I’m so excited to read all of these books next year, which is somehow a month away? How?

I will have my latest Top Ten Tuesday post up for you guys tomorrow, so look out for that.

 

#RockMyTBR October Update (2019)

Hi everyone! I hope you had a nice October, mine was once again largely work, but I did do some cool things, including a holiday to France with my friends, a trip to see Waitress in London with my parents and a dinner out with my friends this week for my friend Hannah’s birthday.

Reading wise, October was a little slow for me, I thought my #RockMyTBR book would take a lot less time than it did, but I was stuck with it through the entire month which was a shame as I was hoping to read more. For any of you who are new to the blog, #RockMyTBR is a challenge created by Sarah K over at The YA Book Traveler and I’ve borrowed it for my own blog over the past few years. The challenge is relatively simple, you just pick a list of books from your TBR and read them over the course of the year. I always do 12, one for each month of the year, and I have Twitter decide them for me as I am terrible at making decisions! I only read two books this month, but that has brought my total for the year so far to 37, only 3 away from my challenge of 40 and two more than last year already, so I’m really happy with that! Here is what I read in October:

Before the Devil Breaks You

Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray:

My favourite book of October, this was my audiobook read of the month and I loved it so much. I can’t believe that I’ve caught up with this series already, I’m so excited for King of Crows to come out in February, though I am slightly heartbroken by some of the events of this book! I read this one from 1st-24th October. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/before-the-devil-breaks-you-the-diviners-3-review-audiobook/

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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli:

This was my #RockMyTBR for October. I was actually quite disappointed by this one, the concept was great and I loved all the mythology of the world, but I thought it was poorly executed in terms of plot and pacing! I know I was busy this month, but it shouldn’t have taken me a whole month to read a 400+ page book. I read this one from 2nd-28th October. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/01/the-last-namsara-iskari-1-review/

So that’s what I read in October, here’s what I have coming up in November:

An Enchantment of Ravens-Margaret Rogerson

My #RockMyTBR book for this month. I honestly haven’t really heard much about this one, so I’m not sure what to expect, but the only experience of faeries that I’ve had are the alpha male ones in Sarah J Maas books so I’m hoping for slightly less toxic masculinity in this book!

Ninth House-Leigh Bardugo

I’ve just started this one, so I’m not really sure how I feel about it yet, I’m intrigued and it’s certainly very different to any of her other books. I really hope I enjoy it as it was one of my most anticipated books of the year!

Kingdom of Ash-Sarah J Maas

Yes, I know I’ve included this on several challenge updates and never actually finished it, but I am actually making a concerted effort this time! I’m using the audio to finish it and that’s definitely helping, I can make much more progress this way and it’s actually getting good now, so I’m glad I made the switch.

The Fowl Twins-Eoin Colfer

My Netgalley read for this month, the sequel series to Artemis Fowl, following his twin brothers this time. I’m not very far through this either, but I’m enjoying it so far, I love Colfer’s writing style for these books.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I’m doing really well on my reading challenge, only 3 books to go before I beat it, I might even manage to do it before the end of December. How did your October reading go? Let me know in the comments!

 

#RockMyTBR September Update (2019)

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good September, mine was mostly work, but I did have some highlights, I had a great birthday, I went to see Wicked with my friends and it was just as amazing the second time around and I had a nice weekend away with my family in France.

I also read some really great books! So for any of you who are new to this blog in the past month, and are unfamiliar with this feature, this challenge was started by Sarah K over at The YA Book Traveler, and I’ve borrowed it for my blog over the past few years. The challenge is pretty simple, you pick a list of backlist books from your TBR and read them over the course of the year (though I get Twitter to pick mine via a series of polls, as it’s a lot of fun and takes the pressure of deciding off me!). I always do 12, one for each month of the year. September was quite busy for me again with work, but I did manage to read three books, which brings my total for the year to 35. I’ve now equalled the number of books I’ve read last year and only have five more to go before reaching my goal of 40, so I’m really happy with that. Here’s what I read in September:

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Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo:

My favourite book of September, I borrowed an ARC of this from my friend Hannah and I’m so glad that she won this at YALC because it was brilliant. It had such a great cast of characters, a compelling magic system and a great plot, and I cannot wait for the sequel next year already! I read this one from 2nd-20th September. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/into-the-crooked-place-into-the-crooked-place-1-review-arc/

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Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray:

This was my audiobook for the month, and I really enjoyed this one, much more than I enjoyed The Diviners, which I realised I left out of my updates, which was a definite oversight on my part, I finished the book not long after I did my July update. Because I was more familiar with ALL the characters (there are a LOT) and the magic system and everything in this book, I found I was able to immerse myself in the story more, and I also really loved new character, Ling Chan. I read this one from 2nd-22nd September. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/lair-of-dreams-the-diviners-2-audiobook/

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco:

And finally we have my #RockMyTBR book for September. I really enjoyed this one, it was just what I needed, a nice, short, spooky read with a compelling protagonist and great mystery. I will definitely be reading on with this series, I think I might get the second book from Audible next month. I read this one from 21st September-1st October. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/02/stalking-jack-the-ripper-stalking-jack-the-ripper-1-review/

So that’s what I read in September, here’s what I have coming up in October:

The Last Namsara-Kristen Ciccarelli

My October #RockMyTBR book, as I said last month, I was either going to read SJTR or this in September depending on how much time I had, and I ended up going with SJTR because Into The Crooked Place took me most of the month to read. I’m really excited for this one, mainly because DRAGONS.

Crossfire-Malorie Blackman

I’m so excited to finally dive into Malorie Blackman’s latest book, I bought it at YALC back in July but just haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I’m definitely going to be prioritising it this month though, because I want to have it finished before 2019 is over (I can’t believe we only have three more months of the year, where did it go?).

Before The Devil Breaks You-Libba Bray

Continuing with my read of The Diviners series, I’m reading the third book this month. I just started it on Tuesday, and I’m enjoying it so far, though I’m not very far through yet.

The Fountains of Silence-Ruta Sepetys

I’m still reading this, as it’s quite long, and I’ve not had much time. To be honest, I’m not enjoying this one as much as her other books, I’m finding it kind of dull at the moment, but hopefully it picks up.

My reading challenge progress, like I mentioned at the top of the post, is going really well, I’m five books ahead of schedule and only have five to go until I finish, so I could even finish this year’s challenge before December! How did your September reading go? Let me know in the comments!

#RockMyTBR August Update (2019)

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great August, mine has basically been work of one kind or another, but I suppose that’s just being an adult. I do have some cool things coming up this month though, I’m going to see Wicked with my friends in just under two weeks, which is my second time seeing the show and I’m really excited for that. I’m also going out for dinner with a friend of mine tomorrow, and I’m going to France in a couple of weeks, so that should be good too. Plus it’s my birthday next Thursday as well, so all in all September is shaping up pretty nicely.

Anyway for those of you who are new to my blog since I last did one of these posts, this challenge was started by Sarah K over at The YA Book Traveler, and I’ve borrowed it for my blog over the past few years. How the challenge works is basically you pick a list of backlist books that you want to read over the course of the year, and knock them off your TBR. I always do twelve books, one for each month of the year. August has been a busy month for me with work, but I still managed to read 4 books, bringing my total for the year so far to 32, so I’m pretty pleased with that. Here’s what I read in August:

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Vengeful by VE Schwab:

Definitely my favourite read of August, and one of my favourites of the year, I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. It was even better than the first book, so expertly plotted and paced, with a brilliant cast of characters, including so many badass women, Marcella and June, the two new ladies in this book have my entire heart. I read this one from 28th July-11th August. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/vengeful-villains-2-review/

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You by Caroline Kepnes:

This was my audiobook for August, and I have to say this was one of the rare times when I found the TV show better than the book. The narration, expertly done by Santino Fontana was definitely the best thing about this book, the writing wasn’t all that great and though the plot was decent, it felt like it was overly long. I read this book from 7th-18th August. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/you-review-audiobook/

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An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir:

This was my August #RockMyTBR book, and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I’d heard so much hype about this book that I was expecting it to be something really great. Instead, I found the characters pretty flat, the world wasn’t particularly magical for a fantasy and I felt like the story dragged, though it ended in an exciting enough place that I’d still read the sequel. I read this book from 13th-31st August. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/01/an-ember-in-the-ashes-review-an-ember-in-the-ashes-1/

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson:

This was my Netgalley read for the month, which I read from 2nd August-3rd September. Whilst I appreciated what this book did in terms of highlighting sexual assault, and the story is unfortunately still very timely twenty years later, I didn’t find the actual story as powerful or emotional as I was expecting. Here is my review of the book:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/speak-review/

So that’s what I read in August, here’s what I have coming up in September:

Into The Crooked Place-Alexandra Christo

My current read, I borrowed this ARC from my friend Hannah, after she won it at YALC. I loved Christo’s debut, To Kill A Kingdom, and so far I’m liking this book as well, though I sense that the real excitement is just about to start!

Stalking Jack The Ripper-Keri Maniscalo/The Last Namsara-Kristen Ciccarelli

I’m not really sure which of my #RockMyTBR books I’ll be reading in September, as it depends how long Into The Crooked Place takes me as to which one I’ll choose. If I finish it relatively quickly, then I will read The Last Namsara, if it takes me longer, I’ll go with Stalking Jack The Ripper as it’s slightly shorter. Either way, I will be reading both in the next two months as whichever I don’t read this month, I will be reading in October.

Lair of Dreams-Libba Bray

This is going to be my audiobook for this month, I just started it. I’m enjoying it so far, although again, the audio is split in a weird way, each “chapter” is actually several chapters in one part, which means they are over an hour and half each, so it’s probably going to take me a while to get through.

The Fountains of Silence-Ruta Sepetys

This is going to be my Netgalley read for the month, and I’m really excited about it, Ruta Sepetys always writes the BEST historical fiction, and I’ve never read anything about Spain under the dictatorship of General Franco before.

My reading progress this year is still going very steadily, I’m 5 books ahead of my Goodreads Challenge and only have 8 books to go until I meet my challenge for the year. How did your August reading go? Let me know in the comments!