So it’s the middle of the year, and this month’s theme across this blog and my booktube channel have been a reflection on this year’s reading. I’ve talked about my progress with my bookish new year’s resolutions, and done the mid-year book freak out tag:
I briefly mentioned a few books I want to get to by the end of the year, but I thought I’d mention a few more this week.
At the beginning of the year, I made a Goodreads list dedicated to the books I wanted to read in 2018. I’ve moved it around a lot, taken things off, put others on, but on the whole, I’ve stuck to it.
Yet, I haven’t actually gotten to several books I thought I’d have read by now. I’m frankly disappointed in myself, and I’m hoping that this blog post actually shames me into reading them, instead of buggering around with books that aren’t even on my list.
- Skulduggery Pleasant Dark Days/Mortal Coil – Derek Landy. I genuinely thought I’d have had these two (counted as one) read by now. The previous book, The Faceless Ones, left things on such a cliffhanger, I’m frankly shocked at myself for not picking up Dark Days at the very least by now. Admittedly, it was on this month’s TBR, but family issues made reading a book about necromancy feel a little inappropriate, so I put it off for another day. Next month is a little busy with Tome Topple, but I’m hoping to get to these during August. September at the latest… I swear.
- Masque – W. R. Gingell. I’m a big fan of Beauty And The Beast, and a huge fan of fairytale retellings, and this has been on my TBR since 2017. Yet I still haven’t picked it up. I’m blaming it on the fact that it’s on my kindle, and has been pushed down the list thanks to recent reads/purchases, so I keep on forgetting that it’s there. But the premise and the reviews say that this book is a must-read for BATB fans, I have to get onto it.
- The Jungle Books – Rudyard Kipling. I’ve never really cared for The Jungle Book, but then I watched the Disney remake while I was on holiday in May, and then saw the trailer for Andy Serkis’ motion-captured film. I was instantly fascinated by it, watching interviews and such to see where Andy got the dark twist on the story. Turns out that it comes directly from the books, which are dark, brutal and not as Disney-friendly as the classic film. So, I decided to see for myself just how dark the original story was, and bought the book. Yet, I haven’t actually gotten round to reading it this year. In my defense, I am actually planning on reading this closer to the time the film comes out in October/November time, so I’m not exactly behind on reading it… yet.
- Gunslinger Girl – Lyndsay Ely. I’m a massive Westworld fan, have loved it since the pilot, have come up with theories and everything for the show, so what better book to read, than a western featuring a badass woman, to get over the hole the show has left in my heart? Of course, the show only just finished this week, so the withdrawal hasn’t quite kicked in yet, but I know it will. I’m going to miss the Wild West, the guns, the shooting, I’m going to need a book to get me past that.
- Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales – Justin Richards. Yes, I’m a Whovian. A massively enthusiastic Whovian, who cries through regenerations and gets horrendously excited for a new season. And this season is no different. Possibly, I’m even more excited than usual. Because The Doctor is now played by Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor, and to say that I’m excited is the understatement of the century. I nearly cried the day she was announced, I sobbed through 12’s regeneration into her, and couldn’t stop crying for the rest of the day. This is huge for me, to see a woman, like me, taking control of the TARDIS, I’m still in disbelief that it’s going to happen. And sadly, there are currently no books featuring her Doctor for me to read. So what’s the next best thing? Time Lord Fairy Tales. A book dedicated to the fairy tales of Gallifrey, a cover featuring a TARDIS and a Cyberman. Sign me right up for some Time Lord reading, to call in a new Doctor!
And that is just my top 5, outside of the books I mentioned in the video above! There’s many more, including the rest of The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, the Percy Jackon series by Rick Riordan, Vicious and Vengeful by V. E. Schwab, and so many more I can’t count!
To say the least, the rest of my year is going to be busy!
What are your top 5 books to finish by the end of the year? Tell me down in the comments!
I was never a fan of The Little Mermaid. Really, I wasn’t a fan of any ‘classic’ Disney movie, apart from Treasure Island and Toy Story.
But, when I read the blurb for Alexandra Christo’s To Kill A Kingdom, I knew I had to have the book, and I had to read it ASAP.
That ASAP turned into a three-month wait, but I’ve now managed to read it, and my God, it was worth the wait.
To Kill A Kingdom follows the story of Princess Lira, a siren, heir to the Sea Queen’s throne, known to human’s as The Princes’ Bane. Every year, on her birthday, she hunts down and rips the heart of a young prince, delighting in the kill, proving herself to be the vicious killer her mother wants her to be.
But, when she angers her mother, The Sea Queen turns her into a human and sets her the task of killing Prince Elian, a prince turned pirate. A pirate who specifically hunts down and kills sirens, on a never-ending mission to rid the world of sirens, specifically, Lira, the Princes’ Bane.
I have to admit, when I first read the blurb, I was totally sold on the concept, but when I later looked it up on Goodreads and found out that the book was a romance, I turned skeptical.
I’ve never been keen on romance novels, or YA with romance in. There’s very few I can stand, as I always find that the love story takes over the actual plot of the book. It’s a massive pet peeve of mine and has had me DNF’ing more than one book in the past because of it.
But, I have been trying to work on this, seeking out books with romances in that I actually like. So far, it’s been mostly a losing battle. 90% of the books I’ve tried have wound me up to the point of giving up, and I was nearly ready to give up entirely on my quest to like YA romances.
Then along came To Kill A Kingdom.
Elian and Lira’s romance was subtle and built up over the course of the book. It was believable, it didn’t derail the storyline. They didn’t spend chapter upon chapter mooning over each other.
Instead, they sassed each other, they battled side by side, and overall, they were a believable couple. A proper hate/suspicion to love relationship, which played second fiddle to the storyline described on the back of the book.
In a lot of ways, Lira and Elian reminded me of Kell and Lila from A Darker Shade Of Magic series by V. E. Schwab, which is one of my favourite series’ of all time. They were a battle couple, who never forgot their mission, or who they were inside.
Yes, they were on opposite sides, but they grew to be on the same one. They argued, they snarked, and they certainly didn’t trust each other for the majority of the story. But I loved it!
And that’s without talking about the characters, who were all excellent additions to the cast. I loved Elian’s pirate crew, the evil Sea Queen, the mythology surrounding this world. It was beautifully crafted and perfectly put together.
My only problem was that I wished we had more detail of the sirens in Lira’s life. We saw many people from Elian’s life, but very few from Lira. I would have liked to have seen more people from her kingdom and her family.
Other than that, I loved this book. It restored my faith in YA romances, and in YA in general. It was brilliant and so worth the hype it gets.
4/5 stars, without question!
At the beginning of the year, the Top 5 Wednesday group challenged us all to make 5 bookish new years resolutions. As a semi-new reader, trying to improve my reading, I decided to join in and set myself 5 bookish new years resolutions.
I also decided to set myself the target of reading at least 38 books this year, here is my progress on that:
But, how am I doing with my bookish new year’s resolutions? Well, for some, I’m doing quite well, in others, I’m failing miserably.
Let’s go through each one individually:
- Read bigger books.
Well, that’s going reasonably well. I’ve dedicated myself to reading larger books (aka anything over 400 pages) this year, and I’ve managed to get through quite a few. These include:
And that’s without going into the books I started and DNF’d for whatever reason (it wasn’t length, I didn’t wimp out, I swear), and the rest I have planned for the rest of the year!
I’d count that as a firm success, wouldn’t you?
Though… I do have to put my hands up and say that there are a few I’m avoiding because of their length, as I mentioned in this blog post.
- Read more trilogies in one go.
Er… I sort of have accomplished this, I guess? I sort of expanded this to include series’ after it was pointed out to me that I rarely finish a series over 3 books long. And it’s gone… reasonably well.
I did finish the entire Melrose series in one sitting earlier this year.
I blasted through the Monsters Of Verity duology in a week.
Crooked Kingdom is being read this month, which rounds off the Six Of Crows duology.
As for longer series, trilogies, and anything else I’ve finished? It’s a bit of a different story.
Take His Dark Materials, for example. I was happily going through that, steaming right through, but the last book lost its way for me, and I DNF’d it. I had full intentions of finishing the series, read each book one after the other, but The Amber Spyglass just lost me around 40% of the way through and I couldn’t continue.
The Lunar Chronicles, I’m on the fence about after reading Cinder. It was interesting, but there was something missing for me, I guess you could say. I have bought Scarlett, though, and I’m willing to give it another chance. Just not right now, as I’m on a book buying ban.
And the series’ I’m halfway through and really love?
Discworld and Skulduggery Pleasant are series’ I’m stretching out, so they’re not over too soon, so I’m forcing myself to only read two books of each a year.
So far, Going Postal has been ticked off the Discworld list, and I’m looking at Wyrd Sisters as my second of the year.
Skulduggery Pleasant is a different story. I shamefully haven’t picked any up yet, even after The Faceless One‘s cliffhanger. Even got the massive box set in the new covers for my birthday and I still haven’t picked it up yet.
I will, I’m determined. I will read two more Skulduggery Pleasant. I may have reached my ‘three books read’ limit of attention span, but I’m going to beat it into submission.
- Read more books outside of my comfort zone.
This one I can safely say I have achieved.
I read the Melrose series, which is very much set in the real world. I wasn’t entirely keen on the entire series, as it was a bit too dark for me, and it messed with my head.
As promised, I also got into Sci-Fi, and I love it! I’ve read books such as
Failure To Communicate
I started Illuminae, sadly had to stop because my dyslexic brain could not take the weird layout, but really loved the storyline.
And, as previously mentioned, I’ve also started The Lunar Chronicles and I’ve also read Invictus! It’s been a great introduction to Sci-Fi and I’ve got a lot more on my shelves to read, I’m a complete convert!
As for comic books? I haven’t done too badly on that either!
I’ve branched out into Spiderman, Deadpool, Black Panther and Illuminati in the Marvel universe of comics. I’ve also recently bought Gwenpool, Miss Marvel, House Of M and a tonne more, I’m ridiculously excited to get into them!
Outside of the Marvel universe, I’ve also started the Kick-ass series, the Monstress series, and the Sandman series, so I’d say I’ve branched out pretty well in terms of comics! There’s a lot more I want to look into, but right now, I’m happy with my current choices.
- Read more diverse books.
This one I’m certain I’ve covered well this year.
This year, I’ve read non-binary characters (Our Dark Duet), autistic characters (Failure To Communicate), POC characters (Black Panther), LGBT+ characters (Six Of Crows). And not just in these books, in many others, too.
I’ve done my best to seek out diverse books, with characters that aren’t just cis, white and straight. Finding disabled characters has been harder, so much harder, than I imagined it would be if I’m honest. So, like I said in the original post, please do give me some recommendations, I would be incredibly grateful for them.
Either way, I’ve really enjoyed expanding my reading in this way, it’s giving me so many more perspectives on life and on others. I’ve been stuck in such a Western-cultured world, I love seeing things from others perspectives. It’s been fascinating and informative, I just wish that there were more for me to read.
- Review more.
… This one, I’ve totally, completely and utterly failed at. I’ve made three reviews this year. Three. That’s it. Three. And I promised to write reviews for at least 50% of the books I read this year. It’s gone entirely out of the window.
This needs to change, and soon. It doesn’t matter if it’s in blog or booktube form, I just need to make more. I can’t just ignore reviewing the books I read, in favour of the TV show/film/theatre show I’ve recently seen.
I need to review more. I leave mini-reviews on Goodreads, but I need to go more in depth, to actually use this blog and my youtube channel for what they were made for – book reviews.
I realise now that trying to review 50% of the books I read is a stretch. So I’m going to say that for the rest of the year, I’m going to try and review at least one book a month. It’s a lot more obtainable as a goal. One book a month, I can manage that… right?
And that was my bookish new year’s resolution check in! How are yours going? Doing better than me? Tell me down below in the comments!