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 ┬áblog 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.

Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshinebloggeraward

Hi all! I hope you’ve all had a great week so far, mine has been pretty quiet really, but I’m heading out to Amsterdam tomorrow with my parents for my sister’s birthday on Saturday, so that should be really fun! Anyway, I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award, by Alex @coffeelovingbookaholic, so thanks Alex! You can find her post here:

sunshine blogger award

First off, the rules:

  • thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  • nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • list the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your post and/or on your blog

Alex’s Questions:

  1. If you could do one job for the rest of your life, what would it be?:

Ideally I’d like to be an author for the rest of my life! Failing that, any job where I get to read and/or write, would be perfect for me!

2. What’s the most important thing for you in a book review?

Honesty! I want to know whether you loved or hated a book, I don’t mind which way, but I don’t want to go into a book expecting something and finding something else because a blogger hasn’t been totally honest in their review.

3. Which author would you love to meet and why?

Well I have loads on my list, but my dream is to meet JK Rowling. Harry Potter was the series of my childhood and I would love to tell her just how much her and her books have meant to me over the years.

4. Is there one bookish memory from your childhood you will never forget?

Ooh I don’t know, there are so many! My dad reading me James Herriot’s books and doing all the Yorkshire accents of the farmers he came across will definitely always be up there.

5. If you could time travel, which event would you like to be part of?

Ooh I don’t know! I feel like I’d do quite well in the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1960’s.

6. What would your perfect day look like?

I’d be curled up on the couch, with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (preferrably Cookie Dough), watching my favourite movie, Moulin Rouge, and probably lots of other musicals as well!

7. Are you more productive in the morning or in the evening/night?

Definitely evening! I am so not a morning person!

8. PC or Mac?

PC, I’ve never had a Mac!

9. If you could turn your favourite book into a movie, which actors would you have play the parts?

I can’t really answer this one as a) I refuse to pick a favourite book, it’s too hard! and b) I don’t really visualise characters much as I’m reading, so whoever ends up playing them in the movie will be who I visualise them as!

10. Which talent would you like to have?

I’d love to be able to sing, sadly I’m tone deaf!

11. If you had three wishes, what would they be?

Okay, I would wish to:

  1. Become a published author
  2. Have my own horse
  3. Have the Beast’s Library from Beauty and The Beast (the room not the actual books, I’d like to pick which books of my own to fill those massive shelves with!).

My questions:

  1. If you could switch places with anyone in history who would it be?
  2. What’s your favourite TV show at the moment?
  3. Puppies or kittens?
  4. Favourite author right now?
  5. The one movie you’ve watched so many times that all your friends know you for it?
  6. One thing you would like to see more of in books?
  7. If you could go back in time and change one thing, anything, what would you change?
  8. One book you will never read?
  9. Your house is burning down in a fire-which books do you save?
  10. Most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you?
  11. One bucket list place you want to travel to?

I never know who has been nominated for these and who hasn’t, so whoever wants do this, feel free!

Top Ten Tuesday #118

1fe45-toptentuesday

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week, I had an amazing weekend meeting authors at YALC and I’m already so excited to go back again next year (although not gonna lie, slightly bummed I missed the many Benedict Cumberbatch sightings!). Now to read all the books I acquired there! I’m back with another makeshift TTT topic whilst the Broke and Bookish girls are on hiatus (only two more weeks to go until topics officially resume!). I had initially planned on doing a different topic this week, but after YALC, I decided I wanted to do something else. I realised that since I did my first “authors I want to meet TTT” all the way back when I first started doing these two years ago (yup all that time ago!), I’ve actually met quite a few of the authors on that list and have read books by other authors who I’d really like to meet, so I thought I’d do an updated list for you guys that is accurate for the authors that 2017 Jo would love to meet. So here we go:

  1. JK Rowling

Yup number one is still the same! I know this is a complete long shot and would probably never happen but if I ever got the chance to meet JK Rowling I would be the happiest person ever (never mind that I’d likely not be able to speak in front of her because I’d be so gobsmacked).

2. Rick Riordan

Also still on the list from last time, the guy is one of my favourite authors but unless I suddenly become a millionaire and can afford to go to the US for one of his tours, it’s unlikely to happen. I have hope that maybe one day he’ll make it to the UK? Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I have to have hope.

3. Ruta Sepetys

I don’t think I’d read any of her books when I first did this topic, but since then I have read Between Shades of Grey and Salt To The Sea and really enjoyed both of them, and I’d love to meet her and ask her about the research she does for her books as she always does historical fiction based around lesser known events, so it would be interesting to know how she researches those.

4. Rachel Caine

I’ve really enjoyed The Great Library series so far (so looking forward to reading the third book), so I’d love to get to meet the author and ask her questions about the world and characters and everything, it’s such a unique and inventive series and I’d love to know where she gets her ideas from!

5. Neal Shusterman

He was on my list last time as well, but I’m such a big Unwind fangirl that I would just love to meet him! As far as I can see he’s never come over to the UK (I would have been ON IT if he had been) but I hope that one day he does!

6. Abigail Haas

If only because I need to flail over how much I’m still shaken from that Dangerous Girls ending!

7. Eoin Colfer

I loved Artemis Fowl when I was a young teenager and I would love to be able to meet the author and tell him how much I enjoyed his books and how much I loved Artemis!

8. Tara Sim

So I could flail to her about how cute I find Danny and Colton and how much I love her alternate steampunk clock towered powered world!

9. Ally Carter

I love the Heist Society books and I almost had the chance to meet Ally Carter a few years ago but I wasn’t able to make it down to her signing in London and she hasn’t been back since as far as I know! Hopefully she makes a return visit some time soon!

10. James Dashner

I really enjoyed The Maze Runner when I read them, so it would be great to get a chance to meet the author!

11. Carmen Reid

Her book Cross My Heart is one of my absolute favourites, so it would be great to get the chance to meet her.

12. Julianna Baggott

I absolutely loved the Pure trilogy when I read it, so it would be amazing to have the chance to meet this author and find out how she came up with the disturbing world of that trilogy.

13. Stephanie Garber

I really loved Caraval and Stephanie is so lovely on Twitter, it would be awesome to get the chance to meet her. Sadly I missed her at her UK tour stops this year, but hopefully when the second Caraval is released next year, I’ll actually be able to make it to one.

14. Evelyn Skye

I loved The Crown’s Game, so it would be great to get to meet the author in person, she seems lovely from what I’ve seen of her on Twitter.

That’s all I have for this week! Have you met any of these authors? Would you like to? What authors are at the top of your to meet list? Let me know in the comments!

I will have a new TTT next week, the last of these improvised posts before the regular prompts return (yay!), where I’ll be talking about my Top Ten Older Books That I Don’t Want People To Forget About. In the meantime, I have other posts planned for the rest of this week, so stay tuned!

#RockMyTBR Challenge July Update (2017)

Hi everyone! I can’t believe this is the last day of July, this month and my summer holidays from Uni are just flying by. I was literally complaining not long ago that my holidays were too long, and now I’ve realised I only have like 5 1/2 weeks to go, which seems like a lot but if it goes as fast as the holiday that’s already gone, I’ll be back at Uni before I know it! Anyway, that is besides the point, I’m here with another #RockMyTBR update, an update of my monthly TBR tackling challenge. July was almost as succesful a reading month for me as June, I read 3 books in that time, so I was pleased with that, and I’m still ahead on my Goodreads challenge. Here is what I read this month:

Frozen Charlotte by Alex BellFrozen Charlotte by Alex Bell:

I read this from 4th-10th July, so it was a pretty fast read, my #RockMyTBR read for the month, and it also counted towards my YALC Reading Challenge as I bought it when I first went to YALC two years ago (I missed getting it signed by Alex Bell at YALC this year though as I was in other signing queues at the time). I enjoyed this book, it was nothing special but it was a quick, fun, easy, light horror read that worked well for what I needed at the time. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/frozen-charlotte-review/

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor:

This was my second read of the month, I read it as part of my YALC Reading Challenge from 11th-19th July, so another relatively quick read. I did enjoy this one, but it did feel like the author pulled a bit of a bait and switch and the book in the end wasn’t really about what it had been about at the start? It was so awesome at the start but then the romance sort of took over. I’ve heard that the second book gets better though and I picked it up at YALC, so I hope the promise shown in the first half of this book will be seen again in the second book. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/daughter-of-smoke-and-bone-daughter-of-smoke-and-bone-1-review/

The Mime Order by Samantha ShannonThe Mime Order by Samantha Shannon:

I read this one from 3rd-30th July, although I did take a week’s break from 3rd-10th to read Frozen Charlotte, so it was really more the 11th-30th that I read the majority of this book. I wasn’t expecting much after the first one, but I really enjoyed it, this book really stepped it up in every respect and I can’t wait to read the third book of the series. Here is my review (which I just posted!):

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/the-mime-order-the-bone-season-2-review/

That’s what I read in July, this is what I have coming up in August:

Six of Crows-Leigh Bardugo-This is my #RockMyTBR read for August. I did a poll as to whether I should read this or The Song Rising first, and this won, though you better believe I will want to read that one in August as well. I’ve heard such good things about this book from basically everyone, so I hope enjoy it!

Resurrection-Derek Landy-The 10th Skulduggery Pleasant! I wanted to read this back in June when I got it but I decided I needed to read my books for YALC first so now that YALC is over, I definitely want to try and get to this one as it’s one of my most anticipated reads of the year.

The Song Rising-Samantha Shannon-AHH I NEED TO READ THIS AFTER HOW THE LAST ONE ENDED! I’m so excited to see where Paige’s journey takes her next and I’ve heard rumours that some of this one might be in Scotland which makes me really excited since that’s where I go to Uni!

Final Girls-I was meant to finish this one last month, but because of my computer issues and not being able to use my mum’s IPad very often, I haven’t got far with it. To be honest, I’m not loving it so I may give up and try something else I’ve got on Netgalley.

I’m 5 books ahead of my Goodreads challenge at the moment, though I don’t see that lasting as I have some pretty thick books to read this month, especially Six of Crows. How are you guys doing with your reading goals so far this year? What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments!

The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) Review

17901125Book: The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2)

Author: Samantha Shannon

I wasn’t intending on picking up this one so soon after I read the last one, but when I was almost done with The Bone Season, I had a doctor’s appointment that I knew I would be waiting a while for and I didn’t have another book, so like a typical bookworm, I stopped by Waterstones en route to my appointment in order to make sure I had enough material for the long wait! I then put it down for a week whilst I read my July #RockMyTBR book, but luckily it wasn’t too difficult to get re-engrossed in the story and Shannon’s dystopic/fantasy world. I liked this one much better than it’s predecessor, it was easier to become immersed in the world as I understood more of the terms that had confused me in the first book, I wasn’t flipping back to the glossary the whole time (in fact I hardly used it, but it is there for anyone who is still confused about all the different clairvoyant terms), I found the Syndicate politics a lot more gripping than I’d found the penal colony of the Rephaim in the first book, the secondary characters were more fleshed out than they were in The Bone Season and the world building was definitely much improved from the first book. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

The Mime Order picks up right where The Bone Season left off, we’re thrown straight back into the action after a short, sort of prologue I guess from Paige, it’s a good, gripping opening, but it might be worth reading a recap of the first book or doing a reread before reading this one as you are thrown straight back into the action.

It was good to see Paige being affected by what happened to her in Sheol I, it was a traumatic experience and it would have been unrealistic for her not to have been affected by it at all. I loved her development in this, she grows so much from the person she was in The Bone Season, her gift has grown considerably, she’s reckless and doesn’t always make the smartest decisions, but she’s a fierce friend and will do whatever she has to in order to change the syndicate and make sure that word about the Rephaim gets out. I liked that she didn’t feel like the super strong, super perfect heroine, she doesn’t get things right all the time and she’s kind of a reluctant heroine and this makes her all the more relatable and easy to root for.

I liked that we got to find out exactly how the others knew she was in Sheol I in the last book because that had been bugging me for a while!

The pacing was again quite slow, but I found that actually worked for this book. It was more of a mystery than the first one, so a fast paced action packed story wouldn’t really have worked (though there are definitely some great action sequences throughout), it was better to have the slow unfurling of the plot. At first I was worried as to how all the different pieces would fit together (the Rephaim, the challenge for Underlord/queen, the Rag and Bone Man etc) but it all slotted together very wonderfully in the end. The first part is definitely the slowest, things start to pick up in the second half and the third half moves at pretty breakneck speed.

I loved that this book focused more on the Syndicate, it was so great to get to see all of the dirty criminal goings on and the politics and different gangs and everything, I found that so much more interesting than the plot with the Rephaim from the last book. We finally got to see Paige properly interact with the Seals, and find out more about them so they feel like more fleshed out people in this book which was awesome. I loved seeing her friendship with Nick as well, it’s so nice to see platonic m/f friendships, although it would be nice if authors could recognise that you can have platonic m/f friendships between straight men and women, it doesn’t have to be that the only reason for the relationship being platonic is that one of them is gay, like can we have gay rep and platonic m/f friendships please? I found Nick’s new relationship with Zeke really cute and look forward to seeing where it goes in the next book particularly as the ending had some pretty big implications for them.

It was so interesting to finally see Paige interact with Jaxon properly, they have a kind of puppet/puppet master relationship, but they’re both kind of pulling each other’s strings if that makes sense? It’s quite complicated because Paige owes a lot to Jax and yet she knows how cruel he is and doesn’t want to be under his thumb anymore, and despite his flaws, it’s clear that Jax does in some way care for Paige, so it’s a very interesting dynamic that the two of them have and I look forward to seeing more of it in the next book.

I loved the setting, Shannon’s version of London is a grimy, gritty, dark criminal underworld and it’s an awesome backdrop for this tale. I love it when authors use settings that I am familiar with, because even though Shannon’s London is a future one, it still employs settings that I know, such as Camden where a lot of the book is based.

The mystery of who murdered the Underlord (not really a spoiler, it happens early in the book), was pretty gripping, but then it morphs into a load of other mysteries about the Syndicate and Scion and it was all so twisted and corrupt, it was awesome! The stakes definitely felt much higher in this one, what with the challenge for Underlord/queen and Paige being wanted by Scion, I really felt for Paige as she was constantly worried about getting caught and wanting to keep a low profile but also wanting to get the word about the Rephaim out there.

Total aside, but there was a bibliomancer in this, a voyant who uses spirits in order to find books to publish and I would totally love to be that voyant! The voyants and their powers are all so cool, it was great to see more than just Paige’s voyant powers in this book and to learn more about the different types of voyants in the syndicate. The world in general felt a lot more developed in this and I feel like I understand much better now how Paige’s London works and how it and clairvoyancy came to be, it was great to see Shannon stepping it up in that respect. There are quite a lot of different types of voyants, but it’s easy enough to keep track, with the orders of clairvoyants at the back of the book.

The chapters were still perhaps a little overlong, but in general, aside from a few typos, I felt like Shannon’s writing flowed a lot better in this book than it did in the previous one. I loved that the chapters were named, it’s an extra detail that I really appreciate!

I’m still not totally invested with Paige’s romance with Warden, I don’t know if it’s just that I can’t get on board with the whole slave/master romance thing (I know she’s free now, but she was for all intents and purposes his slave) or if it’s the fact that Warden doesn’t really have much of a personality to speak of, but they don’t make me swoon. Warden just doesn’t really do anything for me, he feels really blank and I know that’s part of the Rephaite character but I’d love it if he had a bit more of a character than just being morally dubious.

I loved the maps at the front, I think all fantasy books should have maps, it makes it so much easier to envisage the world!

There were several great twists throughout the book, most of which I didn’t see coming, which I loved!

The scrimmage was so exciting, it was basically two whole chapters of pure action and I loved it, it was all these voyants in the same ring, using their voyant powers which was really awesome! I don’t want to spoil the ending of the fight for you guys, so all I can say is that it’s really cool. It did feel like it took a long time to get there though, we found out about it pretty early on but it only happened in the last part.

THAT ENDING! I did not see it coming and I have so many questions! It’s set up for a very exciting book three and I can’t wait to see where Paige and the others go from here, as I still have a lot of questions from this book which I need answers to!

This was a great second book, the slower pace actually worked for it this time, the focus on the Syndicate rather than the Rephaim made it much more interesting, the slightly dodgy romance from the first book took a back seat, there were some awesome twists, the writing was more smooth, the world and characters were better developed, it was miles better than the first book. I was a little iffy going into this one but I’m now really excited for book three!

My rating: 4/5

My next review will be of my August #RockMyTBR read, Six of Crows.

 

 

 

 

 

YALC 2017 Recap (Day Two)

It was another early start yesterday for day two of YALC, Hannah and I got up at around seven o’clock, got ready and headed over to the train station in Windsor. We bought our tickets and then waited for the train. We got a little confused because we thought our train was going to be on the other platform, but it turned out it was already there, so we had to run before we missed it! Luckily we did get it, just in the nick of time. On the train, we basically just chatted about how much fun we had on Friday and our plans for the day, who we were looking forward to seeing etc. We got off at Clapham Junction and then changed to get a direct train to Olympia. It was a relatively quick journey, we left Windsor at around 8 and arrived at Olympia by 9.20.

Once we arrived at Olympia, we headed over to the Tesco Express opposite in order to get breakfast and lunch for the day. Then we headed inside, there wasn’t really a queue at all, so we got straight in. We were early for the first event that we wanted to go to, so we had time to put my phone on charge and go to the bathroom before that. We also got into the queue to get proofs of The Fandom and managed to get a copy each.

The first thing we went to was a talk on publishing in the Agents Arena. It was such a useful talk, even though I’m not at the stage of submitting my novel to an agent yet, it was great to hear about the process, what’s involved, what to do, what not to do etc and I took a lot of notes that I’m sure will be useful when I finally do start submitting my novel to agents. I definitely recommend going to one of these kinds of talks if you’re looking to get your book published one day.

After that we went over to the Chapter 5 stand as we had heard they were giving away a proof of The Beast’s Heart to the first person who came over with a photo of them with a fairytale cosplayer (we had got a picture with someone dressed as Red Riding Hood earlier, she even had a basket and a stuffed wolf) at 10.45, sadly we were too late though!

We then decided to go over to Waterstones so Hannah could buy the books she wanted to get signed for that day. The queue was so long, that I stood in the queue whilst Hannah went to get the books she wanted. It turned out I had to dash to get my own books when she was at the till as I had totally forgotten I wanted to get the rest of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books. Luckily I got them though!

It was then time for Vic James’ signing, but on our way there we got slightly distracted because we found out that Ed McDonald was giving away free cupcakes for the launch of his book Blackwing, so we went to the stall were those were being given out and got one before heading over to Vic James’ signing. Luckily we had time in the queue to finish our cupcakes! Vic James was lovely and encouraging when we told her we were both writers and that we’d one day like to do an event like that and she said she hoped we enjoyed her book (as we’d said we were yet to read it).

Once we’d done that we were a little uncertain of what to do because our next signings didn’t start until one. We went to check on my phone and Hannah found out that Benedict Cumberbatch was downstairs at LFCC so we went to find him. We had no luck and came back upstairs pretty sharpish because it was crowded, hot and kind of smelly down in the LFCC room. The YALC room actually felt breezy after that.

There was a massive queue for the loo when I got there, but I was so desperate so I just had to wait. By the time I got out Hannah had got a ticket for the Laini Taylor signing, I got one too but they wouldn’t let her get one for me whilst I was in the loo, so our numbers were quite far apart. Hannah agreed to wait with me though rather than going in early which was nice of her. After we’d got our tickets for Laini Taylor, we raced over to the person giving out the Victoria Schwab queue tickets and got them. We were quite far back in the the queues for both authors, so we decided to just go and sit and eat lunch considering we would be waiting for a while.

We just wandered around a lot after that really, not doing anything in particular, just looking at stalls. I swapped a book I had bought in a mystery book buy yesterday and Hannah got a proof, although she later switched that for something else. We had to keep checking back on the queues to see if our numbers came up. We sat and chatted for a bit as well. We dashed for proofs of The Exact Opposite of Okay when they were announced and both got one. We took a picture with a girl in a really cool Belle cosplay. We got more free cupcakes, this time from the My Kind of Book stall. Finally, our numbers came up for Laini Taylor, so we joined the queue. We still had to wait for quite a while when we were in the queue but eventually we got to the front. Laini was lovely, she signed our books, I told her that I had enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone and she said I hoped I enjoyed the others. It was brief but nice to meet her and hopefully if I meet her again I’ll have read even more of her books.

We then dashed to the VE Schwab queue. By this time Hannah was desperate for the loo, so I held our place in line and waited whilst she went. I asked if she had a signing limit since her queue had been ticketed and was so long (I think there was over 200 people who had tickets!) but the woman running the queue said she’d sign as many as you had. I was worried Hannah wouldn’t get back in time as the queue was pretty fast moving, but she did. We finally got to the front and I probably made a complete fool of myself, but Victoria was so lovely, especially considering she’d already signed 120 odd people’s books before us! I told her how much I loved her books and that A Conjuring of Light was my favourite book of the year and she loved that. She’s honestly just one of the nicest authors I’ve ever met and hats off to her because she did two panels and signed for four hours, the woman is an absolute superstar!

I was desperate for the loo by this point, so I dashed in there quickly and then we went into the talk that was going on, simply so we could sit down for a bit. I liked the topic but we didn’t really know the authors so we ended up leaving it early. After this we again just wandered round for a while, I picked up a copy of The Diabolic at the Hashtag Reads stand, Hannah picked up some more proofs. We attempted to find the girl in the red cloak to get an Everless proof, but weren’t able to. We also practised waltzing for reasons which will be explained shortly!

At 5’o clock, there was a proof giveaway of The Beast’s Heart, something Hannah and I had both really wanted all weekend. There were people lining up to wait for it quite early before the giveaway and we recognised one of them as the girl we talked to in the Derek Landy signing queue last year! So we chatted to her a bit before the giveaway started, as well as the other people. We had to waltz in order to win the proof and Hannah and I did it pretty badly, so it’s not too surprising that we didn’t get it!

After we were done there, we decided to go into the last panel of the day, The Books That Made Me, with Victoria Schwab, Laini Taylor and Joanne Harris. I loved this panel, it’s so interesting to hear authors talk about the books that made them readers and writers! Victoria Schwab’s story about JK Rowling really resonated with me because she is also one of the main reasons why I am the reader and writer I am today, so it was so cool to hear someone else say that.

We stayed afterwards to see Non Pratt’s charity headshave but it was taking longer than we thought so we decided to head out (and regretted it later, because it turns out we missed Benedict Cumberbatch!). We saw Victoria Schwab on our way out and asked if we could get a picture with her (as we weren’t allowed during the signing because of how many people she had to get through) and she graciously agreed.

Once we had done that, YALC was essentially finished for the day, so we went to get my bag from the cloakroom and then left, emerging into the pouring rain! We made our way back to Olympia station and then after working out where I was going, I said my goodbyes to Hannah and we went our separate ways.

Here are my pictures from Day 2 of YALC:

IMG_0556[1]My haul, from top to bottom we have:

  1. The Exact Opposite of Okay
  2. The Fandom
  3. The Diabolic
  4. Dreams of Gods and Monsters
  5. Days of Blood and Starlight

IMG_0559[1]My signed books from Day 2, we have:

  1. Dreams of Gods and Monsters
  2. Days of Blood and Starlight
  3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  4. Gilded Cage
  5. Our Dark Duet
  6. Vicious
  7. The Unbound
  8. The Archived
  9. A Conjuring of Light
  10. This Savage Song

IMG_0574[1]Us with Victoria Schwab!

IMG_0575[1]Us with the massive YALC sign!

IMG_0561[1]My signed and personalised Schwab, we could only get two personalised, so naturally I picked this as one since it’s one of my favourite Schwabs!

IMG_0562[1]Signed Vic James

IMG_0563[1]Signed Laini Taylor

 

Us at the Electric Monkey stand with Laura M Steven, author of The Exact Opposite of Okay.

 

Hannah’s YALC haul, she got twice as much as me, I’m so proud (and a few of these were my recommendations!).

I had such an amazing weekend at YALC this year and we are definitely going back again next year. This is a tradition I hope will continue for a while! I’m so happy with everything I got this year and I can’t wait to dive in to all my new books.

So what do you think of my book haul (or my friends, she has the bigger one!)? Any you’ve read? Any you want to read? What should I read first? Who else was at YALC this year? Did you enjoy it? Did you see Benedict Cumberbatch? Which authors did you see? Which days did you go? Who wants to go to YALC next year who didn’t get to go this year? Basically just talk all things YALC to me, I’m having withdrawals already!

I will have my #RockMyTBR July update for you guys tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!